Top 8 influencer marketing best practices

Written by Heather Green

Influencer marketing is thriving, with spending in the US set to increase by more than 30% this year alone. But with all this investment, how can brands ensure they get the most out of their campaigns? I’ve put together a list of my top influencer marketing best practices to help you develop a strong influencer strategy and find the best creators for your brand.

1. Highlight authenticity over sales endorsements

Many influencers spend years building a relationship of trust with their audience through genuine, relatable content. If an influencer’s messaging comes across as ‘salesy’ or seems out of character, their followers will spot it a mile off, so it’s important to keep posts as authentic and consistent as possible.

2. Pick creators who align with your brand

This one’s a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people get this completely wrong. A creator’s fame doesn’t automatically determine whether they would be a good fit for your brand. Many marketers select influencers based on the wrong reasons and one of the biggest mistakes I see, is selecting ambassadors that don’t correspond with core brand values.

Mass reach doesn’t always equal results and there’s more to a creator than just followers. As creators become increasingly discerning, they are more interested in working with brands that truly match with their audience’s interests and expectations. An essential first step when sourcing influencers is to research their content thoroughly and ensure their brand matches yours. Establish realistic expectations and understand that not every creator is motivated only by budgets.

3. Set clear goals from the start

It’s always best to outline what you want to achieve with influencers and communicate these clear goals to the creators from the outset. Clearly defined expectations ultimately lead to less time and resource wastage, as well as high-quality content generation since influencers are more likely to understand the brand and work hard to retain the partnership.

4. Respect that creators understand their audience best

Influencers spend every day on social media, interacting with and learning from their audience, so they understand their audience better than anyone and can provide brands with invaluable insights. Avoid micromanaging and trust the influencer to work their magic.

5. Stay compliant with FTC regulations

It’s imperative to follow FTC disclosure guidelines and ensure the creators you work with clearly identify their posts as sponsored. In the US, the FTC requires that influencers differentiate between sponsored content and organic posts. Similar regulations apply in different markets across the world. These rules should be adhered to and brands should make a point of disclosing on any post where influencers have received compensation, whether cash, free products or anything else.

6. Use clear KPIs when measuring success

Campaigns can most often be measured by engagement or impressions. That said, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ model. The ways in which you’ll track the success of a campaign will heavily depend on your specific goals. Pick one strong metric and stick to it. Consider a guaranteed outcome model that level-sets expectations from the start.

7. Compensate creators fairly

A six-second video may take days to get right, so creators should be paid for their hard work and compensated fairly. Marketers who acknowledge this will find much more success in the long run, especially those considering an ‘always-on’ approach with specific influencers.

8. Consider evergreen programs with the same creators over one-off ‘one and done’ initiatives

Influencer marketing isn’t just an add-on, it’s an ongoing investment. Building trust with followers through continuity will create a long-lasting impression and prolonged brand awareness. An ‘always-on’ strategy will also give you more insight into your customers as you can access the data as it fluctuates over a longer period of time. This will ultimately help to inform and strengthen your marketing strategy in the long run.

Heather Green

About the author

Heather Green leads INCA USA. She has spent the last 20 years building successful social and digital strategies for pinnacle global brands. Heather lives in NYC with her cat Sinatra.

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