The absolute Do’s and Don’ts of Influencer Marketing

Four of New Zealand’s leading experts on social influencer marketing share their tips on what works and what doesn’t when assigning influencers for social media marketing campaigns.

For a full review of the social influencer marketing industry check out the June issue cover story, Invasion of the Influencers, in NZBusiness magazine.     

Wendy Thompson, founder and CEO, Socialites
“When developing a marketing campaign with influencers it’s important to have a really clear brief. This should outline all the expectations, including timeline, key brand messages, amount of content the influencer will produce, what will be measured, what success looks like, and so on.  

“I find it helps to have suggested copy pointers, but at the end of the day it is up to the influencer to say what they want to say to their community. If a brand meddles too much then you lose the genuineness and the point of the sponsorship.”

Imogen Johnson, founder and CEO, Johnson & Laird Management  
Under the heading of ‘do’s’, it’s important to collaborate and listen to the influencer you’re working with.
Also, agree upon a clear brief, deliverables and timeline for the campaign; voice any concerns early on so they can be remedied; be flexible where possible with live dates and such; and respect the influencer’s time and work, being sure to fairly compensate them for this.
And do consider their analytics to make sure you’re targeting the audience you want.

When it comes to the ‘don’t’ column, it’s vital that you don’t offer just free product in return for hard work; don’t provide unreasonable deadlines; don’t change the brief, deliverables or timeline without fair warning; and don’t cancel a campaign without compensating the talent for the work they’ve done.

Another mistake is to select influencers purely on follower numbers (geography, engagement, gender ratio, etc. are all important factors).

Kris Lal, founder, Curator
Don't create overly elaborate or complex campaigns. This rarely works; studies show that on social media, less is more. 
Avoid influencers that have low engagement – mass likes and followers are great, but how well are they actually versed in managing their own conversations before you entrust them with yours? 

Do not allow people to manage your social media campaigns that have little to no understanding of it themselves. You would be surprised at how many businesses entrust someone in their office to look after their socials. It can do more harm than good in so many ways. 

In terms of do's: organic and authentic is key; invest in campaigns which drive engagement and real-time interactions as opposed to a slew of likes and impressions. Think outside the box with campaigns; allow influencers to be part of the process and execution. You will be surprised at how creative they can be. 
Drive brand loyalty and awareness amongst influencers. I saw one influencer campaign for two opposing energy drinks within the same week – not good for any of the parties involved. 

Lastly but most importantly, ensure your own social media accounts are up to standard during the campaign. You want to convert as many of your influencers’ followers into your own. 

Gina McKinnon, general manager, Fuse
Brands need to do the following: build partnerships that are genuine and ongoing; allow the influencer to remain authentic; challenge yourself to remain curious; and look at opportunities to work with creators in collaborative ways.

Influencer content in any format also needs to be part of the overarching media strategy. Each channel has a role and you need to understand how they all work together to drive the best outcome.

Brands can also ensure they are investing in the right partnerships in the following ways:
•    With organic reach and engagement becoming increasingly difficult to achieve, social followings should not be the primary reason for selection as only a small portion of their followers will be served this content organically. Additionally, we don’t know how authentic these followers are.
•    Invest in the content, not the following. Work with influencers as content creators. Those who produce quality, engaging content, who tell real stories and share real experiences and honest recommendations. 
Identify influencers who can integrate the brand story in a natural and genuine way, whose content aligns with the brand. It’s this content that can add value to your brand and audience. The more genuine and engaging the content, the more genuine and engaging the conversation.
•    Use their content! Share across your owned channels and target to your audience or repurpose across other forms of media. Create a genuine, natural presence by integrating their content into your social calendar. Think of the partnership as a collaboration and an opportunity to share content and audiences.
•    Determine their level of influence based on how their content performed against your audience, i.e. the engagement rate on promoted and targeted posts. 
•    Ask for screen shots showing reach and engagement on their recent Instagram posts.  

Partnering with the right influencers to create genuine, credible, shareable content that engages a real targeted audience can be highly valuable to a brand. But make sure you understand where the numbers come from and put value in the content, not just the metrics. Good content will continue to deliver well after the influencer has finished promoting it.

Pictured: Social media beauty vlogger and influencer Shannon Harris.

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