Forming influencer campaigns is a mix of creativity, strategy, relationship building and legal requirements. In order to build successful campaigns and meet goals, brands need to address both creative and business terms to manage expectations and ensure partnership success.
In the first of a two part series, how to manage creative with creatives:
Clearly Define Post Requirements
This is the time for brands to be specific about content requirements. By planning the campaign well in advance and including all guidelines within the influencer contract, brands can set the partnership up for success.
Platform and Content Requirements
The brand and the influencer should agree on the platforms, the number of pieces, and the type of content. If a campaign involves both Instagram and YouTube, break it down by platform and include length requirements on the YouTube video as well as shot requirements.
Pairing a brand and influencer with similar aesthetic interests ensures harmonious creative in the campaign. Include visual styling on an influencer contract to ensure that the content is aligned with the brand’s image in specific detail; if the creative team wants the product shown a certain way, a specific type of location, or a certain hairstyle to better display product benefits, include it in the contract.
Campaign messaging includes specific phrases and taglines, as well as product highlights the influencer should use in their caption (AKA “post-copy”). For certain industries with government oversight, like health supplements, pharmaceuticals or alcohol, it is imperative that the influencers do not make any false claims about the products. Disclosures and specific language to describe the product benefits with accuracy are critical.
Campaign messaging also includes branded hashtags and social accounts to tag. If there are multiple companies involved in a promotion or giveaway, include their hashtags and social handles as well.
FTC Disclosure Compliance and Disclosure Tools By Platform
To ensure consumers understand it is a paid partnership, it is mandated by the FTC to include proper disclaimers to identify it, like #ad. Use your best to effort to utilize all available and applicable platform disclosure tools like Facebook’s “Branded Content Tool”, Instagram’s “Paid Partnership/Business Partner” tag and YouTube’s “Written Disclaimer Tool” when posting content. Read more about the FTC Guidelines here.
Outline the type of post, the exact day, time of day for each post and the total duration of the campaign (for example, one time or 3 months). This is particularly important if there are multiple influencers involved in your campaign so you can manage everything at a high level.
The second piece to this is determining how long a post will live on their channels. This can range from 24 hours to one year, depending on the channel. Instagram posts are typically two to four weeks. If the campaign lasts more than one month, it’s smart to include in the contract that all posts must stay live until the end of the campaign (if not longer.)
If an influencer pushes back on these points, it’s okay to work with them to find a mutually beneficial solution. Over 95% of engagement occurs within the first 24 to 48 hours, so this is not a significant concern.
Calls-to-Action and Link Requirements
The call-to-action and link requirements are essential for any campaigns that require direct response from the consumer. Without these pieces, there will be no way to drive traffic to purchase or sign up. By collecting this data, the brand can assess the value of the partnership and optimization in future campaigns.
Make sure to clarify how and when the creator needs to direct their followers to a specific link. The standard is 24 hours for the link in their bio for an Instagram post, swipe up in an Instagram Story, or in a YouTube video description. Remember to use a short link service like Genius Link or Bitly to accurately track all traffic sources.
Implementing a Thorough Review Process
While influencers are rightfully sensitive about their creative output, brands, understandably, want some level of input to guide the final delivery. Clarify the review process within the contract to establish responsibilities before content is posted including how the influencer will submit content for approval, contacts for brand and agency reviews (if applicable), and the expected timeline.
Campaigns may contain concept reviews before the content is created to ensure all parties are aligned. A concept is usually a three to five sentence written description including setting, props, inspiration, and other relevant details. One round of edits is the standard and helps keep the planning efficient.
The contract should also contain guidelines in the event a reshoot may need to be requested. Will the creator be compensated for additional work? If so, at what rate? Clear, specific feedback will help prevent the need for this, but it’s always better to plan for it.
Stay tuned for Part Two, coming later this week.
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