Finding the right influencers to work with your brand is only one of the challenges. Ensuring that influencers create content that has the potential to move consumers to action is another.

For brands interested in leveraging influencers to convince and convert customers, there is a “recipe for success”- a process that can be followed to help ensure that influencer marketing campaigns have the strongest likelihood of success.

What follows are tips on how to engage influencers for brands, and make the most of influencer relationships and the resulting content.

1) Define Objective & Target: Start by outlining the parameters of your campaign. What are your objectives and what is your target audience? What is the call to action, the key takeaway? What type of budget do you have to support this campaign? And what is the desired outcome?

It’s ideal to outline your internal review process during this phase. Once you engage and brief influencers, will you ask to approve a concept and then a final cut? Or will you see the content for the first time when it goes live? Obviously, if you work in a more regulated industry such as finance or pharmaceutical, this process may be lengthier than for a food brand for example. Past experiences with influencers also often shape this process. The key to making this work is outlining your expectations and needs up front.

2) Identify and engage: How do you find influencers that might be the best match for your brand? According to Max Polisar of AwesomenessTV brands should work with people who know the influencer talent directly, using personal relationships and avoiding tech platforms. Some other suggestions for this phase:

  • Don’t forget that influencers are human. Offer to have phone calls and/or in-person briefings. Be available and share appropriate information during the briefing process. Share your product plentifully if the influencer has not experienced it yet, such as for a new product.
  • Remember, the demographics of the influencer are not necessarily the same as their audience demographic. Ask the influencer for more information about their networks and subscriber base, and don’t make assumptions. For example, we’ve had clients who love seeing the word mom in the title of a blog or YouTube channel, and others who jump to the conclusion that they want to consider influencers who don’t have the word mom on their networks (even though they are trying to reach moms). A younger influencer may still be quite effective at reaching older moms, and vice versa.
  • As you review possible influencers, always fall in love with more than one. If you are considering options with an agency partner, try to be as specific as possible when giving feedback. Larger influencers often have three projects on deck for everyone they can accept, or their production schedule may be full when you reach out to them.

3) Create and amplify: This is the fun part! Follow the process outlined in the planning phase as the Influencers create and amplify FTC-compliant content. You chose them based on their channels and content, remember to let that shine through. Don’t over script, but work together so they create a story that makes sense for the target audience. Focus on the benefits, not the product attributes. Influencer content works well because influencers are more likely to focus on telling a story about why your product or service makes their life better, more enjoyable more hassle-free etc. Consumer react very well to this type of benefit driven content.

4) Optimize: Once influencer content is live, monitor and identify the best performing content. Items on your scorecard might include likes, reactions, comments, shares and hearts, depending on the platform and your objectives. Then, “turn on the gas” and leverage paid distribution of the best performing influencer content.

5) Measure: Continue to measure, and recap your campaign. What would you do differently? What would you repeat? Don’t forget to ask the influencers for their input as well. Also, it is important to check results of influencer activations on an ongoing basis. After all, one of the great benefits of influencer content is that it lives on and continues to be discovered by new consumers overtime. In fact, one recent influencer video that we executed and tracked for a women’s shaving product campaign generated an incremental $400,000 in media value AFTER the flighting period. In other words, the shaving brand received a $400,000 bonus in media value as a result of the incremental views of the sponsored video, post campaign.

Influencers and their compelling content have become a smart and effective way for brands to reach and inspire target consumers. The medium will continue to evolve and be enhanced. Like any other marketing tactic, successful campaigns are driven by a thoughtful and planned process.