How To Launch A Powerful Influencer Marketing Strategy
Influencer Marketing is a powerful tool that has changed the way many brands approach their customer engagement, especially with their digital marketing and advertising. How you connect with your audience, and who you are seen connecting with can have a huge impact on how your customers view you.
84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all sources of advertising. (Nelsen)
But there is a big difference between running an Influencer Campaign and running a Successful Influencer Campaign. There are many areas that need to be considered, and steps that must be undertaken to ensure that you achieve the results that you want, and that your brand is protected.
9 Important Steps for A Successful Campaign
1. Develop A Strategy – Know What You Want
Before you do anything else, you need to know what the end goal of your campaign is, and the steps you need to take to get you there. A campaign can have more than one goal – such as to drive awareness and increase sales, but it’s not recommended to have too many goals per campaign, the more you try to do in one go – the more you will dilute your message and lose the interest of the customer.
It is better to set one or two goals to achieve, and focus your energies on them – you can run other campaigns to meet other needs, rather than try to fit it all in one.
The strategic approach can be roughly divided into three areas:
- Awareness – Encouraging people to become aware of your brand and products
- Pull – Increasing popularity, authority and reputation
- Conversion – Driving sales or a Call to Action (such as signing up for newsletters or visiting the website)
Once you’ve set the goals you are aiming for, you’ll be able to identify which of these strategic areas is best suited to your campaign.
2. Identify The Important Influencers In Your Market
There are many Influencers, Micro-Influencers and Self-Proclaimed Influencers, and sorting through them to find the right one can be difficult. External sources such as Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Ranked lists and Media Monitoring, will help you see who is trending, who isn’t as important as they once were, who is up and coming and who might be a good fit for your brand. Then, you need to create a shortlist of Influencers you’d like to work with – not every Influencer will want to, or be able to work with you (depending on their own commitments and values).
3. Take Time to Research Your Choices Carefully
Choosing the right Influencer for your company isn’t just about finding someone that has a lot of followers, views or likes – if these have been purchased, then they are meaningless and will add no value to your brand.
It is important that you carefully research your intended Influencer to discover if they are genuine, valuable to your business, and worth the investment of time, money, products etc. to build a relationship with. You will need to carefully analyse their social networks.
4.Connecting With Your Chosen Influencer – The Best Approach
When setting up your initial meeting, contact the Influencer on the platform they are active on, this shows them that you are aware of who they are, what they do, and that you have a genuine interest in working with them. You must remember when conducting this stage of your social media marketing, that you must be polite and honest – a negative response to your connection request may not just result in the Influencer refusing to work with you, but could also see damage to your reputation if they went on to share their opinion of you with followers.
Keep your approach simple – briefly explain your campaign and the values that drive it, outline the objectives and state the intended time frame for this to take place.
Once the Influencer knows more about the campaign they will be able to tell you if they are interested or not, and if they are – then you can provide more detailed information. If you’re asking for the Influencer to look at sensitive or unreleased materials that may affect your brand, asking them to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) will offer you additional protection.
Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions, Influencers by the nature of their job are often aware of new trends or waning ones before anyone else – their insight is valuable, and if they offer it or are prepared to share it – you should take the time to listen.
5. Deciding on The Right Terms For You and Your Influencer
For the relationship between you and your Influencer to work, both parties need to know exactly what is being worked towards.
You need to establish what your end goal is, how you are determining success, what metrics you will be putting in place to monitor the campaign, and how this needs to be achieved.
Misunderstandings can cost you and the Influencer time, money and effort. It’s important that you discuss all of the details of the campaign. You and your Influencer need to establish a framework for the campaign, and a chain of communication for any questions, comments or concerns that may arise.
6. It Is Absolutely Vital to Create The Right Contract
When creating an Influencer Campaign, it’s important that both you and your influencer know exactly what is expected, how it should be delivered, and when they are expected to deliver it by.
By having a written contract, you can address point by point, each stage of the campaign. This provides clarity and a point of reference, as well as additional security, should the campaign not go as expected.
The content of your contract will largely depend on what your campaign is setting out to achieve, but it should include:
- Timeframes and Deadlines
- Agreed Upon Check-In Times
- Types of Content to Be Produced
- Quantity of Content Items
- Required Hashtags, Tags and Links
- Guidelines or Expectations for the Appearance of the Content
- Tone of Content
- Exclusion of Competitors when posting
- Usage Rights of Content
- Copyright Ownership
- Non-Disclosure Agreement
- Any Company Restrictions (i.e The content from the Influencer must not include or allude to gambling)
- For Paid or Sponsored Influencers: A Disclosure Agreement
- For Paid Influencers (where applicable): Relevant Licenses required by law
7. Getting Your Campaign Underway – What You Need to Do
Once the campaign is running, the Influencer will be responsible for providing the content on time and in the agreed-upon voice, however, you should not take a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to the campaign.
It is important to keep in mind that your Influencer is a person, and your support is important.
When asked What Do Influencers Value When Working With Brands? 31% responded ‘Support with creating content’, with a further 28% answering ‘exclusive information’. (Augure)
The support you can offer your Influencer not only informs and aids them in promoting your brand, but it builds up your relationship with them – the more they have to love about you and your brand, the more they’ll share that with their audience.
Regular check-ins should be agreed upon in advance, as well as the ability to contact a Project or Team Manager should the Influencer need to.
8. Reviewing the Results – A Valuable Opportunity to Learn More
Once the campaign comes to an end, you’ll need to spend some time going over the results. If you’ve supported your Influencer and been involved throughout, you should already have an idea of the success of the venture, and areas that needed improvement.
It is important, when reviewing the results, that you ask yourself:
- What succeeded?
- What didn’t succeed?
- Did the project run smoothly?
- Were all deadlines met?
- Were the right audience targeted?
- Were there any surprise results – positive or negative?
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that you might look to use are:
- Quality of Content Pieces
- Engagement Rates
- Quality of Comments
- Mentions / Tags
- Performance of Posts
Finally, you need to ask yourself – was this the right Influencer for the campaign?
The information that you can gather through Influencer Marketing will not only allow you to develop future campaigns, but it can inform your Marketing and Advertising strategies as a whole. It gives you an insight into your customer, how they respond and what they are looking for.
9. A Beautiful Relationship – After The Campaign
Unless there were serious problems with the Influencer, you should make the effort to stay in contact and establish a relationship with your Influencer. They are highly valuable, and their reputation will be tied to yours – adding authenticity and credibility to your brand.
Building trust and a good reputation with Influencers will naturally see customers associate those qualities with your brand and their experience, giving them more reasons to keep coming back and spending with you again and again.