Running a successful influencer marketing campaign can feel like walking a tightrope. On the one hand, empowerment is key. You want influencer content creation that represents your social influencer personally, thus creating authentic and relatable content. But handing over the creative reins for influencer outreach is a terrifying endeavor.
You have to trust that their aesthetic and tone will, in turn, echo yours—all the while needing to ensure that their content is an extension, not a tangent, from your own.
The Personal Experience
When guiding an influencer marketing campaign, it is easy to focus on the aesthetics and overlook the small and intricate details such as geotags, hashtags, and captions. However, it is the subtlety of these details that elevate your campaign, seeing as these are often what contribute to posts’ authenticity.
Non-scripted. That’s how you want it to read.
There is nothing more authentic than sharing personal experience on social media. The very reason that your influencer has amassed a large follower count is that their opinion is deemed to be trustworthy, entertaining, and informative. Using their opinion of your product to leverage your brand should be one of the main focuses of your relationship.
That’s why some of the best influencer campaigns are often led by a personality that direly believes in the product they’re selling.
In which case, provide your influencer with the following:
- Key message – Language to describe your key campaign message. This should be ubiquitous across any social media influencers active in your campaign—creating content with an informative and cohesive message across all social media channels and brand faces.
- A list of secondary messages – Provide your influencers with a secondary list of 4-5 messages and ask them to choose at least one to focus on alongside your key message.
The key message creates a synergy across all your campaign voices, while the second message eliminates any fear of captions reading like carbon copies of one another.
Empower them to focus on a secondary message that relates to their own experience of your product. Trust them to know their audience, and to highlight an aspect that will appeal and intrigue their personal following.
Experience through Content
Encourage your influencers to produce photo and video content that captures the essence of their personal experience and engagement with your brand. Testimonial based content will educate their audience about the usability of your product, as well as provoking a sense of desirability. It’s where testimony and functionality marry.
Experiential content could look like the following:
- An unboxing video – Give viewers an intimate look at the experience of unpacking your product.
- “Day in the life” video – A testimonial video that shows the everyday use of your product.
- Tutorial video – An educational video that shows your product in action.
- Lifestyle photoshoot – A candid photoshoot of your influencer using/wearing your product in everyday life.
- Selfies – They’re the most populated content form on the app for a reason.
Make a Creative Brief
Provide each social media influencer with a creative brief. The aim of this handbook is to educate and empower your influencer to create a succinct, easy brand partnership.
The goal: you want to give your influencer creative freedom without sacrificing your brand’s message. Establish boundaries—especially those on “extreme” ends of the spectrum—but provide flexibility within them.
Education and History
Ensure that you’re not just telling them what to say, but detail why they should say it. By creating an educational brief that explains the history, thesis, and evolution of the company, you allow them to better affiliate with who you are as an entity (and often, this entity—your brand—is communicated best by social media influencers who feel an intimate connection with your very product and agenda).
- History – A deep dive into the earliest threads of your brand. Explore the origin, thesis, and evolution of your brand.
- Personalities – Educate your influencers on the key personalities behind the brand. From the CEO, the founder, to fellow ambassadors—provide ample introductions and explanations.
- Key Campaigns – Run your influencer through key campaigns. Provide visibility for how they fit within the overall marketing campaign, as it might excite them to do more.
- Legacy – Create a vision for your influencer. Explain how they’re going to be making an impact and what that will look like. This could encourage them to increase their involvement, particularly if they believe in your product.
- Brand Values – Instill a sense of your company values. Talk to your influencer about your company ethos and ensure that their lifestyle suits your brand needs.
You want to encourage them. To grant them a personal responsibility to represent your brand with efficacy. Let excitement—one bred in unison—be the driving force behind their work.
Create a slide in your creative deck providing a clear perspective on your brand tone and voice. This will help educate your influencer about the specific language that your product requires, providing them a helpful list of key phrases and expressions.
Deliverables and Specs
When generating a coherent, 360, multichannel campaign, it’s important to create content streams that can live across multiple social media platforms. While your influencer might shoot primarily for their Instagram feed, it’s likely that you’ll wish to maximize on their content by servicing it across your full spectrum campaign.
The likelihood is that their square cropped Instagram images won’t suffice for your website banner or email newsletter. And this phenomenon doesn’t stop here.
For this reason, it is crucial to provide your influencer with a clear and definitive outline of all the potential delivery needs you’ll require through the relationship.
- Facebook – Video dimensions should be 1280 x 720 for both landscape and portrait, with an aspect ratio of 9:6 and 16:9 respectively. The maximum file size should be 4GB and under 600 pixels in width.
- Instagram – Instagram videos can be published in aspect ratios of either 1:1, 4:5 or 9:16. The recommended video formats are MP4 and MOV (not GIF), and videos should run at under 60 seconds.
- Instagram TV – Instagram stories over the one-minute mark are published as IGTV. Since 58% of all video content is consumed on a mobile, investing in long-form vertical videos is becoming increasingly important.
While your hero video might be 5 to 10 minutes, build out a deliverable spec sheet that includes a series of cut downs from .30 seconds to .05 seconds—this will allow you to service all your media platforms, further streamlining the entirety of the email campaign.
Having access to your influencer’s content performance statistics is vital to the sustainability and growth of your campaign. Consider including a breakdown of monthly social insights, such as their engagement rate, as part of your contracted deliverables expectations.
Visual Aesthetic and Mood Board
When you partner with an influencer, there’s a degree of trust established. Either you trust that you’ve chosen the right target audience (their followers), or you trust in their ability to communicate your brand. Or, in the best-case scenario, you trust both.
With that said, it remains imperative that you create guidelines they’ll be able to follow—especially when it comes to consistency. A great way to do this by taking the time to fully flesh-out a mood board. This allows you to impose your “laws” but for them to variate within the roadmap.
You say: this is the atmosphere, emotion, and rhetoric.
They say: I can shape content around this—especially now that I can visualize it.
Consider the following questions to incorporate into your mood board:
- Are your current campaigns shot on film or digital?
- What are the emotions that currently spill through your images?
- Is the majority of your branded photography lifestyle or studio?
- Do you have a brand color palette?
- What kind of exposure or contrast suits your aesthetic?
Is your influencer shooting natively through an app like Instagram? If so, consider whether there is a preexisting edit filter within the app that suits your visual aesthetic. Remember: cohesion is key.
It needs to be uniform.
Integrate A Content Approval Process
Finally, in order to foster healthy and efficient long-term relationships, ensure that you communicate well to establish a clear approval process with your social influencers. Build out a work-back schedule and provide them with a delivery calendar that accounts for a Version 1 and 2 delivery of both content and text.
This provides the appropriate time for your feedback and allows you to tweak, reshape, or completely rebuild content.
The Final Word: Trust
As with any creative process, the reality is that if you’re hired to produce for someone else—something else—the more information you have from the get-go, the more aligned it’s going to be with the party in question. A writer producing content from only a headline is likely to miss the mark. A painter creating a portrait from a one-sentence description might fail. And—in tandem—an influencer that doesn’t understand a brand intuitively might create content that miscommunicates their message.
The key here is: to do your part (create a thorough brief, provide tons of insight, and set boundaries) and then trust that they’ll do what they do best; convince their followers.
This is how you guide them without stifling their voice… which is exactly why people are listening.
Arizona State University, What We Instagram, https://www.public.asu.edu/~lmanikon/icwsm2014.pdf
Instagram, How do I See Insights From the Video I Uploaded to IGTV? https://help.instagram.com/2058621927791506
AppNexus, The Digital Advertising Stats You Need for 2018, https://www.appnexus.com/sites/default/files/whitepapers/guide-2018stats_2.pdf