Clients come to our agency looking for ways to take an omnichannel approach to public relations and marketing more frequently now than ever before. In addition to an uptick in traditional media campaigns and innovative social programs, we’ve seen an increase in the return on investment that our clients are seeing through influencer marketing campaigns.
If you’re thinking about starting an influencer campaign, you’re not alone. Influencer marketing is expected to grow from a $2 billion industry in 2017 to a $10 billion industry by 2020. It’s proven to have a strong return on investment, and it allows public relations teams to really dial into a target market. While Instagram is the leading platform for influencer marketing, influencers also can be found on YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and just about any other social media vehicle you can think of.
So how can you structure your influencer strategy to get the most from every post? Here are a few things to consider:
What are the goals of your campaign? Do you want to increase awareness? Generate leads? Drive sales? Boost brand reputation? Determine what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to measure the results. Engagement is a popular data point to measure, but make sure that’s the right fit for your brand. Also, ensure everyone on your team, including the influencer you choose, is aware of goals and measurement plans.
Decide on a budget. It’s important to know how much money you have to spend on an influencer campaign. Most influencers are pay to play, with rates as low as $200 per post up to tens of thousands of dollars per post. Is your budget large enough to get the posting frequency you may need to make an influencer campaign viable? Look at influencer marketing as you would any other marketing campaign — you may have to spend money to get the results you want.
Narrow your demographic, and determine your target market. Your target market for an influencer campaign might be slightly different from your regular target market. Make sure the influencer you select has a majority following within your target demographic. No matter how much you like an influencer or the aesthetics of their posts, if their following doesn’t match your target needs, it doesn’t make sense to engage with them.
Research influencers to find the right fit. This is such an important step, and there’s so much to consider. Before moving forward with any influencer, make sure that they fit your brand naturally. It’s vital to be authentic in these posts, so an influencer who’s excited about your product and has a following comprised of your target demographic is ideal. Another important step is to make sure that the influencer hasn’t embellished their following with bots. Third-party measurement and analytics tools are great for checking out influencers and making sure they’re on the up-and-up.
Determine content with your hired influencer. In general, let the influencer to take the lead here. If the content is going to feel authentic, it likely needs to come from them. Their followers will probably be able to pick out a brand-crafted post from a mile away. That said, provide some guidelines, concept ideas and product information to help them, or you may inadvertently set yourself up to fail. Additionally, make sure that they’re familiar with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for your type of product. For example, many influencers today are involved in the promotion of health products, which is heavily regulated by the FTC. Influencers may need to announce that the content is sponsored or label it as advertising and ensure that they’re being careful not to make false claims regarding a product’s effectiveness to avoid misleading followers.
So are you ready to get your influencer campaign up and running? Approach influencer strategy as you would any other new campaign. Set your goals, budget and target demographic, and do your research to make sure that the partners you choose are the right fit for your brand — just as you would research any other person you might hire for the team. With a detailed strategy that covers all these bases, you’re likely to see positive results.