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Why doing a collaboration with one influencer won’t work

As a brand owner, you’re all the more careful about the people you collaborate with. It’s very possible that you already know one or two influencers you would like to partner with to promote your products. And since influencer marketing is brand new for you, you’re thinking: why not start with one collaboration and then see if I continue after? This is not a good idea.

Influencer marketing is a test-and-learn strategy

Influencer marketing is a game of exposure. You don’t buy a system that guarantees you sales and traffic: you buy visibility on a medium (the influencer’s account). Of course, you’ve 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 this example. Let’s say I’m helping a client to build a website. One month after the launch, they already ask to make changes to the sales funnel. There are like 10 monthly visitors to the website. Almost no purchases. There is simply not enough data to make decisions that would impact the conversion rate! It’s way better to wait until you have 5000 or 10000 monthly visitors before making any decision.

It’s the same thing for influence marketing. It performs better when you take the time and test several promotions with different influencers. You can choose content creators from the same niche but with different community sizes, in different niches but with more or less the same amount of followers… It is only by setting up different criteria 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 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’re discouraged 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

I speak for myself, and all the experience I’ve had in this domain.

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 yourself 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 their 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. 

That’s why it’s 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 in a YouTube video is so 2010. It may have worked for a while, especially for beauty products, 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 and respect the planet and human rights. And yes, we are demanding.

In 2023, we 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 consumers are exposed to a promotion, the more likely that promotion will convince them 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 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

You shouldn’t do influencer marketing just for sales

I had to write it in this post.

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

First, 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 or if your sales funnel 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 and what you sell.

It is above all useful to work on your notoriety, to be seen, and to update your brand image. But even if the influencer’s speech incites to buy your products, only a small percentage of the audience will eventually do it. 

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, because you will never reach that goal.

Some campaigns will perform better than others without really knowing why

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

Influencer marketing is not as precise as paid marketing, for example. In paid marketing, you can estimate your ROI with the money you spent, the CPC chosen, the audience…

Of course, we have access to the statistics of a content creator before making a promotion, but 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. This influencer already has its own voice and editorial line. They appropriate the codes of your brand, but will not publish a commercial for your products. The speech is freer and less calculated, and inevitably, some publications can work better than others.

Then, your influencer campaign depends on an algorithm. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok… all these huge algorithms have 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 can happen 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.