Influencers have become popular because of their ability to relate to an audience and convey messaging that is real and authentic. People naturally love to put a face to a name and when they can associate someone they like in real life to a brand they’re interested in, they’re more likely to buy.
In our chaotic consumer climate today, authenticity is more important than ever. Brands are constantly under attack if their values don’t line up with the products their selling and vice versa. Maintaining brand integrity while leveraging influencer marketing is vital and that’s why partnering with authentic brand advocates is key.
Here are the best practices you should follow when launching your next influencer marketing campaign.
1. Set Aside Time for Quality Assurance
Consumers are born skeptics, this rings true with influencer marketing. That’s why you must check, double check and triple check that the influencer you’re looking to partner with aligns with your brands values. Each influencer is developing their own brand and online personality, so be sure to familiarize yourself with their content.
Choose someone that is actually passionate about the cause you're advocating for or the product line you’re selling. Influencers are experts at reaching niche groups and speaking to them authentically, so if you’re looking to promote your latest all organic line, partner with an influencer who is passionate about organic products. Making sure your brand values align with the influencer’s lifestyle will save you from a disaster.
Secondly, vet for quality content and ensure their messaging is on target with your brand. Does the influencer speak openly about controversial topics, is their audience commenting positively on their posts, does their previous content appear thoughtful and high quality? These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself before you associate your brand with an influencer.
2. Create a List of Do’s and Don’ts
Give it to them straight. The good influencers are the busy ones, that’s why it can be extremely helpful to include a brand “do’s” and “don’ts” guide. Do you want them to say your company’s name in the live video or is there any trademark details they should be aware of?
Be straightforward and don’t leave them guessing on what they should or shouldn’t say. Allow them to use the guide as a checklist they can reference while creating branded content.
3. Give them the Inside Scoop.
Let them get to know you. Another way to ensure your brand integrity is maintained through influencer campaigns is to include documents that give insight into your brand’s vision and what you wish to accomplish with this partnership. Express what values you hold as a company and what makes you unique. This insight will allow the influencer to create a more thoughtful and authentic campaign. Additionally, it gives the influencer an idea of what you stand for and whether or not they stand for the same thing.
4. Start Small
When beginning a new partnership, test the waters with a small campaign to decide if the influencer is a good fit for your brand and future campaigns. This strategy will minimize the risk of an influencer reflecting badly on your brand. Run a short trial period where you closely monitor what audiences are saying and how effectively the influencer is able to share their story.
5. Trust the Process
By this point, you’ve vetted the influencer to ensure their values align with your brand, laid out the do’s and don’ts, conveyed your vision, and successfully launched a small campaign. Now it’s time to sit back, let them fly and trust the process. Have confidence that you chose an influencer that will represent your brand authentically while maintaining your integrity and let them lead the way. Influencers are popular among their audience because they are relatable to that niche group, so allow them the creative freedom to create content that they know will resonate with their audience.
Loosen the reigns and stray away from using scripted messages that are overly promotional, consumers will sniff out ad copy before you ever get started. Allow your influencer to truthfully share their experience, an impactful campaign is one with an authentic story from a real brand ambassador.
Lastly, don’t look for quick results or fast money and abandon the true beauty of influencer marketing, the relationship between ambassador and brand. You’ll be more successful the longer your influencer relationships are. Use influencers consistently, repetition leads to familiarity which leads to results with more audiences.
Influencer marketing is an effective way to leverage your brand above the noise, but your first priorities should always be maintaining your integrity and choosing influencers with an authentic story to share.