Social media has become ubiquitous in everyday life. There is no escaping it. Within this phenomenon, the influencer is born. Some have mind-blowing reach. Instagrammer Huda Kattan @hudabeauty has 28.1 million followers. Youtuber Pewdiepie has 67.1 million subscribers.
Not all are at that level, but you get the idea. With such large numbers, it is no wonder brands want to tap into their audiences. Their power of reach and persuasion can be equal to, if not more than, traditional brand ambassadors.
Influencer marketing connects a brand to consumers through the social media of influential people. Done right, it is an effective way to promote a campaign, product or service with a deeper conversation compared to advertising.
Some proper planning is required, however. It is not just giving away product or paying influencers. Plus, things could go terribly wrong if it is not well thought through. Earlier this year, the Hershey’s #hacerelbiensabebien (doing good tastes good) campaign in Mexico quickly became a PR nightmare.
The content published by the influencers was controversial. For example, one of the posts had an influencer handing a ball to a poor kid while a chocolate bar is sticking unnaturally out of his jeans. The backlash was immediate. Mexicans complained how insensitive and classist the campaign was by exploiting poverty.
Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you plan your influencer campaign.
Make sure the concept is part of the overall brand strategy and aligned to the rest of the communication campaign. The more synergies you can create with your marketing efforts, the more impact you will make.
Set clear KPIs.
Are you looking for follower acquisition, impressions or consumer engagement? The strategy you will follow depends on these goals. You will want to work with the big names when the objective is reach. Micro grassroots influencers have a more profound relationship with their followers and can give your brand more credibility. Find the right mix for your campaign.
Deliver a proper brief.
Give the influencers a full product description, detailing features and benefits. Providing facts, tone of voice and talking points will help them craft content that is on brand. This is not to say that you should give them scripts, but empower them to be co-creators in an authentic way.
Prepare for potential crisis.
Run through the plan with the PR team (in the case that it is a separate function in your company). They might detect any potential issues. If it includes a promo, have the legal team vet it, too.
Pick the wrong ambassadors.
Not all influencers are made equal. When preparing the list of influencers for your campaign, check out each one’s story, image, style and preferences to see if they are a good fit. Is there real affinity with the brand? Does it look authentic to be in his/her space, or would it look like a misplaced ad? Do they have the right voice for the message?
Forget that it requires resources.
Some influencers charge expensive fees, others accept product exchange. No matter what the arrangement is, budgeting is important. If you plan to run a promo, establish and reserve the amount of product required. Be clear on the terms and conditions to avoid going overboard.
Just send the product.
Treat your product with love. Make it a wow moment when they receive it. Maybe it’s the packaging, maybe it’s the way you deliver it. The idea is to get them excited about the product. It will inspire them to create more meaningful and quality content that connect with consumers.