3 Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)

If you’re a blogger, then you hear tons of marketing terms daily. You’re likely quite comfortable with phrases like search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media marketing, but have you ever leveraged the power of influencer marketing?

Perhaps you’ve tried it and it didn’t go over well, or maybe you’re just toying with the idea. Whatever stage you’re in, it’s important you understand what tactics to use so that your efforts pay off.

Start by taking a look at what influencer marketing is and what three mistakes to avoid, and learn how to leverage influencer marketing in a way that will promote and grow your blog.

influencer marketing

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is the process of building relationships with leaders in your industry to help your message reach a wider audience. One example of influencer marketing is emailing a popular blogger in your niche and asking them to tweet your latest post.

The idea is that since they have such a huge following and strong customer loyalty, their followers will turn into your traffic.

3 Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes

Influencer marketing is a super simple concept, but it’s often misunderstood. It’s not always as easy as sending out a couple of emails every time you publish a new post. Here are three mistakes bloggers tend to make with influencer marketing:

1. Failing to Engage With the Influencer First

Mentioning an influencer in your latest tweet isn’t going to guarantee a retweet. Likewise, if you email an influencer out of the blue (when they have no idea who you are), your email will probably go directly to the trash folder.

Influencers receive a lot of messages daily that are tough to keep up with. Neil Patel, for instance, reports receiving over 400 emails per day.

You can make your email stand out by ensuring the influencer recognizes you. For a month or so (at least) before reaching out to influencers, engage with them so they become familiar with you. Here are just a couple of ways to do so:

  • Comment on their blog and social media posts
  • Share their blog posts (and make sure to mention them so they see it!)
  • Retweet their tweets
  • Send them a friendly email that is not self-promotional, such as by kindly pointing out a broken link or other issue with their site

These are the basics to get you started, but feel free to get creative. For instance, you could post a picture on Twitter that shows you using—and loving!—their product. (Make sure to include their Twitter handle in your tweet.)

2. Asking Influencers to Share Irrelevant Content

With such a simple definition of influencer marketing, it can be all too easy to get into the mindset that all you need is that single share from a leader in your industry. All you have to do is shoot over a single email, and poof, you’ve got the traffic you’ve always dreamed of.

But asking for shares on any old topic is a waste of time. As mentioned, influencers are busy, and they get tons of requests like this every day. An SEO blogger isn’t going to waste time sharing a fitness post with their followers. (In this case, you’re probably targeting the wrong influencers!)

Even if they do recognize your name or face, they still need a reason to share your content. You could ask a leader in the SEO industry to tweet your article on SEO tactics, but if your blog post covers the same things people have heard before, how do they benefit from sharing it?

For influencers to share your content, it must resonate with their readers or their brand in some way.

Here are just a couple of blog post techniques that can increase your chances of industry leaders sharing your content:

  1. Use quotes or highlight case studies directly from the influencers you plan to target. If you can get a direct quote from them beforehand, such as for an expert round-up post, that’s even better! When they’re mentioned in your content, your blog post immediately becomes relevant to their brand.
  2. Provide an alternative perspective to an influencer’s recent blog post. This won’t always work well, particularly if you offend the influencer, but if you provide a reasonable alternative perspective that makes people think, there’s a good chance the influencer will share the post since it’s relevant to their readers.
  3. Blog about a news-worthy topic in the influencer’s niche. If it’s a topic the influencer is hearing about for the first time, it’s likely they’ll share your content as the original source of the breaking-news story. However, for this to be effective, you generally have to beat others to the story, and it should be shocking enough that the influencer connects with it emotionally and wants his followers to feel the same way.

I recently participated in an expert round-up post written by Saskia Smit.

I immediately noticed other influencers sharing the same post across social media, so I asked Saskia about her success. Here’s what she told me:

“The great thing about doing an expert roundup article is that it gives you the opportunity to connect with influencers in your field. It’s been less than 24 hours since the post went live, but it’s already my most successful post to date with over 90 social shares.

I made sure to send out a quick email to all participants once the post went live to thank them and invite them to share it with their audiences.

I was thrilled to see many of them shared the post across multiple platforms. As this is a relatively new blog, I am very pleased with the results.

Not only has it brought me new traffic, but I should also be getting a couple of guest posts from the experience – I would say it’s been an all-around success!”

3. Targeting the Biggest Names in the Industry

While this isn’t necessarily a mistake in its own right, shooting too high isn’t usually your best bet. That’s because everyone is trying to get the top leaders in their industry to share their post, and most of the time, influencers just don’t have the capacity to do it all.

That means that the efforts you do put into influencer marketing may see little results if your posts never get shared.

However, if you aim to connect with mid-level influencers in your niche, they’re likely receiving fewer share requests and have more time to truly connect with you—though remember that they’re still busy, so be respectful of their time.

So let’s say you target the biggest name you can. You could get a blog post tweeted once and see a huge spike in traffic, but how long did it take you to get there?

By targeting mid-level influencers or other bloggers just above you, you may not see the same immediate spike in traffic, but your content is likely to get shared more often, resulting in more traffic overall.

Essentially, these three mistakes can cost you loads of time, rendering your efforts useless. The key is to build up true relationships. Then, when the time is right, you can ask for a social share or a mention in their newsletter.

Just remember: Leaders in any industry are busy people, and if they’re going to market anything online, it’s going to be content they trust from people they know.

You don’t have to be the best of friends, but if you build small relationships now, you’ll see plenty of rewards in the future.

Alicia Rades

Alicia Rades (@aliciarades) is a professional blogger for hire who specializes in blogging, freelancing, and lifestyle topics. Learn more about her at aliciarades.com, where you can download her free blogging guide, 20 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hitting Publish.
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