We already know that content creators play a huge role in influencing the purchase decisions of their target audience, with 31% of global internet users listing researching or finding products to buy as one of the main reasons they use social media, up from 23% in 2015. Meanwhile, 4 in 10 millennials say they relate more to a creator than to their friends and followers, and 49% of consumers depend on creator recommendations on social media. These facts just go to show how much consumers rely on creators and their social channels to inform their purchasing decisions.
With holidays and travel being such a high expense purchase, and something consumers think about in great detail, user generated content and recommendations from trusted creators on social media can be even more powerful. Thus, brands should consider working with creators on a contracted basis, in order to reap the full benefits of the influencer marketing campaign.
However, introducing a contract into the process also introduces increased brand controls, such as more firm demands on creators’ time and more control over the creative approach, and subsequently, most creators will want payment. With so many creators willing to work on an unpaid travel campaign, why do many brands still opt to contract the best creators to work on their travel campaigns?
You Can Take Charge With The Creative Direction
When contracting a creator on a sponsored influencer marketing campaign, the partnership is awarded much more legitimacy, and the brand is able to have greater control over the content output. This can be essential if you’re looking to create focused content with specific messaging in your content marketing campaign and raise brand awareness.
Whilst most creators, whether they are contracted or not, will work with the brand around the brand messaging, when the relationship is uncontracted this can’t always be crafted and agreed upon beforehand, as would happen in a contractual agreement.
In essence, when working with uncontracted - and therefore usually unpaid - creators, brands run the risk that the creator could post anything about their trip. In contracting content creators, the brand will be able to work with them on the messaging and appearance of the branded content and target consumers in their ideal way. They’ll also be able to play a bigger role in the overall creative process and approve drafts to ensure the content is in line with their wider marketing strategy. This can be of huge value for those brands who want to relay a specific message.
However, it must be noted that, at Influencer, we truly believe that the best branded content is created when the creators have agency over their posts, in order to make them as authentic as possible. When working with a creator, brands should consider providing the creator with their brand messaging, and a rough idea of content aesthetic, before allowing the creators to produce content that they know will appeal to their followers.
You’ll Be Able To Create Long Term Partnerships
Brands who work with their creators on a contracted basis pave the way for a healthy and successful long term partnership, often even creating brand advocates in those content creators.
Not only is the creator much more likely to feel comfortable knowing that you value their work, thus making them more likely to work with you in the future, it will also help to build more of a relationship between the brand and the creator’s followers, as it is unlikely the creator will also collaborate with competitor brands. Contracting your creators allows you as a brand to limit what they post for competitor brands in a given time frame. Conversely, with uncontracted content creators, you won’t have the agency over whether they collaborate with other brands or not.
Additionally, travel content creators often like to collaborate with the brands earlier in the process, so that they are really bringing their creative mind to the campaign. Followers are wise to the fact that many creators are getting paid trips, so it makes sense to form a contractual agreement and to pay your creators, thus getting them to invest time into a more interesting and lengthy campaign, rather than just producing content around how amazing one time trip is. Utilising content creators as brand ambassadors in this way can be a really impressive way to boost engagement, and influence the buying decisions of social media followers in your influencer marketing campaign.
We’ve even seen creators consulting hotels on how to be more ‘Instagrammable’ in order for the hotel to gain more coverage on social media and attract the right clientele. Content creators could be helping with design, vlogging or posting stories about renovation work, or even just sharing a behind the scenes look at how a hotel is run.
The goal is always to provide authentic content that resonates with a target audience, and running campaigns with contracted content creators leads to a more collaborative, long term dynamic.
You'll Ensure That Traffic Is Directed To Your Page
It goes without saying that one of the most crucial parts of harnessing a creator’s social networks is ensuring that they give the brand excellent coverage, with the correct tags. With contracted creators, you can ensure that they tag you every step of the way across social channels and will, therefore, be able to direct more traffic and engagement to your page.
On top of this, Instagram is now becoming the go-to place for travel recommendations, with Geotags allowing people to seek inspiration for a particular location. Contracting creators will allow you to ensure that they tag the location you desire, to help you get featured on the ‘top posts’ for certain geotags. Top posts are selected by the Instagram algorithm based on things like account size and engagement rate, so getting a creator to strategically tag locations will help you reach people as they try to find exciting new travel inspiration, while also raising brand awareness. Some of the best examples of celebrity endorsements like this come from the likes of Mikki Tenazas (@thetravelpro), or Murad Osmann (@muradosmann).
You’ll Work With Higher Quality Creators
When it comes to travel creators, there are so many out there and many of them will be willing to work for free. However, if you want to work with the best creators then it is highly likely that you will need to pay them, subsequently increasing the need for a contract. With this payment will come more authentic content, more engagement and the respect from an audience who know that this creator doesn’t just work with anyone.
A great example of utilising higher quality creators would be our recent campaign with the Tunisia Tourism Board, which aimed at encouraging followers to take an interest in the country as a holiday destination.
We worked with higher-end creatives known for their incredible trips around the world. The group of 7 were flown to Tunisia to enjoy a tour of the country and created some amazing content that revealed the beauty of the place. Each creator produced an Instagram feed post and 6 Instagram stories that resonated with their target audience, plus a vast amount of organic content was naturally captured throughout their trip.
Running a contracted influencer marketing campaign meant that we had access to the best travel creators out there, with strong communities full of people who really trusted their advice across their social networks. We were also able to work more creatively with these creators, ensuring that the Tunisia Tourism Board’s brief was fully met.