Brand partnerships with bloggers, vloggers and influencers who command their own legions of fans online can be extremely effective. However, the art of influencer marketing is still in the early stages and raises its own peculiar set of challenges. Martina Mattioni, the Head of Influencer Marketing at TMW Unlimited, gives her guide to navigating this new and exciting form of brand building and communications.
1. Define your objectives
Whether your influencer activity is stand-alone or part of a wider campaign, it’s important to understand the aim. For example, is your objective content creation? If so, the campaign will require an influencer that creates great content. If you want to encourage participation amongst your target audience, then work with an influencer whose community regularly shares content with them. Or maybe it’s reach and awareness you’re after – in that case work with someone who’s got a large, engaged following.
2. Find your influencers
There are a number of ways you can find influential creators. Tools such as Sysomos, Affin.io, Brandwatch and Tubular Labs can help. Free networks and platforms are also useful, such as Google’s ‘Top 10s’, Twitter lists and YouTube for browsing channel categories. You will need to speak to your agencies, but it’s also worth consulting colleagues and friends – you’d be surprised how many people follow Instagrammers, bloggers and YouTubers, and a quick conversation might uncover someone new.
3. Then make sure they are right for you
So, you’ve found your influencer, great. Now, check them out. When doing this, consider ‘The Three A’s’: advocacy, appropriateness and actual influence.
- Appropriateness: Is the influencer relevant to the activity and are they a good fit? Have they ever shared any defamatory content that could reflect badly on the brand?
- Advocacy: Check if the influencer is already an advocate of the brand and whether he or she has a loyal network of followers. Are those followers relevant to the brand and is the influencer having an impact on his/ her audience?
- Actual influence: Look at the influencer’s engagement rates. They may have millions of followers, but are they actually engaging their audience? Check if their followers are being positive about the content being served to them and what’s been said about the influencer outside of their own channels.
4. Integration is key
Consider how influencers can be integrated into your marketing campaigns. Some brands have included them in advertising campaigns to add authenticity, such as Sainsbury’s, which recruited food bloggers for its ‘Love Your Freezer’ campaign, and Birds Eye, which teamed up with food blogger Katie Bryson earlier this year. Some are enlisted to help extend campaign messages, as in the case of Snickers, which teamed up with ‘how to’ YouTube vloggers for its ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ digital campaign. Influencers can also create bespoke content for owned channels like Gap’s Styld.by.
5. Get the influencer involved in content creation
Influencers’ audiences trust and engage with content that’s been created by them. Brands forcing messages in an unnatural way into an influencer’s channel, be it a blog post, YouTube video or Instagram post, will quite likely get a bad response. Involve your influencers in the creative process, invite them in for a session with the creative teams, share a loose brief with them or give them free reign to give you a proposal with ideas.
6. Set the right targets
Would you ever run a campaign without knowing what success looks like? Unlikely. The same applies to influencer marketing. Once you know who you’re working with and what you’re doing, set KPIs and targets to measure against. Here are some examples of KPIs we set at TMW Unlimited: Reach and relevance: impressions, engagements, sentiment, brand buzz and engagement rate. Conversion: click-throughs to a website, redemption of a coupon and cost per engagement. Consideration: (if the influencer’s audience is landing on your brand’s page) dwell time, bounce rate and pages/visits.
7. Read the fine print
If you’ve got an agreement with an influencer to work with your brand, make sure it’s confirmed and a contract is signed well in advance of the live date. Don’t make any assumptions about what the influencer will do. Also, consider the recent regulations enforced by the ASA requiring influencers to disclaim content if they’ve been paid for it and if the brand has control over it.
8. Make the most of your campaign
Think of ways your influencer campaign can be optimised. Perhaps you can run a Twitter takeover or Google Hangout with the influencer on your channels, supported through the influencer’s channels. Other options include creating short snackable content from a bigger piece of influencer content, organising influencer-led events and workshops, running competitions with influencers’ audiences or perhaps even creating limited edition products with your influencers.
9. Get measuring
This is my favourite bit. Measure your influencer campaigns against the KPIs set. Ask your influencers to provide as many back-end stats as they can (consider this as an inclusion in the contract), including Facebook data exports, Twitter exports and YouTube data. This will help you to report accurately and analyse against how similar content has performed on your brand’s channel. Create learnings, see where things can be improved and optimise your next influencer campaign.
10. Make it the beginning of a valuable relationship
Hopefully by this point, you’ll have completed a successful influencer campaign. Now is a perfect time to consider creating an ambassador out of your influencer and re-briefing them to collaborate on a new project.
Read more at iabuk.net/blog/influencer-marketing-10-rules-for-success.