10 Dos and Don’ts of Influencer Marketing

April 29, 2024
13 min
Rochi Zalani
Content Writer, Modash
Anna-Maria Klappenbach
Community & Brand Marketing Lead, Aumio
Nycole Hampton
Senior Director of Marketing, GoodRx
Emily Claire Hughes
Copywriter & Influencer Marketing Consultant, Emily Claire & Co.
... and
more expert contributors

Influencer marketing is full of surface-level advice that isn't actionable in reality. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts compiled straight from the horse’s mouth — influencer marketer pros running campaigns day in and out.

I’ll start with the don’ts, but there’s a yang for every yin.

1: Don’t limit your influencer pool to your product category

If you have a fashion product, you should work with fashion influencers only, right? Turns out, this can be a limiting belief that halts your growth. Why? If you only stick to creators in your niche:

  • The truly great creators might be crazy expensive
  • You significantly shrink the list of your potential creator partners
  • There might be a ton of audience overlap among those influencers
  • Many of those will be influencers your competitors have already found

The above factors are why Georgia Humphries of Tourlane worked with creators adjacent to Tourlane's core niche. Georgia said despite being a travel company, travel creators weren’t the top-performing option for the company:

Georgia Humphries
Influencer Marketing Team Lead, Tourlane
That audience wants to be constantly inspired by beautiful pictures & beautiful destinations. But they don’t have that purchasing want or need.

The most obvious niches aren’t necessarily the best. Sometimes, you need to expand your thinking to your ideal buyers’ demographics and see which kind of creator — beyond your niche bubble — caters to them.

2: Do partner with creators who reach your target audience instead

To expand your creator pool, you need to think about who’s reaching your ideal buyer. Instead of thinking:

❌ “I have a fashion product, so my ideal creators are fashion influencers,” think 

✅ “My target audience is women between the ages of 20–35 who live in America and struggle with finding elegant office workwear. Who’s reaching these people?”

Take Metabolic Meals. They sell healthy, pre-prepped meals. The obvious influencers for their business are athletes and health influencers — like Allison. But busy moms — like Sharon — can also benefit from Metabolic Meals to prepare delicious, healthy meals for their kids without spending a lot of time. The solution? Catering to both kinds of creators to reach their target audience.

Another way to brainstorm relevant, adjacent, and out-of-the-box influencer niches is to think of your brand values and partner with creators who match them. A refreshing example is the collab post between Baron Ryan (a writer) and Ubisoft to promote Nintendo Switch. He angled the post on “defining your own fun,” and the audience loved it.

💡 Learn more by reading our complete guide on identifying and testing new niches for your influencer program.

3: Don’t do mass outreach

Mass outreach is when you copy-paste the same message to every creator in your influencer outreach. It might work in some very specific scenarios, but it’s not a good approach for most brands.

Why? Canned, bulk emails are impersonal and start off your creator relationships on the wrong foot. Plus: you might land in spam and see lower open rates. Nycole Hampton, Senior Director of Marketing at GoodRx, adds mass outreach lacks the thorough vetting required in selecting influencer partners:

Nycole Hampton
Senior Director of Marketing, GoodRx
Mass outreach typically lacks important layers of vetting. It tends to rely on an influencer’s follower count or category (micro, nano, etc.). But one of the most important parts of a campaign is finding influencers who are a brand fit and have the ability to drive the results you are trying to achieve.

💡 If you’re still debating the pros and cons of mass outreach, read our in-depth case on why it’s probably not the right choice for you.

4: Do partially personalized outreach emails instead

In our outreach survey, 54.5% of 51 marketers said they use a partially-templated email for their influencer outreach.

  • Personalize the info about the influencer — a genuine compliment, explaining why you think they’re a good fit for your campaign, etc.,
  • Templatize the details about your brand and products.

Here’s an example:

Partial templates help you scale without compromising the personal touch required in influencer outreach. Personalizing an email to be creator-specific makes the influencer feel valued and creates a good first impression. Establishing a strong rapport from the get-go will also positively reflect in your influencer collaborations.

How much should you personalize? It depends on your potential influencer partners. At Aumio, for example, the ideal creator is a busy mom. So, Anna-Maria Klappenbach (Community & Brand Marketing Lead at the company) says their approach is to prioritize consciousness rather than in-depth personalization:

Anna-Maria Klappenbach
Community & Brand Marketing Lead, Aumio
Our target creators are busy moms. We think they would prefer us to get to the point rather than read through a long & wordy email (even if it’s lovely).

Here’s what the light personalization outreach emails look like at Aumio:

💡 Want more examples? Check these 14 influencer outreach examples from real brands.

5: Don’t try to achieve too many things with a single campaign

When running your influencer marketing campaigns, it’s easy to get carried away with fancy numbers and metrics. You want to build brand awareness, get sales, build a library of influencer content, and on & on. But when you try to do everything, you end up doing nothing.

Emily Claire Hughes, Copywriter & Influencer Marketing Consultant at Emily Claire & Co., explains how this extends to your target audience failing to understand your message:

Emily Claire Hughes
Copywriter & Influencer Marketing Consultant, Emily Claire & Co.
If you give one content creator 12 different CTAs to share with their audience, 5 different collaboration goals, everyone is just confused. And confused people do not take action. No person who doesn’t understand what’s happening will click a link.

The lack of clarity on your influencer marketing goal seeps into every area of your campaign and makes every task harder. The influencer is overwhelmed, the audience doesn’t understand your message, and it gets harder to report success to stakeholders.

6: Do make one clear goal for your campaigns instead

Emily’s solution to the “too many goals” problem is the Rule of One:

  • 1 creator
  • 1 post 
  • 1 key message
  • 1 CTA

Doing this on repeat with your community of creators is better than trying to accomplish five goals at once. Mike Newton, influencer marketing strategist at Building Influence, calls it your “One Big Number (OBN)”.

Mike Newton
Influencer Marketing Strategist, Building Influence
The trouble with influencers is they can impact a large variety of metrics. With such versatility, it’s critical that you decide for yourself what success looks like for your company. With that in mind, assign a number, what I call the One Big Number (OBN), to your program to measure performance.

This OBN should also be the headliner of your influencer marketing reports. Having one number will make your goals stick in stakeholders’ minds.

For instance, in Mike’s case (at Discord), the OBN was Cost Per Retained User (CPRU) because the company’s goal was to retain its active user base.

Think: what are my overall business objectives?

And Redirect your influencer marketing efforts to contribute toward them.

7: Don’t ask the influencer to read out a script

Consumers today can easily identify PR-speak. They can tell whether an influencer’s rattling off descriptive product words from a script versus when they’re speaking from their honest experience.

And if your target audience has been following an influencer for a while, they’re used to a creator’s tone, way of speaking, and vocabulary. If the influencer suddenly sounds like a teleprompter, the collab post will stand out — not in a good way.

Let’s say you sell the best-formulated sunscreen in the market and want to focus on the ingredients and the SPF rating. But the influencer might want to spotlight the lack of white cast, easy reapplication, and other audience struggles. Trust the influencer’s gut — they know what resonates best with their followers.

Give influencers the creative freedom to dictate how they market your products. They know the audience best and what clicks with them — let the authenticity shine. It’ll add to your influencer marketing ROI.

But like with anything in influencer marketing, it’s a balance. You can’t let loose the guidelines completely.

8: Do prepare a creative brief and give product guidance instead

Offering creative freedom doesn’t mean you throw the influencer into the wild. You need to strike a delicate balance in your influencer briefs.

Where you should offer artistic liberty:

  • the presentation of your product
  • how the benefits are framed

Where you should offer guidance:

  • primary value proposition 
  • product & brand details
  • campaign objectives

Sarah Saffari, Founder of Influencer Nexus, explains with an example:

Sarah Saffari
Founder, InfluencerNexus
Set standards about what you’d like your creator partners to illuminate, but let them do the task in their own way. Instead of saying, ‘I’d like you to cover this, make sure you follow it, and read the script word-for-word,’ say, ‘Here’s the feeling we’d like to get across,’ or ‘Here’s the value proposition we’d love for you to showcase.

The what is you, the how is the creator. Think: what areas might your influencer partners need help with? What should they know to create standout content for you? It might be helpful to share the inside scoop on your target audience, past creator content that has performed well, and your overall influencer marketing goals.

9: Don’t automate relationship-building activities

You wouldn’t like to feel like ‘just another client’ to your influencer partner. Your creators don’t want to feel like just another cog in the wheel, either. Sending a birthday card (or email) doesn’t have the intended impact when it’s clearly automated. On the other hand, a personalized wish from someone who’s been working with the creator? That’ll make an influencer feel valued, cherished, and special.

Let the things you don’t automate make you stand-out. Don’t use tech for relationship-building tasks — whether it’s writing a performance feedback email or catching up with them a little bit outside of work.

It’s easy to forget that influencer marketing is ultimately a relationship business. Emily Claire Hughes (influencer marketing consultant) emphasizes that “not saying thankyou” is the biggest mistake she sees influencer marketers make:

Emily Claire Hughes
Copywriter & Influencer Marketing Consultant, Emily Claire & Co.
If you are human, kind, nice to work with, people will go out of their way to make you happy and accommodate you.

Don’t make your influencer relationships purely transactional. Being a human is the easiest thing to do, but it goes a long way.

💡 Learn 10 no-fluff tactics to build solid influencer relationships.

10: Do automate workflows that don’t require human interaction instead

To focus on strengthening influencer relationships, you need time & energy. You can free up some by automating task management activities in influencer marketing. Every campaign you run will have more or less the same workflow:

  1. Influencer discovery
  2. Influencer outreach
  3. Influencer onboarding
  4. Influencer tracking
  5. Influencer payment

Depending on your strategy, this process may look more or less complicated. But it’s ultimately replicable work. Many influencer marketing platforms like Modash will come with in-bult capabilities to manage your projects. You don’t have to start from scratch every time you onboard a new creator or begin a new campaign.

For instance, using Modash’s monitoring tool, you can:

  • get alerted of missing ad disclosures
  • capture all influencer content (including Stories!)
  • connect to Shopify to track the performance of your influencer marketing campaigns automatically. 

The best part? You can do all of this and more without ever asking creators to authenticate their social profiles.

Nycole Hampton at GoodRx shares another example of how she automates influencer onboarding:

Nycole Hampton
Senior Marketing Director, GoodRx
We plug in different details. Things like content briefs attached, authentication instructions linked, etc. All creators authenticate into our platform so that it is automated but reporting and analysis is fully hands-on.

You’ll need to create individual creative briefs for different campaigns & creators, but you can automate the sending process. Similarly, you can also use software to send contracts, process invoices, and share deliverable deadlines.

If your influencer marketing software doesn’t do this for you (or if you don’t use one yet), you can always use a dedicated project management tool. Write down each step of the process from discovery to payment and notice the areas you can automate and/or duplicate.

💡 Learn 6 more influencer marketing tasks you can automate.

(Bonus) Do stay updated with the influencer marketing industry

Influencer marketing is constantly in “upgrade” mode. A brand tries something innovative, a creator’s partnership blows up, algorithms update, etc. Things keep evolving rapidly. You need to keep up with it to stay fresh and relevant.

I can hear you saying, “who has the time?!”

Enter: our newsletter, Return on Influence. We give you bite-sized insights into what’s happening in the influencer marketing industry each week. And it's not out of thin air: the actionable advice from influencer marketing experts & is paired with real-life examples. All this without the hour-long podcast or book-length blog. See the past editions and subscribe to learn along with us!

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Contributors to this article

Anna-Maria Klappenbach
Community & Brand Marketing Lead, Aumio
Currently at Aumio, Anna is an expert in all things brand & influencer marketing. She has experience running performance-driven influencer collabs in markets like DACH, UK, US & more.
Nycole Hampton
Senior Director of Marketing, GoodRx
Nycole is a seasoned marketer with nearly 20 years of experience, largely focused on social media, creator and content marketing. She has built and led social media, influencer and content marketing teams and practices within global agencies and in-house.
Emily Claire Hughes
Copywriter & Influencer Marketing Consultant, Emily Claire & Co.
After experience with in-house DTC influencer marketing, Emily now works with a range of female-founded brands to build on-brand influencer marketing programs and write persuasive copy.
Mike Newton
Influencer Marketing Strategist, Building Influence
Having previously led influencer marketing at Discord, Mike is now helping others to build their influencer program through his newsletter & brand, Building Influence.
Sarah Saffari
Founder at InfluencerNexus
Sarah is the founder of InfluencerNexus, an agency that crafts memorable stories, builds trust, and drives revenue through creator partnerships.

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