The #1 influencer marketing mistake (and how to avoid it)

Laura Mercier Cosmetics recently did a paid partnership with London based makeup artist Thuy Le (@xthuyle).

Thuy Le has over a million followers, growing at 30k each month. The post achieved more than 300k views, so Laura Mercier might have felt pleased with the activity:

THE SILKIEST FOUNDATION?! _ @lauramercier has just released a HUGE shade extension to their foundation ranges! I went for a Flawless Fitting in @theofficialselfridges and was so happy to see all the foundation formulas; coverage from sheer to full along with dewy to a matte finish! Tinted Moisturiser – amazing for every day, sheer buildable coverage. I’m shade Tawny. Flawless Fusion Ultra Longwear Foundation – 10 NEW shades added! Total of 30 shades. Amazing for anyone who wants long wearing medium-full coverage! Shade: Buff Silk Crème Foundation – one of the smoothest foundations I’ve ever applied! 8 new shades added, 16 shades in total. Shade Cashew Beige. _ Other products featured: Blemish Less Primer, Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer in 2W, Smooth Finish Foundation Powder in 08, Matte Radiance Baked Bronzer 04, Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Addiction, Rosewood Lip Liner & Crème Smooth Lip Colour in Crushed Pecan. #flawlessface #lauramercier #flawlessfitting

A post shared by Thuy Le (pronounced Twee Lee)😉 (@xthuyle) on

But what if we told you that this influencer mentioned 102 other brands this quarter?

In this context there’s little chance that her endorsement of Laura Mercier would be seen as credible, and so little chance of achieving the campaign objectives.

The question to consider is why, when there are thousands of influencers to choose from, do so many brands end up working with this one?

What’s happening here is a feedback loop. Thuy Le is big and growing, so attracting brand partnerships, which make her grow even more.

The influencer is the only winner in this scenario, gaining snowballing income and earning potential.

The good news is that this trap is easy to avoid. With a little effort it’s possible for brands to craft authentic and successful influencer marketing campaigns.

This involves three steps:

Firstly we recommend that brands start by defining their objectives. Influencer campaigns should be as distinctive and branded as possible (like all aspects of the mix).

Secondly brands should cast the net broadly when making a long-list of prospective partners. For example brands might filter influencers based on topics they are associated with (e.g. #crueltyfree).

Finally brands should use both metrics and judgement in narrowing down the list. Metrics might include promiscuity (how many other brands they work with), growth rate and ER. Judgement comes in when reviewing the influencer’s top content, and assessing how their positioning might complement the brand.

By following these principles we believe that any brand can get good results from their influencer campaigns.