Collaboration (n): The action of working with someone to produce or create something.
Many marketers continue to struggle with connecting their brand’s voice and campaign vision to influencers’ authentic voice and style – an imbalance of control and collaboration that is largely a symptom of a reactive influencer marketing strategy. Influencers are still too often brought in to the campaign process only after a campaign is well in execution, which does not allow for the campaign to be designed and implemented with influencers’ perspective or aesthetic in mind. Influencer marketing platforms and agencies often contribute to this problem, as they frequently limit the engagement with influencers to activation and late-stage campaign management.
Influencers’ ability to create content that influences the very same target consumer audiences that marketers often aspire to connect with have a unique advantage to be thoughtful, empathetic co-creators in this process. Their ability to create relevant content, share consumer insights, and vet campaign ideas adds value to all marketing functions involved in campaign strategy and design. This exchange of information as collaborators is only possible, however, when influencers are invited into the campaign planning process earlier, and briefed on the full context of the campaign’s execution – beyond just the content they’re responsible for creating.
Now, with the understanding and intention that we’re advocating for collaborating with influencers before you start executing your next campaign, and that the influencer-generated content for that campaign should be repurposed across any number of strategic consumer touchpoints – we understand that your campaign may be well underway already. Here are five elements to include in your next influencer brief so you can make the most of your campaign while still allowing for creative autonomy – regardless of what stage in the process you happen to be in:
- Product Ratings & Reviews: Delivering a cohesive consumer experience across touchpoints requires more than just creating amazing content. Imagine if the consumers inspired by the content they see on Instagram, only arrive on a product page that has zero or less than stellar reviews? It doesn’t add up, and it doesn’t affirm or reinforce the desire to buy that was inspired by the piece of original content. Marketers can, and should be, working with influencers to not only create original content, but also, product reviews and promotions with their audience that affirm the content they created and motivate consumers to make the purchase.
- High Priority Search Keywords: Influencers’ websites and blogs often possess high search authority around brand-relevant topics and keywords, and can be instrumental in driving search and discovery for new products. Also, your search team will love you for it.
- Permission to Repurpose: The content lifecycle of a social post – regardless of who’s publishing it – nearly necessitates that influencer-generated content requires paid amplification and distribution across owned channels to scale. Re-purpose high performing influencer-generated content across owned social channels, email, brand.com, and display to increase the value you’re able to deliver.
- Paid Media Requirements & Pixels: Facebook and Instagram are continuing to introduce more tools and controls for marketers to use and repurpose influencer-generated content. Facebook now lets brands amplify publisher and influencer posts directly, provided the influencer has tagged the brand Page as a partner in the post published (also benefits as a disclosure, but this should also be included in post copy regardless). Make sure any targeting and re-targeting pixels are in place to successfully re-engage consumers who have interacted with brand or influencer content.
- Original Content Files: If you’re planning on repurposing influencer-generated content in any print media – such as magazines, out-of-home, or in-store displays – the original, hi-resolutions photos will be required to maintain print integrity. While Instagram supports higher-resolution images and Facebook just introduced hi-res photo sharing in Messenger, image size restrictions are limiting and at least some degree of compression will be applied to any image published on social media.
As always, collaboration is a two-way street. After sharing your creative brief with the influencers partnering with you to bring your brand and campaign to life, ask for feedback and suggestions. What would they change? Based on their experience engaging their audience – would they recommend different keywords? A new channel to test distribution? Emphasize a different color or story around the product featured? The possibilities are endless and can make a huge difference in how your brand is able to stand out from the competition. And if you don’t know where to start or simply looking for some inspiration, check out our influencer campaign brief template and brand onboarding guides in the latest playbook in our Influencer Marketing & Relations in 2018 series: Accelerating Trust & Transparency in the Path-to-Purchase Through Influencer-Generated Content.