Why Brands have no idea how to test influencers!
10+ times a day I get an email, DM or notice from one of my clients about an “opportunity” from a brand that wants to test their account. That is code for, can you sell their product(s), services, etc. This is so common in the market-place at this point 99.9% of all deals are based and judged on an influencer’s ability to sell. The days of utilizing influencers for branding (which candidly makes more sense) is over!
This is mostly done through conduits like agencies, but many times it is done directly by the social media department of the brand. There are so many misconceptions, false narratives and completely mistaken premises that no wonder why tests are such abject failures! Here are a few insights why these tests are a waste of time.
- “Use the code we create for you and we can track your sales”. BULLSHIT! I am calling bullshit. Its absurd to think that more than maybe 20% of anyone’s follower base will even remember the influencer’s name, or spell it correctly much less remember a code “influencer name20”. No one remembers these dumb names. If the brand wants to give true attribution and pay the influencer based on the traffic they send, that is a completely different story. Hint: INFLUENCERS ARE NOT TRAINED SALESPEOPLE! So stop acting like they are.
- The influencers only job is to educate the consumer and drive them to a location i.e. Amazon, your website, etc. Here is what they CAN NOT control. a. Does your website suck? b. Have you created relevant landing pages with the influencer highlighted? c. Is your pricing in-line with the influencer’s audience? d. Does your social media suck? Have you built a community on your social or is it just pictures and videos that are trying to “sell” product”?
- Over-saturation: Agencies especially never take into consideration how their own over-saturation of a market-place with similar influencers works against their own best interest. Here is what I mean. I rep 2 of the largest food creators and grill men @chefcusoand @groarkboysbbq on TikTok and others. Both men and 10 others have been propositioned a deal by an unnamed “seasoning” company. This company created a code for all of them but nothing unique i.e. a discount code. So you have 12+ similar accounts offering the same product, same cost, no discount. What is the incentive? And when they blow my ass up that we “aren’t performing”, i tell them they are their own worst enemies and have created a commodity based environment of influencers with similar accounts competing for the same audience. FAIL!
- Digital Ad Spend! So many brands just hire influencers, don’t A/B test content from one vs the other and expect to get any learning from the experience. If you have just enough money to get influencers but not back it with digital spending then NEVER do anything on Instagram and pray the TikTok algorithm loves you the day your influencer’s post. But who wants to be in the situation that praying outweighs good solid planning and execution? NOT ME!
So in the end, what you see is that not all influencer based programs are created equally. The forethought required to be put into a successful influencer program is significant but doable. Be smart, use common sense and drill down into what you are doing and how can you do it better?
If you would like to set up a free, no obligations consulting session with me to discuss influencer marketing, social platforms or anything else, reach out here or visit www.thedigitalrenegades.com for more info.