How Much Creative Control Should You Give Influencers? [Hint: You’ll Be Surprised]

July 27, 2021

Influencer marketing feels everywhere right now.

Social media pages are saturated with branded content, #ads, and ‘In Paid Partnership’ posts. But despite the growth of influencer marketing over the last 12 months, there are no signs of influencer marketing fatigue. So, what separates a good influencer marketing campaign from a great one?

Put simply, it’s authenticity.

Recent studies show younger generations don’t respond well to traditional ‘In your face’ advertising methods. New generations of consumers appreciate what influencers have to say, and look for authenticity, brand relevance, and meaning in the content they consume. 

Old school ads are out. Influencer marketing is in. And one of the key ingredients of a successful influencer partnership is creative freedom. You need to let go to grow, so we’ll show you how to build a successful influencer-driven campaign that places trust in your influencers.

The state of influencer marketing in 2022

From a $1.7 billion market size in 2016, influencer marketing is estimated to have grown to a market size of $9.7 billion in 2020. This is expected to jump again in 2021 to $13.8 billion. 

This rise in influencer marketing spending by brands is, in part, due to changing digital habits. People are spending more time on social media than ever before thanks to the impact of COVID-19 (there’s only so much Netflix you can binge). As a flow-on effect, the overall effectiveness of influencer marketing and the results brands can achieve has reached all-time highs. 

Here’s the catch - not every influencer marketing campaign is a winner. You’ve likely seen an influencer campaign that felt contrived or inauthentic. And on the flip side, you can definitely name a campaign that made you notice, appreciate, or find love for a brand through an engaging influencer content partnership. 

The difference between these two outcomes can be boiled down to one feature - how willing you are to let influencers do what they do best. So how are brands building multi billion-dollar empires through influencer marketing? Here’s how you relinquish control and build a successful influencer marketing campaign.

Understand your audience to find the right voices for your brand

In order to successfully brief others on your campaign and vision, you first need to nail who your target audience is. Are you looking to speak to Gen Z? Millennials? People looking for luxury products? Those on a budget? Specific ages? Specific locations? Specific interests?

Once you can describe the persona you’re trying to target, it becomes easier to identify the right type of influencer for your brand campaign objectives. Make sure you spend time looking through a potential influencer’s feed for clues on their ability to connect with your target audience. You’ll want to look for:

✔ Brand sentiment on previous paid campaigns

✔ Their tone of voice and visual style

✔ Whether their content style matches your vision 

Think about the type of content you want to create. For example, if you’re after bright colours, reel style content, or a spoken video piece to camera, you need to remember that these content goals will not be suitable for everyone.

The worst outcome is to select your influencers and provide them with a vision board and brief that’s totally off-brand and won’t resonate with their audience. This approach will do you and the influencer more harm than good, so make sure you do your homework before committing to an influencer partnership.

Write a successful influencer brief (without taking away the creator’s creativity)

Giving an influencer a clear brief is fundamental to your campaign’s success. But avoid stamping out their creativity with endless rules and recommendations. You should empower the influencer with as much information on your brand, the product, and what you’d like them to help deliver. 

Then, let your influencer bring the content to life in a way that will resonate best with their audience. Remember, be clear but don’t be dictatorial - they know their audience best and you’re engaging with an influencer because they’ve built trust with their followers.

What briefing documents should you send to your influencer?

The right brief won't box an influencer in, but open up the possibilities for awesome, brand-first content. When putting together your briefing documents, make sure to include:

✔ Mandatories

✔ Moodboard(s)

✔ Brand overview

✔ Campaign Overview 

✔ Product the influencer will be promoting

✔ All deliverables (inc. handles, hashtags & links)

✔ Timeline (specify when you’d like to receive content for pre-approval and when you are expecting it to go live)

The briefing documents are also where you can outline key regulations required for the post. For example, if you are engaging influencers for an alcohol campaign you’ll need to insert the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) guidelines and effectively highlight important call-outs.

Avoid Scripting (less is more)

At The Influencers Agency, we always say LESS is MORE.

Don’t be too specific when creating a brief and don’t push a strict template on your influencer. Avoid word-for-word scripts that stifle creativity. Instead, identify your key pointers and pull together a visual mood board. This is enough to inspire your influencer, remember, they are creatives after all.

“More than 80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective. Collaborating with influencers helps companies create content that rises above the noise and resonates with their target groups. It also helps them build trust, establish brand ideals, and circumvent ad-blockers.”  

Media Planet

The importance of creative freedom

By allowing creators to have creative control, you’re allowing them to promote your brand in an authentic light. This enables the influencer to naturally engage with their dedicated audience. Remember, this is what they do every day!

Successful brands give influencers license to be creative. On the flip side, influencers are crying out for more creative control with 83% regarding creative control as their first priority before accepting a brief. When a campaign allows creators to have creative freedom, the influencer’s followers are more likely to respond positively to the content and feel it is adding value to their lives. When consumers see influencers they trust posting about products without it sounding forced or faked, it reinforces the idea that the influencer has a genuine affinity for the product and their brand endorsement can be trusted.

You have to let go to grow (and we’ll show you how)

It can be daunting, but with the right mutual understanding, briefing, and vetting processes in place, letting go of total creative control can allow for maximum impact. To develop long-term relationships with your brand ambassadors, creative freedom is non-negotiable.

If you’ve always wanted to experiment with an influencer marketing partnership that delivers powerful and engaging branded content, but haven’t had the time or resources to produce your own campaigns, sponsoring content from influencers might be the right strategy for you.

So there’s just one question left to answer...are you ready to let go to grow?

Our team at The Influencers Agency would love to help you do it!

Try our managed service today

From strategy, briefing to content delivery & reporting - we’re your influencer marketing agency with end to end support for your next campaign

Get in touch