5 Influencer Marketing Lessons Learned from the Fyre Fiasco

Plan Every Aspect of Your Campaign Carefully

If the Fyre Festival organizers learned anything from their troubles, it is that organization is everything. You can’t engage influencers to promote your business, and then let them run amok with their promotional efforts. You need to have strict guidelines in place as to what is and is not allowed when promoting your influencer marketing campaign. Influencers need to know what is expected of them and the results you are hoping to achieve. Don’t leave any room for doubt when planning your influencer outreach campaigns. With strict guidelines in place, you can feel confident using influencer marketing to grow your business.

Be Aware of and Enforce Disclosure Regulations

Enforcing disclosure regulations is crucial when using influencer marketing for brand building. Influencers who fail to disclose their affiliation with your company can get your business in serious trouble with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Everything from a product placement ad to a shout-out on social media falls under the FTC guidelines regarding endorsements. You only have to search for terms like “Fyre Festival” + “I’m attending” on social media to see that many influencers failed to disclose their affiliation with the Fyre Festival organizers. With a $100 million class action lawsuit now filed against festival organizers, you can be sure the subject of failure to disclose affiliations will come up at trial. If you’re planning to use influencer marketing to grow your company, you must monitor all brand mentions to ensure that your influencers are disclosing their affiliation to your business.

Use Caution When Selecting Influencers

The Fyre Festival organizers used a wide variety of influencers to promote their event. Everyone from models to musicians were used to promote the upcoming festival. Using too many influencers can make monitoring consumer outreach difficult. Without tracking influencer outreach across every social media network and messaging service, business owners can be left wondering if their influencers are living up to their expectations. Failure to monitor outreach campaigns in real-time can comprise your brand’s integrity without you even knowing it. Business owners need to investigate each influencer to see if they have any troublesome advertising fiascos in their past and whether their involvement might do more harm than good. Hiring an influencer who accepts every marketing campaign offered to them can do serious harm to your business. Work with influencers who have integrity and who investigate your business in the same way you are investigating them.

Have a Disaster Recovery Plan in Place

Influencer marketing campaigns do not always go according to plan. Anything from a social media hashtag campaign to a video commercial can go wrong. Developing a disaster recovery plan before you launch your influencer marketing campaign is critical. Know in advance who is responsible for monitoring online mentions of your brand. Determine who will monitor all social media platforms, who will track influencer analytics, and what the chain of command will be for pulling the plug if a campaign goes wrong. You may never need to stop an influencer marketing campaign or recover from disastrous results, but you need to have a plan in place just in case things go wrong.

Understand That Influencer Marketing Isn’t Right for Every Business

If there is one lesson to be learned from the Fyre Festival fiasco, it is that influencer marketing needs to be approached with extreme caution. Just because influencer outreach works for some brands, that doesn’t mean it is right for your company. If you don’t have the resources available to manage each aspect of an outreach campaign carefully, you’re better off not starting with influencer marketing. While influencers can send a wave of potential customers your way, they can also destroy your company’s reputation if not managed correctly.

It is imperative you learn these five lessons if you hope to use influencer marketing to build your business. Failing to heed these warnings could mean that, like the Fyre Festival organizers, your reputation is irreparably harmed. Will you ensure your team understands the challenges of influencer marketing so your business doesn’t get burned?


Originally published 05/25/17.