Working with influencers: the most common mistakes

Werken met influencers en bloggers_ voorkom deze fouten

Influencer marketing is booming business, this form of marketing is gaining popularity. Most businesses know that influencers can contribute to their brand awareness but creating a successful campaign is still difficult. I’ll tell you all about the most common mistakes marketeers and businesses make when dealing with influencers.

1. Focussing on the numbers

I’m part influencer myself, but to be honest I don’t care for that word and prefer to call myself a content creator. But oh well, I still earn money with my blog and social media. I don’t consider it a taboo. 🙂

The big problem in influencer-land: business solely focus on the amount of followers. But guess what: a large chunk of the popular influencers have bought followers. Numbers don’t mean a lot in that regard… As a business you should choose a sincere person with a high engagement rate, which is so much more important than the number of followers.

volgers op Instagram_ influencer marketing

Check out their profiles

Do you want to collaborate with influencers? Start by making a list of relevant influencers. Don’t just trust Google, but look up their Instagram and ask people around you for advice. Undoubtedly some of your coworkers will be following them already.

Made a list? Well then it’s time to to take a closer look. You can do this in several ways:

  • Check their engagement rate: does your influencer have thousands of followers but a small amount of likes and comments? That should ring a bell.
  • Check out their list of followers: are most of them weird profiles with strange names and no profile picture? These are spam accounts, and you can be pretty sure your influencer has bought followers. But beware: spam accounts can follow anyone, even I have some and no, I haven’t bought any.
  • Research their growth: has the influencer grown steadily or are they losing followers in a short period of time? This could indicate that they’re dishonest and are up to some weird things. This could include followbots that influencers use for short term growth.
  • Read the comments: are a handful of people commenting on all of their photos? And are those comments simply a few words or emoji’s? Then this influencer is in a so called comment pod, a group of influencers that like and comment on each others posts. A sort of ‘like for like’ and for companies, this isn’t interesting as it offers no value.

If these tips aren’t enough for you, you can also use the SocialBlade tool:

This tool allows you to check out a profiles growth or loss. I entered some names of well known Belgian bloggers and it showed they unfollow  about 200 followers per day. Their primary activity is following profiles and when they follow her back, she’ll unfollow them. A dirty tactic if you ask me.

Remember this: quality beats quantity. Does the influencer get a lot of comments and are their followers interested? That’s more important than the number of followers.

2. Not making clear arrangements

A list of influencers? Check. Now it’s time to start the campaign. But a lot of businesses will just ship products without any arrangements. You should set up a contract from the start and have a briefing to inform them of your expectations.

The briefing

You should discuss the following points:

  • The story: what message or story should they tell. You could come up with a theme and ask them to work around this specific theme.
  • The data that needs to be posted. Do you prefer several photos and a blogpost? Tell them how often and in what period they should post.
  • A hashtag: certain hashtags are easier to follow up than others. You should pick an original one and you can make use of tools or programs to follow up the statistics, for example Influo
  • Don’t want influencers working with competitors during your campaign? Be sure to mention this.

Ask them if they’re agreed with the term, then you’re sure that both parties are informed. Send a copy of the arrangement along with the products and your story, that way the influencer will have all of the correct information.

3.  Randomly giving out free products

A lot of companies just randomly send out free products to influencers and expect them to do something with it. They feel it’s too much trouble to send a mail with the products to inform them. But honestly: I get so much unexpected products that I can’t do something with all of them.

So I’m convinced you should send a mail to influencers to gauge their interest. Then, if they’re interested, they can choose a product to work around.

4. Don’t set obligations

Earlier I told you a briefing is an important point, and I stand by it. Offer a clearly set theme or story, but don’t obligate them. I once worked with a company that literally told me, word for word, what to write. Something like ‘oh this product is amazing and it does this and that for your skin’. Which doesn’t come over as a natural statement, so I gave my own opinion which was negative and they weren’t happy.

Let influencers be free within a theme. You could ask the to talk about their favorite me-time moment when using your products.

5. Using content without mentioning the influencers

Something companies get wrong a lot is using influencer content without references. This is 1) disrespectful and 2) offers less advantages from a business point of view. So mention the influencer’s name so your potential clients are aware that they’re using your products!

Influencer marketing

6. Influencer marketing is not a sales channel

Businesses think that influencers will increase their sales. This could be the case, but shouldn’t be your primary goal. Influencers are used to create brand awareness.

As a company you want to give influencers a unique link to share with their followers. This way you could stimulate extra sales but again, this shouldn’t be the primary goal of the campaign.

7. Collaborating with a bunch of influencers

I see a lot of calls from business looking for influencers. And they usually jump to work with the ones who are interested, without checking the quality of the person. This is a very bad idea, you should use influencers that share the demographic of the business. How exactly do you to that? I’ll explain it in the next points.

8. Forgetting to check their statistics

Are you looking for the right influencer? Ask to see their statistics on their demographics. That way you can determine if there’s a match with your business. Ask to see their numbers on other collaborations before deciding to work with them on the long term.

9. Working with ambassadors – looking at the long term

Last but not least, maybe one of the most important points: working with ambassadors. Find influencers that share your companies values and identity to set up a long term collaboration. These are people that won’t promote the competition and stay loyal to your brand. For example, I’ve had a great experience working with OPI Benelux, and I only use their nail polish because I can see myself in their philosophy.

Do you need help with influencer marketing? Send me a mail and we can set up a meeting:


Hi, ik ben Elien. Op de blog vind je mijn passie voor mode, beauty, lifestyle en verre reizen. Mijn laptop en smartphone wijken nooit van mijn zijde en ik ben stiekem ook wat koffieverslaafd. Een lekkere cappuccino naast me tijdens het werken, daar kan ik zo van genieten!

Mijn motto: Ga je dromen achterna, ze weten de weg. ♥︎

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