1. Research the influencers you are interested in before contacting them. Brands must do their due diligence prior to contacting influencers. Understanding an influencer’s personal brand/online persona will give a company more to work with when developing a campaign. Companies need to ensure that their chosen influencer does not promote competing brands, or brands that do not align with the company’s ethical code. Researching an influencer will also help the company develop and tailor the pitch.
  2. View it as a long-term commitment. Prior to integrating influencers into marketing initiatives, understand that this is both a financial commitment and a personal commitment. Building a relationship with an influencer is crucial if you want to create an impactful campaign. If a brand works on fostering a relationship, the influencer will be more likely to create an emotional and compelling campaign. If influencers feel an emotional attachment to the brand, they will tend to promote the product even beyond the scope of the campaign. This, in turn, makes their support of your product or service more authentic to consumers.
  3. Choose quality over quantity. In many cases, micro-influencers provide more results than macro-influencers, because they are more engaged with their following. Many brands make the mistake of assuming that just because an influencer has more followers, they will have more reach and subsequently a larger impact. Rather than just looking at numbers, brands need to focus on the loyalty and engagement of the following. Brands that seek influencers with a strong sense of engagement and community will tend to see a greater return on their investment because the influencer has a strong trust factor.
  4. Use watchdog services. In a world where people can buy likes and followers, it is imperative that companies verify their influencers before hiring them. Services (such as Upfluence) that provide analytics on influencers also can detect fraudulent activity.
  5. Create a campaign. Have clear goals and objectives. A brand needs to have a vision for where it wants the campaign to go prior to recruiting influencers. The campaign should include a call to action and certain mentions and hashtags that must be incorporated into each post. It is also important to have a central theme to streamline it and make it unified across all platforms.
  6. Consider the length of your campaign. While long campaigns can be costly, using an influencer for a length of time shows their following that they are committed and loyal to the brand, enticing them to purchase the product or service.
  7. Set metrics. Rather than paying the influencers up front, create certain benchmark metrics that they must achieve before they receive compensation. If influencers are working toward certain established goals, they will tend to have more of a sense of loyalty, rather than being “one and done.”
  8. Put a morals/social responsibility clause in the contract. The social media landscape is constantly changing and evolving. As each day passes, there seems to be a new scandal. An influencer falling out of public favor can be detrimental to a company. A morals clause ensures that businesses can terminate a contract if something occurs that does not align with their values and morals.
  9. Be transparent. Transparency is extremely important. If an influencer is receiving any form of compensation for a post, they need to make that clear through mentions and hashtags like #ad. The power of influence is extremely beneficial to brands. However, if consumers feel as though they have been deceived, it will have a negative impact on the brand’s image.
  10. Understand the Influencer Marketing landscape. Influencer Marketing is ever-evolving, especially as new platforms are released, so it is extremely important that companies understand that perceptions of influencers are ever-changing. It is also important that brands educate themselves on the various social platforms available, so they make informed decisions.