Three questions to ask yourself before you start working with influencers

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Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular - but why?

Influencer marketing is now on the radar of most brands, with spend on influencer marketing predicted to double in 2017, from between £20-50k pca to a whopping £40-100k pca.

But, just like the advent of social media, are we seeing too many brands flocking to take part in influencer marketing without really knowing what they’re doing?

If you’re looking to invest money in influencer marketing, you should know exactly why you’re doing so. Before you target any influencers and before you choose a hashtag, ask yourself these three basic questions:

What is our objective?

As an agency, we get an awful lot of clients approaching us asking us to help with their influencer marketing strategies or campaigns. And the question we ask first? ‘What are your objectives?’

This often stumps many of them. They’re not sure what their objectives are, they just know that they need to do it. If you don’t know what your objectives are before starting an influencer marketing campaign, how can you hope to successfully execute it?

Think about what it is you need to achieve. These could be more traditional KPIs that align with your core business objectives, like brand awareness, conversions or traffic to site. However, they can also be slightly more off-the-wall objectives, like curating User Generated Content, making customers more loyal or collecting data and insights. Just make sure you know exactly why you’re investing in influencer marketing, and what you want to get out of it.

How can we measure this?

Once you know what your objectives are, you can start to look at measurement plans. For each campaign that you run, and depending on your objectives, the measurement plan will differ.

Marketers should be able to prove the ROI of influencer marketing campaigns. At the end of the day, many of the Higher Ups will want to know exactly what their money has done for the business and, at this stage, stats like ‘engagement’ aren’t going to cut it any more.

There are plenty of methods you can use to track influencer marketing and prove your ROI, including utm codes, clicktrackers, pixels, GTM and voucher codes. I’ve written a full piece on the tech used to measure the ROI of influencer marketing over on the Harvest Blog.

What do the deliverables look like?

Once you know what you are measuring, it’s important to think about the deliverables that are required from the influencers that you will work with – remember that you haven’t picked any influencers yet.

I find it shocking that usually, when we get to this stage and I ask clients what kind of deliverables we should produce, they shrug and say ‘social posts’. Guess what? It’s influencer marketing, it’s always going to be social posts…

Instead, you should be thinking about the content of these posts. Do you need an influencer to drive traffic somewhere? Do you need them to highlight something, perhaps a product or set of USPs? Maybe you need them to drive their followers to engage with your brand?

You should think about the messaging you need the influencer to convey – but don’t actually write it for them. We know that both influencers and consumers value authenticity, which doesn’t come across when a brand fully dictates each word of the post.

However, without guidance, you’re not letting the influencer know what is required of them. If you don’t tell them what’s required, how can they hope to align their activities with your influencer marketing objectives?

Once you’ve answered these three basic questions, you can then move on to the fun parts of an influencer marketing campaign, like choosing exciting influencers to work with (but try and stay away from a branded hashtag though, please).

By making sure that you’ve answered these three basic questions, you ensure that you’re laying the correct groundwork for your influencer marketing campaign to succeed.

Billy Leonard is senior content and outreach executive at Harvest Digital.

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