Step 1 - Defining Target Audience & Objectives
Define your audience / target audience
The biggest and most expensive mistake you can make with your influencer marketing strategy is choosing your influencers before you understand who your current consumer / target audience is. This is key for both when you come to start recruiting social media influencers, and how your tailor campaign messaging.
Goals & objectives
You should agree upon campaign goals and objectives with both your team and management, a key part of which is also defining how you will measure the success of your influencer strategy and what the time frame for measurement will be.
Typical influencer marketing objectives are often things like: raising brand awareness; increasing engagement or driving sales. While this is a good place to start, in order for your campaign to have real purpose and deliver tangible results, goals need to be more specific, measurable and time restricted.
Example awareness objective:
On average I get 30,000 monthly visits to my website which I would like to increase by 25% in order for me to deem the campaign successful. I will run influencer campaigns during the month of June, attributing everything above 30,000 to my influencer marketing campaigns.
Step 2 - How To Identify The Right Influencers
Identifying The Right Influencers
Finding the right influencer can be one of the most labour intensive and time consuming components of your influencer marketing strategy. Reach, resonance and audience need to be taken into consideration alongside your clearly defined campaign goals. The ‘right influencer doesn’t necessarily mean getting the influencer with the largest following that your budget can allow. A strategic approach to influencer sourcing, takes into account the size of relevant audience rather than total reach.
Relevance and resonance are key to finding the right influencer.
“73% of Influencers said, they put more effort into content creation when they’re passionate about the brand or product” [Source: ZINE Influencer Marketing Report]
At ZINE, we break down influencers tier groups into the following:
- Micro 2k - 30k
- Mid-tier 30k - 250k
- Macro 250k - 1m
- Social celebrities 1m+
In our 2018 influencer marketing report we surveyed 1300 consumers active on social media. Only 25% said they were likely to buy a product when someone with over a million followers recommends it, vs 78% who would buy a product based on the recommendation from someone they know and trust. To learn more about engaging a micro influencer strategy see this article.
How To Find Your Social Media Influencers
Depending on your resources there are number of ways to find influencer - ranging from the manual to the high-tech.
- Manual Labour: good ol’ fashioned Googling and searching social platforms. Set aside plenty of time for this as it involves conducting individual searches and maintaining the list on a spreadsheet. You may also need to find a lot more influencers than you intend to work with, as responses are not guaranteed.
- Influencer Marketing Agencies: Can be good for the cash-rich-time-poor, who want to work with macro-influencers and social celebrities. Influencer marketing agencies offer full campaign management, however briefs can fall victim to ‘Chinese whispers’.
- Programmatic platforms: They can be great for cheaply sourcing micro-influencers. Extra care should be given in providing campaign briefs as quality and compliance can be a little compromised with less experienced influencers.
- Influencer Marketing Platform: these are unique in that many influencer marketing techs offer access and campaign management to influencers of all sizes, while allowing you to build lasting relationships with your influencer network. Platforms like ZINE even offer advanced follower analysis and engagement rates on all of their influencers - which paired with an easy to use search function, makes light work of influencer marketing sourcing.
How many influencers to use in a programme
There is no universal, optimal number of influencers to use in a campaign. The number of influencers you use for your campaign depends on your budget and the size of influencers which should be determined by your overall influencer marketing strategy. By far the most successful campaigns are those that engage multiple influencers of varied sizes.
Step 3 - What Information To Ask Your Influencers
What information should you ask influencers for?
In order to for your influencer marketing strategy to be successful, you must ensure highly targeted content is reaching the right people. At the minimum, you should get the following information from your influencers across each of the social media channels you intend to work with them on:
- Number of followers - this you can easily see in their online profile
- Engagement rates - unless your influencer is using the ZINE media kit, calculating engagement rates is a manual job. See our guide on influencer engagement rates here.
- Audience demographics - by this we mean average age, top countries, gender split and so on. These figures can even vary across the different social media platform for the same influencers
- Examples of previous work - seeing examples of previous work is a good way to vet your influencers work quality, which is imperative for brand safety.
- Verification - for complete transparency, the above information should be verified for all new influencers. This means, unless they have a tool like the ZINE media kit that automatically plus in their pageviews, engagement rates and audience demographics, they should ideally be sending you screenshots of their google analytics or other analytics gadgets.
Step 4 - Payment - What To Expect
Before approaching your chosen influencers you should already have an idea of how much budget / product you can offer. ZINE influencer media kits make the negotiation point slightly easier as influencers add in whether they accept paid, product or event collaborations, and if so, how much they charge. In our 2018 influencer marketing report - Science, Strategy & Success, we interviewed over 1000 influencers to get their view on payment.
- 34% expect to be paid financially
- 18% would work on an influencer campaign in exchange for attendance at an event (for example, Fashion Week)
- 31% would be happy with a product sample or gift (for example, being able to keep the
product that they reviewed)
Once you have negotiated pay, the pink elephant that 75% of brands and agencies miss, is sharing campaign goals and objectives with influencers. Once this is done you can then get onto the nitty gritty of discussing campaign guidelines and legal compliance.
How Much Do Influencers Charge For Sponsored Posts
Fees for quality influencers are determined by a range of factors that can be easily calculated. They are:
- Follower count
We have created a sponsored post pricing cheat sheet to help both brands and influencers with pricing sponsored posts.
However, be aware that there are other factors that you won’t be able to calculate that will bare great impact on your cost per post - namely:
- Industry - rates vary per industry / account type eg. fashion models and photographer accounts will charge at a higher than fitness accounts.
- Brand affinity - as per our influencer survey influencers are far more included to work with a brand they feel strongly about regardless of cost.
- Number of posts/ size of campaign - running a series of campaigns with the same influencer will drive down the cost per post.
- Exclusivity contracts - this goes without saying. Limiting an influencer from working with other brands comes at a premium.
- Relevant reach - well trained influencers will have a good grasp of their audience. That means the more relevant their audience is to your brand, the more valuable they are to your brand / client.
Step 5 - Setting Campaign Guidelines
It pays to give your influencers a certain degree of creative freedom. This will result in better performance of your influencer marketing campaigns, as the message will be much more authentic and trustworthy for consumers which is vital. 78% of over 1300 consumers surveyed said they were more likely to buy products based on the recommendation of someone they trust, and at the same time, 68% of influencers said they prefer loose or no guidance when creating content for their social media channels. While brand safety is a massive issue when it comes to influencer marketing, your due diligence during the research stage should provide a certain degree of protection. This can be difficult to do manually at scale, but influencer marketing platforms like ZINE really excel in this area. Enabling you to vet (at scale):
- Engagement rates
- Unique page views
- Audience health
- Previous brand associations
- Previous campaigns
- Most popular brands amongst followers
- Audience likes
Step 6 - Integrating Your Influencer Strategy With Marketing / PR
Successful influencer marketing campaigns are those that are well integrated with your wider marketing / PR strategy. That means, choosing influencers that resonate well with your brand and audience, ensuring all branding and messaging on your website / landing pages is consistent with the messaging shared by your influencers, and running your own digital / non digital campaigns alongside your influencer programs that support the wider campaign goals. You should also identify which part of your marketing funnel your influencer marketing strategy will be supporting:
Step 7 - Measuring Success
With a wide variety of metrics utilised in the industry including reach, engagement, earned media value and all the click-to-buys, utm’s and tracking pixels, the ROI question cannot be solved or achieved without a solid who, what, how framework.
You can’t prove what’s not there, so first let’s focus on steps to achieve ROI and then how to measure it.
The single most important factor to consider in influencer marketing is your target audience. ROI can only be achieved if your campaign reaches the right people and therefore finding the right influencer is key.
An influencer that is visually on brand and seems to associate with brands that fall into your landscape may seem like the best option at first sight, but digging deeper into their audience will reveal if this influencer can deliver ROI on your campaign.
We have found a lot of PRs and marketers don’t set or share specific goals for their influencer marketing campaigns. This is key to evaluate the success and subsequently ROI and also helps the influencer to tailor their content to that specific objective.
Awareness: Reach is a common metric, however should be redefined as relevant reach. An influencer with over 500k followers might look attractive, but what if only 5% of those followers are actually likely to be interested in your product or service?
Engagement: Smaller (micro)influencers typically have greater engagement on their content. A combination of smaller influencers will on average, provide you with a higher total engagement than one large influencer with the same reach.
Sales: If product sales is your ultimate goal and you are keen on measuring success, make sure you select the right platform for your campaign. Instagram is lagging behind in tracking functionality, leading to an often cumbersome detour via the link in the influencers’ bio or referral codes - which is unlikely to catch all the traffic this post has generated.
Instagram does however provide a tracking link for paid posts - a useful tool for influencer campaigns.
Awareness: In the absence of any monetary value via sales, set a benchmark value, eg. CPM from other digital marketing campaigns you run, and compare it to the CPM achieved by the influencer campaign.
EMV: From CPM you can calculate the Earned Media Value (EMV) of the influencer campaign. This effectively compares the value of the reach you achieved through the campaign vs how much it would cost to buy these impressions through the social channel.
Engagement: Measure EMV using engagement and CPE instead of reach.
Sales: Make sure you have adequate tracking technology, like UTM links, tracking pixels and/or referral codes that are set up as goals in your google analytics to track sales coming from a specific source. This way you will be able to attribute your total revenue from an influencer / campaign and calculate ROI the traditional way.
Sponsored vs Paid vs Organic
A fantastic test to run, is the same / similar content via sponsored (your influencers), paid social, and organic posts. As the latter two you are doing from your business social media accounts, you will gain additional visibility.