An increasing number of large brands are turning marketing influencers into brand spokespeople, leaning on their authority, expertise and/or position in an engaging, authentic way to affect how their audience purchases items. High profile screening and background checks on marketing influencers are becoming more popular because more companies are getting burned by making bad partnerships. These influencers could be celebrities or just everyday people with a few thousand followers. But as a paid face for your company, should these individuals be held to the same standards as any full-time employee?
What may seem like an innocent marketing investment in getting some popular social media personality to snap a photo of your product and gain some brand awareness with a unique audience could end up into a public relations nightmare. We’ve found some unique cases where brands have been caught in a firestorm for not performing background checks on marketing influencers. We’ll dive into some examples and help your company identify the proper steps to vetting potential marketing influencers.
Why Background Checks on Marketing Influencers Are Important
Many big brands have fallen victim from partnering with the wrong social media influencers. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte lost four major brand sponsorships after making false claims of an armed robbery while in Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Brands like Speedo and Ralph Lauren were left to make statements distancing themselves from Lochte, who was making media rounds apologizing for his mistakes. Not exactly the best coverage for those big brands.
Smart brands are setting internal standards so they can properly select the right influencers to promote them. For example, L’Oreal was one of the first big brands to institute background checks on all social media influencers — even though they are not employees of L’Oreal. There are some key indicators to look for when determining whether or not a marketing influencer is right to endorse your products or company. Here are some things to keep an eye on.
Background checks on marketing influencers would help indicate whether you may not want to work with individuals based on the negative perception around them. The influencer’s perception can easily rub off on your brand if there is negativity tied to the person. A partnership with a positively received influencer may work well in favour, while working with an influencer who’s being received quite negatively may cause a backlash against your brand. Background checks would help identify if the influencer was going through any legal troubles that could come back at your public relations team.
Influencer marketing is all about getting a foot hole in someone’s social media following. Does the marketing influencer you’re prospecting to work for your company actually fit your audience? The amount of money such Instagram and other marketing influencers are able to make is largely dependent on the kind of pull the person has. A background check can help ensure the influencer is who they say they are, and are not misleading you for a paycheck. The influencer needs to be relevant to your brand and/or to your campaign. Now, they don’t have to be an expert in your industry or an expert in what you do, but they should be relevant to your brand or messaging.
It might not be all about what an influencer is posting, but it could be what they’re liking or retweeting that can get your company in hot water. Often times, a celebrity’s social history can come back to haunt not only them, but the brands that pay them to be a spokesperson. Don’t only check how engaged they are online, but also dig into their social engagement history, and the sentiment of that engagement.
How to Properly Perform Due Diligence on a Marketing Influencer
Whether you need them for a campaign, or you just want to expand your brand reach by partnering with influencers, or for whatever other reason – how do you know which influencers are the best to work with? Can you and your marketing team put together the time and resources to properly vet your future marketing influencers?
Partnering with a trusted third-party leader in background checks can help put your PR and legal teams rest easy at night. At Barada Associates, we can perform full background checks on marketing influencers to ensure any potential spokesperson represents your company properly. Ready to start getting the background checks you need for before your influencer marketing campaigns launch? Schedule a time to talk to one of our experts today and learn how we can help you through the entire background check process.