Last month, I was very honoured to be on the panel of the Cheshire Creative Club’s ‘A Content Creators Toolkit’ workshop in Alderley Edge. The group describes itself as an inclusive network for North West based creatives, and naturally, we’re pleased to be members at Source PR.
The workshop was all around how influencers can work with brands, and vice versa really – it’s a two way street! I was there to offer advice from a PR’s perspective on how content creators can approach agencies who represent brands they’d like to work with, and also to sing the praises of influencer marketing to the businesses I met with too.
I left the Churchill Tree, where the event was held, though, feeling as though I took away even more than I gave. The room was packed full of influencers from all over the North West who had no end of interesting insights and anecdotes. I learned so much from them, and I wanted to write up my takeaways today in a roundup of everything you need to know about working with influencers in 2022. The communications industry is ever changing, an influencer marketing is a strand that’s no different, so it’s important for us at Source PR that we’re working in the latest landscape!
3 Things I Learned About Working With Influencers In 2022
Understand ASA guidelines
One of the most tangible elements of influencer marketing, are the boundaries around working with content creators and respecting the rules they have to follow too. The information from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) changes regularly, and this can heavily regulate the content that an influencer may share on your behalf. Not only as a PR or business should you be mindful of this and never ask someone that you’re working with to bend the rules (which I found out had been the case for some!), but you should also be including this within your terms and agreements too, to maintain a good ethical marketing practice.
You can find out more information on the ASA website, but a friend of Source PR and who I sat alongside on the panel, Bethany Francesca, was extremely clued up on the whole thing and gave a succinct rundown which was pretty much… Whether you’ve been gifted it, or paid to promote it, you must mark it as an ad. A good format to follow is:
- Ad (gifted) – acknowledging something was sent to you for free, but that you have not been asked to promote it in any way
- Ad (PR) – acknowledging something was sent to you for free, and you have been asked to promote it on your feed
- Ad / Promotion – acknowledging that you have been paid to promote a product, or service, and that copy and prompts may have been provided to you
It’s not just about being ethical as a brand either. Influencers that make sure that they follow guidelines rigidly are also likely to have more trust from their followers, who know that they’re being shown authentic content with genuine opinions.
It’s key for businesses to work with these types of creators.
Be careful with how you contact
Despite being on the panel at the workshop, it was great to hear from the other side of the room too. The session was so interactive, and for every point I was made there was always something to support it. One thing I was particularly interested to hear about, was how influencers like to be contacted. When working with influencers, especially in 2022 after a couple of turbulent years, it’s important to establish a positive relationship as soon as possible.
It’s important to acknowledge that everyone has different communication preferences from brands and PRs, some prefer email whilst others would rather be ‘DMed’ on social directly. As a business it’s our job to determine that, but usually it’s pretty easy to work out. If an influencer has their email address in their bio, then send them a note that way. If they don’t but their DMs are open, then that’s the option you should take.
It should really go without saying, but I learned that so many still get it wrong. Your pitch to an influencer should always be personal. Most people (including me despite having barely any followers) have had those “Hi babe, we love your page, would you like to promote our product?” messages to their social. Instant delete. As a genuine business with an authentic proposition, you want to make sure your message isn’t coming across in the same way – make your words targeted and honest, and most importantly, make sure the influencer knows you’re speaking to them.
Instigating a positive response from the first contact sets a good foundation for a healthy relationship moving forward, and when working with influencers this is really important in ensuring your partnership works for both of you.
Pay people what they’re worth
Finally, and a big message from Jenny and Amanda who hosted the workshop, was a resounding one. Freelance doesn’t mean FREE. If you’re asking an influencer to share your messages and promote your product or service, you have to expect to offer some remunerations. You wouldn’t ask a magazine for a free advertising space, would you?
Of course, not all gifted opportunities are paid, and the influencers in the room agreed that they would only take one of these partnerships if it fit their brand, but also was something that they wanted to have or wanted to do (or would have done or bought already). For example, a parenting influencer may really appreciate complimentary tickets to an event, but we can’t always expect content creators to want to talk about your product for no money. After all, they need to pay the bills too.
The key message really, is to not take the mick. If you’d pay for this kind of promotion in a magazine, then you should be paying an influencer for it too. Building a good rapport is done on mutual respect, and the more you can offer the creators you work with, the more they’ll be able to do for you in return too.
Influencer Marketing In 2022
If this all sounds like a world you’d like to explore, but you’ve not got the time to handle it – why not talk to us? We have great relationships with influencers in Cheshire and have databases of those across the country. We also have years of experience in influencer marketing and have lived through the many changes of this discipline first hand. If you’d like to get in touch, do reach out and we’ll have a chat about how influencers could help your business.
And finally, I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Jenny Schippers and Amanda Cope for asking me to be on the panel at the Cheshire Creatives Club workshop. I absolutely love being a part of the group and it was so good to learn from the others in the room, as well as offer my advice too.