April 22, 2024

Activating Influencers in a Changing Landscape

In today’s evolving social landscape, it’s challenging to keep up with algorithms, content volume, and trends. Through an influencer marketing lens, there’s been a transition from the role of influencer to that of creator, from one-off transactional projects to meaningful long-term partnerships, and from staged product photos to authentic lifestyle Reels and TikToks.

Brands are looking to get the most out of their paid content partnerships, and influencers are aiming to foster trust and credibility within their communities. We’ll explore four ways to strategically activate influencers to ensure successful campaigns.

Invite Influencers Into the Process Early

Before jumping into an influencer partnership, deploy social listening to find opportunities for campaign messaging to align with trending conversations. If your campaign messaging is built around what people are already talking about, your campaign will have a leg up. It gives influencers an easy way into the conversation without feeling too promotional. Working with a partner or agency that has a social listening tool to analyze conversations within your industry or about its products can help set your campaign up for success.

Influencers value their connection with their audience, making them an important source of information for brands. Invite influencers into the planning process early to leverage their audience and platform insights.

Additionally, creators can provide feedback on how brands can approach content deliverables (volume, length, channel, format) to optimize performance. Similarly, peeling back the curtain and allowing creators to get a better understanding of your brand’s business and campaign objectives can also enhance their ability to authentically represent a product/service.

One of our recent client collaborations underscores the positive impact of consulting creators early in a campaign. In October 2023, we partnered with five creators to brainstorm ways to amplify awareness and broaden the reach of Bosch Wipers’ presence by utilizing promotional space on the Las Vegas Sphere. Each influencer was able to infuse their distinct perspective and help shape a high-performing approach to the content.

Stefan Lewis @StefanlLewis

It’s Not Standing Out, It’s Fitting In

Authenticity is now at the heart of the influencer conversation. Influencers must be stewards of transparency and ensure their content aligns with both the brand’s values and those of the audience. And brands must ensure influencer partners are not only appropriate for the brand but can also help reach the company’s campaign objectives.

A successful influencer marketing campaign hinges on creating the right environment and striking a delicate balance between a brand’s key messages and content requirements, paired with the influencer’s tone and style. Users are exposed to tons of content daily, so influencers are responsible for ensuring their approach feels organic and will resonate with the audience.

Layering in content format and platform best practices is also crucial to ensure content is optimized to achieve your goals.

We discussed recent Instagram trends with automotive influencer and content creator Brock Keen (@996RoadTrip). His suggestions:

  • Looking to reach new followers? Try Reels.
  • Want to tap into a current audience base? Leverage in-feed static or carousel images

Keen also noted a recent observation that platforms have been pushing content that people are likely to share or save for later. Collaborating with creators requires strategically selecting platform and content deliverables to achieve your goals effectively.

Trust Creators to Create

Following a robust vetting and onboarding process, influencers should be viewed as trusted ambassadors, poised to bring your brand to life. For a successful collaboration, be willing to relinquish some control and embrace flexibility. The right storytelling does not always fit within a certain time frame.

“When brands acknowledge that they partner with influencers for their creative process, the resulting content usually resonates better with the audience. Assigning influencers strict content guidelines essentially reduces them to commercial producers. Simply put, trust influencers to excel in their craft and integrate the product or service naturally into their content.” —Brock Keen (@996RoadTrip)

An overly prescriptive content brief will stifle the creativity of influencer content. We recommend streamlining your brief into the following main sections to provide parameters but also ensure influencers have creative flexibility:

  1. Campaign Objectives

  2. Mandatory Content Messaging (2-3 key messages)

  3. Background + Additional Talking Points (optional)

  4. Content Guidelines (the do’s and don’ts and FTC requirements)

Empowering influencers to authentically interact with their audience sparks conversations about a brand, drives genuine engagement, and boosts positive sentiment. Your next campaign idea might just emerge from the comments section.

Make your Content Work Harder

In a saturated creator economy, adding paid media to your influencer strategy can increase a campaign’s ROI.

Maddy Novich @CargoBikeMomma

Promoting influencer content (also referred to as “whitelisting”) enables brands to leverage published pieces of content to achieve paid campaign objectives and reach an intended audience. It also extends the lifetime of the sponsored content.

While it may be an upcharge, we recommend negotiating promotion rights into an influencer contract to ensure content can be amplified. When deciding which creators to whitelist, consider things like content quality and influencer recognizability with the targeted audience. Additionally, testing a variety of formats such as Reels, carousels, or static images will allow you to understand what’s sticking.

Looking Ahead

The influencer landscape is evolving rapidly for both creators and brands. With the rise of affiliate programs, in-app shopping, and an influx of new creators, standing out in this crowded market requires brands to have a grasp of their audience and understand the best practices of the platforms they activate on.

Empowering influencers to create content that will resonate with their audience and the platform trends they see daily will ensure your campaign is successful. Further, leveraging influencers as consultants is essential for enhancing authenticity and shaping a high-performing influencer strategy.


eMarketer, Influencer Marketing Spending
eMarketer, 5 Charts Showing the Creator Economy’s Recent Evolution

Ready to learn more or engage in an influencer campaign? Contact BL’s Head of PR and Social, Emily Mazurek, at [email protected].


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