Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
Like with any business partnership, an influencer partnership must start with a solid foundation. Relying too much on transactional details may leave your business with a partner it can’t trust, whereas looking at the person as a whole may help you build a better relationship and save you from potential disaster down the line.
If you’re unsure about your influencer partnership, consider this advice from the leaders of Rolling Stone Culture Council. Below, they list signs that an influencer partnership might not be working out as you hoped and offer tips on what you should do if you spot them.
There’s a Clear Lack of Interest
If the influencer has a lack of interest in your brand, you may want to pass. We’ve noticed that us being flexible and giving them the freedom to get creative and create their own style of content is best. It will resonate with their followers and most likely have the most engagement. If you notice early on that there is not much communication, be honest and let them know that it’s not a good fit. – Karina Michel Feld, Tallulah Films
You’re Not Seeing a Return on Investment
You need to look at the numbers. If you aren’t making a good return on your investment into influencer marketing, then you need to pull back and regroup. Double check your target market and make sure the influencers you are collaborating with fit the niche your product or service is in. – Christian Anderson (Trust’N), Lost Boy Entertainment LLC
The Influencer’s Values Have Changed
One of the biggest signs that an influencer partnership may be in danger is when the personal values of the influencer change. This could be in the types of content they are exhibiting or the alliances they are making. Brands should always be aware of these trends and stay informed by routinely checking social media feeds. If an issue arises, it’s best to have that conversation early. – Kelly Schwarze, Indie Film Factory
You’re Getting Clicks But Not Conversions
If your influencer partnership is producing clicks instead of conversions, it’s time to part ways with your influencer. The goal of influencer marketing is to create an emotional connection with the brand via an influencer consumers are already emotionally attached to. If the influencer buzz is producing clicks and bounces, it’s time to rethink your strategy. – Amanda Dorenberg, COMMBANK
You’re Seeing Poor Results on Key Performance Metrics
Lack of measurement leads to lack of improvement. Poor results on predetermined key performance metrics can be a sign that an influencer partnership is not working out. However, before disengaging from the partnership, it is best to analyze the core reasons behind the low engagement or performance numbers and give the influencer an opportunity to make adjustments and correct the issues. – David Castain, David Castain & Associates
The Partnership Feels Purely Transactional
If the partnership is purely transactional, it’s unlikely to work out beyond the basic terms. I witnessed a partnership with a celebrity promoting an Android phone when they are clearly an iPhone user in real life. Fans didn’t buy the partnership and immediately called it out. This was a mistake on both sides, but especially for the brand. – Robert Lane, Fast Lane
They Aren’t Getting Enough Traffic
Unlike regular content marketing campaigns, launching a low-cost influencer marketing campaign or using an influencer who’s more niche will cost you more time and money to make it work. Therefore, as a company, you might need to invest in either building your own audience or finding a bigger influencer who already has a large audience. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day
The Influencer Is Reluctant to Communicate
If an influencer is hesitant to send you the required reporting and even more hesitant to discuss the stats with you head-on, then you know that they are no longer being collaborative. Not all campaigns hit their targets, but influencers worth working with come to the table with ideas to make the campaign worth everyone’s effort. – Cynthia Johnson, Bell + Ivy
The Fans Are Not Engaged
One sign is when the influencer’s fans are not engaged with the sponsored content. That’s a big miss for most people doing influencer marketing; you really need that intimate relationship from influencer to the brand in a way most people get right away. Just finding a “mom” with three million fans is not a strategy for a kids clothing company, for example. – Michael Newman, The Bureau of Small Projects