By Courtney Moser
What’s influencer marketing?
Welcome to word-of-mouth marketing, on steroids. Any solid 101 guide starts with the absolute basics, just to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Let’s ignore the illegal aspects of steroids for a minute, and appreciate the benefits. They inflate, or pump up, what was to be what is. It’s like giving that one old-school brand ambassador (“Sally, I’ve been using their shampoo for thirty years!”) a microphone and YouTube channel. All of a sudden – bam! – what was one person telling another is now one person reaching hundreds or thousands with the same message.
It’s clear, then, how great the potential impact of influencer marketing is for brands looking to increase awareness and drive sales. The question changes from why to how – you understand the purpose and benefits, and would like to know how you can utilize this marketing strategy to spread your brand message. The following basic outline will help you launch your influencer marketing campaign.
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 to begin with. This will help you target the right influencers and craft campaign requirements that are concise and align with your brand strategy.
Here are a few examples of common influencer marketing goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Launch and promote a new product
Once you’ve landed on a goal, it’s time to think about measurements. Make sure you choose goals and metrics you can accurately track. Most campaigns will have a corresponding hashtag to track brand awareness on social networks. 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 those measurements in mind, the same list of goals from above would look like this:
- Increase brand awareness by expanding social reach by 30% using a branded hashtag
- Bring 3,000 new clicks to a product-focused landing page
- Launch new product with the goal of reaching 500,000 consumers
For a more detailed look at measurement, check out this blog post written by a Find Your Influence (FYI) co-founder.
Finally, figure out your budget. Influencer marketing can be a really affordable marketing option with a great ROI. But, you do 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 – they’re business people too. Make an offer and negotiate a rate. It will likely vary depending on 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 and average reach.
Step 2: Create your campaign
Once you’ve set your goals, budget and measurements, it’s time to choose a campaign concept. The type of campaign will stem from your strategy and goals, as addressed above. What kind of campaign do you want to launch? How will it help you reach your goals? Following are a few common ideas:
- Launch a series of sponsored blog posts with a streamlined topic or focus
- Have a variety of influencers take over your Instagram for a short time
- Throw a Twitter party
Part of your campaign concept should include the creation of a campaign brief outlining the details to give to your influencers. If your company requires contracts, legal approval and/or paperwork, this is also the time to get that worked out.
When you’re creating the campaign brief, you should include deadlines, hashtags, messaging requirements and suggestions, and anything else you can think of that might be helpful to your influencers. After you’ve picked influencers, you’ll send them the creative brief to begin your partnership. And that leads us to… choosing your influencers.
Step 3: Find + contact influencers
How do you find the right influencers for your campaign? Start searching, clicking and reading. You’re looking for engaging bloggers, social media superstars, video hosts, subject experts, and so on. This can take some time because you’re going to want to identify more influencers you need, 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 who 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 who writes primarily about sports — even if that blogger has a massive following. Partnering with influencers who 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 who have an impressive (relevant!) social following. If you’re hoping to drive engagement, look for influencers who have a lot of comments on their blog and profiles. Surprisingly, these two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. An influencer with a smaller following might have better engagement than an influencer with a massive following. Both have their value.
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 and the metrics discussed in this post, you know exactly how you’re going to be tracking the campaign.
Ensure your campaign has fully run its course before you start reporting on the data. Combine data points and try to gather key insights. Once you have it all together, provide feedback to your influencers. Let them know that they made an impact and are appreciated! This is also a good time to decide what you think worked well and what could have been done better so that you can improve your next campaign.
Does this 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. We’ll save you time and money, and you’ll be working with industry experts who can help you launch a successful campaign.