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Attracting the attention of social media users is no easy task. Retaining that attention for more than a few seconds is even harder. After all, you’re competing against millions of influencers who regularly create engaging, if not viral, content.

If you can’t beat the influencers you might as well hire them. But remember to avoid the common influencer marketing mistakes that can ruin even a well-planned influencer campaign.

What are these mistakes and how can you avoid them?

Let’s find out.

1. Not Setting Clear Goals

One of the biggest influencer marketing mistakes that you can make is not setting specific and well-defined goals before starting your campaign.

Starting an influencer marketing campaign without clear goals is like taking a shot in the dark without knowing the target.

Do you really want to spend time and money on a campaign without knowing what you want to achieve?

No, because without goals you’re going to put in a ton of work, spend your budget, and end up right in the same spot.

How to Fix It

Set specific, measurable, and time-bound goals for your influencer marketing campaigns. Don’t use vague statements like “I want more sales”, but instead clearly define the goals that will lead to more sales.

Here’s a simple framework you can use for setting goals.


Image via Venngage

But that’s not all!

You should also define KPIs to measure your campaign’s performance on these goals. After all, how else will you know whether your influencer marketing campaign was a success or a failure?

Pro Tip

Don’t set too many goals, especially with your first few campaigns.

A sure way to have your campaign fail is to dilute it with too many goals. You’ll end up trying to accomplish everything and end up accomplishing nothing.

2. Prioritizing Influencer Reach Over Fit

Next on our list of the biggest influencer marketing mistakes is choosing influencers based solely on their reach or number of followers.

Why is that a mistake?

Well, reaching millions of irrelevant people is not as useful as reaching a few hundred potential customers who are highly likely to buy from you.

Sure, it’s tempting to collaborate with Kylie Jenner and reach her millions of followers, but you should evaluate whether her followers are relevant to your business. If they’re not, it’s a complete waste of budget and effort.

How to Fix It

Prioritize influencer relevance over reach when selecting micro-influencers for collaborations. Here are some factors to consider when selecting an influencer:

  • Their niche and areas of expertise
  • Whether their audience matches your target customers
  • How well the influencer aligns with your brand
  • Other brands that they represent
  • The type of content they create

3. Not Vetting Your Influencers

Another mistake that you can make while selecting influencers is not vetting them properly and falling into the trap of fake followers and engagement.

There are many influencers that use bots to like and comment on their posts to increase their engagement rates. Many also have bots as followers to boost their follower count and allow them to charge higher prices to unknowing brands.

One of the influencer marketing mistakes that amateur marketers make is not recognizing these fraudulent influencers and wasting money on them.

How to Fix It

Thoroughly vet influencers using influencer audience analysis tools that provide in-depth influencer analytics. Check for irregularities like:

  • A sudden spike in followers up or down
  • Unnaturally high spikes in engagement from one post to the next
  • Many followers with strange usernames that appear randomly generated

You should also manually check influencer profiles to see what kind of comments they’re getting and identify bot comments that look suspicious or spammy.

Also, check the past brand collaborations of an influencer and see how impactful they were as far as engagement on the post.

Were the comments on their last few sponsored posts mostly emojis? That’s a red flag that their audience is full of bots.

Sound like too much work?

Hire an influencer marketing agency with the audience analysis tools needed to help you find the best influencers for your brand. They have the expertise and the technology to not only find the right influencers but also help you run successful campaigns.
Not Vetting Your Influencers

4. Providing Vague Content Briefs

How to Fix It

You want your influencer’s messaging to be 100% authentic, but if there’s a goal you’re trying to achieve with your campaign then you want to clearly explain that to them.

For example, maybe you’re working for a supplement brand. Of course, legally you can’t have the influencer say that your Vitamin C drops cure cancer. But if you don’t specifically tell the influencers what they cannot say, you can be sure that at least one of them will say it.

So keep your brand out of legal trouble and include a “What Not To Do” section in your briefs.

Also, set clear expectations and provide precise and specific guidelines to influencers. What kind of content do you want them to create? What message would you want them to convey and what results are you expecting?

Provide a detailed brief of what you want, but leave some space for creative freedom.

That brings us to the next point in our list of common influencer marketing mistakes—micromanaging the influencers.

5. Not Giving Creative Freedom

Have you ever had a manager who breathed down your neck and kept micromanaging you? It’s annoying, right?

Don’t be that kind of a boss to your creator partners!

Being too controlling or overly specific in your briefs is the other end of the spectrum, and one of the biggest influencer marketing mistakes.

It not only annoys the influencers, but it also takes away their creative freedom, and you end up with a salesy-sounding message that won’t deliver results.

Given that influencers are creative people, it’s a waste if you don’t even give them a chance to show what they can do for you.

I guarantee that they can create much better content than what you had in mind because they know their audience better than you ever could.

How to Fix It

While you should give influencers a brief guiding them on what messaging you want to convey, leave the creative aspects to influencers. Nudge them in the right direction by sharing your campaign goals and then see what ideas they come up with on their own. You can always ask to review drafts of their work and request changes if you really don’t like something.

6. Wasting Money on One-Time Collaborations

Let’s make something absolutely clear—influencer marketing is a long-term play.

Ending communication with your influencers after one or two posts in a campaign is one of the biggest influencer marketing mistakes you can make.


You’re quitting right before the good part.

First, you just put in all that budget and work to create some momentum on social media behind your brand. Now keep it going!

The results from influencer marketing build exponentially over time. Unfortunately, so many brands never see those exponential results because they don’t trust the process and they stop after 3 to 6 months.

Second, nurturing influencer relationships is useful in so many other ways beyond one formal collaboration. Influencers that genuinely like your brand will mention your products or services organically, without being paid for it.

So, by not nurturing your influencer relationships you’re missing out on an opportunity to build loyal brand ambassadors and advocates who will be tremendously useful to your brand in the long term.

How to Fix It

Treat influencers like who they are… your customers.

Simply stay in touch with influencers by liking, commenting on, and sharing their posts. You can compliment them for their good work, send them additional free products, and invite them to your brand events.

The point is to get creative in making them feel like they’re a valuable part of your team. If you can accomplish that, then your influencers will repay the favor and more.

7. Choosing the Wrong Compensation

Influencers should be fairly compensated for their efforts.

That doesn’t only mean monetary compensation, but monetary compensation is definitely the primary driver for influencers in the industry.

You can offer other forms of compensation that are just as lucrative for influencers such as free products and affiliate deals but don’t expect experienced influencers with a large reach to accept those offers.

The best influencers are in high demand. They receive brand deals offering upfront monetary compensation every day so they ignore most product-only and affiliate offers.

How to Fix It

Offer influencers a fair market rate.

If your offer is too low, you won’t get any replies from influencers.

If your offer is too high, you’ll burn through your budget and hurt your ROI.

So how do you know the market rate?

Look up recent blog posts in your niche to find influencer rate sheets to use as a reference.

Analyze the feedback you’re getting from influencers on your offers. If you’re offering $1,000 and ten influencers in your niche are coming back asking for $5,000, then chances are your offer is under the market rate.

One of the best ways to ensure you’re hitting the market rate with your influencer partnerships is to talk with an influencer marketing agency. Agencies are running multiple campaigns in multiple niches at any given time. They always have their finger on the pulse of the market.

Here are some other creative ways to compensate influencers that you can try with smaller influencers, but won’t work with popular ones.
Choosing the Wrong Compensation


1. What is wrong with influencer marketing?

There is nothing wrong with influencer marketing if you avoid the common influencer marketing mistakes mentioned in this post! For example, if you collaborate with the wrong influencer that’s not a good fit for your brand, then your campaign will fail even if you do everything else right.

2. Which mistakes should one avoid for influencer marketing?

Here are some common influencer marketing mistakes that you want to avoid:

  • Not setting clear goals
  • Prioritizing reach over relevance when selecting influencers
  • Not vetting influencers properly
  • Giving vague or no content briefs to influencers
  • Not giving any creative control to influencers
  • Not continuing influencer relationships after the first collab
  • Choosing the wrong compensation model

3. What should an influencer not do in a sponsored post?

In a sponsored post, an influencer should not:

  • Hide the fact that a post is sponsored or an ad
  • Create irrelevant or misleading content
  • Promote every brand that approaches them
  • Buy fake followers or engagement
  • Violate FTC regulations
  • Use popular music without the required royalties
  • Use someone else’s content or likeness without written permission

4. Does influencer marketing actually work?

YES! If done right, influencer marketing can help you achieve tons of your marketing goals at a fraction of the cost of other marketing tactics. As long as you avoid the common influencer marketing mistakes in this post, you can get your desired results from your campaign.

5. What are the dos and don’ts of influencer marketing?

Here are some common dos and don’ts of influencer marketing:

  • DO set goals right from the start
  • DON’T fail to set the right KPIs and measure your campaign’s ROI
  • DO find influencers based on how relevant they are to your brand
  • DON’T choose influencers based on just follower count
  • DO hire an influencer agency to find and vet influencers
  • DON’T fall into the traps of fake and fraudulent influencers

Ready to Plan Your Next Influencer Campaign?

That was our list of the top influencer marketing mistakes that we see so many brands continue to make.

You may have known about a few of these mistakes already and some might be new to you. Hopefully, now you’re more knowledgeable about how to run a successful influencer marketing campaign the right way the first time.

Still unsure about your approach?

If you need help, contact us and we’ll plan and execute your influencer marketing campaign from start to finish to ensure that it hits your goals.

Dan Coughlin

Dan Coughlin

Dan is a seasoned digital marketing strategist, Cofounder, and Managing Director of Get Hyped. Dan’s expertise lies in developing creative storytelling strategies and compelling content that drives conversions and enhances ROI. Alongside his wife Kristina, an established Instagram foodie influencer, Dan has developed innovative marketing strategies that deliver measurable results for consumer brands. With his dynamic blend of technical knowledge and creative flair, Dan continues to revolutionize the way brands leverage social media and influencers to connect with their audiences and drive growth. When he's not devising marketing strategies, you can find Dan exploring the vibrant food scene with his family or unwinding with a cigar and a good book.