The dangers of mismanaging an Influencer campaign

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The dangers of mismanaging an Influencer campaign

October 10, 2018

“You’ve planned your campaign ahead of time, the campaign has kicked off smoothly and everything seems to be in order. You’ve run through a risk management process with the influencers and determined how to mitigate brand risk effectively. What if you haven’t considered all the factors?”

Here are some questions to consider when mitigating brand risk in influencer campaign management:

  • What if the influencer’s content is not engaging and the content unintentionally drags the conversation away from the brand?
  • What if the influencer has put a lot of time and energy into creating the content but what they’ve produced is not in line with your brand or client expectations?
  • What if the content only arrives in your inbox for approval after campaign activation and deadline date?
  • What if the influencer really really likes your brand or product and wants to speak extensively about it beyond the campaign? How will you manage what is being said to ensure it doesn’t violate any regulations in industries such as liquor, finance, health etc?
  • What if you have been monitoring the influencer’s public social media but discover that they have posted something completely inappropriate, or something that may be interpreted as sexist or racist even if this was not the intention, on their private blog or alternative channels or forums?
  • What if the influencer has used the incorrect hashtag or has spelt it wrong (trust me, we see this far too often)?
  • What if the link they include is broken and leads their audience nowhere? It would be such a pity to achieve great results but not be able to track them…

Without effective and proper campaign management from the outset and throughout, the brand may run the risk of having:

  • Content that looks the same, content that is not engaging or does not meet expectations,
  • The inability to track campaign results because mandatory hashtags are missing or misspelled,
  • Legal risks because mandatory mentions and disclosures are missing or because the content does not respect the regulations per country,
  • Financial and reputational risk if contracts are not set up correctly,
  • Overall poor results and a disappointing ROI.

Often during campaigns there is an audience overlap among influencers that are part of the same campaign.

“Therefore, it’s extremely important for the influencers to tell a story and create content in their own signature style to ensure authenticity and originality.”

To ensure content quality and authenticity from the outset and throughout, all posts should be checked and verified before publication. This will ensure the content is authentic, properly engaging, conforms to all required regulations and meets the brand’s expectations. It is important to include verification timelines in the original contract with influencers, allowing the brand time to verify posts and to ensure there is time to request a redo, if necessary. In doing so, the potential that the post will achieve a better ROI is far greater, and the brand’s equity will be protected. An important aspect of campaign management is monitoring the actions of the influencers outside of the campaign to ensure that the selected influencers are still the best fit for the brand, for the full duration of the campaign.

As the influencer is an ambassador of the brand and associated with it for the duration of the campaign, it is important to ensure that the influencer’s actions and content is favourable and remains within the objectives of the brand and reinforces the brands message, rather than alienating the audience. To achieve this, brands need to check all of the influencer’s social media consistently throughout the campaign, and take necessary action if they believe something may backfire on the brand, in the short or long run. Influencer Marketing is all about creating positive word-of-mouth for the brand, and to do so, brands need to monitor all actions of their ambassadors and influencers.

Other than the external potentialities that exist, effective campaign management should deal with all internal matters that may be of concern – those being between the influencer and the brand, which are covered in the contract. These internal matters include, but are not limited to:

  • Verifying the content to meet expectations and coordinating with the influencers regarding content issues,
  • Ensuring that posts are delivered timeously,
  • Communicating with influencers on how to respond to negative engagement, if any, or to dissuade engagement that drags the discussion to the competition,
  • Arranging that new content be provided should the original submission not be satisfactory.

” Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are another aspect of a campaign that will change and evolve as the campaign continues, and effective dynamic campaign management allows brands to analyse these changes and to set new KPIs as the campaign progresses through its timeline.”

In my previous article, you saw the importance of aligning the influencer’s publication calendars with daily/weekly/monthly calendar events to ensure the campaign is fresh and relevant. In the campaign management stages, brands should keep updating their publication calendars with new events and themes as the campaign progresses.

Influencer Marketing campaign management is undoubtedly dynamic in nature; brands are managing people speaking to an audience rather than managing the audience itself. In order to protect brand equity and ensure the highest possible return for the campaign, brands should use Influencer Marketing experts who have a very specialised skillset tailored to Influencer Marketing needs.

In previous articles, my colleagues and I demonstrated how a kickass influencer marketing campaign should be run in a series of articles. You’ve already seen what Influencer Marketing is all about in the first article of the series, and you’ve learnt about the importance of having a dedicated influencer marketing strategy. Following that, you’ve seen the importance of vetting and selecting the right influencers. In the previous article, you saw the importance of effectively planning a campaign and setting mission statements.

In this article, you’ve learnt about effective campaign management to ensure the protection of your brand equity. These articles (and more) will be released regularly. If you’re dying to know more now and you’d like expert assistance with creating and managing your influencer marketing campaigns, you can contact us on partners@r2digital.co.za

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The good, the bad and the ugly side of Influencer Marketing

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See what is happening in our world – who is influencing whom and why.

The good, the bad and the ugly side of Influencer Marketing

October 8, 2018

“You may have read my previous articles and now you know what’s needed to successfully run an Influencer Marketing campaign. You’re expecting a great ROI for your efforts. In this final article of the series, you’ll be able to see the good and the bad side of Influencer campaign planning and management, or the lack thereof. “

The Good

I’m sure you’ve already heard of all the amazing success stories of various Influencer Marketing campaigns, but what does it really mean to be successful in Influencer Marketing? At the moment, there is no industry standard for calculating ROI. As such every Influencer marketer provides his/her own definition, which too often considers reach only. The problem is that reach does reflect anything else other than potential impressions, and not the real impact. At R-Squared Digital, we believe that reach alone, without engagement, is empty.

By tracking the correct metrics, such as engagement, one should be able to calculate a sound ROI for the campaign. Social Media Today (following research by Nielsen) reported that, on average, Influencer Marketing delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. Various studies have shown that businesses that employ Influencer Marketing earn, on average, $7.65 of media presence for every $1 spent on Influencer Marketing. Campaigns designed and executed by Influencer Marketing experts can expect these results as an average, so how does your campaign compare?

It’s no secret that these benchmarks will continue to rise in the foreseeable future, as the industry grows, with many businesses expanding their Influencer Marketing budgets regularly.

“According to Klear, Influencer Marketing has grown by staggering 198% on Instagram over the previous year, with Social Media Today reporting that 48% of surveyed businesses plan to expand their Influencer budgets over the coming years”

We could really feel the increase in interest in Influencer Marketing at R-Squared Digital; last month we successfully completed 9x the amount of campaigns we had in September of last year.

ROI calculations remain a challenge to the Influencer Marketing industry; there is no single, overarching formula currently present in the industry and this leaves plenty room for innovation and interpretation. By comparing campaign engagement rates at an individual post, influencer, and campaign level, to a specific influencer engagement benchmark, a far sounder ROI can be calculated.

The Bad

As demonstrated above, influencer marketing is extremely powerful. However, it must be approached very differently to the approach of conventional marketing in order to guarantee high engagement and authenticity, while still protecting the brand equity. This approach requires a very specific skillset and expertise in building a dedicated Influencer Marketing strategy, planning the campaign, and executing it.

As mentioned throughout the previous articles, authenticity is extremely important in Influencer Marketing, for the sake of both the brand and the influencer. On the brand side, it’s important to keep the message authentic and genuine to ensure that it doesn’t look like an advert. On the influencer’s side, it’s important to tell a story in their own style ensuring that they build their own brand and image. By combining both sides of the spectrum, the brand will be able to reinforce its message rather than alienating its audience.

Scott Disick, the reality TV star and ex-husband of Kourtney Kardashian, provided us with a perfect example of what not to do when it comes to authentic storytelling. A health and lifestyle company (Bootea) paid Disick to promote their new protein shake to his 20-odd million followers. Nothing wrong here, but what happened next was a complete catastrophe.

“Disick posted a photo of himself with the product ha was being paid to promote, but the caption is where it all wen wrong. Instead of telling a story in his own authentic style, he simply copy-pasted the caption provided to him by Bootea, including the instructions the brand had given to him regarding the post.”

Click HERE to view the full article on the Content Marketing Institute’s website.

Once again, looking at both sides of the spectrum mentioned above. On the one hand, the brand did not allow Disick any freedom to produce the content within his own style, this would mean the content would end up looking very inauthentic even if he had just posted the caption. On the other hand, Disick did not put any effort into creating authentic content that would match his style, once again making the content look very unoriginal.

As mentioned in previous articles, influencers have an audience who follow them because they like their style and their recommendations. If influencers start to copy paste messages from the brand, it’s no longer their own personal style, but rather a corporate message that looks like an advert.

“When Influencer Marketing starts to look like an advert, rather than an authentic story, it loses its power.”

The Ugly

In previous articles, we looked at the importance of respecting all mandatory regulations in various industries and verticals. Without proper contracting covering all these bases, violation of various regulations is a very real possibility, and may have serious repercussions for both the influencer and the brand. On the one hand, the brand may suffer a significant financial and/or reputational beating from violating regulations. On the other hand, the influencer will suffer a massive blow to their reputation and credibility.

Kim Kardashian found this out the hard way when promoting products in the health industry. Duchesnay (a pharmaceutical company) paid Kim to promote their new morning sickness tablets, Diclegis, during her pregnancy. Kim happily obliged but made a few fatal mistakes in her execution of the content.

Click HERE to view the full article on Forbes’ website.

Kim violated not one, but two Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations with this one piece of content. First, by paying Kim, this post ‘unknowingly’ created an illegal advertisement for a prescription drug – a huge problem in the eyes of the FDA. Secondly, it failed to mention any risks or side effects of the drug – another huge problem for the FDA.

The FDA instructed Kim to remove any and all posts pertaining to the drug and also instructed the pharmaceutical company to “immediately cease misbranding Diclegis and/or cease introducing the misbranded drug into interstate commerce”. The pharmaceutical company were lucky to escape large fines from the FDA.

These above examples are only two cases of when influencers’ actions may backfire on the brand. It’s critical to create engagement and conversations, but let’s not forget that influencers are not marketing professionals and may not anticipate the impact or the reactions that can be triggered by a post. Even worse, some content may be interpreted as inappropriate, sexist or racist even if this was unintended, which could heavily backfire on the brand.

It’s clear to see that there are plenty positives when it comes to Influencer Marketing, but to achieve these positives, brands need to consider all avenues of a campaign, both internally and externally, from beginning to end, to ensure the campaign produces the ROI the brand is looking for. Brands should partner with Influencer Marketing experts to achieve these ROI’s and more importantly; to avoid embarrassing situations like the ones above.

If you’re dying to know more now and you’d like expert assistance with creating and managing your influencer marketing campaigns, you can contact us on partners@r2digital.co.za

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Influencer campaign planning shouldn’t be Mission Impossible

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See what is happening in our world – who is influencing whom and why.

Influencer campaign planning shouldn’t be Mission Impossible

September 25, 2018

“So the campaign has finally kicked off! You’ve read my previous article and expertly vetted and selected your influencers and the campaign brief has been circulated to them, easy stuff! However, you’ve noticed that your audience isn’t really engaging with the content and you’re starting to question why your audience seems to have become alienated from the brand. Is it the content? Is it the influencers? Is it the concept? There are many things that could have and may still go wrong if the campaign is not planned correctly.”

Setting individualised missions for influencers is vitally important. By sending one brief to all influencers for the same campaign, all influencers will produce very similar content. Within certain verticals there is often an audience overlap, in which case, followers following several influencers part of the same campaign will see the same type of content being produced, which may be alienating for the audience. This is where the importance of influencer mission setting and dynamic campaign planning plays a role in the success of the overall campaign.

“Not every mission will match the influencer, and conversely, not every influencer will match the mission.”

It’s important to match the missions to the influencers and not the influencers to the missions. By assigning missions that have been tailored to the influencer’s style, the content they create will reinforce the brands message in their own signature style. The missions the brand sets should be a framework for the influencer to work from, not a script.

Brands need to think out of the box when it comes to dealing with influencers. It is all about creating the perfect framework that allows for full creativity, authenticity and engagement while remaining aligned with the brand’s objectives and protecting its brand equity. Authenticity in the content is crucial to ensuring the message resonates with the target audience, in a way that is original and organic. Influencers should use their own discretion and build the story in a way that matches their style and flow, while staying within a given framework.

Following this, a publication calendar should be established, where all influencers’ posts are spread over the period of the campaign and matched to different criteria and daily/weekly/monthly events such as public holidays of different themes. In doing so, the content will resonate with the brands target audience in different styles, themes and ways – keeping it fresh and new.

Another aspect of effective campaign planning is to confirm the correct hashtags and mandatory disclosures required by law, as well as the mandatory mentions for the brand. In the planning stages, brands should consider all regulations applicable to the campaign. Influencers are not industry professionals; brands should therefore provide a framework of flexibility for the influencer so that they create their own personal content while respecting all regulations, no matter the sector or vertical.

“It is critical to protect both the brand and the influencer by covering all the details of the relationship.”

In terms of legalities, I cannot stress enough the importance of contracting with all parties involved throughout the campaign. Strict contracting creates an agreement between the brand and the influencer; this should be in writing to cover all parties involved. Proper contracting protects both the influencer and brand or agency. Brands cannot forget that the influencer will become associated to the brand in everything they do, at least for the time of the campaign. This should include the details of the missions, deadlines and schedules, DO’s and DON’Ts as well as the expectations and consequences if something goes wrong.

Effective campaign planning and management is a human skill and requires specific expertise. It should not be an automated system. Influencer marketing is different to digital marketing in this way. Influencer marketing experts manage real people who speak with an audience, rather than managing the audience itself and to do so effectively, one needs a specific skill set that is very different from other fields of conventional marketing.

The success of an influencer marketing campaign is based on various factors throughout the timeline of the campaign but it is critical to set missions and effectively plan campaigns well in advance to ensure the campaign gets off on the right foot. Without doing so, there is a high risk that the campaign will produce a terrible ROI. It may also deviate from the overall objectives of the brand and harm the brand equity.

In previous and upcoming articles, my colleagues and I will demonstrate how a kickass influencer marketing campaign should be run in a series of four articles. You’ve already seen what influencer marketing is all about in the first article of the series. You’ve also learnt about the importance of having a dedicated influencer marketing strategy. Following that, you’ve seen the importance of vetting and selecting the right influencers.

In this article, you’ve learnt about the importance of effectively planning a campaign and setting mission statements. You can look forward to learning about effective campaign management to ensure the protection of your brand equity. These articles (and more) will be released weekly. If you’re dying to know more now and you’d like expert assistance with creating and managing your influencer marketing campaigns, you can contact us onpartners@r2digital.co.za

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