Influencer marketing has shown a significant increase compared to other types of marketing today. The rise of social media is impacting the way brands choose to market themselves. The following are 12 steps that companies should follow in order to successfully carry out an influencer marketing campaign.
The first step I always recommend when beginning to plan an influencer marketing strategy is to determine your budget, identify your target audience, set specific and realistic goals, and establish key performance indicators that will help you analyze how successful you were at achieving your objectives (KPI's). KPI's include conversion (sales, email signups, etc.), views, impressions, shares, comments, audience reach, engagement rates, increase in followers, and more.
Not all social media channels are created and used equally. You need to establish which social media platforms best represent your brand and most effectively engage your target audience. Different social media platforms are used by different demographics, and have varying levels of audience engagement for certain types of content. Twitter for example, is ideal for news style, up to the minute reporting, where Instagram is ideal for visually engagement content that stimulates emotion. It is important to understand the type of content you will be delivering and what social media channels are best suited for that type of content.
Just like taking a long-distance road trip without a map or GPS, your influencer marketing campaign will get lost and you will be less likely to achieve the results you seek without a clear and concise content calendar. Your content calendar should contains all necessary information about the type of content your influencers will be posting, the specific days and times you would like to have content distributed, and the specific platforms that each piece of content needs to be shared on.
Now you’re ready to start the influencer selection process. The influencers you select should have a “voice” and content style that aligns with your brand’s message for authenticity, and to ensure the messages resonate with your audience. I also suggest selecting influencers based on their average engagement rates and their overall audience demographics, rather than by audience size alone. An influencer with a smaller audience that has a really high engagement rate could perform significantly better for your brand than an influencer with a larger audience size, but who receives minimal engagement per post.
Preparing a campaign brief is essential because this will help the you and your influencers manage the creative process together. An effective campaign brief should include campaign requirements, talking points, creative guidance, and specific goals. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of including your influencers in the creative process in order to ensure they create authentic branded content that succeeds in engaging your audiences and driving action.
Before commencing an influencer marketing campaign, you and influencers should agree on several key elements. It is important that you not only negotiate rates, but that you also create a legal agreement specifying compensation and the influencer’s obligations. Obligations include campaign deliverables, publishing schedule, sticking to FTC guidelines, and licensing rights for any sponsored content created through the campaign.
I never allow content to be published before either my team or my client (the brand) reviews and approves the content to ensure that the right information goes out to the right audience, and that all brand guidelines are followed. If changes are required, these changes need to be communicated with the influencers and the newly revised content needs to be reviewed once again prior to being published.
Once the content is approved, the influencer moves forward with publishing content to their social media channels according to the terms agreed upon by both parties, and in accordance to the content calendar.
When working with multiple influencers, I strongly recommend that your request the influencers share and engage with each other’s content in order to amplify and maximize the reach and power of your messaging. This should be negotiated and included in the contract. Your company should also share and engage with the influencer’s content on your brand’s owned channels. Engaging with comments is also important as it makes people feel that their opinions matter.
You should treat your ongoing influencer marketing campaign like a living and breathing person. You should constantly be checking up on it by monitoring the KPI’s you determined are important to your company in Step1 to ensure your campaign is going smoothly and is helping you achieve your goals.
If you find room for improvement, then make game-time revisions and optimize your campaign in real-time to maximize the ROI and other benefits your company receives from its influencer marketing efforts and increase your chances for success.
Reporting is key and depending on your company’s needs, you may want to create and analyze reports on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or campaign by campaign basis. At the end of the campaign, you should have a comprehensive report created that you and your marketing team can use to analyze and learn from for future marketing initiatives.
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Steven Tulman is the CEO of Social Pulse Marketing Inc., a leading influencer marketing agency helping Fortune 500 companies increase brand awareness, improve consumer trust and loyalty, and influence consumer behavior. He is a social media marketing and sales expert, and an entrepreneur with a passion for helping companies grow through effective online marketing strategies, improved sales performance, and overall customer experience.