5 Influencer Marketing Tactics That Will Get You in Trouble
Influencers by their nature are a pretty savvy bunch, but that doesn’t mean all marketers are — especially those new to influencer marketing. Every year there are a few influencer marketing programs gone wrong, where a brand tried to get away with something it shouldn’t have.
The bottom line is: Don‘t be shady! At best, bad behavior will cause your program to fail, and influencers (or their readers) will expose your brand for being dishonest. At worst, you’ll find yourself under fire from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
When you’re pursuing influencer marketing, avoid the following five tactics at all costs:
Encouraging influencers to pretend that they don’t have a relationship with you: There’s a difference between organic earned media (in which publicity is gained through unpaid editorial influence or grassroots interest)and influencer marketing. If you’re employing influencer marketing, make sure your influencers say so. It’s not just required by law, but readers erupt over undisclosed sponsor-influencer relationships.
Making your influencers try to pass off your content as theirs: Readers hate being lied to. Forcing your influencers to pretend your words or images are theirs is a form of trickery. Readers will sniff it out and ignore it at best, and get really angry about it at worst.
Hosting click-baiting contests: Pitting influencers against each other in contests that require their readers to vote for them (over other participants) is click-bait, pure and simple. It’s practically begging the influencers to engage in guerilla promotional tactics — tactics that damage the influencers’ reputations and spam their audiences. Most experienced influencers won’t participate in these types of programs. Ultimately, no one wins.
Using influencers for “spin”: If your product or service is getting negative media attention, stay away from influencer marketing! Even if you arm your influencers with great information, you’re still putting them on the front lines — and potentially setting them up to defend your brand against haters and trolls. This can get ugly fast.
Writing anything you don’t want broadcast on the Internet: Treat influencers and potential influencers the way you would a colleague. If you’re rude, dismissive, or otherwise unkind to influencers, you run the risk of having any or all of your communications published online for all the world to see. Influencers have influence, and they have every right to let their audiences know when they’ve been treated poorly.