As social media usage continues to accelerate and platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube play increasingly larger roles in how people spend their time, communicate, consume information, and make decisions, influencer marketing is not only the fastest growing (interest in influencer marketing has increased over 90x since 2013), but also the best advertising channel for brand marketers.
To educate and provide a high-level roadmap detailing influencer marketing strategy, influencer selection, campaign management, and more, we’ve created a 10-step comprehensive infographic guide. Following the steps outlined below will help companies begin to develop effective and impactful influencer marketing campaigns.
Take advantage of the knowledge we’ve gained from planning, launching, and optimizing thousands of influencer marketing campaigns; consult our influencer marketing roadmap for a step-by-step guide to establishing key performance indicators (KPIs), selecting the right influencer, measuring influencer marketing campaigns, and more:
The first step in developing an influencer marketing strategy is setting a budget, identifying the target audience, and establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) that will determine campaign success.
Typical KPIs include audience reach, impressions, views, engagement rates, click-throughs, the number of screenshots taken (for Snapchat campaigns), increase in followers, and sales, among other goals. When setting a budget, it’s also important to consider that campaign cost is generally proportional to the reach of the influencer.
To ensure campaigns are successful, brands should determine which social media platforms best represent the audience they are targeting and can achieve the goals of the campaign. Because different platforms are used/favored by different demographics, leveraging the right social platform is critical for targeting a particular group of consumers.
Different platforms also allow for different types of audience engagement, so utilizing the platform that will lead to the desired engagement is vital to campaign success.
The publishing schedule for influencer marketing campaigns should be high level in nature and not focus on publishing content on a specific day or at a specific time of day. For campaigns to achieve maximum effectiveness, publishing schedules must coordinate across all social platforms and align with key dates and corresponding marketing initiatives.
Brands should look at key criteria when reviewing influencers for a campaign. Primarily, the influencer’s voice must align with brand messaging to ensure branded sponsorships feel authentic and resonate with the influencer’s audience. Brands should also review an influencer’s engagement across all social platforms to determine audience loyalty and assess past sponsorships to help determine the success of future branded work.
An influencer’s ability to communicate promptly and succinctly is another key determinant of how well a partnership will go; if they are slow to respond, it’s likely to get more difficult as the campaign moves forward.
To best facilitate the creative process, brands should prepare a brief of the campaign, including campaign requirements, talking points, creative guidance, and goals. Allowing the influencer to be a part of the creative process will help them create authentic branded content that is most likely to perform well with their audience. Any content that feels too branded, too scripted, or isn’t true to what an influencer would actually say will fall flat with its audience, or worse, will draw negative feedback.
Prior to launching an influencer marketing campaign, brands and influencers should negotiate rates and sign a legal agreement stipulating compensation, campaign deliverables (regarding all aspects of influencer-created content), publishing schedule, adherence to FTC guidelines, and licensing rights for any sponsored content created through the campaign.
Influencers will often have “rate card” quotes for sponsorships on their channels, and more elaborate campaigns may require custom quotes and negotiations on rates, licensing, etc.
To ensure each piece of influencer content fulfills campaign requirements—touches on predetermined copy points, aligns with brand messaging, meets FTC advertising guidelines, etc.—brands must always review and approve posts, photos, and/or videos before they are published. Brands should set a reasonable schedule for delivery to allow time for review and changes the influencer needs to make, if necessary.
Once the brand has reviewed and approved the campaign, the social media influencer may proceed with publishing content to their social media channels. During this time, brands should monitor the campaign for accuracy, note all social engagement, and document the campaign by taking screenshots if necessary.
Promoting campaigns, both immediately after they launch and beforehand, can amplify influencer marketing efforts to larger audiences. Brands may choose to optimize the campaign by asking influencers to promote campaigns on their own social media channels, strengthening the Call To Action (CTA) within the content, and publishing additional social media content to boost campaign exposure.
Brands should gather all metrics, including reach, views, impressions, and engagement to review for a campaign report. Recording and taking screenshots of social engagement (messages, comments, etc.) are good ways to get an indication of audience sentiment and response to the campaign.
Comparing engagement metrics (likes, comments, etc.) against past videos and/or social posts by the influencer can also help companies see how the branded content compares to organic content, and reviewing results against pre-campaign KPIs and/or other similar marketing initiatives can inform future marketing strategies, budget allocation, and influencer selection.