The 5 W’s to Following FTC Guidelines for Creators

In light of the Kardashian's recent run-in with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), I thought it would be appropriate to give some tips to make sure your posts are legal. In case you don't keep up with the Kardashians, you can check out what happened here. (TLDR version: The Kardashian/Jenner family generated millions off social media posts that aren't FTC compliant, and now the FTC is cracking down on social media endorsements.)

So here's the quick run down to avoid making the same mistakes:

WHO: both brands and creators can be held liable for not adhering to FTC laws, so please keep each other accountable during collaborations

both Kim Kardashian and sugar bear hair vitamins are responsible for making sure that #ad is in the caption

both Kim Kardashian and sugar bear hair vitamins are responsible for making sure that #ad is in the caption


WHAT: make sure to hashtag #ad, #sponsored, #sp, #client, or #paid to indicate that a post is in fact a paid collaboration. 
For example, Kim Kardashian used the word "partnering", which was deemed too vague. Surprisingly though, simply adding the hashtags #sweepstake or #contest would suffice for any sponsored social media contests.

JUST SAYING "PARTNERING WITH" doesn't ADEQUATELY SHOW THAT SHE'S PAID for the endorsement

JUST SAYING "PARTNERING WITH" doesn't ADEQUATELY SHOW THAT SHE'S PAID for the endorsement

WHEN: these hashtags need to be included whenever there is a form of compensation involved with a post. This includes, but is not only limited to, free products, gifts, complimentary services, money, free trips, discounts, etc.

WHERE: the FTC uses the language "clear and conspicuous" when addressing the format and location of the disclosure.
First of all, it must be in the language that the actual endorsement is in, so you can't #patrocinado when the rest of your post is in English.
Additionally, it's not enough to have a statement in your bio alone. The hashtags must be added to every single compensated post you publish. Similarly, for YouTube videos, mentioning a sponsorship in the description bar does not suffice. Rather, it must be noticeably placed or clearly stated in the video itself.
Whether it's YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., the disclosure must always be easily visible and understood. No fonts that blend in with the background or tiny, barely-detectable fonts. Also, please note that hyperlinks to the brand's website or even to a full disclosure do not count either.

 NOTICE THAT ROSEANDBEN ADDS #AD TO BOTH POST, EVEN THOUGH IT'S FOR THE SAME BRAND

WHY: the laws help ensure truthful advertising and are in place to protect consumers. As always, making false claims is illegal, and you can be held liable for your claims.

There you go! For the official language on endorsement disclosures, you can check out the FTC's website. Happy Posting!

Also, remember to hit follow on our Twitter and Instagram at the handle @Revfluence and keep checking back for more favorites and tips for your brand or creator profile. 😊

 

Tired of recruiting social influencers? Build long-term relationships with these 4 strategies

Have you ever met up with a childhood friend who you haven’t seen in years and pick up a conversation right where you left off?

There’s something powerful about engaging with someone who knows you so well that there’s no explaining yourself. You can skip the small-talk and you can jump right into the deep conversations. Get right to the good stuff.

That’s precisely the feeling you should feel when dealing with your long-term influencers! You will have built up a mutual history and a working relationship which amplifies the success of every campaign that follows, and it only keeps getting better with time; Mutual understanding leads to mutual success which leads to more collaboration in an endlessly positive cycle!

 

Long-term relationships pay off. Here are just a few of the benefits: 

  • Eliminates the need to constantly be recruiting

  • Fewer misunderstandings

  • Calculate ROI with confidence

  • Faster campaigns

Relationships make everything easier. A full 75% of brands surveyed cited finding the right Influencers as the top challenge to Influencer Marketing. Long-term relationships solve this right off the bat, as you already know who your go-to Influencers are. There are fewer misunderstandings when Influencers already know what success metrics you value and how to achieve them, and of course, predicting ROI couldn’t be easier because you already have the historical revenue data from your past work with them to go off of!

But what really accelerates your campaigns to move a rocket-speed? Influencers who have accumulated “tribal knowledge” on your brand. What’s that? This is everything that Influencers might need to know about working with you that isn’t written down: brand ethos, work ethic, communication styles, unspoken rules, and heuristics. These only come with exposure, and you only get that through long-term relationships.

Convinced that long-term is the way to go? Great! Here’s how you can build those relationships. 

4 ways to build long-term relationships with your influencers: 

  1. Allow Creative Control: Brand marketers have ideas. That’s why they’re marketers, right? Unfortunately, when it comes to influencer marketing, too much input from them can actually be a bad thing. According to eMarketer, 77% of influencers report that creative control is their top motivator. That comes in higher than money, respect, or alignment. Their brand, after all, is authenticity, and their followers are rabidly interested in them because they “tell it like it is” and offer a sort of credible candor that can’t be born out of the marketing department. If you treat your Influencers with the professionalism and respect that you would any other agency and give them the freedom that they need to operate, you’ll build trust that keeps them coming back for more. 

  2. Get to Know Them: True relationships take time and influencers will be more invested in people who invest in them. You can achieve this by simply taking time on your first call together to learn about their personal interests, about how they got started in influencer marketing, what they do with their earnings, and where they think their career is headed. Demonstrate your genuine interest and treat them like a valued partner and you’ll build loyalty that honest money couldn’t buy. 

  3. Use an Influencer Platform: For the same reason that using a CRM beats using sticky notes, an influencer marketing platform (such as Revfluence) beats trying to keep it all in a spreadsheet. To find each solid, long-term influencer you should be reviewing at least 15-20 proposals, and all of those pages can add up quickly. Using an influencer platform streamlines the process because it manages communications, payments, and proposals. This means that you can always pick up where you left off, your Influencers have confidence that they’ll be paid, and you can handle as many relationships as you need to be successful.

  4. Show Gratitude: A good old fashioned “thank you” card is never out of style but if you want to really cement a long-term relationship, give your influencers a professional shout-out. According to eMarketer, 55% Influencers reported that their primary goal in running campaigns with brands is to increase their own following, and they see it very much as a co-marketing opportunity. You can help them out and show some above-and-beyond gratitude with free press: feature them prominently on the website as a testimonial, back-link to them into a blogpost, or use one of their videos on a product demo page. 

So, are you in it for the long-haul? 

If all of these tactics share one common thread, it’s that they aren’t one-off activities! These are stepping stones along the journey. Find ways to pepper these into you habits and influencer marketing activities and you’ll find that through consistent gratitude, interest, management, and delegation of creative control, you’ll build long-term relationships with influencers, which will improve your campaigns in just about every measure possible!

Is Influencer Marketing really what you think it is? Click here to learn more

Can influencer marketing quench your "digital content" shortage? 3 Amazing use-cases

Influencer marketing and its many hidden benefits

Marketing with influencers is the most genuine and authentic way to relate to your customers. But could it also be a credible content generation machine

The results seem to point to yes. 

When you use influencers to promote your brand, they go through a process of photo selection and storytelling that very closely mirrors what you might do in-house, and because they’re so keyed into what their fans want to hear, what they create is often far simpler and better than anything that Ogilvy & Mather could come up with. Plus, it has the added benefit of being authentic, which means that it’s guaranteed to connect better with customers than what you can come with in-house. 

Today, we’ll explore how to fit it into your normal content strategy and share 3 amazing use-cases of brands re-purposing their influencer marketing content and how you can copy them with devastating effect!

But what about my normal content marketing, you ask? 

Most definitely do not stop the presses, but do consider the phrase, “I have too much high quality content, I wish I had a lot less!” It's never been said (or tweeted) by any marketer, ever, as far as we’re aware. As marketers we’re always looking for more testimonials, narratives, graphics, and customer stories. You can never have enough. And why is that? Because the process of generating them will always by its nature be cumbersome. 

In fact, if you think about your normal content-creation process, it’s basically a long journey to figure out what people want to hear, to say it, and then to listen for results and repeat. You send surveys, conduct consumer research, hold focus groups, and then brainstorm, edit, publish, track, and measure everything. This is a full team’s job, to say the least, and while that’s not bad, it certainly is slow. But you know who already knows exactly what your customers want to hear? People like influencers.

It’s also important to realize that by using influencers, who are also your customers, you’re going straight to the source. No matter what you dream up within your office walls, brands aren’t really in control of their image these days anyways. As epic fails like Microsoft’s Twitterbot fiasco and the #AskSeaWorld campaign teach us, brands today are more like curators of their message, but the image belongs to the public and social media’s top independent spokespeople, who are going to be talking about you anyway. Best to go direct to the source to avoid costly mistakes!

So, given all of this, how should you balance this content with your normal content?

Just think of influencer marketing as another content channel, and let it inform everything else that you’re doing.

The truly beautiful thing about doing this is that it’s not only a great infusion of fresh ideas, but it’ll reduce your overall content creation costs too. Influencer marketing is its own demand-generation channel which by its nature already pays for itself, and yet leaves you with stacks of new photos, testimonials, narratives, tweets, and more. They’re high quality and cheaper by a wide margin.

In fact …

By using influencers, brands can create content that's 75% cheaper than traditional studio photoshoots with even higher performance.

And with that sort of surplus in your budget, you’re free to reinvest it elsewhere while repurposing the influencer content to do things like this:  

Here are 3 examples of what brands are already doing with this content:

1. Using images in targeted ads: Every consumer out there with a smartphone is lugging around an 8-megapixel digital camera these days. With the ability to edit and apply filters on the fly, their work rivals that of professional photographers armed with a DSLR and Photoshop. And this is not to say that influencers aren’t using those tools too (for many of them, they invest heavily in their equipment) but it means that nearly every picture posted in the campaign is content-worthy, even if it’s not directly from the influencer who posted it. Often, the flourish of audience responses creates a growing tree of high quality user-generated images that you can then re-use for ad campaigns.

Here's an example from Five Four using influencer content and channels to run more effective Facebook ads:

2. Using product review demos on ecommerce pages: If you’ve ever been involved in customer service and have been amazed at the sumptuous variety of ways that people interpret and re-purpose your products, then this one is for you. YouTube testimonials are where your influencers can break down your value propositions into true layman’s terms for their particular niche, as one consumer explaining to another. A fashion influencer can explain how your company’s toothpaste is the best option for tooth whitening while a DIY influencer can show how the same product can be used to shine silver and remove scratches from DVD’s. They’re often use-cases you wouldn’t have guessed, and they’re product demo gold.

Here's a great example by Gaiam, a yoga-fitness brand, who uses walkthrough videos on its product pages to increase conversion through education: 

 

3. Reposting content on your own social media: Influencer’s content is often akin to testimonials and when companies like Fashion Nova gather 280+ pieces of content from a single campaign, they’re just about set on positive reviews to share for life.

Using their campaign hashtag #novababes Fashion Nova amassed enough content to post several such testimonials each week.

influencer-brittanya-razavi

Pieces like all of the above are part of a large Rubik’s Cube of content that gets dumped on your door each week which can be shared, mixed, and repurposed with abandon!

So what are you waiting for? Take control of your influencer content!

If you work directly with influencers we highly recommend speaking with them about a licensed agreement where you retain ownership of their tweets, Instagram posts, Pinterest boards, and YouTube videos for marketing purposes. If you’re working through an influencer marketing platform, talk to your account manager and see if they already do this for you, or how you can go about making it happen. 

Content creation is a colossal hidden benefit to influencer marketing. Once you start your program you’ll have created a content generation network made up of influencers hard at work promoting your brand with authentic, valuable, user-tested marketing materials that can then empower your regular operations.

And maybe, if you do it well enough, one day you’ll utter the phrase, “Stop the presses! I have too much great content!"

But probably, you won’t, because it’s of such incredible quality that you’ll never want to turn it off. 

Interested in learning more about influencer marketing? Follow to our blog and stay up to date with the industry best practices in influencer marketing and revenue success. 

5 Essential Tips For Mastering Every Brand Collaboration As A Social Media Influencer

One of the most exciting parts about being a content creator is partnering with brands for collaborations. In exchange for free products, compensation and creative freedom, you offer influence and a niche audience that brands can’t help but be attracted to.  But, in order to grow your personal brand and take it to the next level, it’s important to really nurture each brand relationship and master every collaboration you join in on!

Believe me - I get it. As a content creator, sometimes you can be juggling so many projects at once that key components like reading post guidelines thoroughly or following-up after posting, can get overlooked. To help, I put together a list of the top 5 essential tips for mastering a brand collaboration that, if executed, will leave the brand with a lasting impression and make them eager to collaborate again or even refer you to other brands for opportunities!

 

1. Be Enthusiastic   

I can’t stress this enough! Brands want to know you’re excited about the opportunity, not just looking for another sponsorship to pay the bills. When e-mailing brands, try to refrain from one-liners like "Thanks” or “Oh Ok”. Take some time to make sure your email etiquette is on top of its game and professional by checking for any spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors.  Make it personal and communicate your enthusiasm about the opportunity by adding exclamation marks and even an emoji here and there. Remember, your messages are a reflection of you and your personal brand, so take the time to put some thought into each one and always proof read before pressing send!

 

2. Respond in a Timely Fashion

With smartphones and technology always at our fingertips, responding to emails and messages promptly is easier than ever. We actually found that, on Revfluence, content creators who were very responsive and replied to brands within 48 hours were 2X more likely to land a second project with the brand! 

You know that stressful feeling when something unexpected happens, making you unable to post on time or messing up your content schedule? Brands are relying on your content too for their marketing schedules, so always try to respond to their emails within 48 hours! Especially if they’ve already sent product or your post date is coming up, do your best to keep brands in the loop so they don't become concerned! With that said, if you do plan on traveling or being in an area where internet access is limited, definitely let the brand know. Believe me -- this will work in your favor in the long run and the brand will be grateful for the update!

 

3. Be Flexible and Easy to Work With

Let’s face it, some partnerships can be challenging. But, in order to master a brand collaboration, being flexible is key. Sometimes, a brand might not have the exact product you’re wanting or shipping might be delayed causing your post date to change. Instances like these will just happen from time to time to so work with the brand to come up with a solution that will work for both you.

Also, try to make things easier for the brand by answering questions before they’re asked! For example, after they ship your product, make it a plan to shoot them a quick message as soon as you receive it at your doorstep. Although your content might not be due for a couple of days, keeping them in the loop will alleviate any concern or confusion they may have! When you’re easy to work with, brands will definitely remember and will want to work with you again.

 

4. Follow the Brand’s Guidelines

Ironically, this tip gets overlooked probably more than any other! Before you jump into content creation, remember to take some time to read any guidelines the brand sent over. Typically there is some pretty crucial information that lies within them like your post date, talking points, specific hashtags to use, etc. Nothing is worse than spending hours creating content, only to find out you missed half the guidelines they asked you to read beforehand!

Although brands definitely want you to use your creative freedom, following all guidelines and posting on time is crucial to the success of your post! With that said, if you’re confused or need clarification about something, it never hurts to ask, in fact, brands will appreciate it.  Not only will asking help you in the long run, but it will also show them that you’re fully invested in the collaboration and are eager to make sure they’re happy with your content!

 

5. Be Grateful and Follow-up

Not only did you put a lot of work into the collaboration, it’s likely the team member you worked with also put in a lot of effort by sending you product, creating a brief, coordinating post dates, etc. So show the partnership was important to you by sending a grateful follow-up message or even a handwritten letter. You could even go the extra mile by following up a few weeks down the road to share the success of your post (clicks, number of likes, comments, etc.).  Sending a follow-up will keep the conversation going and will definitely make you stand-out. It could even possibly land you a future collaboration down the road!

 

So there you have it -- those are our top 5 tips for mastering brand collaborations and growing your personal brand. Although your influence and creativity are essential for landing sponsorships, maintaining a professional reputation is key to making a lasting impression on brands and landing more opportunities down the road!