How to Make Sure your Influencer Marketing Program is GDPR Friendly

It’s been about a month since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in the EU, and we’re already seeing a ripple effect on brands here in the US. Companies like Google and Facebook are already dealing with lawsuits pertaining to GDPR, and facing some heat over compliance issues. We’ve been talking a lot lately about how this law is affecting the digital marketing world (we’re digital marketers, after all!) because it’s turning some traditional digital strategies completely on their heads.

Are you struggling to make sense of your marketing programs post-GDPR? Check out our handy survival guide for digital marketers for some tips and tricks!

The one taking the biggest hit is email marketing. The rules under GDPR require that affirmative subscriber consent be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous,” while also raising the standards that regulate how that information is stored. These changes are leading to massive declines in subscriptions, leaving many email-reliant brands without a clear communication channel to their consumers.

According to CNBC, some email marketers stand to lose 80% of their marketing lists, or face huge fines from the EU if they keep trying to email the people on these lists without permission. Spoiler alert: that means email marketing is effectively dead. So how can digital marketers shift their strategies away from email and still connect directly to their consumers?

Spoiler alert: thanks to #GDPR, email marketing is effectively dead. So how can digital marketers shift their strategies away from email and still connect directly to their consumers? Click To Tweet

That’s where influencer marketing comes in.

If you can move away from collecting data through email lists, and instead focus on activating influencers, your brand will be able to find its audience without infringing on GDPR. Influencers speak to their audience without cookies or data points, and they find ways to connect on many devices without infringing on privacy rights. As more companies look to avoid bad regulations at all costs, influencer marketing could be the perfect solution.

Our friend and colleague Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP, put it best:

 

 

“In a post-GDPR world, influencers will become your marketing strategy. They’ll be your trusted advisors, sharing authentic experiences about your brand to their audiences, and you won’t have to worry about personal identifiable information.”

 

 

In a post-GDPR world, influencers will become your marketing strategy. They’ll be your trusted advisors, sharing authentic experiences about your brand to their audiences, and you won’t have to worry about personal identifiable… Click To Tweet

Sounds like a pretty great way to side-step GDPR regulations while also building trust for your brand, right? It is! But, before you can put all of your marketing eggs in the influencer basket, you first have to make sure your influencer program is actually GDPR-friendly so it doesn’t have the same fate as your email marketing program (RIP). Here are a few simple ways to make sure your influencer marketing program is safeguarded against GDPR:

Use social media to make the first connection

The true power social media is that you can find and engage with like-minded individuals from all over the world using topic-related hashtags that

are not specific sensitive data. If you’re a marketer, that means the right influencer can give you immediate access to a group of people that could be very interested in what you’re promoting. This can speed up an individual’s move through your sales funnel and hopefully convert them into a prospect. Important to note: under GDPR, before you can engage further with a prospect (or officially put someone into your sales funnel), you still need documented permission from them, such as having them click an “opt-in” or “subscribe” button to receive further communication from you.

You may be asking, if someone follows me or my company, isn’t that a type of permission?

The answer is yes, but it’s not the same as overt consent to drop that person down into your sales and marketing funnel. Followers are people who have agreed to be shown the content you create for that specific social media platform, but that is the extent of the permission. It is not permission for you to gather more information from them, or to contact them via email or instant message, so make sure you are making that initial connection with your influencers via social media first.

Use your employees and customers as influencers

Yes, your employees and customers can (and should!) become brand ambassadors and influencers for your business. Who better to be champions for your brand than those who already work with you and understand the unique nature of your business and its goals?

The human connection with your employees, customers, and clients has already been established without the need to ask for personal data – so why not tap into it to help spread the word and boost your brand awareness and authority? It’s a surefire way to round out an authentic and GDPR-compliant influencer program.

Treat all influencers with R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Ursula also added that to make sure your influencer marketing program complies with GDPR, “you need to treat your influencers with respect, and only collect the data you really need from them.” That means when you reach out to influencers to connect and talk about working together, ASK them what personal information they’re comfortable giving you first before you go snooping around the Internet for dirt on them. (In other words, don’t be a creep.)

Do you have any tips of your own to make sure your influencer programs comply with GDPR? Connect with us on social and let us know – we’ll be happy to share!