How to Run a Successful Influencer Outreach Campaign

23 June 2016

How to Run a Successful Influencer Outreach Campaign

There is no doubt that influencer marketing has evolved drastically over the last decade. Part of the reason for this is the breadth of value that a successful influencer marketing campaign can have; social media, content marketing, PR teams, you name it- they’re all developing outreach strategies!

Despite the huge influx of budget into the outreach industry, we’re still seeing a proportion of fairly lacklustre campaigns which seem to come just short of the mark. You’d assume that a marketing strategy with so many benefits would have the greatest chance of success, but the industry is still behind. I’ll be going through a few of the key steps that all marketing teams should work through when developing an outreach campaign, so you can avoid seeing your campaign fall flat!

Step One: Ensure you understand how your influencer campaign fits within your overall marketing strategy

Influencer outreach will never be successful when it’s implemented as an afterthought. Often influencer marketing campaigns will be developed as a result of left over budget from other campaigns, or will be allocated substantially less budget than other channels. This is of course quite illogical; you’d never kick off a PPC campaign on a whim! Although we all know deep down that a successful project needs planning, time and strategy, this logic seems to evade many marketers when it comes to establishing an influencer strategy.

My advice would be this: don’t do anything until you know why you’re doing it, and what you are going to gain from your strategy. Simple advice and somewhat obvious, but still painfully relevant in 2016. This leads me nicely onto our next step….

Step Two: Define your KPIs Early On

Marketers are creative, it’s one of the best things about this industry. However, there is a tendency to run away with ideas, before KPIs have been set. Unfortunately, coming up with an idea you think is brilliant and exciting and then working out what KPIs you might be able to tailor to that idea, isn’t a great way of working.

At the end of your campaign, you’re going to have to go to your manager/client/director to tell them exactly how your project has added value. At that point, a load of pretty pictures and branded hashtags aren’t going to cut it. You’re going to need some solid stats to justify the budget spent, and more importantly to justify further investment for future campaigns.

Your KPIs will typically fit into one of the following categories:

  • Growth: Growth campaigns are typically awareness campaigns which look to bring in new audiences. It’s worth being aware that since the audiences you bring in will possibly be new to your brand, they may not convert to a sale right away. It’s important to ensure that all parties are comfortable with this before you get going on your campaign.
  • Engagement: Engagement is a step closer to conversion, but really engagement campaigns should be all about cementing the trust and loyalty that you need from your customers before they spend money on your brand.
  • Conversion: This is the point where you want those you engage to actually convert. In influencer marketing terms this will mean the hard sell; discount codes and the like. Generally, we recommend building up to a conversion campaign with growth and engagement campaigns before setting up a conversion campaign, as a pre-engaged audience will increase conversion!

Step Three: Spend Time Developing a Strategy with the Right Influencers

If you feel that influencer marketing is right for your company/client, then it’s worth considering who within your company is going to be able to dedicate time to nurturing relationships with influencers within your niche. Developing working relationships with experts within your industry is clearly extremely valuable, but many marketing teams seem to only engage with influencers right at the point where they begin a campaign. This tactic has a few short-comings:

1. You won’t get the input of a valuable industry influencer if you develop a campaign without involving them

2. You’ll have a harder time getting influencers involved if the first time you approach them you’re asking for something!

Step Four: Don’t Skimp on Budget

Sorry guys, but influencer marketing isn’t an opportunity for you to save your marketing budget. Working with influencers can be so persuasive, interesting and ultimately profitable- but only if you dedicate the budget required!

When you work with influencers, you’re not only asking them to talk about your brand. You’re also asking them to dedicate real time to developing content which is engaging, and quality. Unless you’re willing to settle for well below-par content which will prove ineffective at best and damaging at worst, set aside budget which is substantial enough to get your brand the excellent campaign it deserves.

Step Five: Tailor Your Content to each Channel

Think of the influencers you work with, in the same way that you’d think of a brand. For example, if you’re running a brand campaign you don’t treat every digital channel in the same way, so why would you do this with an influencer campaign?

Often, influencer campaigns consist of bloggers, publications or journalists pushing the same message with the same copy and the same hashtag across a really wide range of channels. The chances are, it’ll work for one channel but it’s unlikely it’ll work for them all!

Putting in the additional time and effort and planning out how each influencer should cover your campaign on each channel will help you engage their audiences on each and every channel.

The conclusion here is that there are no real shortcuts. For an outreach campaign to be successful, it needs the same attention to detail and dedication as any other campaign!