How to supercharge your influencer marketing campaigns (part 1)
In this series on how to deliver more effective influencer marketing, we introduced a group called Content Broadcasters. Content Broadcasters focus on getting brand message out as quickly and as broadly as possible, working with a large number of micro-influencers, who generally work on lower budgets, but at the same time have highly targeted and engaged audiences. In this post we focus on the third group in The Influencer Maturity Model - the ‘Confident Campaigners’ and we start to explore how you can supercharge your influencer marketing campaigns. This post has been broken down into a two parts - this is part 1.
Refer to our e-book to see where you sit in The Influencer Marketing Maturity Model.
What defines a Confident Campaigner?
As a marketer you have a clear understanding of what influencer marketing strategies work for your business and you’ve run a number of successful larger scale campaigns. Unlike Content Broadcasters - who are looking for a lower cost and fast route to market - you’re now looking to pay larger budgets for the right influencer to produce ‘hero content’ - supported by promotions across all their social channels.
This could be video content for YouTube or Facebook, posts on Instagram or twitter - or writing new articles on their blogs. You understand that original content, if done right, has the ability to resonate with the influencer’s audience and produce better results.
Avoiding influencer marketing growing pains
You are increasingly seeing value and success from your influencer marketing activities and you are growing in confidence when collaborating with influencers, to produce original content that feels and looks right for both parties. You are also getting comfortable managing bigger budget campaigns and using more influencers, across multiple social channels.
Audience engagement is also on the increase – unlike a scatter gun approach, which can be a passive experience - producing original content should result in audience ‘buy in’ and higher engagement rates.
But as your confidence and range of activities grows, there are new challenges and considerations that come into play. Bigger budgets and a multi-channel approach equals increased complexities and a growing need to understand your return on investment. A risk may be that spending big doesn’t result in big returns, or that you are not able to measure if your campaign was truly a success. You need to start looking for a higher level of sophistication when it comes to campaign management and reporting on these campaigns (e.g. looking beyond views and likes) and you need to ensure your creative approach resonates with both your audience and more importantly, the influencers.
Have the courage to let influencers create and be creative.
With a more sophisticated and creatively controlled campaign, the influencer can really integrate your product or service into their own style and content and whilst this is clearly a paid arrangement, it should aim to appear in no way advertorial in approach or message. As a rule, producing authentic content with an influencer must be natural for both parties, otherwise your message will reach the wrong people and results will be mixed, at best. This process is critical to the success of your campaign.
First off your target audience should have a natural fit with the influencer’s audience you are collaborating with. Make sure you do your research here. Ask to see a break-down of each influencer's audience profile - including age, sex and location. You don't want to pay $10,000 for a YouTube video when 50% of the influencer's audience are based in the wrong country, or skew too young vs your target demographic. Some influencers have media cards but often they can just share screen shots of their audience profile, taken from their main social network channel data.
Next, sharing a well-defined creative brief with an influencer is key. Of course, aspects may alter and creative elements change, but having an agreed brief will help the process and its success no end. In this brief you should define the campaign objectives, target demographics, the key messages that need to appear in the creative, do's and don'ts from a brand perspective and the KPIs that you are looking to drive (e.g. views, engagement, sales etc.). Click here to download our free creative brief template to get you started.
From this point on the best advice here is to let Influencers create and be creative.
Influencers understand their audience intimately and understand the type of content they will or won’t like (they literally have the data to prove this!). Forcing your own content ideas or product placements into an influencer's creative idea will lead to content that does not feel authentic to their audience - and most importantly won’t get good results (e.g. views / engagement will be much lower than their normal posts). Beyond poor results there’s also a real danger that this approach could lead to a negative sentiment towards your own product and brand.
So let them come up with a creative idea that yes, answers your brief, but will also appeal naturally to their audience.
It takes a leap of faith to let the influencer to lead this process, so write a great creative brief to inspire them, be clear about key messages you need to appear in the content (either visually or verbally) - and agree a number of approval points through the process - be it approving the creative idea, scripts or storyboards through to the first edits of the content they produce.
Here are a few examples where the creative is led by the influencer - where they highlight the brand and key messages in a way that sits comfortably with the usual style of their content.