How to avoid Shiny Object Syndrome to achieve influencer marketing success

A hand writing on a blackboard with INFLUENCE IS POWER written on it in stylized text, framed by a design of cogs and lightbulbs.

PewDiePie is the latest casualty in influencer marketing, and many companies are taking note.

You can use the recent PewDiePie meltdown to better vet your current and future influencers and avoid “Shiny Object Syndrome”, something that Disney and YouTube are unfortunately learning the hard way.

Jack Nicas of The Wall Street Journal noted, “YouTube canceled its top star’s show … over his anti-Semitic jokes, complicating its efforts to court television advertisers while also retaining its edgy video stars.”

Disney and YouTube are the latest victims of Shiny Object Syndrome in influencer marketing. Do they deserve the bad press over PewDiePie’s latest videos? In some ways, yes – since they failed to connect their mission and goals with their influencer marketing strategy.

Are you properly vetting your influencers? Are you reading influencer content? Do you know the common pitfalls of Shiny Object Syndrome in influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing boosts brand awareness and social visibility

The community that influencers have can certainly impact your brand awareness and social visibility efforts. And maximizing your overall marketing strategy with influencer marketing can build rapport and authenticity with a new audience.

According to a report by Nielsen, 92 percent of your potential customers trust recommendations from people rather than from brands directly. This is a clear call to action for your future influencer marketing campaign.

Influencer marketing is trending among marketers and companies both large and small. Did you know that 84 percent of marketers plan to utilize an influencer marketing campaign this year?

However, there is a right way to take advantage of a new target audience, and a wrong way. Falling victim to Shiny Object Syndrome in influencer marketing can do far more harm than good.

A synthetic model of Gollum from The Lord of the Rings.

Shiny object syndrome in influencer marketing

The fast-paced marketing world we live in often causes companies and marketers to make poor choices. Falling victim to Shiny Object Syndrome in influencer marketing can be the result.

“At its core, shiny object syndrome (SOS) is a disease of distraction, and it affects entrepreneurs specifically because of the qualities that make them unique,” explains Jayson Demers of Entrepreneur.

Do you suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome? It’s easy to do. If global companies like Disney can fall victim to Shiny Object Syndrome, you can too. Especially since the stakes for boosting brand awareness and social visibility are higher than they’ve ever been.

For example, Disney saw YouTube influencer PewDiePie as a shiny marketing gem. But Disney was blinded by short-term social visibility and lost sight of long-term brand responsibility.

And Disney is certainly not the only company to build an influencer marketing campaign with only analytics and bottom line in mind.

Do you vet your influencers properly?

A poorly developed influencer marketing vetting process can be the first mistake companies make. You may simply hear about a YouTube sensation and reach out blindly. However, influencer marketing is all about cultivating relationships.

“Influencers become inextricably tied to brands that advertise with them,” says Devon Wijesinghe, CEO of InsightPool. “Whether or not you work with them for paid marketing or happen to advertise on their videos, the standard of vetting should only be getting higher.”

Boosting brand awareness and social visibility via influencers simply needs to be done with diligence.You can combine the above key influencer metrics with personality metrics to build a powerful influencer vetting process.

It is vital to do your research. This is accomplished by reading influencer content, watching videos, and having multiple touch points to get a feel for the person who will be representing your brand.

Three vital influencer marketing pitfalls to avoid

There are three vital pitfalls you absolutely need to avoid when crafting an influencer marketing campaigns. You certainly want to boost authenticity and scale as fast as you can, but doing things haphazardly could result in Shiny Object Syndrome, among other brand banishing issues.

1. Authenticity

Brands want to build rapport, be cool and timely, and do it all as fast as possible. Speed, however, can be very counterintuitive when cultivating true authenticity in your influencer marketing campaign.

You want to seek out and partner with influencers that support your brand’s mission and goals. Read, and reread their content and social posts, no matter how long it takes. Watch YouTube videos and be sure to do a thorough Google search of the influencer.

If you come across any questionable content not aligned with your brand, or if you have doubts about their true authenticity, simply move on. There are far too many influencers out there to take a risky chance.

“When you do identify the right potential influencer, spend some time looking at his or her previous posts and check out newer posts carefully to see what kind of engagement they experience,” suggests Jonathan Long of Entrepreneur.

2. Scalability

An influencer’s community and reach based on analytics is important to note. But you should always think quality over quantity. Falling into the “number of followers” trap is an indicator of Shiny Object Syndrome in influencer marketing.

Instead, look at influencer relevancy and the quality of audience engagement they receive per post. This will allow you to really evaluate the value of a potential influencer/brand relationship. After all, influencers with 50,000 follower in your niche may prove more powerful than any social media sensation with millions of fans.

“As the strategy grows, micro-influencers will likely be more successful—with higher conversion rates—as they better maintain their authenticity, avoiding the celebrity status that is beginning to accompany well-known influencers,” suggests Deborah Weinswig of Forbes.

3. Remember the “Tortoise and the Hare?”

Developing content at lightning speed is a common mistake many brands and marketers make. This results in Influencer partnerships without passion, and your audience will notice.

Inauthentic content, brand messaging, and a missed opportunity for reaching your target audience can all be the result of Shiny Object Syndrome in influencer marketing. Remember the Tortoise and the Hare. You may not see an overnight impact on followers by gearing down, but you will see more conversions.

Children's book illustration of the fable The Hare and the Tortoise, depicting the tortoise just ahead of the hare in the race, which is racing to catch up.

Slow and steady ensures powerful results and keeps you out of a sticky influencer marketing news story. Boost brand awareness and social visibility by leveraging an influencer marketing campaign without Shiny Object Syndrome. By pairing quality and quantity, you will cultivate those long-term influencer relationships that churn out success, not scandal.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer and online marketing professional who has been in the business for over a decade. She is the founder of Gryffin Media.

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