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How to deal with influencers with brand safety in mind

There’s nothing wrong with working with influencers, but brands should always be cautious.

Influencers ought to be treated just like any other ambassador for a brand and a robust vetting process ought to be put in place. Firstly, look beyond follower count and get a broader view of the results an influencer can drive.

“The focus on ‘reach’ among marketers is driving fraud in influencer marketing, as creators are encouraged to value their own monetary worth on the basis of their follower numbers,” says Matt Donegan, chief executive of influencer marketing platform Social Circle quoted in City AM. “To make the industry more transparent for brands, the key is in measurement and changing the definition of success.”

Reach, as Donegan hints at, is often an empty metric. Find other metrics that work for your own organization.

Next up when you’re looking at an influencer is to check out their history. Historical social data can help you research whether the influencer shares your brand’s values by checking for particular online behaviours (a history of online bullying discovered after you’ve sent the cheque is probably not going to make your boss happy).

With lots to think about, working with influencers that are easy to find and have come up in previous projects might be tempting, but putting the work into finding influencers who have a genuinely engaged audience in your field of interest is so worth it.

“One of the main problems our clients told us was, while there are many different tools out there, they tend to return the ‘usual suspects.’ There’s really a small pool of these big influencers and many of them have already worked with all the competition. While these mega influencers can often have a good reach and can give campaigns some great looking numbers, the actual ROI they are delivering can vary wildly.” says Nick Taylor.

He continued: “We really want to help clients with the discovery part. By starting from the audience and looking at who they are engaged with and influenced by we are able to side-step the issue of fake followers or the ‘wrong kind of reach’. The best thing about this is you’re looking at a different metric to anyone else – so while someone might have a small number of followers (who’d be missed usually) they might actually have a high level of influence over a specific audience, especially if you’re clear about who it is you are targeting.”

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