Influencer Crisis Management

    Table of contents
  1. 1. What is influencer crisis management?
  2. 2. Overview and development
  3. 3. Benefits of having an influencer crisis management plan
  4. 4. Downsides of influence crisis management
  5. 5. Relevance to influence marketing
  6. 6. Best practices

What is influencer crisis management?

Influencer crisis management is the way a business handles negative situations involving influencers that could damage the brand's reputation. It's the same thing as crisis management but specifically for influencer marketing. Businesses that use influence marketing need to know how to handle crises involving influencers. The type of crisis affects what response is best from the business. Taking the wrong action for the type of influencer-related crisis can do further harm. 

Businesses can help prevent crises from happening by working with a skilled influencer management agency or using an influencer marketing platform. A platform may support the decision-making process by providing visualized data of the influencer's profile and campaign performance, while some influencer management agencies provide an easy way of monitoring brand sentiment and influencers. They assist with developing and managing influence marketing campaigns as well as to help ensure common mistakes aren't made that can trigger a crisis. For instance, when influencers upload a picture of them with a brand's product in an atypical setting, such as using a toothbrush in the pool, it can cause the audience to question the content authenticity or make a joke out of it. 


Overview and development

Crisis management dates far back in history as it has been used to handle emergency situations in personal lives like natural disasters. In the 1940s, crisis management started to become a more professional field with extensive research on the issue. Five types of influencer crises a brand could experience are ignored guidelines, unfavorable association, worsening crisis, unintentional entertainment, and betrayal. 

When an influencer ignores any part of the agreement, it creates a crisis for the brand. The guidelines are in place for good reason. It's imperative that the influencer follows them. Some brands make the mistake of letting it slide because they don't know how to address the situation. Unintentional entertainment is when the influencer says or does something their audience views as inauthentic or absurd. They may be mocked or turned into a joke. This doesn't always negatively affect the brand, but in some cases it does. 

An unfavorable association is when an influencer is a cause behind a crisis because of something they did to offend others. Brands often suffer from being associated with the influencer. Worsening crisis, on the other hand, occurs when an influencer isn't the reason behind the crisis, but they worsen an existing crisis. Lastly, betrayal is the influencer turning on the brand. They may tell their audience that the brand's products are of poor value or make other negative statements. 

Another form of betrayal is the influencer refusing to promote the brand after receiving payment or compensation. This happens fairly frequently. Most brands stay quiet about it because they don't want to attract negative attention. However, companies shouldn't let influencers get away with cheating them out of an agreement. 


Benefits of having an influencer crisis management plan

Having an influence crisis management plan reduces the stress that occurs during a crisis. People make better decisions when they're not feeling anxious, angry, or stressed. Calmness leads to increased creativity and efficiency in solving problems. Another benefit of influence crisis management is already having a course of action. The point of crisis management is to anticipate potential problems that could arise and clarify how each problem will be solved. Thirdly, brands will respond to crises faster when they have a crisis management plan. 


Downsides of influence crisis management

It costs money and takes time to flesh out an influence crisis management strategy. Brands need to consult with professionals in crisis management to develop the most effective plan. One may also not be able to anticipate every possible problem that arises. Brands need to still mentally prepare for unexpected crises. 


Relevance to influence marketing

All brands that use influencers in their marketing strategy need to have a crisis management plan specifically for influencer-related crises. Brands don't have control over the actions of influencers, not even through the guidelines since rules can be broken. One must focus on what's within the brand's power to minimize damage and get back on the right track if an influencer-related crisis happens. 

There have been many instances of Instagram influencers cheating brands out of agreements, especially in the jewelry and beauty niche. They would keep the jewelry but never upload a mention of the brand or photo of the product. Brands must be careful about jumping into any form of influencer marketing, even on Instagram


Best practices

Brands should mitigate the risk of influence crises by thoroughly researching each influencer using platform e.g. InfluencerDB before contacting them for a partnership. This is a time-consuming process but worth it to avoid using an influencer that may flake out or turn on the brand. Influencer management agencies are helpful in saving time during the research phase. Brands should also be clear in their proposal to influencer and detailed in what's expected out of the partnership and what form of compensation will be given to prevent misunderstandings.