Okay, so you’ve chosen the right influencers to work with. That was a crucial first step and the necessary foundation for your campaign.
But obviously your job isn’t done yet.
What comes next determines whether your brand succeeds or fails with influencer marketing:
How you actually work with your influencers on your campaign.
Now you want to make sure that your collaboration with them will meet your expectations or even go above and beyond.
You can work together with your influencers to create something special – campaigns that bring massive reach and new growth to your brand.
Follow the three steps outlined in this guide and you’ll be well on your way to a highly successful collaboration with your influencers.
Let’s dive in.
Step #1: Establish a Measurable Framework for The Ultimate Win-Win Collaboration with Goals, Deadlines, & Compensation
The first step is to set the stage for successful work on your campaign with your influencers.
Build the framework in which the collaboration takes place. Create a great working relationship – which is vital for your campaign to go smoothly and the relationship to last long enough to get the results you’re after.
Set reasonable goals & expectations
Before any content is created, talk about which KPIs (key performance indicators) are important in the campaign, your goals for improving them, and how much content will have to be created to realistically achieve those goals.
Different KPIs for your collaboration could be:
- Brand mentions
- Engagement rates
- Website traffic
- Leads generated
- Improved conversion rates
- Financial ROI
Be realistic about predicting these outcomes. Base it on historical influencer marketing data, results from past campaigns your influencers have taken part in, and even competitor results.
You want to err on the side of being conservative in your predictions, so you’re not putting too much pressure on your influencers (and yourself), and are not setting yourself up for disappointment. If the campaign performs above expectation, that’s just an amazing bonus on top!
Have deadlines, but don’t rush your influencers
Establishing a timeframe for your campaign is important. It provides structure and incentivizes focused work. But a deadline should never be a threat to your influencers.
They need to know they have enough freedom to let their creative juices flow and create the best content they can for you. Putting them under added time pressure will not help that outcome – on the contrary, it can potentially prevent it.
Compensate your influencers well for working with you
How much and in which way (there are many) you’ll pay your influencers depends on numerous factors. For example, when charging per post, it’s usually between CHF200-1000 in today’s influencer marketing landscape.
There are other ways they can get paid:
- A monthly salary for the duration of your campaign
- A percentage of sales
- Free products
- A combination of these options
Whichever way you decide to pay your influencers, make sure it’s enough for them to actually feel incentivized – so they’re motivated to give their best when creating content for you and working with you in general.
Be open-minded: Let your influencers do what they do best
Influencers are more than just a number on their profile. Use the expertise and creativity that content creators are willing and able to bring to the table.
Yes, you do want to set expectations and brief them on your goals – but you also want to give them a good amount of creative freedom.
Sure, influencers are your vehicle for connecting to your audience (an effective one). But if you acknowledge their status as subject matter experts and authorities in their niche, they can contribute a lot of that expertise to your campaign. They can help you develop even more creative ideas – ideas that are specific to their audience (which they know inside and out), and are likely to hit the mark.
They’re uniquely qualified to help your brand be more creative, bringing fresh ideas no one else inside your organization may have thought of before.
Creative ideation can be done either independently by an influencer or together with you as the brand.
Influencer marketing has massive potential to sell complicated brands and experiences. If you think about the story you want to tell with your brand, influencers can offer you a targeted, personal, and credible voice to tell that story.
As mentioned, influencers know their community very well. Give them a precise briefing, but as much freedom as you can.
Resist the urge to simply tell them how to do their job. You might be able to pay them to say a specific slogan into the camera, but communities can be very harsh with content creators who do that. If they tell you that won’t work, listen to them. They may have a better idea in mind.
Create an influencer agreement (contract)
Creating an influencer contract is in the best interests of both you and the collaborating influencers. It clarifies all expectations for both sides so everybody knows what exactly will be part of the campaign. And having a contract in place will simply give both of you peace of mind. In case things don’t work out, or the other party does something unexpected, there will at least be potential legal recourse.
Here’s what you influencer agreement should include:
- What type of content they’ll be asked to create
- How many pieces of content will be created during the collaboration
- Which metrics they should aim to hit (awareness, traffic, sales) – and how (mentioning your brand, linking to your website, showing your product)
- What compensation they’ll receive in return – which amount, for which time frame, in how many payments
- Asking them to adhere to FTC/GDPR guidelines and guard your brand safety
- Confidentiality agreement about the terms of the contract and other details of the campaign
- What constitutes a breach of contract
Creating the influencer contract is boring work – but should any problems arise during your campaign, you’ll be glad to have done it. In almost all cases, it’s not a good idea to just wing it when working with influencers.
Be someone they like working with
How do you achieve that, other than being a good person and a friendly higher-up?
Help your influencers do their work better and more easily, by sharing everything you can with them:
- Relevant media (photos, videos, audio recordings, screenshots)
- Create templates for some of the content formats
- Consider building a media kit for the influencers to use with checklists, guidelines, examples, etc.
They’ll surely appreciate your help in this way and it’s bound to improve your working relationship … and speed up content creation.
Step #2: Build and Launch a Beautiful Campaign Together
Now that you’ve created the perfect framework for successfully collaborating with your influencers, it’s time to start working on your actual campaign.
Craft a campaign that’s guaranteed to make an impact on your audience, and be a win-win situation for both you and the influencers you’re working with.
Martina Klieber, Publicity Manager at Universal Pictures Switzerland put it this way: “Universal’s success shows that you can have great success when the influencer and community are a good match for your brand, and the influencer is excited about your brand and tells the story properly.”
Here’s how to do it:
Make sure to stay “on brand”
Stay consistent with your brand values. Influencer marketing, like all marketing initiatives, must be consistently aligned with your brand identity. While you should – as we’ve talked about above – leverage your brand advocates’ unique personality and creative ideas, they must not conflict with your key brand messages.
The content they put out for your campaign should fit what your brand stands for and the image your audience has formed of your brand in their heads. If the messages are too inventive, too different, too off-the-rails, it’ll go against the associations your fans have with your brand and might hurt your connection.
So, as long as you’re abundantly clear about what your brand identity and brand values are, and you determine that the messages put out during the campaign fit your identity and values, you can rest assured. Your influencer marketing efforts will only serve to strengthen your brand’s perception in the eyes of your fans – not damage it.
Be creative: experiment with different formats
Don’t assume you know which type of content will resonate with your audience. Instead, you could test and vary different attributes during your influencer collaboration – such as using multiple social media channels, hitting various themes, and creating different kinds of media.
While keeping in mind not to be too inventive as mentioned above, and staying consistent with your brand identity – allow yourself to step out of the box of bland, copycat content.
The goal should be to create fresh, organic content together with the influencers.
What could this creative approach look like in reality?
- Vary your themes: Tailor the influencer content to current events, holidays, or popular leisure activities and trends
- Hit different topics: Home or public life, hobbies, relationships, sports, celebrities
- Change up the people: Have a mix of different influencers and brand advocates put out your messages
Finally, use several social media formats to make your campaign unique and engaging:
Live-streaming offers your audience a more personal experience with your creators and will create a more authentic connection.
Make IG stories
In IG stories, the influencers can be even more creative because stories don’t have to be as polished as your usual curated social media posts. This provides the opportunity to deliver your message in a different, more down-to-earth way.
Make longer-form videos
YouTube and IGTV are the ideal platforms for this. In a longer-form video, influencers can teach the audience how to use your product, show the impact of your services over a longer time period, or offer in-depth explanations of some of your brand features.
TikToks & Reels
The most popular form of modern social media content, these short-form videos can go viral if they are creative, done well, and hit a nerve.
Polls are a way to gain insights from your audience and involve them more in your brand, instead of relying only on one-way communication. This shows your fans that you care about their opinion!
This is a more old-school option, but it’s still applicable in some niches. Forums often have a user base that’s incredibly dedicated to their topic of choice. If you manage to connect with them using well-made influencer content, you could win over some real power consumers to your brand.
Image or video posts that draw attention to and/or link to your brand are still effective – if the content is something that resonates with the audience.
If your brand appears on a high-authority blog in your niche, its authority will rub off on you – which could work wonders for how you’re perceived in the marketplace and prime readers to buy from you. Collaborating with the right kinds of influencers who can deliver this type of quality post is what will make this work for you.
Have one of your influencers take over your company’s social media accounts for a day. This can be a really entertaining and bonding experience for your audience.
Contests are a great way to drive impressive engagement! Contests can mobilize the influencers’ followers from being mere content consumers to taking part in the story. As we all know, actively engaged prospects are much more likely to buy.
Launch a new product & unboxing videos
You can coordinate your influencer marketing campaign such that they will launch your new product for you in front of the eyes of their thousands of followers. One cool way to show off the products is to have them make a video of receiving the product, unboxing it, and starting to use it.
Run live events
Creating a live event that followers can take part in is a creative and very engaging way to educate people about your company, display services, and showcase features … but above all: Create a strong, loyal community around your brand – which is massively valuable.
Make your campaigns interactive – think about community engagement
Social influence marketing provides an agile, real-time communication channel with consumers. When doing influencer marketing, like social media in general, brands should engage with consumers and aim for effective two-way communication.
Too often brands push out a stream of content to their audiences without bothering to also listen. But interactive campaigns lead to increased engagement, brand advocacy and likability, as well as more conversions and better customer loyalty.
Social media provides brands with the unique opportunity to make campaigns interactive and collaborative. You can turn campaigns from brand monologues into conversations by encouraging participation and interaction, as well as incorporating user-generated
What are some examples of interactive influencer content?
- Q&A sessions
For example, CoverGirl partnered with eight TikTok influencers to boost product awareness among Gen Z. The campaign encouraged audience interaction with the content by incorporating lip-syncing, one of the central engagement drivers on TikTok. The #CleanFreshHype branded campaign generated over 6.5B impressions and a 5.7% engagement rate.
Be authentic and forge emotional connections
A successful brand is one that’s able to truly connect with consumers and create a real relationship.
If you manage to create this connection, it will lead to people converting into customers. Customers who are loyal to you for the long term, and will even go out to advocate for your brand and your products or services.
The best way to stand out from the crowd and connect is with emotion, empathy, storytelling, and authenticity. People are craving authentic and real content as well as advice, and look for people and brands they believe in to provide this.
Authenticity is vital to connecting, and consumers notice it immediately.
As consumers strive for purpose, they seek out brands that demonstrate shared values. These values must be communicated clearly, while consistently remaining authentic. Additionally, brands can boost their emotional appeal by engaging in people-driven, creative storytelling and advertising that unlocks emotion.
Leverage your influencer campaigns to tell stories and you’ll give your brand a face people can relate to. You’ll create more emotional connections and make your social media presence much more appealing.
Step #3: Monitor your Campaigns, Improve ROI, Be Agile, & Know When to Stop
Track your performance – Manage your campaigns thoroughly
Successful collaboration means giving your brand advocates clear briefings at the start of your campaign and following up thoroughly. This is so you have a check on what influencers are actually doing for you. Does it match the brief? Does it meet your quality standards? Only then will it positively reinforce your brand.
With a distributed team of different influencers, mistakes can obviously happen. This is why you must monitor your campaign on an ongoing basis. The good news is that if you spot an error promptly, it can be corrected. The bad news is that you must invest the time to monitor if you want to spot errors promptly.
Fortunately, it’s becoming increasingly easy to measure attribution of social media investments to accurately calculate your ROI. If you’re experimenting among multiple parameters, as recommended, you can then alter future campaigns by increasing investments in the most successful tactics – and thus improve your ROI.
You can also combine the power of influencer marketing with innovative campaign management technology. This can substantially increase the efficiency of your campaign and improve outcomes. Some influencer marketing platforms can accurately predict campaign outcomes such as estimated impressions, reach, engagement, interactions, and conversion, based on unique campaign parameters.
Armed with these metrics, don’t be afraid to make shifts if something is not working as it’s supposed to. Influencer marketing can be a very agile tool, and you should make use of that fact!
Be encouraged to pivot if you identify a direction that’s more fruitful than the current path.
Fortunately, the personality traits of influencers and the nature of social media, coupled with your campaign insights, will make it easy for you to course-correct and put your campaign on the path to greater success.
Know when to stop collaborating
After you’ve done all the work of identifying good influencers, setting expectations and guidelines, and signing a contract with the specifics, you’ve done all you can to eliminate the risk of your collaboration failing.
But, of course, things can always still go wrong, and a bad or fake influencer could reveal themselves only after you’ve hired them.
Stop your collaboration if:
- Communication is continually poor
- Their values turn out to be misaligned with yours
- They’re not getting the results you wanted
If the relationship still seems salvageable, you can try to renegotiate.
If it is indeed hopeless, maybe it’s best to tell them, “Our goals don’t seem to be aligned. This isn’t working.” To maintain your brand’s reputation, always be kind in these situations. You could even offer the influencers in question a parting gift to soothe the disappointment or make them an affiliate (if it was just the scope of the campaign that didn’t work). Never just ignore them or react unprofessionally.
What to do after the event?
Again, be agile, revisit your campaign, and focus on the best way forward.
As mentioned, almost all of these incidents can be prevented by vetting and recruiting your influencers in the right way. And each of these little setbacks will teach you more about what to look out for in the future.
Now you know how you can make your next influencer collaboration a great success! Check out our other blog posts and some of our case studies for more influencer marketing content and inspiration for your next campaigns. We’re glad that you’ll be using the power of influencer marketing to take your brand to the next level!