Is there a “right” way to do influencer marketing? While different campaigns might use different types of influencers and different forms of content to get their message across, the most successful campaigns typically follow a series of Influencer Marketing best practices.
Whether you’re having trouble getting an influencer marketing campaign off of the ground or are looking to jump feet first into influencer marketing, make sure you’re following these 10 influencer marketing best practices.
10 Influencer Marketing Best Practices
1) Create Content People Want to Share
Rule number one in the list of influencer marketing best practices is to create something that people will want to share.
Having a post go viral involves more than just luck and happenstance. In fact, a number of studies have been conducted examining just what it is that makes people more likely to share one piece of content instead of another.
In a paper titled “What Makes Online Content Viral,” market researchers examined around 7,000 “New York Times” articles posted over a period of three months to see what characteristics the most shared articles had in common.
One of the major findings in the paper was that content that had a high emotional arousal, stirring up strong feelings of joy or strong feelings of anger, were more likely to be shared.
An earlier study, from the New York Times Customer Insight Group, found that people have a natural urge to share what they find online. Two thirds of the people in the NYT’s study stated that they feel they need to share information that they find to be useful or valuable.
One example of viral, shareable content was the “Wear Yellow for Seth” campaign. At the time, Seth was a 5-year-old boy who had didn’t have an immune system due to a rare condition. The family produced videos and a blog encouraging people wear yellow to show the little boy that they were thinking of him.
The videos, which featured Seth, had a high emotional value, and, as the UK’s Mirror reported, ended up getting more than 28 million views. Celebrities including Ashton Kutcher got on board and posted on social media about the project.
2) Shape the Content to Fit the Platform
Along with creating content that people feel compelled to share, another one of the influencer marketing best practices is to tailor content to meet specific styles or tastes of your various social media audiences. A good example of tailoring content to work on different platforms is AirBnB’s Wall and Chain campaign. Created to promote unity (and AirBnB) in the midst of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the campaign featured a video, pieces of long-form content, an economic study showcasing neighborhoods in Berlin, and additional pieces of content on various social media networks, directing people to the video. In all, the video earned 8 million views from all networks combined.
3) Choose Influencers Who are a Believable Fit
While probably every marketer dreams of reeling in a famous celebrity or the influencer-du-jour, it’s a better idea to find an influencer who’s a good fit for your brand. This is probably the most important of the influencer marketing best practices.
It’s easier to connect and work with influencers who are a good fit for your brand. According to the 2017 State of the Creator Economy Study (SOCE), today’s influencers consider “fit with content/proud to represent” to be the top criterion when deciding whether or not to work on a campaign.
4) Use an Influencer Marketplace to Find Influencers
You have a few options when it comes to finding influencers to work on your campaign. You can take the DIY approach by searching on social media platforms or Google to find blogger or social media users who seem like a good match. Then, find a way to personally connect with those people.
You can use an agency, if you’re interested in working with more established, well-known, and usually, more expensive, influencers.
But the go-to influencer marketing best practice is to use an influencer marketplace to find people to work on your campaign. A marketplace has a few advantages over the other two options. First, the influencers you come across are going to be actively looking for projects and campaigns to work on, which isn’t always the case when you do a Google search.
Second, an influencer marketplace is often much more budget-friendly than working with an agency. You’re able to negotiate directly with influencers, rather than having an agent (who wants his or her 10 percent cut!) acting as a middleman.
5) Work with Micro-Influencers
Don’t be turned off by influencers who have smaller followings. A micro-influencer, which is usually defined as someone with fewer than 100,000 followers, can be the ideal match for your brand. And using micro-influencers is quickly becoming one of the more common influencer marketing best practices.
Why? Micro-influencers tend to have better rates of engagement than those with huge followings. AdWeek pointed out that Instagram influencers with a follower count between 1,000 and 9,999 tended to have engagement rates around 7.4 percent. Meanwhile, the engagement rate fell to just 2.4 percent for influencers with more than 100,000 followers.
Micro-influencers also tend to be less expensive than macro influencers. AdWeek also noted that rates of engagement were higher for less costly posts than they were for higher priced posts on Instagram.
Here’s one more reason to work with micro influencers when you can: trust. As you can see from the higher rates of engagement, people tend to feel more connected to micro influencers than to celebrities or macro influencers. That’s important, as Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising study revealed that recommendations from family and friends online were the most trusted form of advertising.
If you pay an influencer for any type of content, you have to disclose that fact. It doesn’t matter whether you pay cash, freebies, discounts or another incentives. The influencer needs to disclose that to his or her audience. And, of all the influencer marketing best practices, this one is most often ignored.
The Federal Trade Commission has pretty clear cut rules for endorsement and disclosure. Two thirds of creators state they understand the rules, according to the 2017 SOCE. But, the FTC recently had to send more than 90 letters reminding creators and brands of the importance of disclosure.
Not disclosing and having to deal with the FTC is a huge hassle. It’s much easier for your influencers to simply include something like #ad at the start of their content or post. The disclosure doesn’t have get into details. It just has to be clear and easy for the average consumer to understand.
7) Amplify the Content
It’s not enough to simply connect with influencers and create content. The next step is to amplify the content. That way it has a chance to spread far and wide across the internet.
One way to amplify content is to have other influencers share with their followers. You can use a content amplification software or ask people to share posts manually. Content amplification program allows you to set a budget and evaluate which posts and social media platforms perform best. For a small spend, it’s one of the most effective Influencer Marketing best practices.
8) Participate in the Conversation
Work with influencers who actively engage with their social media following. But that engagement doesn’t stop there. You need to make sure your brand is part of that conversation as well.
That can mean anything and everything. Join the convo by jumping in on the comments. Try responding to questions and like positive reviews and feedback. Or, share some of the engaged user’s posts on your brand’s own social media profiles. The worst thing you can do is sit quietly watching in the background.
9) Be Authentic
Choose the right influencer. Work with micro influencers. Disclose the relationship. These are all things your brand can do to make sure your influencer marketing campaign is authentic. Working with an influencer excited about your brand shows through in the content and campaign.
Examples of authentic, genuine influencer marketing campaigns abound. But so do examples of campaigns that flopped because of a lack of authenticity.
For example, Scott Disick. It seems difficult to believe he’s really into BooTea Protein shake when he copies and pastes the text his campaign manager sent him into a post. Oops.
10) Rinse, and Repeat
Your influencer marketing campaign has gone off without a hitch! What do you do now? Don’t rest on your laurels. The key to continued success is to look at what worked and keep at it. Identify anything that doesn’t work, like boring content or influencers who turn out a bad fit. Then go back to the drawing board, make adjustments, and try again.