Back in 2009 I walked into my first blogger conference filled with trepidation. There were a reported 3,500 bloggers in attendance. It was overwhelming and I was so nervous, but excited. It was my first blogger conference and I was greener than a seasick avocado. I decided to go a smaller route and check out a brand salon.
A few minutes after entering a brand’s room, I heard my name called. What? Who would be calling my name here? I turned and a blonde haired woman with a huge smile was looking right at me calling my name, ”Holly!” I didn’t know who this woman was. Yikes. She realized that from the look on my face and said, “Don’t you know me? I’m Candice Derickx of Life in Pleasantville.” Oops. Those little avatars on blogs are so small, right? I was floored anyone recognized me from my blog particularly since our encounter up until that moment had only been online. Moments later I met Erica Ehm, the founder of YummyMummy Club. It was so addicting. I was hooked on influencers and the power of social media with those encounters. There’s nothing quite like meeting IRL (in real life) the acquaintances of those relationships you’ve built online. They last a lifetime, too.
Over the years, those influencers have taught me so much about working with them. And of course, we work with influencers every day at Collective Bias.
Here’s my personal list of dos and don’ts for working with influencers:
DO choose influencers with passion. It’s as important as reach/engagement.
DON’T supply images. It destroys authenticity with influencer marketing.
DO check the influencer’s track record of working with brands.
DON’T hire an influencer to spread your content. Hire them to create content for you.
DO give them creative freedom. It’s key to influencer marketing success.
DON’T pay influencers with the gift of product. It doesn’t pay their bills.
DO check how much sponsored content your influencers create. Too much affects authenticity.
DON’T mistake reach for engagement. An influencer might have huge reach but little engagement.
DO make sure your influencers believe in your brand. That passion translates into better storytelling.
DON’T think you can extrapolate sales from reach/impressions.
DO check your influencer’s sponsored content for FTC compliance. Disclosures should be clear and conspicuous.
DON’T think engagement equals attention. A “like” takes a second.
DO an apples-to-apples check when selecting an influencer marketing company. The industry doesn’t have standard measurements just yet.
DON’T think reach equals influence. Influence-ability is key to success.
DO make sure you have written contracts with influencers with detailed instructions. Clear instructions ensure your expectations are met.
DON’T think in-view time equals view time. In-view just means the content is in sight versus actual time spent with the content.
DO ask to demo the influencer marketing companies dashboard. See firsthand what they are measuring.
DON’T think “spray and pray” is the way to run an influencer campaign. Start with clear objectives, KPIs and strategies.
DO ask any influencer company if the influencer’s metrics are verified or self-reported. The days of self-reported are over.
DON’T think influencers are just for creating buzz. Influencer marketing can solve so many challenges.
DO give consideration to the names in an influencer database. Ask how many are active.
DON’T forget to give your influencers feedback. They want to please you and learn how they can do a better job for you.
DO follow FTC guidelines for Twitter parties. Do you know the rules?
DON’T be afraid to let go of control with your influencers. Give them your brand brief and let them create.
DO have your influencers tell stories using visuals. Relevant visuals get 94% more views (Hubspot)
There are so many reasons for including influencers in your marketing mix from creating buzz to introducing new products to the creative content they create. Marketers believe the relationship that begins through the trust of an influencer leads to better customers. In fact, 81 percent of marketers who have used influencers have judged influencer marketing effective according to eMarketer. And I won’t argue with that.