- 1. Definition of influencer campaign management
- 2. How to manage an influencer marketing campaign
- 3. Important features of an ICM platform
- 4. Challenges of ICM
Table of contents
Definition of influencer campaign management
Influencer campaign management (ICM) is the strategy designed specifically for managing and optimizing the influencer marketing campaign. While IRM mainly focuses on maintaining effective communication between brands and influencers, ICM ensures the efficiency and thoroughness of all operational activities within the campaign, including strategic planning, responsibility delegation, campaign execution, progress tracking and result measurement.
Until recently, ICM was not viewed as distinct from IRM. In fact, most of the influencer marketing platforms now on the market usually tend to use IRM and ICM interchangeably and try to fulfill the requirements of both. This blurred line may cause confusion for both vendors and clients in identifying their true capabilities and needs. That’s why at InfluencerDB we consider it crucial to distinguish between the two concepts to help marketers fully understand the whole influencer marketing process. This clarification ensures that marketers know exactly what they want and whether our platform can fulfill their needs.
How to manage an influencer marketing campaign
As with other types of marketing campaigns, there is a framework for influencer campaign management. InfluencerDB has a premium feature called “Campaigns,” which includes the following steps:
1. Research influencer
Influencer research contains two steps: find influencer and analyze influencer. As mentioned before, this process is aimed at finding the best-in-class influencers who are suitable for your brand. After researching, marketers should have a list of social influencers/ KOLs they might want to collaborate with.
Beware of fake influencers! the following on-demand webinar will show you how to protect your brand and marketing budget from Instagram fraud.
2. Contact influencer
With a list of influencers in hand, the next step is to reach out to them and suggest a partnership. A structured briefing ensures that all parties are kept in the loop regarding essential points such as campaign strategy, deadlines, campaign hashtags, and advertising disclosure. Make sure to follow these steps in order to create a briefing that will appeal to influencers both rationally and emotionally.
3. Negotiate and communicate with influencer
At the end of the day, influencer management is always a negotiation between brands and influencers. Brands can rapidly boost their ROI using influencer marketing, but only when they negotiate wisely, especially in term of media value. Here are a few tips for marketers to do so:
- Analyze influencer’s profile carefully
- Explain clearly your brand vision and the expectation of this collaboration
- Tell influencers about the content idea
- Define collaboration terms and conditions
- Use your relations in the past (e.g. collaborated before, worked with their friends, used to be the client of their agencies, etc.)
- Explain to influencers about the platform brand will use to evaluate campaign performance
4. Start content planning / sending out products to influencers
Influencer marketing and content marketing go hand-in-hand. Brands should think about what kind of content they want the targeted influencer to share on social media. Influencers are busy and the best ones usually have packed content calendars. Build campaigns around a four to six week buffer before content actually starts being published. The schedule is especially important to keep in mind if you’re creating campaigns based on holidays or special events. Make sure to plan to follow-up with influencers during the campaign to maintain the flow of information and avoid any miscommunication.
5. Creating and distributing the content
Do you want just a shout out at the beginning of a video or are you looking for something more integrated? This factor will impact how much compensation an influencer might ask to promote your brand as well as which type of content fit best with their profiles. If marketers want to build a successful influencer campaign, it’s important to give yourself and the influencers some time to discuss ideas and co-create content.
Don’t forget to check the brand’s fit before distributing the content to the influencers. This article will show you how influencer marketing experts analyze influencer profiles tailored to specific campaigns.
Influencer campaign management process © Social Match
6. Report and measure the result
Influencer marketers usually think that their work will end when the content is published. This is a misconception. Brands should assign an executive to keep close track of the engagement that the collaboration is driving, looking at conversion metrics such as clicks, click-through-rate (CTR), engagement ratio and the number of generated leads.
If the campaign is not delivering the return you need (e.g. more brand exposure, lead generation, etc.), it might be worth renegotiating with the influencer, finding someone new, or adjusting your content strategy to make sure the campaign will benefit your company in the long run.
Important features of an ICM platform
1. Campaign dashboard
The dashboard is a must-have feature of every ICM platform. Marketers and brand managers need an all-in-one dashboard to keep track of their campaign’s current progress as well as each influencer's performance. The dashboard should illustrate the whole workflow of influencer marketing, list influencers at each stage, track what needs to be done and delegate tasks to team members.
Campaign dashboard of InfluencerDB premium software
2. Report generation
SaaS vendors usually brag about the size of their database as one of the most competitive advantages on the market. However, marketing managers only need the necessary information to make decisions. Thus, an optimal ICM platform needs to have a reporting feature to simplify the data so that it is useful and actionable. Currently, most ICM platforms tend to focus on optimizing either data collection (generating fast reports) or data visualization (generating thorough reports with beautiful and meaningful graphs).
3. Document storage & arrangement
An ICM platform can act as a central repository for all documents associated with each influencer, from drafts of content to legal forms. This is all interchangeable with other Campaign Management tools—it’s just a different way of organizing the information.
4. Team communication
Many global companies apply influencer marketing by collaborating with influencers around the globe. Such international collaboration requires strong and stable internal communication, especially among team members in different countries. Therefore, an ICM platform should also act as a communication hub in which marketers can store data, leave notes, tag other members and send notifications.
Challenges of ICM
Where it overlaps with IRM, ICM presents similar challenges, including difficulty in measurement and finding the right influencers. Additionally, it has unique campaign management problems like defining campaign objectives, lack of data, and time shortage to execute an end-to-end campaign.
1. Finding a suitable KPI for the influencer marketing campaign
The core key performance indicator (KPI) of your influencer marketing campaign should be the first thing you consider when planning your strategy. The reason is simple: different goals will require different influencer strategies in order to deliver the best results. For instance, if a brand wants to increase awareness and exposure, the campaign manager should consider reach, likes, comments, and interaction as their core KPI. However, if the campaign is aimed at maximizing sales of a product on their own social media channel, then lead generation, conversion rate and ROI will determine if the goal has been met. Thus, brands may start by listing out the key focuses of the campaign, then define key goals. Once these tasks have been done, marketers can start developing an influencer strategy designed to meet those goals.
KPI model © InfluencerDB
2. Lack of meaningful data
While influencer marketing is no longer new, it is still developing into maturity and marketers are learning as it does. In this context, data should be one of the most important factors in creating, executing, optimizing and measuring influencer marketing campaigns. Many marketers still don’t know what data is available in influencer marketing, or what data they should take into consideration. Data such as likes, comments, and shares are great, however, it does not show the real picture of an influencer campaign. Marketers should be digging deeper into more specific and measurable data, such as reach of influencer content, influencer's audience quality, engagement with a topic, audience engagement, the contribution to the digital conversation and impact on reaching the campaign KPI, etc.
3. Time-consuming to execute the campaign
Influencer campaigns don’t end when you send out products to influencers. Before the final report comes out, there is work to be done-- receiving the products, posting on influencer’s profiles and waiting for their followers to react to that post. In theory, this may take a couple of hours; however, in most of the cases, it won’t be that fast. Without prior thinking and preparation, rushing into campaign execution will directly affect the outcomes of an influencer marketing campaign, especially in finding the perfect point of time for measurement.