A well-prepared influencer campaign can do wonders for your brand awareness, engagement, and even boost your SEO. It also has one of the most impressive ROIs around, with the average influencer marketing campaign receiving $6.85 in earned media value for every dollar spent on paid media. But if recent events like Fyre Festival or the Pepsi fiasco have taught us anything, it’s that when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns brands should proceed with caution.
Before you launch into these four steps, though, determine what exactly your brand’s goal is. Do you want to raise awareness of your brand’s service or product, increase engagement or do you want to boost SEO? You might even be looking at combining the best of both worlds and having several goals. Your campaign will be different depending on what your goal is.
Next, determine your budget. Influencers will expect to be paid as their blog and social media profiles are their source of income. Before starting work with an influencer make sure that you’ve agreed how much you will be paying them and what content you will be getting in return to avoid any surprises.
1. Research your audience
Now that you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to start planning. Your first step will be to really understand your audience. Don’t stop at pure demographics like age, gender, and location: good audience research will dig a lot deeper than that.
Find out where your audience is online: are they present across all social platforms, or are they concentrated on Facebook for example? Once you’ve identified which platforms your audience is using, start to look at the content they’re sharing. Is it news articles, blog posts, or other users’ content? This should give you a pretty clear idea of who exactly your audience is, and what influencers they’re following.
At Curated, we know how important it is to get the right picture of your audience. That’s why we’ve developed a unique and in-depth audience research that takes us beyond the basics and looks at what your audience is searching for, and what their intent is when they search for information about your brand. This will tell us what content interests them and what the best way is to get your brand in front of them. We don’t stop there, though: we’ll work closely with our social team to understand which topics are trending and on which channels. Our content team will also get involved to look at the language your audience is engaging with and whether or not it’s working.
2. Find the ones you want
Identify the top influencers in your sector and have a look at the sort of content they put out on their social media platforms and blog. Look at what content they don’t cover, and how your brand’s message could fit into these content gaps. If one of your goals is SEO value, look at their domain authority and make sure that their links in previous posts are natural and conform with Google’s webmaster guidelines. Does their aesthetic and tone match your brand’s? Does your product or service fit in with the rest of their content? Have they promoted similar brands before?
The most important thing when looking for influencers to work with is to look at their social media and blog through the audience’s eyes. As a reader, would you actually want to read your brand’s content on this blog? If you came across one of the brand images on their Instagram, would you click through to the blog to find out more, or would it just seem a bit off-topic? Once you’ve ascertained the influencer is the right fit for your brand, you can ask for their media pack to get an insight into their readership and make sure it matches your audience.
3. Making it work
Once you’ve picked your influencers and contacted them, it’s time to create some content. This is where it’s important to work closely with the influencer to make sure that your post, video, or images don’t look too branded and fit in well with the rest of their content. In a feed full of aesthetically-pleasing images from other brands, it can be difficult to stand out. It’s a difficult balance to strike: you want your content to fit in with the influencer’s aesthetic and editorial style, while still being presented in an original and fresh way that grabs users’ attention.
Remember that no one knows more about their followers than the influencers themselves. If they think a piece of content won’t work well with their audience, or it’s likely to fall flat, listen to them and adapt your content accordingly.
This is also the time to agree on a cost for the influencer’s work. As mentioned above, this will largely depend on two factors: the calibre of the influencer you’re working with and the type of content you’re producing. The higher the influencer’s following and site quality, the more it will cost you to collaborate with them. Likewise, if you want to work on videos, recipes, or a whole collaboration with an influencer as opposed to just one social media post, the price tag will rise accordingly. In some cases, actual payment is not necessary as you’ll be gifting a service or product to the influencer.
When we start an influencer campaign at Curated, we work collaboratively with influencers to produce the best possible content. We brief them thoroughly about the message we want to promote while still allowing them to keep their editorial voice.
In light of new Instagram regulations, it’s more important than ever for influencers to disclose which brands they’re working with – even on social media. Sponsored Instagram posts should all include a #ad or #sp to make it clear to users that the content has been paid for by a brand. We’re seeing larger crackdowns by both social platforms and government bodies on sponsored content, so just make sure you’re toeing the line when it comes to working with influencers. Always remember that if the influencer doesn’t disclose a sponsored partnership, your brand could be penalised.
4. Show me the ROI
After you’ve wrapped up your campaign, you can start your reporting. How you report on your influencer campaign will depend on what your initial goals were: if your main goal was brand awareness, then you’ll want to focus on metrics like reach, and engagements such as shares and clicks. If you focused more on boosting SEO, you’ll want to look at how many referrals came through to your site, and the overall traffic to your site: was there a spike during your campaign? You should also look at how people engaged with the content on the influencer’s site: how many views did the post get, how many people commented and shared it, how popular was the post compared to the influencer’s other content. Of course, make sure to look at how people engaged with the post on social media, as well as how many people liked, shared, or retweeted.
To get the best measurement of your campaign, make sure to ask the influencer beforehand if they will share their engagement metrics with you. This will also cut down on your reporting time.
And there you have it! These are the four key ingredients for a successful influencer campaign. Want to try your hand at influencer marketing, but not sure where to begin? We’ve worked with all kinds of brands and influencers, so we can help. Drop us an email.