How Important is Influencer Content?
By: Mary Ann Bautista
This week we tackle the issue of influencer content. How to get what you want; how effective it is and who owns it? We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of an influencer going rogue and posting something inaccurate, untrue, and even downright offensive on behalf of an advertiser.
Scary! No one wants to be in that position. So how do you control that situation? Your first line of defense is to do your research when inviting an influencer into your program!
Look at the influencers’ feed and their highlights. Do you see anything that looks concerning? Did they create content for another advertiser that you feel represents that product or service well? Gold Star! Were they creative and eye-catching in their approach… or does it look like they just checked the box and collected their fee? Then go to the next step… which is to Google them! Have they been involved in any uncomfortable exchanges, events, or situations that give you pause? Be sure to check aliases and previous account names. Do they collab with other influencers? What does their guest appearance content look like? OK or not?
Finally, write a code of ethics clause into your contract. Let them know upfront what is and is not acceptable behavior if they want to be involved with your company. That is going to vary by advertiser… so be sure to dig deep and explore internally what is and is not OK for your organization.
Next, be crystal clear about what you want and need from the post. What style of creative post are you looking for? Do you want a review? An unboxing? A testimonial? A demonstration? Modeling? Something else? We encourage all influencers to read and be clear on the details in the contract… but you will at times get content submitted that has to be redone or is entirely rejected. Be clear on what is and what is not OK.
Then VET everything before it is posted. We do not allow influencers to post without submitting the content to us first. Recently we had an influencer use a power tool from another brand in our content. What were they thinking? Thank goodness we reviewed and caught the error. And we’ve received content in the past that isn’t nearly as enthusiastic or supportive of the brand as we wanted. REJECTION! Be sure to take this step… never let an influencer post without your approval on the content.
Once you get the content you want, what does it do for your brand? #1 (we believe) it should SELL! Social Media Influencers have taken the place of the retail salesperson in e-commerce. They fill the sales gap that was left void with the move from retail to online e-commerce shopping. They add the endorsement, demonstration, testimonial, and recommendation content that the retail salesperson used to offer. AND they are 3rd party to the e-commerce site, so they are credible and believable. It’s like a friend telling you how much they love a new restaurant in town. Wouldn’t you want to try that restaurant too?
Influencers have a built-in audience that knows, likes, and trusts them, so the products they are involved with get that same sentiment! Especially if the post is done with authenticity, in the style that the influencer is used to posting.
Finally, how can you use the content to your brand’s advantage? Buy it! We have a program that automatically states the brand is paying for the content in perpetuity! We don’t wait to see how the content does… we feel that gives the influencer an unfair advantage in the equation. We automatically contract for it upfront. Do we have influencers who turn us down? Occasionally yes, but we make it worth their while by incentivizing them with a % of every sale that occurs from that post.
What to do with this great content? That’s the subject of my next blog…