Influencer marketing can be a hard mountain to crack, and there are many challenges involved in the process of developing and executing an influencer campaign, including how to work with and brief an influencer to manage expectations during the collaboration process. However, we want to make the process as simple and productive as possible so brands, marketers and influencers can get the most out of influencer marketing campaigns.
When we work with influencers on large campaigns that involve monetary compensation for their time, creative and reach, we often provide a briefing document so they have everything they need to do their part of the campaign. Briefing documents ensure influencers know what is expected of them and clearly outline the deliverables required as part of the agreement. From a brand perspective, briefing documents provide peace of mind that the content received will be on brand and align with the campaign message and goals.
So, how should you brief an influencer for your influencer marketing campaign? Here are a couple of sections that we include in our briefing document.
About The Campaign
What is the campaign and why are you implementing it? This one doesn’t have to go into a lot of detail, as particular aspects such as the goals, key messages and deliverables are discussed in greater detail further in the document. This section should be a high-level overview of the campaign and should include information about your brand, product or service and the campaign you want to launch in collaboration with the influencer.
For example, is it a campaign about a particular product or service, or the brand in general? Will the influencer receive a complimentary product, service or experience? Is it a social media campaign, an event or something else?
This is an important part of briefing an influencer about a campaign because it helps them understand the message you want to communicate through their content. It will also help in developing the call-to-action that they include, and particular aspects that should be highlighted about the product, service or brand.
KPIs and Goals
In the KPIs (key performance indicators) section of the influencer brief, brands should clearly outline the goals they wish to achieve as a result of the influencer engagement. Transparency is best in this case, and the more the influencer knows upfront, the better they can help support your goals and lead you to the path of achieving them.
Whether your campaign is to promote a summer sale or launch a new product, or it could be to drive sales, increase brand awareness in the digital space or grow your social following, clearly outline the focus of the campaign and what you want to achieve, as well as how you will measure the success of the campaign in achieving that goal. You will likely need some information from the influencer about their content, such as the impressions, engagements or visits, so be sure to outline what you need in the reporting phase of the campaign so everything is set up before the content is created.
This is where you define the deliverables that have been agreed upon, as well as the expectations surrounding them, such as deadlines and due dates. It’s also a good place to clearly include the mandatory requirements associated with the deliverables, such as the social tags, hashtags and/or link required, as well as any unique discount codes, landing pages or calls-to-action.
Depending on the type of influencer campaign, the deliverables will always be different and should be discussed before the final briefing document is put together. However, an example of what the deliverables section of the briefing form could look like is:
1 x Instagram post featuring product with branded @tag and #hashtag on December 5th
1 x Instagram story featuring product with verbal mention of the brand on December 5th
1 x Blog post that encourages the audience to make a purchase using the discount code: XYZ by December 10th.
Get creative with your campaign deliverables and discuss the options with the influencer prior to putting together the final agreement, as influencers will often have some creative content ideas to bring to the table.
Content Theme, Style and Mood Boards
The whole point of influencer marketing is to work with expert content creators who have a captive audience that loves what they produce, so you definitely do not want to limit the influencer and their creative freedom. However, it is a good idea to set some brief guidelines around the content theme and style you are after to ensure what is delivered aligns with your brand.
Do you want the content to be family friendly, inspiring and creative, or fashion forward and classy. Or perhaps you're looking for dreamy and adventurous, or a particular style of photo, such as a close-up of the product, the product in use or a flatlay. You can also include suggested pieces of content to give influencers an idea of the style you are after.
You will obviously know the influencer’s style of content before you get to this stage of the collaboration so they likely already fit this brief, but it is a good idea to have it in writing to give them some direction.
Do’s and Don’ts
The campaign do’s and don’ts are critical to include when briefing an influencer and is the little things that help an image be on brand, such as the positioning of the logo or the lighting used. In your do's and don'ts section, be sure to include everything that will help the influencer create the best content for your brand and uphold the brand message and it is an opportunity to highlight some key things you do and don't want to see in the content. Some examples of things you might want to include on the "do" list are positioning of the logo, keeping the piece of content live online for a pre-determined period of time and limiting work with a competitor for a specific term. When it comes to "things to avoid" this could include things like misspelling of names or locations, cultural insensitivity, how the product is captured or the inclusion of alcohol or drugs.
Each industry and brand will have their own list of things to consider in this section of the brief, so ensure you cover all basis so the expectations are very clear. Don't forget that if it's not mentioned here, or in another part of the brief, it's difficult to request a reshoot as it was not mentioned as a prerequisite upfront.
This one is increasingly a tricky area to navigate in influencer marketing, yet increasingly important to include. Influencers want to be treated as creative professionals and paid for their time and efforts when working on an influencer campaign, which is totally fair considering they are essentially a freelancer, contractor or consultant who is employed for a specific job. And just like hiring a freelancer, contractor or consultant, brands should have the opportunity to provide feedback and edits if the content does not meet the briefing guidelines (and only when the content does not meet the brief, not because you “don’t like the image”). Just as you would hire a plumber and expect the job to be done well, when you work with an influencer the same expectations are in place, and that is completely fair. Yet because influencer marketing is very much unregulated (at least, at the moment), this isn’t always the case.
So, to ensure it is very clear that there is a process in place to provide feedback and/or request edits when influencer content is submitted, we have a breach section on the briefing form that lets influencers know that if there is a problem, this is where it will be discussed and highlighted. We’re happy to say that we very very rarely have to use this section of the briefing form and it typically stays blank, but it is good to include it upfront so the expectation is set.
To get the best results from your influencer marketing campaigns, ensure you brief each and every influencer effectively so the engagement is productive for all involved. There is no point working with an influencer if the content created doesn't support your brand and campaign goals, so put this process in place moving forward and improve the success of your influencer marketing campaigns, and build better relationships with influencers at the same time.
If you have any advice on briefing influencers from a brand or influencer perspective, we'd love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below and let's chat!