Brand Guidelines Are The Key To Running A Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

If your brand is still on the fence about using influencer marketing, consider how profitable it can be for the companies who are doing it correctly. On average, businesses earn over $5 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing.[1]

A successful influencer marketing campaign requires that brands develop an influencer marketing strategy. The strategy will determine what the brand wants to accomplish with influencer marketing, what message it wants to promote, the types of influencers that will best align with the brand and message, and how to measure the results.

But even after developing an influencer marketing strategy, your campaign could fail if you don’t effectively communicate your brand guidelines, brand style, and expectations to the influencers you’ve selected to work with you on the campaign. It’s important to make sure the messaging and goals by creating an influencer marketing brief are clear. 

Why Brands Need To Develop A Comprehensive Influencer Marketing Brief

An influencer marketing brief will benefit everyone who’s involved with the campaign:

  • Putting objectives, strategies, and key performance indicators in writing will not only inform influencers about your goals but is also a way to keep your own team accountable for delivering on the goals and tracking the results.
  • Influencers who are given a clear outline as to what the brand expects and what they need to produce will be better able to create the kind of content that aligns with your brand’s objectives.
  • A comprehensive brief that covers all brand guidelines and answers every question an influencer may have about the campaign should lead to a better working relationship with your influencers – and ultimately greater success for the effort.
  • Once you create your first influencer marketing brief, you can use it as a template for future campaigns. But just as with any marketing effort, you’ll want to optimize it based on how well it worked the first time and make adjustments to improve the document for its next use.

What Should Brands Include In An Influencer Marketing Brief?

If you’ve decided to create an influencer marketing brief but aren’t sure how to get started, here’s what you should include in the document.

Begin With An Overview Of Your Business And Products

Influencers should clearly understand what your company sells, its brand names and benefits, any special instructions for how to use the products, and specific information about past customer service issues and how they can be resolved.

Influencers will also appreciate knowing about your company’s values and mission, your brand style, and your brand voice so they can capture your brand identity through the content they create.

Include Examples From Past Efforts

Give your influencers a preview of what you expect by showing them examples of past campaigns that were successful. Even if you don’t have previous influencer marketing examples to show, you can include other types of content that performed well. Examples allow influencers to better understand the look and feel of your brand and how your products or services are represented in your content.

List Campaign Goals

Are you trying to increase brand awareness or engagement rates? Do you have conversion or sales goals you want to reach through social media influencing? Tell influencers what you hope to achieve by the time the campaign has ended.

Describe The Type of Campaign You Plan To Run

Influencers should know exactly what kind of campaign you plan to execute, so they can create the appropriate content. Types of influencer marketing include:


  • Social Media Mentions: Influencers are compensated for talking about your brand, mentioning your brand’s name, or sharing your content. How the influencer will be compensated should be addressed in a separate section of the brief.
  • Giveaways or Contests: Influencers will need to know the rules surrounding the giveaway or contest and be prepared to answer their followers’ questions.
  • Offering Discount Codes: Influencers promote product discount codes that are available to their followers.
  • Product Reviews: An influencer creates content that shows how to use a product or service and then follows up with a review.
  • Co-Created Content: A partnership arrangement with an influencer where both the brand and the influencer work together to create content for the influencer’s blog, another section of the influencer’s website, the brand’s website, or a third-party website.
  • Sponsored Content: The influencer receives compensation to feature a brand on his or her website, blog, or social media channel. Whether or not the content will be co-created should be clearly stated in the brief.
  • Social Media Takeovers: The influencer takes control of your brand’s social media accounts.
  • Affiliate Marketers: The influencer will get a cut of each sale they make. Their sales are tracked through a unique code that the influencer’s fans or followers must use when purchasing the product or service.
  • Brand Ambassadors: In lieu of payment, brand ambassadors receive free products, exclusive offers, or the opportunity to be featured on social media pages.

Campaign Messaging

Give your influencers explicit instructions about what kinds of captions to use and how they should talk about the campaign in their posts. It’s also crucial to tell them what they shouldn’t use in their messaging.

Captions aside, influencers must also include disclosures in their posts. In other words, influencers must state outright that the posts are sponsored in order for both your brand and the influencer to be in compliance with FTC endorsement guidelines: 

  • Disclosures should be easy to see (not hidden in faint or small fonts)
  • Disclosures must be made early in the post so that it appears above the fold (for non-video posts) 
  • Video posts should display the disclosure statement for the entire length of the video.

For a more thorough description of disclosure expectations, include in your brief a link to the pdf the FTC has created for social media influencers.[2]


The influencers you’ve selected may be active on more than one social media channel, and they might post on blogs. The brief should state which channels the influencer should use in the campaign.

Campaign Deliverables

Be specific about deliverables and when they need to be completed. It’s better to be more detailed in your instructions than to assume the influencer knows what you expect. 

For example, simply stating that you want your influencer to post on Instagram is too vague. Specify if it’s a Story, a Reel, an IGTV video, or simply a photo post. Also, include a complete list of hashtags the influencer is required to use in the post as well as a specific CTA.

If you want to review the post before it goes live, build that into the timeline. Influencers should know exactly what they need to do after reading your brief because a lack of clarity can affect the results of the campaign as well as damage your partnership.

Campaign Tracking

Spell out how you want influencers to track purchases and any type of measurable conversions (like newsletter sign-ups, downloads, free trials, etc.). You won’t be able to learn how the campaign performed unless tracking is accurate.

Payment and Expenses

Don’t let your influencers wonder how they’ll be compensated. Outline how and when they will be paid and your expectations about making revisions. Also include detailed information about what kind of expenses will be reimbursed and how to report them.

Do Brand Guidelines And Style Guides Stifle Influencers’ Creativity?

Creativity isn’t clobbered when it’s given structure, and influencers’ creative freedom won’t be restrained even given the boundaries of an influencer marketing brief. Once influencers are made aware of the campaign’s goals and messaging strategies, they’ll feel more secure that they’ll be able to produce what the brand is looking for. 

Brands want to work with unencumbered influencers who can follow directions and deliver on campaign goals, and when influencers help a brand succeed, the relationship will be strengthened for future campaigns. As stated earlier, everyone involved with the campaign will benefit when brand guidelines are made explicit in an influencer marketing brief.