It’s no secret social media has changed the way consumers seek information, especially when it comes to making purchase decisions. Impressive statistics supporting word-of-mouth and influencer marketing are often thrown around- consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a good source of information by people around them, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 33%  trust ads, etc. Influencers hold a lot of power in the consumer market, but only if they are utilized correctly. Here are five mistakes you may be making with influencer marketing, and how to correct them.

1. Choosing quantity of quality

A lot of things are better in mass quantities: cookies, syrup, and warm spring days. The rule does not necessarily apply to followers on blogs or social networks. While the goal is to reach as broad an audience as possible, you don’t want to risk source credibility or send a message in a misguided direction. When activating consumer influencers, you need to make sure that he/she/they has a relationship with their following. Having 1,000 followers is not impressive if the source does not have a personal relationship with them.

2. Forgetting to consider brand fit

Choose consumer influencers that fit the personality and lifestyle of your brand. An influencer is a personification of a brand; his or her job is to accurately convey a brand’s message to its target audience. Make sure to consider age, gender, demographics and psychographics. Although it may sound like common sense, selecting a millennial beauty blogger as an advocate may not be successful in reaching boomers who are looking for a vacation destination.

3. Assuming authenticity

Many factors play into a source’s authenticity: originality, quality and frequency of posts, number or followers, expertise in an area, and so on. However, authenticity can’t be measured in each of these factors alone. Do your research. Read his or her posts and take note on how genuine they appear. Do followers interact with the source? Does he or she support his or her opinions? With ways to purchase followers and bots that can spam webpages, simply having a large following is not evidence enough to prove as a credible source of information. In addition to credibility as a person or expert, ensure the source only promotes or critiques brands or products he or she is passionate about. If someone is promoting multiple brands and products at once, their opinion loses credibility.

4. Not Building a Foundation.

Just as important as a consumer influencer having a relationship with their following is the person having a relationship with you and your brand. A credible source should not be willing to advocate for a brand it has little or no connection with. Get to know an influencer before asking him or her to reach out to his or her networks. Make sure they have enough information to form concrete opinions and share substantial evidence with their followers.

5. Not tracking engagement

After investing the time to mobilize the perfect group of consumer influencers, it would be a waste to not see where your efforts have led. Is it worth continuing this brand-activist relationship? Measure the influencer’s engagement levels and affect of his or her following. Be sure to also follow up with the influencer him or herself to gain insights into how they felt working with the brand.

Consider these tips while choosing your next influencers to ensure a successful campaign. And don’t forget the importance of following him or her from beginning to end!

Interested in more?

Check out our Community Marketing 101 eBook and discover how online brand communities can take your brand to the next level. 

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