Influencers are amongst the most sought after affiliate partnership. However, advertisers need to consider whether they are creating headaches for themselves when trying to form influencer partnerships. Many brands will face challenges with forming successful partnerships because the landscape for influencers is unlike anything else. Making these mistakes may prevent success in your influencer affiliate strategies.

  1. The Belief that “More Followers = More Influence”

This is a misconceived metric. The assumption is natural enough – if a person has more social media followers, they have more people they can reach, which means they must have more influence!

Except this isn’t always the case, as it confuses influence with reach. Reach is the number of followers a given social media post touches. Influence is the number of people that interact with a social media post. Influencers can have reach without influence. Forming strategic influencer marketing partnerships will be a challenge for marketers who don’t know to look past this metric.

Focusing on engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and reposts, to help evaluate influence, will lead to successful influencer partnerships.

  1. Trying to Control Creative

Authenticity. Trust. Passion. These are three key words that describe the value influencers have to their followers and the brands they represent. Influencers are passionate about what they talk about, and authentic in the way they do it. There’s no marketing copy with an influencer – what they share with their followers is who they are. Brands and followers alike win because of it and it’s why when an influencer shares their review on a product, their followers take it as gospel.

Trying the take control of the way an influencer speaks to their audiences removes the authenticity, trust and passion, diminishing the value the of the post.

Instead try helping the influencer understand your product, don’t help them write their content. They know what their audience will want to hear about in regards to your brand, and their audience will know how they write – and be able to tell if something is different. Avoid the headache, work with them rather than trying to use them as a marketing mouthpiece.

  1. Forcing Partnerships

Influencers are great resources for engaging new customers who may not have heard of your brand, but that doesn’t mean every prospective customer will need your brand.

More often than not, partnerships can seem like trying to fit a rectangular block in a square hole – it looks like it should fit, but it doesn’t. This issue comes from a lack of understanding who the influencer is, what their audience would be interested in, and how the partnership can be beneficial to the brand, the influencer, and the audience.

Work with your influencers to understand who they are and who their audience is. This might take a couple of conversations or emails, but that’s okay. Remember that influencers are going to be seen by their audience as ambassadors for your brand, so you’ll want to pick the ones that will best represent who you are and what you have to offer to an audience that will care.

  1. Ignoring Metrics that Matter

When examining affiliate campaigns it can be easy to look at things like last click numbers and see that maybe influencers don’t convert as often, therefore they aren’t as valuable. However, this perspective is often flawed and creates a disadvantage to your affiliate marketing strategies.

There’s two key metrics that mistakenly get overlooked: influence-measuring metrics (which we mentioned above) and where the customer is using influencers in their path to purchase. Through attribution measurement, our research found that influencers tend to come much earlier in the path to purchase, often helping guide the customer early on and, in many cases, introducing new customers to brands and products they wouldn’t have otherwise considered. The value of influencers is much clearer when you use attribution tools to measure those results, but many advertisers are still learning to measure these metrics when evaluating influencers.

  1. Treating Influencers the Same as Other Publisher Models

Influencers are unique. While they might fit closest to content publishers (and in many cases they may focus on content publishing) there’s really no other publishing model quite like influencers in the affiliate channel.

Influencers have a much different approach and role within the affiliate channel. Interviews with influencers have shown as much, but it’s important as an advertiser to recognise that. Developing an effective partnership model by working to understand and meet the needs of the influencer is vital because not only does it allow the influencer to succeed in their role, it also helps their audience gain a greater idea of what your brand is about and what your products can do to benefit them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking influencers fall into another publisher model and can be treated as such, work with influencers to understand their needs – and help meet those needs!

Want to find out how your brand can make the most of influencer partnerships? Contact one of our experts today at rm-salesapac@mail.rakuten.com or visit rakutenmarketing.com.au