Are Marketers Afraid of the Bad Influence of Social Media Influencers?

With a spate of backlash against certain celebrity social media influencers, what can marketers learn about influencer-branding?

Look closely at photos posted to social media of people crossing a snowy bridge or getting ready to kayak in Nova Scotia, and you may find this: #ad. This hashtag informs users that what they are seeing is an advertisement, and a social media influencer will get compensated.

Marketers and brands often employ influencers, not only to reach a wider audience, but to do so with the appearance of authenticity, often incorporating real customers in the campaign. But with news of million-dollar fines and the fallout from influencer tantrums and insensitive statements, where do marketers stand today with their influencer game?

When Marketing Influencers Work

Sue Stanfield is the founder and CEO of Take It Outside, a lifestyle clothing brand selling everything from adventure gear to casual chic apparel. In 2014 she assembled a group of ambassadors (the #TakeItOutsiders) who are responsible for posting monthly content on Instagram featuring products from her stores.

The company sought out individuals who were “like-minded” and enjoyed the outdoors — essentially their target customers — to incorporate their products into their content in a way Stanfield said “feels authentic to them, so that it never feels salesy or unnatural.”

“What I love about our #TakeItOutsiders is that some of them aren’t even what you would consider a traditional influencer or content creator, they’re just really cool people, who buy our products anyway and who are talking the talk and walking the walk,” Stanfield said. “We hook them up with our products and give them incentives to shop in-store, and we go on adventures together and ask them to talk about it on social media once a month. At the end of the day, we all benefit, and we have fun doing it. I think that’s why it works so well.”

Related Article: Why Your Brand Should Care About Influencer Marketing

Avoiding a Bad Influence on Brands

As an influencer for numerous products from Adidas to Balenciaga, Ye (formerly known as Kanye and Kayne West) made a series of insensitive comments that swiftly impacted the reputation and bottom line of multiple brands.

And in October, despite the fact that #ad was included in the post, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined Kim Kardashian $1.26 million for failing to disclose the $250,000 payment she received to publish a post related to cryptocurrency on her Instagram account, a requirement of crypto-related advertisements.

In fact the SEC has sparred with several celebrity influencers including boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., music producer DJ Khaled, and actor Steven Seagal — eventually reaching settlements with them for failing to adhere to the disclosure rules surrounding cryptocurrency.

While celebrity mega-influencers like Kardashian should be acutely aware of the required disclosures, when marketers engage the services of nano and micro-influencers — those with under 100,000 followers — it’s critical for the company who engages them to ensures they know the rules.

Knowing the Rules of Influencer Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created a set of influencer guidelines to assist both influencers and companies. In short, it’s important to keep the following points in mind:

  • Disclose when you have any financial, employment, personal or family relationship with a brand.
  • Financial relationships aren’t limited to money. Disclose the relationship if you got anything of value to mention a product.
  • If a brand gives you free or discounted products or other perks and then you mention one of its products, make a disclosure even if you weren’t asked to mention that product.
  • Don’t assume your followers already know about your brand relationships.
  • Make disclosures even if you think your evaluations are unbiased.

“I don’t think it’s possible to be a business owner who works with influencers and not have these concerns cross your mind,” Stanfield said. “We all have a story about a bad experience with an influencer, it’s very common. But that’s also why it’s very important to ensure that the ambassadors we choose to work with have similar values and that they are aligned with our brand.”

Related Article: Is Influencer Marketing a Fit for B2B Marketing Plans?

Authentic Celebrity Influencer Marketing

With a mission of body positivity, acceptance and achieving fitness though dance, the creators of the dance app, Everdance, needed a little help reaching more users. So, they engaged participants of the Amazon Prime Video Show, “Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big GRRRLS,” as brand influencers to create their own dance classes on the app. The post announcing the news received more than 28,000 views.

“We didn’t even expect how fruitful this cooperation would be,” said Arina Sand, head of communications at Everdance. “We have significantly increased our brand awareness, as well as increased the number of app users and our subscribers in social networks. Kiki and Jasmine not only joined our app as dance instructors, but also made dance classes for us and inspiring videos, which we then used in our advertising campaigns in social networks.”

But the path to a successful influencer campaign wasn’t easy.

“Like many brands, at the very beginning of our cooperation with influencers, we followed the standard path, we searched for influencers on Instagram and TikTok from the relevant dance and fitness sphere, then checked their accounts for audience engagement using various services, agreed on paid posts, etc.,” Sand said. “However, this often did not bring tangible results — neither in terms of the number of new followers on our social media accounts, nor in terms of sales. The audience was interested, many then downloaded our app, but there were not as many subscription purchases as we expected. The costs of collaboration with bloggers barely covered the income received from them.”

Without much money for marketing, Sand said they started to change their tactics and choose only those influencers who can teach dance classes in the app.

“People need people,” Sand said. “They really appreciate when a blogger and a brand share their values, and the influencer himself actually uses the brand’s products and participates in its development.”

Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Reset Password
Shopping cart