3 Ways to Work With an Influencer Without Risking Your Brand

Influencer marketing is becoming the prominent way for brands to spread their message, with nearly half of marketers planning to boost their influencer marketing budgets this year, according to eMarketer. But before you jump into a long-term relationship with a popular influencer, you need to make sure your brand image is protected: The importance of identifying the right brand-safe influencer cannot be overstated.

Related: Who’s the Next PewDiePie?

Just look at Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. “PewDiePie.” In February, the YouTube posted a video in which he joked about anti-Semitism and Nazis, prompting Disney to back out of a sponsorship deal with him. YouTube has since updated its policies, implementing a stricter application and validation process for content creators looking to make money. But brands are still wary of inadvertently supporting objectionable content.

A good influencer will safeguard brands from this type of blowback. That’s why at my company, theAmplify, selecting the perfect influencer is the first of five core challenges that we solve for our clients. And, as CEO, I’ve seen firsthand the power of a well-matched brand and influencer — it’s a win-win all around.

Enabling influencers to communicate authentically

Letting go and letting the influencer you choose take the reins — if only temporarily — is never easy, particularly where your brand is concerned. But if you hope to successfully work with influencers, you must view “letting go” not as a risk but as an opportunity.

In this context, you should be ready and willing to put your brand in the hands of an external advocate you can trust — it’s the only way to extract the full value of influencers.

Granting influencers stewardship over your brand’s image allows them to create authentic conversations with their audiences. Those conversations give consumers a voice, instilling a sense of ownership of your brand. They become brand advocates themselves, increasing the overall reach of your brand. You just need to project trustworthiness; influencers and consumers will do the rest.

Related: What’s Next for United After Dragging a Bloodied Passenger Off a Plane? A Plan.

If consumers don’t see your company as trustworthy, that brand ownership will work against you. Think about what happened with United Airlines. After a video of airline personnel forcibly removing a passenger from a plane went viral, the company lost control of its brand. CEO Oscar Munoz made attempts to address the incident but didn’t strike an apologetic tone until the third try. By then, it was too late. United no longer owned its brand; the community, the crowd and the social media empire owned it.

So, how can your company work with an influencer while still protecting its brand?

Match audiences. Smart Insights recently reported that in 2016, advertisers it studied were earning an average of $11.69 in earned media value for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. If you too hope to see that level of valuable ROI from your own influencer campaign, you need to make sure you’re working with an influencer who’s speaking to your audience.

Article courtesy of Entrepreneur.com

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