GG’s Sophie DeMuth provides guidance on creating and executing a successful influencer marketing campaign.
Influencer marketing: everyone’s doing it … right?
It’s nearly impossible to avoid sponsored posts on social media now that influencer marketing has become a staple tool for brands and creators. While the broader social implications of influencer marketing are up for debate, it is still a great tactic for brands to build their reputations and attract real customers, even in a saturated landscape.
However, successful influencer marketing campaigns require more than simply paying an influencer and watching your sales jump. Fortunately, strategic planning and a clear vision can position a partnership to generate the best results possible. Below are a few recommendations for before, during, and after an influencer engagement to create an effective campaign.
The two most important factors you need before planning an influencer campaign are a specific goal and a budget. Do you want your audience to purchase a specific product? Sign up for a mailing list? Attend an event? The more specific you can be with the goal, the more direction and control you will have when collaborating with influencers.
Having a clear budget in mind for a campaign is also vital to the efficiency of the planning process. This allows you to target influencers within your price range and make offers that are in line with their expectations. Influencers take great pride in their work and provide immense value to their brand partners, and as a result, they require appropriate compensation. Although there is no hard and fast rule about how influencers price their offerings, a general trend is that more engagement = higher rates. Remember that influencers are paid professionals and offering free products or increased exposure as “payment” is wholly insufficient.
Most influencers create content that fits a specific niche, such as fashion, lifestyle, finance, beauty, education, etc. The list of niches is almost endless. Picking an influencer that operates within a niche that best aligns with your product or business will help you directly reach an audience that might be interested in your brand. Of the influencers that target your audience, the most valuable ones are those who generate lots of engagement on their posts and who have successfully worked with similar brands in the past. In fact, micro influencer accounts (with under 1,000 followers) have up to a 60% increased engagement rate compared to macro influencers (with 100,000+ followers).
Kicking off a partnership with an influencer starts with sending them a brief pitch-style email with a short overview of your brand and the specific goal you hope to accomplish with the campaign. Letting the influencer know that you have a budget and a timeline will give your offer credibility. If they are interested, the next step is a quick phone call to hammer out the details like creative direction, scheduling, and payment timeline.
Every influencer’s partnership process looks slightly different. Some have a manager, others work independently. Some work exclusively on one platform, others can cross-promote. Some want the partnership outlined in a contract, others will take you at your word. Entering the process with a spirit of flexibility can help manage expectations throughout each step.
Quantifying the results of an influencer partnership is an essential step that will help inform how much value influencer marketing provides for your brand and whether it is a strategy you should continue.
One way to track the results of a campaign is to create a trackable link that the influencer can insert in their story posts or social media bio. For example, if you hope to sell a specific product, providing the influencer with a personalized link to the product that can track clicks and purchases will give you explicit insight into how many sales were generated directly from the partnership.
You can also ask for the influencer’s engagement data about a week after the post(s) goes live. They can send you screenshots of how many likes, comments, sends, and saves a post generated, along with the demographic information of who saw the post after the content has been live for several days.
A targeted and specific strategy is essential to creating a successful influencer marketing campaign. However, balancing your non-negotiable goals with a spirit of collaboration with the influencer will help ensure each party feels comfortable and confident throughout the entire process. No two campaigns will look the same, and the beauty of influencer marketing is the ability to create something truly unique and effective for your brand.