Influencers – Your Creative Partners

Why you should treat an influencer as a creative partner – not a walking billboard.

Picture the following two scenarios:

1. You are watching your favorite TV-show, and in the middle of an exciting scene there is a commercial break. In one of the commercials there is a woman who is mouthing scripted words about this great new product that has just entered the market. While a catchy jingle plays in the background, and miscellaneous price offers flashes by, she tells you that you just have to buy it.

2. There is a commercial break in the middle of your favorite TV-show, and to pass the time you pick up your phone and starts scrolling through Instagram. You bump into an inspiring picture posted by one of your favorite influencers, whose life you have been following for years. You feel like the two of you are friends: You know their favorite food, their dog’s name and what they prefer to do in their spare time. They tell you about this great new product that they just cannot live without, and urge you to run to the nearest store to try it yourself.

Which one do you think will make you buy the product? Well, if you listen to recent studies twice as many of you said that you prefer the second one. Why? Because it feels more authentic and honest!

Unlike traditional ads that often come across as ”salesy” and fake, influencer marketing has the ability of evoking a strong sense of relevance and trust. Just like a friendship, influencers and their followers have a close relationship that is built on mutual respect, honesty and admiration. Followers buy into what the influencers are saying, because they feel like they are talking to a friend.

That is why it is important that you as brand do not treat influencers like just any other media investment, or a ”walking billboard”, but rather as a creative partner that knows their audience better than anyone. For the content to feel genuine, influencers must be given the creative freedom to produce content that fits their feed and personality, and that makes sense to their followers.

Followers will almost instantly notice if an influencer recommends something that they genuinely dislike, or if they use a language or form of expression that is out of character for them. If the followers only see the brand behind the collaboration, and not the influencer, they will not resonate as well with the content.

Of course it is important that you as a brand make your own mark, and set a clear framework for the influencers to work from. But if you want to reap the true benefits of influencer marketing, it is important that you understand how influencers engage with their followers, and let the them do what they do best: influence.