It’s the perfect storm. People can sniff out if marketing feels authentic or not. Consumers are demanding more video. Influencers are pulling more weight as conduits to consumers. So, knowing all of this about video + marketing + influencers, how does a brand create influencer marketing that feels authentic, stays on brand, and doesn’t suck? We hope that our experience shines some insight.
Influencer marketing is only gaining traction. In fact, it’s expected to grow to $13.8 billion by the end of the year. Using video, influencers are natural to extend a brand’s reach, but how can a brand have some control over the video content that’s produced?
Using influencers to shoot their own footage worked well in our video campaign for Allstate’s brand, Direct Auto Insurance. Direct wanted to build awareness and community goodwill in key markets by using influencers to highlight places of interest in each city. The first year of the campaign, Gamma Blast traveled to ten cities filming influencers as they bopped from one local spot to another. Since the campaign garnered success, that next year, Direct Auto went to Gamma Blast for more. But, of course, COVID forced us to rethink the plan. Instead of traveling to film, we sent influencers’ cameras to shoot footage, focused on outdoor locales, and planned for the best with COVID production guidelines communicated.
Influencers Shooting Video
With or without COVID restraints, you may want to have influencers shoot footage, especially if you need to use influencers from across the country. Before beginning, know that success only happens if you first clearly outline the sandbox in which the influencers can play.
Give them cameras, but outline the shoot
Pretty easily, the Influencers picked up and felt comfortable with the Osmos cameras we sent. We did take the time to explain them in a Zoom call session, with much of the time focusing on how to capture good audio and lighting. Adding to our support was a thorough handout on the tech and a contact available for their questions. Come shoot day, many of the influencers navigated the few tech questions they had.
Remind them of the Breadth of Content for Influencer Marketing
What was trickier was ensuring that they captured everything
needed for an edit. (To their credit, being a one-person band is a challenge.)Influencers often think in terms of one-off posts instead of capturing enough content so it can be cut into a
story with coverage and possibly re-purposed in another way. As a generalization, influencers aren’t used to capturing much B-roll, or footage where they’re not in the shot talking. We reminded them that B-roll helps them tell their story;
This may sound obvious, but what helped us was knowing if an influencer had previously shot video. We would check out each influencer’s Instagram channel then tailor tips to their experience. The woman in this example for Austin, TX had shot little video while our Nashville guide was seasoned.
Create a Detailed Guide
Creating a paint-by-numbers guide for the shoot day seemed to help our influencers relax.
Talent shouldn’t lack for guidance on ideas for shots, action, wild lines, how to integrate the brand, and so on. We separated the pre-production checklist into mandatory content elements and optional elements, in case they got in a time crunch. We reassured them that they weren’t shooting too much, and reminded them to record different angles and perspectives.
You Can Produce Influencer Marketing Even at a Distance
Even though we were out of town, we still pre-produced the look and locations of the shoot. We steered the influencer on wardrobe and make-up/ hair choices, sometimes pushing them to more brand-appropriate outfits. (Ha!) The brand selected the places the talent would visit from our list so the influencer was always at a pre-approved location. Beforehand, we got approval to shoot at every location, giving the talent and the brand a doc with photos to help them visualize each area.
It’s a Real Shoot Day
We thought of it as a real shoot day. Our excitement seemed to help to boost the talent’s energy. We found it helpful to touch base with the talent multiple times throughout the shoot so they could have a security blanket. Kicking off the shoot day via video conference, we checked in with them midday and Zoomed in later when the talent was done. Of course, we were available, if questions arose. At moments, an influencer would have an issue when they arrived at a pre-cleared location so having another person to navigate the problem was helpful.
Remember You Can Fix A Bit In Post
Of course, you can build on, and sometimes, fix the influencers’ video in post. For this campaign, we edited together a story, added music, graphics, emojis, and a dash of Gamma secret sauce. Once stirred and delivered, the brand had a year’s worth of content for their channels that was multiplied by 11 influencers. (Heart emoji)
Initially, we had wondered whether we could give influencers cameras to shoot their own footage to create a campaign that was on-brand and authentic. We answered that question with a resounding, yes! We hope this helps you think as well, about pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the influencer world.