How to ensure brand safety in influencer marketing

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A brand can successfully create an impactful influencer marketing campaign when they are working perfectly in sync with the influencers. When both brands and influencers understand each other and are clear on the final objective that needs to be achieved, there are high chances that the campaign will hit the right note with the audience. While for brands, it is crucial to select the right social media influencer for their campaign, influencers also look for brands that allow them creative freedom to create content.

But how much creative freedom a brand gives is directly proportional to how much brand risk they are willing to take. Since influencer marketing is primarily about the influencers speaking for the brand, it comes with its own challenges. Anything an influencer says that does not conform to the brand guidelines in front of their large following can potentially present the organization in a bad light. According to various research reports, more than 75 percent of marketers feel brand safety is a concern in influencer marketing.

In this blog, we will discuss the top ways through which brands can ensure brand safety while undertaking influencer marketing activity.

Onboard influencers similar to your brand values

One of the essential factors that brands should keep in mind while onboarding the influencers for their campaigns is finding creators who resonate with the brand’s core values and beliefs. If they collaborate with such influencers’ the whole campaign would likely be in a brand-safe environment. Also, look for the content creator’s previous campaigns, content style, and tone, and find more about them and their personality in the real world. If the brands do not find any red flags and see them aligned with their ethos, they should proceed with the partnership. For example, if you are a fitness brand advocating a healthy lifestyle and your influencer has previously promoted tobacco or liquor, you would not want to associate with them because it will be a massive hit to the brand’s reputation.

Collaborate with genuine influencers

To ensure your brand is always in a safe environment, marketers should collaborate with influencers who are the right fit for their product, and their followers form the part of its target audience. This way, brands can reach out to potential customers to achieve the desired results while keeping solid control over the brand guidelines. But before getting an influencer for your campaign, simply browsing through the influencer’s following can give a clear idea if the account shows signs of influencer fraud. If followers are not following any other account, have emojis as their profile pictures, and are not engaging with the posts through likes and comments, there are high chances that these are not genuine followers. More likely, these are paid bots being used to exaggerate the follower count of the influencers. Engaging with these content creators wastes your marketing dollars where bots leave spammy comments and fake engagement ruining the brand’s reputation. With iConnect’s influencer discovery tool, brands can search and partner with genuine influencers who will scale the campaign effortlessly.

Comprehensive influencer contract

As influencer marketing is rising in popularity with every passing day and brands struggle to keep their reputation intact more often than not, creating detailed influencer contracts has become commonplace. To create a highly successful influencer marketing campaign that conforms to the brand guidelines, both brand and content creators should sign the influencer contract containing all the decided terms and conditions and ensure that both parties uphold the highest level of commitment towards the agreement. Including clauses about content approvals, delivery, and timelines in the contract will go a long way in creating brand-safe campaigns. Once the content approval mechanisms are in place, the risk of the campaign going haywire is dramatically reduced. A solid influencer contract will help both parties honor their end of the bargain, creating content and executing a campaign that achieves the goals and objectives as desired.

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Campaign Brief

The complete campaign details need to be shared with the content creators so everyone is on the same page. Brands should explicitly explain the goals and objectives of the campaign, the kind of content they are looking for, timelines for the delivery, the do’s and don’ts of brand guidelines, and content production instructions. This will give the influencers a clear idea of what they are expected to deliver and make it easier for them to execute the campaign within the pre-decided framework. In addition, brands can clearly brief the influencer if there are specific topics or words they do not want their campaigns to be associated with. For example, if the brand does not want its campaigns to depict religion, politics, gender bias, or socio-economic status, it can tell the creators not to venture into those terrains. This clarity in thoughts will work wonders for the brands and the creators and make the whole activity smooth sailing while providing complete control of brand safety.

Keep yourself updated

In the age of social media, where even something minor is done or said, knowingly or unknowingly, will come back to haunt you, brands should keep themselves updated about the influencer they are collaborating with for the campaigns. Be on top of any news related to your influencer to protect your brands from negativity. For example, if you encounter any messaging from your influencer on social media that contradicts your brand values, take necessary actions before it ruins your reputation. On the other hand, by continuously monitoring your influencer, you can ride on their success if they did something that resonates with your brands. Monitoring will enable brands to respond to crises proactively with minimal impact to the brand’s reputation.

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