The measure of success of a campaign is not how many impressions your hashtag gets.

The measure of success is how much good will, activity, and energy you get buzzing about your brand.

Those who measure influence tend to get this concept and do a good job selling it, but I wonder how much prep and coaching about this they give the brands that buy influence marketing campaigns.

Here are 3 Steps to ensure the success of an influence marketing campaign for brands

Here’s how to do it right:

I’ve spoken up about my views on Klout, and other influence measurement programs in the past. They have come a long way in the past couple of years, and I for one am glad of the potential of the direction I see things going in. With some strategy influencer programs provide the opportunity for some win-win situations for both brands and influencers. Most recently, I offered some advice to brands looking to run successful influence marketing programs on Mark Schaefer’s blog {grow} in my article : A plan to earn your way into the hearts of Internet influencers , here’s an except from that article, which covers Step 1.

STEP 1: Find something that really delivers value

The key to finding influencers is by providing people with value directly related to their field of interest.

  • Give them something that makes their lives or work more efficient (tools, technology, apps)
  • Offer an unusual experience (huge opportunity in the travel and hospitality industry).
  • Solve a problem
  • Create content that will be highly valued by their audience
  • Offer exclusive access. They don;t want to run an infographic or review the same product being sent to a thousand other people.

STEP 2: Make everyone in your company aware of the campaign and gain their support

The moment a marketing campaign goes out over social networks, you can’t just throw it to the wind and see where it goes. You must provide support. The more support you have the better.

Devise your response plan.

Make sure you have set up monitoring tools to monitor the hashtag, and anything else related to your brand. mentions of your brand name, tweets to your brand, Facebook Hashtags, Instagram posts. Do keyword searches! If someone out there is talking about this campaign or anything related to it, have to be all over it.

The campaign does not have to be limited to the influencers participating in the program. There’s a good chance others are dialoging with your influencers as they share the story of their experience – want to make an impression – get in on all the conversaton!

  • Send tweets over the open network so that everyone can see the conversation. Knowing Twitter communication styling helps to understand who can see the tweets you send. Keep the whole dialogue public if its for the campaign.

Did you know you can make a HASHTAG button on your campaign page to help people tweet mentioning the hashtag?

It’s a great way to help people join in on the conversation!

Everyone should get on board.

I recently presented a talk in Quebec City on true Social Business. One of the main points I made in this talk was that the first line of influencers are the people who are talking to your clients every day. These people are not the marketers, they are the inside staff, the customer service people, the sales people, even your receptionist! Make them a part of the campaign by letting them know about it and find a way to share what you are sharing externally, with them as well!

Keep dialogue going!

  • You must set up monitoring on the activity of the influencers you selected to participate in the campaign and keep them engaged.

You think the work went into building the campaign, well think again, this is the moment to shine. It’s show time. You need to ramp up your social activity and monitoring so you can fully mazimize the coverage you get. Influence marketing only works when you’re making an impression. Get out there and help your influencers show you off.

Simple tip: Make it clear to your community management team – if you are mentioned you want a response going out. Shine some light on your stars, give some gratitude!

It’s one thing to see an influencer send out pictures or talk about a brand, it is far more valuable to see your influencer talking to the brand in the public eye. That’s where the consumer starts to take the kind of notice that influences opinion and support.

  • Make sure that your team understand how to respond, draw in more people, and not just simply respond. It’s the art of conversation, are you answering communications with with open ended or closed ended responses?

Maximize, Maximize, Maximize!

  • If your influencer draws more people into the conversation, pay attention to them too, they are important. If new hashtags are introduced, have some fun with that! Every hashtag represents a potential new community. You have a lot more to monitor than just the one you created.
  • Create a Twitter List of the people who are active, and check in on the list to see what’s going on.

Sometimes people forget hashtags!

Pick up the mentions with your list and hashtag them with your reply or retweet.

  • Create a Google alert with some keywords from your campaign to see what people are talking about online and in blogs, or even news.
  • Finally – Ask your customer service people, your sales people and everyone and anyone in your company to keep their eye on the campaign. You may even want to offer prizes to internal staff who keep things rolling. When you have a whole team behind you, you will see success!

STEP 3: Analysis to steer direction and keep things going.

Powerful Tracking for Hashtags Campaign management tools by @Milaspage

Make sure to set yourself up before this higher activity period to be able to analyze what is going on. Companies like Hashtracking (a personal favorite of mine) can create reports that can really supplement your efforts during the event and afterwards. They can give insight and leads. They also provide insight into how the conversation is shifting around your campaign hashtag so that you can move with the campaign and keep things going.

Your campaign is meant as a stepping stone to greater things. Make sure you use this opportunity! You’re going to make an investment when you decide to use influence marketing, the more work you put into it, the greater the returns. Jugnoo is another company that offers some very interesting monitoring and response tools, with their SoMeAnalyzerTM .

I recently had a chance to explore their platform, and I strongly recommend them as well. With reporting, team management, and listening/sentiment tools they can set you up to not only monitor the campaign, but manage your response team and help keep everyone moving in the same direction to support and maximize the value of your investment in your outreach program. The reporting features are very interesting and the various capabilities they offer not only give you what you need, but can help you springboard onto new ideas. Also noteworthy is that it allows complete management of various campaigns and team creation, and according to Joseph Olewitz, SVP Global Business Development, they are the only engagement tool that also provides both an analytics overlay and visualization of the conversation stream. Definitely worth checking out.

For more screen shots and examples, click here.

A final note: This is Real Time Marketing Opportunity at it’s best!

Are you ready to make it happen? To end this post on a fun note, below is a collection of the hashtag experience from my #CTSDrive by Cadillac. You can see the variance in energy that is created in tweets and shared across the various platforms.

  • As a brand, how would you maximize these communications?
  • Will the steps outlined above help build stronger and smarter influence marketing programs with more reach and longevity?

I think so, what about you?