Leading up to Dx3’s marquee influencer marketing event EMPOWER, Dx3 and #paid have teamed up to give you some best practices to interact authentically on one of the most engaging platforms for brands today.
#paid is a leader in connecting brands with influential Instagram creators. Their technology has helped brands like Pepsi and Axe – as well as smaller companies like Frank and Oak – execute global social media campaigns. With that expertise, they’ve built a marketplace that makes finding and working with influencers as easy as booking an AirBnB.
by David King
Director of Marketing, #paid
In the age of Instagram, customers are in total control. By selecting who they follow, consumers decide who they pay attention to, and who they ignore. Instagram influencers are talented creators that your target customers choose to make a part of the daily lives. This relationship not only drives engagement, it increases brand awareness that can be directly correlated to sales. Ultimately, working with influential Instagram creators allows brands to become a part of their customers’ daily experiences, rather than detracting from it.
Since its inception in 2013, #paid has given brands the tools they need to reach over 500M consumers by leveraging these influencers in innovative and engaging ways. “Everything started organically, we were working with our friends who had massive followings and connecting them with brands, after a few campaigns we realized there was so much more that could be done if we had better technology,” says Adam Rivetz, Co-founder and COO.
At #paid we simplify the process of finding, vetting, and collaborating with creators. “Our goal is to automate and simplify the process for brands and influencers to work together. Our platform is constantly evolving to meet the needs of both our brands and influencers,” says Bryan Gold, #paid’s co-founder and CEO.
The process of working with Instagram creators can be broken down into four key processes: Recruit, Collaborate, Confirm/Comply, and Analyze.
1. Recruiting Instagram Influencers
Beyond simply finding creators, you need to vet their followers and confirm that their engagement is real. It is necessary to ensure that the influencers you choose have an audience that meets your demographic needs. After a few years of recruiting influencers for various brands, we designed the #paid to help you be more efficient and effective in finding the right influencer.
Most Instagram Influencers will have a point of contact in their bio, but the ways that you will work with them can vary. Some will work directly with your brand or agency, others will have an intermediary such as a manager. Once you’ve connected with the right creators and vetted them appropriately, you can begin to collaborate and start creating content.
“Vetting that all of our influencers have authentic, engaged followings ensures that brands can feel confident about who they work with,” states Adam Robles, Head of Brand Strategy at #paid, who has executed campaigns with ranging from global brands like Pepsi to established small businesses, such as Yellow Shoes.
The most important aspect of all campaigns is being able to determine brand fit with the influencer so that your company’s message can be authentically communicated with their voice.
2. Collaborating with Instagram Influencers
Working with influencers will typically involve a back and forth exchange of ideas around how to create the most compelling piece of content. This is the most important component of a successful campaign.
Maxime Houde-Shulman, Head of Sponsorships at #paid and an influencer with high engagement, explains: “When you change the voice of the influencer for the brand, it doesn’t work. It has to be in the way that the influencer would always do it because their followers have gotten used to it and have chosen to follow them because they like what they do.”
3. Confirming your Campaign and Rights to the Images – Make sure to include Paid/Sponsored/Ad
Once you’ve worked with an influencer to find the right way to tell your brand story through their authentic voice, you have to confirm the photo, the copy, and the timing of the post. One other element that is crucial to consider is ownership of the content. Just because you paid for a post to go up on an influencer’s Instagram account, doesn’t mean you can repurpose that content for your own marketing needs. This factor should be detailed, in full, in your official agreement with the influencer.
“We know it’s important to brands that they own and can reuse and repurpose the content produced,” says Adam Rivietz. “At #paid, we want to make sure that the brands and agencies we work with are protected from any potential conflicts when working with influencers – it’s one of the reasons we named our company after one of the five different mandatory disclosures suggested by the FTC for sponsored content.”
Maxime echoes this sentiment. She agrees that when done effectively, disclosing when content is sponsored doesn’t hurt a campaign and can actually improve the audience’s perception of both the brand and the influencer. “On my page, whether it’s with #paid at the end or saying ‘Happy to be collaborating with,’ or tagging the brand… I think it’s important to let my followers know that I am being sponsored,” she says. “I did a campaign with Nike about two months ago and my followers loved it. They like to see me associated with a brand that’s already cool… as long it’s done in a transparent way.”
4. Analyzing the Effectiveness of Your Campaign
Since measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns is always the hardest part, your brand should outline the campaign goals and KPIs prior to engaging with influencers.After you have assembled a crew of influencers, collaborated with them over email or in person, and approved and executed the posts, you need to review the campaign metrics to prove the effectiveness and ROI of the campaign. Establishing and measuring the metrics that matter is the most important step in running a campaign, whether your goals are brand awareness or generating traffic for a specific product.
“When we first started out, we kept everything in spreadsheets. We had spreadsheets with followers, engagement, clicks, and formulas to assess effectiveness” Bryan Gold, co-founder of #paid, recalls. “Over time, we’ve managed to bake the most important metrics into a single dashboard that makes our lives – and our customers’ lives – much easier.”