Social media influencers have been around since the “scene queens” of Myspace over a decade ago.
But with the rise of Instagram, they've found a platform where they can really thrive.
There are influencers in almost any niche or industry you can think of. From marketing gurus like Gary Vaynerchuck and Neil Patel, to beauty and fashion mavens like Michelle Phan.
These are people who have a large following and a lot of clout on social media. They have dedicated fan bases who trust them.
They're like celebrities in a way, though most of the time, it's more niche and on a smaller scale. And because they have their audience's trust, their endorsement of a product can serve as a compelling form of social proof.
For this reason, influencer marketing is huge right now.
There are entire agencies that focus exclusively on connecting brands with influencers.
As an entrepreneur, you can reach out to these people and pay them to create sponsored content that promotes your product. But there's one thing they really need from you:
These people have cultivated their own unique personal brand, and in many cases, this involves an air of authenticity that their audience can connect with.
It's essential that their sponsored content remains “on brand.”
SEMRush explains why this is so integral to successful influencer marketing, and how you can give influencers free reign to incorporate your brand into their content in their own unique way.
Provide Influencers with Creative Freedom
Influencers achieve an influential status by their use of unique and engaging content. As mentioned earlier, they specialize in certain subjects and they know how to create content that’s relevant to their niche, and at the same time engaging their audience. Their audience will be familiar with the influencer’s tone and the type of content they create.
Anything that differs from this will seem unnatural.
For example, let’s say the influencer posts a photo of a product and the caption describes the product benefits in a formal or technical tone, but this influencer is usually known to be laid-back and fun, with posts of their photos having witty captions. This caption will clearly be seen as scripted and the promotion will not seem natural.
When executing an influencer marketing campaign, you want the influencer content to seem as natural as possible. When you are too controlling of what the influencer says, it negatively impacts the content quality. This in turn affects people’s trust in your brand, and your restrictive content guidelines end up harming your relationship with an influencer.
In fact, influencers say that being too restrictive with content guidelines is the second biggest mistake brands make in influencer marketing. You chose to work with influencers for a reason -n ot only are they influential, they are excellent content creators. You need to trust them to create content that engages your target audience while promoting your product.
This is exactly what Pepsi did with their influencer marketing campaign promoting Quaker Oats. They not only invited influencers to their “Oat-ober” media event, they also sponsored several content pieces featuring their product. The Pepsi team encouraged influencers to create unique recipes using Quaker Oats and promote them on social media.
Health food influencers like Lily Kunin (@cleanfooddirtycity) came up with their own recipes implementing the brand’s oatmeal which their fans could follow to further encourage action.
[image source: SEMRush]
As you can see, this sponsored photo is aesthetically pleasing. If you look through the influencer’s Instagram posts, you will see that this image fits perfectly with the rest of her content. According to a HYPR case study, the campaign activated six influencers in total. As of October 2016, they collectively generated more than 31,000 likes on Instagram.
You can learn more about influencer marketing over at SEMRush.
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