- 4 min read -
In my first blog post I spoke about why you should consider utilizing influencer marketing and if it was possible to do it yourself. I have just scratched the surface when it comes to the questions you must consider when deciding if influencer marketing is the right fit for you. Below is a very important question I am frequently asked.
Q: Can I tell an influencer what to say and if so, how does it affect authenticity?
A: The short answer is, yes, but the better question is, should you? That answer is no.
One of the most important factors to executing a successful influencer campaign is authenticity. As soon as you begin telling an influencer what to say or how to say it, they will lose credibility with their audience. Most influencers already have their own brand. They have built a strong following because of trust, creativity, and their ability to tell stories in their own unique way.
“While you may be compensating them to create content, it is important to give them editorial freedom to ensure that the post they create feels authentic to their audience.” (Forbes)
This is also why it is key to select influencers whose vision aligns with your brand. If there is no alignment, their audience will know the content is unauthentic. In turn, this will severely impact engagement.
“When you’re working with an influencer you’re working with their audience, you’re buying an audience, so you should be using them to talk to the audience in the way they communicate to their followers. When people are just trying to buy the audience they’re taking the talent and their expertise away from what they do well and trying to put them into an environment where they are not comfortable. You don’t get the best of them and you lose the audience off the back of that.” (Adam Barnett, Head of Commercial production at ITN Productions, The Drum)
I realize this might sound frightening to select influencers that fit your brand, and then give up control to let them do what they are best at. But this is not exactly the case.
I like to use the analogy “give them the sandbox to play in, but it is up to them what they create”. In other words, give the influencers some guidelines, but allow them to speak to their audience in their own words, tone of voice, and with their true personality.
I typically recommend giving influencers a topline breakdown of your marketing goals and areas of focus. This may include: unique messages, calls to actions, website links, or discount codes. Respect their content creation process by giving them the freedom to communicate to their audience in their own words.
Whether you are working with nano, micro, macro, or even celebrity influencers, limiting their creativity can be a slippery slope. This is especially so when you dictate the message for influencers to promote, as this can lead to “copying and pasting”. For example, if you tell an influencer exactly what to say, they might “copy and paste” your caption as you have left them no room to create content that will resonate with their audience.
Forcing them to speak in words other than their own can take away from their authentic brand loyalty. One great example of this was when Scott Disick (celebrity influencer) was told what to say for his sponsored post, and ended up posting the full instructions.
In summary, once you have found influencers that align with your brand and marketing goals, allow them the freedom to promote your brand in their own authentic way. After all, they are influencers for a reason. They are experts at creating content that gets their audience engaged in the most organic way possible.
Stay tuned for my next post answering even more frequently asked influencer marketing questions!
To learn more on how today’s high school students interact with key media and post secondary marketing initiatives download our Gen Z Media Report.