Working with influencers can be a powerful way for a brand to expand its reach. And in the past few years, these social media experts have gone from solo content creators to trusted brand partners, becoming an integral part of many social media strategies.
Planning an influencer campaign might sound challenging—especially if it’s new terrain for your brand—but a solid plan will make it go much more smoothly. Here are four steps to guide you as you get started:
#1: Ensure the campaign is tied directly to your overall marketing strategy.
The first step is to create clear goals for your campaign that connect to your overarching content and marketing strategies. An influencer campaign shouldn’t be an independent project that’s disjointed from the flow of the other content on your social platforms.
Having a set goal will make it easier to zero in on the creator (or creators) that would be the best partner to accomplish that goal. Some common goals are spreading brand awareness, building brand advocacy, or increasing website visits—but these can get more specific. For instance, if the main goal is building trust with their community, choose influencers that can be those bridge builders.
Canon recently launched an influencer campaign to position itself as the go-to brand for up-and-coming influencers. They partnered with famous YouTuber and business owner Emma Chamberlain. As someone who went from creating online content as a teen to making it big with red-carpet appearances, there is no better voice than Chamberlain’s to reach aspiring influencers.
#2: Find a content creator whose core values authentically align with yours.
Authenticity is one of the most important aspects of content creation these days—and consumers can see through disingenuous content in a heartbeat. No one has patience for ad-like or gimmicky posts.
So do your research. Find creators whose messaging aligns with your own, so that any content you produce together will flow naturally, and their audience will be receptive to it. When you approach the creator with ideas, ask them what they envision in the partnership. With the right fit, the whole process becomes more collaborative, empowering the creator to make high-quality content and ensuring that your company gets the most out of the campaign.
Once you’ve found potential partners, make sure you hold onto their information for future activations. Mark down all the details that might be useful, like the creator’s style, who their audience is, and where they are based. Building out a database of creators means you have a solid foundation for future campaigns.
A perfect partnership? CeraVe and dermatologist influencers. The skincare brand has partnered with several dermatologist creators, who bring knowledge and credibility to their content that other creators in online skincare circles may not have. CeraVe has brought these folks to the center of their social-first campaigns over the past few months.
#3: Provide a detailed brief to the creator.
As soon as you figure out which creator(s) you’re working with, it’s time to get clear on the details of the work. While it’s necessary to think about the number and types of posts you’d like to produce, focusing on the message you want to convey is most important. And don’t forget to cross your t’s and dot your i’s. Fulfill all FTC disclosure requirements to avoid trouble down the road for all involved.
For some of the details—such as the style of the content and the format on different platforms—be flexible and listen to the creator. Ask for their input, even if you’re hesitant to do so. After all, you’re looking to reach the creator’s audience, and they’re the expert on how to do so.
When we’ve worked with influencers, we usually lay out every detail we can think of within a brief, such as the deliverables, deadline, pay, and any specific language or links we’d like them to include. Next, we draft copy and post concepts that the influencers can use as a base to give them an idea of the direction we’d like to go. From there, we listen to the ideas the creators bring to the table and align our vision for the project.
#4: Track the data.
Don’t forget this step—always track the data. If the posts are published on the influencer’s profiles, contact them after the campaign timeline is over to gather analytics and results. Keeping tabs on metrics can help you measure the value of your investment and prove whether there was a measurable impact on your goals.
This is also an essential step during the content creator selection process. You can assess an influencer’s audience demographics and engagement metrics to ensure they align with the brand’s target audience and location and to check out any bots or comment pods involved.
This data collection not only helps measure the current campaign but can also guide you in future campaigns. For instance, if you worked with multiple influencers, tracking cost per impression can give you insight into who had the best return on investment. Additionally, you can see where your content is resonating. In the next go-around, having an influencer create content for your page might be better than posting sponsored content on theirs. Thorough analytics lend to a more robust strategy in the future.
Want to talk more about an influencer strategy for your brand? Drop us a line.