In this guide, we take you through 14 of the most common problems marketing teams face with launching and running effective influencer campaigns, tell you the 4 mistakes that are causing the problems, and show you how to fix them. Get the guide now.
How to Audit Your
4 Mistakes Influencer Agencies Make That Can
Cost Your Brands Millions In Missed Revenue
Social Media has become the go-to channel for customer
acquisition, customer engagement, and customer service.
It allows small brands to create responsive messages that
resonate with their customers, and it allows big brands
to act more like small brands.
Where paid ads are often thought of as non-personal
marketing, influencer marketing is far more personal.
So, the goal as marketers is to test and analyze
different messages and assets across different channels
to see which ones are working, then leverage influencers
to get more mileage out of those messages and channels…
all while creating new assets.
Pretty neat trick. But it takes some technical know-how
(besides just looping influencers into the mix) to run an
influencer marketing campaign that actually delivers on
the promised metrics.
Just so we’re on the same page, let’s sum
up inﬂuencer marketing REALLY quick...
Think about this: for every day in 2019, about 13,560 pieces
of influencer-created sponsored content went up on Instagram
(Statista). That’s out of the 95 million pics and videos
Wordstream estimates goes up on the platform every day. That’s
A LOT of content.
Between 2017 and 2019, the influencer market more than doubled
in size, going from $3 billion to $6.5 billion in value. These
days, 9 in 10 marketers are trying their hand at launching an
influencer marketing campaign of one kind or another.
It’s true that for most marketers, the global pandemic wreaked
absolute havoc on budgets, plans, and whatever great ideas
your creative team dreamed up with hopes of executing by the
end of Q1 2020. Despite the many suggestions that the
influencer marketing industry would never survive the
pandemic, influencers and influencer agencies had figure out
how to pivot messaging more quickly than most other marketing
teams… which offerent the industry a distinct advantage.
The inﬂuencer marketing industry
is still growing.
% of people interested in what inﬂuencers have to say
40% of Women
29% of Men
Inﬂuencers can break through the noise
and get your message heard.
The honeymoon phase of influencer marketing was over
around 2016. Since then, brands and marketers have been
kind of obsessed with getting a positive, measurable ROI
from running influencer campaigns. There are a few
important KPIs marketers consider when it comes to judging
the success of an influencer campaign, one of which is
engagement. Why does engagement matter?
Beyond landing impressions, this is the one metric used to
gauge how many eyeballs actually saw your content. It’s
increasingly difficult for anyone to be heard in the
webosphere over the 100 blog posts that go live every
second, 6,000 tweets going out per second, 95 million
Instagram posts we mentioned earlier, and increasingly
sophisticated ad blockers making it tough to get your
display ads seen.
Influencers are still seen as trusted advisors whose
recommendations are worth checking out.
For brands, the value of running an
influencer campaign goes beyond just having
Influencers are tuned in to the
conversations, sentiments, and intentions
of their audiences which are exactly the
kinds of insights marketers need right now.
Having access to actionable intel provides
marketing teams the chance to adopt agility
as part of their marketing strategy.
But like we said 👀 there’s technical
stuff involved in being agile that A LOT of
marketing teams have trouble executing.
There are challenges marketing
teams still haven’t cracked the
Challenges Brands and Agencies face running effective inﬂuencer campaigns
% of respondents
1. Improper Targeting
2. Tone-Deaf Strategies
3. Platform Misalignment
4. Account Management
All 14 of those challenges can be solved by correcting 4 mistakes
agencies commonly make building inﬂuencer campaigns:
Okay, without a doubt, the biggest mistake marketing teams
and agencies make with influencer campaigns is trying to
build campaigns in a vacuum. Now hear this: Influencer
marketing is a powerfully effective marketing technique…
but it’s a marketing technique, nevertheless.
And one of many techniques your brand should be using to
reach your buyers as part of a larger, more comprehensive
Successfully targeting your audience will require the
marketing team or agency handling your influencer campaign
to understand your customer’s path to purchase.
This includes pinpointing all the various ways your
customer buys as well as identifying the marketing
channels that are working for you right now (and the ones
that aren’t) in order to structure an influencer campaign
that will be most effective within the context of your
existing digital marketing strategy.
Remember... inﬂuencer marketing
campaigns don’t work in a vacuum.
If you’ve had entire influencer campaigns fail to reach
your promised metrics (or had your agency fail to promise
any decent metrics), it’s not the influencer’s fault.
Your influencer selection process may be flawed.
On a good day, only about 2 in 5 marketers feel like they
know what they heck they’re doing when it comes time to
recruit influencers (Source).
That’s a BIG DEAL because knowing how to align the RIGHT
influencer with the RIGHT concept determines how your
influencer campaign will ultimately impact lift across
metrics like brand awareness, follower growth,
list-building, downloading your awesome thing, intent to
purchase, or completing a purchase.
Yet, influencer selection remains one of primary
challenges for most of the marketing teams who sit down
to plan an influencer campaign.
You already know that better results
start with better inﬂuencers.
Secret sauce time. We’ve already established the need for your
agency to understand your customer’s path to purchase and which
marketing methods and marketing channels are working for your
Everyone assisting with this campaign also needs to understand
your buyer personas - who buys your product and why they buy it.
Most products will appeal to different people who buy for
Take CBD, for instance: Last year, when CBD was trending
everywhere, High Yield Insights released a report which
contained a chart of the five buyer personas most likely to
purchase cannabidiol (CBD) products. The personas varied greatly
in their demographics and psychographics, which, of course,
means marketers have to reach them in different ways and with
Just so you can see what we’re talking about here, we pulled a
few characteristics from three of those buyer personas. Which
would resonate with a message on pain relief? Skin care? Who
would you be able to reach on Instagram? Facebook? TikTok?
Go ahead and dig up those buyer
personas because that’s how you target.
SAMPLE BUYER PERSONAS FROM HIGH YIELD
INSIGHTS’ CBD INDUSTRY REPORT
Persona 1: College-educated, white Gen X dad earning
over $75K, employed full-time, 1 in 11 are military
veterans. Most likely to use it for chronic pain, to
minimize anxiety. Also important to note these guys are
most likely to be okay shopping for CBD products without
guidance - probably have used the product longest.
Persona 2: Single, African American millennial, just as
likely to have kids as not have them, just as likely to be
male as female, earns $75K and under, college-educated.
Most likely to use CBD for health and wellness, natural
Persona 3: Likely a white millennial wife and mother
(40% chances she’s a stay-at-home mom) who
graduated high school and has some college under her
belt, using CBD products for beauty, hacks, and wellness.
Now, to ﬁt all those moving pieces
together so your campaign hits right
So... you’ve probably already put together that an
agency’s process for finding your target audience and
knowing how to reach them hinges on how good they are at
choosing the right influencers for your campaign. In
order for that influencer selection process to work, it
needs to integrate a couple of other really important
An influencer should be chosen based on the likelihood
she’ll be able to create content for the specific buyer
persona she’s creating content to reach.
The influencer selected also needs to be great at
creating content for the specific platform(s) where your
target buyer is most likely to spend time.
An influencer should stick to creative concepts that
support the messaging needed to push your target buyer
deeper into your funnel and/or farther along on the
Now, let’s move on to campaign strategies.
The most effective influencer marketing campaigns answer a
specific need your customer has. That’s the antidote to coming
off as tone deaf. A lot of marketing teams miss that.
The campaign strategy an influencer agency chooses should have
two things: a way to compel your customers to take the next
important steps on the path to purchase, and specific,
measurable goals to let you know your customers are moving
toward a conversion.
Because your internal marketing team understands your
customers’ path to purchase, it’s crucial that they monitor the
messaging tied to your influencer campaign.
Let’s say you launched a new line of super vitamins, and you’re
targeting people who already take vitamins as part of their
daily routines. Your immediate objective will be finding ways
to get the attention (👈 very important) of your competitors’
loyal buyers. For that, you’ll need a brand lift campaign.
Why? Because you won’t be able to get attention with just some
pretty pics of your vitamins surrounded by flowers. No, people
need a compelling REASON to REMEMBER your product.
The two things your campaign strategy
must have to keep from being tone deaf.
At this point, your influencer agency should be able to dream
up a concept that highlights one of your cooler value props.
Maybe your vitamin breaks down slowly in the body, which
results in loads of B-vitamins entering the bloodstream
consistently throughout the day instead of all at once.
So, the agency could create concepts around:
● Exhausted remote working moms who are doomed to be “always on”
● Mature professionals who want to ditch the sugary afternoon
● Young professionals who are trying to reduce their caffeine
intake and find healthier ways to achieve and maintain
● People who wonder if their vitamins are even working (they
won’t have to wonder because they’ll be able to feel the
difference with your vitamins)
Next, if your agency was smart enough to loop in micro-
influencers to create really great content around those pain
points, you could reuse that content in your retargeting and in
content on your own website (because the next touchpoint on
your customer’s path to purchase is a whole BUNCH of research).
Remember: People care about the problem they have and the fixes
available. They may not remember your brand immediately. But that’s
okay. Now, knowing that the next step your customer takes on the path
to purchase will be researching whichever one of these pain points
they’re dealing with, you and your team can create keyword-optimized
content to live elsewhere on the web to address that pain point and
keep interested prospects in your funnel.
Why setting goals for each touch point
is the key to tracking ROI.
Let’s talk about campaign goals. We already said that campaign
goals track how well your customers are moving along the path to
purchase. There are different types of campaigns that can be
used to achieve a variety of different campaign goals.
Brand Awareness Campaigns work best when your goal is to introduce
a new product, when you’re rebranding, when you’re trying to
present a value prop to interrupt someone’s intention to keep
buying their regular brand.
Content Campaigns are best when your goal is to get a ton of
influencer-generated content (and especially evergreen content)
that you can reuse across your branded channels and in online and
Traffic/Clicks Campaigns work best for increasing site traffic,
growing your list, getting sales and when you’re also running
retargeting campaigns (and need prospects to see your brand a few
more times to stay top-of-mind).
Each of these larger campaign categories incorporates measurable
goals. Stuff like adding 10 influencers to your brand ambassador
program (a legit one, not a fake brand ambassador program). Or
like boosting your follower count by 10%. This is the key to
tracking the progress of your campaigns.
Your audience and your product dictate
your platform… right?
Another area that can pose a challenge for your
influencer agency is knowing which platforms to use to
sell your awesome thing.
Instagram isn’t the only place to run an influencer
campaign. Platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and TikTok
(fingers crossed) are also great social media platforms
for reaching different types of audiences with different
That means you should loop in podcasts if you know you
need to reach busy professionals. Or add YouTube (if
budget allows) since it’s a preferred channel across
demographics, and especially now that churches, community
groups, and in-person events are being moved to youTube.
The factors that influence where your influencer
campaigns should run are your product and your audience:
● Knowing what your audience needs to see and hear in
order to understand the value of your product, and
● Knowing where your audience spends time online
Products and services can be marketed in a couple of
Marketing with images works when you can grab the
attention of potential buyers just by showing pictures of
something, even if there’s no explanation included.
Think: clothes, shoes, cosmetics, potential suitors
Marketing with sound works when the value of a product is
better communicated with short audio clips that explain
how something works.
Think: lawyers or other professional services, songs,
software, rewards programs, diet and nutrition products,
high-end dog food or commodities that offer some extra thing
that makes it special.
Video marketing works when you essentially need both
visual cues and a scripted explanation to demonstrate
Think: pressure washer and other products where it may be less
of a hassle for your customer to skip buying your thing and
just hire someone to do it, tractor and high-ticket items,
mobile apps and gadgets, home sales, training systems
Audio or video? Does the agency
understand how your customers buy?
Part of the beauty of influencer marketing is that it can
integrate multiple content types and boost the value of say,
product images, by embedding the product in a compelling
story. Storytelling gives context to the image and validates
the usefulness of your product.
The job of the agency, then, is to help your brand figure out
which platforms would deliver the best ROI based on your
campaign goals, your campaign concepts and where your
audience spends time. This is also the time when your agency
should let you know about any emerging channels that may be a
good fit for your campaign.
For instance, a campaign for a new nutrition product may be
great to showcase on Instagram for getting the brand lift
needed to get eyes on your product…
But it would also make sense to loop relevant influencers
into the mix who have podcasts or vlogs so the product itself
can be explained and your buyers can get a better sense of
the product’s benefits. These types of nuances pretty much
hinge on how well your agency functions internally. So, read
Inﬂuencer marketing loops in multiple
things at once, true, but...
#4 Unowned Tasks the Agency Account
Managers Should Be Handling
Solves: Finding influencers, influencer fraud, brand safety, creative strategy, timeline, FTC regulations, algorithm changes
Many of the problems brands have with their campaigns
can be traced back to the team running that campaign.
Common challenges like:
● Finding influencers
● Heading off influencer fraud
● Maintaining brand safety
● Coming up with creative strategies
● Maintaining the timeline
● Ensuring influencers adhere to FTC regulations
● Adapting strategies to algorithm changes
● Integrating new features on social media
platforms if they’ll help your campaign
● Optimizing campaigns
Not saying your agency has to know everything about
everything, but the team should certainly have more
than a few tricks up their sleeve for making a campaign
Now… let’s talk about your inﬂuencer
marketing agency of record...
Make doubly sure the agency takes
ownership of these 3 areas.
Creative Concepts. There’s no place in an influencer campaign
for a basic product placement post. Does the agency have a
creative strategist on the team who dreams up brand-safe
ideas for your campaign? Pay attention to the campaign brief
and creative concepts. They’ll help you ensure the influencer
agency + your marketing team are in alignment on your
FTC Compliance. The latest updates to the FTC laws governing
sponsored content hold both the brand and the creator
responsible for content that is misleading, promises that
haven’t been proven, and posts that aren’t clearly identified
as ads. Make sure your agency has identified who on their
team will make sure each piece of influencer-generated
content from your campaign is FTC-compliant.
Always-On Optimizations. Optimizing influencer campaigns is
an ongoing process. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it type of
thing. Make sure your agency is monitoring the campaign to
figure out which posts are performing best so you know which
messages are resonating, which influencers are delivering
(and who should stay on in this campaign or others), and
which posts to tweak or turn off.
Together, your marketing team and the influencer marketing agency running your campaign
can pretty much eliminate any possible hiccups with your influencer marketing campaign
long before you ever even roll it out.
Your marketing team
The inﬂuencer agency
Your KPI-Driven Inﬂuencer Marketing Dream Team
An inﬂuencer marketing strategy is most effective when it’s being used to close the gap
between that initial trigger and the purchase. And that’s what we do best.
Wanna know what happened to your previous campaigns? Good thinking.
Let us conduct a free audit of your previous inﬂuencer campaigns.
We Are The Shelf
We connect brands with creative
Instagram, TikTok, & YouTube storytellers
to build captivating full-funnel influencer
campaigns. If you’re all about that ROI, we
are the agency for you.
Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org