3 Influencer Marketing Mistakes You Really Want To Avoid

5 Minute Read

Over recent years, influencer marketing has evolved to become an essential tool in every marketer’s arsenal.

The principle is simple. Popular online personalities are selected because of their ability to appeal to people’s taste and preferences. If an individuals holds a following that matches your target demographic, it only makes sense to tap into this resource. 

With a rise in popularity, some marketers have found themselves in hot water after slipping up in their influencer marketing campaigns. 

Throughout this article, we will discuss some common, but costly mistakes made in influencer campaigns. Don’t worry, we have the solutions too. 


Influencer marketing fraud

As the influencer lifestyle becomes increasingly glamorised, the emergence of copy-cats is inevitable. 

The underlining issue with this trend is the large amount of fake accounts and fraudulent activity that is driving it. Influencer marketing was built on the power of trust and authenticity, and this denies that. 

Digiday recently released a statistical analysis of Instagram hashtags to provide an extent to the issue. In 24 hours, the hashtags ‘#Sponsor and #Ad’ generated 118,007 posts, whilst only 20,942 were not created by bot accounts. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking… how can I spot a fake account? 

The good news is, there are a few options. 

The most basic way to commit influencer fraud is through setting up a fake account. The person may not even be real, rather an illusion of popularity. Typically, this is done through the use of third-party apps – followers, likes and comments are generated by other fake accounts.

Apps like ‘Follower Boost’ will do this pretty easily. As a side note, individuals with a following between 1000 – 100,000 are the most common users of these apps.

As social media channels push algorithms further, some smaller influencer accounts have been seen to engage with ‘engagement pods’. These are group who attempt to ride the system by heavily boosting each other’s content.

Some networks and agencies have even been designed to increase this behaviour; promising a level of activity per post. The issue with cross-promotion is that the audience receiving your content is diluted. The original demographic will only represent a small number in the final sample. 

Scott influencer mistake

Combating the issue… 

The most important thing to remember, is be careful with the numbers. A large following doesn’t mean much if the engagement is low.

Test out authentic micro-influencers. Their engagement is typically richer because they spend a lot of time interacting with their organic following. In a recent Benchmark report, it was suggested that accounts between 1000 and 5000 followers usually obtain the best levels of engagement. Plus, location and demographic can be targeted far more sufficiently.  

As the pressure to ‘stay on top’ of fraudulence increases, don’t be afraid to test out new tech to ease the pressure. 

Take Mavrck for example, who recently released a fraud detection tool. Powered by machine learning algorithms, a sample of an account’s followers and engagement is assessed. Differences between genuine and bot account are detected, also providing an engagement rating. 

Flagging the account as high, medium or low risk, these tools are beneficial to brands and genuine influencers.


Lack of relevance in influencer marketing 

Although the rise in technology helps us combat the dark-side of influencer marketing, the issue of human error still remains.  

A very tricky aspect of conducting an influencer marketing campaign is selecting the right individual. Marketers are often blind sighted by the clout of a personality. But if there is little correlation between the product and the audience, the budget is wasted. 

Dealing with a large account can result in a ‘turn and burn’ type relationship. Long-term relationships between big influencers and small brands is difficult to develop. Their time is costly, which often results in a ‘single post’ deal. 

The best way to avoid this mistake is to appreciate the power of influencer marketing. Throw the proper resources at a campaign and develop a rapport with your partner. Exchange examples, preview content, review and manage your workflow. Ensure you are both keeping a keen eye on progress and track your KPI’s. 

Again, technology is your friend (for the most part). Use tools to standardise your practices and assess reliable metrics to test value. 

The barrier of social media

Yes. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are the birthplace for the majority of today influencers.

However… platforms are consistently expanding and times are changing.

Consumers naturally develop to demand more. As far as online shopping is concerned, people are constantly seeking out new value in their purchases. Influencer marketing has answered that somewhat. People can see products in ‘real life’ situations and they have the recommendation of a trusted source.

Typically, a sponsored post will contain an item link, a discount code, a brand shout-out, or even a call-to-action pop-up. These methods will generate you some increased traffic, it will even drive sales up. But it still feels as if the platform creates a conscious barrier between the brand and consumer. 

People are also becoming more sceptical. You can’t show the quality of your whole product range in a single post. It seems that people need a trusted adviser, genuine honesty and explanations, someone to interact with live. 


Shopcast was made to solve these issues. 

Shopcast is a Live Shopping tool, designed to be used by influencers and in-house experts to broadcast shopping trips directly from your website. 

This tool increases engagement and drives traffic by drawing customers directly to your site. The barrier in transaction is eliminated. The authenticity of the influencer increases as they spend more time engaging with their following. Brands can show off vast product ranges, develop a stronger influencer-brand partnership and increase the value added to your shopper experience. 

If you need a little more validation, Live Shopping has already started gaining traction in China. Some influencers have been using Facebook live to broadcast and catalogue items – but of course this still maintains that the customer is away from your site.

Interestingly, eCommerce group Alibaba annually broadcast a ‘see now buy now’ live fashion show in China for Singles Day. Customers could place order in real-time during the production. Throughout the day, $17.7 Billion was generated in sales, a 32% increase from the previous year. 

Shopcast starts with a free plan… get in touch if you’d like a little more information.

Wrap up… 

To wrap this all up, it’s easy to say that influencer fraud is getting more common. But, it’s also getting easier to detect. The best you can do is keep a keen eye out for the obvious signs – sudden boost in followers, boost in likes and off-target interactions. You shouldn’t be afraid to use technology to help, it will be cost-beneficial in the long-run. 

It is easy to get caught-up in the numbers, but it is important not to get blind-sighted by clout. Some of the biggest accounts have surprisingly low engagement. Check out rating systems, and be accepting of micro-influencers for a more authentic campaign.

Social media is heavily saturated by ‘influence’, and it isn’t always effective. Reaching the check out can be a long journey from an Instagram post. Remember to retain personality, engagement and variety into the shopping experience. 

Make sure to check out Shopcast and sign up for the free beta run if you’re interested. 

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