5 Tips to Navigate Unfiltered Influencer Marketing Campaigns

By WHOSAY’s Influencer Activation Team

Unfiltered campaigns empower talent to create content based on their personal experiences with the brand's product or services without the help of a production crew. With the guidance and support of a WHOSAY Creative Producer, influencers have the freedom to express themselves in an authentic way and cater their creative to their fan base.

Unfiltered campaigns are very effective at achieving authenticity, which is key in delivering performance and results. Additionally, they are cost-effective on the production side, allowing for a bigger media buying budget. This typically results in more money towards media impressions and higher engagement for the brand.

Unfiltered campaigns tend to be more suited for social-only executions as opposed to Premium campaigns, which often extend to other types of channels outside of digital and social.

However, if not executed properly, Unfiltered activations can become more work for the brand. But rest assured, we’ve called on our outstanding campaign managers to share their insights on how to avoid any pitfalls when developing and executing this type of influencer content offering.  

1. Keep your options open:

"When partnering with a talent to capture an unfiltered photo post, provide specific direction and guidelines, storyboards and/or photo examples that paint a very clear picture of what you are looking for them to submit," says Jenna Sereni, VP Marketing & Creative Services. "Ask for more! For every one Unfiltered video you plan to use, have talent submit: 30 worth of storytelling, so you have options to play with in post."

2. Set up a real-time remote feedback channel:

“If you are not attending the shoot because it is something that the talent will be capturing on their own, set up a 30-minute window where they will send you content in real time to go over what they have captured to make sure it is in line with what you need,” says Caryn Turer, Sr. Manager, Activation & Branded Content. “If it's not on-brand, then you can go over with them what they need to reshoot and have them resend to you while on the phone.”

3. Be specific and keep everybody on the same page:

"[Setting] very strict parameters—including do’s and don’ts and brand guidelines—is important,” says Alexandra Mattiace, Manager, Activation & Branded Content. “[It’s also important] to have the brand pre-approve these guidelines so all parties are aligned going into content creation. The more specific the better. That way there is ZERO confusion.”

In addition, Mattiace recommends making mood boards from the talent’s own content in order to give the creator inspiration. “Ask the brand for their larger campaign assets for inspiration to ensure content supports overarching assets and messaging,” she said. When it comes to how much content is enough, Alexandra believes one should never get fewer than three options per post (minimum 3x photo/video options per 1 post). “It’s important for talent to stay true to themselves and don’t be afraid to be bold,” she added. And remember, “more content is always better to have. Capture, capture, capture. It’s always better to have extra than not enough.”

Although it’s always best to have a WHOSAY rep on set to direct, if talent was cast appropriately there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. "Not all influencers are capable of producing their own content. On the flip side, some are amazing and know best. Find and cast the right talent for the idea and the strategy, and work with them closely to deliver something the brand will love."

Finally, Mattiace shared that collaboration is the name of the game for her. "Collaborate, be cognizant and always use your intuition. Always ask the influencer for their creative direction/input. After all, it's their brand that we are buying into and they often have great insight," she said. “If, on the other hand, you’re not getting much from them just tell them exactly what to do. Sometimes, people just need specific direction to perform on camera.”

4. Align the message with the influencer:

“Make sure content is authentic to the influencer’s profile,” said Ali Ciatti, Manager, Activation & Branded Content. “When getting approved direction from the client, leave some creative wiggle room for the influencers to tailor it to their style.” Ali believes letting the talent creator give some input on the types of content will absolutely affect performance with her or his audience. “They have interacted with their audience the most, so they may have great insight when trying to pick out the best content.”

5. Make sure the brand understands the talent’s style and tone:

“Make sure to have a clear understanding of Talent's style and tone, and communicate this to the brand,” said Allie Hopfan, Sr. Manager, Activation & Branded Content. This seems obvious, but one can’t be clear enough when it comes to communicating it to the brand. “We want to be totally clear that the brand is aligned with the Talent's personal style, as that is usually heavily reflected in unfiltered content,” she explained. Last but not least, Allie recommends giving  the creator specific direction and guidelines, “but try to balance this with giving talent ownership over the content and some freedom to exercise their creativity.”

Following these five tips will lead to the best and most engaging content. Script out any specific/key messaging points and/or sound-bites that are brand must-haves.