People see influencers as one of them, and part of their network, so they are influenced by them far more than by company marketing.
Influencer marketing can help health brands in several ways:
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- They can raise awareness of a health topic.
- They can influence people’s health choices and behaviors.
- They can foster community and combat isolation.
But there’s also a risk in influencer marketing that stems from its lack of predictability. Influencers are human beings, not algorithms, typified by variability, each one unique. Plus, they function at arm’s length from the control of your marketing teams. Brand marketers worry, rightfully, that the wrong influencer could waste precious resources, deliver counterproductive messages, and compromise brand safety.
A Rock-Solid Vetting Process
The only way to preclude the variability and safety concerns of influencer marketing is to have an in-depth, reliable process to vet influencers for your brand.
At Healthline, we work with over 500 health influencers on behalf of both our own brands as well as our sponsor brands. Here are some of the things we look into when we’re considering engaging with an influencer. Every single influencer, no matter how big or well-known, goes through this vetting process.
Credentials: If an influencer has a professional designation based on a specific degree or license, such as nutritionist, dietician, or OB-GYN, then the content they produce is likely to be perceived as being scientifically credible. In those cases, you, or your medical team if you have one, should verify the influencer’s credentials and active licenses. Also, assess their social media activity and media mentions to validate that they’re likely to produce content that is backed by medical science and data. If they are representing a personal experience, they should know to clearly position the content as such.
Additionally, it’s equally important that all non-professionally produced health claims (i.e. claims being made by influencers who don’t have medical backgrounds) are medically credible too. So it’s good practice to validate that content with a medical review as well.
Quality of Content: The whole point of working with influencers is that their content feels more authentic and less professionally produced. Yet, we need to ensure that it meets a certain standard of quality. An influencer’s past content reveals a lot about what their future content will look and sound like. It’s important to study the voice they communicate in, their writing and grammatical skills, the specific language they tend to use, and the way they emotionally connect with their followers.
Social Presence: Social influencer marketing is less about reach and the size of the influencer’s audience, and more about the quality of their followers and the engagement they produce. When you’re considering partnering with influencers, you need to feel comfortable that they will drive engagement and move the needle for your social footprint. Start by understanding the influencer’s posting frequency, where their audience lives, how engaged they are, and if their audience is loyal. This will give you a base level expectation for how the influencer will perform with your branded post(s).
Brand Affinity: Last, but by no means least, is whether the influencer’s brand matches your brand. Here are a few questions to consider: Does the influencer’s values match your brand’s values? Will their posts seem authentic or fall flat through sponsorship? Are they over-exposed with competing sponsorships? Are they open to having a long-term relationship? Even if you’re thinking of working with them short term, evaluate them as if you’re entering a long-term partnership with them, since once content is out there, it’s out for the long term.
Vetting Never Ends
Even though our vetting process is rock solid, we continue to monitor all our influencers’ credentials and work even after they’ve passed our screening and become part of our network. We recommend that you tune into your influencer networks on a daily basis. Follow them and engage with their content that’s outside of your brand, so you have a strong pulse on what they’re producing on a continual basis.
Guidelines Are Important
Through all the vetting and monitoring of influencers, it’s important to remember that they’re real people. Despite qualifying as the ‘right’ influencer for your brand, they could still experience missteps. The best way to minimize the risk of your influencers producing unpredictable content is to clearly communicate what you expect, and give them specific and tight guidelines for the content they will produce for you. Don’t stifle originality, but channel their creativity into the direction that works for your brand.
Influencer marketing is proving to be a big thing in marketing. But not all brands are equipped to go at it by themselves.
If you’re interested in working with a platform that has figured out how to do high-quality health influencer marketing, at scale, with best practices in place, consider Healthline. Email us today.
Ready to explore social influencer strategies and learn how to tap into the power of their platform to drive health actions? Download our “2019 Social Influencer Trend Report.”