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How to boost your brand after an influencer goes viral

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Graphic of an influencer posing, surrounded by likes and loves

An influencer goes viral with a post about your product. Suddenly your brand is front-and-centre in people's minds, and you want to take advantage. How better than to write a blog post about the endorsement, add their photo, and share it far and wide.

Before you hit publish, hold on for a moment. I know it's tempting to act fast, but splattering their image across your site and social feeds could cause more problems than you bargained for.

There's a little thing called copyright

The rough rule of thumb is whomever took the photo probably has copyright. This means they get to decide where it appears and how much they get paid for someone reusing it.

Being shared on a Twitter or Instagram feed doesn't make it fair game for you to download and use.

Your product appearing in it doesn't give you a right either.

Even the influencer may not own the right to the image.

Seriously, don't right click

You could just "Right Click / Save", post it to your blog and hope no one notices. After all, fans and detractors alike will download and reshare and the image will flood the social media feeds within a few hours.

Only they're not running a business. At most, they risk their social media account getting shut down. You also risk a trip to court and the PR fall out.

Making social media work for you

As a business, you've more at risk from "copyright theft", as well meaning as you might think it is. It's better to look for consent to use images and video, or work within the framework the influencer's social media network offers.

Embed the social media post in a blog post

If the post is on one of the popular social networks, there's a good chance you can embed it in a blog post.

In WordPress, copy and paste the link into a post and it should appear fully formed on the page. You can then wrap SEO friendly copy around it, and include a few "buy the look" style links.

Graphic of a mocked up social media post with the brand replying to their message

Reshare it on your social media

Don't just hit "retweet", reshare it with your own comments. "Delighted to see @Influencer using our xxxx" adds some context, puts your brand front-and-centre, and gives you a couple of options.

First, add some appropriate hashtags. You'll give your post an extra boost, and spread the message into more desirable markets.

Second, depending on the social network, you might be able to add a link to the product in your post. I'd be careful about this as some networks (LinkedIn and Twitter/X in particular) appear to down score links to external websites, reducing a post's reach. It might be better to add a reply with the link as part of a thread. You can also include your own product photos in this second post.

Comment on the influencer's post

A simple "thanks" in a reply might give you a lift and build a little kudos with their fans.

Be careful about adding sales heavy messages. Keep it simple and light, and let the stans come to you. Chances are the influencer has included "where to buy" links (with affiliate codes) somewhere in their post. If they have, either copy/paste their links, or don't include any. Without the affiliate codes they won't earn money from sales, you could get labelled as a spammer, and you risk an account suspension.

Screenshot of a WordPress page being created in Gutenberg and the resulting web page

Ask the influencer

Get in touch with the influencer and ask if you can have a copy of the image to use. Not every influencer will let you, or can, but it's always worth a shot.

It's possible you might get something better for your blog. I know of a couple of influencers who hold back images and videos for media and stans. You might also get permission to use the image on product pages.

Longer term, you've started a relationship that could become profitable. There was a lot of negativity around "influencer marketing" as it found its feet. Over the past two or three years it's settled down, with brands and influencers learning how to make the most of one another.

Bottom line: bask in the glory, but don't rush in

Having an influencer reference your product can bring an uplift in your profile and sales. Don't dive in and start downloading their media for your site. Always remember:

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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