8 Steps to a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

Happy Monday! I usually hate this day of the week with a passion, but today marks my last day of undergraduate classes, so I’m actually pretty excited. To celebrate, I’m talking about one of my favorite topics: influencer marketing.

A couple of weeks ago at my now-former internship, I spoke with our digital VP about the national influencer campaign that I had helped out on. I was thrilled to learn that the client was happy with our work, and even more excited to hear that the influencer with the best results was one that I had identified. Aside from being good for my ego, though, it got me thinking about the steps that I took in my research and the reasoning behind the choices that I made.

Below, I’ve outlined the major steps in running a successful influencer marketing campaign. For more background on what influencer marketing is and why I’m such a big fan of it, check out my post Influencer Marketing 101.

1. Identify Your Objective

One of the first questions that I asked my boss was, “What’s our goal?” Once I knew that generating sales leads was the objective, I was able to start thinking about criteria to use when measuring potential influencers.

2. Determine Your Brand Voice

Part of the reason why influencer marketing works is that it’s authentic. For instance, if you’re working with a restaurant chain, you need to focus on foodies who are known for going out at a variety of places. If you were to try to partner with someone who specifically highlights local cuisine, for example, that partnership would seem forced and inauthentic to consumers. This translates to wasted time and money and a failed campaign.

3. Determine Your Criteria

The criteria that you choose will be defined by your campaign objectives. Generally speaking, I use engagement rate as my main criteria. I also look at follower count, which can lead to some uncomfortable discussions; a client may want to only use influencers with over 100,000 followers, but you may have identified a series of micro-influencers with less than 30,000 instead. The influencer’s audience is important as well, because it must relate to the brand’s objectives, existing audience, and desired market (especially if the goal is audience growth).

4. Identify Your Influencers

Now that you’ve got a strong set of criteria to rate your influencers on, you’re ready to start on the actual research. There are a number of tools to identify influencers and most of them are paid. If you don’t have a budget (like me), Google is going to be your friend. Try a variety of search terms, like, “Chicago mom bloggers,” “Chicago Instagrammers,” and “Chicago bloggers,” to get a  good feel for the people who make up the blogging and Instagram industry in your target area. From there, you can measure them against your criteria to find the right influencers for your campaign.

5. Contact Your Influencers

Most bloggers and Instagrammers will have an email where they can be reached. If they don’t, send them a direct message on social media and give them your sales pitch, then let them know where to contact you if they’d like to discuss the opportunity more in-depth.

6. Run Your Campaign

This is the fun part. Obviously, this part is up to you, but make sure not to try to give your influencers a script to follow. It doesn’t work. Instead, you can discuss what you’d like from them (3 Instagram posts and a blog post, for instance), their compensation, and any restrictions (no bad-mouthing the brand, no offensive language, etc.). For a large-scale campaign, you would most likely be working with your legal team on this.

7. Analyze Your Campaign

I have a love/hate relationship with analyzing influencer campaigns. While I enjoy looking over the data to extract the important information, this is particularly difficult for these types of campaigns because there’s not many guides on how to do it. My advice? Focus on comparing your results with the objectives that you set out to create, like audience growth, engagement, and whatnot. You can pull all of this from the analytics services on your platforms, or by running reports on Hootsuite or similar tools.

8. Thank Your Influencers

Relationship-building is a critical component of influencer marketing. Most of these influencers will know each other, so if someone has a bad experience with you, it’s going to get around. Additionally, you may get some great results and what to use this influencer again in the future. They’re going to be much more likely to keep working with you if they walk away from the first campaign feeling value. Doesn’t everyone want to feel appreciated?

These are my major steps to running an influencer marketing campaign. Have I left anything out? Are you thinking about doing an influencer campaign in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

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