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New to the influencer marketing game? Here’s how to set up an influencer marketing campaign.
Influencer marketing is changing the way brands interact with communities and customers. A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research formalized what we all intuitively knew: people form their opinions about products and brands based on the opinions of those they follow on social media. It’s not surprising then, that 60% of marketers said they will increase their influencer marketing budgets over the next 12 months. (Tomoson)
In spite of its booming growth, influencer marketing is still in its infancy and best practices have yet to be established. Many brand marketers have more questions than answers:
- How do I get started?
- How do I pick and hire influencers?
- What kinds of campaigns yield the best results?
- What are the best practices for managing my campaigns?
Here at NeoReach, we help brands answer these questions and much more every day. After running nearly 100 campaigns with 2,000 influencers for 32 customers, we’re able to define the four essential elements for launching an effective influencer campaign.
1. Set Clear Goals And Expectations
Many marketers splurge on an influencer campaign without first understanding what success looks like. Influencer marketing may very well do marvels for your brand, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Each campaign must be carefully crafted and executed. This starts with defining the results that you’re aiming for.
- Start with the end goal — You don’t hop in a car and start driving without a destination in mind. Similarly, the end goal of your influencer campaign should be crystal clear from the get-go. For instance, you may seek to increase brand awareness, create and publish compelling brand stories, drive traffic to content, boost online sales on your website, or increase mobile app installs, just to name a few.
- Measure with metrics — Using the end goal as a starting point, define one to three metrics that will measure how successful you were in reaching your goal. For instance, if you are aiming to increase brand awareness, your guiding metrics can be impressions (eCPM) and total engagement. If you’re aiming for online sales, your guiding metric can be the number of website visits, conversions, and total revenue.
- Create a performance forecast — First, you’ll need to define your total spend. Then, use the metrics you defined above to write down the results that you would expect to see from a home-run campaign, a successful campaign, and a failed campaign. Given that each social media platform has its own particulars and pricing, split the budget by social platform if you are planning a cross-platform campaign.
Keep in mind that the total ROI of an influencer campaign may not be immediately apparent. For instance, TubeMogul found that the halftime of a YouTube video is 1 week and that it took roughly a full month for 95% of views to elapse. To calculate ROI effectively, build two forecasts: an immediate ROI and a postponed ROI.
If you want to ask questions on setting goals, choosing metrics, and creating forecasts, or if you want to see examples of this, click here.
2. Pick The Right Influencers
The influencers you choose will make or break your campaign. When picking influencers for a campaign, we weigh them across to three metrics: Reach, Relevance, and Influence.
- Reach – Reach calculates how many people you will reach by working with a particular influencer. At a basic level, reach can be calculated by adding up the influencer’s total number of followers on each social network. However, this calculation has several flaws: some followers check their social feed more often than others and some followers may be influencers themselves, meaning that when they share your influencer’s content it reaches even more people. A more accurate way to calculate reach is by calculating the average number of impressions the influencer gets per post on each social media.
- Relevance — A common mistake made by marketers is to blast every influencer they can find that is tangentially related to their campaign. It’s unlikely that a DIY fashion blogger will promote a luxury eyewear line, or that a gourmet food Instagrammer will post about a fast-food chain. Good influencers are picky about the things they promote and good marketers should be picky about the influencers that promote them. Here are the top three variables you can think about as you measure an influencer’s relevance:
- Who are their followers? What is the gender distribution? What is the age range? Are most of these people your target buyers?
- What topics do they discuss the most often? Browse through their posts and write down the topics that come up the most often. Are these relevant to your brand and the market you are trying to reach?
- Does their personal brand match your corporate brand? Analyze the language they use, the things they talk about, and the way they interact with their followers and fellow influencers. Ask yourself: “does this person fit the values that my brand stands for?”
- Influence — If reach tells you how many eyeballs will view the influencer’s post and relevance tells you how much of a good fit the influencer is to your brand, influence tells you the size of the impact you will get by working with said influencer. Measuring influence is deeply rooted in performance metrics. Here are the variables you can use to predict influence:
- Engagement rate — What is their average number of likes, shares, and comments?
- Engagement rate growth — How fast has their engagement been growing over the last 3 months?
- Their comment sentiment — Are their comments real engagement or spam (e.g. “follow4follow”)? Are they positive or negative?
- Notable followers — Are other influencers following them?
NeoReach specializes in aggregating and analyzing influencer data to help marketers make better decisions in their influencer marketing campaigns. Click here to learn more about our influencer marketing platform.
3. Produce organic brand integrations
Understanding the difference between organic and promotional content and striking a balance between them is critical to a successful campaign. In traditional media, marketers have total control over the ad copy they flash at consumers. In contrast, influencer marketing derives its power from the collaboration between influencers and marketers. If done correctly, this collaboration can produce exceptional pieces of content that excite followers while communicating your brand message. Here are a few tips to achieve this:
- Closely study the influencers and their followers — Build an understanding of the influencer’s tone, the topics that resonate the best with his/her followers, and take a peek at what his/her followers also follow.
- Define crystal clear creative guidelines and performance goals for your influencers — Be extremely clear about what you expect from them, both in terms of creative and performance. Make sure to include examples of influencer posts you would like to see, do’s and don’ts, and a timeline for the posts.
- Give them creative freedom — Nobody knows the influencer’s audience as well as the influencer, so make sure they have the flexibility to produce something that will excite their followers. With that said, be sure to ask for a synopsis of the post they plan to create before they produce it so that there are no surprises.
If you’d like to see more examples of successful campaigns or would like to brainstorm strategies for your brand, click here.
4. Leverage a bulletproof process (or hire a killer team to do it for you)
Influencer marketing isn’t without its challenges and hurdles. Here are some best practices to keep everything under control:
- Structure flawless spreadsheets, lease management software, or hire an experienced team (NeoReach!) to manage and automate the process for you.
- Get your influencers’ phone numbers.
- Sign agreements with your influencers outlining exactly what will be required from them and the terms and conditions of their compensation.
- Track and screenshot everything.
- Agree beforehand on how much creative oversight you will have, and what should happen if you are not happy with their creative.
At NeoReach, we focus on streamlining these four elements to launch powerful and scalable influencer marketing campaigns across social media platforms. Visit our website to learn more!