Sorry, but it’s true. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Allow us to explain.
When you’re partnering with influencers, you must provide them with ample brand education and direction on the campaign. Otherwise, how would they know what to do? But what we’re talking about is giving strict prescriptions on exactly what to share, dictating language or providing brand-created images. That’s a big no-no.
For starters, people work with influencers because they are trusted resources for their followers. But authentic promotion relies on establishing a realistic brand match, meaning that the brand fits meaningfully and seamlessly into the influencer’s natural content stream. If you dictate content to an influencer, you’re losing their voice and therefore sacrificing the authenticity they provide (aka: you’re missing the whole point of influencer marketing).
“Oh, we just send them the copy for the post… they can take the picture.” Well, your copy team probably doesn’t write the same way the influencer does. Plus, as Scott Disick showed us, it can seem foolproof and still go awry.
Influencers create amazing content that can be used for your brand. If you’re doing your due diligence up front, you should be selecting influencers whose content embodies your brand values, and whose work you would be proud to reuse on behalf of the brand. Think about it-- you’re getting access to content that is specifically designed to reach and resonate with your target audience. If you don’t allow them some creative freedom, you’ll never get that great content.
“So what, I have to just let them do whatever they want?”
Nope. Influencers crave collaborative relationships with brands. You should provide them with some general content direction and brand education. Instead of dictating content, make sure you’re helping influencers understand how they fit into and contribute to your overall campaign goals. Ensure that they are well educated about your brand as well as actually familiar with and enthusiastic about your products in order to empower and guide their creative expression without sacrificing authenticity. Provide these resources to your influencers in a comprehensive Content Guidelines page that rounds up all of the details for the program.
The last step to making sure that your campaign is legit… ensuring that your influencers comply with FTC regulations in their posts. Many influencers still have their own legal questions, so providing this information further cements your position as a valuable partner. You don’t want your campaign to get busted by the FTC. Make sure you’re following all the rules to keep your program on the up and up.