Influencer Marketing 101: What You Need To Know Before Launching An Influencer Campaign
When it comes to hiring influencers for a campaign, there are many things to consider first:
Is the goal of the campaign to create more awareness for the brand or new product/service in general OR to drive sales/conversions? This is the biggest key in deciding the right influencers to hire. Be clear on the main goal you want: high conversions or high exposure. Different audience sizes and engagement rates will be better for different goals. For example, the influencers with the smallest followings actually have the highest engagement rates.
Engagement rates and reach are factors that will guide you to choose the best-“sized”
influencers for the success of your campaign. To learn more about the 5 Tiers Of Influencer Measurements, check out our full deep-dive blog post.
What is the budget and does it realistically line up with expectations? A big question brands have is how much it costs to work with influencers and how it works. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the audience and influencer has, the more you can expect to pay for a post or collaborations. Another thing to think about is how much of your budget will go toward things other than payment, like product costs, brand trips/vacations, gifts, personalized PR packages, and management fees. It may seem overwhelming, but knowing exactly how far your campaign budget needs to stretch can help you make smarter decisions about the status of the influencers you activate, and how many of them you project you’ll need to meet your goals.
What is the timeline for the campaign and does it give enough time for influencers to try the product? You always want to strive for a tailored experience of your product or service, and providing that to your influencers is no exception. In fact, having them go on the same journey your customers would and truly trying it out before they promote it will give them genuine talking points from their own experience. Not only that, but you’ll likely create more than just a talking head promotor- you’ll create actual brand-loyalty starting with your influencers that will then trickle down to their audience because of the authenticity of their experience with your brand. Timeline has a lot to do with this because many product niches (like beauty, skincare, health and wellness, fitness) take time to really deliver results. You want to calculate enough time before and during your influencer marketing campaign to allow the products or services to show true benefits and brand differentiation.
Do you have KPI’s in mind for the results you’re aiming for with the influencers’ engagement, reach, views, sales, etc? And do you have the bandwidth in your company for the management of multiple influencers at once and measure the results they are driving? In other words, influencer marketing is not as simple as hiring popular people to talk about your brand and watch your goals materialize before your very eyes. It’s a piece of your overall marketing strategy that needs to be planned, implemented properly, maintained and tracked, and measured against other strategies in your marketing mix. Just like any other cost in business, this marketing strategy is something that must be supported with the right analytics tools and campaign managers. If you don’t have the infrastructure to do this internally in your company, there are agencies like us- The Influencer Grapevine- *shameless plug* who can manage entire campaigns from top to bottom and support your brand with the right experience and tools.
These questions can seem overwhelming, but they are all necessary to consider before jumping in. You want to make sure all of your bases are covered to have a successful, thorough strategy.
The First Three Things To Do When Pitching An Influencer For A Campaign
1. Get to Know Them: When we say “get to know them” we don’t mean follow them a few minutes before you send them your pitch. We mean follow them a few weeks before you plan on pitching to them. Engage with them, comment and like their posts, watch how they engage with their followers, and see how you are going to tell them that collaborating with your brand will benefit them and their audience. This is also a great opportunity for you to get to know their work and begin to think about how working together will fit into their space and your brand. Remember, you are creating a long-term relationship here, which means you need to have the mindset that you have more in mind than just the campaign you’re looking to activate them for. Think about the future of your brand’s relationship with that influencer and how important it is to gain an influencer’s long-term support and desire to promote your brand’s products, services or events.
2. Personalize Your Pitch: Since you’ve been following this influencer for a while now, you’ll know how to personalize it and tailor it to attract the attention of the person you’re reaching out to. Don’t start with a generic “Dear Blogger,” and do not for the love of g*d, DO NOT, start with how great your brand is and how this is a very important opportunity for them. Influencers get a million pitches a day, so remember that this is not all about what they can do for you as an advocate and they are humans who need to feel seen and heard in order to feel the value of working with you. For example, if you’ve watched their Instagram stories for weeks and see that they always start their day with a cup of coffee and end it with a face mask or a pamper session, keep things like that in mind when pitching them. Better yet, send a cute coffee mug you know they’ll love when you send out a sample of your product (or offer a free service ). If you are asking them to care about your Brand enough to give it a try and share it with their followers, the effort needs to be there to get to personalize your pitch as much as possible.
3. Be Specific: It’s best to give them an offer that is specifically tailored to the exact potential of each influencer in terms of platform/outlet, reach, engagement and content quality. Also, avoid putting a broad request of what’s possible or what’s expected; it’s better to be straight to the point of what your goals are, while also leaving space for creative freedom, conversations, negotiations, and input for the influencer’s thoughts and ideas. Remember, this is a collaboration. You’ll have to work together to create an optimal outcome. Your expertise as a brand is knowing the product or service you offer and how the brand image should be represented in order to align with your goals. But it is important to remember that while much of your ideal audience and possible customers are part of an influencer’s audience, you are not necessarily an expert on how to talk to them- that’s part of the reason you’re looking for the help of an influencer in the first place.
Mistakes to Avoid
1. Squashing Creative Freedom: A big mistake brands make is getting too specific on exactly what a creator can say, how to say it, how many times to mention the product, overdoing the features of the product, and micromanaging the whole audience interaction. It may be fine to hand a script to large celebrities in infomercials, but your target customers will see right through that on social media. Furthermore, not allowing creative freedom completely defeats the purpose of going to so much effort to find specific influencers to work with for their unique voice and way of creating content. Of course there are certain deliverables that the influencer must ensure appears within the content (whether that be a certain hashtag, a statistic about the product, a key phrase or trademarked feature that needs to be highlighted). But HOW that’s delivered is not something a brand should be too picky about. It’s understandable that you may have very large goals for your brand and want to show that you’ve done everything you can in an influencer campaign to meet those goals, but creative freedom is not something that should be compromised.
2. Thinking It’s A Quick Payout Plan: It’s similar to other forms of marketing on social media, where you need to create authority, credibility, and leadership within your industry. Influencer marketing can be hugely beneficial for your sales objectives and can have a massive impact on your revenue over time, but this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Like all things worth doing, a sustainable strategy takes time and must be built on pillars of integrity.
We get it, this is a LOT of information… You may still be wondering how exactly to start
implementing an influencer marketing campaign for your business and what scale of doing so would be right for the size of your brand and its goals. To help you out, we’d love for you to grab this FREE GUIDE on exactly how to incorporate influencers into ALL areas of your business marketing strategy. At The Influencer Grapevine, we know how important and helpful having the right strategy is and we want to help you figure out what that looks like for your brand so that you aren’t spinning your wheels or wasting time.