The Do’s and Don’ts of Influencer Marketing

Working with influencers doesn't have to be so hard. Here are the ground rules.

I could write a whole novel of all the influencer marketing horror stories out there. Visit any active marketing Facebook group and you are bound to find multiple examples of brands complaining about their experiences with influencers.

That’s not to say influencer marketing doesn’t work. Far from it.

It’s to say that to really do influencer marketing well, you’ve got to know what you’re doing. 

To understand the landscape better, follow the below Do’s and Don’ts before you embark on your next influencer marketing campaign:

Do:

Have a clear Influencer Marketing Campaign strategy: That means, know exactly who your audience is, know what your marketing objectives are, know your KPI’s, know exactly what type of content and campaigns you want to run, and know your timeline.  Hiring an influencer on the whim without any strategic planning is going to backfires spectacularly – and potentially cost you a lot of wasted money.

Curate a list of influencers to work with: With the key focus here being quality, not quantity. Your influencers should have a strong relationship with the audience you want to target.

Draft agreements with your influencers (and sign them!): This is the key to effective communication between you and your influencers. This agreement needs to cover everything from the creative brief, proposed posting dates and ownership rights to the content.

Create detailed briefs for your influencers: The content created by the influencer needs to be a perfect match between their brand and yours. Give them as much guidelines as possible to ensure they are creating content that is consistent with your brand and your campaign objective.

Measure your campaign metrics: Admittedly, this is difficult. There are many KPI’s to consider, not just your ROI. The traffic, social media following, and social engagement are all just as important and valuable metrics to your brand.

Keep your expectations realistic: Influencer marketing is very effective when done correctly but to become an overnight success solely from an influencer marketing campaign is unrealistic. Brands that have used influencer marketing successfully understand that it’s an ongoing marketing strategy to be employed regularly and frequently, not a once-off opportunity.

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Don’t:

Choose your influencers based on social following alone: it’s easy for ‘influencers’ to purchase followers to build their numbers. It’s also possible to purchase likes and comments to drive up engagement. So the key thing to look for is high engagement that is real. There are many tools out there to help you filter this, including our favourite from Influencer Marketing Hub

Expect every influencer to jump at the chance to work with you: Influencers are business people with a strong brand, meaning they care just as much as you do about their audience. If they don’t feel you align with their brand or provide value for their audience, they will say no.

Limit the creativity of the influencers: While a creative brief is important, it’s just as important to allow the influencer to use their own creative skill to create the content for you. This includes written content, such as captions. Of course you can request certain hashtags or phrases to be included, but allow the influencer to write it in their words. Their audience expects it.

Rely solely on one influencer: Don’t expect your business to skyrocket overnight thanks to one macro-influencer. Sure, some have that magic effect but generally speaking, use a variety of influencers to have a more rounded, successful campaign.

Hire influencers last minute: This is another form of stifling the influencer’s creativity. Respect the work of the influencer by giving them ample opportunity to create their best content. Many influencers spend a significant amount of time creating their content and if you send your product or creative brief too late, then expect a rushed job.

Expect influencers to promote your brand for free: While gifting can work effectively, it’s a risky tactic. An influencer is not obliged to post about a product you send them for free. I field numerous requests daily from brands wanting to send their products to our influencers for free in exchange for a post, and seem genuinely surprised when I inform them that we do not guarantee a post in exchange. As a general rule, always give influencers a chance to try your products or services first before hiring them. 

Treat influencer marketing as a sales tool: It is first and foremost a marketing tool. The sales aspect, i.e. the conversion, is totally reliant on you. To rely solely on the number of conversions or sales you make from your influencer campaign is misguided and unfortunate.

At the end of the day, there needs to be a mutual respect between brands and influencers. Keep your communication high, respect the hard work influencers do and always start with the end in mind.