Influencer marketing campaigns are your brand’s way of getting new customers, increasing your brand awareness, and driving revenue. However, if you’re only posting with influencers organically, then you’re missing out. Whitelisting influencers can open up tons of possibilities for your paid social strategy, further driving engagement and conversions for your brand.
There’s also new data to show that adding whitelisted influencer ads to your paid social strategy can produce better results than traditional ads alone.
You may think that whitelisting is too intimidating or too complex to add to your strategy, but they are much more similar to your existing ad strategy than you’d think. Unlocking whitelisting for your brand could be the move you need to get the most out of your paid social ads.
What is Whitelisting?
Influencer whitelisting allows your brand to advertise with paid social ads that use the influencer’s Facebook Page or Instagram account. The influencer grants a brand partner advertising permissions so that brand partners can use the influencer’s handle for their ads.
When creating whitelisted influencer ads, brands can leverage the best influencer content, or create ads that appear from the influencer’s account.
Creating ads with whitelisted influencers allows another way to reach audiences that feels genuine and unique. For audiences that already know of the influencer, it adds a level of trust and authenticity to your advertising.
Whitelisting also allows brands to create ads that are slightly different than the original posts, so that they can optimize certain aspects for even better marketing performance. Ads allow brands to add a call-to-action, adjust the copy to convert better, and even edit the order of images in carousels to highlight the product better.
An added bonus of whitelisting is that you’ll be able to target the influencer’s audience with your brand, unlocking new potential for your prospecting ads. You can also create lookalike audiences with your influencer’s audience to reach even more people with your brand’s message.
Whitelisting was first introduced on Twitter in 2014, but has since become an increasingly popular option on Facebook and Instagram for brands looking to get the most out of their influencer marketing campaigns.
Why should I whitelist my influencer content?
Without whitelisting your influencers, your brand is relying entirely on organic reach to achieve their results. Through whitelisting, brands are able to promote the best influencer content so that it can go even farther.
With whitelisting, brands can:
- Edit the influencer content to maximize conversions
- Adjust the targeted audience so that an influencer’s content is seen by the right users
- A/B test influencer content with different CTA buttons and to different audiences to see what works best
- Promote influencer content so that it reaches more people and has a longer lifespan. This is especially true of Instagram Stories, which expire after 24 hours unless they are promoted.
- Improve their influencer ROI through paid social, instead of relying solely on organic reach.
What is Dark Posting?
When an influencer has granted permission to advertise with their accounts, you can choose to boost existing content or dark post. Don’t worry, a dark post is just an ad that doesn’t appear in the influencer’s feed and doesn’t have to be organically posted first. Instead of boosting existing content, brands can create content that is exclusively used in their ads.
Dark posting should only be used with the influencer’s express permission and brands should take every opportunity to communicate what they are advertising to the influencer.
Dark posting can help you convert audiences with branded ads that appear from the influencer’s handle. You can tailor your content to each targeted audience, instead of only working with what’s been previously posted.
How to Whitelist on Facebook and Instagram
On Facebook, whitelisting influencers can help you unlock all the benefits for your paid social strategy. The Facebook whitelisting process can be confusing, but there are three methods for whitelisting an influencer.
1- Branded Content Tool
If you only have one piece of content that you’d like to promote, then the easiest solution is to use the Branded Content Tool on both Facebook and Instagram. When an influencer posts the content, they’ll use the Branded Content Tool to tag you as a business partner. This will add a small tag to the post saying that your brand sponsored the content.
An influencer can only reach about 1-10% of their audience organically, depending on their engagement rate, but you can help them reach the rest of their audience with your branded content.
If you accept the request from the influencer to be a business partner, then you’ll be able to put ad spend behind their content and boost it to the rest of their audience. With this boost, an influencer’s content can now reach 80-90% of their audience. This helps your content go further and reach more of their followers.
2- Whitelist through Facebook
In order to advertise with the influencer’s handle, you’ll need to have access through Facebook Business Manager. If the influencer has any experience with Facebook Ads Manager, they may be able to grant advertising access for your brand.
An influencer will first need to have a Business Manager that is linked to their Facebook Page and their Instagram handle (Instagram profile will need to be a business/creator account).
In your Business Manager, you can request to add them as a Business Partner. They’ll need to provide you with the Business Manager ID, or the IDs of each component (Facebook page and Instagram account). You can send a request to access these through Business Manager. If they accept, then you’ll be able to use their accounts for your whitelisted influencer ads.
Benefits of Whitelisting for Brands and Influencers
Benefits of Whitelisting for Brands
- Promote influencer content to extend its reach to more people.
- Easily create ads that appeal to influencer’s audiences.
- Unlock new audiences for your ad targeting. With a whitelisted influencer, you can target their audience or create lookalike audiences.
- Infuse your ad sets with new creative options from influencers.
- Optimize influencer content by editing the CTA, images, and copy to improve conversions.
Benefits of Whitelisting for Influencers
- Get better reach and engagement on the posts that the brand promotes.
- Grow your fan base when your content is shared with the brand’s audience.
- Gain name recognition as a social media influencer. You may be able to land other brand partnerships when they see how well your partner content is performing.
- Develop a lasting relationship with your brand partner, instead of participating in a single influencer campaign.
- This brand is investing in you and your content to share it with the world.
Best Practices for Paid Ads with Whitelisted Influencers
Don’t stray too far from your brand ads
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get started with whitelisted influencer ads. The best influencer ads may actually use what is already working for your brand ads.
The audiences of whitelisted influencers overlap with your target customer, so starting with what already succeeds can help you make influencer ads that perform well.
From there, you can start testing different variables to optimize your ad strategy even more. Remember, the target audience of these ads match the demographics of your brand’s customers, so running ads with whitelisted influencers don’t have to start from scratch. Use the strategies that have succeeded in the past to help you get started.
A/B Test to find the best results
While you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel with your ads, influencer ads should use A/B testing to find out what works best for these audiences.
A/B testing should include:
- Influencer content – Choose your best performing influencer content and promote each to find out if certain influencers
- Creative type – should you use single images, carousels, slideshows, or videos?
- Copy – what captions do your audiences enjoy most? Try a combinations of long captions, short captions, and headlines until you find what works best.
- CTAs – Does a Learn More or a Shop Now button perform better for your audience? Try each button type in your ads to find what your audience likes.
- Influencer handles vs. Brand handles – Whitelisted influencer ads may perform better than ads posted using your brand’s handles. Find out which certain content types perform better as influencer ads and which should still be posted from your brand.
Test New Audiences
With whitelisted influencers, you’ve unlocked brand new audiences that may have never heard of your brand before. Perfect for prospecting ads!
You’ll want to test all the audiences at your disposal strategically to find what works best for your brand.
When working with a new whitelisted influencer, it’s a good practice to add your influencer whitelisted ads to your existing brand ad audiences. You can run these ads against your existing ads to see which brand audiences gravitate to the influencer’s content. You can target your retention audiences, existing customers, and your page’s followers with the influencer’s content to expose your brand’s message to your existing audience in a way that feels fresh.
Next, you’ll want to explore new audiences. You can target the influencer’s audience, with additional targeting to refine your ad sets and make them highly segmented. With an influencer’s audience, you can start with top of the marketing funnel ads that help to drive traffic to your website so that the influencer’s audience can learn more.
From there, you can expand your prospecting by creating a lookalike audience, using the influencer’s followers as the source. If your first prospecting ads to the influencer’s audience performed well, then this lookalike can help other like-minded users to discover your brand. Note: You should only create a lookalike audience when the audience source is greater than 1,000 people. This will help you achieve the best results for your lookalike audiences. Micro influencers may not have a large enough audience to create lookalikes.
Optimize the Influencer’s content
Influencer content is optimized to be shared organically. When you turn it into whitelisted influencer ads, you’ll want to make some adjustments to optimize it for your paid ads.
- You can rearrange and add to carousel images. Show the best image first, add product images to carousels, and edit any images to provide the best experience for users exploring your ads.
- Remove anything clickable from the post description. You don’t want anything distracting from the CTA of your ad. This includes hashtags, tags, and links.
- Add subtitles to Instagram stories. Many Instagram users don’t use sound when watching stories, so subtitles allow you to put your brand message front and center.
When you put together a whitelisted influencer ad, you can be confident that Facebook has the proper disclosures in place to make it compliant with FTC guidelines. Whitelisted influencer ads list “sponsored” or “paid partnership” so that users know when they are looking at an ad.
Why is Whitelisting Important?
Whitelisting allows the brand to optimize their influencer content to get the best results. While organic engagement can build brand awareness, putting paid social to work with your influencer content can help you better convert interested audience members into paying customers.
Brands that don’t adapt to the latest influencer technologies won’t be able to reap the benefits of this new strategy.