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Here’s Why Your Influencer Marketing Campaign Isn’t Getting You the ROI You Expected

By Lilach Bullock

Are you not getting enough results from your influencer marketing campaigns? This can be doubly frustrating as you’ve probably heard numerous times how influencer marketing is all the rage right now and how it can yield amazing results for businesses. But, thankfully, it’s usually one of a few common mistakes that are likely to be keeping you from success.

Here are some of the most common causes of not getting enough ROI from your influencer marketing campaigns:

Not researching influencers properly

One of the most common causes of a lack of success is not working with the right influencers.

So, what makes an influencer “right”? What makes an effective influencer?

First of all, there’s their audience to consider. When setting up an influencer marketing campaign, the idea is to reach your target audience. So, before you start researching influencers, take a look at your own audience:

What are their ages and gender?
Where are they located?
What are their interests and preoccupations?

If you’re not targeting the right audience, your campaign won’t yield many positive results—in fact, it could even backfire. There’s a reason why social influencers have this clout over their audiences, and that is because their fans and followers trust them to offer them quality content that is relevant to them and their needs.

There are several ways to find social influencers that are right for your needs, and plenty of tools to help.

For example, to find influencers based on their audience, you can use a tool like Upfluence. Upfluence is an influencer research and outreach tool, and the reason why I mention it here is because it has a very powerful influencer search engine.

You can search for influencers based on keywords you choose, as well as based on their location, their preferred social channels, and their engagement levels. But the best part is, you can actually also search for influencers based on their actual audience: their ages, gender, and location. This way, you can easily fine-tune your research to make sure you’re targeting influencers who share a similar audience and also share content that is relevant to you.

Another handy tool is BuzzSumo; it can be used in multiple ways to help you find influencers. One of these ways is through the content influencers share, which can give you a clear idea of what audience they’re targeting. Plus, you can also research content directly to find the most popular content being shared—then, simply find out who wrote the article and continue your research into their audience to get a better idea of who they’re targeting.

Speaking of content, that should be another important aspect of your influencer research. Once you find an influencer who looks promising, make sure to check their channels to see what kind of content they usually create, as well as what content they curate from other sources. Are they covering the same topics you are? Are their topics relevant to your target audience?

Is that influencer actually influential?

Another common mistake is thinking that someone is influential simply because they have a lot of followers on social media. But, that really isn’t enough to help you understand how influential they are.

While it’s true that reach definitely does matter, it’s not the most important aspect. You’re much better off with a smaller influencer who has true influence over their audience, then someone with tons of followers but little interaction.

One of the easiest “tells” of social influence is their engagement. That means forgetting about vanity metrics for a second—likes and follower numbers—and focusing instead on the actual interactions that an influencer gets:

On their blog—Do they regularly get comments on their posts from readers? How many shares do their blog posts get?
On social media—How much does their audience engage with them and what is their engagement rate in terms of comments, shares, and likes?

There are several tools that can help you with this, including the two tools I mentioned earlier. Upfluence lets you filter out influencers based on their engagement rate and Buzzsumo gives you a snapshot of the influencers’ Twitter success, including retweet and reply ratios, as well as average retweets.

Another way to find out a person’s influence is to use a tool that calculates their influencer score, such as Klear; you can look up influencers on different platforms and generate an influencer score from 0-100 (the closer it is to 100, the more influential that person is), see how much engagement they get on average, as well as check what their true reach is.

Once you find multiple influencers you’re interested in, it also helps to compare their social media success and engagement to uncover the best possible solutions. To do this, you can use this free Twitter Report Card from Agorapulse. You can add multiple accounts to compare them and find out how they stack up in terms of reach, quality of interactions, quality of engagement (number of published tweets vs. interactions), as well as how many conversation they’ve held on the platform.

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Are you too controlling?

So, you’ve found your influencers and reached out to them. The next logical step is to start building your campaign and deciding on what content to create.

You might have a very clear idea of what type of content you want from them—perhaps it’s worked for you in the past or you simply think it’s a great idea. And it definitely might be, but that doesn’t always mean it’s right for that particular influencer.

To put things simply, there’s a reason why influencers have this power and reach, and it’s because they’ve consistently created content that their audience wants to read/see/hear. They know their audience, they know what works and what doesn’t, so if you want to successfully work with influencers, you should listen to their views and opinions on what type of content they should create.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have any input—far from it, in fact. Start your campaign by providing the influencer with all of your guidelines: most importantly, tell them clearly what it is you want to achieve from this campaign. Is it a way to boost brand awareness? Do you want to drive more traffic and sales?

Whatever your goals may be, the influencer can then work with you to decide on what types of content would work best to help you achieve that goal.

As to the actual execution of the project, that’s where the influencer should have more free rein; any content they create needs to be in the same vein as the content that made them popular in the first place. Their readers and followers want more of the same from them—and not fake, branded, overly promotional posts.


Influencer marketing can be highly efficient, but you first need to ensure that you’re using the right influencers for your campaigns. This is something that is often overlooked in the research process, even though it’s one of the most important areas to consider. It doesn’t matter how awesome the content will be if it’s not reaching the right audience.

RELATED: The 50 Most Influential People in Small Business Marketing

About the Author

Post by: Lilach Bullock

Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach Bullock has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. She is listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers, named one of 10 top digital marketers by Brand24, and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.

Company: Lilach Bullock
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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