12.12.2019 - Social Media

A Complete Guide to Running Your First Influencer Marketing Campaign

Influencer marketing has become the go-to for businesses who want to reach customers differently. It allows brands to leverage the power of social platforms to grow their following and generate relevant leads, boosting engagement and revenue in the process.

For those who have never dipped their toe in influencer marketing, it can seem inaccessible. But provided you carry out the necessary legwork to find the right influencers and platforms, implementing a successful social influencer campaign is a worthwhile process that promises excellent ROI.

Here, we provide a complete guide to running an influencer campaign, with step-by-step guidance and recommended tools. Use the links below to navigate.

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What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that calls on influencers (individuals with a dedicated social following) to endorse a brand’s products and services. The use of influencer marketing has grown in recent years, with Influencer Marketing Hub reporting a 1500% increase in searches over the past three years.

Influencer marketing is effective because of the advocacy and support users show their favourite influencers. When an influencer shares a brand’s products and services, users take notice; it’s effectively a form of social proof which bolsters how brands are perceived.

Influencers take many forms, from successful athletes and actors, to niche style bloggers, YouTube gamers and yoga instructors. How much an influencer charges a brand depends on their public profile, quantity of high-value followers, and the work involved in creating the content for the campaign.

Many of the most successful influencers are microinfluencers; individuals with a modest but dedicated following, who create content on a focussed topic or niche. More brands are turning to microinfluencers because they offer an affordable way to reach a very specific customer base – boosting the engagement and ROI of a campaign.

What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?

The benefits of influencer marketing are manifold, which is one of the reasons it’s now such a popular avenue for marketers. Done well, influencer marketing can do more than boost sales – it can transform the perception of a brand, enrich its offering, and cultivate invaluable partnerships with the web’s savviest players.

Here, we take a closer look at the benefits of influencer marketing.

Improves Brand Awareness and Trust

When influencers share your content with their following, the awareness this brings goes beyond most other marketing channels. That’s because they’re speaking to an audience wholly attuned to their views, recommendations and opinions – and eager to learn more about the products and services they’re endorsing.

Because people trust and respect their favourite influencers, the feeling is reciprocated with the brands they’re affiliated with too. Influencer marketing is, therefore, a great way to build trust and advocacy with a devoted following in a niche which aligns with your target market.

Removes the Obstacle of Ad Blockers

One of the biggest obstacles digital marketers face is adblockers – content filtering extensions which can be added to web browsers that prevent ads from being displayed. According to Social Media Today, 30% of web users now use ad blockers, making it more difficult for brands to target customers with PPC display ads.

Influencer marketing isn’t affected by ad blockers. In fact, users are more likely to engage with influencer-produced content than most other ad channels – given that they’re already receptive to the content that their favourite influencers publish.

Boosts Organic Search Performance

One of the indirect benefits of influencer marketing is the effect it can have on organic search performance. This is thanks to the quality backlinks which brands can garner from the social influencers they partner with.

For example, when an influencer posts an article endorsing a brand, they’ll normally include a ‘follow’ link – ensuring that authority is able to pass from their site to the brand’s. Partnering with influencers whose sites have a high domain authority (DA) is an effective way to develop a healthy backlink profile and reap the benefits this can bring to organic search.

Generates Relevant Leads

The majority of influencers have a dedicated following who subscribe and buy-in to the preferences and recommendations that they endorse. This is especially true for micro-influencers, who operate within a specific niche and often have a die-hard following of very loyal and engaged fans.

For brands, this brings the benefit of being able to target a highly-specific customer base. Provided they select the appropriate influencers to partner with, it’s possible to generate relevant leads from follower lists, with both influencers and brands sharing a similar target audience.

It’s Affordable and Scalable

Influencer marketing is an affordable and accessible channel for businesses of any size. Because there are so many influencers out there, all with a different number of followers and special interests, there are price points to suit most marketing budgets.

It’s worth noting, though, that the affordability of influencer marketing comes down to choosing the right influencers, finding the right angle and selecting the appropriate social channels. For example, a niche micro-influencer may charge less than a high profile, well-known influencer, so even if they have fewer followers, they’re probably a better fit for your brand if your target audiences correlate.

Bolsters Your Content and Social Marketing Strategy

Creating and managing a content marketing and social outreach strategy can be challenging. By partnering with influencers in your niche, you can share and publish content more readily, often without having to worry about creating every piece of content yourself.

For instance, you may reach an agreement with an influencer for them to provide you with content or vice versa – content which can then be shared and outreached on social channels. This collaborative way of working is great for building strong partnerships with industry specialists, and is also excellent for organic search performance.

Influencer Marketing Step-by-Step Guide

Influencer marketing isn’t a matter of paying a famous face to mention your brand once or twice on their Instagram feed. Effective campaigns require careful planning and organisation to ensure sound ROI and engagement.

Below, we take a look at the different steps required to build an influencer marketing campaign, starting with audience research and working through to performance metrics and reporting.

Understanding Your Target Audience

Successful influencer marketing can only be achieved when you have a thorough grasp of your target audience. Understanding who your customers are will inform every step of the campaign, from choosing the right influencers and social platforms, to planning the type of content you want to outreach and amplify.

One of the best ways to nail down your target market is by creating detailed customer personas. These fictional profiles capture your ideal customer, based on quantitative data sourced from analytics tools. Our beginner’s guide to creating customer personas offers practical advice on building profiles which bring genuine value to your marketing campaigns.

Defining Goals and Metrics

This is where you pin down what you want the influencer campaign to achieve. By taking time to define your key objectives, this will help measure the effectiveness and ROI of your campaign, and will also inform the type of partnership you develop with your chosen influencers, and the content they share.

Perhaps you want to generate revenue? In which case, having an influencer openly endorse your products may be a good way to go. Or, perhaps you want to grow brand advocacy and awareness? Here, you should think carefully about the type of campaign messaging you want to share and outreach, and how this will promote engagement with your brand.

Setting a Budget

Before you actively start looking for influencers to partner with, calculate how much you can afford to spend on the campaign. Influencer fees vary wildly depending on their social standing, follower count and the type of content they’re willing and able to share, so assigning a budget at this early stage will help you control spending and decide on the influencer that’s right for you.

If you need help working out a budget, take a look at this guide from Tinuiti, which lists typical influencer charges based on the number of followers they have. Remember, however, that follower count isn’t everything; the quality and dedication of follower lists should be a factor too, particularly if you’re hoping to target a specific audience.

Choosing Social Media Platforms

The success of your influencer campaign relies on choosing the right social platforms on which to amplify and share content. There are lots of different factors to consider here, but you predominantly need to choose the platforms which your users engage with the most (information which should be contained in your buyer personas).

The main platforms you’ll want to target are Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Snapchat is also used by some brands, especially those with a young audience. Instagram is, arguably, the most effective for sharing visual content, YouTube for video content, and Facebook for large-scale content campaigns which are more copy-heavy.

Finding the Right Influencers

Finding the right influencers to partner with is without doubt the hardest decision you’ll make during the campaign. Striking the right balance between cost and quality can be challenging, while you also want to make sure that whoever you work with is trustworthy and will hold up their end of the bargain.

There are a few different tools which can make it easier to find influencers in a specific niche, or that regularly mention or talk about certain topics. BuzzSumo is one of the best-known influencer marketing tools. This allows you to input a specific keyword, and find influencers, brands and journalists which regularly publish and share content related to your niche.

Click here for a full list of tools which make finding influencers in your niche an absolute breeze.

Choosing the Type of Influencer Campaign You Want to Run

As part of your initial conversation with select influencers, you should have in mind the type of influencer marketing campaign you’d like to run. Social influencer campaigns can take several forms, and the more creative and authentic the angle, the better the engagement you can expect from their followers.

Here are seven of the main types of influencer marketing campaign strategies:

  • Gifting – when you give the influencer a product or service for them to review/mention in their posts and videos.
  • Guest posting – when you write a piece of content that will be hosted on the influencer’s site, or vice versa.
  • Sponsored content – when you pay an influencer to write an article featuring your products and services.
  • Affiliates – when you share affiliate codes with an influencer, so they earn money when they share links to your products and services.
  • Discount codes – when an influencer promotes your products to their customers with the incentive of money off vouchers; they normally take a cut of the profits too.
  • Brand ambassadors – a regular partnership between you and an influencer, in which they regularly share content and promote your brand on social in return for payment, perks and rewards.
  • Influencer takeover – a promotional period whereby a popular influencer in your niche takes over your social channels at a specific time, engaging with your followers in a digital Q&A.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of potential influencer campaigns, and brands are encouraged to think outside the box when it comes to approaching influencers with potential ideas for a project.

Tracking the Success of Your Campaign

When influencers begin sharing posts related to your brand, you’ll want to keep track of the success of the campaign to ensure you’re achieving sound ROI. This is easier said than done, however, as it can be tricky to determine what tangible value the influencer has contributed to your strategy.

If you’re keen to track the granular details of the campaign, we’d recommend investing in an influencer marketing tool. Tools like Buzzstream provide an excellent way to find influencers and track and measure the outcomes of your campaign, with analytics data that lets you analyse your performance and measure the ROI of specific posts and mentions.

Planning and implementing influencer marketing can be challenging. At Banc, we can help you leverage the power of influencers and attain maximum ROI from every campaign asset. Click here to learn more or get in touch with our team today on 0345 459 0558.