7 Tips to Bump Engagement on Your Next Influencer Campaign

7 Tips to Bump Engagement on Your Next Influencer Campaign

Many marketers believe that in order to increase engagement you need to increase the budget. But that isn’t necessarily true when it comes to influencer marketing. Truth is, there are many things you can do to fully optimize your influencer campaign and to increase engagement without spending another dime. Here are some things to think about incorporating into your strategy prior to your campaign, during your campaign, and after your campaign to fully reach your influencer potential beyond just the basics. 

1. Time your campaign correctly. 

Timing is a huge thing for when your campaign is running. Besides the obvious, (that you want to make sure your campaign is running at a time when your product or service is relevant to the audience), there are also things you can do in-house to make sure your campaign connects with your target. 

It is also important to leverage data that will help you schedule out your influencer posts. Posting on an influencer’s best day or week can bump engagement by 2-3x. Platforms, such as ours, can run data to know when is the best day and time for an influencer’s post to go live. You can Google search all day long when Instagram engagement is at its highest, but it truly depends on the influencer. Some influencers have strong engagement on Sunday nights, some on Wednesday afternoons. Focus on the particular influencer rather than on Instagram as a whole and that could be the difference between hundreds of likes on your content. 

2. Create a strong call-to-action.

Your call-to-action is critical when it comes to influencer marketing. It is how you can measure if this campaign was truly connecting with your audience. Maybe they liked the influencer’s image, but did they follow up on what you had to offer? It helps significantly if you can run your campaign at the same time you are running a coupon or a big promotion–or if you are in a financial situation to host a giveaway through the influencers. Having a strong call to action increases engagement and strong incentives, like a giveaway, build a strong bond between you and the audience and will give your brand a good image. It helps the audience interact more with the post and take notice of you and your brand more than if they just skimmed through the caption. 


3. Optimize the image and caption.

Before an influencer creates the actual content, you should decide what that content is going to look like. Really study the influencers you leverage before having them create content. What type of images do well on their page? What kind of content has strong engagement? Are they getting more traction on their stories than their in-feed posts? Each influencer is different, and you have the power to steer the creativity in the beginning before even having the discussions of content with the influencers.

4. Add some engaging words to the captions.

Once an influencer has created content, there are small things to do to increase their engagement. Maybe you have them create a carousel of their images instead of just one. Maybe you suggest they end their captions with a question to really get their audience engaged with what they are talking about. You’ve still given them creative control, but small tactics to increase engagement help you and them. Make sure that strong CTA is in their caption and audiences should be able to easily find any link to a coupon or promotion in the influencer’s bio and their stories. 

5. Expand across social channels. 

Many influencers want to take advantage of their other social platforms, even if they aren’t as large or getting as much engagement. You can also find influencers that will post across all of their channels, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, at no extra cost. This may not be engagement you can count on, but it helps when it comes to awareness and getting additional eyes on your brand. 

6. Repurpose the content!

If you aren’t repurposing content you’re doing it wrong. Repurposing on websites or emails may cost extra, but most influencers have no problem with you repurposing on social channels as long as they are tagged. If you think about it, influencers are a great way to not only create great content on their own pages, but also become almost a creative agency for your company. If you do choose to repurpose on something such as your website, you can negotiate with the influencers. Chances are, repurposing their content is going to cost you less than any outside creative team you could hire. 


7. Consider brand ambassadors for the future.

Once your campaign is over, the studying has just began. Some posts reach their peak engagement for two weeks after the post is live. You should study what did well and what may have fallen short and use that to your advantage for your next campaign. Studying the results of the campaign can also say a lot about the influencers that were leveraged and may be a great opportunity to try and take on some brand ambassadors, which will save you time and money in future campaigns. Influencers want long term relationships just as much as you and having an influencer post multiple times about your brand over the course of a year shows authenticity that their followers will take notice of.  

Conclusion

Influencer marketing is a trial and error industry and the more you dip your toes, the more you are going to learn what works and what you can do better. But here’s what’s great: we are still learning and more ways to optimize your campaigns without spending another penny arise with every campaign we run.

About MATTR: MATTR, leaders in influencer campaigns for highly regulated industries, is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

Catching Influencers at the Right Time

Catching Influencers at the Right Time

There are important lessons to be learned from brands whose success depends on catching their audience at a particular time in their lives. This could be campaigns gearing towards pregnant women, companies looking for first time home buyers, financial aid for college freshman, pharma companies running seasonal allergy campaigns, or anxious first time moms (and dads); each relies on that perfect nexus of catching both the influencer and their audience at the right time. As you can imagine, the already difficult task of finding the right influencers is exponentially more challenging in these scenarios, potentially causing you delays and disappointment.

Why Influencers Work So Well

It’s not hard to see that the influencers with the most engaged audiences are those that speak openly about themselves, their journey, their families, and where they are at in life. People connect with that and follow along with those on that same journey.

Followers look to influencers for many things. If they are a young person nervous about college, they may follow a college influencer that can give them advice. Pregnant women often times follow pregnant influencers so they feel they are on this journey together. Because of this on demand synergy between the influencer and their audience, when you catch an influencer at the right time, there is an increased likelihood that you are catching their audience at the right time. Influencers are often innovators, so perhaps you are even catching their audience before the right time– even better! But, even this wonderfully convenient situation only helps a little with the discovery phase. Finding influencers with the right audiences is hard enough without this difficult, time-sensitive challenge. All brands have to be careful when leveraging influencers, but when your product heavily depends on timing, your vetting needs to be even more strategic. Brands need to engage audiences in the right location, with the right psychographics, demographics, and persona (the look and feel of the influencer’s feed). But there are best practices out there to help! 

Begin Early

We preach this to every brand we come across, START EARLY (or as early as you can). It’s important to find influencers whose audiences can relate to your product or service, which may be a very small number, especially if your product is niche. The earlier your search begins, the more time you have to find influencers that can authentically use, relate, and relay your product to their audience. For instance, if your company manufactures pregnancy pillows, you more than likely will want an influencer that can, you know, actually use the pregnancy pillow. The number of pregnant and available influencers out there isn’t going to be as large as your typical influencer pool. Giving yourself as much time as possible also opens up your range to influencers that may become pregnant or perhaps were recently pregnant, ready to work again and recommend your product to their followers. Many brands wake up one morning and decide they want to run an influencer marketing campaign in the next month, and yes, with the right provider it is possible. But in order to see the results you want, specific brands, like yourself, need the allotted time to ensure your influencers and target are going to connect. 

Know Social

This may seem like an obvious one, but if you’re going to work with influencers, you need to know influencers. The influencer marketing industry is growing daily– there are updates, scandals, drama, and news everyday – and all that just between influencers. There are influencers who are hidden gems and just as many overrated or overpriced influencers. It is extremely important to have someone on your team, or perhaps an entire team, that can take time to know and learn about influencers inside and out. Connecting with a pool of influencers also allows you insight into their lives. This can help you learn what kind of cars they drive, when their children are going off to college, or maybe when they are planning a family vacation. This is all important information that can help you know they are the right influencers for your specific brand, beyond what may just be seen right on their page. Building relationships with influencers allows you a better look into their lives and to know how genuine a brand and influencer relationship will become. 

You Can Do This

Finding influencers with the right audience is hard enough without the added requirement of something time sensitive like a pregnancy, or other life change. Giving yourself double or triple the usual time will be the first step to staying on schedule. Having a team who maintains a relationship with a pool of influencers will not only expedite the discovery process but also help with recruitment. As usual, if you need some advice feel free to reach out!

About MATTR: MATTR, leaders in influencer campaigns for highly regulated industries, is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.


Millennial Influencers are the Prescription for Pharma Sales Downturn

Millennial Influencers are the Prescription for Pharma Sales Downturn

Prescription drug revenue has stalled

Retail prescription drug spending has plateaued, and drug companies are planning their strategies to recover the lost revenues. On a per capita basis, Americans spent over $1,000 per year on prescription drugs in 2017. This compares to $90 per person just 60 years ago. This impressive growth had to end eventually, as spending dipped ever so slightly in 2017–but enough to raise eyebrows in the boardroom.

So pharmaceutical companies are looking for growth in a segment of the market which is primed for spending: millennials. Millennials are much more open to talk about even stigmatic diseases, they crave and consume information, and finally they make more money than their age group from any era in the past.

This group, generally thought of as born between 1981 and 1996, are ready to make up the dip in growth. And pharma has decided how to reach them: social influencers. But some of those characteristics of millennials, which make them such a juicy target, will also pose the most challenges. A light hand will be necessary to navigate these challenges, but the reward may be another half century of upward growth.

Income is not an issue

One aspect of Gen Y that poses no challenges is their ability to access and pay for healthcare. One of the most popular provisions in the Affordable Care Act is that kids up to the age of 26 can remain on their parents’ plan. There are no income or family status limitations – they can be married tech billionaires who don’t live at home and still have dad or mom list them on their policy.

But this doesn’t mean they, as a group, can’t afford it. Millennials now earn more than similarly aged households did at any time in the past 50 years, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data.

So millennials can afford prescription drugs; even high cost specialty drugs. The question is, will they?

Do you want to talk about it?

More than any segment from any recent era, millennials have embraced acceptance of stigmatic diseases. Whether it’s HIV, mental disorders, or even venereal disease, millennials reject the old social pressure to stay quiet and instead, seek treatment with head held high.

Importantly, millennials receive the social support needed to brave the discussion with family and friends and make that call to the doctor. This vast cultural change is reflected in the statistics: use of antidepressants has grown 65% in the past 15 years. Now, progressively-minded millennials may not account for all of this growth but one could reasonably say that it couldn’t have happened without them.

Social acceptance is achieved through supportive social media groups, where members are encouraged to speak about their condition, now aware that they are not alone in the world. Social influencers, sponsoring posts on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, really become social leaders for issues such as these. Their audiences trust them like no parent, public service announcement, or advertisement could ever achieve. Of course the most effective influencers will only take sponsored work if they, too, agree with the issue at hand so finding the right influencers can be a time consuming effort.

The consumers of this rich, social media? Millennials. But although having a broad availability of information just a few clicks away seems only good, there is a downside–and it threatens pharma in ways unheard of just a decade ago.

Related: To Brand or Unbrand Influencer Campaigns for Pharma?

The smug new face of Pharma

The beneficial life changing aspect of the Internet–the democratization of information–can also breed fear and misinformation, unfairly damaging reputations of companies and their products.

The leading contender for the most punchable face in the 21st century has to be Martin Shkreli, the former CEO and “Pharma Bro” of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Smug Martin seemed to relish the opportunity to raise the price for a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill. For a few weeks in 2015, Americans were squinting and cracking their knuckles like Clint Eastwood facing down a giant opponent, seething at each news story flitting around social media featuring the smug young face of Pharma. 

This story really hit a nerve; Pharma is literally making a killing off of you or your parents or neighbors who can’t afford their meds. And now you know that the life-saving drugs draining your savings could be priced at 50x cheaper!  The temptation to apply Smug Martin’s punchable mug to the face of every pharma in America was simply too strong. News stories still pop up in 2019 about the fractional cost of equivalent drugs in Canada or Mexico. 

Along with reputation destruction, the spectacular growth of information sharing has dealt another challenge to Pharma: pseudoscience and their “cures”. Aside from the real dangers untested treatments or anti-vaccination studies pose to blog readers, every dollar spent on a non FDA-approved drug is one (or more) lost to Pharma. And misinformation or exaggeration about the risks of some medications can spread like a virus on an international flight, further hurting sales.

Free access to people and information on social media offers necessary support to Pharma’s products but can it be used to combat reputation-smashing stories?

Don’t miss: 10 Influencers for Health Brands

A most potent antidote

Pharmaceutical companies face seemingly existential balance sheet challenges: the cost of bringing a drug from inception to market has only increased, so how will they recover the R&D expense to fuel the innovation of new drugs? And pressures to sell to third world countries at well below cost continue to rise with awareness.

Perhaps their best antidote lies with millenials, the most informed and monied generation of consumers in recent history. But this will prove no small challenge as the very system of information which enabled this unique generation also threatens Pharma in seemingly insurmountable ways.

So it’s little surprise that pharma is turning to millennial social influencers to rescue them from Martin Shkreli and homeopathy. The trust imbued in the right influencers with the right audiences can begin to repair the reputation destruction and ever increasing digital mountain of misinformation available.

How To Keep Up With Instagram Updates

How To Keep Up With Instagram Updates

It’s both a benefit and a downfall of working in social media: things are always changing and evolving. It can be exciting, but overwhelming. Between new platforms and changes to existing platforms, it can be hard to keep up with all of the updates happening across the world of social media, especially when they are happening almost daily.

So let’s just stick to one platform for the time being, the one that rules them all when it comes to influencer marketing: Instagram. Studies have shown us that Instagram reigns superior in social channels when it comes to running influencer campaigns, so it’s important to keep up with anything and everything on Instagram’s platform to understand how any of these changes can potentially affect the influencer marketing industry. 

Are Likes going away?

Is it ever going to happen? We’ve been hearing about the potential disappearing of likes on Instagram for a while now, and whether it happens or not, it’s good to be prepared for what this will mean for your campaigns. The idea of likes going away is a scary thought, especially since most agencies associate likes with engagement, which is how most measure the potential outcome of a campaign as well as the final results. Likes going away doesn’t mean the influence is going away, just the way we currently measure it. And luckily, likes alone do not define influence.

In case this does happen, you may want to turn to an agency or a technology-enabled service, like us. Influencer agencies and platforms have data from months and even years, in order to prove which influencers have high engagement and which don’t, regardless if you can see their likes or not. Many providers have also built close relationships with influencers and will be able to gain access to that influencer’s stats once posts are live. Just because we don’t see those double taps, doesn’t mean their audience isn’t being influenced by your product. But you will need a team to monitor closely and set better expectations for anticipated engagement.

How to Deal With “The Algorithm”

It’s always a top trending topic on Twitter when Instagram decides to change anything, even if it’s something as minuscule as the color of their logo. So when Instagram decided to run their feeds based on relevancy rather than as an actual timeline, the entire platform seemed to freak out. As with most social media changes, users will protest for a week or so then eventually it becomes the norm. Having the feed and stories based on relevancy doesn’t have to be a bad thing; sure some posts get missed, but an influencer’s most engaged audience will see their posts as one of the first ones on their feed, regardless if it was posted at two in the morning.

The Instagram Algorithm

But the algorithm is changing constantly, and in more ways than one. Because of this it’s becoming harder to predict how well a campaign will perform. Maybe an influencer has an average of 1,000 engagements on a sponsored posts, but when yours runs, you only see around 500. The content of the image and caption could be more or less the same for higher engagement posts. So why did it underperform? Perhaps it got mixed up in one of Instagram’s timeline experiments. It’s important to be aware that although IG remains superior, it is not a perfect platform, and they have the right to run tests any day they want, including on the day you launch your huge influencer campaign. So it’s important to plan to over-deliver on your campaign to prepare for any change in their system.

The same goes if you are preparing to run any sort of promoted post. Promoting an influencer’s post on Instagram can be very tricky and the outcome can be nearly impossible to predict. We’ve seen virtually identical promoted posts range in engagement from 60,000 likes to 3 million. If you have the budget and time to experiment with promoted posts, it can be worth it. But it’s a tricky place to hold high expectations.

IGTV vs Stories

Remember when IGTV was supposed to be this new competitor to YouTube? I think we can all see that didn’t happen, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Many influencers still leverage their IGTV channels, but you have to do the research to see if it’s worth it. In general, large, celebrity influencer IGTV channels are performing well, but the mid-level influencer videos are underperforming.

Stories, however, have proved to be worth the effort. And influencers are starting to realize the major effect Stories can have on campaigns. Just think: a year ago an influencer would throw in a couple Stories for free, but now they can cost you more than an in-feed post (and it can be worth it)! With Instagram’s algorithm, many viewers are seeing Stories before every scrolling down to see posts. You also have an advantage when it comes to link clicks and conversions. Reading a caption, then going back to a profile then clicking on a link in a bio, is a few more unnecessary steps than simply just swiping up on an influencer’s story. The downside to Stories is that content approvals can take more time and many brands are still wary of the more casual nature of a Story versus a post.

FTC, FDA….

It’s increasingly important to keep up with FTC guidelines and regulations. These can change without you even realizing. You know you have to have #ad in a post, but did you know it now needs to be above the fold? (And what is the “fold” on an Instagram caption?) This is another reason it could be best to turn to an influencer marketing provider whose job is to keep up with regulations from all applicable federal agencies and apply and monitor them during the entirety of your campaign. if you are a highly regulated industry, such as pharma or finance, keeping up-to-date is absolutely critical. You know more than anyone how language can land you in hot water, so control over the content is paramount. Taking time to catch up with any new rules of FTC, FDA or the SEC can save you a call from the executive suite in the future.

It’s A Lot To Keep Up With

It can seem like a lot to keep up with, but what fun would social media be if it was all the same all the time? In the influencer marketing industry changes will happen even when you least expect it. So be flexible during the planning and execution of campaigns when posts are showing lower than expected engagement. Leverage Stories to supplement campaigns, even though their engagement is less predictable than posts. Last, federal agencies have finally accepted that influencer marketing is here to stay, so new guidance and rules pop up monthly – stay on top of them! Learn to embrace and plan for the unpredictability and your campaigns will outpace those of your competitors every time.


To Brand or Unbrand Influencer Campaigns for Pharma?

To Brand or Unbrand Influencer Campaigns for Pharma?

What is an unbranded campaign?

Do you have horrible allergies? Recurring sinus infections? Irritable bowel syndrome? Sure, you’ll head to your doctor but you’ll also google around and look for information – it’s natural – so you’re better informed when you talk to your MD.

Pharmaceutical companies employ unbranded campaigns to inform the public about a specific condition. It’s like a PSA: a public service announcement for healthcare. The idea is to arm you with facts as well as to build goodwill toward the pharma or drug brand. And they are exactly what you’d think: unbranded. So there’s no prominent mention of the drug brand and no call to action on the unbranded content. But unbranded doesn’t mean there are no regulations. In fact, there are some additional rules to worry about. 

Are unbranded campaigns easier to manage?

In some ways, yes, others, no. Unbranded campaigns are nearly as difficult and risky to manage as branded. So why use them at all? Well for one, approvals from legal and committees are generally much faster. And executives are more likely to approve unbranded campaigns, especially with influencers, because of perceived risk avoidance. Unbranded campaigns have a long tail, too. You can leave up the unbranded properties almost indefinitely, updating them as new information is published. The gift that keeps on giving.

They are faster to get approved through legal and medical committee because you avoid the tightly-dictated Dos and Don’ts of branded campaigns. But it’s not all a cakewalk: you still need to use FDA-approved language and monitor public comments for adverse effect reporting. And unbranded campaigns carry some regulations not found in branded campaigns: “temporal proximity” and “suggestive content”, for two.

The former means how visually “close” the sponsoring pharma’s name or brand’s logo appears on the unbranded content web page or app as well as how many clicks away the brand’s content can be accessed. The latter is more qualitative: how closely reminiscent is the look and feel of the unbranded content to that of the pharma brand’s? Colors, fonts, styling all contribute. This is all esoteric so if you need some guidance, feel free to reach out to us.


“You Don’t Want to Talk About Poop?”

Some people don’t mind talking about their bowel movements (I’m talking to you, Dad), but turns out most people hesitate. Allergan chose a comic to be their spokesperson for their Toilet Talk campaign, aimed at making people aware of gastrointestinal issues. It features a poop emoji for a logo and a quick quiz.

Remember the two big rules for unbranded campaigns? Temporal proximity and suggestive content. The name “Allergan” is only displayed on the footer, and in grayscale. The logo is not hyperlinked but there is a linked “About Allergan”, which was an aggressive move on unbranded content.

For the suggestive content guideline, I think Allergan did a perfect job of keeping the look and feel different.

What will be in the new guidance?

But the FDA, or more precisely, the Office for Prescription Drug Promotion, which issues “guidance” for brands and agencies, is currently updating their formal guidance for unbranded campaigns. So there’s no current guidance, but you can certainly rely on past direction for your campaigns now.

What do we expect to see in the new guidance? Specific to influencers, we’ll probably see more definite rules on disclosure for #ad or #sponsored, similar to what the FTC issued recently, which states that it needs to be “above the fold” in an Instagram post. No more burying the tag in a comment or at the end of the post. This shouldn’t be an issue for any professional or semi-professional influencer and only a problem for programmatic platforms. But a lack of thorough content review and submission for programmatic takes that out of the question for any regulated brand.

But most important will be temporal proximity. We should see more definite rules on how many clicks or links to the brand from the unbranded page or post. And I suspect any branding whatsoever on the unbranded content will have to be unlinked. This would require Allergan to not use a linked “About Allergan” on any unbranded content.

To unbrand or brand?

Unbranded campaigns do carry a few extra regulations than branded campaigns but typically approve faster. In addition, the long tail of an unbranded campaign actually provides an educational service to patients so it will build goodwill with patients. However, consumers will yell if they perceive they’re being tricked by “big pharma”, which already has an image problem. So predicted changes regarding temporal proximity should only help with brand image and be embraced by pharmaceutical companies. Starting with an unbranded campaign then following it up with a branded campaign is a sound strategy; consumers are already aware of the information available and poised to accept an influencer’s recommendation for a medication.

About MATTR: MATTR, leaders in influencer campaigns for highly regulated industries, is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.