The best influencer marketing campaigns aren't done in a day. Here's your fail-proof guide to planning your influencer campaign.
Thinking about adding influencers to your marketing strategy this year? Use this guide to know how far in advance you need to start the process to ensure a good experience with both your influencer and your marketing team.
How Does Influencer Marketing Fit Into Your Bigger Marketing Plan?
What is your marketing team trying to accomplish in upcoming quarters? Before you start planning your influencer campaign, think about the KPIs it needs to deliver as part of your company's broader marketing plan.
For example, do you need to create buzz and education for a product launch? Are you looking to generate brand lift and awareness? Are you focused on driving sales or engagement? Do you want to use the influencer content on other channels, like your website or social media feeds?
These are all questions to consider before diving into a campaign. And while influencers can drive results for all of the marketing needs listed above (refresh yourself on the value of influencer marketing here), - to ensure its success - it’s important to give yourself time to 1) find the right influencer and 2) approve of their content before it goes live.
The Timing of Your Influencer Campaign
Influencer campaigns can be seasonal or tied to a product launch or brand narrative timeline. There are advantages to all.
Working with an influencer around a seasonal theme is a great way to generate relevance around your product or brand.
In order to reach their target audience, Verizon sent two influencers to Super Bowl 50, who generated behind-the-scenes Super Bowl content including non-intrusive messages about Verizon throughout.
Nestle also took a seasonal approach when they partnered with influencers for Halloween-inspired content to promote their monster-themed water bottles for little ones.
Partnering with influencers to create education around your product can mean competing with less offers in a highly-trafficked ad-time (like the holidays), and more flexibility with the content, as it doesn't have to be tied to a theme.
Jamba Juice partnered with influencer and dancer Chachi Gonzales to create a high-energy video that drove awareness to their new smoothies, but not around a seasonal theme.
If you want to shift the narrative that's happening online around your brand, or proactively give people talking points about your brand, influencers can help.
Ovation Hair Cell Therapy, a company focused on hair products, has kept their messaging consistent amongst multiple audiences with influencers.
If you have the option to do all, use your business goals and objectives to determine when the best timing is for your brand or talk to us directly.
The next thing to do to set your campaign up for success is to define the results you need.
Your Top Marketing KPI Will Determine the Type of Influencer Campaign You Do (Week 1)
Choosing one KPI to prioritize most will help determine the content and even the influencer that you work with. In other words, what is the most important outcome of this campaign? What final action do you need your audience to take?
Different KPIs translate into different audience actions. For example, if you told us, “I want to drive 40,000 app installs,” we’d recommend a portfolio approach to test various influencers' audiences paired with a strong CTA.
Below are the general metrics for KPIs. See the full article on how KPIs translate to audience outcomes.
To attract a top-of-funnel audience
To attract a middle-of-funnel audience
engagements (ex. comments, shares)
To attract a bottom-of-funnel audience
The Prep Work: What to Do Before You Start Looking for Influencers (Week 1)
1) Define the Target Audience You Want to Reach
What is your target audience interested in?
Before you start your influencer campaign, make sure to know your target audiences' attributes so you can ensure that you're working with an influencer who is speaking to them.
- Where are they located?
- What are their values?
- What will they be interested in around the time of your campaign?
- How will they be buying your product? Do they need mom and dad's approval?
[Note: Reelio’s platform makes it easy to see an influencer’s reach on each of their platforms; including engagement rates, average likes, and the geo-location, gender, age and interests of their audiences.]
2) Know What People Are Saying About Your Product & Competitors Online
Find Pre-Existing Conversations Online that are Relevant to Your Product
Experiment with hashtags to figure out what kind of content people are making around your product, competitors and vertical. Ex: Target audience: influencer foodies that live in NYC. Hashtags to search: #NYCFood, #NYCfoodies, #NYCbruncheats, etc.
Get to know what influencers are creating that can your brand can be involved in. Where is it happening?
3) Pick a Budget Range
This will help get your campaign started faster.
To determine your budget for influencer marketing, figure out what percentage of your marketing plan are you investing in influencer marketing and make your budget proportional.
The cost to work with influencers has steadily increased in the last few years, due to a higher demand to work with influencers.
Things to know before making your budget:
- The more creative control you want of influencer content, the more it will cost
- Different content verticals have different avg. costs
- Influencers with more followers will cost more, but micro influencers usually generate more engagement.
- Your dollar will usually go further with a portfolio influencer strategy.
4) What is Your Key Messaging for This Campaign?This will help create focus on content ideas from the beginning.
What is the most important message you want to communicate with your audience? What’s the purpose of your brand sending a message to its audience now?
It's best to create some bulleted talking points for influencers to iterate on. Talking points can include differentiators from competitors or simply what you want people to remember about your product. Ovation Hair Cell Therapy, gave their influencers consistent talking points that reached multiple audiences in various videos.
Allow 6-8 Weeks To Complete Your Entire Influencer Campaign
An influencer marketing campaign is a journey; they should not be done overnight - especially if you need good ROI. It's usually helpful when the entire team and your supervisor understand this too.
It’s worth repeating:
Influencer marketing campaigns cannot be done overnight.
Think of your influencer campaign like your last big vacation: early bookings get you lower rates and guaranteed availability for popular months.
The earlier you book influencers, the more likely they will be available and not working with a competitor for the same holiday or seasonal push.
You also won’t have to pay for a rushed campaign - just like rushed shipping, launching an influencer campaign at the last minute can result in surge charges. Additionally, depending on how tight the turnaround is, rushed execution can also put the quality of the content at risk, and thus your ROI.
As we typically plan our biggest vacations months in advance to have a better vacation experience, planning your influencer campaign should be no different for lasting ROI.
How much time should I account for?
Pick the week you want your influencer content to go live and work back six weeks. To help you get a feel for when to start outlining your KPIs, the social platforms you want to work with influencers on, their target audience and messaging points, we’ve created a rough timeline for you: