Influencer marketing is undeniably one of the most popular industry buzzwords today, and these creative partnerships with social media personalities/creators continue to play a significant role in youth targeted content marketing. However, many brands have a misconception that influencer marketing is a low-cost, quick fix solution that will impact their social media overnight–this couldn’t be further from the truth. Influencer partnerships are but one, often powerful component of a well-planned social media strategy.

In order to help brands authentically implement youth-relevant influencer marketing, our team has provided this at-a-glance list of a few do’s and don’ts you can put into action to successfully engage youth audiences.


HP worked with Rudy Mancuso, an Instagram influencer: subtle product placement approach.

Influencer Marketing Do’s

    • Do pick the right social channels: Not knowing the channels your audience is most active on represents one of the major challenges for brands targeting youth. Snapchat and Instagram remain the dominant platforms, but other platforms such as YouNow, Kik, and should also be considered as part of your influencer marketing strategy to reach youth audience segments that may impact your brand.
    • Do find relevant influencer personalities: The ideal influencer should embrace your brand authentically, have a clear connection with your target audience, and have a personality that is well-aligned with your brand DNA.
    • Do develop a strategic mix of influencer talent: Determine the right types and combinations of influencers to create and share stories about your brand. Common youth-relevant talent types include: makers, beauty reviewers, artists, athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, game reviewers, and entertaining personalities of all kinds.
  • Do create meaningful content: Partner with influencers to create something that will positively impact targeted audience segments and be memorable. Youth audiences respond well to short and unpolished content that tells your branded stories in the most authentic, fun and inspiring ways imaginable.

Influencer Marketing Don’ts

    • Don’t get caught up in the social media popularity contest: It’s common for brands to get excited and seek partnerships with the most popular social media personalities based on the power of their social reach alone. Yet even a popular TV actress, NBA player, or YouTuber doesn’t exempt a brand from the need to develop authentic connections with fans that motivate action. We’ve oftentimes experienced influencers with smaller, more targeted followings to deliver the highest performance.
    • Don’t rely on data and platforms without strategic selection criteria: Platforms such as Klout, Traackr, and Little Bird keep brands in tune with influencers, all of which are excellent tools, but can be too heavily relied on. The purpose of these platforms is to compile a list of influencers so brands can easily identify who is the most popular, but that is not the strategic criteria that will make your influencer strategy successful.
    • Don’t waste resources on one-off influencer campaigns: One-time posts are not an effective way to leverage influencers and have proven not to gain much traction. A key to successful influencer marketing is planning for multi-post execution with worthy content that is released on a frequent basis, providing opportunities for a deeper level of engagement.
    • Don’t expect overnight results: The most common misperception, is that the influencer marketing will increase your social media following and engagement over the short period of time. To avoid frustrations, set realistic expectations and performance metrics upfront. In our experience, even influencer program test marketing is recommended to be executed over a 60-90-day minimum timeframe in order to optimize implementation.

The success of influencer marketing targeting tweens, teens and young adults lies in building a symbiotic relationship between the brand and the influencer. First embrace each other’s common interests, then set out to create content to achieve goals. Remember, influencer marketing is NOT a 100m sprint, it’s a marathon.

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