Jan 6, 2023
The 18-Point Guide You Need to Set Up a Powerful Brand Influencer Program
Influencer marketing has emerged to be a powerful marketing practice in recent years and is showing potential to be a staple strategy in the near future. Companies of all sizes now need to get started with creating brand influencer programs to get these creative marketers on board.
Let’s look into what an influencer program is, what it can do for your business, and how you can get started with one.
What is an Influencer Program?
Influencer marketing is a social media marketing strategy that many businesses use to activate short-term promotional campaigns with influencers or content creators. Brand influencer programs are systems created by businesses to accommodate influencers into their marketing campaigns, funneling the process into a quantifiable undertaking.
Social media takes up 50% of the average 2 hours and 30 minutes internet users spend daily. Out of all the ads and content people encounter, influencer marketing has become the fastest-growing acquisition for channels in 2015.
This led other businesses to put up their own brand influencer programs. 81% of marketers who did found it effective, and another 34% of advertisers reported that working with influencers has generated more ROI than other marketing activities.
This is because, as a study conducted by Twitter reported, users trust influencers more when it comes to purchasing suggestions. The same study reported that 49% of users agree to rely on an influencer’s opinion for purchases, while 40% of users actually proceed with purchasing after reading a Tweet from an influencer.
With a brand influencer program in your arsenal, you could also be getting the same $6.50 ROI per $1 invested. Before setting up your brand influencer, however, you should know the difference between paid media marketers, so you can properly incentivize them.
Influencers vs Affiliate Marketers vs Brand Ambassadors
If you’re looking to work with paid media marketers, you should be clear about what you’re program is looking for and how you’re going to reward them. Influencers, affiliate marketers, and brand ambassadors work a little differently, and will want different ways to be incentivized for their work.
Activating any or a combination of these marketers for a word-of-mouth campaign will work for you, as long as you know who your brand needs. Affiliate marketers will create content to drive audiences to purchase through their affiliate links. This is because they usually work on commissions from affiliate link clicks.
Influencers on the other hand will create content to drive traffic and engagement to your brand. While they can definitely help generate sales, getting exposed to their niche audience will already be rewarding for brand awareness.
An influencer's high engagement rates will help you generate new leads, customers, or even voluntary advocates from their followers. This is one of the best earned media strategies you can implement at the same time.
As for brand ambassadors, these are content creators you can work with for longer periods of time to promote your brand, products, or services. Given the reputation they’ve established among their audience, you can count on them to get their audience to really build a connection with your brand.
They won’t just demonstrate how they use your products, they’ll talk about your brand, offer their unique take on it, and even engage with their audience on behalf of your brand. While influencers typically stay on digital platforms, ambassadors can also be activated for in-person events.
With the benefits of each word-of-mouth marketer, comes their own requirements for compensation. Affiliates get commissions, while influencers may negotiate short-term partnerships for flat fees, products, discounts, etc. Ambassadors may endorse your brand for free, but there are those you’ll have to sign agreements with.
How to Set Up an Influencer Program
Decided on working with influencers to get more people to see your brand? Here are the steps to set up the best brand influencer programs.
1. Set Your Goals
As with most strategies, setting goals is the first step to laying out the foundation for a solid plan. Define what growth stage your company is in, and which actions are appropriate for the marketers to take. Once you’ve decided on what kinds of campaigns you want, you should be able to identify the influencers, content types, and outcomes you’ll be looking for.
With these in mind, you can list down the KPIs your influencer program will be tracking to measure success and base the next strategy on.
2. Identify Your Audience and Channels
Specificity is key in marketing, and to further understand what kind of influencers you’ll be reaching out to, you should identify your audience and the social media platforms they’re most engaged with. Knowing who you want to reach will let you know who your best messengers are and the best medium to use.
3. Incentivize Your Program
Once you’ve decided on your channels, you can start scoping out the kinds of content influencers create on there. You can also conduct research as to how influencers on your specific platform of choice prefer to be incentivized for their sponsored content.
There will be creators who prefer flat fees, while others will also ask for PR kits or samples to use in their content. From this knowledge, you can create compensation packages that are agreeable to your marketing budget, and will also make your influencers happy.
4. Set Communication Channels
For brand influencer programs to stay organized, communication channels are crucial. While influencer outreach may happen through comments, DMs, or email, it’s important that you have a communication channel dedicated to discussing the collaboration.
A group chat on Slack may be a great idea if you’re deploying multiple influencers with the same goal. You can also have a Notion board where pitches and revisions can be turned over as soon as they’re done. What’s important is that you establish a communication channel where work can be done in an organized manner.
5. Find Content Creators
Up next on your list is to start looking for content creators and evaluating their compatibility with your brand. While one creator may be a key opinion leader in your space, if their branding does not align with the values of your brand, they may not be a good match.
As such, you can’t blindly work with a list of all the influencers your target audience engages with. You’ll need to vet influencers based on your campaign’s demands. This will include their actual audience profile, posting frequency, and so much more.
Take note of the different kinds of influencers, as well. Mega influencers have a celebrity-level reach and are highly effective at brand awareness campaigns. Macro influencers have a lower reach of only up to 1M followers, but higher engagement levels.
Micro-influencers have 10k-100k followers, but also have a deeper connection with their audience, garnering them higher engagement rates than macro-influencers.
Niche or nano influencers would have up to 10k followers supporting them as a tight community. If you’re targeting specific niches for niche transactions or engagements for your brand, getting a nano influencer may be best for you.
6. Reach Out and Negotiate
After coming up with a list of influencers you want to tap for your campaign, it’s time to reach out. You can do this slowly by engaging with them first and letting influencers know you exist. You can also immediately post a comment or write them that you’d like to see the possibilities of a collaboration.
What’s important here is that you find the best way to reach out to them. Some may respond to your DMs while others only entertain emails.
You may even want to build an influencer outreach campaign to have a more organized approach to tapping content creators en masse. With scripts, pitches, and contact information all in one place, it can be easier for you to have more successful outreach efforts in the future.
This is also the part where you negotiate the terms of your partnership, whether they’d accept the package you’re offering or if they want something else in exchange for their promotion.
7. Create Campaign Briefs
As you finalize your arrangement with influencers, you should also prepare your campaign brief, especially if there are some specific tasks you have for each creator.
Your campaign brief should detail your brand’s story and why you’ve chosen the influencer you’re talking to. It should also introduce your goals, how you’d like the influencer to help in achieving those, and how success will be measured.
Your influencer campaign brief should inform influencers about your brand, the specific campaign and its goals, your content guidelines, deadlines, and other specific details related to the time period you’ve agreed to work together.
8. Activate Your Influencers
After the brand onboarding process using your campaign briefs, you can start activating influencers on social media. This is where they start creating their content. Depending on your agreement, they may send it for approval before posting it on social, or not.
As more traffic will be driven to your social pages and website, you should have your in-house team ready to qualify leads and support the traffic your influencers are getting. You can also deploy your in-house marketing team to start working on new campaigns, optimizing landing pages for your current campaign, or even researching better outreach or paid media marketing strategies.
9. Optimize Your Program
By the end of your campaign, your team should be prepared to run the numbers and gain insight from the performance of your most recent campaign. This is where you start optimizing your entire influence program for the next campaign.
You can also prepare a feedback loop to accommodate influencers and their opinions of your brand, based on their experience working on your campaign. It’s important that you get to leverage not only their skills in content creation but also their insight as marketers.
Influencer Program Management Tasks
Setting up brand influencer programs can be tough, but it’s only the optimization and strategizing that you may have to work on every now and then. Here are the other tasks that you will commonly encounter as you keep working with influencers:
As each campaign may have a specific goal, you will also have to reevaluate your entire approach. As such, you will be conducting market research multiple times. This step includes, but is not limited to, audience research, influencer profiling, content research, and trend analysis.
You or a team member will also have to dedicate time to ironing out specifics with every influencer you’re working with. As there are different types of influencers, there will also be different demands you’ll have to make adjustments for.
With multiple influencers on your campaign, you’ll be negotiating, preparing, and documenting many contracts at once. This task will always come around as long as your brand is using an influencer marketing strategy, so make sure to carve out some time for contracts.
Finding different influencers will also require you to reach out to them one-by-one. This is why designing an influencer outreach campaign will be beneficial to your program. Make sure you’re always tweaking this process so you can build a great network of influencers to advocate for your brand.
Each influencer will also have to be introduced to your campaign briefs and go through the brand onboarding process. This is the part where you make sure that they are able to create content aligned with your brand’s online presence and company values.
Skipping this step can create a disconnect between your brand and the content an influencer creates to represent your values. Make sure to properly onboard every influencer to have effective campaigns that really show your brand’s value.
Some influencers work more collaboratively than others. You will have to carve out time to collaborate in these cases. Depending on the extent of your collaboration, this can come in the form of revamping old content with newer trends, using licensed media from your brand or creating content that will be owned and published on your platforms.
There will also be influencers who will agree on a product collaboration. Your business model will dictate if this can be done on a short-term basis or within a longer ambassadorship period. For the latter, you may need a dedicated product specialist from your team to work hand-in-hand with an influencer.
Campaign Execution and Coordination
For the duration of your campaign, you’ll also need to dedicate some time to watch over the progress of the content published by the influencers you’ve contracted. This can include responding to the best comments, flagging content that may need revisions, or even scheduling the rollout of your content from multiple influencers.
Analytics reporting is a crucial part of optimizing your influencer program. This is where you crunch the numbers to gain insight into the level of success your collaboration has achieved beyond sales, likes, or comments.
With the results from this process, you’ll be able to formulate a data-driven approach to succeeding in both influencer marketing and influencer outreach.
The overall supervision of your influencer marketing campaign also falls into your team’s to-do list. This means that you have to be involved at some level every step of the way to ensure success. Without micromanaging influencers, you’ll need to do your part in each collaboration. This is especially true when new trends dictate that you make immediate adjustments to your strategy.
Succeeding in Paid Media Campaigns
As you continue to build your network of influencers, you may find better ways to achieve your goals while growing a solid community of influencers and customers around your brand.
One way to avoid getting overwhelmed with influencer marketing is to delegate some of your tasks to a Virtudesk virtual assistant. With a marketing VA, you get to activate a brand influencer program for your company without taking on all the grueling work it takes to set up, execute, and optimize the program.
This way, you can focus on running the rest of your business while a VA works with influencers on behalf of your brand. Without sacrificing the business areas you need to work on as an entrepreneur, you can actually invest in paid media and even tap into the benefits of earned media from its success.
If you’d like the help of one of our virtual assistants, feel free to fill out this form so one of our Consultants can get in touch with you.
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