Once upon a time, new customers flocked to stores and businesses in droves in response to a regular ‘ole marketing campaign.  All a brand needed to do was scrape up the cash for a $50,000 high-profile spot in a magazine or on a billboard, feature their services or products alongside a celebrity with epic branding, a POOF! CUSTOMERS.  Let’s be honest, though.  Only well-established, multi-million and multi-billion dollar brands had the capital for regular marketing and advertising of this nature.  Where did that leave the mid-and-small sized businesses?  Scraping up funds for large campaigns, or working to the bone through the night day in and day out to raise enough investment capital to fund a successful marketing campaign, so that their brand could succeed.

Influencer Marketing has saved the day for everyone.  Campaigns are customizable (well, they are with our firm), which means that companies are no longer required to drop tens of thousands of dollars in hopes that they will gain brand acceptance, sell enough to stay afloat, and succeed in the long run.  Influencer marketing leverages people trusted by potential consumers and is affordable for nearly all companies.  The money side of things depends on the company, their campaign goals, campaign complexity, expectations, influencer hires, and other factors.  Needless to say, influencer marketing is not only affordable for most companies; the average ROI is $6.85 for every $1 spent.

Running an influencer marketing campaign is a no-brainer, but how exactly does it work?

Influencer Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

1. Solid Gold Campaign Strategy 

  • Campaign Goals – Know what you want to achieve with your campaign.  If you want to run an influencer marketing campaign to test the market, you will not see the ROI you are expecting.  Like any marketing campaign, it’s important you can get clear enough about goals that you break them down into numerical figures so you can evaluate your campaign metrics during, and after, the campaign.

Influencer marketing campaign goals:

  • Sales
    • 25% of all sales from sales on a new product your goal
    • Boost all sales by 15% in the next six months?
  • Sign-ups
    • Achieve 50% sign up rate for your [retreats/ workshops/ courses/ festival]
  • Foot traffic
    • Bring 100 people a day in foot traffic to your brick and mortar retail location
  • Web traffic
    • Boost daily website visits to achieve 100,000/ day within six months
  • Brand awareness and image
    • A popular reason to run influencer campaigns is brand awareness.  Nothing spreads brand acceptance like influencer recommendations.
  • Niche influencers – With tens of thousands of influencers building strong personal brands, and hundreds of thousands to millions of people following each influencer, choosing influencers who can support your brand’s vision and are worth turning into long-term brand advocates, you will need to get selective.  Here are a few tips:
    • Know your own brand’s niche
    • Understand your company’s customer avatar to a tee; this defines your target audience
    • Focus on influencers whose audience matches your own
  • Preferred social networks – Once you have taken the time to understand your niche audience, target market, and niche influencers, knowing the other details of your influencer campaign will be a lot easier.  Social networks include blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, Meerkat, Blab, Google+, and others.
    • Your target market will determine your choice of network.  What does this mean?  Say your target market is millennials.  Many of them spend a lot of time on different social networks, but a few are favorites, such as Snapchat, Vine, YouTube, Periscope, and Instagram.
    • Consider Omni-Channel.  Omni-channel means multiple social media platforms.  Many influencers, especially the savvy ones, work across multiple social media platforms rather than just one.  Some campaigns are best kept to one particular social media platform, but almost all campaigns can benefit from an omni-channel approach.
    • The influencer vs. the channel.  Depending on all of your decisions thus far, you can surmise which is a more important focus; the particular influencer or the social channel a certain influencer will share your content.  In fact, both are crucial and must be considered simultaneously.

2. Connect with influencers as you want to connect with customers

  • Be personal – Influencers are people.  When they receive email pitches that look like they are blanket messages sent to tons of individuals, they are no happier about it than you are when you receive such messages.

“Hey blogger” is no way to start off a relationship, is it?  Do your research, learn everything you can about an influencer before contacting them so you can pitch them correctly.  If you do not have that kind of time, leave it to the professionals and hire an influencer marketing agency to do the heavy lifting for you.

  • Remain genuine and authentic – Influencers are people (oh, did I say that already?).  They appreciate communication that is real.  They build strong personal brands by being genuine, and they expect, respect, and appreciate the same from any potential partners.

3. Follow Your Campaign Calendar

Sketch out a campaign calendar at the beginning of the process before you even start to contact influencers, and then adjust it as you go according to your workflow.  Many companies have a specific deadline in mind, such as a campaign for July 4th.  However, if you think you want to run an influencer campaign but only begin early June, a Campaign Calendar is sure to help you realize the deadline is impractical.

  • Things to keep track of on your calendar:
    • Decide on brand-run vs. agency run campaign – This will determine if you manage the remainder of your campaign or leave it to the experts.
    • Goal setting session
    • Influencer connections
    • Influencer roundup
    • Content creation timeline
    • Timeline of actual campaign

4. Content Creation & Collaboration with Influencers

You are running this campaign to deliver your brand’s message to a particular audience.  Naturally, you want a certain amount of control over the content.  Spoiler Alert: influencers are the ones actually in control because they have what you do not – the ear of a loyal fan base that is willing to listen to, do, and buy almost anything they recommend.  While you may have a sense for your own customer base, no one knows the influencer’s audience like that influencer.

There is wisdom in collaborative efforts regarding content.  Let your influencers know that you have chosen them because they are excellent brand representatives, and you have full faith that they can relay your products and message to their audience.  That said, be sure to offer your influencers a content review deadline, so you have a sense of what information is going out, and with what wording.  This is less important when you are providing all of the content for influencers, but realize that since an influencer knows their fan base best, it is worth getting their input.

5.  Measure Campaign Results

How can you track your campaign’s success?  Some metrics can help you determine the current status of your campaign.

  • Total reach of campaign
  • Overall engagement on influencer posts (comments, likes, shares, clicks)
  • Direct traffic as a result of influencer posts
  • Conversions attributed to influencer posts in the form of sales, etc.
  • Increase in brand awareness – measured by increase in new mentions of brand by new individuals aside from influencers

If you would like us to help you with your influencer marketing campaign, don’t worry, you aren’t alone!  Brands large and small work with expert agencies to manage all of these details, and the millions of other tiny aspects of influencer campaigns.  Our specialty is customized campaigns.  Contact us today to learn more.