Why is my influencer marketing not working?

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In the previous article, we have discussed the factors that caused traditional marketing to be replaced by influencer marketing, and there is a trend that more brands are now applying the new marketing strategy. From the data we collected from our platform, brands have shown an increase in mentions for 3% for Realme Malaysia, 42% for Guardian Malaysia, and 171% for Tropicana Malaysia compared to the previous week. We believe that the increase is because of the upcoming Father’s Day and brands are shifting focus to make their offline campaigns online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the increase in mentions of brands, not every brand that applied the marketing strategy understands how it works and how to rectify if things did not go as planned. 

The reasons for ineffective influencer marketing strategies
When brands have spent thousands of dollars investing in influencer marketing, they would like to see a high return on investment. But sometimes, when the influencer marketing does not work, it leaves brands scratching their head trying to figure out why. Today, we are talking about the reasons why your influencer marketing strategy is not working.

1. Misconceptions of investing influencer marketing equal an instant hit in sales and explosive growth of the brand

Some brands have set unrealistic high hopes on investing in influencer marketing, and expecting overnight success is one of the top 5 misconceptions about influencer marketing according to Chief Marketing. It would be considered unprofessional for brands to sentence that the strategy is ineffective when results did not meet the expectation immediately. Influencer marketing is not a magic charm, it is the result of trial and error and long-term relationship between brands and influencers. Long-term collaborations between brands and influencers help brands to gain exposure on social media by having influencers create content for their followers continuously. Take Realme Malaysia as an example, back in 2019 when Realme launched the Realme 5 Series in October, 900 influencers were invited to take part of the campaign, but the engagement rate for the campaign did not do very well. 

As we can see here, even though the influencers have a high followers count, the engagement rate was low. This could be the result of having the unsuitable influencers where media and celebrities were involved, and their followers might not be interested in that product. Despite the result did not meet Realme’s satisfaction, they did not stop exploring and continued to work with different influencers.

This year, Realme introduced their flagship phone – Realme 6 Pro, and this time they have made changes on the selection of influencers. By having lifestyle bloggers to promote their product, the engagement rate went up by a whopping 10-15% compared to last year. This would not happen if Realme quit on influencer marketing immediately when results did not meet their expectations.

When the followers are exposed to quality content of the brand repetitively, it leaves a positive perception towards the brand in the minds of consumers. Therefore, the fruit of the investment is not a spike of sales in a short term, but the elongated, and positive relationship between the brands, influencers, and the consumers. That is what the brand should expect from investing and the application of influencer marketing. 

2. Unsuitable choice of influencer for the product

From our previous article, we have learned that followers count does not promise a high engagement rate. 

Take Sudio as an example, during the Sudio ETT Product Launch campaign that took place in May, 279 influencers took part in this campaign. As we can see below, one of the influencers who has more than 1 million followers has gotten only 0.415% engagement rate for the sponsored post. The influencer who did not get a high engagement rate was an entertainer and Sudio is a brand for headphones. The followers of the entertainer followed her because of her comedy content, but when the entertainer posted something that is irrelevant to her theme, her followers might not feel the engagement or interest. Hence, the low engagement rate.

3. Followers can be “bought”(bot) (pun intended).

Because of the huge potential in influencer marketing, many people are trying really hard to be one of the influencers. But it is never easy to gain followers for the influencers as it requires long term commitment and effort from the influencers. Some people thought they could take a shortcut to be on the list so they thought buying followers could be a good idea.

These “followers” are actually computer-generated bots, they do not have any content in their page and they follow a ridiculously high number of people on Instagram. These bot followers do not contribute anything to the engagement of the influencer, it also hurts the brands for hiring “fake influencers” because you are only wasting your money according to Group High

The pictures above are textbook examples of a “fake influencer” where he has a followers count of 10.3K yet the sponsored content he posted has only 14 likes. We believe that all the “followers” are just as fake as this “influencer”, and it is definitely not something that brands would like to see after spending money on a sponsored post. Next time when you see an influencer with a ridiculously high number of followers but only has 100 likes for their post, that is a red flag. 

4. Not keeping track of the results

Influencers are always put to blame when the influencer marketing did not work, which is not entirely true for all the time. In fact, brands are also responsible for the effectiveness of applying influencer marketing. They should always track the result every time after running a campaign to see what works and not. According to Neil Patel, there are several consequences if you do not keep track of your marketing campaign:

a. Targeting the wrong demographic group

Brands would have a hard time achieving the marketing objectives if they have targeted the wrong audiences. For instance, when the brand promotes a product that is made for elderly people to a group of millennials, the wrong audiences would not understand the marketing message and will not make a purchase, causing the investment made into the campaign to be wasted. Hence, it is crucial for brands to study, record, and compare the demographic group to better understand and target the audiences. By hiring suitable influencers that match the interest of the demographic group, brands could also reach the audiences more effectively.

b. Backlash to your marketing campaign

A wrong marketing message could lead to a public relations disaster for brands. Back in 2017, Papparich Australia came out with an advertisement introducing Malaysia’s signature dish – Nasi Lemak. However, the advertisement offended thousands of Malaysians for having caucasian models eating Nasi Lemak with chopsticks which is not only ridiculous to Malaysians but also culturally insensitive.

In order to avoid marketing backlash like this, brands should always keep track of the mistakes other brands have made in the past and avoid making the same mistakes.

c. Poor reach due to bad timing to publish the post

It is important for marketers to make sure the sponsored posts are published at the right time because brands would never want to see the sponsored post not getting the expected reach and engagement after putting in so much effort in creating one. Therefore, brands should first try publishing their posts at different timing, record, and compare the effectiveness at different hours before asking the influencer to publish the sponsored post to maximize the reach.

The graph above is a study of the timing that Malaysians are active on social media which brands can refer to. If you wish to study more on this topic, you can download our white paper for further reading.

These are the 4 reasons “why your influencer marketing strategy is not working”. How did your influencer marketing work so far? If you are interested in more of our content, consider subscribing to our blog so that you will not miss out!