Tips & Pitfalls to Avoid for Successful Swiss Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Don’t forget the Swiss audience!

When building strategy and tactics for influencer marketing campaigns, it’s important to be aware of common pitfalls and to have plans in place if disaster should strike. After all, forewarned is forearmed. Knowledge is power. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into how to analyze and build an approach for success, to both achieve your goals and avoid stumbles.

Metrics to Monitor

There are many metrics you can review in order to assess the efficacy of your social media efforts. Building upon that foundation, we’ll address what to monitor specifically to look for red flags, so you can pull a circuit breaker and stop any campaigns that may be ineffective at best or damaging at worst.

Fake Followers: A high quantity of followers on social media means access to a large audience. Of course, not if that “high quantity” consists of fake bot followers. Unfortunately, fake followers, like spam, are inevitable. A few signs to help determine if followers are potentially bots include:

  • Globally dispersed followers
  • Lack of engagement
  • Comments that consist entirely of emojis
  • Generic comments such as, “I like this post”

However, don’t let the presence of some bot followers eliminate an influencer from your consideration. There’s no precise way to know with certainty if followers are bots, and there’s no specific formula to measure how many bots you should tolerate before rejecting an influencer.

Selected Influencers: Avoid IM landmines by making influencer matches as perfect as possible. Influencer choice must align with your brand’s message and values, as well as your campaign objectives. When you conduct due diligence, also be on the lookout for influencers who might have the potential to offend your audience, or who are prone to impulsive or deliberately shocking actions. Working with an influencer marketing agency can also help avoid disasters, since agencies conduct extensive research prior to doing business with any brand or influencer.

Target Audience: If you’re a Swiss business working to earn Swiss customers, it might go without saying that you need to reach a Swiss audience. Examine the followers of influencers you’re considering, and don’t just assume all influencers based in Switzerland have many Swiss followers. Additionally, look for an overlap between your target customer audience and the influencer’s followers, for demographics such as age group, background, and interests.

Languages: Swiss brands often need coverage of French, Italian, and German, depending on their objectives and focus. This creates important questions and decisions to be made for brands in terms of which languages to communicate in, where and when. What is crucial is to address your audiences in a way that they feel personally addressed and maintain a consistent approach over time.  Even when there’s shared language, there are still colloquialisms to consider. For example, “getting pissed,” has quite different connotations for Americans versus Brits, (angry versus drunk.)

Regionalization of Messaging: Knowledge of the local culture and history can help you be more impactful and successful, as well as avoid potential disasters. In most cases above points can be addressed to a degree by working with the right mix of influencers who have a focus on specific regions – perhaps because they are from or live in the region – and languages. 

Avoid Cultural Missteps

As described by Fast Company, “Say the words ‘Kendall Jenner’ and ‘Pepsi’ and people know… This is at the top of just about every Worst Ad list and will be for a long, long time.” Such catastrophes should be avoidable with a hearty dose of common sense, combined with a diversity of perspectives. Those perspectives should include plenty of local insight, both fluency in the local language and knowledge of local customs.

In May of 2020, Volkswagen posted a clip on Instagram of a black man who is pushed around by a white hand and finally flicked into a shop called “Petit Colon,” which translates to “Little Colonist.” The car maker was reluctant at first to recognize the error, but ultimately described the video as tasteless and promised to clarify the situation.

Swiss organic bratbutter Migros produced containers with the Italian text, “Burro per arrostire svizzeri,” which means something like “butter to fry the Swiss.” A tasty chop was depicted directly above this cannibalistic sentence.

Conduct Due Diligence

Making ideal influencer matches is an important step in avoiding trouble. Influencer choice must align with your brand’s message and values, as well as your campaign objectives. There must be a clear link between your brand and the person in order to keep your IM campaigns real. Authenticity is always a good best practice, and by working with credible influencers who use and genuinely like your products, you can drive engagement while avoiding backlash due to compromised trust.

When you conduct due diligence, also be on the lookout for influencers who might have the potential to offend your audience, or who are prone to impulsive or deliberately shocking actions. An agency can be particularly helpful in making influencer matches, as well as negotiating terms, executing contracts, and managing projects over time to ensure high quality and brand reputation.

In addition to the fit between your brand and an influencer, consider brands they’ve promoted in the past. A sustainability brand such as Greenpeace might want to avoid influencers who’ve previously collaborated with non-sustainable brands.

Give Influencers a Precise Briefing, But as Much Freedom as You Can

To make influencer marketing effective, it must align with your key brand messages. For your influencer partners to accomplish this, they must understand those messages. Success begins with giving influencers and content creators a clear briefing. Not only must they understand the messages, but the entire scope of the project, including the processes for approval prior to posting, and details such as hashtags and URLs to include.

Let influencers do what they do best. Give direction without putting them in a box. While influencers are an effective vehicle for connecting to your audience, they can also contribute their subject matter expertise and collaborate with you to develop creative campaign ideas. As subject matter experts, they’re uniquely qualified to help your brand be more creative, bringing fresh, creative ideas.

Many Swiss brands tend to keep their marketing efforts centered on traditional initiatives. Influencer marketing can help serve as a catalyst to breathe fresh air into your marketing mix. Even those brands that already have a unique, creative approach have found influencer marketing to be a particularly successful addition.

Plan for Contingencies

Finally, make sure your influencers know your contingency plans if things go wrong. The only thing worse than bad news is bad news late. Influencers should know to immediately inform the brand of backlash so you can proceed with your existing crisis management plans.

Swiss-Specific Support

As a Swiss company, we also wanted to share some tips that are unique to Switzerland.

Remain Politically Neutral. Of course, this is safest since there’s no risk of alienating those with differing views, but it’s also considered polite to keep political views private. This is in stark contrast to the US, where all influencers and celebrities are expected to be left-oriented.

Express a Sense of Community. Many influencers are proud of the canton/area they’re from and freely express it. Such pride is common and also helps influencers connect with fellow canton residents.

Consider Varying Platform Popularity. The relative popularity of platforms in Switzerland doesn’t always align directly with global usage. For example, while Twitter is one of the “established giants,” it’s not widely used in Switzerland. Additionally, Twitch doesn’t have many Swiss users, although you may want to consider it to reach a niche audience.

Manage Expectations. The total population of Germany is nearly 10 times larger than that of Switzerland, and France is almost 8 times larger. It’s important to keep these numbers in mind, since the community size of Swiss influencers is therefore smaller. Fortunately, Swiss communities are very responsive and engaging, especially if the influencer speaks in their native dialect. The smaller quantity of Swiss influencers who offer high-quality content helps their audience remain engaged and loyal.

Keep your Eyes on Performance at all Times 

Too often brands measure the wrong metrics or measure the right ones but from the wrong point of view. Often absolute numbers or topline metrics like ‘followers’ or ‘website visitors’ tell you very little about how you are really performing. A more nuanced measurement is required involving qualitative and quantitative angles combined. The most common social media metrics that are worth monitoring include:

  • Total followers and audience growth 
  • Impressions & reach per post or campaign
  • Engagement (Likes, shares, comments, etc.)
  • Click-Through-Rate
  • Share of voice: volume and sentiment
  • ROI

Through it all, stay focused on how your metrics are trending, and how they compare to your individual goals. Pay close attention to engagement, which is one of the most important metrics. When a person has actually engaged with your content, they have absorbed your message and the content created a moment for them. Those moments matter because the more positive moments you achieve, the more people will feel connected to your brand.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing