The era of social media influencers as a PR resource for organisations to harness has been with us for a while. They give fascinated audiences exposure to places, products and events around the world, often with a sense of relevance to consumers that traditional brands can’t match.
With colourful images and trending hashtags, there’s no better place for influencers to operate than Instagram. In just a few short years, influencer marketing has become the fastest growing method to get new customers online, with entire companies being formed to support and manage the increased number and reach of influencers globally.
Last week, Instagram announced it was trialling Instagram Checkout with a select list of retailers in the USA, allowing users to find new products, order and pay for them – all without leaving the comfort of their favourite platform. Brands around the world will soon be able to drive sales growth by massively simplifying the process of securely selling direct to followers.
All of which raises questions around working with influencers if there is a potential conflict of interest. Organisers of events or campaigns regularly invite influencers along to help shine a spotlight on them to followers. But what if influencers are also using that opportunity to sell other products that somehow could be at odds with the values of the event or campaign they’ve been asked to support?
Coordination, planning, expectations management and good communications are crucial to any project involving influencers. Set expectations around what’s important to you and what matters to them. Usually these align but it’s always worth being aware of likely issues and set any necessary boundaries if appropriate, so that everyone is happy with the end result.
If everyone knows what they’re doing on the night – and why – that leaves you and the influencers you invite to get on with enjoying the evening free of any possible commercial conflicts.