How do you start an influencer campaign
How to start an influencer marketing campaign
How do we set up an influencer marketing campaign? This is one of the questions our customers ask us a lot. Maybe they have very clear goals, mostly reach, engagement or conversions, they know their target group and customers inside out, and have set a rough budget. But not so many marketing departments have already set up successful influencer marketing campaigns on the Internet.
What could be more scary than launching a new initiative? There is always the risk that it could go wrong - and we humans prefer to stick with methods that have proven successful in the past.
One thing in advance:
Influencer marketing doesn't mean sponsoring an Instagram post or two from a 'celebrity' who then mentions your brand. This is a one-time advertising campaign to get attention and where the medium has changed from just a handful of TV and radio stations available in a specific location to a multi-channel approach with a global audience.
At Flockler, we define influencer marketing as a long-term activity that is closely linked to content marketing plans and all other online and offline marketing activities. Brands typically work with one or more influencer groups: employees, celebrities and consumers to increase the reach of branded content and ultimately the conversion rates for digital services.
Ok, now you're probably panicking. Not only do you have to convince your boss (and yourself) of this new initiative, it should also be long-term. That should be expensive!
Take a deep breath.
Fortunately, we have developed an influencer marketing checklist that you can download here. Here we explain four types, one Start influencer marketing campaignthat do not require a large budget:
- Call a contest
- Deploy employees in the start-up phase
- Well-known personalities who set a good example
- Create a community of the most influential influencers
Call a contest
OK, now you are probably wondering: First we scold one-off actions and then we recommend a competition ...
In fact, contests are a waste of time when they don't fit your products, target audience, and business goals, and when the only purpose is to achieve short-term success. Speaking of short-term successes - surely you've seen a lot of Facebook posts lately asking people to comment on their friends in order to secure a chance of winning? This is by no means recommended - Facebook is actively devaluing sites that use these Engagement Bait 'tactics, and other social media channels are sure to follow suit soon.
But contests can be extremely helpful if you incorporate them as part of your product, offering, and feedback system. Instead of setting up a trivial competition, ask your customers for feedback and ideas for new products. Add a call-to-action to your emails and website. Reward customers with something specific for taking part, e.g. additional materials with which they can make even better use of your product, or a discount voucher for their next purchase at your company.
These are a couple of ideas. But let's be honest, if you set up competitions with such a long-term perspective, it won't be easy to get a lot of participants. Your customers are busy with their lives and they have to fight for their attention. These are the three minimum requirements for a successful competition:
- The competition has to be impeccable benefit / incentivedeliver for customers
- The competition has to focus on a direct specific target group.If you're looking for ideas for products and services, that could be people outside of your current customer base, and you might consider working with a third party who has access to your ideal audience. However, your target audience for the competition could also consist of a core segment of your existing customers.
- The competition has to Purchase process and match the target genes. If you want to increase the awareness of the product, you should consider various methods that make the content more shareable. If the goal is higher conversions, then you can ask customers to do something more related to the product, like share pictures of your product and how they are using it.
You can find more on this topic in our article on incentives and how you can use them to increase conversion rates in content marketing.
Deploy employees in the start-up phase
An often overlooked influencer group - your employees - can give your influencer marketing initiative an enthusiastic boost, especially in the start-up phase. Your employees already have a relationship with your company and usually have a long-term interest in helping the brand grow.
But just like your customers, your employees also have a lot to do! How do you get their attention and engagement? Here are a few ideas we've learned from our customers over the past few years:
- Cake in the canteen: It doesn't matter whether you offer cake, beer or something virtual: Offering your employees something free in return for activity is a great way to kick off your influencer marketing campaign. Activity can simply mean familiarizing yourself with the initiative's guidelines and answering a quiz about it, or sharing a post on social media with a special hashtag. To make the whole thing more fun, call a team competition between different departments or teams in the company.
- Digital displays: Most companies have a lot of blank walls - why not use them for your purposes? You could put up screens that show recent social media posts and highlight the most active employees.
- sticker: That may sound a bit silly, but stickers with your hashtag on it can be very helpful: seeing colleagues who have put the hashtag on their laptop is a great reminder to participate.
- Weekly / Monthly Reports: Celebrate the reps who managed to get engagement and reach and send a weekly / monthly report via email. Motivate employees with specific examples of what type of content works best and why.
These are just a few ideas to get the campaign up and running. How does a long term approach work? Find out how Valio, one of the largest dairy cooperatives in Northern Europe, started an employee-as-brand ambassador program with the dairy farmers who supply the dairy.
Well-known personalities who set a good example
This is a challenge: many brands sponsor posts from 'celebrities' and see influencer marketing as a one-off activity. And of course, celebrities can grab your audience's attention and help you promote a new product or brand - just like any other traditional advertising campaign. But you actually want this spark to become a long-runner, right?
Some brands do this just right. They work with influencers to generate awareness and guide the audience on what type of content they should create themselves.Without specifically saying what ideal content would look like, just a good example for the community submit. We recently unveiled UEFA's #WePlayStrong campaign, where the European Football Association partners with professional female footballers to inspire girls around the world to try the sport. The Malteser Aid Service in the Diocese of Münster works with its most influential members to promote the organization and attract more volunteers.
The common motive? To achieve long-term results, you need to think strategically. Here are a few questions to consider when choosing influencers:
- Do the influencer's values and communication style match our brand?
- Is there an overlap between customers and the influencer's fans? Can the influencer help us to reach "lookalike audiences", i.e. target groups with similar characteristics?
- Can we create a long-term content plan that contributes to our corporate goals?
Can you see why we think this is a challenge? The best results are achieved when there is a natural relationship with the influencer - and they are actively using your product or service. Which brings us to the next point ...
Create a community of the most influential customers
Yes, your customers are the best influencers! They are already using your product, and it is very likely that they are surrounded by like-minded people online and offline.
If you ask people to share content on social media, you can use social media aggregator tools like Flockler to collect the content in one place and all of a sudden you have a whole new treasure in your hands: Data on your most engaged and influential customers!
To give your influencer marketing campaign a boost, analyze the social media content that your most influential customers share - not just your content, but the other content they share. Are there common topics that all these customers seem to be interested in and do these topics fit your brand's values? Could you create a community of committed and influential customers and launch a campaign with them?
At a time when organic reach for brands and companies is falling, celebrating the most loyal customers on social media will be a key to success. Would you like an example? The American studio chain Planet Fitness does exactly the right thing.
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