If you have an Instagram account, chances are you’ve seen a Kardashian touting the benefits of a diet tea, or a pop star pretending to drink a Coca-Cola. You’ve probably heard the controversy around influencers trying to pass off sponsored content as legitimate proprietary material—to the chagrin of their target audience.
The practice has become so rampant that in 2017, the Federal Trade Commission began sending letters to influencers warning them of laws they may be breaking by not properly denoting the ad status of a post.
When a single post comes with a $550,000 price tag, a business wants to make sure they’re getting some serious ROI. But with its “ad” status clearly denoted in the post, many users will simply ignore the content. This begs the question—how can I create a campaign that will be not only profitable, but authentic?
The first step to any effective influencer marketing campaign is choosing the right influencers
Due to a smaller, more defined target demographic of most B2B companies, this can appear difficult. The reality is that the concentrated nature of your customer base puts you at an advantage. With multiple PR tools at your disposal, it’s easier than ever to identify a good fit for your brand. Check with your current customers to see who they follow and use the information they give you as a starting point when searching.
After you’ve identified several candidates, it’s time to be selective
Keep in mind that follower count is not a reliable metric for deciding a good fit for your brand, as a sizeable number of followers does not always lead to a substantial return. Make sure their followers align with your target demographic and choose an influencer with an active community that will engage with your posts.
Now that you’ve got your influencers on board, you can start building your campaign to this person’s audience
For example, if your influencer is a leader in technology, then an overly stylized Instagram post probably isn’t going to suit your needs. Consider having a LinkedIn video series in which your influencers try your brand’s service and share their honest testimonial, or at the very least be open to input from your influencers. Remember that with potential customers being constantly bombarded with clearly corporate-written ads and reviews, raw genuineness will cut through the noise as people recognize the authentic nature of the content.
Finally, you’ll need to track the success of your campaign
As with any marketing campaign, learn from the experience. What worked? What could have gone better? Part of being authentic is being open to improvement when you’ve missed the mark. Every marketing undertaking comes with a certain degree of trial and error – and every endeavor ends up being better than the last because of it.
This article originally appeared on the Media Frenzy Global blog; reprinted with permission.