At some point in our lives, we’ve all purchased a product or signed up for a service based on a friend’s recommendation, a celebrity endorsement, or even an anonymous online review. These different groups of people influenced our buying decisions — because we tend to trust and relate to people who are like us, and all of us want to try the latest beauty products that are the sworn favorites of larger-than-life celebrities!
Just look back a couple of years, and you’ll realise this kind of marketing — better known as influencer marketing — has peaked in popularity. According to reports, the influencer marketing business will be valued at a mammoth 10 billion dollars this year. So there’s no better reason (or time) than now, for brands to make the most of this tactic. Here are some tips I put together to help your brands better navigate this challenging territory. Read on.
Build your campaign
Let’s start right at the beginning — getting your goals, target audience (TG), messaging, etc right. This step lays a solid foundation for the entire influencer campaign, as it allows you to make better, more informed decisions in the next phase. I often go back to the basics — using the SMART (Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) approach and creating buyer personas, etc to develop a campaign. And let me tell you — the base of your influencer campaign is no different from your regular one. So what does this mean? Well, there’s no room for ambiguity. Get your whos, whys, whats, and hows in place — and you’ll be set for a successful campaign!
Set a budget
At this stage, it’s important to determine how much you are willing to spend. Influencer campaigns are usually expensive, as they involve rewarding the influencer, paying for their traveling expenses, PR kits, and other odds and sods. Deciding on an estimated figure will help you when you begin negotiations with the influencer at a later stage. Currently, influencers charge somewhere between 5 grand to let your imagination run wild. Pardon my dramatics, but honestly, it all depends on how popular and how effective they are on social media!
Research, shortlist, and pick
I believe that no great decision was ever made without adequate research. Yes, the process is long, laborious, and boring — but guess what? This step is what sets you and your brand apart from the rest. It helps you recognise loopholes in your campaign, if any, at an early stage and identify potential influencers who can hit the ground running. Now, before you go ahead and kickstart the screening process, keep in mind some critical questions such as — does this influencer have the same audience as my business? Will this influencer fit into my budget? Does this influencer’s brand image align with my brand’s goals? Do these influencers create high-quality content?
All these questions put together will help you narrow down your list of prospective influencers. In addition, I’d say, closely monitor their social media handles to get a sense of who you are going to be working with, and whether or not they are a good fit for your campaign.
Leave an impression; Set an expectation
Once you’ve made your choice, get in touch with them or their business managers to establish contact. Today, there are numerous influencer consultancies that can help you at this juncture. Now, it’s time for you to woo them. Make your proposition sound exciting and fun. Harp on the benefits of your collaboration. Send them PR kits, and samples of your product. Remember — all these efforts will only strengthen your partnership and add momentum to your campaign. While you are taking care of the whole enchilada, lay down your terms and conditions clearly. Decide on all the digital collaterals the influencer is going to create, and make sure you sign a legal contract.
Here’s an example of a brand that aced this — a popular American company that manufactures action cameras and develops video-editing software often sponsors trips to exotic locations, such as Bali and Fiji for all their influencers. On these trips, influencers are encouraged to create top-quality content surrounding the company’s product. These influencers record their adventure sports and cultural experiences on these cameras handed out by the company, highlighting its various benefits through vlogs, curated Instagram content, blogs, etc.
The last step — measure the success of your partnership and the campaign as a whole. Check the engagement on your influencer’s social media handles. I’d say the number of likes, mentions, retweets, comments, reposts, etc are great metrics to determine the success. Ask your influencer for overall views and other statistics on their posts. See if your campaign prompted any action among the audience by calculating conversions of leads to customers. This retrospection will help you understand results, reset your goals and make important decisions for future campaigns.
Remember, the above structure is not a rule of thumb. There’ll be a lot of back and forth between the stages that help you perfect your campaign. But in the end, it’s all going to be worth it — because nobody has achieved success without a little bit of sweat!
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