Influencers. It’s almost impossible not to have heard of them or seen them. There are millions of influencers on social media and blogs, posting about everything from luxury travel, investing your nest egg and athletic socks to yogurt. And influencers are a vital part of a thriving industry that benefits from the loyalty and trust of their followers.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is when a company, institution or brand works with influencers to reach the people who follow them, usually on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. People follow influencers, who can be celebrities, experts in their field, or everyday people with a knack for doing certain activities and showing other people how to do them.

Influencers post blogs, photos and videos of themselves doing different things that they’re good at that their followers are interested in, like arts and crafts projects, interior design, makeup application, creating stylish looks, building things or whipping up special dishes.

What is an Influencer Marketing Campaign?

An influencer marketing campaign is a marketing campaign with a particular message targeted to a specific audience using influencers to spread the word. Different types of influencer marketing campaigns can include contests and giveaways, social media takeovers, brand ambassadors and events.

There are a lot of elements to decide. If you’ve chosen to embark on an influencer marketing campaign, then you need a playbook that lays out what to do, step by step, so that your efforts are successful

Top 10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Influencer Marketing Campaign

Before you start an influencer marketing campaign, there are a number of important things you need to know. Before you jump into this very competitive field, it’s crucial to establish a framework for your campaign’s strategy. There’s a lot of information out there about the best strategies, but if you use the tried-and-tested basics as an influencer marketing campaign guide, you’ll be on the right track to great ROI.

1. Establish Clear Goals and Performance Metrics for Your Campaign

Define goals for the campaign team and the influencer so you all know what you’re working toward and can make adjustments when content is underperforming or boost content that’s doing well.

2. Determine Your Target Market

How do you choose the right influencer marketing campaign for your needs? Lay your foundation first, by researching your audience to find out the type of campaign they’re most likely to respond to. Do the legwork and make sure you know exactly the type of consumer you’re targeting. Then look for influencers whose followings and content align with that audience and their interests.

3. Determine the Type and Number of Influencers You Want to Work With

Before you choose influencers, first ask yourself what your brand’s needs are in terms of reach. Are you targeting a broad market? Do you have the budget to work with a big celebrity influencer? Are you targeting a niche audience, like say, consumers who make their own clothing? Are you targeting a local, domestic or international market?

There are influencers with relatively small followings called micro-influencers. Those with large followings are referred to as macro influencers. Influencers with enormous followings are the power influencers, who are often celebrities and big names. There are influencers and followers in small towns, big cities and all over the world. Influencers also have different strengths that are more successful on certain platforms. Some might be more successful with video or photography, while others excel at tweets or blog posts.

Get a good handle on the demographics of your influencer’s following before you move ahead with the campaign. Are their interests and values in sync with those of your target audience?

4. Check Out Your Influencer’s Focus, Style and Reputation

Say your company sells tents for outdoor enthusiasts. You’ve found an influencer who has a big following among hikers in the markets that are most important to you. You check out their very outdoorsy content and then realize that this particular influencer only posts about day hikes. You don’t see them using tents anywhere in their prior content or that they’re taking overnight hikes that would require them. It’s time to look elsewhere for an influencer that’s a better fit for your brand and whose content has a focus that syncs with your product.

Or, say you’ve found an outdoor enthusiast influencer with an enormous following who takes extensive overnight camping trips and always seems to be pitching a tent somewhere new. But wait a minute: Are they carving their initials into a tree trunk in that post? Or are they leaving their empty soda cans and trash in a forest and boasting in an offensive way about their exploits? An influencer’s bad behavior can sully your brand image. Make sure to find one who acts and posts appropriately.

5. Research Your Influencer’s Following and Analytics

Review your influencer’s following and engagement stats. Make sure their demographics align with your target market and their numbers are legit. Unfortunately, buying and selling followers that appear real but aren’t is a big business. If the influencer’s numbers are legit, also make sure that their engagement is high — that is, that their followers are liking and commenting on their posts.

6. Ask for Samples of Previous Collaborations

It’s one thing for influencers to say they’ve worked with other brands, but you need to know what those brands were and see samples and performance numbers from previous partnerships.

7. Give the Influencer a Brief That Outlines the Expected Deliverables

Let the influencer know how many posts you expect, on what schedule and on which social platforms. If there are specific hashtags or messaging you want them to use for the campaign, then make sure to tell them in advance. A brief outlining all of the deliverables you expect from the influencer will go a long way to help prevent any misunderstandings.

8. Allow The Influencer Creative Freedom

Influencers know what works best for their followers. Resist the impulse to control the creative, and let influencers do what they do best and tell the story in a way that will resonate with their audience. It will come across as more authentic to their following and build awareness and trust for your brand by association. That doesn’t mean you can’t tweak the content as you go along. Above all, keep communication with the influencer open and flowing so both parties can talk about any concerns they might have and deal with them.

9. Be Realistic and Have Patience

It’s natural to be eager to see results, but remember that your campaign should be a well-paced, long-term endeavor, one that you build on over time. Conversions might not come right away, but as brand awareness builds, increased website traffic, leads and sales will come.

10. Track Influencer Marketing Campaign Results

Use tools like SEO, tracked links and branded landing pages to measure the results of your influencer marketing campaign. Determine the reach of your campaign by tracking things like impressions, engagement (including clicks, shares and likes), increases in followers on social media, and growth in traffic to your website.

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