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Major influencer marketing mistakes to avoid

Major influencer marketing mistakes to avoid | Prospa

When it comes to celebrity influencers, endorsements don’t get much bigger than one from Oprah, says Simone Taylor, whose Brisbane-based business was lucky enough to secure an endorsement from “the queen of all media”.

In the lead-up to December 2017, Taylor’s Louvelle turban-style quick-dry shower caps were named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s “favourite things” and the orders came in thick and fast.

“We had huge growth in sales that year and it had a flow-on effect to gaining retailers’ attention,” she says.

But not all businesses are so successful when it comes to capitalising on celebrity endorsements. Here’s how to avoid common influencer marketing mistakes.

Organic influencer endorsements are best

Influencer endorsements can set you back anywhere from a few pieces of inventory to hundreds of thousands of dollars. But cost does not necessarily equal value, says Brisbane-based Melita Shirley, co-founder of Mammojo, producer of activewear aimed at new mums.

“Organic influencer endorsements are far more powerful than paid endorsements,” says Shirley, whose Mammojo breastfeeding hoodie was endorsed by Australian writer and cosmetics entrepreneur Zoë Foster Blake.

“It just makes sense that you’re so much more likely to believe someone who has nothing to gain from spruiking your products versus someone who does.”

In June 2017, Foster Blake saw an Instagram post featuring the hoodie and commented that she needed one immediately.

“We took the opportunity to reply and send her one, and shortly after her daughter was born she posted a photo wearing the hoodie with some lovely comments about the hoodie onto her Insta stories,” Shirley says.

“For 24 hours we sold nothing but grey nursing hoodies!”

Be targeted – don’t go for blanket coverage

If you’re going to go down the paid endorsement route, be clever about how you spend your influencer budget, Shirley advises.

“This means really researching potential influencers and absolutely remaining true to your brand – an influencer may have a great number of Instagram followers, but if he or she doesn’t have the same values as your brand, spending money can be wasteful and extremely confusing for your brand tribe,” she says.

Doing careful research to ensure a given influencer holds similar values to those of your brand can also help ensure your brand reputation won’t suffer if they’re ever involved in a scandal. Recent history is rife with examples of influencers who have courted controversy with inappropriate or insensitive behaviour – it’s best to do your research.

You should also make your approaches to influencers are personalised and targeted.

“A common mistake with influencer endorsements is using a scattergun kind of approach – just trying to get it out via as many people as possible,” Shirley says.

“Often you see a particular influencer literally wearing gear from every single competitor in a space over a few weeks. This really does nothing to make your brand seem special and you just get lumped in with everyone else.”

Be prepared for increased trade

When Oprah’s team discovered Louvelle’s shower caps at a US trade show, Taylor was not expecting the influx of orders.

“The challenge is being able to scale with little notice to meet the demand – including production, shipping, customer service – everything needs to scale up and fast! Most businesses will tell you there are many sleepless nights!” Taylor says.

“I would say only go down the celebrity route if you have a plan in place for the growth. There’s no point in having customers come to you if you don’t have the supply chain and team in place to deal with it.”

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

There’s no denying that when done well, influencer endorsements work. But it’s important to run them in conjunction with other marketing strategies to ensure a steady stream of sales.

“There is definitely a peak in sales in line with effective endorsements. However, the traffic and sales are generally not sustained,” Shirley warns.

“We got a flurry of sales in the 24 hours the Insta story was live, but once the story disappeared so too did the sales.”

Got a genius marketing idea to boost your business but short on the capital to light the fuse? A small business loan from Prospa could get your marketing firing or help you to scale fast so you can capitalise on an influencer endorsement.

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