Are You Wasting Money on Influencer Marketing? 5 Ways Brands Go Wrong

Thursday May 5th, 2022

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As it becomes more and more difficult for brands to reach and establish trust with customers, marketers are going all in with their influencer marketing efforts.

With the ability to create authentic content and build brand awareness among their audiences, leveraging influencers can offer significant ROI. Studies find that businesses make an estimated $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.   

With influencer spending expected to reach $15 billion this year, brands are looking to achieve huge returns in this arena. But spending top-dollar won’t necessarily guarantee top-tier results. If your brand does not approach influencer marketing carefully and with a strategic mindset, you’ll run the risk of wasting a great deal of money.  

Before diving headfirst into developing your influencer campaigns, familiarize yourself with a few of the most common ways brands end up exhausting their budgets.

01. They’re too focused on the wrong creators

Where many brands go wrong with influencer marketing is when they’re too focused on short-term results rather than long-term goals. They quickly turn to big-name celebrities with massive followings in the hopes of generating buzz overnight. The problem with this approach is that brands aren’t reaching or engaging relevant audiences. With social media algorithms prioritizing comments, shares, and time spent viewing content over likes and followers, if a user doesn’t engage with a celebrity influencer’s content often, they are less likely to see the content in their feed.

When brands view influencer marketing as disguised advertising rather than a strategic partnership, brand promotion goes to waste.

It’s important to invest the time to find the right creators that will produce the best results rather than creating excitement that fizzles out just as quickly as it starts.

02. They don't know what to pay

If your brand is new to influencer marketing and is eager to drive significant returns, you could very easily overspend. Throwing money at influencers without an accurate price point is like blindly throwing darts at a dartboard—you’re hoping for a bullseye, but you’re shooting in the dark.

Despite its rapid explosion in popularity, creator monetization is relatively a new thing. A lot of confusion still exists around how much your brand should or shouldn’t be paying an influencer. While there are no standard guidelines on how much to pay an influencer, several factors need to be considered when determining a final price tag.

Consider audience engagement.

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million+ followers


People follow mega influencers for a wide number of reasons and the cost of working with these influencers tends to be high while engagement is low. 

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5-50K followers


Micro creators have highly engaged followers with a genuine interest in their content and message.  

You can work with many micro influencers whose followers are targeted for your product niche for the same cost of working with one mega influencer. With multiple micro influencers, you get the same reach as you would with a single mega influencer, but you benefit from a more engaged audience. Because your product will be featured by many different influencers in diverse settings, this strategy can make your brand more relatable to diverse groups.

The best advice is to start small and take it slow.

There’s no point in putting all your eggs in one basket to later find them all crushed. Start by investing no more than half of your budget into influencers to test the waters. Utilizing micro influencers or product sampling is a great way to test the waters with influencers and refine your strategy before allocating more of your budget to larger creators.


03. They don't properly vet followers


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Working with the wrong influencers can pose implications beyond wasted costs—it can slow or skew your campaigns, eat up valuable resources, and most importantly, diminish trust in your brand.

Fraudulent activity has increased as influencer marketing has grown. Fake followers and fake engagement are becoming more common as many creators want a piece of the huge earning potential of working with brands.

If your brand is just looking at the surface of an influencer’s account, it can be easy to get swayed by large followings and pretty content. To guarantee you’re working with authentic creators and reaching the right audiences, it’s important to look closely at an influencer’s entire online reputation.

Take the time to properly vet their following, engagement activity, and account history before you have them represent your brand.


04. They don’t obtain the rights to content

Creating valuable and engaging content takes time, and over half of marketers say that time is their greatest challenge when it comes to producing content. 

Working with influencers can help you build an arsenal of user-generated content for your media mix, but your brand needs the right to use it first.

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Usage rights are often an overlooked conversation when working with influencers. Unless you have explicit permission from the influencer or have paid for the rights, your brand cannot reuse the content for advertising purposes. This presents a huge lost opportunity for brands.

User-generated content is 5x more likely to convert customers than non-UGC.

If an influencer’s content generated great engagement when it was first posted, your brand may consider using that content as a sponsored post to increase views and potential engagement. When you obtain the rights to UGC content produced by influencers, not only are you engaging audiences at an organic level, but you’re also opening the doors to reaching users at a paid level.

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Maximize Your Influencer Budget with ApexDrop

When done right, influencer marketing can produce amazing results. Because it’s easy to get lost in all the different aspects of working with influencers, it’s important to understand best practices before getting started.

As the leading influencer marketing agency in the US, our team helps brands navigate the ins and outs of partnering with influencers to ensure your team is maximizing its budget. Our unique creator network gives you access to thousands of micro influencers and their audiences.


To learn more about our team and how we work, contact us for a strategy call.