Having a perfectly constructed influencer briefing template means that no matter what the project is or who is coordinating it, the expectations of your company when it comes to talent producing content will be uniform. It will also ensure that even if a junior member of staff is tasked with communicating with the influencer, they will know exactly what information they need from their manager before the project can progress.
Changes in influencer behaviour – what they are charging extra for, wildly varying levels of professionalism and the ASA and CMA’s 2019 guidelines enforcing influencers to volunteer when content is commercial – means a more detailed brief is a canny move. The following six details should be in every brand and agency’s template…
How many assets do you need each influencer to create?
Also where should these assets live? Be very specific here. If you need content produced for Instagram Stories, how many parts should the Story have? If the project is better suited to IGTV, ideally how long should the video be? Stating this information allows the influencer to execute their coverage of your brand in a content format that meets your expectations. Also, it gives them the opportunity to volunteer information about what their audience responds to and adapt your brief based on this information.
The time period in which the assets must be posted.
Many influencers are working to an editorial calendar and your deadline may require them to amend their publishing schedule. For example, some will only commit to covering one press trip a month and understanding if yours would fit in with their plans is crucial before signing contracts.
The handles and hashtags to be included in captions.
It is imperative the influencer has this information and does not guess the spelling of your brand handles or create a new hashtag. On Instagram, engagement with content during the first half hour after it is published basically determines its success. Therefore, ensuring all of the details are correct will mean your brand is more likely to feel the halo effect – think more followers and increased awareness – of working with the influencer during this time period.
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Preferred commercial signposting
The ASA and CMA are calling out and contacting brands more frequently for influencer campaigns which they believe have not been clearly stated as such. The regulatory bodies have said that the language used to signal commercial partnerships must be explicit and consistent. Therefore if two people in different departments of your company are both running influencer campaigns, they should be using the same signposting. We would recommend briefing influencers you are working with to use AD, ADVERT, ADVERTISING, ADVERTISEMENT OR ADVERTISING FEATURE as these are the terms recognised by the ASA.
Do they have to appear in the content?
There is a trend for influencers promoting products – particularly those from the FMCG category – to style the item in a lifestyle aesthetic and make this the focus of their post. For most influencers, this will result in lower engagement as content featuring them tends to perform approximately one third better than that which doesn’t.
If posting on YouTube or Instagram, should the content be cross-promoted on other platforms?
Ideally you want your campaign to live on as many platforms are possible. However, if this is the case, remember to state this requirement in your brief and share your handles for each platform – even if they are all the same. It is worth noting however that increased promotion will most likely result in increased cost.
By Sara McCorquodale, CEO and founder of CORQ, author of Influence: How Social Media Influencers Are Shaping Our Digital Future.