As brands increasingly utilize influencer marketing, methodologies begin to vary. Not surprisingly, some CPG brands’ approaches are more conducive to great influencer relationships than others. We’ve run more than 100 influencer programs just in the last few years and there are some consistent areas where brands run into trouble. Here are my top four.
1. Lack of clear guidance
While influencers want to be free to create, brands that don’t provide clear guidance can be particularly frustrating. Often, these brands haven’t given enough thought to the kinds of content they want and (sometimes more importantly) don’t want.
What looks like a quick snap may have taken hours of styling and setup. From researching props, lighting, staging, what’s in the background and more, good influencer content is strategic. If a brand doesn’t provide strategic direction, a good content creator will think it through herself. And what’s really frustrating after doing all that work? When a brand asks for it be redone based on guidance they did not think to give in advance.
This direction also needs to include clear expectations and agreement on turnaround times. For experienced influencers, they may be scheduling blog posts three to six weeks out. And around the holidays, they may be booked up for the month of December as early as September or October. Good content takes time and planning and won’t be ready in 24 hours.
2. Image rights
Influencer marketing campaigns can give brands content that they can use for years to come (depending on the nature of the product) and because of this, influencers often find that their images are being used repeatedly. Most of the time, they’re honored, particularly when a brand mentions them as the creator.
Without a proper contract upfront, however, brands may not actually have the rights to reuse that content at all, or there may be limitations around re-use. Even worse, one party may assume certain rights without communicating them to the other. A clear contract upfront is key. It protects both the brand and the influencer alike.
3. Budget and finances
As influencer marketing evolves, fees charged by different content producers vary widely. At times, they can even be absurd. Brands need to go into programs with a clear budget and understanding of the current market (which is quite dynamic).
The days of “can you do this for free product” are generally over and while many influencers are willing to negotiate, brands that don’t have a realistic budget start off on the wrong foot.
3. Creative freedom
Yes, I started this piece saying brands need to give clear guidance. These are the “dos and don’ts” and the overall goals of the campaign. At that point, it’s time to turn it over to the influencers and let them use their expertise.
Content that comes across as contrived is not influential, even if produced by an influencer. The message matters and the influencer knows their audience better than you, which is why you’re using them in the first place.
In the end, influencer marketing is a business relationship and, like all good business relationships, those based on respect, clear communication and fair compensation thrive best. CPG brands looking to get into this space should understand this world and go in with their eyes open to the possibilities such ongoing relationships offer.
About the author
Jim Tobin, CEO and social media expert, Carusele
Courtesy of mediapost