With 67% of businesses intending to increase their influencer marketing budgets this year, it’s time to take note of the ever-growing industry that’s showing no signs of slowing down.
This year, more than half of marketers surveyed agreed that using influencers to market a product results in higher return on investment than traditional advertising, and 23% of marketing teams intended to spend more than 40% of their entire budget on influencer campaigns.
If you’re looking to delve into the world of influencer marketing as part of your 2024 strategy but don’t know where to start, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you on your way.
1. Define your goals and set KPIs
If you’re already planning to work with creators on your next campaign, the chances are that you’ve got some objectives in mind, such as raising awareness of your brand, generating organic content, driving sales of a product or creating hype around an upcoming event.
When it comes to collaborating with influencers, it’s much easier to monitor and track metrics than with traditional marketing, so you can tailor your goals to be much more specific – like growth in social media followers, higher web traffic or increased sales of a specific product. It’s always best to set actual, tangible figures for these KPIs – for example, you might want to increase your latest product’s sales by 20% during the course of a three-month campaign.
2. Think about your offering
Before reaching out to your desired creators, think about what you’d like to offer them and what sort of content you’d like in return. It’s vital to have clarification on what your expectations are – for example, do you want to ensure a permanent feed post, or would you be happy with a selection of Instagram stories?
Remember, it is now the norm to pay influencers (42%), rather than just give them a free product (30%). When paying creators, the lower your budget, the lower the amount of deliverables you can expect. And when gifting, remember that if the product itself is low value, a creator might not be incentivised to accept the product – let alone to create content around it.
When it comes to paid content, brands can expect a much higher level of control over the work that’s produced, timelines around the work, key messaging (including brand tags and hashtags) and access to insights. For paid collaborations, detailed contracts are drawn up that protect both the brand and the content creator, and ensure all deliverables are met to a high standard.
Gifting campaigns can be effective for smaller businesses without access to big budgets, and can be a great way to initially introduce influencers to your brand, however, lack of contracts and editorial control can make the campaign unpredictable. For example, you might send out 50 PR packages, of which only five influencers choose to post about.
Your marketing budget will have a huge impact on this stage of your campaign planning, and it’s important to remember that usually, the bigger the follower number, the bigger the influencer’s fee, but that every creator charges their own individual fees which may vary.
3. Consider your audience and find your creators
Once you’ve established your campaign aims, it’s time to start thinking about your audience. Are you trying to reach your existing customer base, or aiming to reach a whole new set of potential clients? Where are they based, how old are they, and what are their interests?
At this stage, it’s also important to think about whether you’d like to work with micro influencers (everyday consumers with 1,000-50,000 followers), macro influencers (professional content creators with an audience size of 50,000-500,000) or mega influencers (500,000+ followers) – or even a mix of all.
Whilst micro-influencers have smaller followings, they have the highest brand resonance amongst followers, and mega influencers tend to have lower engagement but much higher reach.
When an audience has been established, work backwards to find the creators and influencers who are appealing to them – and remember to ask creators to share their follower insights in detail so you can make sure they’re the right fit. Many are happy to share their full media packs, and at this stage, you can begin to discuss budget.
4. Reach out and begin negotiations
Once your list of key creators is defined, your budget is finalised and your goals are set, it’s time to reach out. Depending on the individual influencer, you might be contacting them directly or liaising with them through a talent manager or agent.
Let them know about your brand, your campaign and exactly what deliverables you want from a collaboration, or if you’re willing to be flexible. From here, the creator will come back to let you know if they’re interested, their fee for taking part (or if they’re willing to participate on a gifting basis) and some ideas they have for the type of content they’ll create.
Next, a brief and contracts will be drawn up to cover the scope of work, usage rights and exclusivity to name a few. Here, you’ll also confirm posting dates and deadlines.
When it comes to a brief, it’s important to find the right balance between ensuring your brand messaging comes to life whilst giving the influencer creative license to work on content that they know works – remember, creators have built their followings based on their content and personal style and more often than not, they know what works best. If a brief is too strict, final content can feel inauthentic to the creator and underperform, whereas if a brief offers light guidance including content ideas, key points and a short list of what to do (and what not to do!), the final content is likely to feel much more genuine.
As part of a brief, it’s also the brand’s responsibility to ensure all legalities are met as part of the campaign – for example, the correct Ad declaration procedure, guidelines on using commercially available, royalty free music and audience restrictions for certain products, such as alcohol.
5. Monitor coverage and performance
At the end of the campaign, it’s best practice to gather insights from the content creators who took part. We can look at metrics including reach, engagement, like count, saves and shares to name a few, alongside internal metrics that match up to the initial KPIs that were set. Monitor which creators, or which posts, performed best and drove the most revenue to inform future campaign planning.
During a campaign, we can also monitor the direct performance of content with affiliate or custom, trackable URLs so we can see exactly how much traffic has come through to your brand’s website from the influencer campaigns. Affiliate links also allow the creator themselves to earn a small commission from link clicks or products purchase via the link, which is an extra incentive for them to create captivating content for their audience.
We hope this initial introduction to content creator marketing was useful, and if you’re looking to level up your influencer marketing strategy, get in touch with us at email@example.com