At PLANOLY we are on a mission to create best-in-class tools that enable marketers, content creators, and small business owners to develop (and plan!) digital content that has both impact and longevity. We all know that the social media landscape is rapidly changing, and part of our evolution as a company is recognizing the increased focus (and opportunity) in the influencer marketing space. With the recent introduction of our affiliate marketing network, StyleLink.it, we're further building out this umbrella of the PLANOLY experience to introduce new features that cater to both social media and influencer marketing. This article is a preface to these exciting updates and addresses an important starting point when working with influencers on a social media campaign. Enter the influencer brief.
The Brief: What and Why
A brief is a written overview of a brand's campaign/project details, and overall expectations of what must be completed by the receiving party. In this case, influencer briefs serve as a solid starting point for influencers to understand the campaign objectives and how to best bring their sponsored content to life. Influencers who are selected to participate in social media campaigns usually align with the brand's aesthetic and/or values. The brief is an important starting to point to make sure both parties don't forget to consider the brand's overarching brand voice, aesthetic, and goals even if it's a season-specific or new product launch campaign. While these parameters may seem daunting, they ultimately help focus and unify the content - especially when the campaign includes more than one influencer. When it comes to specifics, the following section further outlines what influencers can expect to see when receiving a brief for sponsored social posts.
Breaking Down the Brief
While briefs may vary from brand to brand, they typically include a few critical sections that help the influencer understand the logistics of the campaign and what should be included (both technically and creatively) in their content.
Brand Overview + Campaign Details - The brief usually begins with an overview of the brand story followed by the campaign details which include the inspiration for the campaign, the product or initiative it's tied to, and what the brand hopes to achieve with this particular project. This introduction helps paint the picture of who the brand is and how the campaign will build upon its values/product.
Timeline + Deliverables - The next couple of sections (depending on the brand) typically include timeline and deliverables. Simply put, timelines include important dates for when the campaign goes live and the required day/period that the influencer is required to post. In some cases, brands may also want to see the influencer's content before it goes and may include an additional step that includes timelines for content approval/revision. Deliverables address the actual assets the influencer is required to create and deliver to satisfy the campaign requirements. This varies depending on the campaign, but typically includes the amount of content required by the influencer and the kind of content (i.e., visual vs. written, photos vs. video, and so on).
Messaging + Mentions - Once the timeline and deliverables are established, the brief transitions into more details about what the post content should include (and in some cases, what it shouldn't!). Logistically, this includes the required FTC disclosures, brand handles, mentions, and campaign hashtags. If a brand is known for its highly distinct aesthetic or copy, this section may also emphasize the importance of adhering to these details in a post's creative.
Creative + Content - With the above said, some brands may take this a step further with example visuals/creative for influencers to look at as a starting point for their own posts. From mood-boards to style guides, these references range from detailed instructions (i.e., framing the actual visual composition of what should be included in the posts) to a more loose inspiration that sets the tone for the imagery that the influencers can then reimagine for their own content.
Legal + Payment Terms - Once the above details are fleshed out, the brief will usually end with legal and payment terms. The legal section outlines ownership and usage rights of the content created by the influencer (these terms vary based on the campaign, brand, and amount of content being created). Subsequently, payment terms are listed with a brand's billing info/contact, invoicing and paperwork instructions, and how long it will take for the influencer to be paid - these periods typically range from NET 30 to NET 60 payment.
Even with this deep-dive into each section of what's typically included in an influencer brief, one big takeaway we want to mention is that it's important for both brands and influencers to remain in contact with one another. At the end of the day, these campaigns are collaborative efforts, and the best results happen when both parties are aligned on all aspects of the campaign. Stay tuned to see what features we're rolling out that will make this communication process seamless from start to finish! Update 11/14: The FTC recently released a disclosure statement for working with social media influencers. You can review the full document here.