Has this ever happened to you? You see an ad or review for something that seems so cool, it will be life-changing for sure. So you wait a bit, let the anticipation build, getting more and more excited for having that thing in your life. You finally get it, open the box, and feel stupid. “Were these instructions written for average customers or Mensa members?”
A cool tool is only exciting if you have the skills to use it. If you don’t, you won’t want to use it because no one likes feeling confused or stupid.
So now that we’ve released influencer scores, we’ve made it easy to find influencers. But we want to make sure you have everything you need to use them. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be writing about different aspects of using VIPs for your business, from start to finish. This series will help you design your influencer strategy, recruit and communicate with participants, and kick off your campaign.
And of course, we need to start at the beginning: creating your influencer strategy.
Step 1: Choose Your Primary Goal
Before designing your campaign, you’ll need to figure out what you want to get out of it. There are a lot of ways to use influencers across different areas of your business.
Do you want to drum up awareness for your company’s latest product? Drive traffic to a certain web page? Make sales? Secure certain types of media coverage?
Choosing your final goal upfront ensures that it’s kept in mind throughout every stage of the planning process. Your specific goal will determine where you look for influencers, what niches or communities you look in, what their involvement with your company will be, and so on.
For example, let’s say you work at a video game company. You could use influencers in a number of ways to meet different goals. If your end goal was brand awareness, you might reach out to as many influential gamers as possible to talk about any of your games online. However, if your goal is to sell your latest release, you might want to focus more on finding gamers to write in-depth reviews:
Now I’m no gamer, but that review is pretty persuasive. Much better for driving sales than a tweet to the info page. However, sales won’t be everyone’s goal every time.
Step 2: Determine Your KPIs
You’ve picked a goal. How do you determine whether or not you’ve meet it by the end of the campaign? That’s right, we’re going to talk about KPIs.
When it comes to measuring the success of your influencer strategy, pick both qualitative and quantitative goals. Why? Because qualitative data adds context to hard numbers.
For each piece of quantitative data you’re collecting, select one or two ways you can add context to that number. To continue the above example, let’s say your gaming company is focusing on a review campaign right now.
One piece of quantitative data you’ll keep track of is the rating your game was given. But in addition to that, describe how positive or negative the review is, which parts of the game the review focused on, etc.
Step 3: Build Your Campaign
Congratulations! Now that you’ve decided your goal and how to measure it, you’re ready to start nailing down details. (If you think it’s weird that we still haven’t actually found influencers, don’t worry. They’re coming up soon.)
Why do you want to plan out everything before reaching out to anyone? Because when you do make contact, you want to have everything ready to go. One of them could contact you 5 minutes after your original outreach, ready to get started. You want to have instructions, collateral, etc. ready for them.
What kind of prep material is required will depend on your specific campaign, but here are a few things you might need to plan out:
- Exactly what activities you’re going to be asking of the campaign participants.
- What kind of assets you’ll need to provide for them (images, videos, sample email blurbs and social media posts, etc.).
- Whether you’ll be providing any giveaway prizes.
- Any technology/design needed – this includes the application, landing pages, email templates, and graphics.
Basically, you need to have every detail decided on by the time your outreach begins. Because if someone is replying immediately, they’re enthusiastic about your offer – capitalize on that. Don’t wait until they’ve cooled off to get the partnership off the ground.
Step 4: Conduct Your Research
Aha! Now it’s time to start finding people to actually participate.
For example, you could find reviewers for your video game by setting up a Mention alert for a recent game release similar to yours. Make a list of any gaming reviewers about the game with an influencer score over 65. Then use BuzzSumo to find out which ones are getting shared the most on social. Start looking for their contact information and keep track of it all in BuzzStream.
Step 5: Make a Connection
This is the somewhat nerve-wracking part: making contact. You’re finally ready to pitch.
First of all, make sure you’re contacting them through their preferred channel. Unless there’s public proof they accept pitches via social, always try contacting via email first. Here’s a great “hack” for guessing someone’s email. It works for me all the time.
Right off the bat, show some personalization. Avoid sending “BCC” mass emails and always use the recipient’s first name somewhere (if you don’t know it, find it). A personalized intro also helps display that you want them, not just any random person.
Keep your email as brief as possible, but be clear on what any influencer participation involves. Sum up what you’ll be expecting of them, and what you’ll offer in return. Give them everything they need to say “yes.”
The most important part of preparing an influencer strategy is that your prepare it before anything else. Start at the beginning to figure out the ideal outcome, then work your way backwards: What do you need to do to get to that goal and who will help you get there?