Highly Regulated? Here’s the Non-Shady Way to Make Influencers Work

Highly Regulated? Here’s the Non-Shady Way to Make Influencers Work

As Influencer Marketing continues to carve bigger slices into the budgets of consumer brands to take advantage of a hot new channel, other industries are gazing out the window, longing to play. Prescription drugs, banking, and insurance realize they need to leverage social influencers; their future buyers don’t trust anything that comes from a brand’s content creators.  So how can highly regulated industries (“HRIs”) shift to influencers when there are so many federal restrictions? How can they possibly satisfy their legal teams so that they’re not leaving gaping holes in liability? There is an approach – and it can be wildly effective for Gens Y and Z.

A quick primer on influencer marketing is warranted because there are segments that would never work for HRIs. For convenience, programmatic platforms seem ideal. As with a social ad, simply provide a budget, provide minimal content guidance, then tens, hundreds, or thousands of micro influencers will post on Instagram or Facebook for you. This can be a wonderful tactic for commoditized, low-priced products like window cleaner but career-ending for a marketer of higher end or loyalty brands. Loss of content control means that, if the brand were even able to find any of the programmatic posts, they would be mortified at the quality.  Legal departments puff up with prime finger-wagging time at the staff meeting, too, as a supermajority of these posts do not contain the requisite #ad, opening them to liability with the FTC. And those are for non-regulated industries. Believing these hands-off posts could conform to weighty FDA or SEC rules is laughable.

Loss of content control still happens even within more structured influencer approaches.  If the agency or provider has loose processes, or doesn’t offer content review and edits, you could end up with content that’s a liability to your company. Non-compliance for non-regulated brands is less an issue, but again, with HRIs you’ll need 100% control over the content.

So how can you generate goodwill and awareness without worrying about destructive content or non-compliance? What approach would be effective for younger consumers – maybe even more effective- than a quality influencer post? Public Service Announcements – PSAs – are a nascent tactic in influencer marketing. You’ve surely seen them on TV from the Ad Council, pitching social issues like LGBT acceptance, saving for retirement, or confronting sexual harassment.

Every industry has tie-ins for PSAs. Pharma? Choose from any awareness week or month like American Heart Month for cholesterol-lowering statin brands. Skin Cancer Detection Month will resonate for sunblock or skin care. Banking? A campaign of cost saving tips. Auto insurance can promote teen driving safety. Although it all seems intuitive, you can stumble. So be careful you don’t run afoul of some common sense rules.

The challenges? Influencers have to offer up content that works for the brand and rings true to their audience. One snarky comment can ignite enough cynicism to upvote your campaign to the front page of Reddit. Marketers need to be self-aware about their reps. Promoting the #metoo movement by Jello Pudding or a Wall Street Bank currently the subject of multiple lawsuits would be hurtful and/or laughable.

 

Tips for PSA Campaigns

Following some common sense rules while imposing a rigorous content review process will result in a wonderful campaign for you.

1. Plan for Content Review

You’ll almost always get pushback from your provider as well as the influencer but stick to your guns! There’s a way to work with influencer partners so that  content edits are few and minor. First, gain requirements approval from your legal department for the entirety of the campaign. Building in a week for approval of every piece of content will delay the campaign too much. Next, provide thorough instructions to your provider and thence to the influencer, including the “do’s and don’ts”. Insist that you (or your rep) talk directly to the influencer rather than leaving it up to email. There’s an app on your phone that allows you to talk directly to someone, in real time – use it! And if the influencer has an agent, insist on a conference call with both. You’ll get pushback but in the end, but it’s worth the extra trouble. Next, have just one person from your brand authorized to approve content. Sometimes you can’t avoid multiple approvers, but the fewer the better.

2. Commit to the Campaign

One-offs are better than nothing, but a long term commitment to the cause will go a long way to generating positive awareness. Tell the influencer you’ve committed five or ten years of funding for these causes – the level of trust will skyrocket with the influencer, who’ll pass it along to their audience.

3. Integrate it With Other Channels

In general, non PSA campaigns provide the most impact at the beginning of awareness, making follow on conversion channels significantly more effective. In the mind of the consumer, they see an influencer promoting a product and maybe they miss the link to buy it, but in a week or two they start seeing Facebook or Instagram ads for it. This can work the same way for PSA campaigns, although you’re not going to profit directly from the conversions.

4. Measure Twice, Cut Once

You know that adage about only doing things that are measurable. You can easily measure engagement from the influencer campaign but you can also have the influencer add a link to support the cause in their bio. Often we’ll see brand pages as a portal to the organization’s funding site, which is a solid way to see the attribution, although each additional click diminishes results for the cause – your decision.

PSAs are such an underrated way to reach all audiences, but especially younger, progressively-minded generations. If you follow the tips and communicate often and clearly with your team and the influencer and plan ahead in the schedule for review delays, you’ll end up with a revenue-generating, liability-free campaign.

 

About MATTR

MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

 

Mattr Expands Influencer Marketing Solution with Content Review and Editing Feature

Mattr Expands Influencer Marketing Solution with Content Review and Editing Feature

Today Mattr expanded the capabilities of its influencer marketing solution by adding a content review and editing feature, enabling enterprise brands, especially those in highly regulated industries (HRIs), to more easily manage influencer programs.

For years, enterprise brands in HRIs such as banking, finance, healthcare, insurance, and pharmaceuticals, have struggled to deploy influencer marketing programs due to the legal restrictions they face in marketing their products and services. They have to pay very careful attention to what is said and not said in their marketing campaigns, making it difficult to allow external influencers to play any role in building their brands or supporting sales. Often times, brands in HRIs must get approval from internal legal teams on any marketing content prior to its distribution or publishing.

Mattr’s content review and editing feature streamlines the influencer marketing process for all enterprises, but especially those operating in HRIs, by giving them more insight and involvement into the content developed by influencers they partner with – prior to its publishing.

Influencers upload their content to Mattr’s influencer marketing solution and the brand then receives a link to view the content with the ability to comment on it. This step enables the brand’s legal team to request changes or additions to copy so that any necessary compliance is met. After edits are incorporated, the content is marked as approved for publishing. Once the content goes live, its URL is added to Mattr’s solution, where the live content and draft with comments both reside.

Additionally, all actions throughout the process are stored in the blockchain, providing total transparency into the content development process, reviews, and finalized content. This leaves a detailed audit trail, which is very important for HRIs.

“The new content review and editing feature in our influencer marketing solution brings brands and influencers closer together than anything we’ve seen,” said Jack Holt, CEO of Mattr. “We believe influencer marketing campaigns should be truly collaborative. All too often brands are forced to take a ‘set it and forget it’ approach, and that unfortunately doesn’t work for many, like those in highly regulated industries. The content review and editing feature makes influencer marketing easier for them, while not becoming too overbearing for the influencers.”

About Mattr
Mattr is leading the way for revolutionary insight into influencer audiences. Mattr searches beyond celebrities to discover brand-aligned mid and micro influencers with like-minded audiences. Our dedicated account and community management team brings ease and end-to-end assistance to the entire influencer campaign process. Learn more at http://www.mattr.co.

The Pros and Cons of Micro, Macro, and Mid-level Influencers

The Pros and Cons of Micro, Macro, and Mid-level Influencers

Deciding on the perfect influencer has proven to be one of the most difficult parts of creating a successful influencer marketing campaign. Location, audience psychographics, age, gender — these are just a few of the qualities you have to take into account when choosing the right person to represent your brand. But before you can look for any of those aspects, you have to decide if your influencers will be micro, macro, or mid-level. You might think the biggest determining factor to choosing between a small or large influencer is going to be your budget, but there are many other aspects to take into consideration as well. It is important to know that reach is not the only difference between these three types of influencers. Here are the biggest benefits and drawbacks to micro, macro, and mid-level influencers.

Micro Influencers

Micro-influencers are influencers with a reach of about 2k-25k followers. They can have a specific interest that they share with their audience or they can be hyperlocal and garnered their following based on their location (You can check out our article on hyperlocal influencers here). They may be micro because they are just starting a career as a blogger or they may only do this on the side and be professionals in another field.

One of the biggest pros for micro-influencers is their engagement. Where we see an average engagement of around .5% – 2.0% for bigger influencers, micro influencers can bring engagement of around 6%-10% on average. Since these influencers may only be starting out in this career, you don’t see a lot of sponsorships on their page. They don’t post ads every other day, which means when they do, it comes across as real and authentic to their audience. Semi-professional accounts, or influencers just doing this on the side, also do not depend on this job for money. This means they are more picky about the ads they do since they have the authority to choose and usually only work with brands they really love. And of course, one of the biggest benefits is the cost. Rates for micro-influencers range from only $100-$250, with some even accepting the product as payment.

One of the biggest cons of micro influencers is that they are not professionals in the field, not yet at least. Because they may not be dependent on this career they can ask to take over full creative control of the campaign because they see you as needing them more than they need you (learn more here). The more staged and specific you want content to be, the more you might want to steer away from micro influencers. Since they may not be familiar with a lot in the industry, there is also room for mistakes when working with micro influencers. FTC regulations may not be met, or content may not come off as professional. Another aspect on price: just because they’re inexpensive may not necessary mean they are cost-effective on a cost per engagement basis. And because they’re inexperienced, cost can be very inconsistent, unlike larger influencers who usually know the going rate for someone with their metrics.

Macro Influencers

Macro influencers are the biggest influencers on the platform, excluding celebrities. They have a reach of 500k and above. Usually, macro influencers are full-time bloggers, IG models, or just professional influencers.

Obviously one of the most compelling selling points of macro influencers are the impressions you get. They can reach millions of people with just one post. If your goal is based on creating awareness rather than engagement, macro influencers might be the way to go. They are also pros and create polished, well-composed content. You can count on their images to be quality, stylish, and professional. There are usually few edits that need to be made when working with macro influencers. Most macro influencers also have a diverse audience. They have worked hard to build a large audience that has grown beyond a particular niche or interest. They may have started as a fashion influencer or food blogger, but their popularity has given them a large and diverse audience outside of just that field.

A diverse audience, however, can be a drawback. If you are fashion brand, you may only see engagement from a small percentage of their audience that actually has an interest in fashion. Remember, the larger the reach, the smaller the engagement rate (usually). It is also important to keep in mind that they are professionals, so they are getting multiple programs throughout the month. This means it may be hard for your product to come off as authentic when the influencer works with a lot of different brands. Most macros work through an agent, which can be a pro or a con, but most always complicates programs because you can rarely talk directly to the influencer

Mid-Level Influencers

Finally we have mid-level influencers, those with a reach of 25k-500k. They can be professional or semi professional. Mid-level influencers usually have a particular style or interest around which their account is focused. And, interestingly, they make up the majority of influencers on social media.

Mid-level influencers are some of the most effective influencers to work with. The benefits of mid-levels can go on and on, because these influencers take the good qualities from both micro and macro influencers. Mid-level influencers are eager to make the campaign work. They strive to stay authentic, but they listen and let the brand take some control. Since they have made this their career, they are professional with the content they create and the way they communicate. They have the reach AND the engagement. They are big enough to be considered truly influential to their audience, but not too big to not still engage with their followers. Oftentimes, you can engage multiple mid-levels for the price of one macro, and achieve higher and more tightly targeted engagement.

There are not too many cons when it comes to mid-level influencers. As with any influencer, if they are trying to grow in the field it is important to have the technology to vet them and make sure none of their followers are bought. (Learn more about Fake Followers).

Conclusion

Of course, another option is to mix and match the influencers to optimize and stretch the impact of your campaign. Say you want to spread awareness then focus on converting a more targeted audience. In this example, you could lead your program with one macro influencer then follow with several micro influencers over a longer timeframe. Planning and measuring key performance indicators for your campaign is critical to optimizing it for the maximum impact.

The choice of your influencers has many more factors to take into consideration than budget. Basing your decision on reach can be short-sighted and often results in a yawning outcome. Decide what your goals are. Are you focusing on awareness and a diverse reach? Look to macro influencers! Maybe you are location based, and really focusing on engagement rather than impressions. Micro influencers could be perfect! Or maybe you are striving for both and want to try out mid-level influencers. Whether an influencer is small and just starting out, or big and basically a celebrity on the platform, they each bring different results, and are useful in many different ways. Use the ones that will serve your campaign goals.

 

About MATTR

MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

 

When and How to Use Hyperlocal Influencers

When and How to Use Hyperlocal Influencers

By now you’ve most likely heard of micro influencers. Most brands and agencies are beginning to recognize that they are a small but mighty force needed in the industry. Micro influencers usually have niche audience based on a shared common interest in topics like recipes, beauty, or travel. However, sometimes that shared quality doesn’t necessarily have to be an interest at all, but rather their location. These influencers are known as “hyperlocal” influencers. Hyperlocal influencers can be bloggers, mothers, fathers, or just citizens of a city or neighborhood who have gained influence by being a voice within their community. These influencers can be leveraged by many different brands for many different reasons. Here is when and how hyperlocal influencers can help your brand.

Who are they?

They are people like you and me. In fact, they may very well be you or me. Hyperlocal influencers may have a reach of 5k or more, like a typical micro-influencer, or they could have anywhere as low as 800-1,200 followers. This is a small but loyal audience. These influencers are based in specific areas and meant to influence others living in that same town or neighborhood. We aren’t talking about places like New York City, LA, or Atlanta. But small towns like Granbury, Texas or Metuchen, New Jersey — or perhaps a specific neighborhood like Park Slope, Brooklyn. Places where the mayor, the preacher, or the chef at the popular restaurant are the local celebrities. Being an influencer is not their profession, but rather a title given to them because of the close connections and deep knowledge they have of their community.

When should they be used?

Many brands feel stuck when trying to use influencer marketing on a location specific campaign. When your location is a town of 10,000 rather than a city with a few million, it can be hard to reach those residents on a personal level. Local influencers can promote your brand and let the town know what is happening, where it’s happening, and when it’s happening. One of the biggest places this can be useful is with new store openings. For instance, if your campaign is focusing on the opening of a new Trader Joe’s in Leawood, Kansas, who would you turn to promote awareness and ensure a successful opening weekend? Or if a specific convenience store is running a coupon, but only at a few locations, how would you get the word out to drive those sales? Another reason could even be for for public service announcements for the town, or perhaps even local elections. Want to get your message across in a specific area from a trusted voice? Use hyperlocal influencers.

Why are hyperlocal influencers so successful?

Think about your personal Instagram account. The people you follow are as interested in your life as you are in the lives of those you follow. Even more so than larger influencers, you trust these people because they are your neighbor, hairdresser, or that girl from your yoga class. They are people you know and relate to on a personal level. This is what hyperlocal influencers are to their audiences. They take authenticity to a whole new level because most of the time they don’t even see themselves as influencers and they might have a voice without even realizing it. They love the town they live in and want to help it be successful by sharing the opening of a new boutique store or Gold’s Gym. It makes sense and feels natural between them, the brand, and their audience.

Conclusion

Although this term seems relatively new, hyperlocal influencers are some of the oldest forms of marketing. Because of their position and relationship with their audience, the tactic feels more word-of-mouth, rather than a true advertisement. Through hyperlocal influencers, brands can connect with a large part of the community that at times can be hard to reach. You are building a lasting relationship that feels organic to both you, the influencer, and their audience. A win-win-win for all involved. 

So at this point, you’re convinced and thinking, how the hell do I find them? It takes a lot of time and hard work to find micro influencers in general, especially when they have to be based in specific and smaller locations. Sometimes it is best to leave it to the professional companies who already have a pool of these influencers ready to go! Here at Mattr, we specialize in managing influencer campaigns, which includes finding the perfect influencer, no matter what city they might be hiding in.

 

About MATTR

MATTR is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.