Welcome back to Captiv8’s multi-part series on the basics of influencer marketing. Our team spends a lot of time thinking about the strategies and news stories impacting the discipline of influencer marketing. But for those who are new to the discipline there are likely some fundamental questions that often go unanswered. What is “influencer” marketing? How do you go about identifying creators that are a good fit for your brand, and what are the best practices for working with a creator to design compelling content and measure its success? 

Today we’re going to examine how to make effective influencer content. Once you’ve decided you want to get started with influencer marketing and identified some great creators, the next question to answer is, “what should I ask them to post?” There’s lots of ways of answering this question, many of which have a lot to do with your specific brand’s goals and your industry. But no matter what your company is selling, there are some general guidelines that all marketers should consider when working on influencer content:

  • Creative freedom is important: Remember when hiring a creator that they are not an ad agency or a production company. They’re individuals. And the reason these creators have built their followings is because they let their personalities shine through. Don’t try and suppress that personality when partnering with a creator on their campaign. Let them tell your brand story in a way that makes sense for their audience. Using Captiv8’s “top content” insights tool is a great way to get a sense for what different influencers like to post.
  • Skip the infomercial approach: As we explained in “Influencer Marketing 101: Finding the Right People“, influencer-style campaigns are most effective when they are authentic. And as a result, it’s important marketers don’t try to turn their campaigns with creators into glorified informercials. In today’s media-saturated environment, consumers are smart enough to see a marketing pitch coming, and that’s why organically integrating your products into creator content is going to work much better than a “hard sell.”
  • Be platform-specific: The desire with marketing campaigns is to want them to scale quickly. Because of that, marketers may be tempted to repurpose their creator content for different platforms. And in some cases, this might work. But the most effective campaigns are often going to be built on content that is platform-specific. Even though Instagram’s “Stories” feature may look remarkably similar to Snapchat’s “Stories” that doesn’t mean there aren’t key differences between the two.
  • Don’t add too much text: In today’s visual-obsessed social media environment, too much text can often weigh down post performance. One recent study found that placing sponsor text directly over images had a significantly negative impact on post performance. Try to avoid using text on images, and keep any content descriptions to the bare minimum.
  • Request your creator uses high-quality production tools: It’s true that influencer marketing is all about authenticity, which means that organic moments often work well to gain engagement. But that doesn’t mean the quality of the images or video used in your campaign has to suffer. Try to negotiate in advance to ensure your creator is using high-end production tools and editing software, and that they are comfortable using it.
  • Make content last: Just because so much of todays social media content is ephemeral doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to maximize its longevity. While your post might disappear on Snapchat or fall from the top of your creator’s Instagram page, there are ways to make it live on long after it’s been shared. Try to pick “evergreen” content ideas that can extend beyond a single campaign, and don’t be afraid to repurpose creator content for other brand platforms like your website. This is also why it’s a good idea to agree on content rights usage terms during negotiations with your chosen creator.

Creating great influencer marketing content requires creativity and flexibility. But with the right mindset, and the help of powerful research tools like Captiv8’s insights platform it doesn’t have to be difficult.