Working with the influential social media mom? Their compelling stories begin and end with authentic content. A recent Forbesarticle showed 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content. These stories bring relevancy to brands through content that showcases real life usage. Authenticity is key to creating stories that get read and shared.
However, all too often brands and retailers make the critical mistake of killing story authenticity when working with influential moms. They treat their content like advertisements, which they’re definitely not. After all, creating authentic stories versus ads is the exact reason brands chose to work with influential moms in the first place.
As you manage your influencer marketing and content development efforts, here are 12 tips to help ensure you don’t kill her authenticity in the process.
1. Avoid “prescribing” the disclosure.
At the top of every post you’re paying to have developed by an influencer, there should be disclosure copy in clear and obvious language. While influencers must disclose that their post was a paid opportunity, prescribing the disclosure – or telling influencers exactly how to do it and where to place it – misses an opportunity for the influencer to personalize the disclosure and give it personality. Most bloggers like to write it in their own words because it’s more authentic. Giving moms the freedom to do so will help make the content more engaging to their readers.
2. Don’t supply brand photos, which handcuff the influencer from creating original/unique photos.
Supplying approved brand images dimisses a huge opportunity for new, owned content, not to mention it puts a huge damper on her creativity. When an influencer feels you’ve cramped her style, you kill her passion. Take the shackles off and she will be eager to please and will go the extra mile for your brand. Influencers know their content needs to be quality and creative for it to be valuable and shareable. This often includes pictures and images that they take on their own. Most times, these are higher quality images. After all, many bloggers are seasoned in taking professional grade shots with a personal feel.
Allowing influential moms to create images is a great way to get more authentic, custom and proprietary images for your marketing campaigns versus canned/stock photography that may have been used before. For shopper marketers, this is a way to distinguish your football campaign from the ones that Target or Kroger’s may be running, which often use supplied brand images.
3. Avoid requesting brand copy to be included vs. referenced.
Every blogger has their own style, tone and way of approaching an assignment. By insisting a mom insert approved brand copy into her content, you will stick out like a sore thumb. The influencer will also have to work hard to match your style. It will kill her ability to create authentic content. It’s better to see how she personally connects to the brand versus staged wording.
4. Trademarks and ® are for your website.
Nothing smells more like a paid ad than a post filled with TMs and ®’s. Reserve them for corporate logos or within the disclosure. When readers see trademarks peppered throughout a post, they often click out of the article. Not what the brand or blogger wants.
5. Give mom influencers ample time to create content.
Authentic stories take time to create. Fast turnarounds limit creativity and the crafting of the story. Moms work hard to make sponsored content valuable content and that requires time, especially when they are creating quality images for their posts.
6. Don’t mandate style edits that silence her voice.
Every influencer mom has a specific voice and style to their blogs and content. It often takes years to define it and hone it. That voice and style is what attracts readers to their site. Any deviation wreaks havoc with her being able to provide authentic content that is true to what her audience expects. Devoted readers and consistent followers of the bloggers’ content will not trust and connect with messaging in this way.
7. Keep legal review to a minimum.
Legal always likes to insert legal language into any kind of content they can. Influencer content is supposed to be a story told in her voice and from her unique perspective. Legal language is not the language in which we speak. Legal approval is also more than just marks within the copy. Some companies are concerned with liability for the content being produced. This is where it is important for marketers to provide the “do’s and don’ts” on campaigns during the opportunity instruction phase. This is about bringing considerations to the blogger, not about editing.
8. Simplify instructions.
Your campaign is probably not the only one she is working on. That’s why giving long and detailed instructions can be a problem. It also kills the flow of creating authentic content. She has to check and double check to make she has inserted and addressed every request, which also interferes with the natural flow of the story.
9. Trust them.
The most successful mom influencers have used creativity and quality to get to where they are. It’s how they built their reputation. It’s how they built their audience. It’s how they grew their influence. It’s what makes for engagement. That’s why it’s essential you trust your influencers. She wants to do right by you because she wants to work with you again and again and again.
10. Avoid changing things halfway through the campaign.
Authentic stories begin with a passion. She chooses who she works with carefully. She is excited to begin working with your brand. Nothing kills that energy quicker than changing plans halfway through a campaign. Authenticity comes from their passion for your brand/product. Set things clearly from the start and let them run. You’ll get their best work if you do.
11. Steer clear of pushing mentions of prices and commercial slogans.
Don’t turn your mom influencer’s content into your own mini website. Instead ask her to send her audience to the actual brand website for information. Let her organically and creatively solve for your objective to drive sales.
12. Don’t overdo hashtags (especially in the title).
Don’t ask for hashtags in the title of a blog post. Who writes that way? And there’s no quicker way to scream “SPONSORED” than by putting a hashtag in the title. No one naturally tells a story starting off with a hashtag.
Remember, authentic content begins and ends with compelling stories. The more they look like ads, the less authentic and compelling they’ll be. Let your influential moms do what they do best; create content that audiences trust, engage with and share. That begins and ends with giving them the freedom to be themselves.
[By Holly Pavlika] [Read More] [Image from Huffington Post]