5 tips for building a successful influencer program

Social media influencer culture is everywhere. As more people learn of products and services from influencers, industry professionals are rushing to create marketing campaigns that connect with customers through these platforms. It’s a hot marketing tool because effective influencer programs have the capability of reaching beyond trends, likes and followers.

As influencer marketing becomes an integral part of communications strategies, companies must navigate what makes influencer programs worth the investment. An effective campaign involves much more than finding a social media star with a lot of followers and perfectly filtered photos. Among the blogs, social media accounts and follower demographics, companies must sift through myriad variables in choosing the best influencer for their brand.

The initial meeting should involve creating a list of business objectives the influencer program needs to meet. Who is the target audience? What are the key performance indicators for this campaign? How will this program fit in with the rest of the communications plan?

After determining these goals, create a list of criteria an influencer must meet. Starting with the more general items, such as demographic, market and industry, the list should gradually become more granular. Programs like Cision and Public Relay can aid in these initial searches. 

From this list, narrow the influencers after viewing their websites, social platforms and other relevant media. Get a group together and generate another list of criteria such as: UVPM, previous post topics and follower demographics. Depending on the industry, it’s also worth researching customer comments and hashtags to see if any would be a good fit as an influencer. The audience wants to learn about products from people they trust — who better than their friends and family to guide them? If customers have public accounts, look through their engagement and gauge if they might be a good fit for the brand. 

During the search, look for influencers that specifically have covered topics related to the client’s messaging and analyze their engagement on those posts. Even with a smaller following, influencers with authority in the industry can go a lot further than someone with thousands of followers who has numerous specialties.

After creating a list of influencers, select the finalists. In the initial outreach, tell the influencers about the campaign and ask why they think they would be a good fit for the program. From here, collaborate with the influencers to create an effective campaign, aligned with the brand’s mission and business objectives. 

Being clear on the objective of the campaign and slowly narrowing the scope of possible influencers help make for a successful and smooth process.