Influencer Marketing

A Cheat Sheet for Influencer Marketing Fails

Influencer marketing is growing alongside the increased popularity of social media and has become one of the impactful components and tactics of companies’ marketing strategies. It improves visibility, increases conversion rates, generates leads, and promotes trust.

But like any other channel, when influencer marketing is not properly strategized, you’ll risk wasting money or seriously compromising your brand image. For all of the successful influencer marketing campaigns, there are plenty that goes wrong, with the fallout that can hurt sponsors and erode trust in the influencer and in the brand they’re promoting.

Here are some scenarios to avoid and the reasons why they went awry.

Not Complying with Rules

What is Influencer Marketing?

Brands and influencers need to act responsibly while promoting a product. This holds especially true if the product involved is a medicine or drug that can cause long-term side effects in consumers. Remember to make sure your influencer follows the digital marketing communications regulations of your product. If rules and regulations are not taken care of, there could be a heavy price to pay.

When celebrity influencer Kim Kardashian, who had 44 million followers on Instagram at that time, partnered with a pharmaceutical company, the campaign attracted attention for the wrong reasons. In her initial Instagram post about the product she was promoting, Diclegis, a medication for morning sickness, Kardashian left out the side effects and safety information that the FDA requires companies to include in pharmaceutical posts. Because of this, the influencer marketing campaign attracted a lot of negative publicity for the brand and the influencer. To avoid this, it is better to disclose all side-effects of a product conspicuously. This holds especially true for medicines and drugs that can cause long-term harm to consumers’ health.

Coming Across as Insensitive

Infuencer Marketing for Shoes

It’s important to carefully craft the influencer marketing campaign around an important social cause. The issue needs to be approached with sensitivity. If the influencer comes across as indifferent to the issue or worse, trivializes the issue, it could seriously damage the brand’s image.

Perhaps one of the most mortifying examples of influencer marketing happened with Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad, which was heavily criticized as tone-deaf for its take on the Black Lives Matter movement. It depicted Jenner, who is not exactly famous for being an activist, diffusing the tension at a protest by handing a bottle of Pepsi to a police officer. This campaign received a lot of flak for trivializing the protest. Pepsi faced a lot of heat because of this controversy. Realizing their gaffe, Pepsi apologized publicly on the same Twitter thread. Following this, they removed the advertisement and halted its further rollout.

Not just brands, but even influencers need to be careful with the type of content they post. If you are touching upon a social issue, you need to make sure you show respect to everyone. If you’re using humor, you need to be doubly careful. You can’t be making jokes at the expense of disrespecting someone.

Accidentally Copy-Pasting Instructions

Influencer Marketing Instructions

Influencer marketing can be tricky. While influencers are promoting brands, they should at least have the appearance of a genuine partnership with their followers. If it seems staged, it can be counterproductive.

Scott Disick’s first Instagram post on behalf of Bootea products was a huge flop. He accidentally copied and pasted the campaign instructions from the PR firm he was working with as part of the post. The post read: “Here you go, at 4 pm EST, write the below Caption: Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!” The reaction to the blatant promotion from his followers and other commentators was swift and critical, and the post marked one of the most embarrassing examples of influencer marketing. This failure not only made the influencer look foolish, it negatively affected the brand through loss of reputation, bad press, and even loss of sales.

You should give your influencers more creative freedom. Instead of telling them what to write and when to post it, trust them to do their job well. By doing so, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble. It can prevent your brand from being a victim of these types of copy-paste errors.

Poor Decision

Influencer Marketing Best Practices

In other cases, you might partner with an influencer who damages their reputation in a way that has nothing to do with your brand. In this case, your brand still runs the risk of guilt by association, and limiting damage control is something no brand ever wants to do.

Here is one of the most disturbing examples of influencer marketing with a totally bad idea. At the time, with 15 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, Logan Paul was a treasure for any brand to work within 2017. Logan Paul posted a YouTube video showing the dead body of a man who committed suicide in the Aokigahara, a Japanese forest where many people take their lives. Paul dealt with the tragedy in an insensitive way, wearing a silly hat and making jokes and laughing in the video. He lost lucrative deals with several brands as a result of the video and the anger it provoked, and YouTube temporarily suspended his advertising privileges. Paul issued a multi-paragraph apology on Twitter and removed the video, but he immediately lost his credibility as an influencer.

Brands should proceed with extreme caution when working with controversial influencers. It’s crucial to be fully ready with a media crisis plan. Brands cannot immunize themselves from the chances of influencers making poor decisions. They can, however, greatly reduce the risk of such fracas fomenting.

By maintaining transparency, work with authentic and experienced influencers with a known history of successful collaborations. You can use a reliable influencer platform to find the most effective and trustworthy influencers for your brand.

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