If you use Instagram for advertising, then you know what an Influencer is.
The Five Secrets Behind Every Wildly Successful Influencer Campaign
For a consumer scrolling through their favorite blog or social media feed, a successful sponsored post doesn’t feel like an advertisement — rather, it’s perceived as a natural extension of the influencer’s regular content, leveraged with the trust and credibility built up over time between influencer and audience.
A traditional ad for a diaper brand might feature a product shot and accompanying copy; an influencer campaign for the same brand could include a personal, relatable story from a parenting influencer about struggling to keep her baby dry through the night, complete with an authentic product recommendation and other useful tips.
As the CEO of an influencer marketing agency, I admit I may be biased — but it’s no wonder 94% of marketers who use influencer marketing find it to be an effective practice.
What goes into the best campaigns that drive awareness, create buzz and boost sales? From my perspective, it comes down to managing a lot of nitty-gritty details, from recruitment to reports and everything in between.
Start with the right influencers.
If you’re looking to reach a style-savvy millennial audience, you need a like-minded influencer; conversely, if your audience is baby boomers, partnering with an Instagram fashionista won’t do you much good. It’s important to find influencers whose values align with yours and, ideally, who have a real interest in your brand offerings. Be aware that if you are trying to locate the right influencer on your own, searching for the right one can be time-consuming, and marketing platforms still require that you manage the relationship.
Handle the contract.
You need a valid, written contract with every influencer you hire, and it should cover timing, the scope of work, compensation, intellectual property rights, FTC guidelines and potentially much more. Once that paperwork is out of the way, you still need to manage influencer invoicing, payments and tax reporting.
This aspect of a DIY influencer program can be highly resource-intensive. Some brands choose to recruit and manage influencers on their own while tapping agencies for additional amplification or high-volume campaigns. Some might use an agency for the majority of their planning and influencer sourcing, but handle a handful of specific campaigns in-house.
Communicate campaign deliverables.
A great campaign can take a lot of back-and-forth between influencer and brand as creative strategies are developed and executed — and products are shipped for review, etc. We recommend providing influencers with flexible guidelines because creative freedom will work in your favor: Audiences tune out when an influencer isn’t using her own voice.
Whether you’re handling the campaign creation and communications in-house or outsourcing to an agency, be clear about what you’re hoping to achieve. Defined campaign goals not only drive influencer action; they become your metrics for success.
Evaluate for quality.
You want your sponsored content to be engaging and meaningful to audiences, but it absolutely needs to provide disclosure — and no, “#spon” is not enough — and follow any specific industry regulations. At my company, we have quality assurance specialists who review all influencer content to confirm it is what the client is looking for and is FTC compliant. Whether you work directly with influencers or an agency, this live check is paramount to the process.
Measure the outcome.
The only way to determine the effectiveness of your influencer campaign is to measure against your goals, which is why every campaign will have a unique set of meaningful metrics. Our agency has a reporting system which allows for deep-dive analytics that help clients understand the who, what, where and when of their campaign, but measurement is also a dynamic process that shifts with platform trends.
In my experience, there is one metric that tends to determine the success of a campaign: the overall number of engagements. While impressions only track exposure, engagement shows a consumer took action with a piece of content, resulting in likes, views, comments, repins, tweets, hashtags and shares. Tracking and analyzing these metrics will help you understand your campaign’s complete reach — and more importantly, the level of audience involvement and interest.
At the end of the day, there’s a lot that goes into a memorable influencer campaign — we’ve really only touched on a few areas here! For businesses just getting started with influencer marketing, it can feel overwhelming. The good news is that you can start slow with manageably sized campaigns before working up to more high-volume projects.