Influencer Marketing Dos and Don’ts — From Influencers
Brands are working with a new breed of celebrity endorsers — the Internet “influencer.” Usually followed by consumers for expertise on a certain topic, these influencers have large audiences who marketers would like to reach. To that end, marketers pay influencers to endorse their brands. Here’s some advice for brands, straight from the influencers.
Corbett Drummey is the co-founder and CEO of Popular Pays, a platform that connects brands with social media creators to collaborate on content. He recently interviewed three influencers his company matches with marketers.
“Influencer marketing is being hailed as the next big thing in the marketing world; particularly as consumers continue to block ads with great enthusiasm, and simultaneously turn to their social networks to inspire their purchases of everything from fashion to food to home goods,” Drummey says.
He interviewed “Popular Pays Creators with fervent Instagram followings — to learn the dos and don’ts of running a campaign and avoiding a significant challenge.”
Though he and the creators didn’t mention it, it’s important to note that influencers need to disclose paid endorsements. If there’s a complaint that an influencer didn’t disclose a paid endorsement, the brand may be liable.
What’s the Biggest Mistake You See Brands Make When Running Influencer Marketing Campaigns?
McHugh: I think sometimes brands just look at your "numbers" and assume your audience will automatically be interested in their product. Aligning with the right influencer that’s … an aesthetic fit is the way to go.
Litman: Infringing on the influencer's creativity — so many brands have strict guidelines that inhibit the influencer to do what they do best: create unique, organic content. I'm all
for posts being on-brand, but when the guidelines have 10 different rules to follow, it's a bit tough to come up with something unique and creative that works for both the company's brand, and the influencer's personal one.
Williams: I often apply for gigs with brands who only pick influencers that have a “cookie-cutter” fit into their brand. I think they should cast a wider net. First, their content will stand out in my feed in a way will catch a viewer’s eye, but would ultimately tie in. Also, they would be getting exposure to an audience who might not otherwise see their content. [She posts a ton of color foodie content.] A good example of this is me incorporating a fashion brand into my feed, wearing their clothing in a photo where I am standing in a restaurant or with a chef. It’s integrated advertising that has a great balance of the organic mixed with the information that consumers need.
How Do You Keep a Sponsored Post From Coming Off as ‘Spammy’?
McHugh: I often spend more time thinking through the verbiage of my captions than I do coming up with an image concept, for precisely that reason. For myself, when I see other content that doesn’t look organic, I tend to overlook the image and scroll right on through. So when I’m creating content I think to myself, “How would I share with a group of friends how I feel about this item?” The key to me is only pairing up with brands that I love and the appreciation for the product comes naturally.
Litman: I try and infuse my personal brand into everything I do. Bright colors, witty copy — I only work with brands that are receptive to these things and will allow me to create something that's a good fit for both of us!
Williams: Logos are important, but if brands were looking for a straight advertisement, they wouldn’t be working with influencers. Content can be branded without [a] product being held up in front of a camera, taking up half of the image’s frame. For my audience, seeing a brand they recognize is exciting for them, but a hint is enough. In fact, the caption can often say all that is necessary. If you’re a very recognizable brand looking to rebrand, let the influencer you are working with put up content in that new style without the appearance of a logo and surprise their viewers with a caption that mentions the brand and shows them off in a whole new light.