By Colleen Patterson

If you’ve ever tried your hand at influencer marketing, the odds are high that you’ve made one or two of these classic influencer marketing mistakes.  Whether you targeted an overly-ambitious audience and diluted your own impact or decided that you wanted to maintain full creative control as opposed to collaboration, it’s never too late to correct the following influencer marketing mistakes during your next campaign!

Influencer Marketing Mistake #1: Going Too Broad

First and foremost, know that you’re brand can’t possibly appeal to everyone. In fact, common sense suggests that the more specific a niche you carve out for yourself, the more dedicated and loyal a following you’ll attract. That’s true to a point. Loyal audiences are the bread and butter of long-term business sustainability but you don’t want to go too niche and alienate yourself from, potentially less enthusiastic but nonetheless steady customers.

You’ve got to find a happy middle ground between “I am exactly what my audience expects me to be and they love me for it.” versus “I’m whatever anyone expects me to be. I’m everything to everyone.”

Neither extreme will work.This is an issue of quality over quantity. If you tap too big an influencer with too broad a base, you’ll probably only manage to successfully dilute your own results.

That’s why, when you partner with influencers, it’s up to you to determine which influencers have found the balance between ultra-niche and super-popular. They’ve got a sizeable following and consistent engagement. It’s tempting to work with social media celebrities but if you skew niche, you’re likely to see more effective results.

Influencer Marketing Mistake #2: Giving the Influencer Nothing to Do

Here’s the deal. If you want an influencer to promote your brand on social media, you better believe they’re going to have say in the creative process. For influencers, consistency is a matter of professionalism. Their social channels are cohesive, intentional works of art. In essence, an influencer’s Instagram account is a portfolio of his or her work.

If they were to simply post a picture that your advertising department drew up which sticks out like sore thumb on their feed, it would impact their credibility.

Influencers owe much of their credibility and weight of consumer trust by acting (as we perceive it) objectively. They promote the products they promote by their own accord. They only mention services they regularly use and actually love. That’s the assumptions their followers make. Fans don’t want to think that the person they’ve been following is a fabrication who’s pasttime and fashion style are paid for and pre-determined by a company.

So, hand over the reigns. Give your influencer creative input. They have an audience who enjoys consuming the posts they create. The influencer in that sense, knows your shared audience better than you do.  Trust the influencer to give the audience what they want.

Influencer Marketing Mistake #3: Giving the Influencer too Much Freedom.

Remember that just because you’ve trusted your influencer to take on the creative component of your campaign, it doesn’t mean you’ve written a blank creative check. As with any collaboration, the more clearly you outline your guidelines and expectations from the start, the better you’re off.

Put down in writing the brand elements or messaging you require. Is there a specific call-to-action you want your influencer to make? Do you want them to encourage people to shop at your e-commerce site with a coupon code you’ve given them to share out? Would you like them to post 3-5 times during the week? Are you limiting your campaign to one social channel? If not, how do you plan to adjust your content accordingly?

For peace of mind and the sake of clarity, you’ll want to draft up a contract — especially if you’ve agreed t compensate your influencer in the form of goods, services, or payments. Within the contract include a creative brief to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Influencer Marketing Mistake #4: Failing to Vet Your Influencer

Now, you may have found someone who embodies your brand—but are they a proactive? The difference between an okay campaign and a great campaign often boils down to the harder attributes of your influencers. Their personality and style match that of your brand but how involved are they with their fanbase? Do they actively respond to their fans and repost other people’s content or do “they set it and forget it”?  Do they retweet throughout the day?

An influencer whose engagement is completely one-sided is probably more of a hobbyist. They like posting great images and sharing their own recipes, for example, but they’re not active participants in their category.  Once you’ve found an active influencer whose content you appreciate, it’s time to make an offer and come to agreement worry-free!

What do you think? What influencer marketing mistakes have you made in the past and how would you correct them? For a detailed look on Instagram’s algorithm changes or for general engagement tips, check out these posts:

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.