Red flags to steer clear as a brand engaging in influencer marketing

From choosing the right influencer to collaborating creatively, Viraj Sheth, Co-founder and CEO; and Aayush Tiwari, VP, Talent Management and Music Business at Monk Entertainment, share how brands can make influencer marketing work for them.
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With a booming creator economy, more and more brands are leaning towards influencer marketing to grow their audience base. While influencers can bring in eyeballs, if done incorrectly, there is a risk of the activity being detrimental to your brand. 

One of India’s fastest-growing digital media organisations, Monk Entertainment, has helped numerous brands steer the path forward navigating the treacherous waters of social media and content creation. 

Viraj Sheth, Co-founder and CEO, and Aayush Tiwari, VP, Talent Management and Music Business at Monk Entertainment, shared their takeaways at a masterclass at TechSparks 2021, YourStory’s flagship startup-tech event. 

Don’t rush into influencer marketing

“Influencer marketing is not cheap,” explains Viraj. He stresses that brands should first establish the brand language, tone, define brand communication, and build a proper landing page as well as social media pages before they take further action. 

Don’t dictate the creative process

“The relationship that an influencer has with the audience has been built over many years,” says Aayush. So, while engaging with a creator, it is necessary for brands to not “break their creative flow”. Instead, provide a larger mandate with deliverables and collaborate with the creator to make the content more organic.

Don’t make a TV commercial 

“An influencer marketing campaign seems seamless,” remarks Viraj. The campaign should feel organic and not like the audience is being force-fed a product. He points out that dictating things like having a bigger logo or a longer integration in a video doesn’t have any real impact in the long run.

Don’t shortlist the wrong influencer 

Simply because an influencer has a large audience doesn’t mean they are the right fit for your product or service. The influencer should align with the genre of your brand. “Ensure the influencer has a significant audience in the region you want to take your product to,” comments Aayush. Checking whether the creator is relevant in your user demographics is key before finalising your collaboration with them.

Ensure communication in writing 

Proper documentation can help avoid issues arising in your relationship with an influencer that you are onboarding. Ensuring that your contracts are in place will help with the resolution of any conflicts that may arise later. 

“Don’t haggle with influencers too much because if they’re not happy working with you, they’re not going to add those sweeteners that they might while working with a brand they truly like,” says Viraj. 

Don’t spam influencers 

Viraj also advises against reaching out and following up with influencers if they do not respond. “If they’re not interested in associating with that specific idea or campaign or your brand, calling them 50 times in a day is only going to repel them further,” he shares.

Not following ASCI guidelines 

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has certain rules in place for influencer advertising in digital media. Aayush stresses that it is important to incorporate these in every brief sent to influencers. This includes addressing collaborations, paid or unpaid in the post. 

These pointers can help shape a more cohesive influencer marketing strategy regardless of which sector your brand falls in. 

“Influencer marketing is a hybrid of sales and also the glamour and brand value,” concludes Viraj. “Influencers will drive traffic to your website and social media pages, and they will also build branding and marketing value.” And if done right, it can help you drive awareness and build brand recall value. 

Edited by Megha Reddy

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