Influencer Marketing
I just attended a session at SXSW Interactive 2017 called The Moral Code of Pay-To-Play Marketing. This session was extremely relevant to the clients we do blogger outreach, modern PR and influencer marketing with. The session covered a variety of topics that directly relate to influencer marketing trends, challenges and transparency.
Why are we seeing more real people in advertising?
 
We are seeing more real people in advertising because celebrity endorsements are no longer as relevant as they once were and consumers are not longer responding to stock photography like they once were. Today, consumers see social influencers as great content producers. Users actively follow these influencers because of the influencer’s ability to bring value their social feeds. This is typically not the case with celebrity endorsements.
Digital marketing is increasing this trend. It’s bringing a real ethical question into the equation of FTC compliance and ethics.
What should a brand disclose in influencer marketing?
The panel of Liz Giel, YuYu Chen and Darcy Refienberger all agreed that transparency is the number one issue with paid social influence. It’s always best practice to disclose any type of paid efforts on social media. Users typically respond well to promoted content on social influencers networks if it is disclosed. It’s best to be as transparent as possible.
How can a brand disclose that a social influencer is being compensated for content?
Brands doing social influencer marketing can comply with strict FTC laws by simply using a basic hashtag like #GotItFree or having the influencer mention the brand casually in the content. Not doing so can be a risk to the brand, influencer and agency.
“Negativity creates authenticity”
The best way to handle influencer-generated content marketing is to remember that you are paying an influencer to speak about your product to their personal audience on behalf of your brand. They are being paid to give their honest opinion about your product. As great as it is to get all 100%, 5-star ratings, no product or business is perfect. Negativity (and responding to it correctly) humanizes brands and creates a certain authenticity that consumers respect.
Always remember, brands and agencies can not control an influencer’s honest opinion. When reaching out to an influencer, it’s best to also include some type of instruction with your request.
What’s upcoming in the next year with influencer marketing?
The session ended with a question about what the panel expects to see in the next year. Their responses had a common theme.
Online reviews services are trending in a direction that requires influencer reviews to be much more authentic. This means that the quality of an online review will be considered more valuable to consumers than the total quantity of reviews a brand has.

Social influencer marketing campaign costs will continue to grow as a result of influencer’s personal audiences getting bigger and other brands moving towards this marketing strategy. The best way for brands to stand out from their competitors is to offer social influencers a high-value product or something that is exclusive and not available to the public.

Our Dallas-based agency has a long established history of successful influencer marketing campaigns. If you are a client or someone who is generally interested in talking about how we can help your brand, reach out to us on social media @AgencyEntourage, by email Info@AgencyEntourage.com or drop us a line at (214) 414-3035. We’d love to help your business. Don’t miss the action! Follow the Agency Entourage team at SXSW Interactive 2017 with #AESessions.