I’ve worked in the arena of children’s and youth marketing for nearly a decade and in that time, I’ve seen the birth and rapid rise in influencer marketing. Last year we commissioned a study ‘Content State of Mind’ which identified younger audiences particularly as being keen to share more with their favourite influencers than anyone else.

We’ve been there from the start of this phenomenon, it’s been an incredibly interesting journey and we’ve learnt a lot and as brands are still joining the party at various stages of sophistication. I thought I’d share the most common pitfalls I still see brands make.

1. Set clear objectives or KPIs

Having an ROI on the influencer part of any campaign is key. Influencers can deliver against several objectives so set out which will meet the brief.

It is also imperative to think about how the content each influencer creates is tracked and measured. I still see brands adding up subscribers and positioning this as ‘reach’. You can’t add subscribers together as not every subscriber or follower of a person on social media sees every single piece of content. I would argue the need to talk about reporting Weighted Engagements. Weighted Engagements look at the response to a piece of influencer content and can determine how the audience has engaged with that piece of content.

2. Think audience first not platform first

Think audience first and enable the creators/influencers the freedom to express themselves in different ways across each platform. They know what content works to get the most engagement from their audience on each platform.

3. Use the content created for all channels

Having identified a way to create cost-effective, authentic social content seek permission to use the content in paid-social or other elements of an above-the-line campaign. Whilst sometimes this might involve paying a premium to the influencer the content generated should play a successful part in a wider campaign.

4. Due diligence

Do a lot of research into the influencer you are proposing to use. Look at the content the influencer creates, ask for demographic data and think about a potential fit long term before moving any potential campaign and partnership forward.

5. Don’t call them influencers and see it as a media buy

Don’t call your partners influencers, call them creators. Over my time working in this space I have met numerous creators and none of them see their job as influencing. They see their job as creating content for their audience – creators works better.

Any partnership should be entered into in the spirit of just that, a partnership – meaning an understanding the creator knows their audience best and often can advise a brand on what will work in the most effective way.

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