Your brand is ready to create a remarkable campaign in partnership with some key influencers. You want to get the Web reverberating with branded hashtag mentions. You want pictures uploaded for your cause. Once you’ve decided that influencer marketing is the way you want to dedicate resources to boost your brand reach online, the next step is to get a plan in place. Anything is possible with the right planning.
Most of the businesses we talk to wonder what kind of budget is needed to accomplish an effective influencer marketing campaign. There is no standard answer to this question, and sometimes it takes a few conversations to really hone in on what will work for any particular company. So we wanted to share with our readers a few of the primary questions we ask our clients in order to identify the ideal budget for their campaign.
1. Who is your target audience?
When developing your influencer marketing campaign, you first need to identify your target audience. Your audience will determine the social networks you want to focus on for the campaign, the output of the campaign (perhaps you want to incorporate user-generated content, or simply have influencers produce a video), and which influencers you want to work with.
Keeping your audience in mind will be crucial to achieving your goals. For instance, if you want your brand to become more relevant to millennials, but you focus solely on reaching influencers from traditional publications, then you might be missing out on key opportunities.
2. Which influencers do you want to work with?
Once you identify your target audience, begin to look at influencers reaching that audience. What social networks are they using? What kinds of content are they producing? What is the engagement level of their audience?
Look at whether the influencers have worked with other brands in the past. By evaluating the brands they’ve worked with (or if they’ve worked with brands at all), you can get an initial idea of what they might cost to partner with. For example, an influencer who regularly works with Coca Cola, Red Bull, or Charmin will likely charge more for services and time than someone who works with lesser-known boutique shops.
Additionally, determine whether you want to work with a lot or a few influencers. For some of our clients, we recommend identifying one or two influencers that the brand will develop a more substantial relationship with. They can become somewhat of a spokesperson for the brand over time. When making this kind of decision, you want to take some time to work out the details of the partnership and evaluate how long the relationship might last. Make sure all parties are on the same page.
For other clients, we recommend working with a lot of influencers. These are usually short-term campaigns that reach as many people as possible, and as quickly as possible. But keep in mind that with each influencer usually comes additional expense, whether related to contests, giveaways, or influencer fees.
3. What results or KPIs are most important to you?
Identify how you would like your brand exposed to your audience online. Videos are one of the most effective ways to engage audiences online, so you might want to incorporate video into your campaign. If you do, then video views would be an important KPI, and you would want to work with influencers who are most likely to assist with achieving that goal.
Or maybe you are launching a new app. If you are, app downloads could be your primary objective. Link shares, brand mentions, and hashtags might also assist with achieving the primary goal of app downloads.
4. What will it take to produce the results you’re looking for?
Tools: Whatever campaign you run, make sure you have the systems and software in place to make it a seamless and engaging experience. The last thing you want is to create a sense of confusion or frustration within your audience as they try to participate. You also want to be able to accurately and efficiently report of the results of the campaign. Having the right tools is essential to achieving these objectives.
Consider using an app to manage a contest or giveaway through social media. A robust social media dashboard can also help you track brand mentions and use of hashtags. Google Analytics can help you report on website traffic and onsite engagement including bounce rates, pages viewed, and more.
Team: Influencer marketing takes research, rapport, and resilience. You need to have individuals on your team to do the work, develop the relationships, and ensure efficient project management of joint opportunities. Whether or not you have the staff time and experience available in house, consider the costs associated with allocating resources this way.
Content: Sometimes influencers want to share content your brand has already developed, whether it’s an ebook, white paper, or infographic. Other times influencers create the content themselves. You may also need to promote an event hosted in partnership with the influencer. In this case, you’ll need to create promotional collateral to get the attention you’re seeking.
Social Networks: Determine the right social networks for your influencer marketing campaign. Whatever the network, you’ll want to communicate in a way best suited for that network. YouTube will require videos, Instagram will require images, and so on. And the more platforms you’re promoting on, the more types of collateral you may need to create.
5. What is your timeline?
Your timeline for promoting and running your campaign will also impact your budget. If your campaign is a quick turnaround, you may need to put more into advertising, whether native or otherwise. You’ll want to get as many eyes on the influencer’s content and your branded content as possible.
But planning a campaign with more time doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll save money. The longer your campaign runs, the more you’ll need to keep people’s attention. Perhaps the influencer participates in several opportunities, which will raise the cost of working with him or her. Your campaign will also likely be producing more content over time, which will increase your internal production costs.
The key is finding the optimum length for planning and execution. You want enough time to not rush the process and expend more in gaining quick attention. But you also don’t want it too long where people loose interest and you’re paying more in costs for staff and influencer expertise.
6. How will you promote the campaign?
Lastly, don’t forget to promote the influencer opportunity once they’re scheduled to work with you. The influencer will bring his or her own audience’s attention, but you also want to capitalize on reaching a larger audience using the influencer’s name recognition factor.
Be sure to use email to reach your current subscribers. Promote across your social media channels. And consider advertising. Social media advertising will greatly increase the exposure of your campaign by targeting audiences with interests related to the influencer. You might also create original articles and promote through tools such as Outbrain and Taboola.
We know we haven’t provided any specific budget numbers, and that’s because each industry and campaign can be drastically different. However, we hope these questions help guide your research process. But by working your way through them, reaching out to influencers, and determining costs, you’ll have a good idea of the overall budget needs and what is right for your particular campaign.