How to Amplify Influencer Marketing with Paid Media

How to Amplify Influencer Marketing with Paid Media
Haley Omick


Haley Omick

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Manual Whitelisting vs. Facebook’s Branded Content Tool vs. Lumanu

The evolution of Influencer Marketing

Content amplification is the new norm for influencer paid media

Influencer marketing rose in popularity out of the consumer appetite for authentic content amidst the noise of paid social. There are 2 reasons influencer marketing doesn’t deliver the results that it can:

  1. Decline in organic reach has made it difficult to realize the full potential of influencer collaborations. There’s a ton of great content being created and shared, but it’s not reaching the right audience(s) the same way it used to.
  2. Organic Instagram posts don’t have a clickable call to action button. Interested consumers can’t easily click through to learn more. Instagram stories allow for a swipe up, but have an even more limited shelf life of 24 hours. 

Savvy social media marketers have caught on to the fact that there is a better way to drive results than simply “boosting” influencer posts and repurposing assets as user-generated content on social media platforms. Combining influencers with paid media by including dark posts as part of an influencer strategy unlocks a new channel to reach consumers.  Opening up this new capability for influencer marketing campaigns requires advertising access. Here’s where influencer whitelisting and influencer dark posts enter the picture. When you combine the influencer storytelling (content) that consumers relate to, with the ability control targeting and ads directly through influencer handles (identity) and even target their audiences, the value of influencer paid media is realized. This process unlocks a whole new acquisition channel.  

How to setup influencer paid media

But how do you do it? The need to amplify influencer posts is one more thing added to the already overwhelming influencer marketing campaign process. The different approaches to whitelisting that are out there are confusing and can be difficult to distinguish between. 

No matter how daunting, the benefits of whitelisting make it difficult to ignore as a marketing strategy. We’ve broken it down here for you so you can get started..

There are three main ways to add paid media to influencer marketing: 

1. Boosting through Facebook’s Branded Content Tool 

If you’ve not used this yet yourself, you’ve definitely heard about it. Facebook’s built-in tool allows you to put paid media dollars behind influencer content when your brand is explicitly tagged as a paid partnership by an influencer (with an eligible account). This form of content amplification on Facebook and Instagram, otherwise known as boosting, allows you to amplify and target influencer content to the same audiences you can target with your brand ads.

It’s important to note some of the limitations. Amplifying content with the Branded Content Tool does not allow you to change anything in the original organic post to optimize for advertising. Reusing content as sponsored posts through this tool doesn’t allow you to attach a call to action (CTA) or drive traffic to pages outside of those tagged in the original post, edit the copy, creative, or format in any way, or leverage influencer audiences. Another drawback with the Branded Content Tool is that it is not available for all content types - the main drawback being Instagram slideshows are not supported. All things considered, the Branded Content Tool is an effective way to combat the limitations of organic reach, and a great place to start including influencer content amplification into your paid media strategy. 

The process of whitelisting through Facebook's Branded Content Tool

2. Manual whitelisting

A major upgrade from the Branded Content Tool, or boosting, is getting advertiser access directly to your influencers’ accounts in Facebook Ads Manager, otherwise known as manual whitelisting. This approach requires a lot of education and handholding in order to execute successfully, so it’s difficult to do with more than a handful of influencers. The manual process also requires that your influencers have a business manager setup (which is not always the case so may require prework). The challenge, at that point, is managing those permissions according to the terms of your contracts with each influencer and maintaining visibility on both sides and across internal teams

Nevertheless, obtaining advertising permissions this way unlocks a lot of value for your own paid social within Facebook Ads Manager, allowing you to do things like:

  • Create multiple variants of content for different audiences
  • A/B test different copy, taglines, call-to-action buttons
  • Edit copy on whitelisted / dark posts ads
  • Create carousels transform slideshows from your influencer network at large
  • Use Influencer audiences in your targeting
  • Use Influencer Lookalike Audiences in your targeting

Whitelisting manually works well to really test the waters of whitelisting with a very small number of influencers at a time (note: size isn’t a concern -- micro-influencers can be, ironically, huge campaign assets). Once you try to start scaling up this process with a more robust roster of influencers, it becomes nearly impossible to manage. 

The process of whitelisting manually

3. Lumanu

The only way to truly scale your influencer marketing paid media today is through Lumanu. As the first and only truly automated whitelisting platform on the market, Lumanu offers all of the benefits of whitelisting manually without all of the headache. As with the other 2 whitelisting options, the initial discovery and management of influencer campaigns is not within the scope of Lumanu. The platform was purpose built to fully automate the tedious process of advertising with your influencers. That means no matter how you handle your influencer marketing today (in house, marketing agency, discovery platform), Lumanu will plug right into your existing workflow. Lumanu serves as the bridge between the influencer team, the social media marketing team, and the performance team. 

The process of whitelisting through Lumanu's technology

Lumanu’s “magic handshake” secures and streamlines the process of obtaining influencer advertiser permissions into 1-click with full transparency on both sides. Influencers do not need a business manager and can complete the process in seconds. Influencers can easily share content, audiences, and their usage rights with brand partners. Lumanu automates the process to ensure influencer content flows automatically into ads manager and also pulls in all your influencers’ organic content into one dashboard and provides real-time performance metrics on all content. This also serves as a fail safe for having all content available to download for advertising creative (in the event it doesn’t automatically show up in ads manager).

As a final timesaver, Lumanu eliminates the need for a back-and-forth approval process for requested edits to dark posts. When advertisers run dark posts, Lumanu shows the influencer the content that is being run under their likeness to provide transparency.

Comparing whitelisting approaches in detail

No matter how you choose to whitelist, be sure to know the capabilities each approach provides you with. One campaign may excel using Facebook’s Branded Content tool, and another flop. Having access to influencer audiences and the ability to optimize content may be just what you need to leverage your next campaign.

Haley Omick

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