Written by Jane Cronin and Bari Rosenstein
Bloggers are influencers. The two words go hand-in-hand.
In the social media world, we tend to have a soft spot for ‘influencers.’ Not only because we secretly want to be one and get paid to take Instagram photos, but also because it’s a great way for clients to get in front of people they usually wouldn’t.
But what defines an influencer? Someone with a huge following? Someone who takes great photos? Someone who has authority? ‘Influencer marketing’ is one of digital’s biggest buzzwords—but how do you go from the excitement over the possibilities of these campaigns to creating tangible results?
We faced a challenge to come up with an influencer program starting at the initial concept, strategy and audience, down to the ‘Thank you’ package. With lots of ‘wins’ and ‘oh, okay—that makes sense’ moments, we were able to tackle the influencer marketing strategy head-on. Here are some of our learnings:
1. Come up with an interesting, yet specific idea that pertains to your brand.
Yes, you want to keep your campaign on brand—but you also want it to be relatable to your audience. This not only helps you to figure out what type of influencer you want to talk to, but it also helps you get creative on how you will pitch it and any incentives, plus staying on brand also helps lay the foundation for your entire social media campaign.
2. Don’t set goals you can’t reach just to make the client happy.
Before you go back to the client with your strategy, KPIs, and what to expect, make sure you can reach your goals. Start small and when you see movement, start setting secondary goals. One thing to remember is that these influencers are people too. Your influencers are people who have work, families, and other things to focus on, so don’t expect 50 influencer contributions turned around within a week.
3. Who will be your influencer crew?
Now that you have your marketing ideas set, who will be your influencers? You want to focus on a segment of bloggers who you know are available (because you did your research). Don’t generalize—break your choices out into categories like military life bloggers, daddy bloggers, or single-parent bloggers. This will make sure your proposals hit the sweet spot, increasing your overall success rate and building long-term relationships.
4. Make sure you have a budget…for real.
You never know what you will need to do while working with influencers. Make sure you have a budget set for prizes, collateral, and paid social (if necessary). This takes me to my next point…
5. Give me an I-N-CENTIVE!
We all like free stuff for doing something cool, right? Well these bloggers need a reason to participate and represent your brand—so, how do you do this? First, if they cost money—it’s worth it. Looking to reach 600,000 unique visitors? Pay up!
Also, a little goes a long way. Sending free swag and hand-written notes gives a personal touch. The real WIN is when these bloggers find a deeper connection with the campaign. This creates a genuine feeling and passion to the project, which makes us scream ‘YAASSSS!’
6. Make your pitch short, sweet, and easy to follow.
Great! You’ve made it this far. You have your campaign and your blogger audience, but how do you get them hooked? These bloggers are on the go. They’re constantly connected to their phones and get bombarded with emails throughout the day. So you need to catch them with your subject line and reel them in with a short pitch.
Make it super easy to understand what the campaign is about, who you are and what’s in it for them.
7. Social media is KEY.
You’re rolling your eyes because you knew that already, right? Nowadays, sending emails back and forth is boring. Interacting with these bloggers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram not only is a thumbs up, but it also puts a face to a name and allows you to keep in touch, getting to know them one tweet at a time.
8. Change is always a good thing.
Just like the weather, your blogger program will always be changing. By tailoring your program in order to get the best possible outcome, not only makes the bloggers happy, but also the client. (That’s important, right?)
Keeping these influencer marketing foundations in mind, you can easily build an influencer campaign that keeps everyone happy and takes a fresh approach to promoting a brand. Plus, it is super rewarding to work on!