How to start an influencer campaign: Your 101 guide

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So you’d like to try influencer marketing. You understand the benefits and you’d like to see how it can help your brand spread its message. Great. So now what? How does one actually go about launching a campaign? Let’s start with the basics.

Step 1: Identify your goals, budget + measurements

First things first, figure out what you’re trying to do. There are a variety of ways influencer marketing can help your brand, but it’s smart to focus on one or two at most. This will help you target the right influencers and craft campaign requirements that are concise and focused.

Here is a limited list of common influencer marketing goals:

- Increase brand awareness
- Bring more traffic to your website
- Expand your mailing list
- Launch and promote a new product
- Drive sales conversion

Once you’ve landed on a goal, it’s time to think about measurement. For a more detailed look at measurement, check out this blog post written by an FYI co-founder.

Make sure it’s something you can accurately track. Most campaigns will have a corresponding hashtag — that’s a great way to track brand awareness. You can also provide your influencers with trackable links so that you can easily see how many people are clicking to your site or signing up for your mailing list. Another great way to track your campaign is with a promo code for a discount on your product.

With these measurements in mind, the same list of goals would look like this:

- Increase brand awareness by expanding social reach by 30% using the hashtag #HavensCoInfluencer
- Bring 3,000 new clicks to a product-focused landing page
- Attract 3,000 new email subscribers
- Launch new product with the goal of reaching 500,000 consumers with the hashtag #HavensCoProducts
- Increase sales of your product by 3%

Finally, figure out your budget. Influencer marketing can be a really affordable marketing option with a great ROI. But you have to pay your influencers. So set a budget before you reach out to them. Successful influencers have a brand of their own that they’re working to grow and maintain. In other words, treat your influencers like the businesspeople they are. Make an offer and negotiate a rate.

Influencers with a smaller following might start at $100/post. More experienced influencers might be looking for $500/post. It varies on the expertise, followership and engagement rates. If setting a rate without proof of efficacy makes you uncomfortable, ask for the numbers. Influencers should be able to provide data points like traffic per day, social engagement rate, average reach, etc.

 

Step 2: Find and contact the right influencers

Now that you’ve got the backend work done, it’s time to find the right influencers for the job. How do you find influencers? Start searching, clicking and reading. You’re looking for bloggers, social media superstars, video hosts and the like. This part can take some time. Plus, you’re going to want to identify more influencers that you’ll be using as it’s likely that not all of them will agree to the campaign.

There are a few things to consider when you start contacting influencers. First of all, you want influencers that are already writing about topics that relate to your brand or industry. For instance if you’re selling high heels, you probably shouldn’t be partnering with a blogger that writes primarily about sports — even if that blogger has a massive following. Partnering with influencers that don’t make sense for your brand can have a substantially negative impact on the success of your campaign.

While you’re looking for the right influencers, consider your goals. If you’re measuring reach, look for influencers that have a big following on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re hoping to drive engagement, look for influencers that have a lot of comments on their blog and profiles. Surprising to some, these two traits don’t neccessarily go hand in hand. An influencer with a smaller following might have much better engagement than an influencer with a massive following. Both have their value.

 

Step 3:  Creating a campaign brief

Once you have a list of influencers that are interested in working with your brand, it’s time to send them the campaign details (If your company requires contracts, legal approval and/or paperwork, this is also the time to get that worked out). What kind of campaign do you want to launch? Here are a few common methods:

- Launch a series of sponsored blog posts
- Have a variety of influencers take over your Instagram for a short time
- Throw a Twitter Party
- Get several influencers to tweet about your products during the same time period
- A combination of all of these

When you’re creating the campaign brief, you should include deadlines, hashtags, goals, messaging requirements and suggestions, legal requirements and anything else you can think of that might be helpful to your influencer. The more information the better.

Send your creative brief to your influencers and tell them when to start!

 

Step 4: Track results + distribute payments

By this time you’ve either launched your campaign or you’re ready to launch. Great work! But you’re not done yet. Now it’s time for tracking. Based on the detailed goals you’ve put together (see #1) and the metrics discussed in this post, you know exactly how you’re going to be tracking the campaign.

Make sure your campaign has fully run its course before you start reporting on the data. Combine data points and try to gather some key insights. Once you have it gathered, if there are any influencers that you think did an especially great job, let ‘em know! This is also a good time to decide what you think worked well and what you think could have been done better so that you can improve your campaign next time.

Finally, don’t forget to send out payments to your influencers in a timely matter. They’re businesspeople too and are expecting to get paid on time for their great work. Be sure to pay them all around the same time.

 

Finally…

Seem like a lot of work? It is. That’s why we created a platform that helps you efficiently manage all of these steps and more. By using the Find Your Influence platform, you can search for influencers with keywords and other filters, draft campaign briefs, launch campaigns, track results and make one-click payments—all in one platform. We’ll save you time and money, and you’ll be working with industry experts who can help you launch a successful campaign.

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3 Things Bloggers Misunderstand About Brands When Trying To Build a Business

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Two weeks ago we wrote about the things that brands misunderstand about bloggers. Our goal is to bridge the communication gap between the two so you can find common ground (we’re matchmakers, remember?). But let’s be clear: we’re not taking sides.

 

The Find Your Influence team has experience in both in-house marketing and working with bloggers. We’ve been on both sides of the tracks. We love you bloggies, but what we’ve found is that there are a lot of incorrect assumptions made about brands by bloggers, resulting in a lost opportunity or simply a frustrating experience. So bloggers, open yours ears (our mom’s use to say that). Here are three things bloggers misunderstand about brands.

 

1. Big or small, not all brands have a huge budget

 

When a major brand reaches out to you, you’re probably seeing dollar signs. You’re envisioning working with the people of Mad Men. They have dollars to burn and scotch to sip. And for some brands, maybe that’s not far from the truth. But the reality is budgets are distributed differently in every company, and there are several reasons a marketing team might not have an endless budget (or any budget) to fund an influencer campaign. To name a few:

- Influencer marketing is a brand new program to this organization and they have to prove it works before they allocate a lot of money to the initiative.

- The business-to-business division is a lot bigger than the consumer division (or vice versa). You think you’re working with a giant, but in reality it’s more like a start up.

- The executives don’t think influencer marketing has a good return on investment so the marketer you’re working with gets a limited budget to work with. Ouch.

 

This doesn’t mean that advertisers shouldn’t pay you. It does mean that you shouldn’t always expect them to have an endless amount. If a brand with a small budget wants to work with you, that means they think you’re really special. Try to approach the situation professionally rather than scoffing at the amount offered or assuming the brand is reaching out to hundreds of other bloggers like you. Take your offers seriously—even the ones you decline.

 

2. Advertisers hate the bureaucracy, too. But it’s a reality.

 

Most larger brands have either a strict branding policy a strict legal policy, or both. This can result in a brand asking you to edit your work—reword this, delete this and a trademark here. It can also result in you having to put a long disclaimer on your post. I assure you, no marketer on the planet wants a disclaimer on your work. And marketers don’t want to edit your work either. That’s awkward for everybody. But legal restrictions and branding guidelines exist for a reason. They protect brands (and consumers). Try not to be defensive, and consider working with the brand on messaging that will better fit their guidelines.

 

3. Businesses are people, too

 

Okay, not exactly. But the marketers that are designing and managing influencer campaigns are people. They are not the brand. They are people working for a brand. They have bad days, they have good days and most importantly, they probably report to a supervisor. So when they’re worried about CRMs, ROI, CTCs (okay we made that last one up), it’s likely because a supervisor is asking for it. So when it takes you days to respond or if you disregard the request completely, you’re putting pressure on a real person.

 

The bottom line is to be professional and respectful of people’s time. If a brand reaches out to you, it’s because they think your work is awesome. If it’s not a good fit for you, that’s fine. But decline politely.

 

Of course, here at FYI, we make it easy for you. We ensure that our bloggers have the easiest experience possible. Since everything from connecting with brands to getting paid is handled within the platform, you don’t have to worry about the frustrating details.

 

Gone are the days of reaching out to brands, emailing back and forth, finding ways to track your success, repeatedly asking for payments, etc. We handle all of that stuff for you. Join our influencer marketing platform for free and see for yourself!

 

 

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15 Days of life on the road

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I had this all planned out, four days in Atlanta for Type-A Parent conference, a week and a half in my home town of the Hoosiers, Indianapolis, hosting a dinner with the Indy Social Media Moms and then heading to the Influence Conference, one day in Columbus driving 7 hours and hosting a 3-hour dinner with Girl About Columbus, and 24 hours in Chicago for a hosted dinner with Windy City Blogger collective—easy peasy, right?!

 

Now that I’m back (just in time to spend two days at the Blended Conference where I was speaking Friday in a panel discussion about what brands are looking for, and then manning a booth all day Saturday), I’m seeing I may have bit off more than I could chew. Falling behind on emails, communication, follow up—my awesome job! Not to mention my niece said my name for the first time while I was gone, and my dog, Michael, looks like he’s having a great life without me.

 

The upside is I made it, I learned a lot and met some real incredible men and women in the last 15 days! I also learned I can still survive on a 3-hour time change, insomnia, and working weekends and nights. This was mostly thanks to a heck of a lot of vitamins and my mom making sure I got breakfast, lunch and dinner while I was there (and helping me hand write almost 100 cards for the bloggers that attended our dinners!).

 

Type-A is hands down a great conference, and not for just the new bloggers or the large celebrity bloggers. I can guarantee if you go next time, you will learn something new, you’ll want to do a rebranding of your blog afterwards, you’ll make new friends, you’ll get a new spike of creativity and you’ll laugh a ton with new and old pals. It was so enjoyable and interesting, we’ll soon be publishing a blog post about recapping all the cool new tricks I learned from Type-A. So stay tuned for that!

 

Now that the 15 days of travel is over. There are definitely some special people that deserve a little shout out. Big thank you to all the blogger groups and founders/contacts for making the 15 days of travel worth it!

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Indy Social Media Moms #FYIindy

First, I have to thank Christine Berry from Indy Social Media Moms! You have a great group of warm, welcoming and hard-working moms. I am so excited to get to know all of them and hopefully do coffee with them next time I’m in my home town. Plus, being in my own stomping ground was a great way to kick off our FYI MeetUps.

Weber Grill went above and beyond making this a wonderful evening with great selection of food for us to eat. I ate salmon which is my favorite, and the cheese cake was to die for! Shout out to Nick and Paul from Gigi’s for providing delicious full-size cupcakes for us to take home at the end of the night. It was a great way to show appreciation for the Indy blogging community.

 

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Thanks Gigi’s Indy for these delicious full size cupcakes!

 

Now let’s head to Columbus. Amanda from Girl About Columbus has some awesome fashion lifestyle beauty bloggers and some real talented women in her group! We all met at Denmark on High and it was fantastic. (thanks to the manager, James, for making the experience extra fantastic). Many of the bloggers said it was a new gem to check out. The food was great and there was a superb mixologist drink selection.

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FYI’s Ally with Kathy and Sophia from kasuallife.com #FYIColumbus

Last but not least—oh Chicago! I have to say I learned I am not a big city girl, but there are definitely some very talented men and women located in the Windy City. Thank you Kit for helping us bring an engaged group of people together from the Windy City blogger collective. Tereasa at Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique provided some yummy little chocolate cupcakes to share, which were instantly eaten up and definitely enjoyed. We had delicious (and low calorie) beverages created by Leah from Social Enjoyments, amazing pizza at Ranalli’s, and the night was really topped off with a $100 gift card to raffle off provided by Ryan at Lettuce Entertain You.

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Ryan from Lettuce Eats catching some laughs with Windy City bloggers

Between the Indy and Columbus meetup, I attended a cool conference called the Influence Conference. It was a great place to build camaraderie with other bloggers as well as help bloggers understand their place and value in digital media. Charitable organizations like the Mocha Lounge, who assist aids victims with money donated to their foundation and have equated assisting these people with as little as it costs to buy a coffee a day, made this event really special. They had both life and work session tracks where you heard great messages about being a better parent, spouse and human in general and the other track for learning how to improve and find value in your work and professional life.

 

Last on my little adventure was the Blended Conference. Created by Wendy O’Neal from Around my Family Table to bring an intimate setting and gathering where foodie blogs unite! You could participate in workshops such as frosting a cupcake 101, learn a new craft or get a nice little hand massage. You also learn how to optimize your blog and meet a great selection of national brands looking to work with you. We participated in a panel conversation on what brands are looking for and how to optimize your blog. It was a blast taking selfies with everyone on Saturday and raffling off our gift cards!

 

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FYI’s Cristine and Lyndsey getting Blended!

Ultimately, I had a great time, learned a lot, and met the coolest group of men and women at all my stops and adventures!

 

I made it! But don’t think I’ll be traveling for 15 days straight for a while. Back to Phoenix and back to Find Your Influence.

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