Can Influencer Marketing Backfire?

Influencer marketing is being touted as the golden tool in any brand’s marketing toolbox. It is foolproof and powerful, right? Well, the truth is that when a brand makes mistakes, influencer marketing can actually harm your brand and your business. Influencer marketing can in fact backfire.


Let’s look at some examples of how it can go wrong and how to avoid the mistakes that cause problems:

Too Many Influencers:

Having too many influencers promote your product/service can cause you to lose credibility.

For example: Have you ever noticed the same giveaway contest being held on Instagram by dozens of influencers? They’re all giving away the same package and promoting a contest.

It’s influencer marketing at its worst. The mistake, the brand has created a partnership with too many influencers for the same product. It causes you to lose credibility with your audience. Instead, hand pick a few (or even just one) influencer to promote your product. You’ll maintain credibility and build stronger online relationships.

Uncontrolled Content:

It’s quite possible that an influencer can go off script when talking about your brand or product and cause more harm than good. It’s happened to brands before and it can be damaging.

The mistake is not stipulating the content in your agreement with the influencer. Not having a strong enough relationship with the influencer also causes issues.

When choosing an influencer to work with, you cannot dive into everything head first. Make sure they understand your business and branding. Ensure they are a perfect extension to your company.

Wrong Influencer:

It may sound ridiculous, but some brands create agreements with influencers that are outside of their audience or niche. It’s like putting a NASCAR ad on Martha Stewart’s website. It just doesn’t make sense.

When engaging in influencer marketing, do your research. There are many ways you can find the right influencers. From a database to researching who your competitor is using, there are options. Choosing an influencer who is in your niche and has a similar audience to yours is imperative. Otherwise, you are throwing away money.


In the past few years, many brands have gotten in trouble with content that came across to their audience as insensitive. Pepsi and Kendall Jenner, Katie Price and Snickers. Bad timing can possibly be at the center of it all.

An influencer can get in trouble with their audience for something they’ve said and done, and your content can get caught in the middle of it. Do your research, plan well, and stay on top of your brand mentions online. It’s the best way to control your reputation and your influencer marketing results. Influencer marketing can absolutely backfire, but it’s less likely to when you are strategic with your efforts.

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Anthony Santiago is Director of Marketing at Newswire. With over a decade of experience in PR, he helps ensure that clients understand the value brand messaging and reach.

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