A Quick Guide to Influencer Whitelisting
Amplifying influencer content has become one of the most popular topics in influencer marketing strategy over the last couple of years. If you’re reading this, you likely understand that to keep up with the savviest marketers you need to adopt this strategy into your brand’s marketing mix. But, you may be asking, how do I go about getting access to amplify influencer content? Well, we’re glad you asked. The answer is simple: influencer whitelisting.
First off, what is Influencer Whitelisting?
Influencer whitelisting is the process of influencers and creators granting advertising permissions to brands or partners to use their handles, content, and audience targeting to unlock a new media and acquisition channel.
The process of influencer whitelisting ultimately allows brands to work with influencers who create compelling content and who connect with an audience that is receptive to social recommendations.
To simplify the term “influencer whitelisting” the influencer is granting advertiser access to their Instagram account and Facebook page, allowing brand partners to optimize paid media behind influencer content. Granting these permissions can be done manually through Facebook’s Business Manager, or can be made simpler with technology like Lumanu. Read more on how to whitelist influencers here.
After the influencer has granted permissions, their Facebook page and Instagram account identities will be readily available for advertisers directly in their Facebook Ad’s Manager and they can start running dark posts .
How does influencer whitelisting benefit advertisers?
As with any marketing initiative, you only want to put the time, resources, and money into something if it is going to benefit your brand and if you see the ROI. As organic reach on influencer posts continue to drop across all platforms, influencer whitelisting is necessary to deliver ROI from influencer marketing programs. Here are a few benefits you’ll find:
- Influencer whitelisting gives your brand the ability to Dark Post: Dark posts are paid Facebook and Instagram ads that do not show up on influencer feeds, but do appear as ads to the users you are specifically targeting. The ability to create influencer dark posts allow brands to optimize influencer content across target audiences. What this really means is that advertisers no longer have to rely on organic posts to deliver results.
- Influencer whitelisting gives your brand full control over targeting: It allows you to achieve your brand’s media objectives, whether that involves getting a certain amount of reach, brand lift, page views, or purchases. This also means you can measure the tangible return on investment in your influencer campaigns and content to justify future investment in influencers.
- Influencer whitelisting gives your brand the ability to test and learn: Whitelisting allows you to compare influencer performance within audiences and see how well individual influencers are performing against your marketing objectives. These important insights can help you understand whether your investment is justified and inform marketing budgets. It’s also beneficial to see how your influencer content is performing compared to your brand ads.
And what about benefits for creators?
Whitelisting for creators can be opening a door to new and exciting opportunities. Creators see the following benefits from whitelisting:
- Extended reach of the creators' content giving the content new eyes and allowing the creator to expand their audience. Since these posts are not required to be on the influencer’s feed, these dark posts increase the content’s shelf life and the account’s reach.
- Creators get to stick to doing what they love (creating content) and do not have to create the ads themselves.
- Reduced audience fatigue for organic content. Because the influencer is not required to post the dark posts on their feed, this opens up the opportunity to take on more branded work without exhausting followers with an organic feed full of sponsored content.
- Whitelisting opens the opportunity for influencers to earn more money - no matter if they are micro-influencers or have a big time following. Whether it is expanding and growing their media kit or keeping tabs on how the content is performing and improving, whitelisting allows them to grow their business, drive results, and help increase a brand's awareness.
Checkout this blog for a deeper dive into the benefits and challenges of influencer whitelisting.
What are the different ways you can whitelist influencers?
There are a few different ways that you can whitelist your influencers.
The first is manually gaining access via the Facebook’s Business Manager. The influencer that you are whitelisting is in the driver seat of this process as they are required to create a Facebook Business Manager and log into their Facebook profile.
Once they are logged in, they are required to complete a handful of steps like create their business account, connect their Facebook and Instagram accounts, add their Facebook page, and assign partners. For a complete list of steps, follow our how-to guide on how influencers can complete this manual whitelisting process.
The manual process can be extremely time consuming and confusing especially since each influencer is different. One may have no knowledge of Facebook Business Manager or how to assign partners to his or her account; another influencer may already have knowledge of whitelisting, but it’s important to remember that as a brand partner, you will have to work hand-in-hand with each influencer.
Another method to complete the influencer whitelisting process is through an automated tool, such as Lumanu. Lumanu fully automates the influencer whitelisting process by allowing influencers and creators to grant usage rights to their media assets, provide whitelisting access, and share 1st party audience data all in one-click. By sending the influencer a custom invite link, the influencer will create their Lumanu account, they’ll authenticate and connect their Facebook page and Instagram account, and approve of the collaboration. One important thing to keep in mind when whitelisting influencers with Lumanu is the influencer does not need a Facebook Business Manager.
Once the influencer has approved of the collaboration and has authenticated his/her accounts, their Facebook Page and Instagram account identities are available to advertisers directly in the brand’s Facebook’s Ads Manager. You’ll then be able to create influencer ads or dark posts across placements - Facebook feed, Instagram stories, Instagram feed posts, or carousels and slideshows.
The final way to get advertising access to an influencer account is with the Branded Content Tool. Rolled out by Facebook and Instagram, it simplifies the way brands can amplify influencer content. How it works is that influencers have the ability with the Branded Content Tool to tag brand partners on their post and it displays as either “Sponsored” or “Paid”. Brand partners can then run paid ads by “Boosting” the post and selecting their budget, audience, and duration. The Branded Content Tool simplifies the process for influencers to include their brand partners in the post; however, it does have setbacks like:
- No ability to add a call-to-action button
- No ability to make copy changes to the influencer’s post (i.e. description, headline, etc.)
- No ability to amplify Instagram stories
The image below outlines the different abilities when it comes to influencer whitelisting with automated technology versus manual whitelisting and Facebook’s Branded Content Tool:
What can you do after you whitelist influencers?
After your influencers have completed the manual whitelisting process or they have completed the process on Lumanu, your brand will have advertiser access to create dark posts using the influencer’s Facebook page and Instagram handles identities. You will be able to run paid ads through these influencer’s identities using your brand’s Facebook Ads Manager or integrating with other technology to create your ads, such as Lumanu’s SmartBoost or Smartly.io.
Once advertiser permissions have been assigned, you or your media buyer will have the option to select the influencer identity from the identify drop-down in Ads Manager to create Instagram or Facebook ads.
Once you've got the influencer identity selected, you'll follow the standard ad creation flow such as choosing a format for the ad, adding media (the influencer’s Facebook and Instagram content), and edit copy for descriptions, headlines, your call-to-action button, and more.
Make sure to keep note of the usage rights you have with each influence, any changes to copy or content will need to be built into the usage rights section of your contract. This will ensure that your brand is following their guidelines and meeting their expectations. Be aware that some influencers may charge an extra fee for whitelisting or for to permission to edit copy/creative. Lear more about how influencers charge for whitelisting usage rights.
After whitelisting influencers, how do audiences come into play?
Another benefit that comes with whitelisting influencers is the ability to obtain the appropriate permissions to create and target influencer engagement and lookalike audiences. Whitelisting unlocks new audiences to test and you can introduce new influencer audiences from your whitelisted ads to your existing ad sets and brand audiences. For example you can run your influencer ads against some of your top-performing ad sets and audiences to see what creative is performing the best. Whitelisting allows you to “shoot your shot” at building and growing new audiences based on your influencers Instagram account and Facebook page lookalikes and engagers. Recommended reading: maximizing influencer ads with influencer audiences.
To wrap up, influencer whitelisting is a great way to increase the return on investment for your influencer content. By gaining access to use influencer identities for paid ads, you'll be able to create an authentic experience for potential new customers, track the performance of the influencer content across Facebook and Instagram, and learn what type content works best for your influencer ads. For some starter tips, check out some examples of high performing influencer ads.