There are many examples of influencer marketing campaigns that you have likely seen if you use Social Media. Some campaigns are obvious, such as Instagram posts that have a header saying “paid partnership.” Others are subtler like TikTok influencers who unbox and review products in their videos. Influencer marketing is all around us, whether we recognize them or not.
But are these campaigns actually worth it? It appears that the answer is yes. 91% of marketers surveyed by Influencer Marketing Hub believe that influencer marketing is effective.
However, as with all things in life, the benefits of influencer marketing are not guaranteed unless you put some thought and planning into your campaign. Keep reading if your goal is to start an influencer marketing campaign or simply want some information about the process.
1. Set your goals and accept your limitations
Every marketing campaign must begin with the crucial question: “What do I want to accomplish?” It is important to establish your goals early in the process and then map out a route for getting there. These decisions will influence all other aspects of your campaign.
Influencer marketing campaigns often have three goals. They aim to raise brand awareness, increase traffic to your website, and increase sales. No matter the goal, it should be something that can be tracked in some tangible way. Analytics tools are able to help you track influencer campaigns digitally.
Moreover, it is important to recognize your limitations early so that you can manage your expectations and develop a realistic strategy. For example, if you are a small business owner, it is unlikely that you will be able to attract influencers with millions. It’s OK! Alternatives are available that can have just the same success in your campaigns.
2. Know your target audience. Where do they spend their time?
It is important to identify the target audience for your campaign. You should think about who uses your products or services. Are they mostly women or men? Are they mostly young shoppers or older customers? You should consider demographics like age, gender, location, language, and interest.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, determine where they spend their time online. Different people prefer different social media networks. You should choose carefully the channel in which your campaign will be conducted.
Instagram, for instance, is most popular with people ages 25-34. Or, in the US, a third of TikTok users are between 10-19. Also, consider your location demographics. Certain social networks in some countries are not allowed or do not enjoy the same popularity as those in your country.
3. Use an influencer marketing discovery tool
Social media is a great way to start the influencer-search process. However, you will need to prepare spreadsheets to keep track of data and collect it manually from the profiles of influencers. Because data about influencers’ audience demographics or other stats isn’t publicly available, you’ll need to request it. It takes a lot of time and energy to manage metrics in this manner.
There’s an easier way to manage this process. An influencer marketing platform allows you to search for influential people using filters. Then, it provides detailed analytics reports about each person’s profiles. All your information about follower growth and engagement rate, audience demographics, authenticity, and brand engagement is available in one convenient place.
Heepsy, an influencer discovery tool, provides engagement rates and comparisons for influencers.
An influencer marketing platform allows you to organize your results for search terms in lists. This is especially helpful if there are many influencers you want to work with or you have multiple campaigns going at once. Lists also allow you to annotate the profiles of influencers to make sure everyone in your team has access to the platform.
4. Decide what type of influencers is best for you
Got a small budget? No worries. Look for nano influencers (1-5K followers) or micro influencers (5-50K). While they have relatively small followings, these influencers come across as highly authentic to their followers. This leads them to have the highest overall engagement rates of all influencers.
@valeskaschneider works with brands that are surfing-focused micro influencers.
If money isn’t an issue, you might want to look at top influencers. You can get maximum reach, and this is great for international campaigns or if your goal is to reach as many people as possible. Just keep in mind two things: (1) top influencers have lower average engagement, because they’re less relatable; and (2) they’re very expensive.
Alternatively, consider reaching out to a KOL, or key opinion leader. These are in a way above influencers, because their influence isn’t limited to social media. KOLs can affect change among the masses with a simple endorsement. Think Oprah, Kate Middleton, or someone like Brian Dean of Backlinko.
5. Consider whether you will need a contract
You may or not require a collaboration contract depending on which type of influencers you work with and the type of incentive that you pay them.
Consider the incentive. You don’t normally need a contract if you give an influencer no products. If the product is highly valuable, such as a new car, this is an exception and you’ll want to put the agreement in writing.
It is a good idea to get the agreement in writing if you’re paying influencers’ fees. Don’t know where to start? Start with an influencer contract template. You can then modify the document to suit your brand, country, or collaboration.
6. Watch out for fake influencers
Fraud is a common problem in social media, unfortunately. There are many ways that influencers can boost their profile stats using dishonest methods. When you are looking to hire an influencer, it is crucial that you be able to recognize fraud. And you can, fairly easily, spot fake influencers by looking at the data.
It could be an indication that the influencer has bought fake comments and likes. However, excessive engagement may indicate that the influencer purchased fake followers who increase their following but don’t contribute to their engagement.
Next, growth rate over time could reveal any falsifications in their profile. If you see unusual, spiky growth, investigate whether the influencer hosted a giveaway, went viral, or has some other rational explanation for that sudden jump. If you can’t find anything, the spike might be showing fake followers.
If you use an influencer marketing platform, make sure to look at the audience authenticity metrics. An influencer software program can scan the audience for suspicious behavior. The analytics report will reveal how suspicious the audience might be.
Heepsy, an influencer marketing platform, uses authenticity metrics to measure audience authenticity.
7. Remember that social media offers many creative content possibilities.
You have so many options. Why not try something new? Ask influencers for unboxings, giveaways, or to take control of your channel. Video can be used to showcase your product via a review or tutorial.
Or, live streaming allows influencers to bring their audience to events and give them an inside look. A live Q&A session could be arranged to allow followers to feel more involved in the discussion surrounding your product.
With so many networks available today, and so many content formats available on each of those networks, the sky is really the limit when it comes to what you can do with influencer content.
8. Your collaboration should allow influencers to use their artistic creativity
When you establish a collaboration, it is important to outline the publication guidelines that you would like influencers to follow. It is also important to clearly communicate the brand’s message, highlight key points, and aesthetic requirements. Let influencers know if you require photos to be taken in a particular setting.
Don’t suppress the influencer’s creativity. Let them be free to create their content in their own way. Because of their unique style, they have grown their profiles to such a high standard. They know the best way to communicate your brand’s message and ideas to their followers.
Giveaway hosted by @sportsandkellness with various brands.
9. Follow the guidelines to disclose influencer collaborations
Many countries have developed guidelines that govern how influencers should disclose information when working with brands. This is the Federal Trade Commission, in the United States, and Competition and Markets Authority, in the United Kingdom.
According to both agencies, the rulebooks state that influencers should clearly indicate when they are working for a brand. The guidelines are not just for influencers in a country; they can also apply to any influencer whose content might reach consumers in the country. The FTC guidelines may apply, for instance, to French influencers whose content is seen by American users.
There are many ways you can reveal a collaboration. You can tag the post as a paid partnership or simply say in a video that the products were yours. You should make sure that you read the guidelines for your network and what they say about your campaign.
Last thing: Though influencers usually publish the disclaimer in writing, it is important that brands play a proactive role in ensuring compliance. Some regulatory agencies are beginning to hold brands and social networks more accountable.
10. Let data help you monitor your campaign
You can measure your results by setting up an analytics program like Google Analytics. Without knowing how your campaign performed, your campaign will be useless.
Tracking links are a good way for tracking your progress in web traffic, and other goals that might be more abstract. UTM parameters are a way to see the source of your web traffic. You can also use branded URL shorteners. These programs can be used to shorten your links and make them more appealing for sharing on social media. You can also view the contributions of each link to your campaign with built-in analytics.
You might also consider using branded hashtags and brand mentions in social media in order to keep track of campaign media when it’s posted. This should be communicated to the influencers when you negotiate the campaign. Then, follow these steps to help you keep track of the content for your campaign.
Finally, if you’re running a sales campaign, use influencer-specific discount codes to help you get a sense of which influencers brought in the most sales. Make sure the codes clearly identify the influencer, so that later on you can see whose sales were whose.
Influencer marketing has something for everyone. It’s important to be prepared before jumping in. These tips will help you when working with influencers.
And if you run a campaign and your results don’t quite match your expectations, don’t stress. Be open-minded, and take the time to evaluate what worked and what could be improved. You should also look into new avenues for future campaigns. Sometimes the keys for success are not where we most expect.