Digital Marketing

Macro-Influencer Mistakes: Failing to Engage Your Audience

Reaching macro-influencer status in itself is difficult and time consuming. You have to produce quality content that attracts followers, build your following, interact with your followers, and adapt to a variety of algorithm changes. For those of us who are following those influencers, it can feel like everyone’s doing the same thing – and that’s why many macro-influencers struggle to grab hold of their audience and keep it.

Because influencers get their name from the fact that they influence their audience to do something – whether it’s support a cause or buy a product – it makes sense to work with them when you want to spread brand awareness and grow your own audience.

I’d like to share a story of an Instagram macro-influencer with more than two million followers – Arii. You’d think that with a following that large, she’d be able to market herself as a successful influencer. But sadly, all she can say is that she has over 2 million followers. When she tried to use her “influencer” status to sell t-shirts and launch her online clothing – she found that she couldn’t even sell 36 shirts.

Arii is an 18-year-old influencer with 2.6 million followers. Though the post has since been deleted, she wrote that the clothing company she was working with had rules regarding her first sales, which included selling at least 36 pieces from her line.

The post read: “Hi, it breaks my heart to have to write this post. As ya’ll know, I released my brand. I’ve poured my heart into this drop. For my photoshoot, I flew out a photographer & makeup artist…. & and I planned weeks ahead & was lucky enough to gather some friends who modeled for me…. I rented out a huge photo studio for the day so I could [get] as many shots & video promo shots as I could….Unfortunately the company that I’m working with goes based on your first drop sales. In order for them to order and make my products (even to keep working with them) I have to sell at least 36 pieces (knowing I’ve become super irrelevant, I already knew it was gonna be hard) but I was getting such good feedback that people loved it and were gonna buy it. No one has kept their word so now the company won’t be able to send out the orders to people who actually bought shit and it breaks my heart.

While the situation is sad for her, she made mistakes… and rookie ones at that.

Followers Do Not Equal Customers

The number one rule of business is to make sure you know who your customer is, and then create content that’s helpful and appealing to those customers. Just because someone follows you on social media doesn’t mean that they will ever become customers.

And if you make the mistake of buying followers (I don’t know that she did or didn’t – or how long it took her to amass that many followers) to inflate your numbers and make yourself look good, you’ll definitely lack the targeted fans and followers you’ll need to convert them into paying customers later down the funnel.

By creating content the type of people you want to buy your product or service want, the idea is that you will attract targeted potential customers, who over time, will develop a relationship with you. They will trust your authority and suggestions, thus being more open to the idea of buying products and services you suggest, or products and services you sell.

She fails here because people liking a bunch of selfies doesn’t mean they’ll ever buy anything – especially if you don’t even tell them where to buy the elements of the outfits you’re wearing.

Engagement on Photos Doesn’t Mean You Have a Brand

Looking at Arii’s feed, many of the photos are just her doing whatever. There’s not a cohesive theme. She’s not sharing any of her products. While she does get plenty of engagement in terms of likes and comments – it’s many people asking where her outfits are from, where she bought something, how old she is, or since the deletion of her brand failure post, even giving her advice about how to build a brand online.

She mistook the likes and engagement she got from her followers as liking her aesthetic as the brand. There’s nothing there but photos of herself – nothing that tells you who she is. Nothing of any inspiration, nothing that tells people why they should consider following her and what value she’d bring to their feed.

And though people are taking the time to like and comment, there’s little to no evidence that Arii actually responds to people when they reach out to her. If you don’t interact with your followers, you’ll never build the two-way relationship that’s necessary if you want sales.

There’s not even a bio to explain who she is – just an email address that’s associated with an influencer marketing platform or talent agency, Fullscreen.

Twitter Had a Heyday

Twitter users were quick to point out her mistakes – and though it may seem a bit cruel, they actually had valid points as to why she failed.

Jack Appleby provided this side-by-side look at the photos she shared on her feed, compared to the clothes in her brand.

As you can see, the aesthetics between the two are wildly different. If you can’t see her wearing any of the clothes from her line, why would her followers?

Others, such as now inactive user biculturalfamilia, pointed out that she didn’t do enough to promote it.

Jack Appleby gave us another comparison of her feed, suggesting that while he may have missed her IG stories or promoted posts, it appears that she announced it with a single video, put up an additional video and then claimed she failed 13 days later. The feed shows no photos of her products. Watching the video tells us nothing about the brand, what it is, or even what it looks like.


Ultimately, no matter how many followers you have – cultivating a relationship with them and learning who they are is the only way to build a successful online business. I admire Arri’s efforts to build the following, but she’s got a long way to go before she can leverage it as a brand or business.



Promote Your Website With These Outreach Marketing Techniques

If you build it, they will come just doesn’t work when it comes to websites and online businesses. With so much out there, you have to make sure people know you’re there, and that means taking action to promote your website. Sure, you can invest in social media advertising and search engine optimization, but there are many different methods to consider including in your digital marketing strategy.

Become a Fixture in Relevant Online Communities

Being known is the foundation of successful outreach. When people recognize your name, they’re more likely to respond.

To create this top-of-mind presence, you’ll need to become an active member in an online community where your target audience is. These communities are full of people you might be trying to reach, and are full of potential because they are niche.

A lot of marketers fail to leverage the high activity of the audiences in these networks because they’re focused on the short-term benefits, rather than the long-term effort. How can you become recognizable so people start to know who you are, and listen to what you have to say?

Participate in Conversations

Spend a bit of time every day taking time to engage others in conversation. Go through threads and answer questions. Ask questions. Introduce yourself. Participation is the key to getting your name to show up throughout the community.

Start Conversations

Don’t be afraid to start a conversation if you’re new to a community. You can create a post that details who you are, why you’re excited to be part of the community, and then asks others to share with you. The important thing is to respond to people who engage with you, whether or not you started the conversation.

Offer Value

The most critical part of online community participation is ensuring you offer value to the community. Don’t just blatantly self promote your products or services. People will start to ignore you and you’ll damage your reputation. If a product or service you offer could genuinely help a person, you can suggest it, of course, but it’s best to point people to your lead nurturing materials to start the relationship off on the right foot. Always maintain a professional demeanor online, behaving courteously and avoiding drama.

Publish Content on Other Websites

One of the fastest ways to build brand recognition and build backlinks to boost your SEO is to post content on other websites. For best results, these websites should be related to your product or service, or at the very least, be places where your target audience can be found. Look for industry publications, blogs, and other websites that get a lot of traffic. In the search engine optimization, business, and marketing niches, popular sites that accept contributors are Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Inc. Not everyone will be accepted as a contributor, though, so it’s best to start with smaller websites in your niche.

Focus on Targeted Sharing

Facebook is no longer the marketing giant it was because of the limited organic reach businesses have because of algorithm changes.  One of the best ways to reach more people on social media is to use targeted sharing.

This method essentially tags someone in a post with the opt they’ll share your content with their audience. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Link to sources featured in the article in a snippet you’d share.
  • Link to people in the snippet who’d be interested in your article.
  • Engage directly with a question or point of debate to start a conversation.

You can use Twitter’s advanced search tools to find people in your niche that are also close to you geographically, using hashtags and more.

Connect with Influencers

Host an influencer event. Pick a location to plan event that appeals to the influencers you’re most interested in working with. Start small by doing something locally and inviting influencers to your retail location, or plan something bigger than lasts all weekend and includes your brand while also highlighting influencers and their interests.

Spend some time finding influencers to engage with online before trying to hire them to work with your brand. There are several influencer marketing platforms available to help make your search easier.

Ask Your Network How They Want to be Marketed With

Once you’ve built a small network, reach out to them via email to find out how they want to work with you. This fosters a partnership and shows the current network and future customers you want to market with them, rather than at them. Whatever you do, just make sure you follow through on what the majority of people ask of you with your marketing. If they tell you they don’t want you to send them a ton of email updates – then don’t. Acting differently from what their feedback suggests you should do will create issues with trust.

Stay Authentic

Authenticity matters. It helps humanize your brand, which makes it easier for customers to connect with you and relate to you. One of the ways you can promote authenticity in your brand and marketing is to take the time to write a blog post about when you or your brand weren’t at your best. Don’t focus on perfection; focus on honesty and transparency instead. Own your mistakes. Tell people about a decision you made that you learned from. You can use this lesson to help others, and this helps foster a stronger connection with those people.

Though it can be nerve-wracking because you want to get as many people to your website as fast as you can because you’re excited, it’s important to realize that not everyone will have that excitement – especially if they’ve never heard of your or your company. Focus on the big picture and play the long game. It’s the relationships you make and connections you build that make all the difference in your success in the end. Putting more effort there now will definitely pay off.

Content Marketing

37 Influencer Marketing Stats Marketers Need to Know

Influencer marketing was hot in 2016, and data shows it’s only going to get hotter in 2017. If you’re not using it in your marketing strategy, what’s stopping you? Take a look at these statistics to see if they change your mind about working with influencers.

1. Facebook and Instagram are two times more important than other social channels.

Marketers say these channels are more important than any others when it comes to their influencer marketing programs. (The State of Influencer Marketing 2017)

2. Blogs and Facebook are dominating channels.

37% of marketers say blogs are the most effective platform for influencer marketer. Facebook followed, coming in at 25%. (Tomoson)

3. Most marketers say ongoing ambassadorships is the most effective form of influencer marketing.

70.6% of those surveyed agree that ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective. Product reviews are close second coming in at 66.7%, followed by brand mentions at 53.9%. (Tap Influence)

4. Influencers say most brands want to reach their audience through sponsored content.

81.7% of influencers say most brands want to reach their audience with sponsored content, while only 52.5% ask for the ambassadorship approach. (Tap Influence)

5. Most require influencers to disclose, but only half know what the current guidelines are.

While 88% of respondents say they require the influencers to disclose sponsored content, only 55% say they are familiar with current FTC guidelines. (The State of Influencer Marketing 2017)

6. Determining influencer marketing ROI is a challenge.

86% of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016. 78% say determining ROI is their top challenge for 2017. (The State of Influencer Marketing 2017)

7. And yet – there’s proof of strong ROI.

On average, for every dollar invested in influencer marketing, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue. 70% of businesses make $2 or more, and 13% make $20 or more. Only the bottom 18% fail to generate revenue. (Tomoson)

8. Others say finding relevant influencers is a big challenge.

67.6% of marketers surveyed say they find connecting with relevant influencers to be a major challenge. 59.8% say their biggest challenge comes in finding ways to engage their communities while satisfying executive expectations. (TapInfluence)

9. There’s still some concern over the effectiveness of influencer marketing.

55.9% of those surveyed say the biggest challenge they face within their organization is there is still concern because it is a new/unproven channel. 53.9% report there is no budget assigned, while 41.2% say the lack of control over messaging is the biggest issue. (Tap Influence)

10. Marketers are investing more money in influencers.

Nearly half (48%) of respondents say they’re planning on boosting their influencer marketing budget for 2017. Only 4% are making plans to decrease investments. (eMarketer)

11. Automation hasn’t quite caught on yet.

11% of respondents use a self-service software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to automate influencer outreach, management, and reporting. (The State of Influencer Marketing 2017)

12. The majority of marketers do not pay the influencers they work with.

69% of marketers say they don’t pay influencers they work with.  (Augure)

13. Most communications professionals consider Twitter as the key channel.

68% of communications professionals consider Twitter as the key channel as the key channel for influencer engagement campaigns. (Augure)

14. Twitter users are more likely to buy when exposed to promotional content from influencers.

When Twitter users see promotional content from an influencer, they report they have a 5.2x increase in purchase intent. (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)

15. Social media monitoring tools are popular for finding influencers.

39% of professionals say they use social media monitoring tools to find influencers. (MyNewsDesk)

16. Most influencers say they are more likely to buy from their sponsors.

77% of influencers say they’re more likely to buy products and services from their sponsors, becoming brand evangelists that way. (Wersm)

17. Engagement equals success.

81% of respondents consider their influencer marketing campaigns successful based on engagement. Reach comes in second at 61%.  (The State of Influencer Marketing 2017)

18. YouTube stars are more popular than mainstream celebs.

At least where U.S. teenagers are concerned. The top five most popular “celebrities” are all powerful YouTube influencers. Their level of emotional attachment is seven times greater than to traditional celebrities like Seth Rogan or Jennifer Lawrence. Teens also see those YouTube stars as 17x more engaging and 11x more extraordinary than traditional celebrities. (Variety)

19. TV Viewership is consistently on the decline.

Though the numbers vary by age bracket, there’s a decrease across the board. Teens (12-17) have seen a 14.5% decrease year over year. 18-24 year olds have a 9.5% decline. Those age 25-34 and 35-49 saw 6.7% and 3% respectively. (Nielsen)

20. The majority of women turn to social media before buying something.

86% of women seek advice from their social networks before making a purchase. (aList)

21. Customers earned through word-of-mouth stick around longer.

Regardless of industry vertical, customers your business gets through word of mouth have a 37% higher retention rate. (McKinsey)

22. Influencer marketing is growing faster than other channels.

22% of businesses surveyed said influencer marketing was their fastest-growing customer acquisition channel – growing faster than organic search, paid search, and email marketing. Only 5% of businesses said affiliate marketing was their fastest customer acquisition channel, making it last on the list.(Tomoson)

23. Content promotion is the most common influencer use case.

67% of influencer campaigns are used to promote content. The second most common use is for product launch. It is tied with content creation at 59%. (Launch Metrics)

24. SEO is now becoming part of the influencer strategy.

23% of professionals consider influencer engagement as a strategic move for SEO purposes. (Launch Metrics)

25. Influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective channels.

Influencer marketing, along with email marketing ranked for first place when it came to the most cost-effective customer acquisition channel, with 22% of businesses reporting those channels were the best for them. Organic search came in as a close second, at 19%. (Tomoson)

26. Businesses get better customers from influencer marketing.

Just over half of marketers (51%) believe they get better customers through influencer marketing. Marketers likely attribute this to the fact that social media users tend to spend more money, and are more likely to share their purchases with friends and family. (Tomoson)

27. Nearly half of customers are using ad blockers.

47% of online consumers areusing ad blockers. If you want to reach consumers, the best way you can do this is to connect with them on channels they’re already on, with content they want to consume. (Digital News Report)

28. More customers trust online word of mouth recommendations than they do banner ads.

92% of consumers trust online word of mouth recommendations, but only 33% of them trust banner ads. (Nielsen)

29. Influencer marketing searches have grown exponentially since early 2015.

Over time, we’ve seen a growth of more than 5,000%. (Google Trends)

30. More than half the companies in the beauty and fashion niche use influencers to amplify their campaigns.

57% of companies in beauty and fashion use influencers in their marketing mix. Organic growth for brands on YouTube has become harder without amplification and advertising. (ION)

31. YouTube reaches more people in certain demographics than any TV network.

Just on mobile alone – not including tablets, YouTube reaches more people in the 18-49 age bracket than any TV network, either broadcast or cable. (YouTube)

32. Influencers sharing your content can increase conversion rates dramatically.

If you have influencers sharing your content, you could see a conversion rate increase three to 10 times what you would have seen without it. (Wersm)

33. Influencer engagement is effective in lead generation.

Three-quarters of professionals consider influencer engagement effective in lead generation. (Launch Metrics)

34. Almost half of people say they’ve bought something after seeing an influencer use it.

40% of people say they’ve purchased an item after seeing an influencer use it on YouTube, Vine, Twitter, or Instagram. (Twitter and Annalect, 2016)

35. The vast majority of people don’t trust the advertising industry.

96% of people believe that the advertising industry does not act with integrity—69% of these people attribute their mistrust to the advertisers’ desire to sell more effectively. (IPSOS, 2015)

36. Nearly ¾ of Millennials feel obligated to make sure people they know buy smart.

73% of Millennials see it as their responsibility to guide friends, peers, and family toward smart purchase decisions. (Fleishman-Hillard PR & Hearst Magazine)

37. Influencers would rather work with brands through a platform.

While many brands work directly with influencers, 70% of influencers say the most effective way to work with brands is through an influencer marketing platform. (Tap Influence)

Ready to Get Started with Influencer Marketing?

If these statistics have convinced you to give it a try, take a look at Influencer Marketing 101. In it, I cover everything from finding and connecting influencers, to engaging with them so you’re not just blindly pitching random people to participate in a campaign for you. Yes, there are certainly challenges associated with influencer marketing, but the rewards are definitely worth the risk.

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