The Marketer’s Guide to Working with Digital Influencers

The Marketer’s Guide to Working with Digital Influencers

By Taylor Saputo

Influencer marketing is here to stay. While putting your brand and advertising efforts into the hands of someone else seems like a big risk, when executed correctly, the results can be monumental. According to a 2016 study by Digiday, 47% of adults ranging from ages 18-24 use an ad blocker when searching the web. Given that nearly half of all users in this age group are not interacting with traditional forms of digital advertising, it’s critical for brands to begin experimenting with other forms of advertising.

So, what is influencer marketing ? Global Yodel Media Group defines influencer marketing as “promoting and selling products or services through people (influencers) who have the capacity to have an effect on the character of a brand.” Digital influencers have a network of loyal “followers” who look to them for advice on everything from what boots they should buy for the fall, to reviews of the latest and greatest tech product, much like traditional celebrity endorsements. While many have a large enough following to grant them that “celebrity” title, they come across as more relatable by working with brands that are an authentic fit with their lifestyle. If you’re ready to take the plunge and explore what influencer marketing can do for your brand, here are five must-know tips to help you get started:

1. Identify Your Target Audience
Whether you turn to a blog post, YouTube video, or a social media post, it’s important to consider the platform that will most easily reach your brand’s target demographic, and lead to the greatest ROI. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind what each of these platforms can offer. On Instagram, for instance, an influencer can’t insert a direct link back to their website or product page within their post. However, if Instagram is something your brand is highly focused on, having your brand’s page tagged within an influencer’s photo can encourage interaction with your brand’s own social account.

2. Only Work With Influencers Whose Voice Matches Your Brand
From the name, values, goals, and portrayal in the public eye, it’s vital to stay consistent with your brand every step of the way. When working with digital influencers, making sure their voice, values, and online presence falls in line with your brand’s is imperative. Social media behavior says a lot about who we are, what we place importance on, and what we desire to spend our time and money on. By checking out content, captions, and other brands they choose to partner with, you’ll get a good sense of whether there is potential for strong brand alignment – and be able to avoid situations where there isn’t.

3. Negotiate All Terms of the Contract Upfront and Stick to Them
Stakeholders carefully discuss the terms and contractual obligations of an advertising deal upfront. Running a sponsored campaign with influencers isn’t any different. From compensation to exclusivity, image and caption requirements to post previews, it’s important to reach contractual agreement on these details upfront. This will leave little room for error or delay as the live date for the campaign approaches. Creating timelines in advance is also crucial. This allows for both sides of the partnership to be held accountable and cognizant of influencer’s editorial calendars.

4. Don’t Get Caught without FTC Disclosures!
The most widely broken rule when it comes to influencer marketing is not disclosing when a post is sponsored. Indeed, it’s imperative to follow the FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines to avoid any negative implications to differentiate whether a product is shared organically by an influencer or the influencer is being paid to endorse. A few key rules: an influencer must disclose sponsorship within the first few lines of their post, and always include #ad or #sponsored in the copy. In April, the FTC sent out over 90 letters to influencer’s directly regarding unclear disclosure. So, make sure all disclosure rules are addressed up front (ideally in the contract), and you’ll be in the clear.

5. Remember that This is Their Job, Too
The single most important thing to keep in mind when working with digital influencers is that this is their livelihood. While it’s not your typical 9-5, influencers are savvy entrepreneurs that have strategically built their personal brands from the ground up. While it’s easy to want to manage every aspect of their posts during a campaign, it’s important to trust that they know their audience the best, and will create authentic content that will resonate with their networks (besides, nobody wants to see a bunch of canned captions while scrolling through their feeds). Conducting business in a professional and positive way, as you would with any other form of advertising, will bring you the results you want.

What are your tips for a successful digital influencer marketing campaign? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @LaunchSquad

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