Influencer marketing has become extremely popular in the last few years, and not without reason. It is an extremely effective form of marketing. A business can gather information about customers and use that data to determine which influencers their audience is already following. Influencers can promote a company’s product and brands in their regular social media posts to customers.

Before you get started, here are 9 things you should know about influencer marketing.

1. Influencers have to be transparent

The FTC has created specific laws in order to protect all parties. It protects consumers from false advertising and protects businesses from dealing with unsatisfied customers who are feeling lied to about a product or service. For example, an influencer must disclose their relationship with a business. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a #ad on their post, but they must make sure customers know you are working together on selling the product. Make sure your business is following all the laws to ensure happy customers and a happy FTC.

2. Partner with influencers that represent your brand

The biggest problem that consumers have with influencer marketing is when they feel like an influencer is lying about a product. For example, if a woman who is known for her veganism is suddenly marketing beef jerky, it is going to look out of place. Not only will it break the trust of your business with your customers, but it will break the trust of the influencer with their followers. When choosing an influencer, always choose one that already fits with the overall feel of your product. It should be natural for them to advertise for you.

3. Be honest

Many companies, even if they disclose the relationship at some point, try to make it seem like an influencer is making a recommendation on their own. They may only post the relationship on one post or lie about it entirely. They are worried that customers won’t really be interested in a product from an influencer if they know it is just an ad. However, not only is that illegal, people hate feeling lied to. They want to know straight up if it is an ad, and it needs to be clearly marked on every post.

4. Paid partnerships are more expected now

Knowing it is an ad doesn’t automatically discount that the influencer recommends it. Most customers know that influencers are there to make money, which means they are going to be doing paid partnerships with companies. It is an expectation these days. Their followers are still willing to take a new product into consideration simply because someone they follow and trust on social media is willing to advertise for them at all.

influencer marketing

5. Be careful not to pick bad influencers

Make sure to pick an influencer who is going to do a good of promoting your product. See what they have done in the past for other companies and whether or not you feel it fits with the overall feel of the other companies. Do your research to ensure a good influencer partnership. Some influencers won’t like your product or service, and they would be a bad choice for a partnership. Others simply go crazy with their advertising and market it in a way that your business would be uncomfortable with. It’s important to ensure you pick an influencer that already represents your brand’s values and overall feel, so it will be natural for them and won’t hurt your company more than help.

6. Encourage influencers to follow the laws

Your business might know all the FTC rules that need to be followed, and it might even be in your contract with influencers, but that doesn’t mean they are following all the laws. Make sure you check in on influencers to ensure they are actually following all the rules, so you don’t get in trouble.

7. Determine methods of communication

Social media influencers have many ways they communicate with their followers. They might run a podcast, send out text messages, use social media, or even send out emails. Whatever the case, make sure you have worked out with the influencer exactly which methods of communication you’d like them to use in contacting customers. The most effective way of marketing with influencers is typically through social media, so picking specific platforms you expect them to use also helps.

8. Don’t get too strict with influencers

If you tell the influencer exactly what picture to post and what to say on the post, it likely won’t feel authentic to their account. They know the best way to share information about your product with their audience, so let them have the freedom to choose. Maybe they want to do a tutorial for you, or maybe they prefer to post a picture with a caption. Whatever the case, giving them freedom to choose will lend authenticity to their posts.

On that note, make sure your influencer is focusing on their own account and how your product or service enhances their current lifestyle instead of doing an ad entirely about the product itself.

9. Special discount codes work

Customers love getting discounts on products. It’s especially effective if the influencer has their own special discount code that allows users to get a discount for trying the new product or service.