Influencer marketing has become a powerful tool for brands to connect with their target audience and drive meaningful engagement.
As we delve into the realm of influencer marketing in 2023, it’s crucial to understand its current state, effectiveness, and how to build successful campaigns.
Because while influencer marketing has a $5.78 return for every $1 spent (IMH), we’ve had countless customers that have come to us for help after a failed campaign.
Let’s explore the key elements that must exist to run a successful campaign for your brand.
The State of Influencer Marketing:
And since there are influencers on every social network with massive credibility and raving fan followers, their product recommendations bring instant third-party credibility for brands looking to grow their organization.
On top of that, consumer behavior has shifted towards seeking recommendations from people they trust, and 81% of consumers admit that a social media post from an influencer drove interest in an item (MarketingDive).
But let’s skip the hype and answer the question we all want to know: does it work?
We’ll let the stats speak for themselves.
1. 91% of companies using influencer marketing report it t to be effective (IMH)
2. 71% of organization using influencer marketing say that the customers that purchase from influencer marketing are higher quality than those gained from other types of marketing (MediaKix)
3. Firms that have a stronger understanding of influencer marketing have reported returns as high as $18 per dollar invested (IMH)
4. Influencer marketing is ranked as the single best channel for ROI, with more than a third of marketers stating that influencer collaborations have provided higher returns than any other marketing channel (SocialPubli).
So yes, clearly it works— and it works well. But how well it works hinges on your agency’s ability to run a quality campaign.
How to Build a Successful Campaign:
To ensure a successful influencer marketing campaign, your agency needs to understand your brand,customers, the unique value proposition of your product, and where your customers ‘hang out’ on social media.
a) Campaign Objective:
Are you aiming to boost brand awareness, drive sales, launch a new product, or foster brand loyalty?
Each objective requires a different approach, and that’s why there are three main campaign types:
Brand awareness campaign: designed to help brands bolster their brand recognition and maybe even associate the name with a product or experience.
Conversion campaign: designed to help brands send direct traffic to a place where they can typically convert them into buying customers.
Content/Asset campaign: Made to help brands build a portfolio of User Generated Content (UGC) that they can reuse for both online and offline marketing.
If you want more details on how to run each campaign above, read this Guide.
Make sure that your agency is clear on the exact outcome goal of your campaign before moving forward.
b) Choose Your Platform:
Time for the secret sauce!
Your social media channel and targeting is going to come directly from your client persona.
And your client persona (if your brand doesn’t already have it) should come from data. And the easiest way to get this data is by directly asking questions:
How old is your target audience?
What is their gender?
How much money do they bring in annually?
Are they married? Do they have kids? Are they single?
What’s their ethnic background?
Are they educated
Where do they work?
These will be the exact same types of questions you’ll ask when finding influencers that are followed by this specific audience.
One of the easiest ways to find your target demographic is through google analytics. Age, gender and location stats will easily be found through one simple google analytics search.
So once you have a really good idea of your client persona and demographic, your agency can determine which platform(s) your customers are likely to spend the most time, and choose the right platform accordingly.
If your product is a SaaS fitness app that helps people lose weight, you might have two persona’s:
The busy mom with 3 kids and a full time looking to find an easy way to track calories and lose weight
2. The Gen Z 18-year-old boy looking to “bulk” and show off all of his results to his friends (and probably the girls he wants to impress)
The channel(s) you use matters, but you have to work backwards to choose the one(s) that will provide the highest return.
c) Influencer Audits:
I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve seen big agencies run influencer campaigns for ginormous brands with influencers that hold a 40% fake following or more.
It’s jarring. But if your campaign isn’t purely ROI driven, it’s easy to hide.
Ask your agency about their step-by-step process for auditing influencers, and make sure they’re doing the following:
1. Individually reviewing the back-end profile of each influencer for both engagement and follower fraud
2. Selecting influencers with high credibility, audience trust/engagement
3. Selecting influencers that hold your exact customer demographic
4. Conducting 1-on-1 interviews with any new influencers to assess their genuine connection to your brand/product
Note: if the influencer selected is promoting your product purely for financial return, that’s a huge red flag. Influencer marketing only works if the influencer has a genuine belief or interest in your product, otherwise the lack of excitement will always show in their promotion.
If you’re unsure of the influencers selected by your agency, you can always review their background stats for free using modash.io.
And that will give you a good idea of the basic background of the influencers promoting your product.
d) Architect Narratives:
Influencer campaigns that thrive always resolve a specific need of your customer. Surprisingly, a lot of marketing teams miss this.
And this resolve is best illustrated through storylines because telling stories allows customers to build a deeper connection and remember a brand. That’s exactly what we want.
So your agency should be able to illustrate a concept that illuminates your brand’s coolest value propositions/differences.
Let’s say you’re selling a camping tent that doesn’t require any setup. Maybe the tent also folds up into a tiny pouch that takes up barely any space.
So, your influencer agency could create concepts around
Gen-Z and Millennial girls who are going on a girls trip but don’t have a clue in the world about how to put things together
A single mom with her kids who just wants to get their campsite up before dark so that she can get back to playing with them
A bougie couple in a convertible that don’t have room (or patience for that matter) for large camping supplies on their first trip ever camping, but are compelled by the ease and practicality of this tent
If your agency is savvy enough to tie in micro and nano influencers to create outstanding content around these concepts, you could reuse that content in your retargeting and on your website.
Because the next step of your customer journey will be a WHOLE TON of research
That’s why you want to have keywords specific to your client persona’s pain points that live on your website.
e) Reporting/Tracking ROI:
Which metrics you track the most will be directly dependent on the objective of your campaign. And contrary to a lot of literature out there on ‘the difficulty of tracking influencer campaigns’, the opposite is actually true.
There are direct ways to track every variable:
Engagement: If you don’t have access to a platform like InfluenceNexus, which can monitor all of your campaign content in one place, your influencers can send you the performance of each post from their social media dashboard.
New Followers: You can do this by checking how many likes, shares, comments, and social media followers your campaign had before and after your campaign.
Website Traffic: Using tracking pixels and giving each influencer their own affiliate links so that you can track which influencer drove which traffic.
Hashtags and Mentions: Find out how many times your hashtag has been used. You can do this through using tools like Buzzsumo, where you can monitor brand mentions over specific periods of time.
Leads: Leads can be captured through lead pixels, emails, and sign ups.
Sales: You can use UTM tags for each influencer so that you know which influencer is producing sales. Using a promo code is another way to both add extra incentive to buy, but also to track sales and where they came from.
While tracking every metric won’t do any harm, make sure your influencer agency places the most focus on the metrics directly related to your campaign. This will give you direct insight into how well your campaign did, and exactly where to troubleshoot and improve further next time.
Influencer marketing has transformed the way brands connect with their audience, enabling them to leverage the trust and influence of social media personalities.
BUT…and there’s a big BUT— the success of the campaign is heavily reliant on the strategies your agency uses to execute the campaign.
Don’t be afraid to ask them to keep you in the loop across differing steps of the campaign, and make sure their account manager is thoroughly building narratives that drive loyal fans.
With some careful planning, execution, and continuous optimization, your influencer marketing campaigns can turn into always-on/evergreen game changers for your brand’s success in 2023.