Practices and tactics in working with professional content creators
by Marius Marin, Reputation Manager
Any of us can create content of any kind. But even though I can make content for my Social Media pages, that doesn’t make me an influencer. Of course, you may occasionally post on Instagram and share where you’ve been lately, share an opinion on Facebook, make a funny video on TikTok, or share an experience in a YouTube video, but that content is there for you and you only, if it doesn’t spread or it’s not appreciated. As a joke, you could say that you are a minor “influencer” in your friend circle.
How do you rate an influencer?
• Number of followers: the power an influencer wields lies in the community that has gathered around them as they become more prominent and gain status.
• The quality of the content: as the influencer starts to grow their following from thousands to tens of thousands, to millions even, they start to produce better, high quality, even inspirational content, which starts to build momentum at a high level.
• The ability to influence audience preferences: because of the mix of quality content and their communities, people who congregate around the influencer end up posting in turn and declaring “I bought this after seeing it at Y”, “I know about that launch because I saw it at Z”, “let’s contribute to help X influencer raise money for that cause”. The best proof that the influencer has this ability is seen when regular users mention them in their stories or posts.
Types of influencers and their role in your communication campaign
Due to the sheer consistency and the impact they have online, we have those influencers who have increased their notoriety and visibility to the point where they have become public figures. Two good examples are Aluziva and Selly, who are featured in many different brands’ campaigns and have even gone so far as to use their influence in the service of various social causes. Basically, you end up leveling the online influencer with a celebrity whose image has been consolidated in the media (radio, TV). That’s why they’re great for awareness campaigns when you need your product or service to reach as many people as possible.
Entertainers or comedians, people who create personalized content for the brand and often have dedicated pages (Mercur Retrograd, #StiCumZic, Nimeni de Nicăieri). Their content is greatly appreciated, especially as they can integrate the product or service more authentically in their communication. At the same time, their online influence is continuously growing, which makes them suitable for campaigns that reinforce brand equity or that want to stand out for their uniqueness and the authenticity of their interactions with the community.
INFLUENCERS PART OF THE MIX OF COMMUNICATION
These are the ones that brands have realized they need to integrate into their communication strategy as a channel in itself. They are the ones who have the ability to gather their communities around a call-to-action. Generally, they do not create content specifically for brands, but amplify their communication. The reason they work especially well in campaigns that aim for immediate business impact is that they haven’t crossed the threshold of followers where their communities are audience mixes and still manage to stay in the niche they started growing.
What is the ideal process when working with influencers
From the moment you propose one or more content creators to the client until you end the collaboration, there’s a whole flow of steps that it’s best not to skip so that you can run the project smoothly and avoid the many roadblocks that can occur along the way.
1. Communicate – first of all, you are dealing with other people and it is important to never forget that we are all different, everyone communicates and expresses themselves differently, works in their way, and has parallel projects.
2. Negotiate and set Deliverables – an important stage, where you need to be careful to align the expectations of both parties, the client and the content creator. Especially if you want to move forward with the project.
3. Collaboration Contract – often treated as a formality, it is extremely important because it provides the legal framework in which the two parties agree to collaborate and especially its details: deliverables, duration of the campaign, assignment of image rights, exclusive image association with the brand for the duration of the campaign, etc.
4. The Brief and Objectives – we are no longer in the age of over-the-phone explanations, now the brief is essential as the complexity of campaigns has increased. It needs to be as clear and well-structured as possible, with information about the brand and campaign, mandatories, and timelines for collaboration on the project. In terms of deliverables, you can never go overboard with the level of detail provided.
5. Monitoring the campaign – once the campaign has started, the content creator produces the campaign materials, which are approved by the client and posted. But it is very important to pay attention to and monitor the content creator’s work, as well as the communities’ reactions throughout the collaboration.
6. Reporting and Conclusions – once the project is completed, you can conclude. You receive the results from the content creator for the material posted and prepare a report that you deliver to the client for analysis. In general, if the collaboration has been a good one in terms of results, it can turn into a long-term one.
7 tactics in working with influencers:
In the process of collaborating and communicating with content creators and influencers, there are various working tactics you come to identify over time:
1. You make sure the content creator’s mission in the campaign is clear. Generally it is 1 of the following 3:
– Create dedicated content for the campaign;
– uses its own channels to amplify the campaign message;
– the campaign is built around him and his personality.
Let’s look at some of the campaigns Minio has implemented as they map to exemplify these different situations:
– Dedicated campaign content: Durex Slim Fit & XXL – comedians spoke “in the language of the audience” we were trying to reach and better explained Durex’s two new products;
– Amplifying the campaign message: Rowenta Forever Sharp – Flick Mr. Rhyme was the only influencer in the campaign and played a key role. Through rhymes posted in the video content he talked about the product and directed men to buy from partner sites, resulting in a quick sell out;
– Campaign built around it: Sun Treasure – content creators were in the role of mall customers to encourage downloading the app and testing the game during their time in the mall.
2. Compensate when your budget doesn’t quite match your goals: look for ways you could still reach out to certain content creators, even if the project doesn’t allow for paid collaboration. The most handy solution is to put together an interesting PR kit that gets their attention and talks about that project and the brand you represent. One such example is the direct mail piece done for Mondelez’s Poftă de Vară campaign, when 50 unpaid content creators posted and generated over 160 pieces in which the brand and campaign were visible.
3. Check in regularly with the influencer or content creator: this is the point where you need to be sure they understand exactly what their role is in the campaign and what the brand wants. You can set up one or more meetings, to go through the brief together and come up with clarifications if something he didn’t understand.
4. Nothing’s certain until it’s certain: always check his availability during the campaign period you’re running to make sure he can get his content done on time, so you’re on time with the campaign. The influencer may be involved in several campaigns at the same time, or may even be out of the country at the time, and you need to get the product to him so he can prepare the campaign deliverables on time.
5. Monitor communities throughout the campaign: you should constantly monitor how their community reacts to the branded content posted. This is where you can generally even urge him to interact with his fans in the context of the campaign. Not infrequently, community members may have various questions about that product or the functionality of the service being promoted.
6. Make sure deliverables are preserved: especially since ephemeral content has become the primary way to collaborate with influencers, it’s very important to make sure they archive the Stories and posts they’ve posted so that at the end you have access to the results of the materials. It especially helps when you want to track how the influencer performed in the campaign, how many people saw the branded content and what engagement was generated.
7. Follow up: let them know how the campaign performed overall, what feedback the client got, or maybe the campaign they worked on was nominated or awarded at an industry festival. This is how you turn a one-off collaboration into a long-term relationship with the content creator or influencer.
What can you expect from influencer marketing in 2023?
If it feels like too much already, I think we haven’t seen it all yet, this industry is still growing. If 2022 was the year that saw the most influencer campaigns in Romania so far, I think 2023 will be “bigger than this”.
INDUSTRY AND PLATFORMS:
• The industry will continue to evolve on all levels, especially in Romania where it still has stages to burn;
• The quality of content created in Social Media will increase – content creators and influencers are either improving their photo&video and editing skills or turning to professionals, especially in the case of influencers
• Instagram and TikTok will be the main branded content channels for influencers, who will increasingly do campaigns exclusively on TikTok.
• There will be more and more – platforms like TikTok encourage people to express themselves online in their own way, from entertainment – dance and music, to learning – tips and tricks and cooking or dentistry advice.
• Their hyper-specialisation – content creators are increasingly nicheising in response to having to differentiate themselves in a growing market.
• It will be increasingly challenging to contextualise brands in a natural way – audiences are increasingly resistant to traditional influencer communication
• Influencers will consolidate as their own communication channel and will continue to be found in brand campaigns;
• Micro-influencers – will increasingly be chosen by brands as brands increasingly seek meaningful engagement between influencers and their communities, which is almost impossible for those with large communities. On the other hand, micro-influencers have proven over time that they are willing to invest more time in the quality of the content they produce.
• Streamlining the workflow with them: influencers will receive much more specific, targeted briefs. As the quantity of deliverables increases, the need for structure and efficiency to achieve communication goals becomes more pronounced.
• Their vigilance will be at an all time high: after a year full of influencers and brands slipping up, consumers will be paying closer attention to their communications. 2023 is the year we’ll see a more mature consumer interacting with influencer marketing.
BRANDS AND AGENCIES:
• Will refine communications for GenZ: It’s no secret that more and more brands are strategizing to reach Gen Zers and effectively communicate their brand messages. The challenge is that they immediately detect corporate bullshit, and are much less tolerant of other audiences;
• The niche of influencer agencies: we already see divisions that, for example, represent and manage only comedians. Probably we will see in Romania agencies that will represent – only tiktok-ers, maybe athletes, or youtubers or, why not, only fashion & beauty exponents.
Too long of an article? Good thing I’m also doing a podcast with and about influencers!
If you want to learn more about what influencer marketing and working with influencers and content creators is all about, I invite you to check out the Maker Podcast, where I’m talking to content creators about how they’ve become makers online. And until a new episode comes out, you can give my YouTube channel a subscribe and my TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn pages a follow. Or maybe you’ll even hear about the project from your office colleagues. 😊