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A Complete Guide To Influencer Whitelisting In 2023

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Influencer marketing has seen explosive growth in recent years. Studies show that 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations for purchasing decisions. Brands have capitalized on this by collaborating with influencers in creative ways to reach targeted audiences.

One of the most innovative methods is influencer whitelisting – allowing brands to access influencers‘ accounts and promote products directly to their followers. This guide covers everything brands need to know about leveraging whitelisting in 2023.

What is Influencer Whitelisting?

Influencer whitelisting refers to a list of approved brands that influencers permit to access their accounts and run paid promotions through dark posts. Rather than the influencer personally endorsing the product in feed posts, the brand creates sponsored content directly targeting the influencer‘s followers.

For example, here is a traditional sponsored post from Kendall Jenner:

Kendall Jenner sponsored post

A whitelist dark post would allow the brand to promote directly to Kendall‘s followers without her visibly endorsing the content:

Example whitelist dark post

This type of post only appears in followers‘ feeds and is not public on the influencer‘s profile.

What are Dark Posts?

Dark posts are a form of targeted advertising created specifically to promote brands to select audiences. They do not appear publicly on an influencer‘s profile. Brands use dark posts across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn to drive performance from whitelisting campaigns.

Pros and Cons for Brands

Whitelisting unlocks new opportunities for brands while requiring some drawbacks and extra effort.

Pros

  • Targeted reach – Promote only to an influencer‘s engaged following rather than paying for broad-reach placements.
  • Trust and credibility – Influencers foster trust and engagement with their followers, who perceive whitelist promotions as recommendations.
  • Optimized spend – Pay only when users engage rather than for general impressions.
  • Audience building – Expand customer profiles by exposing products to an influencer‘s following.
  • Testing capabilities – Use an influencer‘s following as a focus group to test content variations.

Cons

  • Narrow reach – Cost-efficient targeting limits potential audience size. Must test multiple influencers rather than single broad placement.
  • Influencer relationships – Ongoing communication is required to align on audience targeting and content strategies.
  • Account access – Influencers must approve creation rather than developing organic recommendations.

Pros and Cons for Influencers

Influencers also face unique trade-offs when participating in whitelisting campaigns.

Pros

  • Revenue driving – Influencers charge higher rates compared to organic recommendations.
  • Audience preservations – Dark posts avoid over-commercializing an influencer‘s feed.
  • Follower trust – Continue making organic recommendations without participating publicly in promotions.
  • New followers – Dark post targeting exposes products to incremental audiences.

Cons

  • Brand relationships – Continuous coordination is required on audience targeting and performance.
  • Feed clutter – Despite dark post targeting, brands may still overexpose promotions.
  • Account control – Reduced oversight since brands directly access accounts rather than just submitting content.

Finding Influencers for Whitelisting

Identifying influencers interested in whitelisting takes research:

  • Hashtag monitoring – Search recent #sponsored hashtags and vet influencers open to commercial partnerships.
  • Influencer platforms – Use self-serve marketplaces like Ainfluencer to connect with open influencers.
    Ainflucener
  • CRM Search – Upload contact lists to identify influencers in your network, along with account details and engagement analytics.

When sourcing influencers, prioritize audience quality and campaign fit over vanity metrics like followers. Review historical campaign performance and community engagement levels before collaborating.

Whitelisting Setup

Here are the steps both brands and influencers take to technically integrate whitelisting.

Instagram & Facebook

To whitelist Facebook and Instagram, both parties need:

  • Facebook Business Manager Account
  • Connected Facebook and Instagram assets

Influencer whitelisting steps:

  1. Navigate to Business Settings → Partners → Add Partner
  2. Search for brand Business Manager ID → Select desired assets (IG account, FB page)
  3. Under Assets, check "Create Ads" permission for all assets

Brand dark post creation steps:

  1. Compile targeted follower lists from influencer insights
  2. Build dark post creatives and copy
  3. Select "influencer‘s asset" under the Power Editor asset selector
  4. Launch dark post

TikTok

Influencer whitelisting TikTok only requires a simple authorization code:

Influencer steps:

  1. Turn on Ad Settings under Profile → Creator Tools
  2. Select video asset → Click "Ad Settings"
  3. Click "Generate Code" and set authorization validity timeframe
  4. Copy and provide code to the brand

Brand steps

  1. Input authorization code in TikTok ads account
  2. Build targeted audience list from influencer‘s audience insights
  3. Develop video creative
  4. Launch dark post

Maximizing Whitelisting Impact

When executing influencer whitelisting campaigns, brands should:

  • Conduct goal-driven research on audience interests to choose influencers
  • Develop tailored audience segments based on fans’ demographics and interests
  • Map out an initial content calendar with audience testing timelines
  • Leverage influencers’ creative strengths and interests in content production
  • Make optimization decisions based on performance data rather than vanity metrics

Conclusion

Influencer whitelisting unlocks new partnership opportunities between brands and creators. While additional coordination work is required, the targeted reach and trust gains deliver outstanding ROI compared to traditional advertising. As brands plan their 2023 influencer marketing strategies, whitelisting partnerships should play a key role.

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