05 Jun How To Develop an Influencer Marketing Campaign
Influencer Marketing campaigns offer a unique set of advantages for brands, but with those advantages come some unique requirements and challenges. If you’re new to planning influencer marketing campaigns (or you’re looking to improve your influencer marketing workflow and efficacy), let us take you through what an effective campaign development process looks like for this marketing strategy! We’ll go over the key stages and requirements for effective campaign planning and offer our insights on the specific needs of influencer marketing campaigns.
Define Your Goals
Every successful marketing campaign starts with a clear set of goals. It may sound like a no-brainer, but defining exactly what you want from a campaign (and making sure everyone involved understands these goals) is a crucial step in designing that campaign.
Before you begin defining specific goals, take a moment to identify what areas of growth you’d like to see. Are you looking for an increased brand awareness? Or possibly you might have a new product launching, and you’d like to take all the steps necessary to fully promote the launch. Whatever it may be, align your campaign with a larger overall goal; this will help you begin to identify your strategy moving forward.
Once this has been decided, you might want to think through a few strategies that can help you achieve this goal. Some questions you might ask yourself are; Is this a long-term approach, or a one-time campaign? What is your budget? What types of influencers do you want to work with (link to types of influencers article)?
It’s also important to establish early on a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will help you assess how well you’re achieving those goals. There are many ways to track your success and identify areas of improvement. When thinking of what to measure, consider your goals and what data will help you identify your ROI.
For example, if you’re focused on driving sales, the most traditional way to measure success is through the use of coupon codes. However, if you’re not interested in discounting your product you might want to measure clicks to your site and purchases through affiliate links, or use a tracking pixel to retarget an audience who has already shown interest in your product with tailored digital ads (bonus points if you use the UGC from the campaign to create those ads!)
Identify the Audience
This is key for any marketing campaign: who are you trying to reach? Perhaps you’d like to reach more or the people who are already interested in your brand, or maybe you’re trying to reach a new audience. Whatever the case, it’s important to establish these demographics early on, because it can influence the message you want to deliver, the promotion strategy you use, the platforms you focus on, and the influencers you work with.
First, look at your current consumer base. What are their demographics (age, gender, location, income level, etc.) and their psychographics (hobbies, interests, values, personalities, etc.)? Now repeat the process for the audience you want to reach (if different). It might help to take a look at the audience your competitors are reaching and/or trying to reach. You may want to challenge their efforts by targeting the same audience, or define an audience that they have yet to target. It’s all up to you—just make sure you define your audience before moving further in your development process!
Craft the Message
Lots of factors can go into crafting your message, so take some time on this one. If you’re trying to rebrand or increase brand awareness, your message might focus on what you want people to think about your brand in general. If you’re looking to drum up excitement about a new product, your message might be about what makes that product special, what problems it solves for consumers, and/or how it will make consumers feel.
Think back to that English or Rhetoric class when you learned about ethos, pathos, and logos. A lot of marketing rhetoric relies on pathos (convincing the audience to do or believe something by appealing to certain emotions) but you might also utilize ethos (making the audience feel you are trustworthy and authoritative) and logos (showing why your brand/product is the most logical choice for consumers).
Keep in mind that the message isn’t just going to inform what your influencers write, it might also influence recipes they design, how they photograph food, how they set up lighting for their video, etc. The better you can articulate what you want to get consumers to believe about your brand or product, the more likely you are to get what you wanted out of the content they create for you. Don’t dictate exactly what influencers should write or how they should present the content (after all, part of the reason you’re working with influencers is because they’re practiced at connecting with their audience), but do give enough guidelines that influencers know what you want their audience to believe, feel, and/or do based on their post.
Develop Promotion Strategy
Not every campaign will feature a promotion strategy aside from the influencers’ posts themselves, but it’s worth considering whether you’ll offer any additional incentive to get their audiences engaged with your brand. Perhaps you’ll hold a giveaway and ask influencers to include the rules in their post. Perhaps you’ll provide influencers a discount code they can offer to their audience to encourage them to make purchases. Maybe you’ll incorporate some kind of challenge that the audience will find fun and engaging. Whatever you do, don’t phone it in; make sure it will create genuine value for the audience you’re trying to reach.
Choose the Platform(s)
Each social media platform has its own separate demographics, capabilities, customs, and contexts. When choosing which platform(s) you want influencers to post on, you’ll want to consider a few factors:
- What kinds of people tend to use this platform?
- How does an audience engage with content on this platform?
- Are other brands doing influencer marketing on this platform?
- Does this platform’s atmosphere fit with my brand/product?
- What tools does this platform provide to help me track KPIs and reach my goals?
Right now, a lot of influencer marketing is being done on Instagram in particular, but the digital landscape is always changing, and even now you may find that other platforms like YouTube or an influencer’s blog provides more value based on your brand and campaign goals.
Set Your Timeline
As with any project, a timeline is crucial. You need to establish when influencers will be selected, when products will be shipped to them, when their content must be posted, when you will pay influencers, when post-campaign analytics should be ready for review, etc. Timelines often get adjusted during the process as you adjust to your needs and the needs of your influencers, but starting out with clear expectations is the only way to reliably ensure a timely process.
Now we’re getting to the most obvious step: finding influencers. We won’t go into how to select the best influencers for your campaign here, although you can read more about that in our articles on What Makes a Valuable Influencer and How To Find Influencers To Promote Your Brand. Instead, let’s talk a little about how to communicate and negotiate with influencers.
When you email influencers you’re considering working with, be straightforward and friendly. Don’t bog them down with too much information in the first email, but let them know what your brand is and ask if they’d be interested in working with you. If you want to know more about an influencer before officially selecting them, you can also ask for a media kit in this first email, to get a sense of what audience(s) they reach and what value they might provide. Depending on your own budgetary considerations, you might also ask up front for their rates, or open with your own proposed payment amount and ask if they would be willing to work for that amount.
This takes us to negotiating. Negotiating should never feel like an attempt to get the most possible work out of your influencer for the least possible money. Make sure that your negotiations instead feel like an attempt to meet both the needs of the influencer and the needs of the brand. If you can show an influencer that you value their work and will treat them with respect, you’re likely to get more out of that relationship, especially if you keep working with them in future campaigns.
You may also want to consider the option of working with an influencer agency, which will help with much of the legwork of selecting the right influencers and communicating with them. In this case, you may end up with less of a brand-to-influencer relationship, but you get to rely on a third party to take care of all the back and forth for you. For more on when to work with an agency, check out our article here.
Draw Up Contracts (if needed)
Sometimes you don’t need to draw up contracts for your influencers. You may choose, for example, to send free product samples to influencers and encourage them to create organic content if they enjoy the product, without any prior agreement on the influencer’s part to post. This can be a good way to try out influencer marketing, though it of course doesn’t come with any guarantees. If your campaign will require a formal agreement establishing a certain kind of payment in exchange for a certain amount of work, you’re going to need a formal contract.
In your contract, make sure to define the requirements as clearly as possible. Examples might include:
- The necessity for influencers to submit their content for review before it goes live (and the date by which this must happen)
- The date on which content should go live
- Whether the influencer should tag the brand’s social media accounts in their post(s)
- What hashtag(s) the post should include
- The number of posts to be made, and on which platforms
- Messaging guidelines including particular words to be used or avoided if applicable.
Develop an Optimization Plan
The work isn’t over once the posts are live! To get the most out of your campaign, you’ll want to have a plan for optimizing and amplifying the efforts of your influencers. This might include paying to boost their posts on platforms like Instagram and Facebook as well as reposting their content on your own social media accounts. Have a plan ahead of time for how you’ll approach this to ensure that you’re amplifying at the right times and in the right ways.
After all is said and done, it’s time to do some analysis. Plan to wrap up your campaign by assembling a final campaign report, keeping in mind the KPIs that you identified early on. In order to get the most out of your influencer marketing efforts, taking the time to reflect on the performance of each campaign and form recommendations for future campaigns is crucial. After all, sustained effort over time and ongoing relationships with influencers are more effective than one-and-done campaigns.
A lot goes into developing a successful influencer marketing campaign! If you’ve got questions for us, feel free to shoot us an email! We’d love to help you develop your influencer marketing strategy!