We walk a fine line in influencer marketing. We want to share our marketing messages through influencers. But we appreciate that word of mouth marketing only works because the influencers are authentic. It works because the people who actually take the time to follow an influencer do so because they can align with what that influencer has to say. Authenticity is the name of the game. We’ve recommended that influencers should often be paid for the efforts. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t all be authentic.
Here’s how to choose great influencers and keep things authentic from the get-go.
- Disclose – most often influencers will indicate that they are doing whatever activity on behalf of a brand but they will also indicate that their opinions are their own. If it is done right, the influencer’s community will know that this influencer would not choose to work with you unless they actually were interested in your brand’s product or experience.
- Allow honest reviews only – Don’t choose the influencer who only does positive review after positive review for the sake of getting free product. They often end up lacking in credibility. In the spirit of authenticity, you cannot pay for a good review. If you are giving an influencer a product to review, you must allow them to share their honest opinions, the good and the bad. If you’ve done the work up front to provide the best experience with your brand, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if there are a few concerns, you can address them at the time. Let the influencer know you have taken their points into consideration and their audience will get that not only is the review authentic, but also that you as a brand are listening.
- Partner with Influencers that align with your brand– Do your best to partner with influencers that align with your brand’s values. Obviously, if you’re XYZ bakery, you aren’t going to pick a food blogger who frequently blogs about her celiac’s disease unless you are a gluten-free bakery. But don’t pick a food blogger who shows subtle hints that she rarely eats carbs either. If her pizza crust is made from cauliflower, you might want to give it a pass and head straight for the blogger who lives for the fluffiest croissant. This way they are still authentic, but also likely to have a positive experience.
- Identify Influencers you can trust – If an influencer likes to push the envelope or be a loose cannon from time to time and your brand isn’t comfortable with that, you may need to partner with someone else. As much as you may like this influencer’s style, you are not going to be able to control what they do. And if you are unable to trust them, you are both going to get annoyed. If you pick someone that aligns with your brand, this shouldn’t be an issue.
- Keep the communication open – Be available to your influencer to answer any questions and check in mid-campaign. But don’t micro-manage as much as your A type personality might want to. A positive experience with our campaign is more likely to yield a positive result. And is still authentic.
- Set your own expectations – I’ve mentioned that an influencer can be an extension of your team. But they don’t work for you in the same way your own employees work for you. Once you have chosen the influencer, briefed them and outlined your deliverables – know that the rest is up to them. While you can check in on them, and monitor the conversation, at the end of the day, they still own their opinions, audience, words, tweets, etc. You need to be prepared for some adhoc mentions and activities that were not planned by you. Again, this is what keeps things authentic.
Do you have any tips on how to keep things authentic? Add them in the comments below!