talking social media
HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE
influencer campaign by DEBBIE BOOKSTABER, president, ElementAssociates.com WHILE EFFECTIVE INFLUENCER MARKETing increases brand awareness and drives sales, the wrong strategy can be costly. So how can you create and measure an effective influencer campaign? Here’s a roadmap for working with influencers effectively: SET CLEAR GOALS Before you approach influencers or sign a contract with a PR agency or influencer marketing network, clearly define the campaign goals. Are you focused on brand awareness, or is your CEO expecting influencer outreach to drive short-term online sales, newsletter sign-ups, or app downloads? An influencer strategy will align with these goals. MEASURE YOUR RESULTS What key performance indicators (KPIs) will be used to evaluate and optimize your influencer campaign? Determine which systems and tools you need. If you have any unique technical or reporting requirements for influencers, clearly communicate these expectations. For example, if you need influencers to use unique tracking links or provide any information from their Google Analytics or Facebook Insights, let them know before you sign a contract. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER Influencer marketing taps into the established trust between influencers and their audiences. If your product isn’t a fit for an influencer’s audience, you are wasting your money. Share as much information as possible on the demographic information and behavior of your customers. In our experience, niche influencers with a social media following between 5,000 and 20,000 have a closer relationship with their audience and drive more sales than larger influencers with a following of 50,000 to 100,000. Use tools such as Hashtracking to identify top influencers for your hashtag or hashtags that your target customer uses.
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BEWARE OF FALSE INFLUENCERS Tools such as GroupHigh enable users to research influencers by topic and to sort based on the size of their social media following or blog traffic. However, unscrupulous influencers have been known to purchase “fake followers” in order to receive free product or more lucrative paid endorsements. Smaller influencers with a genuine following drive more engagement than larger influencers who may have a high percentage of fake followers. Evaluate influencers by using tools such as Twitter Audit, by examining the percentage of Instagram likes/comments to followers, or by asking them about engagement rates on previous campaigns. BUDGET STRATEGICALLY While it is still possible to obtain earned media coverage from influencers, many influencers work on an advertorial or sponsored post model. Since influencers set their own rates in the absence of clear industry standards based on cost per thousand impressions (CPM) or engagement metrics, costs for working with influencers vary widely. It’s important to find influencers who are the “right fit” for your brand as well as your budget. Before allocating money to influencer marketing, evaluate your overall marketing budget. What are your costs and expected results for other marketing channels? Use this as a starting point when evaluating a prospective influencer. OPTIMIZE YOUR CAMPAIGN Allocate a percentage of spend to influencer marketing and experiment to find the optimal mix for your brand. Some clients have reduced their radio, TV, and print budgets in favor of influencer outreach. Others have discovered that they can drive sales more efficiently via Google AdWords, Facebook or Instagram ads, YouTube adver-
tising, or affiliate marketing, but they also use influencers to obtain online product reviews, which play a key role in the customer sales funnel. DEFINE AN IDEAL INFLUENCER PERSONA Use tools such as Google Analytics to measure referrals from blogs. Track redemption rates on unique coupon codes shared or use a social media analytics tool such as Hashtracking to rank influencers participating in your campaign. What traits do your most effective influencers share? Use this information to develop an ideal “influencer persona,” then seek other influencers who fit the criteria. RELATIONSHIPS MATTER Seek to build long-term relationships with your most effective influencers. Personal touches, such as birthday and holiday cards accompanied by product samples, build loyalty and transform these influencers into ongoing brand advocates. » Debbie Bookstaber is the president of Element Associates, a digital marketing firm that is based in Philadelphia.
Many of us are traveling to Denver for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s (ASTRA’s) Marketplace & Academy trade show, and in...