One of the explosive, marketing trends in 2017 is the influencer. Essentially, influencer marketing is leveraging the influence of specific social media users to gain coveted access to niche communities, create meaningful conversations and achieve targeted reach and exposure for your brand. However, it can prove challenging. Marketers struggle to integrate influencers into their marketing strategies in a way that creates value for their brands. Indeed, there have been some campaigns which have had the complete opposite effect.
This seven step framework was designed to help marketers effectively integrate influencers into a brand’s social media strategy. The framework was based on a 2016 study which interviewed industry experts in South Africa.
Step 1: Set clear objectives and goals for the campaign
A campaign without objectives is a campaign that has been set up to fail. Be clear about the purpose of the influencer marketing campaign and outline clear objectives at the start. Consider things like increasing brand awareness, building brand loyalty or improving online conversions. The strategic objectives will dictate which metrics are important to use as gauge of success.
Step 2: Define which metrics to measure the objectives against
Once the objectives have been set, two to three key metrics must be selected that will be used to measure the success of the campaign. While these metrics will largely be dictated by the objectives, a holistic view of the campaign that looks at reach, as well as social sentiment is suggested.
Step 3: Select influencers based on both brand fit and their influence
When selecting influencers to work with, it is crucial that firms do their homework into their online personas. Effective influencer campaigns make use of influencers that align with and have an affinity for the brand, and are considered credible sources in the space. To determine whether they are a good fit, asses the quality of their content, as well as the previous brands they have worked with in order to eliminate brand conflicts. To determine influence, marketers should assess potential candidates based on their content quality and levels of audience engagement.
Step 4: Collaborate with them to craft the campaign
An influencer understands their audience and knows what messaging they will respond to. Once the influencers have been selected, it is suggested that they be included in the crafting of the campaign to ensure that the message that will resonate with their audience – the target market
Step 5: Be aware of the associated risks
There are risks associated with influencer marketing to be aware of and mitigated. The first is a reputation risk that can be caused by working with the wrong people. Brands must do their homework and ensure the influencer is not currently embroiled in an issue that could prove detrimental for the brands reputation. Secondly, should a scandal occur during the campaign, it is advised to have a crisis communication plan in place, which outlines the necessary steps to take.
Step 6: Measure the campaign against the original KPIs.
Once the campaign has come to an end, it needs to be measured against the original KPIs in order to determine whether or not it was successful.
Step 7: Integrate insights and learnings into future campaigns
Lastly, any valuable insights or knowledge gleaned from the influencer marketing campaign should be integrated into future campaigns. Use this to determine which influencers provided the most ROI, which ones were open to collaboration and which individuals the brand should continue to work with, in order to build a long-term partnership.
This seven step framework is the result of a detailed and in-depth, 2016 study investigating how South African brands have integrated influencers into their social media strategies. I hope you find it useful and feel free to add suggested improvements in the comments section.