How to create a booming influencer campaign in six easy steps
Whether you are launching a new product line, want to boost your image or communicate an important message: these days, it is impossible to imagine a marketing & PR mix without influencers. From bloggers, tweeps and YouTubers to Instagram personalities and TikTok heroes. A report by Business Insider (2020) even estimated that brands will be spending 15 billion euros a year on influencer marketing by 2022.
But is the need for an influencer campaign actually so self-evident? That’s a whole other story. No worries, because if you have never worked with influencers or really haven’t a clue where to start, we have presented some convenient guidelines to get you started below. Want to bet that you will have become an influencer expert after spending only five minutes reading the text below?
Step 1: Preparation is key
You know that you should always come prepared. And this applies equally to influencer marketing. The first phase should therefore focus on outlining your approach to that you can enter the world of content creators and opinion leaders well-armed. Ready, set, go! In this first step, determine:
- Your goals. What do you want to achieve with your influencer campaign? Do you want to give a particular product a sales boost? Do you want to launch your brand name within a specific target group? Or do you want to spur a group of people to take action – for a good cause, for example? Select a specific goal for your first campaign and focus on this.
- Your target audience. Who do you want to reach through your influencers? Perhaps you want to reach your brand’s usual target audience, but you may want to target an entirely new audience (e.g. youth) through your influencers.
- Your budget. Just like traditional advertising, influencer marketing is not free. Keep in mind that the free products, tickets, hotel accommodations and so on you give your influencers, as well as shipping costs or extra goodies you put into their kits plus any fees you pay them, should also be included in your budget. And don’t forget the time you – or someone you may be hiring – will spend on searching for and following up on relevant profiles.
It’s not a golden ticket
Don’t overestimate your abilities or the results of your campaign. It may take some time before you actually see results – particularly if this is the first time that you work with influencers. So, set realistic goals.
Step 2: A clear view
Are you a newbie and is this the first time you will be looking for potential ambassadors for an influencer campaign? It might be a good idea to create one or more ideal personas. This will help you get a clear view of the people you are looking for, their style and what they are doing.
Want to use multiple personas within one and the same campaign? It’s possible. An example of a situation where this might be a good idea is a meal subscription box, like the ones marketed by HelloFresh, where you are targeting both students with little cooking experience and parents with a busy family life. In a case like this, you need two ‘types’ of influencers to appeal to both target audiences.
Keep it simple
Don’t lose sight of your goals by focusing too much on the details. With regard to personas, what’s most important is that you identify how they relate to your brand, which products appeal to them and how they use them, who their audience is and/or followers are and on which channels they are present. Their favourite food or the brand of toilet paper they buy is irrelevant – unless that happens to be your niche, of course!
Step 3: The influencer hunt
OK, you are now mega-prepared. Time to really roll up your sleeves and look for influencers that are a perfect match with your brand or the message behind your campaign. There are various ways to do this, but all of them involve desk research. Scrolling, scrolling and scrolling some more.
Hate the idea of doing brunt work? We get it. There are paying platforms that you can use to look for influencers based on specific search terms and/or criteria. Examples are Influo, Join and Upfluence.
Extra tip: don’t forget the people who are already fans of your brand: who tags your brand in posts, uses your brand hashtags, responds frequently and positively to your posts? Perhaps you will find the loyal ambassador who is already crazy about your brand and has a strong online presence at the same time straight away! And people like that are totally authentic to boot, right?
Authenticity is key
Don’t focus too much on the numbers. Of course, it’s important to choose influencers with an extensive reach, but what’s more important is their authenticity and a logical link with your brand. Don’t blindly go for the biggest influencers with the largest number of followers: try to find someone who suits your brand so that you will be able to reach the target audience relevant to your brand.
Step 4: The moment of truth
You have now outlined the approach for your influencer campaign and have a list of influencers that you want to get in touch with. So, what are you waiting for? Contact your potential ambassadors with a personal, respectful and enthusiastic email or a DM. Briefly introduce your brand and clearly inform your prospective influencer what you can offer him or her and which exposure you expect in return. Be to-the-point, but never pushy.
Do you have a long list of influencers and are you afraid of not being able to see the forest for the trees? Use a CRM tool or a spreadsheet to keep track of the responses you receive. This way, you will be able to see at a single glance who you contacted, who responded, who placed which post where and so on.
Don’t send a mass email with all the influencers in carbon copy (blind or not). Nobody wants to be addressed with an impersonal ‘Hi there!’ or ‘Dear influencer’. Personalised emails, preferably including a well-founded reason explaining why you believe there is a match between your brand and their specific profile work best.
Step 5: An unforgettable gift
Although ambassadorship involves more than free products alone, the parcels you send are an important part of this, Everyone likes to get a nice gift in the mail! Be creative and think outside the box when putting together your influencer kits.
You can have cool merchandising items made that are suited to your brand and the message you want to communicate through your campaign. If you are launching a summery mocktail, for example, you could put an inflatable in your parcel that will instantly put your influencer in a sunny, poolside mood. Goodies are always a great extra, even in those cases where you let influencers make use of a service or experience. If you have organised a standing buffet, for example, you could have them take home their favourite items in a branded lunchbox. Or send them an original weekend bag to stash their essentials in two weeks before they are due to spend the night at your hotel.
Not only does influencer merchandise contribute to brand experience; it helps create genuine brand ambassadors. An influencer who takes your branded carry bag along on every trip, or who poses with your eye-catching inflatable on all of his or her summer Instagram photos? Score!
Are you looking for a merchandise partner for your influencer campaigns? At Kick and Rush, we contribute ideas, design customised products and make sure everything looks absolutely smashing. Contact us to discuss partnership.
Step 6: Measure and assess!
To measure is to know, they say. And they’re right. As a brand owner or marketeer, you don’t simply create influencer campaigns on a whim; you want to know what they have brought you and what you can do next time to make them even better.
In contrast to an advertisement campaign on Facebook, the effect of influencer marketing is difficult to measure in specific terms. Someone can share something on social media and spur a follower to buy your product at a shop, but this data will never reach you, as a brand. So, how can you measure the effect of your campaign?
- You can keep track of who posted something related to your brand and when this happened, and compare this to your social media analytics data and website visits on that day. This way, you can find out who brought extra followers and traffic to your brand.
- Or you could create a personalised discount code for your online shop to measure the number of orders placed through each influencer.
- Personalised UTM links can also be of help because these let you identify who generated the most traffic to your online shop in Google Analytics. This will, however, only work if your influencer can easily share the link (e.g. using a swipe up in his or her Instagram stories or in an article on his or her blogpost).
Patience is a virtue
Don’t forget that influencing often takes time. Analytics may be important, but what’s even more important is building a loyal relationship with your ambassadors so that they become – and remain – fans of your brand. That’s the spirit.
And: do you feel prepared for your first influencer campaign after reading these tips? Good luck and above all: have fun!
Karim is a Marketing Manager with a love for love brands.