9 Components of a Great Influencer Marketing Strategy
Why do you need an influencer marketing strategy? Influencer marketing continues to be a hot topic. An increasing number of brands and agencies are using it. However, they often use it sporadically and on a case-by-case basis. This means that they’re far from reaching optimal results with their efforts.
Here, I take a closer look at nine components I believe are important for a successful influencer marketing strategy. Most of these are general, meaning that they should be a part of your strategy regardless of your firm size, vertical niche, target audiences and so on.
But before we jump in, let’s quickly distinguish between an influencer marketing strategy and a campaign strategy.
An Influencer Marketing Strategy Is Not a Campaign Strategy
First things first. This post isn’t about strategies for specific influencer marketing campaigns. Don’t get me wrong, they’re crucial too. I just want to emphasize that it’s important to have a long-term strategy in place first. So – influencer marketing strategy first, influencer campaign strategy second. If not, each campaign will become reactive rather than proactive. The results will then be accordingly.
What I’m discussing in this post is an influencer marketing strategy in its complete form. In other words, a long-term strategy that guides all campaigns during a set time period – typically a year.
So let’s take a look at nine components that are worth wile thinking about as you develop your next influencer marketing strategy!
1. Annual Influencer Marketing Strategy
As I have said in another post, I strongly believe in the advantage of thinking long term for influencer marketing. I often see brands adding an influencer component to their social media campaign. They try to squeeze out what’s left of the social media marketing budget. To do so, they quickly put together an impromptu influencer campaign. They then hope it will add to the overall success of the campaign.
To maximize the results, I recommend a one-year influencer marketing strategy. I suggest that it runs from January to December. This way you are better equipped to plan the different campaigns throughout the year.
2. Integrate with General Marketing Plan
You should also integrate your annual influencer marketing strategy completely with your general marketing plan. Again, many brands tend to add influencer components to ongoing marketing efforts. This leads to suboptimal results.
By integrating, you will be able to align your influencer marketing with your other marketing efforts. This will result in a unified brand message and omnichannel spill-over effects.
3. Aim and Goals
Specifying a clear aim and goals for the strategy makes it easier to identify KPIs. It also ties the strategy together with the overall marketing strategy. You can identify short- as well as long-term goals. Short-term goals could be monthly or quarterly. They give you guidance when you launch specific campaigns. The long-term goals should be at least 6 months, but I prefer 12 months.
Clearly specified goals will help you when working with the remaining components of the strategy.
Verticals is another word for industries or niches. Important influencer verticals include fashion, beauty, travel, lifestyle, sports, health, and fitness. Based on your aim and goals, what verticals will you focus on? Will you work only with one? Or will you work will different verticals throughout the year?
The answers to these questions will guide you when identifying influencers throughout the year. Maybe you think that your brand is in fashion so you have to work with fashion influencers? This is far from true. As noted here , there are huge potential benefits to be had from getting outside your own vertical. What’s important is to have a clear vision of how to work with verticals in your strategy.
5. Target Audiences
Your goals will help you identify your target audiences. Perhaps your larger long-term goals focus on a set of target audiences. The target audiences in your short-term goals may then differ throughout the year.
Try to exploit the unique strengths of influencer marketing when you look at your goals and target audiences. Maybe some of them are relatively easy to reach with other types of digital marketing. Then focus on the ones who you know from experience are difficult to reach with other types of marketing efforts.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are extremely important. KPIs for your strategy means you take a more comprehensive approach to KPIs than for a single campaign. They can also differ throughout the year depending on short-term goals and specific campaigns.
If they vary, specify how and make sure you measure and benchmark against your goals throughout the year.
Plan implementation of your campaigns for the whole year. This plan will of course be updated when needed. However, a clear overview of the campaigns will help you plan accordingly.
It will also aid in your dialogue with influencers. You may collaborate with some influencers short term. Others may be with you throughout the year. Your strategy will allow you to initiate talks with suitable influencers early on and minimize the risk of a bad fit.
Return on investment (ROI) is crucial. You should specify clear expected results of your influencer marketing strategy before the year starts.
Measuring ROI on influencer marketing is dependent on your objective. It’s easy to stare yourself blind on sales. However, the goals of influencer marketing campaigns vary, and so does the expected result. As noted by Viral Nation, brands can focus on visibility, engagement, and content instead of revenue.
And we’re down to the final thing: the money. Your budget will be based on the other components. Specifically, the aim and goals, vertical focus, and target audiences will give you a picture of the budget needed.
A well-defined strategy allows for monthly, quarterly, and annual budget estimations. The budget is also crucial when evaluating KPIs and estimated ROIs ahead of the year.
Summing Up – Influencer Marketing Strategy the Right Way
There you have it, nine factors behind a great influencer marketing strategy. Avoid being reactive and throwing money at short-term influencer marketing campaigns. Sit down and plan out a complete strategy for the year. Align the strategy with the overall marketing strategy. This will help you reach the results you want and make influencer marketing a more concrete part of your overall marketing mix.
How do you plan your work with influencers? Let me know if you work along the lines I advocate here or if you prefer a different approach!