10 tips to create a profitable influencer marketing campaign

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Creating successful influencer marketing campaigns involves more than simply paying for access to big follower bases.

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Today’s marketplace is a crowded environment for brands. Whether you are an established brand, a small less-established merchant looking to grow, or a start-up, retailers fighting for attention in crowded marketplaces are searching for a new approach to differentiate their brand from the pack.

According to Forbes Magazine, that miracle methodology may have arrived in the form of influencer marketing campaigns. Recently, influencer marketing has received increasing attention from brands looking to make themselves more visible with their target audience.

Why influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing’s ability to drive sales more effectively than many traditional marketing approaches has seen it warmly embraced by both B2C and B2B marketers. Indeed, Entrepreneur magazine lauded influencer marketing’s ability to foster connections organically between a brand and its target audience or social media followers. 

Marketers looking to increase their reach are incorporating influencer marketing into their strategies and teaming with personalities who have attracted large followings on their social media platforms. Yet while the popularity of influencer marketing continues to grow, many brands remain unclear about the smartest way to adopt the influence of social media personalities to reflect the needs of their brand.

Here is our quick guide on the 10 most effective approaches to creating a successful influencer marketing campaign.

1. Be very clear about your campaign goals

As with any other form of marketing, success only comes if you are clear about what you are trying to do, with clear outcomes of what you are hoping for. There is no substitute for a sensible, cohesive strategy.

All successful influencer marketing campaigns share three things in common, which need to be in place at the beginning of the campaign:

  1. A clearly identified target audience
  2. Clearly defined budget parameters 
  3. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set

2. Identify the right influencer and the right social media platforms

The influencer you select will be the public face of your brand on social media, so before you commit to working with any influencer ask yourself, “Is this the right face for my company?” You need to do thorough research before working with an influencer. 

Do your homework across all their social media profiles. Verify that they have a good reputation online and in the media. Ensure they don’t discuss issues that conflict with the intrinsic values of your products or services and confirm they are polite, articulate, and that their posts are well researched and accurate.

Never solely base your decision exclusively on your potential influencer’s number of followers. Micro-influencers with small but engaged followers can be every bit as effective as some of the more “mass” influencers and can be cheaper.

Similarly, not all influencers are created equal. Be sure you have the right influencer for your brand and your strategy. In 2017, CEO World identified 16 different types of influencer

  1. The celebrity
  2. The disruptor
  3. The authority
  4. The analyst
  5. The connector
  6. The insider
  7. The opinion leader
  8. The social butterfy
  9. The brand advocate
  10. The discoverer
  11. The activist
  12. The expert
  13. The biased
  14. The trendsetter
  15. The journalist
  16. The sharer

Each type plays a different role in delivering a social media strategy. Be sure to understand exactly where your influencer’s personal style intersects with your strategy and your brand personality.

Once you have a feel for what type of influencer best suits your needs, you need to ensure the platform(s) your influencer has their strongest following on aligns with your end outcomes. Each social media platform performs differently in its approach to reaching specific audiences and demographics. If your strategy and brand lend itself to engaging visual images then Instagram may be your best platform, while videos may perform better on Facebook. Choosing the right social media channel will allow you to fine tune your prospect and customer targeting.

Similarly, you may also wish to reflect on the form of engagement you are looking to achieve. Social media channels each offer different advantages and engagement opportunities. Hence, a successful Facebook campaign may not receive the same love on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.

Awin can offer a wealth of insight and in-depth information on the influencers we work with across the network, and how best to work with certain influencers if you have some particular in mind. If your brand is considering influencer marketing, get in contact with our publisher management team who will be able to help you get started.

3. Hone in on engagement rates

Follower counts are not necessarily the most important statistic in the world of influencer marketing. There are many examples of identical campaigns run on multiple Instagram influencer accounts where the accounts with fewer than 30,000 followers outperformed accounts with 5 million+ followers by a factor of nearly 300%.

Zero in on engagement rates and the type of engagement posts received. For example, a large proportion of the audience following international models with millions of followers simply aren’t interested in buying the products or services they promote. They are more interested in the celebrity rather than their endorsements.

4. Include micro-influencers in your strategy

Micro-influencers can represent an influencer marketing campaign’s sweet spot. They are a great way of expanding your campaign’s reach across multiple influencer accounts without burning your budget. Not only is this an intelligent way to manage risk but also micro-influencer followers often prove to be more engaged and more open to buying the products and services being promoted through the micro-influencers content.

5. Price is always a thing

Influencers prices can vary, and often depend on the status and reach of the influencer. Of course there is always room to negotiate on price, but costs should always be viewed in terms of return on investment and take into account the specific KPIs you are looking to achieve. The results achieved by influencer marketing can be far reaching, outstripping other forms of marketing, including many digital channels. 

Busy and successful influencers may not consider a negotiation on price; however, many influencers also work on the premise of offering their own audience great products and services. If the influencer falls in love with your product, they may be happy to strike a mutually-acceptable deal. 

Regardless of cost, influencer marketing is worth it. Overall, it is a much lower investment than other forms of marketing with a much larger return on investment.

6. Allow your influencers creative latitude

Influencers usually build their devoted following thanks to their personality, which has helped make them popular and drives their follower engagement. It’s important for the success of your campaign that you allow them to exercise creative control when promoting your product or service. 

What you think might work may not resonate with their audience. Influencers continuously engage with their audience so they understand what they will respond to and what they won’t.

Brands that are brave enough to allow some aspect of control or input into the campaign’s creative direction inevitably end up with a more organic, authentic feeling post and consequently a better end result for your brand.

7. Posts are not infomercials

Consumers don’t like being constantly sold to, so posts should offer genuine value. Influencer posts need to retain their authenticity while promoting the emotional attributes of your brand, rather than trying to cram in all of the amazing benefits of your product or service.  However, it is essential that influencers also make it extremely clear to their followers if the partnership has been paid, or sponsored, or items gifted, to ensure that users are given a transparent view on the nature of the post.  You can read more about influencer disclosure here

You want your influencer to channel their personal vibe into your campaign. After all, your brand is piggybacking on your influencer’s credibility so your post needs to organically reflect that.

When you partner with the right influencer and a social media platform sympathetic to your brand’s personality, sometimes it’s all about the organic ecosystem. A picture of your influencer with or using your product in a natural setting could be all you need. 

Campaign results always spike when the audience arrives at the message under their own steam.

8. Structure a publishing calendar

Every influencer campaign proves far more effective when it is coordinated across your mix of social media channels and aligned with your other marketing initiatives, whether that be new blog posts, events, media releases, or lead magnets.

Placing your influencer marketing campaign at the heart of your marketing strategy is an effective path to guiding your audience and potential leads through your sales pipeline.

9. Review content prior to publishing

This is where you need to pull off a delicate balancing act. Giving your influencer creative latitude while still adhering to your brand personality can be risky. Before pulling the trigger and publishing your influencer’s posts, you need to ensure their content is in harmony with your campaign’s objectives. Empower your influencer creatively while retaining an editorial review process that covers all posts, images, and videos prior to publication.

10. Continuous tracking and measurement

This is the uncreative but worthy part of the influencer action. One of the delights of social media driven marketing is the deluge of data and diagnostics that comes with it. You need to define what success looks like for your influencer campaign. Sadly, the number of likes or comments an individual post receives is not a true reflection of a successful campaign.

Delve into the depths of Google Analytics and analyze your referral traffic to see if you notice a spike from the social networks your influencer is posting on. Did you see a surge increase in leads or sales? Did your own social profiles see an increase in followers and their engagement levels? Are your sales numbers soaring? These are all questions you need to be in a position to answer.

Working with influencers through the Awin network also allows a further layer of visibility and tracking, which can better showcase the performance of any campaign.  Using standard tracking links for your program, coupon attribution or click references as agreed with the influencer, can give you real time reporting on a granular level as to how your campaign is performing.  Clicks, transactions and also assists will be visible within the Awin interface, showing the direct results of traffic and interactions with an influencer’s postings, as well as any touchpoints the influencer may have driven to your website.

A final word

Influencer marketing has proven to be extremely successful in driving brand awareness. Executed creatively, this can prompt your audience to check out your brand’s social media and visit your blog. Use influencers strategically to complement your marketing initiatives.

By following the 10 tips outlined above, your brand will be able to nurture a deeper, more organic relationship with your target audience, helping you elevate your brand’s reach and visibility, enhance your brand awareness, and forge a more natural and effective two-way communication between your brand and your audience.

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