Influencer Marketing is now a vital part of any comms strategy but getting it wrong can be damaging for both your finances and your reputation. Scott Guthrie works with brands, agencies and platforms to generate meaningful results from influencer marketing and recently spoke to us about fake follower fraud.
Scott researched fake followers and discovered that not only could influencer fraud be a criminal offence, but few companies seem prepared to deal with it in an effective way.
So, how do you get it right? Here are 5 influencer marketing lessons from Scott:
1. Don’t just focus on audience size
Sure, size matters, but is it the most useful way of finding the best influencers for your campaign? Scott says: ‘The relevance of an influencer’s following to your brand and key messages is more important.’
Scott discusses the need to comprehensively vet your influencers, judging things like tone of voice and their alignment with your brand values – as well as using all the other measurable metrics that may be helpful. If you use the Vuelio Influencer Database, you can use the Influencer Score that draws on over 40 data points to create a more comprehensive view of genuine influence, saving you a lot of leg work.
2. Use micro influencers
This follows on from audience size – just because someone is Insta famous, doesn’t mean their engagement rate is any good. Scott says: ‘Brands looking to encourage high engagement rates for their influencer work should focus on a micro influencer strategy.’
Not only are they more likely to have a more engaged audience, they’re also likely to be cheaper so your budget can go further and take in more influencers. A word of warning though, proper vetting takes time so don’t forget this in your planning stage.
3. Sponsored content needs to be high quality and infrequent
Many influencers on Instagram have found the official #ad or #spon hashtags, which identify paid-for content, have less traction and reach – possibly falling foul of the network’s shadow ban. Scott says: ‘The drop-in engagement rates is because the paid-for content posted fails to meet certain criteria’. The criteria are that adverts are clearly labelled (so the audience isn’t hoodwinked); the content is good quality; and there’s a ratio of at least 3:1 in favour of organic over paid-for content on the influencer’s feed.
It’s worth considering all three of these points when looking at a potential collaborator’s previous posts.
4. Pictures should be realistic and representative
Filters, editing and post-production look out! Scott says: ‘Image manipulation will be scrutinised more closely. Using post-production techniques that exaggerate the effects of an advertised product could mislead.’
Make sure your pictures are accurate because existing advertising rules from the regulators applies to content whether it’s on TV, in print or online. And if you’ve paid for the content, you could be responsible for its accuracy.
5. Prepare now, because it’s coming anyway
The influencer marketing industry is already rife with unethical behaviour, but this cannot last. Scott says: ‘A commercial imperative for tangible results from brands alongside influencers’ audiences heightened demand for high-quality content will force a maturation of the influencer marketing industry.’
He believes the future will only have space for social media influencers that produce thoughtful, creative content and the rest will fall by the wayside. Working ethically isn’t something you should see as a chore, but a means to build your influencer marketing strategy so it lasts long into the future.
Need help with influencers? You need the Vuelio influencer Database.