Influencer marketing is an everyday topic of discussion in marketing departments and agencies across the world. The question has evolved from “Why Social Media Influencers” to how to best utilize them. But as industry professionals rush to capitalize on this new strategy, they are struggling to effectively implement successful campaigns. Navigating the ever-changing landscape of our digital social world presents undeniable new opportunities – but without proper thought and planning, all brands are really doing is wasting time, money, and resources.
So, what goes into a successful influencer marketing campaign, you may ask? Put simply – the same thing that goes into any successful marketing effort. Proper planning, execution, and analysis. Now that I have pointed out the vague and seemingly obvious – let’s break it down.
Three important questions you should ask yourself before moving forward with scouring the internets or reaching out to the Kardashians are:
- What are the objectives of this campaign?
- How are we defining success of these objectives? (AKA your KPIs – Key Performance Indicators)
- What would our perfect influencer look like?
By answering these questions, you give yourself a foundation for a goal-driven campaign. Without defining and understanding your objectives, any money or free products given to an influencer is the equivalent of throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks (unfortunate truth: sometimes, nothing sticks…). Whether it be awareness, site visits, product purchases, follower growth or even getting people to come to an event just because their favorite beauty guru is there, start with the end in mind. Once that is established, figure out how much of that thing needs to be accomplished for you and your business to be happy. A million impressions, 200 comments on a post, 27 site clicks, 300 product purchases, 80 event ticket purchases are all highly more acceptable answers than “we want people to talk about our new product” And finally, consider what your perfect partner looks like in order to achieve that goal. An indie music artist with 20,000 followers, mainly between the ages of 18-32 won’t be the best fit for selling luxury watches or denture cream, for example, but could be a perfect ambassador for driving traffic to the launch of a new music blog.
Now that you’re know what you’re trying to do – and have decided that you would like to do it by partnering with an influencer – the next step is figuring out who that person or profile is!
The factors you should be looking for:
- Follower count
- Engagement rate
- Audience (i.e. demographic breakdown)
- Brand (including content type and specialty, visual aesthetic, tone, etc)
…. and most importantly:
- How they align to your brand and your campaign objective
While follower count indicates the potential reach of your message, the other factors ultimately will determine the difference between accomplishing your goals or whether you would be better off shouting in the wind in a crowded subway station.
Engagement shows if the influencer’s followers actually connect with what their content. If they don’t care enough to like, comment, or share their posts, then they would be unlikely to listen to a recommendation about your brand. Similarly, you’ll want to ensure that their audience aligns with your target market.
The value that influencers bring, above other marketing options, is that they have developed clout. People are more likely to trust their recommendation because of the relationship they have built with their brand. Users see them as a peer or expert, and that therefore gives validity to something they endorse.
To make sure that this social capital translates to engagement with branded content on their channel, marketers have to ensure their message is presented in a way that is consistent and authentic to the influencers’ regular posts.
Once you pick your partner, work together to find out the best way to present your message. Make sure you are on the same page about what your brand is providing, and what they are expected to produce and post – and in what time frame. The more you plan and solidify ahead of time, the better you can curtail confusion and the smoother the partnership will go – but if possible, leave room for flexibility. As the adage goes, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong”; but as my addendum to this adage goes “but if you plan for things to go wrong and how to handle it, when things go wrong, they’ll go right!” (Not as elegant a saying, but you get the point.)
Though it might sound obvious – it is also essential that the type of content agreed upon is positioned to work toward accomplishing your campaign goals. For example, Instagram Story posts and snapchats allow for “swipe up to view site”, while YouTube videos allow for commenting, link in the description and longer form explanations. Choose what will work best for getting across your message effectively, while also giving viewers the easiest path to act on a call to action.
Monitor the posts the influencer is responsible for, and then use your brand channels to support them as much as possible. A simple comment from your brand account on their post, or answering questions that their followers ask about what you are promoting will go a long way. You will showcase the partnership and allow your brand to join the conversation- effectively building on the relationship the influencer has created with their fans.
Tracking, Analyzing and Reporting:
You’ve set your goals, picked your partner, and ran your campaign – you’re done, time to rest, right? Nope! Time to get the goods (aka the performance metrics).
Remember how we were talking about defining KPIs earlier? These goals don’t mean anything if you can’t track them.
– – Whoever invented trackable links should have a statue erected in their honor. – –
Set up any way to be able to see the results of your efforts ahead of time, so you have access to the information when you need it. Include planning for getting the data from your partner. Because the posts are on the influencer’s channel, they will have the access to the native post performance – have a plan and agreement on how and when you would like them to capture and deliver that information.
After the campaign is over – do a postmortem. Analyze the performance of your KPIs and evaluate all the effort that went into your campaign. Return on investment are at the heart of any marketing campaign. A proper analysis is how you figure out how successful you were!
(Now, you’re done!)
Other tips, tricks, and things:
- Depending on the channel where the influencer has built their social capital – you can ask them to confirm their demographic breakdown before entering in an agreement. (i.e. sharing a screenshot of their Instagram-provided audience breakdown)
- Make sure that what you are asking from your influencer partner is a plan they are comfortable with, and achievable.
- Weigh your options for the promotion of your campaign – while influencer marketing has many advantages and is a rising trend, other traditional options might yield better results. First, define what you are trying to achieve, and go from there!
- Understand that by aligning with an influencer, not only are they promoting your brand, but you are endorsing them as a person or profile with similar views and values to those your brand represents.
If you have any questions – or want professional help in setting up a successful influencer campaign – reach out to us! Pandemic labs has over 1,500 influencers in our personal network and the expertise to help you accomplish your goals!