So, your brand is excited to launch its first influencer marketing campaign. Or, maybe you’ve dabbled in influencer marketing before, but are looking for tips to streamline and improve your process. We have lots of advice to run a successful campaign from start to finish in a way that is efficient, organized, and beneficial to your influencer partners. Let’s get into it.
- Part I: Campaign Goals & Sourcing
- Part II: The Creative Brief
- Part III: The Review Process
- Part IV: Paying Creators
Part I: Campaign Goals & Sourcing
When determining your campaign’s goals — something that should come before selecting a creator partner — you should first consider, what does success look like?
For many, high engagement is top of mind for every piece of content. How can brands get the most likes, comments, views, and impressions? These metrics often correlate to increased brand awareness and most importantly — more sales. But the secret to content creation is that while engagement is important, what matters more is the content’s quality.
While sourcing creators, you should pay the most attention to whether or not their existing content aligns with your brand. A creator’s style, voice, and personality are all important factors to take into account when finalizing partnerships so that your mutual audiences will respond positively.
This is not to say that dismissing engagement as a selection factor is the right move. Rather, striking a balance between great, quality content and proven engagement is the way to go. Dig deep into your potential creator’s content and ask questions like:
- Does the creator’s point of view match my brand?
- Does this creator consistently produce high-quality content?
- Are their captions consistent with the messaging I’d want to see if they’re promoting my brand?
- Do you see your brand fitting in alongside the rest of their content and sponsorships?
- Is your existing audience engaged with this creator already?
- In their sponsored content, is the product clearly displayed, including the company name/logo?
In the end, there’s a level of subjectivity that comes with sourcing creators for any brand. But with discernment in mind, influencers can maximize any brand campaign’s performance by sharing sponsored content with their audience. An influencer’s ability to impact brand awareness, engagement, and sales conversions makes the sourcing step a vital part of the campaign planning process.
Part II: The Creative Brief
Once you’ve sourced your creators, it’s time to provide them with a creative brief outlining the campaign’s visual and copy requirements. It should include any relevant campaign information, including hashtags, timelines, and steps to complete the content creation process.
A brand’s timeline for creators delivering their sponsored content should account for everything that is being requested. If there are several different touchpoints within the same campaign, brands should allow more time for creators to deliver these assets. Some other key pieces to consider when planning your brand’s timeline for creators are as follows.
- Are you planning this content around a particular seasonal event or holiday?
- Will this campaign conflict or accompany any other existing campaigns, even outside of influencer marketing?
- Are there any situational requirements beyond the product that would require your creators to travel to participate in an event/experience, or purchase a product in a store?
- Do your creator partners have a specific timeframe that they need to adhere to while generating a piece of content?
- Are your brand’s guidelines flexible or are they stringent and thus require a longer content review period?
- Are your creator partners known to work with lots of brands and thus have multiple commitments?
- Do your creators typically partner with photographers, and thus need to account for multiple schedules during content creation?
- Is the content request considered a high lift with a lot of moving parts?
- Does the creator need to purchase a product or is the brand shipping the product directly to them?
- If the latter, will supply chain issues impact the creator’s receipt of a product?
The key to finalizing timelines is to be conscientious of your brand’s needs as well as to be upfront with creators. Open dialogue with creators will help you get a sense of what the average turnaround time for content creation is going to be, making adjustments as needed for the creators with higher workloads. But because each creator is different, be sure to ask if they foresee any issues in adhering to the timeline — whether there might be conflicts with their posting schedule or issues with your product’s availability (if applicable).
Communication is especially important if your brand requires a quicker turnaround than what’s considered standard. Share the urgency in your brief, institute frequent check-ins with the creator, consider additional compensation for the rush, and keep your internal content review process short to accommodate the tighter deadlines.
Part III: The Review Process
Your creative brief should also outline the posting instructions, including whether or not your brand needs to review the creator’s content before they post. If you have a campaign that doesn’t need approval before posting, give the creator a clear deadline and let them decide how they’re going to meet that date.
If your campaign does require a review stage before posting, be sure to allow a minimum of two weeks to complete the content review process. Let the creator know how long your internal evaluation will take and keep them updated if it will take longer than initially expected.
Additionally, if you need creator content faster than usual to accommodate a rushed campaign, consider reducing your internal review period or omitting it altogether to get creator content out faster.
Part IV: Paying Creators
Remember that creators are not producing sponsored content just because they are passionate about your brand or for the exposure alone — they are doing this to earn an income! When it comes to influencer payments, the best practice is to pay creators within net-30 days of campaign completion. But, to win your creators over and entice them into participating in more collaborations with your brand, faster payment processing is always better.
Not to mention, creators express frustration with delayed payments, which is why many have moved to a payment-upon-posting model, where funds are readied for distribution during the review phase. This way, once they receive the green light from the brand to post, their payment is fulfilled right away. In a gig economy, where creators often have multiple sponsorship deals they’re working on at once, fast payment and other accommodation is a trust-building strategy that creators appreciate. If your brand plans to work with creators more in the future, building that rapport and trust right away is the key to a successful campaign and happy partners.
Get Ready For Launch
Planning your campaign with these considerations in mind positions your brand for success, not only regarding performance but also when considering future influencer collaborations. Being a valued partner to your influencers is just as important as sourcing the right creators. When you make your process efficient, easy to understand, and communicative, you’ll be able to build better relationships with creators who are eager to work with you consistently.