Running a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign
I recently wrote about the basics of influencer marketing programs – what they are, how they work, and where you need to start. Today, I’d like to touch on the big things that will make your program a success. Believe me when I say that you cannot wake up one morning and decide on your commute that TODAY! is the day you’re going to launch an influencer marketing program. It takes time and planning. Lots and lots of planning. (Consider that your bonus tip.)
Here are 5 other things you need to do:
- Do your research – Yes, it seems obvious, but take the time to research WHO you’re approaching and what they write about. I cannot tell you how many times I have been approached by PR firms and brands who want me to review/test out/ write about their baby or toddler products. You may not read my personal blog, but let me tell you what I don’t write about: BABIES. So an email or pitch like that will immediately go into the trash. I used to respond, but it’s not even worth my time anymore. Don’t be that brand – take the time to know who you’re pitching to.
- Bigger is Not Always Better – Don’t assume that the influencer who has 150,000 Twitter followers, 500,000 Instagram followers, or 100,000+ monthly pageviews is the best influencer to work with. Sometimes that may be true, but quite often it’s not. They may not be as big as the major influencers, but I guarantee that they interact with their followers A LOT more than the bigger influencers do. Isn’t it better to have an influencer who has a loyal, devoted following than one who has groupies? Plus.. do you have the budget to work with that kind of influencer? That kind of influencer is working with Ford and Starbucks – not the smaller companies.
- Support Your Influencers – I did a campaign for a large grocery store chain a couple of summers ago that did absolutely nothing to support my efforts of supporting and promoting them. I’m not sure if this was the agency’s fault or the social media team at the grocery store level, but folks, I know this campaign was NOT a cheap one, so their agency should have been doing everything to support the bloggers.
- What’s Your Goal? – Again, an obvious step but if you don’t have a clearly defined goal for your campaign, how do you know if it’s a success? Is it brand awareness? Is it to launch a new product? Is it to see what people will think of a new concept? When I do a campaign with a brand, I really want to do right by them, but I need to know what their expectations are.
Which leads me to the big one….
- K.I.S.S. – I’ve been involved in a few campaigns where the expectations of the PR firm or the brand were out of control. If you’re asking an influencer to review and promote a $20 item, expect $20 worth of promotion. I’ve gotten to the point where I accumulate smaller items like that and review several at a time.
It takes a lot of time for bloggers to set up a good campaign – you need to understand that and respect it. We’re going to get the item, take the time to use it, photograph it, write a blog post about it, and then promote it via our social media channels. That alone is about 7-10 hours of work. So before you pitch an influencer to promote your Buy One – Get One Free coupon, ask yourself this question – would you spend 7 hours of work on a $2 item?
Working with influencers that fit your niche can be very valuable to your brand but only if it’s done correctly. I highly recommend working with an agency (like us) to launch your initiative, but if you’re going at it alone, please take the time to be sure all the pieces are in place. And have fun with it!!