You’re likely to have seen influencer marketing campaigns if you use social media. Some campaigns are obvious, like Instagram posts featuring a header that states “paid partnership”. Others are subtler, such as TikTok influencers reviewing products or unboxing them in their videos and mentioning that the content is sponsored. Influencer marketing is everywhere, regardless of whether we are aware of it or not.
Are these campaigns really successful? The answer seems to be yes. 91% of marketers surveyed by Influencer Marketing Hub believe that influencer marketing is effective. This type of response suggests that influencer marketing is worth at least a try.
Like most things, influencer marketing is not a profitable venture unless there’s careful planning and analysis. If you are interested in starting an influencer campaign or just need some tips about the process, keep reading.
1. Recognize your limitations and understand your goals
Every marketing campaign should start with the fundamental question: What are my goals? You must establish your goals early and create a plan of action to get there. This will help you plan all aspects of your campaign.
In influencer marketing campaigns, there are three common goals: to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, or to increase sales. It doesn’t matter what goal you choose; it should just be something that you can track in a tangible way. Analytics tools make it easy to track influencer campaigns in a variety of ways, thanks to the digital environment.
Don’t be afraid of admitting your limitations. You can better manage expectations and create a realistic strategy by recognizing your limits early.
2. Know your audience and where they spend time
You must establish your campaign goals and who your target audience is. Consider who purchases your products and uses your services. Are they predominantly men or women? Are they younger shoppers or older consumers? Take into account demographics such as gender, age and location.
Once you have defined your target audience, find out where they spend most of their online time. Different demographics use different social media platforms. It is important to choose the right channel for your campaign.
For example, in the US, a third of TikTok users are between 10-19. So if you want to reach young people, this might be the best option. Be sure to take into account location demographics, too. Some social networks may not be allowed in certain countries or they don’t have the same popularity there as they do in yours.
3. Make use of an influencer marketing platform
You can start the influencer discovery process directly via social media. But be prepared to create spreadsheets and manually collect data from influencer profiles each day. As information about the audience demographics and other statistics are not available to the general public, you will also need to ask influencers for this data. This method of managing metrics is free, but takes time and energy.
There is an easier way to do this. An influencer marketing platform allows you to search for influencers using filters, and then provide detailed analytics reports on their profiles. You can view follower growth, engagement rate and audience demographics in one place.
Influencer marketing platform Heepsy tells you which percentage of an influencer’s followers are suspicious.
A platform like this also allows you to organize your search results into lists. This is particularly useful if you work with many influencers or are running multiple campaigns at the same time. You can also annotate influencer profiles with the lists feature to ensure that your entire team is up-to-date.
4. Decide what type of influencer you want to work with
The first two tiers of the influencer ladder are nano and micro influencers. They have between 1-50K followers and the highest engagement rates in the business. Their followers trust their authenticity because they aren’t flashy and come across as genuine people. They’re also budget-friendly options and will sometimes work with you in exchange for free products alone.
Or, you could choose to work with top influencers. Just understand that these influencers are much more expensive, and may charge thousands of dollars per post. They also don’t come across as authentically as nano and micro influencers; followers can see that the influencer’s perfect profile doesn’t look the same as real life.
Finally, you might decide to work with a KOL, or key opinion leader. These are kind of like super-influencers, in that their influence extends beyond social media.
If you need an example to help you understand what a KOL is, think of Oprah, the Duchess of Sussex, or Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz. These people are highly reputable in their industries and can greatly affect people’s behavior.
KOLs are difficult to get a hold of. Make sure you only reach out to those who align closely with your brand’s mission and values. And be prepared to deal with big budgets and busy schedules.
@valeskaschneider is a sports micro influencer who collaborates with surfing brands.
5. Determine if you require a contract
A collaboration contract may be required depending on the type of influencer and the incentive you offer them.
Consider the incentive. A contract is not usually necessary if you are giving the influencer products for free. This exception is if the product is extremely valuable, such as a new car.
You will generally need to sign a written agreement if you are paying influencer fees. Are you unsure where to begin? You can use an influencer contract template to get you started. Then, adjust it as needed for your brand, jurisdiction and collaboration.
Understanding that different types of influencers might require contracts is also important. For micro and nano influencers who are just starting to collaborate, it is unlikely that they will ask for a contract. These influencers may actually find contracts to be “conversion killers”.
Top influencers, however, are more likely to require a contract. This is because they have managers and because it is generally impossible to close a collaboration for product only.This type of administrative work will be familiar to these influencers, so don’t worry about contracts being off putting.
6. Keep an eye out for fake influencers
Like most aspects of life, social media is susceptible to fraud. There are many ways for influencers to increase their profile stats by using dishonest means. It is important to recognize influencer fraud when you hire someone to work for your brand. There are patterns in data that will help you identify fake influencers.
If engagement is very high, it could indicate that the influencer bought fake comments or likes. If engagement is extremely low, it could indicate that influencers bought fake followers to increase their follower count, but not their engagement rate.
The profile’s growth rate can also reveal flaws. It could indicate a few things if there is a sudden increase in followers. It could be that the influencer has recently held a giveaway which draws many new followers quickly. Or they may have become viral, attracting a lot of followers. If none of these rational explanations are present, the spikey growth rate could indicate that fake followers were purchased.
If you are using an influencer marketing platform to market your products, be sure to check the authenticity metric. Software that analyzes the audience of an influencer can detect suspicious behavior. This is a common feature in bots. An analytics report will show you how suspicious a percentage of the audience is.
Spiky and/or negative growth rate isn’t usually a good sign.
7. Make the most of social media’s unique content opportunities
Social media was simple back in the day. You can upload a photo to Instagram, tweet your thoughts, or share links to friends’ Facebook pages. All of these platforms now offer many different ways to share creative content. Additionally, there are always new networks that emerge and expand the social media horizons.
There are so many options, so why not try something different? Influencers could help with unboxings, giveaways or takeovers of your channel. You can also use video to show off your product through a review, tutorial or demonstration. Influencers can also take their audience along to events via live streams to get an insider’s view. You can also host a live Q&A session to get more involvement from your followers in the discussion about your product.
8. In your collaboration, give influencers artistic freedom
It’s crucial to establish guidelines for publication when you are establishing a collaboration. Communicate clearly your brand’s message and what you are trying to highlight. Also, communicate any aesthetic requirements. If you would like photos taken in a specific setting, let the influencers know.
However, you shouldn’t limit the creativity of influencers. Allow them to be creative and create content with their own voice. Their unique style has helped them grow their online profiles. They are the best at communicating your brand’s message with their followers.
A giveaway being hosted by @sportsandkellness, micro-influencer.
9. Follow the guidelines for influencer disclosure
Numerous countries have established guidelines for what information influencers must disclose when working with brands. The Federal Trade Commission of the United States and the Competition and Markets Authority of the United Kingdom are two of the most prominent agencies that manage this.
The rulebooks of both agencies state that influencers must clearly disclose when they work with a brand. It is important to remember that these guidelines may not only apply to the influencers who are working in that country but also to all influencers whose content could reach consumers in that country. For example, the FTC may apply to influencers in France whose content appears as a screen grab for American users.
You can disclose a collaboration in many ways. From tagging the post with a paid partnership to simply stating that you were given the products, Make sure you review the guidelines and find out what they have to say about your campaign’s network.
One last point: Although influencers often publish disclaimers, brands must take an active role in ensuring compliance. Various regulatory agencies are now holding brands and social media more accountable.
10. Let data help you monitor your campaign
To measure your results, set up an analytics program such as Google Analytics. Your campaign won’t be very useful if you don’t know how well you did.
Use influencer-specific discount codes to help you easily track sales for your campaign. Create a unique coupon code for each influencer, and let them distribute it to their followers. This way, whenever you see a sale, you’ll be able to tell which influencer brought in the lead.
Tracking links is a great way to track web traffic and other goals. UTM parameters or link shorteners can be used to track where your web traffic is coming from. These programs reduce the length of your links to make them more appealing for social media posting. These programs also provide built-in analytics that allow you to see the contribution of each link to your campaign.
Consider using brand hashtags and brand mentions on social networks, too. These will help you keep track of influencer content posted for your campaign. When negotiating the campaign, be sure to mention this to the influencer. These will allow you to keep track of all the content that was created for your campaign.
There is something for everyone in influencer marketing. But be prepared before you jump into this world. These are some tips to keep in mind when you next work with influencers.