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4 Rules of Engagement for Influencer Marketing

Ann-Derrick Gaillot

Sep 12, 2022

Over the past several years, influencer marketing has grown from a social media novelty into a multi-billion dollar industry. But as influencing and content creation for brands has become more professionalized, some major pain points have emerged.

The fact is, if brands want to have recurring, successful influencer marketing campaigns, influencers need to want to work with them. And as more influencers and content creators are pulling back the curtain on the industry, brands that drop the ball can easily develop reputations for not being worthwhile to work with.

Meltwater's Explore social listening platform dashboard for a query about influencing for brands.

Rule 1: Do Your Research

An Explore query of mentions of #influencerproblems, #contentcreatorproblems, #creatorproblems, and #branddealsbelike shows that, though these conversations are niche, they contain insights that are especially valuable for brands. The most engaged-with piece of content, reaching 1.8 million people, had this lesson to share: There’s no bigger waste of everyone’s time than when brands reach out to content creators without doing their research first. 

When attempting to begin a partnership with an influencer or content creator, make sure that what you’re offering is relevant to them. Most importantly, make sure you’re reaching out to the correct person. The second-most embarrassing email for any influencer marketing manager to receive is one telling you you have your influencers mixed up.

The most embarrassing response to get from an influencer? One reminding you that you have worked together before. So, after your brand has worked with someone, make sure you remember them. Look through your interaction histories before reaching out to ensure this never happens to you.

Rule 2: Let Influencers Take the Creative Lead

Our Explore query found that, over the past year, there have been about 22 social media mentions a day about influencing and creating content for brands. One of the most engaged-with pieces of content is one influencer’s YouTube video about the things brands do that annoy him most. The most relevant section for brands explains how excessive content guidelines and micromanaging stunt his creativity and result in unsuccessful posts or campaigns. It’s a great point. The main reason brands choose influencers in the first place is because they like the creativity of their content.

If you hire an influencer or content creator but take away their creative license, they can’t deliver the kind of work that they know gets results. On the other hand, when brands trust creatives they can create something beyond what your brand’s marketing team could imagine. Offering examples and light direction is fine, but ultimately you should only work with influencers whose creativity you’re willing to trust.

Rule 3: Respect Their Time

Another top-performing #influencerproblems video, by the same creator as the above TikTok, makes fun of brands that go silent only to resurface demanding deliverables with an overnight turnaround. Doing this is a surefire way to ruin any potential, long-term partnerships. Avoid this faux pas by staying in regular communication with your marketing partners, even if it’s just a heads up that you’re waiting on more information. Staying in sync this way pays off down the line with top-notch deliverables and positive experiences for all involved.

Rule 4: Pay Fairly and Promptly

Mentions of influencer pay gaps have spiked numerous times since summer 2021. This is thanks to a combination of more influencers speaking out about their experiences, more media coverage of their stories, and more studies confirming that brands pay white content creators more than Black content creators.

An Explore search of mentions of the influencer pay gap between August 2021 and August 2022 for a blog about rules of engagement for influencer marketing.

The issue has gained so much attention that, this spring, UK advertisers’ organization ISBA updated its Influencer Marketing Code of Conduct to include added guidelines on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Multiple major brands publicly committed to following the Code, which urges them to “recommit to the principle of equal pay for equal work – and to be allies in addressing the unacceptable pay gaps in influencer marketing.” As more influencers continue to call for pay transparency, this conversation will only grow. Stay ahead of the curve and do right by your marketing partners by making sure you are compensating them fairly.

Influencer marketing is a great way to grow your customer base and tap into new audiences, but it does take some time and intentionality to get right. Follow these four rules and watch as your influencer marketing outputs yield higher ROIs. 

With solutions like our influencer marketing platform Klear you can confidently scout, vet, and collaborate with influencers without overlooking crucial details. Schedule a demo to learn more about how Meltwater solutions can help you become a brand that influencers jump to work with.