Once again, festival season is upon us… and, let’s face it, these days, festival season may as well be called influencer season. While Fyre Fest may have shaken our trust in influencer activations (though there were definitely some lessons to learn from the disaster), the fact is - there is no separating the two.
Whether or not your brand is involved with festival activations or events, there’s a good chance you’ll want to work with influencers at some point. After you’ve identified the influencers that make the most sense for your brand, you’ll need to take careful steps to make sure your engagement runs smoothly. Let’s break down some best practices for engaging an influencer to represent your brand, product or event:
Influencers get hundreds, if not thousands, of messages every day from brands seeking partnerships. Cut through the noise by taking the time to craft genuine, personalized outreach that outlines the unique creative inspiration behind your desired partnership and speaks to an authentic partnership between your brand and their persona.
We do recommend standardizing some elements of your outreach to ensure brand consistency and regulatory compliance. Include your relevant brand materials and make sure to stand firm on regulatory requirements (more on that later).
When communicating what you want or expect from your identified influencers, be sure to include very clear definitions of what a complete engagement looks like. Whether this is a desired quantity of posts, images or other creative elements, an interval of time that a post must remain live on their channels or some other quantifiable stipulation, clearly articulate expectations and requirements.
Where possible, include buy-in (i.e. signature or a written email) to indicate that both parties understand and agree upon what is expected. Hold your influencers accountable!
You chose the influencer for a reason - because they’ve built a loyal community that overlaps with your target audience by carefully developing an authentic persona that aligns with your brand. Let that persona shine! Don’t hold brand guidelines or preliminary concepts too dear.
The goal of influencer marketing is to capture a new or adjacent audience by appearing “naturally” within the influencer’s content, not to spam their page or wall with your specific creative. Don’t be afraid to make reasonable, small requests - but for the most part, let the influencer drive the creative process.
No, not the Grammy-winning UK deep house duo (though we do love them). Influencer marketing is facing increasing regulations by the powers that be, intended to protect consumers from being hoodwinked by disingenuous brand ambassadorship. Brands and influencers are now required to clearly disclose the commercial nature of their engagements.
The FTC’s idea of disclosure is simple: a post that has been a paid endorsement (whether by money or product) must be disclosed with the hashtags #Ad or #Sponsored. Alternatives are unacceptable.
The assumption that influencers simply got lucky or aren’t intentional about every move they make is largely foolish and reductive. It is important to treat these folks as legitimate business owners. Engaging an influencer is no different from engaging any other service provider.
If you communicate authentically when approaching influencers, set expectations and establish requirements when planning your engagement, let the influencer do the influencing and make sure your disclosures are in compliance with FTC regulations and you’ll be good to go!
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Bryce is a Strategist at Hawke Media. When he's not guiding clients along their growth paths, he's front-squatting with excellent form.