"People don't buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories & magic."-Seth Godin
This line still rings true today. Marketing is an uphill struggle between selling products and selling stories. With sales goals to hit, brands often find it hard to navigate the line between great storytelling and a sales campaign.
58% of brands said they would increase their influencer market budget in 2020, and for a good reason. Influencers can dance along the line between storytelling and “story-selling” by harnessing their personal brand.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to create an influencer marketing plan that ensures you harness this part of your marketing strategy to tell great stories, sell products, and produce a data-driven success.
1. Set your goals
The concept of one-size-fits-all doesn't apply to influencer marketing. You're reaching customers who are at different stages of the buyer funnel. Before finding your influencers, have a clear idea of the goals you want to reach and what you want to achieve with your influencer marketing campaign.
A few goals to consider are:
- Brand awareness
- Follower growth
- Increased engagement
- Clicks to site
- Product sales
In understanding the goals you want to hit, you’ll get a better idea of the type of influencers that would fit your campaign efforts.
Micro or Macro Influencers?
Something to consider alongside your goals, budget, and audience size is whether you want to work with a micro or macro influencer. A micro-influencer usually has between 5-10K followers, is more likely to generate authentic engagement, and spread awareness about your brand to a niche community.
A macro-influencer, someone with 100K followers or more, can generate huge brand awareness and clicks if the campaign is right.
It’s up to you to decide, but consider audience size at this stage in your plan.
2. Connect with the right influencer
If you really want to achieve success with your influencer campaign then you need to build a trusted and genuine relationship with the right influencer. Try to work with someone that your target audience looks up to, respects, and follows.
That being said, stay relevant to your product and brand mission. There is no point in connecting with someone like Beyonce when trying to sell cricket kits to school students. Your ideal influencer would be someone in the cricketing industry, like an upcoming cricketer or a famous retired coach.
When searching for influencers, you're likely to wade through a variety of statistics, including channel growth, USP, relevance, organically grown audience, followers, engagement, the list goes on. There’s no harm in asking the influencer to share their stats with you to help decide if they’re right for your campaign.
When requesting data from influencers, remember the collection and commodification of data for increasing ROI could result in non-compliance with data privacy laws like the CCPA law. Stay up-to-date with data privacy laws and regulations and only use the data you’re legally allowed to access.
A good solution for your company’s compliance is a data privacy tool like Osano, which focuses on a two-fold solution – practicing ethical data collection and analysis as well as taking appropriate measures to prevent the compromise of private customer data.
Lastly, never limit your search to a single social media platform, try branching out and capitalise on influencers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, whatever fits your campaign and brand best.
Go wherever your target audience is.
3. Content is the king, queen and everything in between
If you want an influencer's voice to shine, let them create the content. However, this process needs to be guided by your business. You can’t expect an influencer to get a 360 overview of your brand and mission without working for you.
Gone are the days when sending product samples to influencers and receiving related posts would increase hundreds of followers. This strategy is not only outdated, but it has lost its charm and originality.
Instead, focus on co-creating content with the influencer. Here you can decide what each post gets across and how the content will evolve during the campaign. Together, plan content for the campaign, exchange relevant information and schedule appropriate content to win the target audience's trust.
Consider using content marketing templates from Slite to manage your internal process and influencer communication guidelines. The chances are you’ll have more than one person from your company communicating with influencers at any one time. It’s important that everyone sticks to company guidelines and helps to build a positive brand relationship.
Slite allows you to use customizable marketing plan templates, creative briefs, marketing team playbooks, and create a corporate wiki, ensuring your team works toward achieving the campaign goal with a clear understanding of processes and guidelines.
4. Optimize, optimize, optimize
Act while the campaign is live. What’s working well and what isn’t? Just because you’ve aligned on a content plan and style with an influencer, if you see it isn’t working, it’s okay to tweak content to something you feel will perform better.
That being said, if something works really well, then don’t be scared to rinse and repeat. If you see that a particular post- or style of post- is receiving huge engagement or driving clicks to your site, how can you repurpose future content so that it learns from this type of post?
Lastly, don’t be afraid to call in the troops. There’s nothing wrong with giving social posts a paid boost or reaching out to other collaborators and asking them to share a post.
Find ways you can optimize content and posting opportunities across the board.
5. Track and measure
It may sound appealing to leave the entire content plan to the influencer- yet two heads are always better than one. Keep an eye on your campaign performance, both throughout the campaign and in reviewing it at the end.
Measure KPIs, such as views, engagement rate, clicks, comments, saves, and shares. These KPIs will help you understand the effectiveness of your efforts, and will also determine if you’re hitting those initial goals you set up in step one.
How to track influencer campaign performance:
- Provide influencers with a link to your product page using a UTM link to track the source of website visitors.
- Look for an increase in brand mentions or trending hashtags. If you're getting more engagement on your social media channels your influencer marketing campaign can nod toward this.
- Check whether you see an increase in sales from a particular demographic linked to the influencer's audience. For example, more sales from London, after working with a London-based influencer.
6. Say thank you
Influencer marketing is all about building relationships with people, brand to customers but also brand to influencers. Acknowledge the influencer's efforts with a thank you.
Start by sending a personalized gift as a token of gratitude. These tokens will go a long way in building strong, lasting connections. It will also open the door for future collaborations with the influencer.
Secondly, let them know how their campaign performed and what they’ve done for your business. It can be so rewarding for the influencer to see the results of their efforts.
Lastly, recommend the influencer to other companies and ask if they’d like a reference from you. Influencer work can sometimes be tough, and they’ll be grateful to have your support in the future, whether that’s working with you or with someone else.
Wrapping up creating an influencer marketing campaign
Hopefully, you’ve managed to get a better idea of how to plan your influencer marketing campaign from this guide. Whether you’re walking away with all six steps in mind or are just taking a couple of points with you, there are a few key things to remember.
Influencer marketing is storytelling and selling at its finest. Be conscious of the influencer you’re working with, stay true to their brand story as well as your own. By doing so, you’ll create more genuine content from both players.
Secondly, look to build relationships- not just with your customers. An influencer holds a lot of weight with customers, but they also hold a lot of weight with other influencers. The chances are, their friends will be perfect for your brand as well. Build genuine relationships with your influencers, and they’ll recommend you to their friends in the future.
Lastly, stay data-minded. Keep an eye on your campaign numbers, optimize content and strategies where you can, and work with an influencer to gain an overview of data that you can read, learn from, and grow with.
To get started with influencer marketing today, why not sign up for our free trial? You'll get to work with five influencers for free!