Influencer marketing is about to rise to $13.8 billion in 2021, and the growth trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon. That makes this form of marketing amazing is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get to the target customer base, at least if you avoid the 3 common mistakes many brands make when working with influencers.

Mistake #1: Falling for fake numbers

The biggest influencer marketing mistake is choosing the wrong people to work with. Making the decision based on the numbers alone is a huge mistake, as you can end up working with a fake influencer who bought followers, comments, and likes.

Instagram influencer search tools will help you find influencers without fake followers. While you can (and should) go through the profiles manually, Instagram search tools will speed up the process and analyze the follower base demographics for you.

Through the information that search tools collect, you will be able to determine if the profile has fake followers but also see if the followers are your target audience. As you are about to see, even if an influencer has a significant number of real followers, that doesn’t automatically make them a good fit for your brand.

Mistake #2: Focusing on numbers alone

Separating fake from real influencers is important, but that’s only the first step. Even if the numbers are real, they shouldn’t be the only factor – making sure those followers fit your target customer group is key.

When obvious isn’t the best choice

If you run a bicycle rental company, for example, targeting local cycling clubs and reaching out to professional cyclists is probably not the best idea.

People who are into road cycling usually spend lots of money on their own bicycles. Plus, they are interested in long rides, not just strolling around a local lake on weekends. Even if a local Lance Armstrong has a large follower base, you will probably waste time and money trying to make him promote your brand.

A local tour guide, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Not only can they actually take groups of tourists with them to your rental place, but they will also inspire people to start enjoying the area from their bicycles. This means that even locals who follow the tour guide on Instagram will want to visit those places, which they can do anytime with their friends and family – if they rent one of your bikes.

So, even though the tour guide has a fraction of the following that professional cyclist had, their impact on your potential customer base is so much more significant.

Understand your ideal customer, and you will find your ideal influencer

You could see how working with a professional cyclist wouldn’t be a good idea if you rent bikes. But, it would be a completely different story if you would make bicycle helmets, right? In that case, working with a local tour guide wouldn’t make much sense.

Therefore, before reaching out to anyone, you need to fully understand your ideal customer and their needs. That is why creating a buyer persona is an essential part of marketing. If you know what you sell and who you are selling it to, you will know which type of influencer has the attention of your ideal customers.

Mistake #3: Only going for hard sells

There are many “professional” influencers who would promote just about anything and have a big following. What’s more, working with them isn’t that expensive, so why not give them a go?

Well, the reason why those “promote everything” influencers don’t cost a fortune is because you will get no exclusivity and trust. If they promote a new brand on a daily basis, everyone will know they do it just for the money, and nobody will care.

Even if your products do get noticed, the publicity you get from this type of influencer will not do anything positive for your brand integrity. It will mean you are open to hiring just about anyone to recite a few fake praises about your brand, without being an actual user.  

Also, all the products will usually be completely unrelated to one another – we often see fat-loss teas, mobile phone accessory stores, gym apparel, phone apps, fashion labels, casinos, all promoted by the same person. Even if you pay them to promote your brand, it will get suffocated amongst all others and will be forgotten after a single day if it even gets noticed.

However, if you focus less on sales and more on improving brand recognition over time, you will likely stay off those “promote everything” influencers.

Build your brand presence instead

Let’s say your company makes premium power drills. Instead of finding an influencer who will praise and hard sell your drills, look for someone with integrity who doesn’t sell their opinion.

Send them one of your drills, and ask them to test it for a whole week, leaving a daily update on their profile. On the seventh day, ask them to leave the final verdict. But, give them total freedom to discuss your product and use it how they want to – if your drills are good, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t like them.

If they happen to love the drill, you can offer long-term collaboration. They don’t even need to praise it from thereon constantly. Because it’s a tool, the audience will see your drill around the influencer’s workshop all the time, in use.

All it will take is for the influencer to leave a few tags and hashtags here and there without even praising the tools you make. If the influencer uses them in their own workshop, their trusted fanbase will think it must be good, improving your reputation.

To make sure that things continue to go as planned as time goes by, it’s a good idea to have everything agreed in writing, which will keep both parties protected. Contract management software will keep all of your contracts on the same page, literally. You can easily stay on top of any situation that comes up, ensuring that your influencer partners are building your brand presence as previously agreed.


Avoiding fake influencers, not falling for the numbers alone, and choosing to play the long-term game will help your brand stand out and attract a new audience and a steady stream of potential customers to your online store.

Don’t just look for a quick way to promote your new product. Instead, look to raise your brand reputation. The person that will help you with that isn’t just an influencer – they will become your business partner. Avoiding the 3 common mistakes we talked about will make sure you choose the right one.

About the author:

image4-1 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Working With Influencers

image4-1 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Working With Influencers

Andrii Kalashnyk is the CMO at trendHERO with 9+ years of experience in digital marketing. He started out as an email marketing manager, moving on to copywriting – and for the last three years has been focused on analytics and influencer discovery.

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