More and more brands, namely CPG companies, are partnering with influencers as part of their brand messaging efforts. In fact, 86 percent of marketers plan on integrating influencer marketing into their marketing mix in 2016, according to a new report by BlogMint.
The key to success with these partnerships is ensuring the authenticity an influencer holds with their social audience is not damaged by a brand’s desire to control storytelling, especially considering that 43 percent of Millennials rank authenticity over content, according to a recent Forbes study. Millennials must trust an outlet before reading any content the outlet produces. That’s why taking the handcuffs off influencers is an important part of leveraging their creativity and allowing them to create content that is authentic and consistent with the influencer’s personal brand.
Here’s how you can solidify brand consistency while giving influencers the much-needed freedom to create.
Your contract may outline:
This is a partnership, so it’s crucial that the influencers’ requirements are heavily considered in the contract as well. A solidified contract will ensure no toes are stepped on down the line when content about your brand is live for all the world to see, as well as create a relationship for future opportunities between your brand and the influencers that are getting you in front of the right people at the right time.
Nothing screams “unauthentic” more than glossy product photos inserted into a blog post. Most influencers have a certain style when it comes to their photography, so when a brand requires the influencers to use pre-approved stock photos, the passion and skills they’ve spent years crafting go out the window. Supplying photos also dismisses the chance for a whole set of new, owned content for your brand. Influencers can put their personal touch on your products, particularly when creating a recipe or drink tutorial. Their followers will resonate with the way the influencers use the product and portray it through high-grade photography, not with stock photos they’ve likely seen in past brand promotions.
Influencer content is not made to be just another advertisement. Instead, it highlights your brand in personal, informative and highly visual formats that positively influence consumers far longer than any commercial, print ad or in-store display could. Think about it: a consumer watches a commercial for 30 seconds and then it vanishes, but they can Google and find a recipe featuring your products any time in the future. So it’s crucial that influencer content steers clear of pushing mentions of prices and commercial slogans. Instead, ask the influencer to send their audience to your website for “sales-y” information like prices.
Final note: Blogs are meant to be authentic – so let them be. If influencers are agreeing to work with your brand, they more than likely are already a huge fan. They will not publish poor-quality work because that would tarnish the personal brand they’ve worked so hard to build up. Simply put, influencers know quality and creative work is key for it to be valuable and shareable. Let their creativity shine and your product will shine with it.