Best Practices for Launching an Influencer Marketing Program (Updated November 2018)

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

While there’s a lot of hype around influencer marketing, not every marketer has experienced success from their influencer marketing program. If you’ve shared the same fate as these marketers, it’s probably because you didn’t execute your campaign properly.

There’s a lot involved in influencer marketing, with plenty of challenges along the way. Some brands struggle with identifying which influencers will be right for them. Others have a hard time connecting with influencers and convincing them to partner with their brands. Some brands also struggle with managing influencer relationships and tracking ROI for various influencers.

Outreach Email Templates

No matter what challenges you are facing while running an influencer marketing program, this guide will help you. Below is our detailed guide on the various steps involved in running an influencer marketing program which includes the best practices to be followed during each stage.

Steps Involved in an Influencer Marketing Program

Before we get started with the best practices for an influencer marketing program, it is important to understand the various steps involved in running an influencer marketing program. Here are the steps you should follow to plan and execute an effective influencer marketing program:

#1. Determine Your Goals, Audience, and Budget

Have a clear idea about how much you can afford to spend for your campaign, and what you wish to achieve from it. Establish your target audience, and determine the best kind of campaign that will help you reach them.

#2. Choose Your Ideal Platform

Determine which social media platform(s) you will be executing your campaign on, based on your target audience and type of content. For example, YouTube is a good platform for posting videos, but for pictures or text content, you may want to choose another platform.

#3. Set a Publishing Schedule

Coordinate the launch of your campaign to coincide with your other marketing initiatives. Make sure you coordinate the campaign across all social media platforms.

#4. Identify the Ideal Influencers for Your Brand

Look for influencers whose personas will align with your brand’s identity and messaging. Instead of focusing on follower count, it is important to find influencers who can drive a lot of engagement on social media. You should also look at parameters like engagement rate, the frequency of posts, topics niche, location etc.

#5. Outline Your Campaign

Clearly communicate with your influencers about what you expect out of your campaign. Create a brief outlining your goals, copy points, and creative guidance without being too overbearing over the influencers’ content. You can use an influencer management platform to effectively manage content from various influencers.

#6. Negotiate Compensation and Finalize Contracts

Negotiate a fair compensation amount with your influencers and then draw up a contract that outlines payment, licensing rights, deliverables, and publishing schedule.

#7. Review Content

Before influencers publish the campaign content, you should thoroughly review it to ensure that it contains the essential copy points. Make sure that it also aligns with your brand’s messaging and adheres to FTC guidelines.

#8. Execute Your Campaign

Run the campaign and start monitoring it to see how people are engaging with it. Use Grin’s influencer marketing software to run an effective influencer marketing program.

#9. Amplify and Optimize the Campaign

Share the campaign content on your social media profiles to optimize the reach and encourage the influencers to follow suit. Find ways to continue optimizing the content to get more results.

#10. Analyze Your Campaign Performance

Collect campaign data such as reach, views, impressions, sales, click-through, etc. to understand how the campaign is performing.

Best Practices to Run an Influencer Marketing Program

We have detailed the best practices to run a successful influencer marketing program by dividing the above-mentioned steps into four phases. This will help you gain a better idea of what you need to do, which tools you need, and how to make everything work together.

You will learn about how to plan your campaign thoroughly in the pre-launch phase and how to discover and engage the right influencers in the recruitment phase. You will also understand what is involved in the initial execution phase, and then learn how to make continuous improvements in the Ascend phase.

#1. Pre-Launch Phase

The pre-launch phase generally takes about two weeks to complete. The key outcomes of this phase are setting the campaign goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure performance on these goals.

The first step is to define campaign goals and set KPIs to measure those goals.

Following are some things to keep in mind before setting goals:

  • Ensure that the goals are realistic and time-bound.
  • Make your goals as specific as possible and avoid vague statements.
  • Set measurable goals so that you can track the ROI of your influencer marketing campaigns effectively.

And once you’re done with that, you should also set internal benchmarks and define the KPIs you are going to use to monitor your campaign results. Your KPIs could include:

  • Impression
  • Reach
  • Engagement rates
  • Views
  • Growth in follower base
  • Click-through rate
  • Sales, etc.

You can use our guide on influencer marketing KPIs and ROI measurement for more ideas.

You can check out our guide on creating an effective influencer strategy to get this part right. We’ve also put together some common influencer marketing campaign types if you’d like to get ideas for building your strategy.

The pre-launch phase is also the stage in which you invest in essential influencer marketing tools. Ideally, you should look for a tool that comprehensively fulfills every aspect of your campaign needs – right from influencer discovery to campaign monitoring.

Grin is perfect for this, as you can use it to discover influencers, manage their payment, and send them campaign briefs. You can even track the total spend of your campaign, and see how each influencer is performing. This gives you the ability to make adjustments to further improve your campaign performance.

influencer marketing KPIs and ROI measurement - Influencer marketing program

#2. Recruitment Phase

Now that you have everything sorted for the pre-launch phase, it’s time to start searching for and recruiting influencers for your campaign. The recruitment phase takes about a month and a half to complete. By the end of this phase, you should have a bunch of engaged and relevant influencers who are ready to create content with and for your brand.

The ideal influencer for your campaign depends largely on your campaign goals. For example, you will need influencers with significant following if you wish to raise brand awareness. Regardless of your campaign goals, your first priority should be on relevance. This is essential because even if the influencer can reach millions of people, your campaign won’t have the desired impact if the people reached are not interested in what you have to say.

Use Grin search feature to look for influencers in a relevant category. Use a relevant keyword to conduct your search. And you’ll get a list of all the relevant influencers who fit this category along with a preview of their following size, interests, bio, etc.

You can filter the results based on:

  1. Social platform
  2. Engagement rate
  3. Location

Grin search feature to look for influencers - Influencer marketing program

In addition to relevance, another factor you should prioritize is the engagement rate. How well can the influencer engage their audience through their content? An influencer with a good engagement rate is likely to know how to create the right type of content that will stir the interest of their audience about your products or services.

audience about your products or services - Influencer marketing program

Once you’ve shortlisted influencers who are ideal for your campaign, you can begin your outreach. Here, you need to be friendly and approachable while remaining professional. You should clearly explain what the email is about and why you’ve approached the influencer.

Even for this outreach process, Grin provides you with pre-existing email templates that you can customize for each influencer. Here’s an example of one of the templates available:

Hey ADD NAME!
Who doesn't like getting packages in the mail??
My name is {Your Name} and I'm with {Your Brand}. We're running an Unboxing Campaign and are looking for influencers like you to participate! We'd like to send you a box of goodies and have you create and post a video of you opening it up and reacting to what's inside.
Read the details below if you'd like to join the campaign!
Thanks & Regards
ADD NAME

You can even create email sequences, which involves creating emails to be sent out at several days’ intervals. This is very helpful for following up on influencers who haven’t responded to your initial emails. The sequence will automatically end once an influencer takes a certain action.

You should also set up your brand’s Live URL so you can keep track of the proposal and which influencers accepted it. When you include this Live URL in the outreach email, the influencers will be able to see which brand is reaching out to them. And once they click on this Live URL, they will be taken to a customized landing page such as the one below.

customized landing page - Influencer marketing program

#3. Initial Execution Phase

After you have successfully recruited influencers for your campaign, you can begin your initial execution phase. This phase lasts for about two months. It involves having influencers create and publish content for the campaign.

You can leverage influencers in a number of ways.

Following are a few examples:

  • Send them free products in exchange for an honest product review.
  • Have them write blog posts and add backlinks to your website.
  • Have them take over your social media account(s).
  • Invite them to events and ask them to post about it on social media.
  • Ask them to generate social media content to promote your brand and products. 

However, you will need to measure the performance of the content and see how you can make improvements. You can manage all of this right from the Grin campaign workroom.

Grin campaign workroom - Influencer marketing program

Use the workroom to easily manage your campaign without having to use multiple tools. You can manage your outreach and proposals as well as keep track of your product shipment. You can monitor the performance of different influencer content and pay your influencers right from this workroom.

Keep an eye on how each piece of influencer content is performing based on the KPIs you have set earlier. Ideally, you should monitor how well people are engaging with the content in addition to monitoring other key metrics. If an influencer isn’t performing as well as you had hoped, you can either exclude them from the campaign or work with them to further improve their performance.

#4. Ascend Phase

The ascend phase is an ongoing phase that involves making continuous improvements to your campaign. Here, you’ll need to filter out the top-performing influencers for the campaign. And you need to look for ways to further leverage their creativity to enhance your campaign performance. This might involve turning them into long-term ambassadors for your brand instead of just using them for a one-off campaign.

As mentioned earlier, you can track the performance of each influencer through the Grin campaign workroom. And once you find that certain influencers are consistently performing exceptionally well, you can re-negotiate with them to switch to a different relationship stage. The end goal of all this is to expand the program and ensure that it can attain long-term success for your brand.

The Grin tool enables you to keep track of your influencer relationships and set different relationship stages for each of them. For the top performers, you might want to switch the relationship stage to “Ambassador.” For poor-performers who haven’t made any improvements, you can “Pause” your relationship with them.

Grin tool enables you to keep track of your influencer - Influencer marketing program

An effectively influencer marketing program does not end after a one-time collaboration with an influencer. It is also important to maintain those influencer relationships even after your campaign has ended.

So make sure that you stay in touch with the influencers that you have collaborated with by liking or commenting on their posts or sending them direct messages.

Conclusion

You now know exactly what to do at each stage of your influencer marketing program. And you also understand which Grin features you can use to execute these best practices for your influencer marketing program. These best practices can help you successfully set up an effective influencer marketing program for long-term brand growth.

Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below.


Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.

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