As part of our guest blog series from leading professionals, here Stacy Jones, CEO of Hollywood Branded, shares her experience and top tips for getting the most out of your influencer partnerships and avoiding nasty PR crisis-provoking surprises.
There are no guarantees that life will always run smoothly, and in the blink of an eye, a prospective great influencer marketing campaign can turn into one that is, well… just not the best it could have been.
When it comes to investing in influencer marketing, there is a better way to safeguard and ensure success by not only putting a detailed plan in place prior to activation, but also having the forethought to outthink potential blunders that could occur along the way.
Influencers and the brand partner can find themselves in hot water through a bad decision or simple oversight. No one creates a brand partnership with the plan of having things go wrong, but life has surprises that can pop up, and there are ways to pro-actively safeguard your influencer partnership from the start.
Before hiring an influencer, here are seven important things to keep in mind:
- Make sure your social influencer partner has insight about your brand and your goals. The best way to do this is to create a brand brief. Having the influencer actively aware of what your goals are will help enable them to meet your overall objectives. This includes also knowing things people often forget about – the correct website to use, hashtags, calls to action and any “do-not-do’s” outlined. The bottom line is that the brand manager needs to ensure the influencer understands, supports, and gets on board with the larger marketing picture of the brand.
- Get the influencer to try your brand. Don’t just send a product and ask for a post. You want them to actually try your product – and like it. If they don’t, their fans are going to be able to tell, and be turned-off. Don’t work with people who are in it for the money only. Everyone wants money, but the trick is to find influencers who will work with you to go the extra mile.
- Check to see if the influencer has been using a competitive brand before working with you. It’s not realistic to try to only source an influencer that is going to be an authentic fit who hasn’t mentioned or referenced a competitive product. But you don’t want them jumping from one campaign directly to yours, and you certainly want an exclusive time period to exist before they reference a competitor after working with your brand.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – it’s one of the best safeguards I can recommend. While a brand’s consumers realize that influencers are not actually the brand they are the face of, they’re less likely to judge the brand harshly in the case of an influencer misstep if there is a mix of influencers engaged versus a single one. Don’t give all the power to one individual.
- Allow the influencer to be creative. They are the art and set director, photographer, copywriter, actor, editor and so much more. They need guidance, but they don’t need you to tell them what to do. The more freedom they have, with understanding of what the deliverables need to be, the more the content they create will engage their fan base. After all, they’ve gotten their following to the size it is based on knowing what type of content their base likes to see.
- Have a solid contract in place. Once the offer is accepted by the talent, be sure to create a contract outlining the specifics of what has been agreed to. This will include when payments will be made, every detail the influencer is expected to execute (social, video, photos, hashtags, length of post life, tagging #ad or #sponsor, etc.), when they will be paid, how long the post will remain up and so much more. Basically, you want your offer to be completely black and white with no hints of grey question areas.
- Make sure you have a recovery plan in place for influencer blunders or if they go off the rails personally. If the influencer does something or says something negative about your brand, your team is going to need to find a way to address it quickly with the appropriate response. When LeBron James tweeted negatively about his phone – forgetting the brand was a key sponsor of the NBA, the crisis was somewhat adverted soon after by having him quickly send a follow up post stating it was a false alarm.