10 Reasons Why Your Influencer Program is Not Working

Influencer Marketing

time to read 5 MIN READ
10 Reasons Why Your Influencer Program is Not Working

Authentic influencer marketing is critical for any Community Commerce strategy. Whether you're new to working with creators or have been doing it for years, there's always a chance that your influencer marketing is not working as you hoped it would.

Influencer marketing works because when you do it well, it compounds positive word-of-mouth among new customer audiences. And word-of-mouth is a million times more effective than paid advertising.

"Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2020 report indicates that you can earn up to $18 in earned media value for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, with the average being closer to $5.78 per dollar spent." - Shopify, 2021


Reasons Why Your Influencer Program is Not Working (or Isn't Working as Well as It Used to) emarketer challenges influencer marketing

It's likely you've had difficulty measuring your influencer program's ROI since the beginning, and you wouldn't be alone in that struggle.

Even though countless case studies demonstrate as good or better results than any other marketing channel, nearly 80% of marketers have difficulty measuring their campaign success.

Before you "gut your program," you might want to take a close look at whether you're tracking the right data or keeping accurate numbers in the first place. Setting your goals and assigning KPIs to each campaign and influencer is the first step. From there, make sure you have ways to track success, whether it be affiliate links, social analytics, discount codes, an influencer marketing platform, or combination of all four.

Let's say that you have your goals, KPIs, and tracking in place. You're still not seeing the returns you'd hoped for. Let's discuss ten reasons why your influencer program might not be working (or isn't as effective as it used to be).

10 Reasons Why Your Influencer Program ROI Isn't There

1. You're using influencers as digital "billboards" instead of equipping them as brand community leaders.

It's tempting for even advanced influencer marketers to fall into the trap of using influencers as just another paid ad. And while #sponsored is true of most influencer collab posts, that doesn't mean that you should let your influencers or influencer managers grow lazy.

What you want is for your creator partners to put creative energy into your product endorsement posts. Point out to them that being authentic helps them just as much as it helps you, since followers can easily spot product placements that are disingenuous. 

Analyze your top posts (both from your own channels and your creator posts), and share tips and guidelines with your influencers to help them put your best foot forward to buyers.

2. Some of your influencers are fake.

cipio.ai audience analysis Reasons Why Your Influencer Program is Not Working (or Isn't Working as Well as It Used to)

Fake influencers are insidious. It can be very difficult to know which ones are real.

Because there are so many bot and fraudulent accounts, some creators who've not even tried to buy followers and engagements will still find themselves with a percentage of fake followers. While this is not their fault (in every case), it is their responsibility to attract like-minded people and curate a vibrant online community.

CIPIO.ai's free search tool allows you to see the percentage of real people who follow your top influencers. This information is included in every Cindex Report. These reports will also show you what percentage of a creator's followers are mass followers - people who follow too many accounts for them to regularly see that influencer's posts in their feed.

Don't assume that because an influencer has performed well in the past (or has tons of followers) that their current audience is real and engaged. Follower counts matter far less than the quality of that influencer's audience.


3. You're missing influential voices within your own brand community.

Sometimes your influencer prospecting gets tunnel vision, and you fail to see repeat customers, employees, or partners who have their own online communities of engaged fans. By uncovering those brand fans, you can then activate them to promote you to their audience.

This approach is far more effective than cold outreach. Influencers may "like the sound of" your products and services, but many of them go through the influencer onboarding process and then find out that they don't love your brand as much as they thought. 

So it's important to start with your own brand community. Even if you've not actively established a brand community program, you still have repeat buyers and brand fans in your corner. It's time to equip influential people in your network to evangelize you to their audience.

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4. The influencer and their audience are not aligned with yours.

To really generate the highest ROI, you and your influencer partners have to be on the same page. That means that they share your values, mission, and audience.

It's not necessary that your influencers be carbon-copies of your brand voice, but there needs to be audience alignment. If their audience interests don't fit your products/services, then it's not a good match.

5. Your buyer persona doesn't match your influencer persona.

Influencer personas are fictional representations (avatars, if you will) of people who oversee consumer communities of your target audience. If your influencer persona doesn't match your buyer persona, then you're going to have the same problem as No. 4 above.

Sometimes a buyer-influencer persona mismatch results from brand growth. As you scale your business, your niche audiences are likely to evolve. That's why you should update your influencer personas on a regular basis.

One common problem brands have in this arena is using keyword-based search tools that only look for influencers with certain words in bios and post captions. CIPIO.ai's influencer search tool is image-based, meaning that you can save yourself a step by uploading images of your buyer persona to find influencers that match.


In this day and age, you can work "smarter not harder" by using image search technology to find and validate the right influencer persona for your brand.


6. Your message and the influencer's message are different.

Campaign briefs and brand kits (folder of logos, images, messaging, etc. to help your creators stay on brand) ensure that you and your influencers are on the same page. 

Creators are out-of-the-box thinkers, and that's good for your brand. But you should still give them guidelines and tools so that they don't unintentionally send mixed signals to your audience.

7. The influencer isn't "feeling it" anymore with your brand.

Some relationships go south, even the ones where you did all you could to make it work. These relationships could break down because of something someone did or people (brands, in this case) drift apart.

If you sense that a partnership has cooled, inquire as to why. Maybe you unintentionally let them down and need to make amends (don't get defensive! focus on reconciliation). Or maybe it's time to part ways on good terms. 

There's no shame in uncovering relationships that aren't what they used to be. Once you know, you can do something about it and keep your program fresh.

8. You're spending too much time on tedious tasks and not enough time on strategy and personalization.

Just how busy are you in the details of your influencer program? If you're spending hours a day on spreadsheets, chances are you're "missing the forest for the trees." 

Slow down, take a step back, and understand what's happening. Anything you find you're doing over and over can be automated using the right tool. Never underestimate automation. The more you deploy it strategically, the more time you have to strategize and personalize your program.

9. Your campaign KPIs don't match your influencer's strengths.

Once you've defined your campaign goals and set KPIs, make sure that you've assigned the right creators the right targets. Not all great influencers are "converters." Some influencers convert customers en masse, while others are better at driving web traffic or brand awareness.

influencer marketing goals objectives reasons why influencer marketing not working

It can be helpful to ask your influencers directly what goals they feel most comfortable targeting. This will clue you in as to which influencers can reach your KPIs and remain authentic in their content.

10. You're not using the right influencer marketing tools.

Running a full-time influencer program is unsustainable using manual tools like spreadsheets and screenshots. As mentioned above (No. 8), selectively adding automation to your program can enhance it dramatically, as well as give your team more time to multiply results.

It's understandable that you would launch your program manually. But if you find your results plateau-ing, it's time to look for ways to scale your program with the right influencer tool. And if you're paying thousands of dollars a month for a tool that's not saving you time, then you're using the wrong tool. It's time to switch.

For more information on how CIPIO.ai does what other tools can't (and for a fraction of the cost), book a demo today


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