If you’ve ever spent time scrolling through Instagram’s explore feature, it’s likely you’ve stumbled upon influencers promoting a brand or product through a sponsored post. You may not recognize the individual in the photo, but if a picture feels even slightly promoted, chances are that poster is the fresh face of someone’s new influencer marketing campaign.

While the world of influencer marketing is popular, effective, and filled with potential candidates, it’s important to create an influencer strategy that’s appropriate for your consumer base. What works for a sneaker company targeting males aged 18 – 24, may not work for your shampoo company targeting women aged 35 and over. And if you’re planning on creating a campaign without understanding your influencer’s brand, think again. The wrong person promoting a product can ruin the reputation of a company indefinitely.

Bottom line: It’s important to think critically before creating a list of potential influencers, reaching out, and developing content for a promoted post. We’re breaking down a few tips for strategizing an influencer campaign that sends the right message to your consumers and leaves your business boosted.

  • Solidify Your Target Market: Who’s buying your product? Who thinks your brand is cool or relevant? Where do they live? What is their socio-economic status? Where do they stand on political issues? All of these factors define your consumer base. Once you figure out what speaks to your audience, you can determine who will speak to your audience effectively.
  • Study Influencers: Once you understand who your audience will respond to, spend time studying the online presence of potential influencers. Do their posts align with the values of your consumer base? Do they frequently host giveaways? Do they have dozens of other posts with promoted content? Ensuring that their behaviors align with those of your target audience, capitalizing on opportunities to participate in existing promotions, and understanding that an ideal influencer shouldn’t have feeds inundated with promoted posts, all help you select the best influencer for your brand.
  • Reach Out the Right Way: Before blasting out emails, develop a compelling pitch that grabs their attention. Study their brand and figure out what content they love so the influencer knows that you’ve taken the time to understand who they are. Be concise – your message should be no longer than 150 words – and always follow up! Sometimes it takes two to four emails before an influencer responds so it’s important to be persistent. However, stop sending emails after the third or fourth follow-up to avoid sound desperate or obnoxious.
  • Scratch Their Backs: To develop long-term relationships with influencers in your campaigns, create an opportunity that also aligns with their brand. Influencers want to maintain the legitimacy of their posts as much as you want consumers to remain trustworthy of your products. If you’re partnering with a makeup artist who loves animals, consider attaching a promo code to the influencer that, when used with a purchase, automatically routes a portion of the funds to organizations against animal testing. Or, consider promoting the influencer’s products on your social pages. Do whatever you can to collaborate with influencers so they don’t feel like human ad placements! Presenting an opportunity that benefits the influencer’s long-term career builds a relationship that they’ll continue engaging with throughout the years.
  • Create a Contract: One last note on relationship-building – write a contract! Everyone should know where they stand and what’s expected of them to avoid disputes or misunderstandings down the road.
  • Track It!: To determine if your campaign was successful, and whether or not your company should continue collaborating with an influencer, it’s important to understand the effectiveness of your campaign. The best way to determine effectiveness is to create measurable milestones. Study your campaign as it progresses and compare milestones with predetermined goals. Is your influencer sending a message that’s appropriate to your campaign? Were there any lapses in communication throughout the process? Develop KPI goals and compare them to your campaign results. Tracking data in daily spreadsheets can be time consuming and ineffective. Sites lie Heepsy have built-in tools that make measurement easy!

If you’re considering an influencer campaign, you’re on the right track. Social media stars have huge followings and capture the attention of consumers more effectively than traditional advertisements. However, to be successful, your influencer campaign must be thoughtful, collaborative, and measurable. Follow these tips and watch as your brand awareness skyrockets! Maybe one day your company’s page will even surpass the popularity of Instagram’s top influencers.