Influencer marketing, when used correctly, can help increase brand awareness, drive actions and/or boost sales in almost every industry, generating up to 11 times the ROI of banner ads. It also involves a company ceding control of a portion of its messaging and trusting nearly total strangers with a brand’s reputation.
Below, three tips to help put your mind at ease when deploying influencers.
Set strategy and goals
Don’t charge into an influencer campaign blindly, or you’ll be wasting valuable impressions and throwing money into the digital void. First, as you would do at the start of nearly every PR effort, carefully consider your goals, and how best to achieve them. Are you seeking to increase brand awareness, drive referrals to your website or generate product sales?
Tailor your influencer strategy to end goals, and you’ll make the most bang for your buck.
Keep in mind that influencers essentially are brand ambassadors–the face of your product. Research each influencer-candidate carefully before committing. Keep in mind the mantra “relevance, reach and reputation” when creating a list of potential partners.
When it comes to reach, one rule of thumb is 10,000 or more subscribers per influencer. That said, niche subject matter and technical jargon won’t do well when blasted to the masses. Micro-influencers with relatively small but loyal followers might be a better investment in such cases. Be sure to weigh total reach against audience engagement and the effectiveness of social platforms involved.
The ideal influencer should be talking about your industry or product before you engage with her. In addition, she should have followers who are highly invested in her content.
Remember, maintaining your relationship with influencers is just as important as that first email.
You might have read horror stories across PR trades and mass media about influencers failing to meet regulations. Kim Kardashian left out the side effects of pharmaceutical products in her Instagram posts, while Terrie McEvoy rigged a sponsored contest so that friends of hers won the prizes.
There’s little to be afraid of, though, particularly if you make sure your influencers are following government regulations. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has clear rules about influencer marketing, as do many agencies that match influencers with companies. Make sure you or your influencer agency are overseeing regulations and that influencers are ticking all of the FTC’s boxes.
Have a contract
It’s a good idea to go over FTC guidelines and your expectations long before an influencer’s posts ever go live. Many firms lay out a contract with influencers at the outset of a relationship. Some agreements emphasize the company’s right to approve all content associated with its name. At a minimum, make certain you have something in writing that spells out your expectations of the influencer.
Simply put, honesty is the best policy. Generation Z cares about body positivity, social activism, and working for their own success, among other ‘authentic’ traits–more so than other demographics, according to research by Barkley. Be as honest as possible, lay out your expectations, and you’ll reduce the chances of surprises.
Georgia Dawson is a manager at Grammatik Agency in London