Ready to delve into the world of influencer marketing but don’t know where to start? Use these steps to guide you through the before, during, and after of your first influencer marketing campaign.
7 steps to launch your campaign
Define your budget
Just because you have $10,000 to spend on your first influencer marketing campaign doesn’t mean you should allot the entire amount to a single influencer because they boast a ton of followers.
A flagship influencer marketing campaign will likely serve as a test run, providing a learning experience for content, monitoring, engagement and expectations.
When in doubt, choose quality over quantity, aiming for a more affordable influencer who can reach your target audience. Your brand can always launch a second campaign with the influencer — or try another — with some of the remaining budget.
Determine your goals
You might assume that driving sales is your primary goal. But realistically, it’s the third objective for most savvy marketers. While increasing product consideration comes in second, reaching new target customers is the primary goal of influencer marketing campaigns.
Other goals to consider:
- Building long-term brand equity.
- Driving purchase intent.
- Communicating your brand’s values and purpose.
- Building short-term brand mindshare.
- Boosting customer loyalty.
It’s vital that marketers flesh out realistic goals for their first influencer campaign in order to effectively measure its success.
Understand the rules
Influencer marketing does have some established rules and regulations. It’s essential that marketers educate themselves on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) rules early in the process. This will help your brand (or the influencer) avoid accruing fines, losing trust with influencers and potential customers, and making costly mistakes that will erode any profit or progress you’ve made from your campaign.
Need some examples? Here are a few highlights from the FTC’s regulations:
- Hashtags disclosing sponsored posts (e.g., #sponsored or #ad) should be not only highly visible but at the front of posts or lists of hashtags to decrease the chances of viewers missing it.
- Video reviews are required to include both verbal and written disclosures of the partnership in the video itself, rather than only in the description of the content.
- Instagram requires that influencer marketing campaigns must use the Branded Content tag, which creates the header text “Paid partnership with [brand].”
Research potential influencers
There are a lot of factors to consider when compiling your list of potential influencers. Look beyond just the number of followers by focusing on the target audience. Lesser-known influencers within a niche may provide more bang for your buck than mega-influencers with broad content.
Take note of how frequently they post, the type of content, the medium (e.g., images, video, text, live streams), and engagement (e.g., comments, likes, shares).
You can also search for influencers on an influencer marketing platform. You can search for influencers by keyword, browse their profiles, and check out their engagement stats from one easy-to-use dashboard.
Interact publicly, then reach out personally
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential partners to a handful of prospects, engage with their content publicly by liking or commenting on their content.
After determining that the influencer is a good fit for your campaign, send a personal email or direct message through a platform. This is your chance to tell them about your brand and campaign goals. Beyond the compensation you’ll offer, include any potential benefits to the content creator, such as:
- Solidifying value alignments.
- Discounts for them and their followers.
- Free products or services.
- Extended promotion.
- New followers.
- Brand testimonial if the campaign is successful.
Collaborate on the campaign
All experienced social media influencers will expect some form of guidance from the brand to ensure both partners are on the same page in terms of the campaign. This guidance will likely cover things like the type and format of content, promotional codes, who will be responding to comments, the general goals of the campaign, and the contractual legalities of influencer-generated content.
Just as your brand needs to be careful about its reputation, so, too, do influencers. As content creators, they have a personal brand to protect. Be considerate in your asks and do enough research that you’ll know what requests might be inconsistent with their values, reputation, and style.
Monitor and measure
More experienced content creators will be able to provide you with detailed reports on reach and engagement for the campaign. But you’ll also want to look beyond vanity metrics to better assess the effectiveness of your efforts.
Consider giving the influencer a unique promo code or link to share with their followers. Beyond just sales, track website visitors, downloads, page views, newsletter signups, brand followers gained, and shares.
Tip for a Successful Campaign
- Consider the influencer’s reach on other social media channels, not just the primary campaign platform.
- Include ‘content repurposing’ in your contract. Some influencers may charge additional feeds for your brand to reuse their content in ads, on your website, or as part of future campaigns.
- Weigh the benefits of exclusivity vs. the cost. Some influencers are willing to sign a limited-time non-compete agreement, but it will likely come with a higher rate.
- Consider a brand takeover where you give the influencer access to one of your social media accounts. The exclusive content can be promoted to the influencer’s followers, who may, in turn, be inspired to follow your brand on social media.
- Respect the influencer’s creative expertise but be clear about non-negotiable components of the contract. These might include a call to action, mentioning product features, campaign timelines, and if the brand should be mentioned by its name, social media tag, or a unique hashtag.