6 Influencer Marketing Tips from Kat Stickler, Nikki DeRoest, and Alice Hampton

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What makes a brand partnership great for a creator? 

To answer this question, we talked to Alice Hampton, founder of celebrity talent agency ACP Management; Nikki DeRoest, influencer and celebrity makeup artist; and Kat Stickler, VIP influencer and TikTok phenom.

Below we detail the 6 influencer marketing tips that this talent agent and two creators recommend to all brands that are looking to build great partnerships. 

Would you rather see them talk instead of reading? Watch their influencer marketing tips live! 

1. Authenticity is the (not-so) secret weapon of influencer marketing 

Authenticity might be an “overused” term, but it’s relevant to every single aspect of your influencer marketing campaign. 

The ability to create authentic content starts at the beginning of your influencer marketing process. For example, when you are reaching out to a creator: 

  • Do you know if the creator previously used your product or posted about your brand? 
  • Do you know if their audience has affinities with similar brands?
  • Have you watched their content and does it fit with the values of your brand? 

Before you hit send on your outreach message, spend time  researching  if the creator is the right fit for your campaign and brand. This work is not just beneficial for your brand, but creators will benefit too. Kat Stickler made the point that brands have a bit more wiggle room when it comes to misaligned partnerships. According to Kat, “brands are going to be fine if they have us or not” but influencer’s personal brands suffer greater consequences if a partnership goes wrong.

“If you are not authentic with your content, everyone can feel it.” – Nikki DeRoest, Influencer and Celebrity Makeup Artist 

This is why it’s critical to remember that when you work with a creator you are working with their personal brand. Creators work hard to build trust with their followers, and one wrong partnership can be detrimental to the relationship they’ve built.

2. Ensure your influencer marketing campaigns have clear objectives 

“When it’s clear what you’re trying to achieve from both the talent and brand side, it makes the whole process easier.” – Alice Hampton, Founder of ACP Management 

An influencer marketing campaign with clear objectives sets everyone up for success. Determine what your metrics of success will be and find influencers to help get you there. 

When crafting a clear creative brief, make sure to provide the basics: 

  • When do you need the content to go live? 
  • Where do you see the deliverables being posted? 
  • How is the influencer being compensated? Alice, Kat, and Nikki all confirmed that it is incredibly frustrating for creators when brands don’t clearly communicate about whether a campaign is paid or not (more on that later).
  • What is the product, its benefits, and the key message of the campaign? (Keep this brief and avoid lengthy press releases and product origin essays)
  • Why should the customer care? 

You can also take a more creative approach and create an influencer marketing toolkit which is a highly branded, beautifully designed, information packed pdf to help influencers visualize what they could create. 

See Bite Toothpaste Bits actual influencer toolkit here

3. Give your creators creative freedom 

Creative freedom is of the utmost importance when it comes to building an influencer marketing campaign that your creators feel good about. Not only does it allow the creators to do what they are good at, you get to reap the benefits of the authentic content they create specifically for your brand. 

Creators want to feel proud of the content they are posting to their pages, so if given the chance, they will create magic. And if you don’t release the reins, the content won’t be the best that it could be.

“When I sense that there is restricted creative freedom, I immediately pull back because I don’t want to do just an ad. I want to do something that is funny, relatable, and promotes the company in my own voice.” – Kat Stickler, Influencer & Comedian

Here are a few good rules of thumb: 

  • Don’t storyboard or create a frame-by-frame shot list 
  • Don’t ask creators to speak to all your ingredients and selling points. (How are they supposed to capture the attention of their audience when they are running through 50 bullet points?!)
  • Do tell them a few ingredients/active/features that are important to highlight and why.
  • Do tell them if there are any specific ways the product should be used/demonstrated (e.g. do you want them to show a makeup product being applied? Do you want them to show the texture of a skincare product?)

4. Compensate creators for their work  

Back in the day when you needed to create an ad, you would need to, 

  • Book an A-List celebrity
  • Find and rent a location to shoot
  • Hire a writer to storyboard the ad and write the lines
  • Hire a crew to direct, film, edit, and produce the ad
  • Buy media spots to run the campaign 

Now all of that is being done by one person – your creator.  

“Creators are the talent, director, producer, and editor while also providing brands with a channel that has a dedicated, loyal following.” – Alice Hampton, Founder of ACP Management 

Choosing your creator partners should be based on the value you see in working with them. Therefore, they should be paid appropriately for the value they provide for your business. 

This is especially important if you want to create an ad from an influencer’s content. According to Nikki, “it’s very frustrating when a brand takes my organic content and creates an ad without asking or compensating me for that content.” Make sure to ask an influencer for usage rights to their content. This can be done in either in the creative brief or directly contacting the influencer/their talent manager. 

5. Create unique influencer marketing experiences 

“My suggestion for brands is to create niche and tailored experiences for creators. The old way of inviting 50 influencers on a trip is no longer as powerful, for the creator and brand, as creating unique experiences for a specific group of creators.” –  Nikki DeRoest, Influencer & Celebrity Makeup Artist 

The most successful brands will also treat all of their influencers like VIPs. Curating special moments for your influencers and their audiences to be a part of can have a huge impact on your influencer marketing program. 

Shiseido is a great example of a brand who executes well-crafted influencer events and continually finds unique opportunities for creators. For their 3rd annual Malibu Beach House event, each experience was hosted by a VIP influencer and centered around a purpose-driven theme. For example, Adrian Grenier and Kat McPhee are known for their work in environmental activism, so they hosted Shiseido’s Blue Project Beach Cleanup. 

6. Invest in your creator relationships 

Earlier in the conference, we learned that a lower creator retention, or your inability to work with creators over an extended period of time, dramatically increases the cost of your influencer marketing program. 

Building strong influencer relationships and investing in those relationships is the easiest way to make sure your creators stay huge fans of your brand. Look to support influencers in accomplishing their big goals and support their creative pursuits. Be their cheerleaders through their big life moments.  

“When a brand builds community with its creators, it nurtures creativity and makes us want to post about your products more. We build a rapport where we don’t want to let you down.” – Kat Stickler, Influencer & Comedian

Creators are people who have lives. Sure creating is their job (or part-time job), but life comes up. And when life does interfere with the job, it’s best practice to lead with empathy. Understanding the creator’s side will build trust and respect in the relationship which creates a much richer partnership.

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