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  • Stefanie Chow

How To Navigate Problematic KOLs



With the rise of Digital Marketing, more and more social media users are turning into Influencers. In the digital marketing sphere, we are also noticing that there is a wider tiering system for Influencers, from a high following base such as Celebrity Influencers to a lower following base such as Nano Influencers. Nonetheless, it is evident that despite the following base that you possess, you have the potential to be an Influencer.


This also allows Brands and Media Agencies to have the option to work with Influencers, which could broaden their presence in the social sphere while reconnecting with their consumers on a more intimate level. Although it would be beneficial to the Brand especially, however, it adds onto an additional layer of liaising with Influencers, who at the end of the day are humans themselves, with a vast range of working styles and personalities, resulting in a varying outcome during the execution process, where both Brands and Media Agencies would come across Influencers with great working ethics, who are collaborative yet creative in providing with the Brand a great campaign outcome. On the other hand, we would also experience Influencers who have poor working ethics, visible through their lack of desire to collaborate with the Brand or poor communication efforts, resulting in a poor overall campaign outcome and a negative experience for Brands when it comes to engaging with Influencers.


Fret not, there are ways to navigate these problematic Influencers, should we come across one, and more often than not, we would come across at least a handful of them in a campaign that engages with a large number of Influencers.


1. ENCOURAGE FACE TO FACE DISCUSSION BETWEEN BRANDS AND INFLUENCERS

By engaging with Influencers, they are also known to be the Brand Ambassadors, especially when a key Influencer has been identified during the campaign proposal stage to kick start the campaign.


With that, it is important to have a face to face discussion with the Influencers, to identify that they are indeed able to collaborate with the Brand effectively to ensure that they provide the Brand with a memorable campaign, that consists of the Influencer’s own creativity and personality that merges well with the Brand, and the objective of the campaign.


Having a face-to-face discussion, it can also allow the Brand and Media Agency to gauge the work ethic of said Influencer. Although, when it comes to sustaining the campaign, with the engagement of a list of Influencers, it is not viable for a face-to-face discussion. In this case, over-communication between the Brand and the Media Agency is crucial to ensure that the campaign execution runs smoothly with an effective campaign outcome.


2. OVER-COMMUNICATION BETWEEN BRAND AND MEDIA AGENCIES

As much as communication is a given especially when working on a campaign since high-level communication is required during the process of creating a creative direction for the campaign to identify a suitable Influencer.


However, over-communication is especially crucial during the campaign execution process. As much as we would try to be prepared prior to the start of a campaign, however, it is a given that there will be unforeseeable issues that will happen once a campaign starts. By over-communicating between the Brand and the Media Agency, it is possible to resolve these issues early on before it has become a full-blown disaster.


Mitigating the situation early on, and identifying these problematic Influencers allows us to clearly identify which Influencers are reliable, and could potentially become the Brand Ambassadors for the Brand in the future.


3. KEEP ON TOP OF CURRENT GOSSIPS

Besides collaborating with Influencers to gauge their work ethics and over-communicating between the Brand and Media Agencies, when it comes to identifying the Influencer to engage with, it is also important to keep on top of the current gossip.


In this day and age, Influencers appear in the limelight as much as Celebrities and are talked about frequently on social media. They even have a fanbase of their own. With that, they would also have things that they would avoid showing to the public. It is important to keep in mind that Influencers are human too; and much like all humans, they are bound to have personal things that they would hide from the public, and like Celebrities, there will be people who would like to air the dirty laundry of these Influencers to the public, tainting their public image.


By keeping up with the current gossip on various social media sites, Brands are able to avoid having to deal with the negative outcome early on as opposed to when the issue has progressed to the point where it is unsalvageable, which in turn could potentially affect the image of the Brand. Although it is not an ideal situation for the Brand and the campaign if the Influencer engaged who faced such an issue turns out to be the Key Influencer for the campaign, however, by halting all postings for that said Influencer it could potentially reduce any negative impact toward the Brand, depending on the severity of the scandal.


4. LISTENING TO THE ADVICE OF MEDIA AGENCIES

As Media Agencies tend to be in contact with and deal with a wide range of Influencers daily, they would have first-hand experience of each Influencers' working style and would be in a position to better advise the Brand which KOLs to avoid.


Although most engagement of Influencers of a campaign would be based on several factors, including which Influencer are currently trending. It is a good strategy on leveraging the popularity of the Influencer when looking to engage with an Influencer, however, an Influencer could be trending due to the content that they have produced which was received well by the public, which does not necessarily reflect their work ethic. Should the Brand still proceed with engaging with said Influencer despite the advice of the Media Agency, it could result in an overall campaign experience for all parties involved. Therefore, by listening to the advice of the Media Agency, the Brand can potentially dodge the bullet of having to work with an Influencer who could cause difficulties during the campaign execution and possibly towards the overall campaign success.


Taking into account the above suggestions, it is important to keep in mind that much like the rest of us, there are good and bad Influencers in terms of work ethics. At the end of the day, we are all humans after all. Through experience, we are definitely able to know which Influencer would be better off as content creators as opposed to being a brand ambassador. It is also important to know that although the above suggestion is not necessarily a full-proof plan to avoid problematic Influencers, nonetheless it is a step to knowing how to handle situations where a problematic Influencer might play a role in. Navigating how to handle problematic Influencers definitely takes patience and plenty of trial and error, nonetheless by having both Brands, Media Agency and Influencers working closely together, it is possible to overcome the hardships of dealing with situations that could impact the overall campaign execution.