Say what you want about social media, but one thing is for sure:
It has completely changed the way brands large and small market themselves and sell products.
From Facebook pages to Twitter ads to Instagram feeds, it’s hard to find any brand that doesn’t have, or isn’t trying to build, a strong online presence.
And part of what makes social media marketing such a success for so many brands is the use of influencers.
Maybe you’re brand new to influencer marketing. Perhaps you’re already working with influencers and looking for a way to make those relationships more effective.
Either way, if you’re interested in scaling your online reach through influencer marketing, pay attention.
Here’s our step by step guide to crafting a successful influencer marketing campaign.
What is an Influencer Marketing Campaign?
So what exactly is an influencer marketing campaign?
It’s when a brand works with an influencer (sometimes famous, sometimes not) to put their products or services in front of their target audience.
The influencer promotes the brand, or specific brand products, to their social media following through one or more channels or types of content.
Some influencers have a major presence on Instagram, others on YouTube, and some on Twitter or Facebook. Many influencers have a following across various social media platforms. That allows them to reach their audiences — your potential new customers — in a variety of different ways.
Influencers exist in nearly every industry and category, such as beauty, fashion, food, travel, and fitness.
A successful influencer campaign involves a brand working with an influencer in your specific niche. That goal may be encouraging followers to subscribe to the brand’s newsletter, or it might involve getting a certain amount of views on a particular ad.
Whatever the direction the partnership takes, the ultimate goal is to turn the influencer’s audience into the brand’s customers.
Social Media Has Changed How Brands Market Themselves
Social media has revolutionized the way that brands market themselves in the modern, digital age. Statistics prove that this area of marketing continues to grow year after year.
In 2015, brands spent approximately $500 million on influencer marketing. According to some studies, that number will be at least $5 billion in just five years.
The importance of influencer marketing has snowballed over the years, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
How to Build a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign
Ready to expand your online reach?
Ready to grow your business?
If you’re excited to start your first influencer marketing campaign or improve upon your existing ones, here’s what you need to do:
Find the Best Influencers to Partner With
The entire process starts with finding the right influencers.
Every brand is different, as is every influencer, so it’s important to work with those that share your target market.
To have a successful influencer campaign, you need an influencer that:
- Brings a new set of customers to your brand or product
- Shares common values
- A following that has a similar lifestyle and goals to your audience demographics
So how do you go about finding those influencers?
There are several ways to identify the best influencers for your brand.
It is possible to do your own research, but the best way to find the right partners is to hire an influencer management agency to do the leg work for you.
And an expert marketing management agency won’t stop there.
After they find the best influencers for your brand, they’ll handle all aspects of partner channel management and partnership marketing. That includes identifying the right social channels and audience demographics, as well as developing campaigns and monitoring results to increase ROI.
What To Look For in an Influencer
There are many different types of influencers.
Some brands look to celebrities, athletes, and entertainers. Some prefer bloggers that have a loyal following on their own website. Other brands use micro-influencers to target a small, specific audience or niche.
A strong influencer marketing campaign should increase brand awareness. And that will only be possible by choosing the right type of influencer.
There are five key things to look for:
1. How an Influencer Aligns With Your Brand
The influencer must be relevant to your brand, and that means they should have the same target audience as well as the same core values.
For example, if you’re promoting a cosmetic line for teenagers, there’s no point in having an influencer who appeals to mature women.
An influencer with a mature audience, however, would be relevant to a brand looking to promote anti-aging products.
2. The Number of Followers the Influencer Has
While micro-influencers can be quite effective, most brands look for influencers with large followings.
Keep in mind, the number of followers they have isn’t their only currency. It’s also important to look at how many people visit their sites or pages each month.
Someone can have a million followers with only a handful that actually view their page on a consistent basis.
3. The Influencer’s Level of Engagement
Like any brand, most influencers have a marketing strategy and employ certain marketing tools to make themselves more valuable.
One main strategy is to spur engagement.
The best influencers encourage their followers to share their content, make comments, and respond to posts. This type of word of mouth marketing tool is what can make an influencer so valuable to your business.
4. Influencer Authenticity
Is the influencer authentic?
Are they really who they say they are?
People love truth on social media and often follow people because they are genuine and relatable.
Be thorough in researching your influencer. Make sure all of their content is believable and comes across with an authentic and trustworthy point of view.
5. The Influencer’s Content
The type of content they publish is another way to determine if someone will be a good fit for your influencer marketing strategy.
Take note of whether or not they post images, articles, reviews, or videos. You may want someone who posts pictures but not videos, or vice versa.
Notice how often they post as well. An influencer who posts consistent, relevant content is likely to be more valuable than one who only posts on a sporadic basis.
Determine Your KPIs
Once you find your influencers, it’s time to determine your key performance indicators.
Ask yourself, what are the goals of your influencer marketing campaign?
Are they to:
- Get more views and more traffic on your own website?
- Acquire more followers of your own through word of mouth marketing?
- Strictly drive more sales through the sharing of discounts, giveaways, or promo codes?
Knowing what you want out of the influencer/brand relationship is key to creating a successful plan.
Your influencer needs to know the expectations, as well.
Share your goals and KPIs with them so that they know exactly how you’ll be measuring their performance.
Monitor your results and share them with your influencer. That way, they’ll know if they’re meeting milestones or hitting the benchmarks you need them to hit.
With open communication, you can improve the brand/influencer relationship in a way that works for both of you.
Encourage Your Influencers to Grow With Your Brand
Want to see better results and improve ROI?
Provide your influencers with incentives, training, and ongoing education about your brand.
For example, let’s say you want your beauty influencer to promote your new eye shadow palette. Educate them on the inspiration behind the colors. Point out important details, such as if it’s cruelty-free or if a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a certain charity.
The more information your influencer knows, the better they’ll be able to promote your brand.
Implement Best Practices
Knowing the best practices is yet another way to ensure that you’re creating the most effective influencer marketing campaign possible.
Here are three important things you’ll need to do:
1. Decide What Social Media Channels You Want to Use
Your campaign may consist strictly of images on Instagram. It might include written reviews on a blog. It could focus solely on YouTube tutorial videos. Or it may include a combination of several different social channels.
Know which channels your audience prefers and target them on those channels.
2. Audit and Optimize Content Before it’s Published
To let your influencer’s authentic voice shine through, it’s best to let them create the content.
However, you should take the time to audit, edit, and optimize that content before it gets published on their page or site.
3. Measure Your Results on a Regular Basis
Track and monitor your metrics on a routine basis to determine if your campaign is really working the way you want it to.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
If you want to create a truly successful influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to know how to identify hazards.
The biggest ones involve fake influencers and fake followers.
Do not get caught up working with fake influencers. Vet all potential influencers by looking at their engagement rates, number of posts, and number of followers.
If their engagement rates are too low, too high, or always the same, this is a big red flag that your influencer might be fake.
Do they only have a handful of posts? Serious influencers have LOTS of posts, so be wary of accounts with very few posts, especially if they also have thousands of followers.
Are their followers real? Did they pay for them? Do they have as many followers as people they are following in return?
These are all signs that your influencer might be fake and not very influential at all. Many people create (and hire other people to create) fake Instagram accounts, then pay for those accounts to comment, like, and follow them.
It’s easy to create a fake Instagram account. Luckily, there are several tools you can use to spot a fake influencer, fake followers, and fake accounts.
Hiring a marketing agency to investigate for you is the best way to ensure that you have a legitimate influencer with real followers.
Instagram is Removing ‘Likes”: What Impact Will That Have?
As you may have heard, Instagram is beginning to hide “likes” on Instagram accounts. You’ll be able to see them on your own posts, but you’ll no longer be able to see them on other people’s posts.
So how will this affect all of the influencers out there whose “likes” prove their value?
We cannot say for sure, but we can assume that it will have some impact on how some brands vet their influencers and analyze their campaigns.
As a brand, you’ll no longer be able to click on a campaign post to see how many likes it has. Instead, you’ll need to look at more specific metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and visits to your site.
Instagram has good intentions for removing likes from the public view. They want to make their platform a more comfortable space where people don’t feel so much pressure to be liked.
However, it will surely make it more difficult for brands to vet and track results.
We anticipate that more brands will hire an influencer management team to analyze results and do their vetting for them.
Ready to create a successful influencer marketing campaign?
Here’s what you need to do:
- Find the right influencers
- Decide which social media platforms you want to use
- Determine your KPIs
- Establish goals
- Educate influencers on your brand
If you’re looking for expert help in building a successful influencer campaign, contact Streamline Marketing now.