Council Post: Influencer Campaigns: Considerations When Choosing Creatives


Dian Griesel is a perception analyst, author & President of Dian Griesel Int’l. She blogs as @SilverDisobedience & is a Wilhelmina Model.

Is your influencer marketing program boosting your brand or blemishing it? As influencer marketing campaigns continue to evolve and many brands are allocating more resources to these programs, it is important to evaluate whether brand partners are not only generating ROI but also positively impacting brand value. At the same time, influencers need to maintain their authenticity so they can continue to grow their communities — which, no matter who you are, can be quite fickle.

Since I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, I’ve gleaned unique insights on how to satisfy the goals of agencies, brands and influencers. I have spent the last 27 years advising hundreds of public company CEOs on material business decisions, including marketing campaigns and reputation management. I have seen how company partnerships with the right key opinion leaders, particularly in healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry, can positively transform a company’s reputation and share of voice.

At the same time, I host an active community and personal growth movement, Silver Disobedience, founded on the principle of living agelessly. Silver Disobedience started as a space where I shared my reflections on aging. Via community demand, it has evolved into a “what I know now and what I wish I knew then” discussion, and the loyal following continues to grow. My style as a long-form creative was not typical three years ago when I began and didn’t really follow the “traditional” formula. Still, many global brands have sought partnerships with me.

Drawing on that experience, here are key factors to consider when selecting influencers to partner with for your campaigns. 

Peer Into Their Profiles

Truly understanding an influencer’s background is important — and I don’t mean just the basics of age and location. It may feel like a waste of time to deeply vet people for one-off brand mentions and nominal fees, particularly as brands are focused on rapid growth and building a wide network of affiliates, but not doing so can be risky. We’ve seen over the years — particularly in 2020 — that public opinions, even due to the seemingly harmless actions of a person living life the way they want on social media, can change a reputation overnight. Aligned brands, even if the relationship is no longer active, then must contend with how to address these situations so that any equity built is not diminished and public trust remains intact. As such, my recommendation for brands is to vet each influencer as you would a celebrity, executive or spokesperson requiring a large budget. Evaluate past posts — was there anything cringeworthy related to current events? Did the influencer make good choices with their reposts? Did they have to explain away commentary or photos that may have been open to misinterpretation?

The best influencer for global brands realizes that while the majority of their followers may be within a certain demographic (e.g., mine are largely age 48 and older), there is no one-size-fits-all viewpoint. An influencer who inserts themselves into controversial conversations without considering nuance, or merely disregards perceptions, may obtain more views and clicks at the moment but may ultimately lose followers and jeopardize relationships with those who don’t agree.

Expect High Engagement

Does “the more the merrier” hold true when it comes to followers? While marketers understand that not everyone can be a Kardashian (and that not every campaign requires a Kardashian to have an impact), numbers are meaningful for decision making. Having a certain size audience may satisfy certain measurement metrics, but working with an influencer who knows the value of engagement will likely deliver greater returns on investment. Evaluate the number of comments, who is commenting and what they are writing. Are an influencer’s followers’ comments generic, or do they show a connection with the content? Are they tagging others because of connection and appreciation for the content, or are they tagging them because they’re entering a giveaway that requires this temporary action? Can influencers show that they ultimately contributed to a brand’s bottom line or positively enhanced the brand’s image? Look for an influencer who fosters a genuine, positive conversation and who intimately knows who their followers are — even if they’ve never met — because the audience feels comfortable being open and sharing in the discussion. 

Seek To Feel Special

While it is important to vet the influencers you want to partner with, it is also equally important for influencers to do the same for brands. A growing influencer may be pained to say no to offers from brands, but selectivity may be beneficial for long-term growth. Influencers will want to be mindful of the right balance between editorial content and advertising because without the right mix, followers will likely become less trusting and less engaged. As a brand, be willing to pay a premium for more exclusive positioning. 

Further, ensure that influencers use discretion when agreeing to promote a product or brand that they do not use nor believe in, as followers are typically adept at knowing what’s authentic and what feels scripted. And doing so may even be considered against Federal Trade Commission regulations.

Remember The Regulations

As regulations and rules surrounding disclosure of partnerships through social media continue to evolve, brands will be a step ahead by working with influencers who understand the need to closely follow these rules and regulations. This goes beyond the FTC — the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also has rules that brands and influencers need to be mindful of. Likewise, if promoting a health or wellness product, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines surrounding claims may also need to be addressed. Therefore, working with an influencer who has a background in these areas can help to mitigate the risk of any regulatory blunders.

A Win-Win Relationship

Look for influencers who know not only how to build a following but also how to truly be good business partners. Doing so can ensure a win-win — a long-term symbiotic relationship that delivers benefits for both of you.


Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?




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