In February 2019, we posted how it’s time for brands to release content control and empower influencers. We highlighted that when working with content creators, brands have to let go and allow influencers control of the narrative. This helps to preserve the authenticity of what is being communicated. Otherwise, it becomes a branded message, not an influencer’s authentic message. The power of influencers is strongest in a brand’s digital marketing plan when trust is extended. Find Your Influence offers three rules for brands and agencies to consider when reviewing influencers content
Influencers Know Their Audience Better Than You Do
Influencers are often hand-picked by a brand or agency based on specific criteria. Consideration is also given to an influencer’s voice, tone, style, and the target market they reach. They are the experts of their personal brand and know what will engage and inspire their audience.
Influencer marketing campaigns tend to focus on brand awareness and top of the funnel marketing. When a brand is looking to engage a micro influencer or a celebrity endorsement, they are most interested in the followers of that specific individual. Engaging an instagram influencer is important but the value is in the millions of views followers can generate. No one knows an influencers followers better than the influencer themself. They’ve spent years curating content that not only engages but attracts new audiences.
From a quality perspective when reviewing influencers content, expect an influencer to create content that is aligned with their day-to-day vibe. Audiences are most engaged when they consume content they feel is authentic.
Think of Brand Guidelines as Guard Rails
Before starting any influencer campaign, it’s critical to share brand guidelines and a campaign brief with all participating influencers. To create authentic digital content, influencers need to understand the goals of the campaign and the boundaries where they can operate. Once an influencer reviews the guidelines and campaign brief, agrees to payment terms and signs a contract, brands should avoid changes outside of what has already been agreed upon.
Not all influencers are necessarily professional writers and therefore they may not adhere to journalism standards. As you review influencers content, edits made to any spelling or grammar errors are understandable. However, it’s important that brands refrain from making edits to anything that alters the influencer’s natural tone, voice, and writing style. During a content review period, brands can offer edits as suggestions. More often than not, influencers will create content that meets all of the brand requirements.
If there are specific guidelines for imagery, these should be included in the brand guidelines or the campaign brief. Both brands and influencers want the campaign to be successful. Campaign imagery should often be left to the influencer’s discretion unless they are provided with clear instructions and/or inclusion requirements. Some influencers hire professional photographers to deliver high-quality imagery alongside their content. Something to be mindful of when it comes to compensation, edits, and timelines.
Set a Schedule and Stick to It
Similar to other marketing programs, branded content campaigns will have a start date and an end date. When a brand sets a timeline for content creation by the influencer, it’s important for the brand to review and approve influencer content according to a timeline as well.
If an influencer plans to engage a professional photographer, that additional time to hire, schedule and edit images needs to be considered. If a brand is working with FYI Studios to produce commercial-quality video content, the timeline will include concepting, first video draft and final edited video.
Executing influencer marketing campaigns can be as easy as you make it. Most brands select influencers based on their personal brand. Give them some guidelines and set them free. Remember, you’re not paying for an advertisement, you’re paying for influence.