Curious if you should start investing in influencer live streams? This past week on The Spin, Erin Ledbetter took some time to discuss the risks and rewards brands take when letting influencers go live with content that hasn't been approved by the brand.
The Risks of Influencer Live Streams
#1. Product Claims
Something that all brands should be cautious of, but especially brands in controlled industries, is running the risk that an influencer might make product claims that haven't been cleared for your brand. Something as simple as calling a product "healthy" when you know you're not supposed to use the term in conjunction with marketing can be warry.
Throughout live content, influencers might miss key disclosures your brand is required to state. If you're a financial brand or you're running a promotion with your influencer, many brands are required to include disclosures on their marketing content.
Of course, there's the risk that your influencer might misrepresent you. Perhaps you're an alcohol brand that needs to be cautious and not show overconsumption. However, your influencer recently showed a person holding more than one beer. While they may not view this as overconsumption, you know it violates the rule and now must request the content to be taken down.
#4. Brand Knowledge
Finally, there are certain mistakes that your brand may have made in the past and learned from that your influencer is unaware of. For example, as a diaper brand, you know not to show any content that contradicts the recommendations from the American Pediatrics Association. But seeing as your influencer is unaware of this rule, they show a child in a crib with a blanket, violating some of your brand policies.
The Rewards of Influencer Live Streams
#1. Creative Freedom
There are many rewards in giving your influencers the freedom to express their creativity that helped them earn their following. It's the entire reason you're working with them to begin with and a huge component to the success of influencer marketing.
By allowing your influencers to be unique and creative, you're now giving yourself an opportunity to really learn from every influencer participating in your program and the different angles they might take with their particular audience. We have an algorithm called the Content Performance Index that lets us learn from the different angles and different creative treatments and relay those insights back to the brand to really indicate what might work well for owned channels.
We also know that 63% of women have admitted to using a new brand or a new product on the recommendation of an influencer that they wouldn't have otherwise had in their consideration set. However, it's important that that authenticity comes through because we also know that 61% of those women said they will not engage with content that doesn't feel authentic. So we really need to make sure an influencer isn't stifled by the brand trying to control the message.
#4. Personal Opinions
Finally, many brands get caught up in ensuring FTC compliance that at times forget the FTC also monitors to ensure an influencer's opinion is their own. Some marketers walk a fine line between trying to get a message gets across and controlling the influencer's ability to tell their own opinion - and the opinion is what the audience is really looking for and what truly influences them. Be cautious that you're not one of those walking a fine line. It will not only help your content flourish but will keep you away from any trouble with the FTC.
So what do you do?
Do you let the influencers go off and do their own thing or do you control and approve every piece of content? Our recommendation is to let influencers have their creative freedom but take the necessary steps at the beginning of the campaign to set yourself up for success. At Carusele, we give our influencers clear, written guidelines in the form of a welcome packet at the beginning of a campaign, and influencers have said repeatedly that that's what they want from brands. They don't want a ton of back and forth and edits and approvals but if you give them clear guidelines upfront, they will follow it. The welcome packet lays out the assignment, the key messages that need to be hit, and also sets the guardrails for what this assignment can and cannot do. Of course, you should still have a mechanism in place to monitor content after it's gone live and have stipulations in place that says what happens if the influencer content does not comply.
That said, as long as your welcome packet is approved and in place at the start of a campaign, we've found that influencers can have that authenticity and creativity come through in their live content, and you'll get the luxury of seeing the engagement and success that follows.