How to build trust with your clients during influencer recruitment & onboarding
This post is the fourth in a series of posts educating our agency partners on how to establish and cultivate the trust with their clients that is necessary for a successful influencer marketing campaign.
As a relatively new tactic for most marketers, it can be difficult to take the leap of faith into influencer marketing. But you can feel a lot more confident taking the leap when you and your client have fostered a strong relationship founded on trust and transparency. From campaign development, campaign planning, management and post-campaign reporting, we’ll walk through each of the steps of a successful influencer program and detail how to best approach the client relationship to give them confidence in your execution and the program’s deliverables. We recommend that you subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date on each of these steps!
Once you’ve identified your final ideal list of influencers, approved them by both your agency and the client, you can begin recruitment. You will need to message each influencer to determine their availability and interest in participating in your program. We’ve mentioned this a couple times: influencers are people, so this can be a lengthy process.
There can be a lot of back and forth communicating with influencers, so make sure to be realistic with your client on the timeframe for this step. You don’t want to delay the entire project because it took longer than expected to get influencers signed up.
Talented content creators receive tons of requests every day, it’s best to be mindful of this and present them with a unique opportunity that will not only be beneficial for your brand but for them and their audience as well. Make sure your messaging is personal (content creators don’t answer generic content calls). Make sure you are familiar with their content (don’t offer a Twinkie campaign to a paleo blogger). And ultimately, be prepared for the possibility that they may not answer your email.
Key lesson: An open relationship with your client discussing the method and timing of the recruitment will simplify the tedious details of this step. You can do a lot for your relationship with your client by presenting unique opportunities to the influencers to separate your offers from the dozens of other offers they receive.
To get influencers on board with your program, you need to educate them on the specifics of what they’ll be sharing and how. This includes both information how to share about the brand and the brand’s preferred disclosure statement to comply with FTC regulations.
This is best communicated within a content guidelines document that contains all of the program details. Here’s what you need to include:
First and foremost you want to provide details about your brand. Who you are and what you represent. Oftentimes, the influencer will already be familiar with the brand and may even be a passionate fan. But there are always details that can be added to help influencers understand the brand values better.
With the brand basics established, you want to get the influencer up to speed on the program’s details. This section explains what kind of program the influencer will be participating in. This is the spot to share campaign goals, creative direction, what the brand is trying to achieve and how influencers fit into the strategy. This will help guide their participation and spark ideas.
Though you want to stay away from prescribing content, you need to give details about what influencers are expected to include in their posts. This is the spot to outline proper hashtags, accounts to tag or mention, important points, and relevant calls-to-action.
Brand do’s & don’ts
You should have a list of general brand guidelines outlining how to speak about the brand and how the brand should be pictured. This includes details about how you do not want the brand referenced or pictured. One common example is “Please do not include any other brand products or logos in your photo or tag any other brands in your captions.” You may also ask that your product not be pictured in a certain way (“please make sure that the full bottle is visible in the photo”) or asking influencers to leave out religious or political commentary from their captions. This isn’t always a juicy topic, you just may want to mention a particular quirk of your product (“Please do not feature dogs as the product is poisonous to dogs.” or “The bottle does not spray upside down, please do not show the bottle upside down.”)
Good influencers almost always avoid divisive or controversial language and imagery (unless that’s part of their persona), and if you have a good brand fit you can rest easy that your images will be safe. Make sure by outlining your rules up front.
FTC Disclosure Preference
Proper sharing includes abiding by the Federal Trade Commission’s rules & regulations. Many influencers (and brands) are still confused about how to stay on the FTC’s good side. So this is your opportunity to ensure that your brand’s posts abide by the rules. Pick a couple disclosure messages that you are comfortable with and ask the influencers to include one in their post captions.
Pro-tip: Download our comprehensive guide to the FTC’s rules & regulations to make sure you understand the rules and can confidently convey them to your influencers.
As you show the influencers how to properly share about your brand, it’s always helpful to include some example posts for their reference. This is a simple way to guide their content creation and give them a visual reference for your idea of success.
Every campaign has a finite timeframe. Inform the influencer when they should be sharing their content. We always recommend giving the influencer a “window” of time to share within. This way, they have ample time to create and they can post when it is most natural to their audience. Work with them to schedule their posts at a time that is comfortable for them.
Compensation / marketing materials
This is the place to outline your compensation schedule and standard rates (if you are negotiating compensation individually with each person, don’t reveal rates here). Influencers always want to know when they’re going to get paid. You should also include details about swag or other merchandise you’ll be sending influencers. Make it sound exciting-- this can be one of the most important decision-making factors for participation.
Besides the program expectations and timeline, influencers will want to know what you’re going give them in exchange for their participation. Navigating compensation can be tricky, especially if you are new to influencer marketing. You have to take into account who the influencer is, what experience or product you can offer them, and how much content you’re asking them to create. Then you can determine how much financial compensation to provide. There is no industry standard for influencer compensation. You might see some calculators that claim you should pay X number of dollars for every X number of followers, but it’s simply not true. Every influencer and every campaign is unique. Approach each as an individual to arrive at a fair compensation rate.
Key lesson: Everything you and your client planned during program development should be communicated to the recruited influencers on your content guidelines page in order to ensure that they know exactly what they are signing up for. Compensation can be determined on an individual basis once influencers understand the demands of the campaign.