Branded content — also known as paid or sponsored content — is one trend that has grown exponentially in the digital marketing landscape. From TikTok stars to Mom Life Bloggers, there are influencers in nearly every brand niche. But how do you create valuable partnerships with these social media celebrities to grow your brand?
Disclaimer: Always be sure there is an agreement in place between you and the influencer that allows the content they provide to be utilized for paid promotions.
How Do I Find the Right Influencers?
Finding influencers can be the most challenging and critical part of the branded content process. When delving into influencer marketing’s depths, there are four key things to look for: authenticity, interest category, content quality, and engagement. These four pillars will help guide you in your search.
Transparency and authenticity have become increasingly important when telling your brand’s story, and paid partnerships can boost both if they are executed with the proper influencers.
Before selecting influencers, it is crucial to evaluate them thoroughly. Follower count is not always the most significant factor, especially as buying followers becomes increasingly popular.
Be sure to ask yourself: Does this profile seem genuine? If the answer is yes, then you may have found the perfect partner for your brand!
2. Interest Category
One goal of branded content is to associate your brand with influencers that share similar values to your brands. Looking at the content your potential partner is posting, and the brands they have previously promoted will help you better understand whether they are a good fit for your brand and its messaging.
Value alignment is also vital for recognizing when influencers are saturating their profiles with multiple promotions. Partnering with an influencer who promotes too many things can cause a drop in genuine engagement and limit your brand’s potential sales.
3. Content Quality
Lighting, camera focus, and backgrounds are three of the many things to consider when evaluating the quality of the content your influencers can deliver. In most cases, you can tell if an influencer will provide quality content by looking at their previous posts or partnerships.
Think of their profile as a resume; if their current content fits your brand messaging, they may be the ideal candidate for your newest partnership
As mentioned above, buying followers has become a trend on many social media platforms. And followers do not always equal genuine engagement. One way to investigate and identify whether your influencers have purchased followers is to look at their posts’ engagement. Considering the ‘follower to like’ ratio and ‘like to comment’ ratio, you should see anywhere from a 3-6% engagement rate on average. For example, if you spot an influencer with 28,000 followers but their posts only receive 100-300 likes and no comments, this may be a red flag.
Once I Find My Influencers, How Do I Guide Them In Content Creation That Aligns With My Brand?
Throughout your relationship with your brand partners, maintain clear communication and deliver detailed instructions and examples. Communication is fundamental to ensure that your brand’s authenticity and theirs remain intact.
Give influencers specific guidance, but not so much that it hinders their ability to create content that matches what their followers expect to see. Providing caption talking points or suggestions that include your brands’ key selling points is also essential. By offering clear examples of what you would like the result to look like, you will inspire their content but not dictate it.
Furthermore, you should establish and maintain a relationship with your influencers as this will allow for an open channel of conversation for you to discuss expectations. Having this communication between you and your brand partners will help ensure that you receive content aligned with your brand story.
How Do I Advertise and Promote Their Content?
There are two ways to do this; you can promote their content directly through their profiles (partnership access is required), or you can use their images in your own branded ads. Both options have unique benefits.
Option one, paid partnership content, allows you to use your advertising dollars to promote the influencer you are working with. This ad spend allows you to create more brand recognition by promoting these posts to audiences similar to those following and engaging with your influencer. When trying to target a specific niche, promotion is beneficial.
Your second option of using influencer images in your ads allows you to capture a broader range of prospective customers. Typically, influencers will deliver quality lifestyle images that show your product or service in its most natural state. This type of content tends to perform better than product shots on most advertising platforms since they include a human element.
Overall, you do not have to choose one over the other; combining them will deliver you a cohesive branded content strategy.
How Will This Ultimately Boost My Digital Marketing Strategy?
Branded content has proved to be successful in recent years in paid social strategies. You can introduce your product to their following, utilize that familiar face in your social posts, and generate content for your ads. By adding influencer marketing to your media mix, you are utilizing one more avenue to reach your target audiences.