With the influencer marketing industry climbing to new highs overnight, many businesses and brands are seeing a new shift towards influencer marketing as the primary mode of gaining customer attention. Seen as a creative outlet for brands to project their message and make their presence in front of the right audience, influencer marketing campaigns have the potential to cultivate a new kind of relationship between the everyday consumer and brand. However, influencer marketing campaigns can look different for every business, and setting up the very first campaign is no easy task. With many factors to keep track of and look out for, it can be easy to fall into a hole of countless questions. This guide outlines the basic steps to follow when setting up the first campaign, and hopefully will make your first strides in influencer marketing that much easier.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the fastest growing form of advertising across the internet.
The market is rapidly expanding as influencer types have multiplied and can now be seen filling up every niche interest imaginable. A strategy for companies to connect with individuals who have a strong influence on a brand’s industry or target audience, influencer marketing is believed to alter the consumer-brand relationship as it cultivates a more authentic experience for the consumer, ultimately reaping higher quality customers and raising more awareness of its company throughout its customers’ circles.
Why is Influencer Marketing Gaining Popularity?
As more attention is turned towards various social media platforms as potential opportunities for profit, individuals who amass a large following on social media, called influencers or brand ambassadors, are seen as catalysts for advertising in the influencer marketing industry. In an influencer marketing strategy, a brand forms a partnership with an influencer it believes to have a strong alignment with its own message and would be a good promoter in garnering attention for the company’s product or service. Some examples of prominent influencers include Jennifer Anniston, who is known to have partnered with the brand Aveeno for a long time in promoting their skincare products. Another one is singer Beyonce, who has also been sponsored by Pepsi in the past in a multi-million dollar deal. However, influencers do not have to be as widely known as these A-list celebrities; smaller influencers do the same, if not an even more effective job, at connecting brands with the public. The exposure allows these brands to step in front of its target audience, the general public, in a positive, natural, and meaningful way.
What are the Steps to Creating a Successful Campaign?
Setting up a successful influencer marketing campaign is a daunting task, but outlining the key steps to getting to the final goal can smoothen the process for many.
1: Establish a Goal for your Campaign
Every decision in this campaign moving forward is informed by a goal. Without an established goal, it is easy to get carried away when choosing other components of the campaign such as a proper platform, an influencer to partner with, and the type of content they create. Once a goal is properly laid out, these factors would be much easier to decide on rather than attempting to establish them arbitrarily. With a set of outlined goals, the campaign is almost always going to be more consistent as all components of the campaign would come together to support the same message the brand is trying to promote.
Appeal to the Other Side
On the receiving end, when an influencer comes across a company that is looking to partner with them, the more explicit its guidelines are when it comes to partnership, the more likely the influencer themself would want to engage in business with the brand. Having a campaign goal would ultimately boost the campaign’s quality and ideally attract optimal potential partners in regards to how well they fit with the company’s message.
How to Define a Goal & Measure its Success
A proper goal should ideally have 3 parts that explicitly lays out 1) what the brand is trying to achieve in its partnership with its chosen influencer, 2) the influencer’s demographic data (their audience base at large), and 3) how exactly the influencer will assist the brand in accomplishing this. Make sure to also include specific numbers and platforms throughout your goal.
2: Identify & Define the Target Audience
Before setting out to search for the right influencer for your campaign, define your company’s target audience. Knowing your target audience is another critical factor to the campaign’s success as the selected influencer for your campaign must have the similar, if not the same, audience base as your brand.
Create a Buyer Persona
Outlining a persona for what kind of customers your brand is seeking that includes demographic details as well as personal values, beliefs, and interests could also be helpful in defining the audience. A buyer persona is a fictional person who represents the consumers of your brand. Such a profile consists of the demographics of your customers. Demographics include factors such as age, race, and sex. Next to demographics, buyer persona profiles also use behavior patterns, motivations and goals. The buyer persona does not have to be lengthy in order to convey a concrete message. The following example of a buyer persona is what a startup coffee shop might be looking for in their potential customer:
Keep in mind that once the persona is set, the selected influencer partner as well as the overall campaign must also match or fit this persona. Having a clear buyer persona will make it easier to know who your marketing strategy should be aimed at.
3: Find the Right Influencer
Pick the Appropriate Platform
Depending on the industry the brand is located within, it is also critical that the appropriate platform on which to conduct the campaign is selected. Currently, Instagram remains the most popular social media platform on which brands try to connect with influencers in its industry, but YouTube, and most recently, TikTok have become hot picks as well. Most recently, TikTok has been another hub for influencer marketing campaigns, with big brands such as Levi’s and Target using it to rack in more customers.
Align with the Influencer’s Personal Branding
Once the appropriate platform has been narrowed down, settling on the perfect influencer to partner with is critical to the campaign’s success. When scoping out potential partners, make sure that their audience base aligns with your company’s target audience. This guarantees that the campaign will gain exposure to the right audience and ultimately optimize its reach.
Look in Your Customer Base
In some situations, however, it would be beneficial to find the right influencer in your pre-existing customer base. In this sense, they would be an individual already familiar with your offered product and would be able to provide an authentic review of it.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the nuances when it comes to conducting campaigns on specific platforms; although the same procedure goes for prominent platforms across the board, certain guidelines or exceptions could make one platform more appropriate to use than the other. For example, due to the aesthetic appeals that Instagram promises, marketing fashion or cosmetics would be more advantageous on Instagram just as promoting various electronics and other types of technology would be relevant to YouTube.
Different Types of Influencers
With the social media influencer market being one of the fastest growing industries, many different tiers of influencers have already started to take shape. Currently, social media influencers can be divided into 4 different categories: what we can call mega, macro, micro, and nano-influencers. Influencers are organized solely based on the size of their platform, and how many people they can reach.
Influencer Authenticity & Fake Followers
When searching for the perfect influencer for your campaign, be aware of authenticity within an individual’s platform. As having a high following is seen as having access to social status and benefits, many individuals find themselves trying to amass a large following within a short amount of time.
Many apps have been released devoted to attracting the attention of those looking to gain more followers: for a certain price, these apps guarantee a boost in one’s followers. However, these accounts are almost always not real accounts; they are what we call “fake followers.”
Choose a Campaign Strategy
There are many different approaches to executing any kind of influencer marketing campaign that can all help a brand, especially a startup one, reach its goal of making an appearance in front of its target audience. The most popular ones that can be seen across social media today include:
Affiliate marketing: a marketing strategy that encourages individuals, or affiliates, to promote a brand in exchange for commission
Social media takeovers: an influencer is given full access to a brand’s social media accounts and is enlisted to help promote their message
Contests & giveaways: an influencer asks their followers to perform a certain task (comment on a post, answer a question, like a post) and is automatically entered into a random raffle where winners receive the brand’s products for free
Brand ambassador programs: a brand reaches out to an individual who is ready to promote them at any time by sharing images, posts, videos, or articles related to the brand -- ambassadors essentially represent or are the “essence” of the brand and are meant to embody the brand’s message in full
Sponsored social media content: one of the most common types of influencer marketing campaigns, a brand pays for an influencer to post about or mention the brand in one of their social media posts
Gifts: a brand sends influencers a package of products for free in hopes of gaining free publicity -- also called product seeding
Sponsored blog posts: a blogger mentions a brand in one of their blog posts so the brand can gain publicity or an entire post is dedicated to the brand
Guest blogging: a brand sends ready-to-post blogs to various blogs or websites known in their industry for them to upload and hopefully garner public attention
Note that these strategies do not apply to all social media platforms (sponsored blog spots and guest blogging are specific to online blogs, for example). Do your research and know what strategy would best capitalize on your chosen platform to make the most of your campaign. The idea behind influencer marketing is that by engaging with noticeable influencers across social media, they will in turn spread the message of your brand to their already established networks, ultimately increasing awareness of your company but also providing an opportunity to tap into their audience. An influencers’ following can be a great tool for feedback and opinion as influencers will typically have a more genuine connection with their following, thereby allowing for more authentic discourse whenever they release new content.
Evaluate Your Content
Now that you have chosen an influencer and a marketing strategy, qualify the content of your proposed campaign once over: see whether or not it aligns with your core message, industry, products andservices, is high quality and something you are proud to represent.
4: Watch the Results of Your Campaign
Get the most out of your campaign by tracking its outreach and impact -- or measuring its ROI (return on investment). Remember that real success in influencer marketing is not just being promoted by an influencer; it is rather meeting the influencer marketing goals you've established in the beginning of this process. Depending on the campaign’s initial marketing objectives, use various metrics to measure your ROI.
The following table outlines examples of goals any campaign in its initial stages would have in mind, and metrics by which to measure your campaign’s ROI -- whether or not these goals have been met:
With social media soaring to new heights overnight, influencers are here to stay. Deviating from the traditional form of advertising and using influencers to promote various brands may be the revolution in business marketing that consumers need. Though the process in setting up a successful influencer marketing campaign is undeniably tedious, following the steps detailed in this guide will hopefully help you and your startup get a great head start. With time comes experience and inevitably more expertise, and once you understand the basic rhythm in influencer marketing campaigns, it will be much easier to set up more campaigns and even branch out. There are many different ways on which to alter your campaign strategy or make your business stand out in this changing industry -- whether it is expanding your search to different platforms or devising new ways on which to promote your brand, we wish you and your company success in your journey.
Looking to get started with your first influencer campaign today? Lifo is here to help! Lifo leverages advanced AI and technology to help you run influencer campaigns at scale – searching, collaborating and tracking, so that you can grow your brand and business rapidly and effortlessly.
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