For some organizations, working with bloggers and other social influencers is new, maybe it’s even uncharted territory. Other companies have ideas about how to approach these media creators and may even have tried a few things. A third group of companies has sophisticated programs with high visibility.
If your company is new at this, or tried a few things that may or may not have worked, it’s a fair bet you are seeking ways to demonstrate the value of working with social influencers. Here’s how to demonstrate value in the future.
Create clear expectations of what you want the results to be. Are you asking the influencer to do social media on the go — spontaneous posting on social networks — as they experience your product or service? Or are you looking for a thoughtful report or image stream after the fact?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I hope to get out of this relationship?
- What volume do I expect?
- Are there deadlines I hope to meet?
A fair exchange is “I’ll give you X and I expect Y.” What “X” and “Y” are for your organization could be different. If the social influencer is creating content for your digital properties, fair exchange might include compensation and credit for the content. If the content is created on the influencers’ blog or social network, then fair exchange may be your ability to promote that content on your organizations’ channels. Making sure that the “deal” works for everyone and that everyone’s intellectual property is protected, might include an actual contract. Or a clearly defined email. Or as the organization, you might use the photos or works under Creative Commons licensing. There are millions of variations of these ideas and organizations and content creators should always consult professionals related to contracts and other legal matters.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Have I been clear about what I expect?
- How have I communicated my expectations?
- Do I need a contract?
- Should I consult a lawyer or contract administrator for assistance?
Nurture The Relationship
Getting to know influencers that may align with your brand takes time and research. There are many ways to find those influencers organically and many tools that help identify influencers using tags and algorithms. Even if you have the best tools, it’s still important to get to know each influencer, their expertise and how they approach brand relationships. It’s no different than joining the local chamber and getting to know other chamber members at networking events. The relationships need to be built over time.
Some things to consider:
- How can I develop influencer relationships?
- Are there groups to join?
- What tools should I explore?
If you want your future influencer relationships to be professional and ethical, they must include elements of disclosure. The influencers, by law, must identify brand relationships with disclosure statements on blog posts, and identify paid relationships using hashtags like #ad and #client on networks such as Instagram and Twitter.
- Have I discussed disclosure with the influencer(s) I’m working with?
- Are we meeting my organizations ethical and professional guidelines?
- Are we in compliance with current laws regarding disclosure?
I’ve matched brands with influencers on a wide variety of promotions and campaigns, and it’s easy to get off track. By creating clear expectations, nurturing the relationships and developing clear expectations including strong elements of disclosure, you can develop value for your organization with influencer campaigns.