A guest post by Yelena Fairfax, editor and founder of Husskie, an influencer-focused lifestyle publication.
Get an influencer campaign right, and brand awareness and ROI can be more fruitful than any traditional media advertisement. Get it wrong, and it can be a monumental drainage of funds. At Husskie, one of the ways we commercialise the platform is by running influencer marketing campaigns with an assortment of respected brands– a practice that has resulted in much first-hand knowledge.
While the past few years have seen influencer marketing campaigns run in a more strategic manner, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to correct execution – with even the biggest companies not immune to having influencer campaigns fall flat. Let’s just take a moment to remember the now infamous Australian Government’s #girlsmakeamove campaign that saw the Health Department reportedly spend $600,000 of taxpayers money, or the Australian Defence Force’s recruitment of two controversial gaming influencers to promote Air Force recruitment to teenagers via YouTube. Two clear examples that highlight the need for correct methodology when it comes to implementing an influencer campaign.
7 tips to ensure your influencer campaign runs smoothly and to effect
1. Influencer budgets
Know before you start the campaign what budget you are working with and how payments will work: Are you going to have the same remuneration across all influencers involved in the campaign or will you be doing payments based on followers and engagement? Decide on this before getting started. It’s recommended to have an estimated amount set aside for each influencer – but leave a small budget that allows for negotiations.
2. Campaign deliverables
Are you looking to grow brand awareness? Do you want people to sign up to a new service? Is it just a bigger social media following that you’re after? Before you start, know exactly what outcomes the business is looking to achieve with the campaign and target all campaign deliverables to this. The exact aim of the campaign should be set in stone before choosing the influencers so the selection is aligned with the desired outcome.
3. The influencer selection process
Previously, influencer networking was all about the numbers. If they had a high number of followers, it didn’t matter if their voice was truly aligned with the brand – they got the job. That has definitely been a big shift we’ve noticed in 2017/18. Now, brands are deep diving into an influencer’s analytics (engagement, audience, and type of content/following) before reaching out.
If I’m putting together a campaign for a brand, I will spend hours researching who I think will be the right fit for a campaign taking into account: Have they recently done a campaign for a competitor? Does their following align with the campaign? Do they have a high engagement? Is the type of content they post a good match for the business and campaign? What type of comments are people leaving on their feed? Are they someone that sells every product that comes their way?
Is the type of content they post a good match for the business and campaign?
I then create an A and B list of influencers – with A being my initial approach list and B being my back-ups. For every A influencer not interested in taking part in the campaign, I will then replace with someone from the B list.
4. Approach tactics
The initial outreach email should clearly detail what is to be expected from a campaign including number of posts, videos, stories, budget, deadlines, and key messaging required of the influencer. If the influencer doesn’t feel aligned with the campaign or requirements, it’s better to know sooner than later to avoid wasting either of your time. If you haven’t heard back after a couple of days, I’d recommend giving ONE follow up email before replacing the influencer with someone from the B list.
5. Contracts and briefs
Once you have your influencers locked in, ensure they sign a contract stipulating the key requirements and dates. This keeps everyone accountable and on the same page. The brief should include a clear outline of the campaign overview, deliverables, timings, any approvals the business requires, key messaging, and post-reporting conditions. It’s also a good idea here to attach some examples of the types of posts you are looking for. It is my recommendation not to control them too much with the wording when it comes to the caption. Their followers are following them for a reason – if you put words into their mouths, it can come across as inauthentic and sales-driven.
Throughout the campaign period, monitor any handle tagging and hashtags involved with the campaign to ensure it is aligned with the brief. This is especially important if you have not asked for prior post-approval. If something is amiss, such as the wrong handle being tagged, reach out to the influencer immediately to ensure you don’t lose out on the initial traction delivered by a post.
It’s easy to see how many likes and comments a post did at face value by looking at a person’s account, but these days Instagram provides each post with a lot more analytics than previously delivered. Ask each influencer to provide a screenshot of the insights from their post to glean valuable data including profile visits, website clicks, reach, and impressions.
With a report by MuseFind showing 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement, and TapInfluence finding influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing, there’s no arguing that an influencer campaign done right is a profitable venture. Executing the proper methodology and putting in the due diligence prior to running the campaign will pay dividends.