Influencer marketing, while still an up and coming division of the total market of digital marketing, is continuing to be a staple in any marketer’s toolbox to capture a valuable and intentionally built audience.
From festival season, a new brand roll out, or just a larger brand play in general, a cohesive influencer marketing approach can be a useful addition to your mix. Let’s break down some best practices for engaging an influencer to represent your brand, product, or event:
1- Explicit Consent
In this age of privacy terms and data breaches, it is more important than ever to ensure that you have clear and consistent practices in place, and that everyone involved is clear on them as well. Ensure that you have written consent from everyone that you are working with, especially if you’re intending to use or repurpose their content in future campaigns or materials. Even a simple, “Yes, you can use my IG post!” in a DM can save you a lot of headache in the long run and will ensure that you have a continued relationship with anyone and everyone you work with.
2 – Personalized Outreach
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).
3 – Clear Scope of Work
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!
4 – Let the Influencer Be the Creative Director
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.
5 – Disclosure
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! If you need additional assistance with approaching influencers, Hawke Media provides a team of influencer marketing pros that can help. Just fill out the free consultation form below.