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Host: Kyle Leach, Mattr
Guest: Elizabeth Ollis, VP Business Development at Mattr
News From the Front Lines
In Episode 4 of our ‘And It Is Amazing’ podcast, Elizabeth Ollis discusses what she hears from travel brands regarding their relationships with influencers. She taps into what brands are looking for when choosing influencers, and identifies which metrics are most important to the brand when choosing to partner with influencers. She shares how the things that are going to make an influencer successful with an audience are the same things that are going to make them successful with a brand.
“No matter what your influencer focus might be, make sure you’re being authentic with the brand.”
In this episode, Elizabeth shares:
- What brands are looking for from travel influencers and who they consider for partnerships
- Why it is important for an influencer’s style to align with a brand’s values and campaign objectives
- The key metrics, like engagement and follower count, that brands focus on when choosing influencers as marketing partners
- How important passion, style and voice is when it comes to choosing influencers for a campaign
Running time 6:36
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In our Real Talk series, we’ve guided you through the many stages of working with influencers for a campaign: including analyzing and choosing influencers, creating your campaign, conveying your brand, and making changes during a campaign. In this final installment, we discuss what happens after the campaign ends.
While the campaign is still fresh in your memory, you should document your experience with each influencer. Save the feedback and the results they drove for your brand. It may even be helpful to record a score for each that you keep in your records. If you do a campaign in the future and want to consider using some of the same influencers, you want to have an indication of your experience with them. If you run many paid influencer campaigns, the more documentation you keep, the better.
Next, provide feedback to the influencers you worked with. This is good for you because you may want to work with them again, and it’s beneficial for them because it helps them learn from the experience. This is especially valid if they’re relatively new to being a paid influencer. They may want to work with additional companies in the future as an influencer and your feedback could help them refine their content and approach.
Focus your feedback on three areas:
- The quality of their content (uniqueness, alignment with your brand/campaign, reception by their followers)
- Their efforts to drive more from their content (engagement, sharing, etc.)
- How well they operated within the parameters of the campaign
In each area, tell them what they did well and what they could improve in the future. Make sure you’re constructive. You don’t want them to feel defensive. After all, they just helped you with your campaign. After providing your feedback, ask for their feedback on the campaign and how you ran it as a brand. There may be things you should change about how you run influencer campaigns that you could only learn from these influencers.
After you’ve shared feedback with the influencers and received their feedback for you, make sure you continue to actively follow them to see what they’re doing and saying. Continue to engage with them, when appropriate. You have a chance to turn this relationship into more than a business transaction. If they enjoyed the work they did for your brand, they may share your content from time to time without any prompt, making them a non-paid influencer. Organic sharing from influencers is even better than a paid campaign.
Taking on an influencer campaign isn’t just merely about having someone promote your brand, there are many facets to it and hopefully our Real Talk series giving advice on the stages of an influencer campaign have been helpful. Feel free to use these posts as a blueprint for running your own paid influencer campaign to get as much out of them as you can.
Our last installment of the Real Talk series focused on helping your influencers understand your brand messages, while also spreading the word via their own personal style. Picking up at where we left off, you’ve now provided the influencers with your brand’s message pillars and given them the guidance to use their creative freedom to spread the word. So what’s next? – actually executing the campaign. This is a crucial point of your relationship with your influencers. You can’t look at the campaign with a set it and forget it attitude. Using influencers can reduce the time on your plate usually associated with content creation during a campaign, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t involved with the execution. You must be readily available to your chosen influencers every step of the way – including during the entire duration of the campaign.
Throughout the course of a campaign things often don’t go as planned. It’s likely that a situation will arise in which the influencer will need assistance. Someone from your team should be ready to engage with them when and if they have questions. Influencers can range from highly experienced to first-timers, but no matter their experience level, situations can arise where you must be ready to jump in to help them, guide them, and sometimes even solve a problem.
Here are some common situations that you could run into:
BRAND Obstacle: stay relevant
At times, your brand may have fluctuations in the quality, functionality, service, or style of the product/service influencers are promoting or representing during the campaign. Being that your influencers are in essence your brand ambassadors, they should be informed when something within your company or products changes. Influencers will be engaging with your target market on a continuous basis, so they must have up-to-date information. If they don’t, the trust they’ve already formed with their audience, the audience you hope to connect with as a brand, could erode..
INFLUENCER Obstacle: relieve the pressure
Like we previously mentioned, your influencers may range in experience in their new position. Sometimes crafting the right message can hold a high level of pressure and it’s not uncommon that those influencers will have questions on how to best represent your company.
Remember, you are the subject matter expert and if you walk them through their problem area they will gain a more well-rounded understanding of it, which means they can more accurately represent your brand with their followers.
Also, there is the chance that a personal emergency will arise for your influencer. Changes are unforeseen and it’s important to be prepared to have back-up plans, when necessary. With that in mind, you may want to craft an influencer wait-list.
CRISIS Communications: monitor content
It’s not just for the benefit of the influencer to make yourself available, but also for your brand. If an influencer posts something they shouldn’t, how would you handle it? Or what if one of their followers comments with something that puts your brand in a situation where escalated response is needed? Someone from your team should be constantly monitoring what your influencers are posting and the reaction of the community. Influencers aren’t always the best people to respond to certain situations. You need to know when and how to step in. If one of the situations described here comes up, remember to communicate with the influencer involved so you’re coordinated in your response. The influencer should be made aware of the situation and given guidance on how to proceed going forward.
Though your influencers can be seen as separate entities to your organization, they are major players in achieving your brand goals. Today’s marketing structure is so highly reliant on word of mouth that it’s important to be involved throughout every step of your campaign in order to make the best direct impact.
Other posts in the Real Talk Influencer Marketing Series:
Last week we kicked off our Real Talk series on influencer marketing with a post on how you can use Mattr to analyze and choose influencers for a campaign. Today we’re following that up with a post guiding you through the next phase of the influencer marketing lifecycle, creating the actual campaign.
You’ve done your research and decided which influencers you want to work with, but what now? How do you establish a relationship between your brand and these influencers?
The first step is creating the influencer campaign.
— Set your objectives. What is the purpose of the campaign? Are you trying to raise awareness for your brand or an event? Do you want to increase engagement or create brand advocates? Determining your objective is very important because it will help dictate what your influencers will do for you.
— Outline the tactics. What exactly will influencers be doing? They’ll want to know this, so you need to have answers ready for them. Are they taking photos? Videos? Of what? Where? When? You should have all this documented, along with examples of what you would consider perfect pieces of content. This helps them understand what’s expected of them.
— Determine your KPIs. How are you going to assess if your campaign was successful? The first thing you need to do is figure out the metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), you’ll use to make that determination. If your objective is focused on brand awareness, then shares could be a KPI. If your objective is engagement, likes or comments could be one.
— Benchmark goals. Your influencers need to understand what they’re striving for, otherwise they’ll be doing things without any sense of what’s good and what’s not. After you determine your KPIs, assign a specific goal number to each. 250 shares, 75 comments, 125 clicks. In doing this, your influencers have a target and something to strive for, which should make them more efficient and effective.
—Set the timeline. What’s the duration of the campaign? How long will the influencers be working with your brand? This is an important decision since it will affect your budget.
Now package all the earlier components of the campaign into one document (objectives, KPIs, tactics, etc.). After hiring your influencers you’ll send them this document, but you want to have it prepared beforehand in case any influencers have questions about the campaign. By preparing the document in advance you’ll be able to answer those questions.
Once the campaign is outlined it’s time to hire the influencers.
Using Virtual Agent within Mattr, you can hire influencers directly. No need to involve agents, lawyers or contract specialists. We’ve done all that for you to take the hassle out of the process. We use a pay-by-engagement model that’s simple and doesn’t include the lengthy negotiations that can accompany other payment models. The only area where negotiation might be needed is in those special circumstances where the influencer may receive something other than monetary payments, such as free products, free tickets or hotel stays or a product discount.
After hiring your influencers, answer any questions they might have about the campaign and make sure they’re comfortable with their role.
Next up, you’ll share more information about your brand with them so they’re informed on creating content that aligns with it. Check back here next week for more info on that topic.
When it comes to Influencer Marketing, it seems like analytics are often a forgotten piece of the process. While much attention is given to identifying influencers, researching them and the paid conversion that happens in order to bring them on as an influencer, the analytics of the arrangement is often an afterthought.
Effort requirements are almost always part of the contract with an influencer. For instance, if Holiday Inn commissions an influencer to run an Instagram Loyalty Program campaign for them, that influencer might be asked to produce X number of Instagram photos per week on their personal account.
Those ‘effort’ metrics are all well and good and certainly help a program, but to truly measure the impact of an arrangement with an influencer, the brand must go deeper into the numbers to find the value. What is happening after posts are published?
How deeply a brand goes into that value calculation depends on a number of factors, including budget, available human resources and tool allocation, to name a few. There’s no absolute right way for measuring the success and effectiveness of an Influencer Marketing campaign (in fact, this often varies based on the campaign goals), but there are a few best practice recommendations we always give to our clients.
Three baseline metrics to pay attention to are Impressions, Reach and People Engaged. These are all KPIs supporting increased awareness and/or engagement for your brand, and they can all be directly tied to the work your influencers are doing on your behalf. Determine benchmark measurements for each of them, so that as your Influencer Marketing campaign increases, you can compare the data to your benchmarks. They should all show healthy growth. If you’re using a platform or tool to manage your Influencer Marketing campaigns, it should measure these for you. If you’re going the organic route, you can measure them manually, but it takes a good amount of time to do so.
After you’ve completed a few Influencer Marketing campaigns and have measured the progress you’ve seen from them, you have enough information so you can set goal KPIs for your influencers in the areas of Impressions, Reach and People Engaged.
Some brands may want to go deeper to measure the impact of their Influencer Marketing activities. For those, here are a few additional recommendations for metrics to measure:
Brand Sentiment – measure how online discussion of your brand is changing from negative to neutral to positive
Brand or Product Mentions – gauge how frequently your influencers are getting their followers to mention your brand or product
Clicks to Website or Online Purchases – if you’re trying to drive people to your site or to make a purchase, you can give each of your influencers trackable, tagged URLs to share with their followers. This allows you to measure the direct impact of each influencer’s activities.
Resource Allocation – because of successful influencer marketing campaigns, was your company able to allocate more budget or resources toward another goal, which boosted profits, awareness or engagement by X%? This is an advanced metric, but one that can help with showing real, business results and can even be used to obtain additional budget.
The exact metrics you use will vary by program, but the important thing is that you’re doing some kind of measurement to gauge the progress, success and effectiveness of your influencer marketing program. Since you’re paying these influencers, you want to see that they’re driving real results for you.