Planning a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign
In the crowded space of social media, brands continue to seek new ways to stand out and engage with their target audience in a more meaningful way. Enter influencer partnerships, a tactic that fills this need by connecting brands directly to customers and wrapping traditional messaging in an authentic package.
The most common use case for influencer campaigns? Efforts centered on driving awareness or audience engagement. Perfect examples of this done well are the highly effective Tom’s of Maine micro-influencer approach or SodaStream’s “disruptive” influencer content. Done correctly, influencer campaigns can make lasting impacts on consumer behavior. This is especially true on platforms with high influencer visibility like Instagram, where 87% of users report that influencers have inspired them to make a purchase.
If you decide that influencer marketing is the right fit for your brand, you must first determine which action items will guide you on the road to success. Many social networks provide a number of tools that will help you along the way, but extra preparation can help you get the most out of this mutually beneficial relationship.
Set campaign goals
For influencer campaigns, setting goals will both help measure success and determine what type of content should be produced. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as conversions, reach, and engagement are tangible figures that will help determine the effectiveness of your partnership and illuminate critical insights on what type of content best attracts your target audience. Tools such as Instagram’s branded content feature make it easy for marketers to access these metrics from posts and stories created by an influencer.
Beyond the metrics provided directly from the platform, there are other methods that can help define the success of an influencer partnership. Unique promo codes or URLs that include UTM tagging are easy ways to measure attribution, especially if you plan on leveraging the content from more than one influencer at the same time.
Connect with your audience
Influencer accounts come in all shapes and sizes, so it is important to understand which potential partnership is the right fit for a given campaign and/or target audience. Choosing between micro and macro influencers is a strong place to start, but it is even more important to understand who your customer is already following and interacting with on a regular basis. Searching for hashtags related to your brand or industry, conducting a competitive analysis on the audiences of similar pages, or auditing your own follower list are easy ways to scout potential influencers who can attract the right demographic.
Because influencer content is one of the most unfiltered marketing methods, it’s critical to vet potential partners before a collaboration begins. Doing a thorough review of their online activities is an important step in determining if their voice is the right amplification tool for your business and if their content would be appropriate for your audience.
Play by the rules
The Federal Trade Commission has laid out specific guidelines defining what marketers and influencers can and cannot do while executing a sponsored social media campaign. Take careful consideration to make sure that the influencers you are working with are aware of these guidelines and that your team is prepared to monitor published content to ensure your partners are following the rules.
It’s also important to note that specific rules related to influencer marketing may have an impact on your brand’s campaign. An influencer is not allowed to speak about an experience with a product they have not tried firsthand or make claims about a product or business that requires proof that the advertiser cannot verify. Authenticity is the key to successful influencer content and should remain top of mind when you are reviewing your brand’s strategy.
Playing by the rules and focusing on authenticity requires careful planning, but it’ll build more trust between a brand and the audiences your influencer is speaking to. It’s also important to remember that influencers are the subject matter experts when it comes to crafting content, so their posts will appear more genuine if they can include their own voice and point of view.
Get ready to launch
On the day of your campaign’s kickoff, it’s critical to have a list of goals and action items that can be accomplished by both your brand and your influencer partners. A pre-launch checklist is a simple way to organize your most important to-do’s and should include tasks such as resharing content, monitoring direct messages and comments, and gathering social listening insights. Timing is everything — be sure to verify when your influencer’s content will go live so that you can maximize reach by engaging with their posts.
After your influencer campaign is complete, you will likely be left with content that can be archived and reused on your pages. Take advantage of native platform features across social networks to highlight your most compelling influencer content. Instagram’s highlight reel feature, for example, can be used to show off stories and posts collected from your partners so that exceptional content can live on your brand’s page long after the campaign has ended.
What marketers need to know
A successful influencer marketing campaign can offer lasting benefits for both the brand and the influencer by providing additional exposure to both parties. Although marketers can rely on influencers to create engaging content using their own authentic voice, marketers must ensure this branded content is amplified correctly and that success is measured effectively.
To prepare for your next influencer marketing campaign, make sure to:
- Set strategic goals and choose the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success
- Research who your audience is interacting with so you can select effective influencers
- Understand the rules and guidelines associated with influencer marketing before you launch
- Prepare a comprehensive kickoff checklist that covers what your brand and your influencer will accomplish during your campaign