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Why doing a collaboration with one influencer won’t work

If you have a brand and you hang out a bit on social networks, you may already have in mind one or two content creators you would like to collaborate with. Personalities that you follow on a daily basis, for many years, and that you would love to see as ambassadors for your products. And since you’re starting influencer marketing, you’re thinking: why not start with one activation and then see if I continue? This is not a good idea.

Influencer marketing is a test and learn strategy

Influencer marketing is above all about investing in visibility. You don’t buy an infallible system that guarantees you sales and traffic: you buy visibility on a medium (the influencer’s account). Of course, you have received the statistics of the influencer’s account and know in advance what coverage to expect, but the reality is that this is not 100% reliable.

Like any test and learn strategy, it’s in the volume that you can get better results (and conclusions). 

I often give the example when I’m helping to build a website and I’m asked to make changes to the sales tunnel after one month of launch. There are like 10 monthly visitors on the website. Almost no purchases. There is simply not enough data to make decisions that would impact the conversion rate! Better to wait until you have 5000 or 10000 monthly visitors before making a decision.

The interest of influencer marketing is to test promotions with many influencers at the same time: you can choose them all in the same niche but with different community sizes, in different niches but with more or less the same number of subscribers… It is only by setting up several variables with several activations in a single campaign that you will be able to draw conclusions.

Ask yourself: what’s gonna happen if you only collaborate with one person?

  • The collab is a success: you make a lot of sales at once and the promotion is great. Problem: if the next one (with the same person) is a disaster, you won’t understand why.
  • The collab is a failure: it discourages you. You invested money in this collaboration and what did it get you? Nothing! You throw in the towel and don’t want to repeat the experience when all you needed to do was optimize your campaign mechanism and reach another target

Social networks do not reflect reality

This is my experience in the matter that will speak for itself and believe me, I will be honest.

I have been VERY disappointed with some content creators when dealing with them professionally. On Instagram, they seem very nice, funny, and creative. In real life they are messy, haughty, unorganized and unprofessional.

Of course, not all of them are like that (fortunately), but that means that on social networks, you give an illusion of your image that is not necessarily the reality.

That’s why collaborating only with one person to start with is dangerous (for your budget and the success of your campaign): this person may disappoint you and you may not want to repeat the experience. 

The content produced this time may not be as good as the other publications. 

It may be that you have activated two people at the same time and the communities are so similar that the promotions “cannibalize” each other. 

It is also possible that the algorithm chooses not to highlight the content because it induces a paid partnership. 

It is therefore always better to start with a small campaign, with 5 influencers for example, to be able to better compare the results, to see with whom you have had the most affinity, with whom you want to continue or not, how to better adjust the strategy. Because yes: in order to succeed, you will have to consider a long-term influence strategy.

One-shot product placement no longer exists

At least it’s said. One-time product placement in Instagram stories or a YouTube video is so 2010. It may have worked for a while, especially for beauty products with an attractive price and a promo code to entice purchase, but in today’s society, consumers are no longer fooled.

In 2023, we want transparency, useful products that add a real plus to our daily lives and health, respect the planet and human rights. And yes, we are demanding.

In 2023, we therefore imagine long-term influence campaigns with content creators. The idea is to create a real relationship of trust with influencers, to make them discover a brand in different ways, over the seasons. 

It’s scientifically proven: the more a consumer is exposed to a promotion, the more likely that promotion will convince him to buy. In marketing, this is known as the 7 times rule: a brand must come into contact with a prospect at least 7 times for them to consider buying a product or service.

In 2015, Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) proved this theory through a study by launching a campaign that echoed an early study conducted in 1989 for the Kellogg’s brand. 

NCS tested ads for its Special K brand and their long-term impact on the audience was 3.5 times greater than their effect after the first month of exposure. 

Results from 4 other consumer goods brands tested showed similar effects on long-term sales, ranging from 3.6 to 4.5 times an increase over time.(source)

Creating a long-term campaign with one (or more) influencer also has the following advantages: 

  • The risk / investment is more spread out
  • The partnership is more likely to become part of the influencer’s routine and to be perceived as “normal
  • A real relationship of trust is created with the creator’s community

The primary goal of influencer marketing is not to sell

I had to highlight it in this post.

No, influencer marketing is not the magic solution to sell all your products on social networks.

First of all, influencer marketing is not a magic wand: if your product doesn’t inspire trust, if your brand image is not up to what consumers expect, if your sales tunnel is not easy to understand… Then I would advise you to work on all that BEFORE working with content creators.

Content creators help you boost your visibility on the web. They act as amplifiers of your business through their community and their voice. So, you need to have everything nickel and dimed before you promote.

Then, you have to see influencer marketing as a funnel. A promotion on social networks can attract the attention of many people at once. It’s a spotlight on your brand, who you are, what you sell.

It is therefore above all a useful lever to work on your notoriety, to be seen, to update your brand image. But even if the influencer’s speech is commercial, only a small percentage of the exposed people will convert. 

That’s why the more visible you are, the more credibility you give to your brand and your products. And why one-shot influence is not a good strategy.

Some campaigns will perform better than others without really knowing why

It is also the results of influencer marketing itself that indicate that doing a single activation with an influencer does not work.

Influencer marketing is not as precise an acquisition lever as paid marketing, for example, where you can estimate your ROI more in relation to the money spent, the CPC chosen, the audience…

Even if, of course, we have access to the statistics of a content creator before making a promotion, we must take into account that the success of a campaign depends on two factors over which we have less control: a real person, and an algorithm. 

First, you ask a real person to represent your brand on social networks through a unique and original content, which sticks to its editorial line. The content creator appropriates the codes of your brand, but will not publish a commercial for your products. The speech is freer and less calculated, and inevitably sometimes, some publications can work better than others.

Then, your influencer campaign depends on an algorithm, the one of the platform on which you choose to publish. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok… all these huge platforms have their own algorithm with their own rules, jealously kept secret and not very accessible to the general public. Many experts try to decipher “what works” and “what doesn’t”, but there is no official guide with a recipe for a sponsored post to bring a good return on investment. 

Also, it sometimes happens that despite all the enthusiasm and professionalism of the content creator, your promotion doesn’t bring you the expected ROI. And I want to tell you: it doesn’t matter, if you have planned the promotion as part of a larger strategy. Of course, if you were counting on this one shot to make sales, then you’ve lost budget. But if you know in advance that it will take testing, that it will take time, to first make yourself known and then make sales, then you have the right mindset to succeed.