Influencer Activations – A Quick Guide to Success

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Influencer activations signal the start of your influencer campaign. They play an important role in the overall influencer marketing program.

What is influencer activation?

When you’ve connected with that influencer and vetted them, it’s time to activate them into a new campaign.

Influencer activation occurs the moment that you and your influencer agree to work together. Part of the activation process is influencer negotiations, contracts, content briefs, and campaign launch.

Your active influencers are those intentionally collaborating with your brand to promote your products and services on their social media channels. 

It is not necessary to activate every influencer on your team for every campaign. Certain influencers are better suited to reach certain campaign goals over others. Additionally, some of your influencers will be short-term relationships while others will be brand ambassadors being more long-term.

For your long-term influencer relationships, it’s important that you maintain contact with them even if they are temporarily unavailable (i.e., deactivated). If you plan to activate them again in the near future, you will want to nurture that relationship.

Why are influencer activations so important?

Many influencers showcase their favorite brands with or without that brand asking them to do so. Influencer activations make it clear that you want to partner with that influencer.

If you send mixed signals to your influencers about the nature of the brand-influencer relationship, it will be more difficult to achieve your campaign goals. Making use of contracts and campaign briefs helps align expectations between you and the influencer.

A clear understanding of the working relationship is important. Here are some key parts of influencer activations to keep in mind: 

  • Target audience
  • Campaign goals
  • Compensation
  • Content style
  • Post frequency
  • Campaign timeline
  • Promo codes, affiliate links, etc.

That said, one of the biggest mistakes that a marketer can make is to rush to activate influencers. Not every influencer is a good fit for your brand. Here are eight steps to help you make your influencer activations effective.

Step 1: define your brand’s target audience

Audience alignment between you and your influencer can make or break your influencer campaign. As you look at different influencers, you’ll want to pay close attention to who their followers are, the lifestyles they maintain, and where they are located. 

Outline Your Desired Social Channels

It’s also worth noting that you can target various audience segments through multiple social media channels. When establishing your campaign objectives, consider which social platforms are a better fit for your brand.

For example, beauty brands frequently utilize video platforms (YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok) so that influencers can perform tutorials, before-and-after content, etc. 

You may also have a good idea of which social channels your current customers are most active. It’s a good idea to target influencers on those channels to further enhance your brand.

Step 2: discover the right influencers for your brand

After identifying audience alignment, it’s time to get to know the influencer based on the quality of their content. Each influencer brands themselves in a unique way. But even the most successful influencers can be a good or a bad fit for your brand.

Four hacks to find the best influencers

Lookalike tools

Influencer relationship management software can help you match with an influencer similar to those that you already know are a perfect fit. For example, GRIN’s influencer platform has extensive lookalike tools and allows you to filter by influencer category, color, social channel, and more.

Social listening tools – who is already promoting your brand?

One of the best ways to connect with influencers is to identify which ones are promoting your brand without any incentives. By using social listening tools, you’ll find influencers showcasing your products/services and engaging their followers about your brand.

These influencers are usually more authentic and great candidates for long-term brand ambassadorships.

Influential customers

Another effective tactic for locating ideal influencers is to take a look at your customers that consistently spend money with your brand. Many of these customers have a significant social following and can be a great addition to your influencer program.

Often, these customers are thrilled to partner with you on product seeding alone, further lowering your marketing costs.

Influencer credibility score tools

Some social channels provide different metrics to help you gauge an influencer’s credibility with their audience. Twitter, for example, actually offers influencer credibility scores on a scale of 0-100. 

You can also judge credibility by engagement metrics. These metrics look beyond post “likes” and follower counts and track comments, shares, and ongoing user-generated content. 

Whichever approach you choose, your goal is not just to weed out fake influencers, but it is also to target the most authentic and genuine influencers for your brand. Audiences can usually spot when influencers are manufacturing their enthusiasm. Influencer credibility ensures that your campaigns are as effective as possible.

Step 3: influencer outreach

When engaging influencers for the first time, you’ll want to be brief (many influencers are busy) and direct about who you are and what you’re looking for.

For example, a great way to introduce yourself to influential customers is as follows:

Hi [name],
My name is [your name] from [company]. I’ve noticed that you’ve been discussing our
[relevant product] on [social network], and I wanted to thank you for your kind words.
I’d like to offer you a chance to try out [new product] before it becomes available to the public.
Would you be interested in checking it out and providing a review on [product]?
If you’re interested, send me a reply, and we’ll send you a free copy of [product]!
Best, [your name]

If you’re targeting an influencer with a larger following, you can use a template like this one:

Hi [name],
My name is [your name] from [company]. I’ve been following your [Relevant Social Media Channel]
account since 2018. Your recent post on [relevant social post] really resonated with me. I thought it
was something my audience would appreciate, so I shared it on our social media Accounts. I wanted to
get in touch with you to discuss [topic] further and a paid [social media channel] campaign.
If you’re interested, we can set up a phone call this week to discuss compensation and more
details on the project.
Best, [your name]

A few things you should notice about the templates above are:

  • You address the influencer by name
  • You introduce yourself and your brand right away
  • You express delight and respect for the individual’s social media content
  • You are clear about what you’re asking the individual for
  • You explain the next step (“send me a reply,” “we can set up a phone call,” etc.)

Do your best to keep your outreach emails/messages to 550 characters or less. Being concise will increase your chances of getting a response. For more template and outreach ideas, you can check out our free Influencer Marketing Email Templates.

Step 4: influencer stages

As you scale your influencer program and become more popular on social media, you’ll soon get requests from influencers wanting to partner with your brand. Organizing your influencers by stages will help you build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships.

Influencer applicants

Keeping track of those influencers that have expressed interest in partnering with your brand ensures that you develop a reputation for treating influencers well. For those influencers that you know won’t work, you can respond promptly and professionally.

As you build your list of potential influencers, you can segment them by industry, style, voice, follower size, and more.

Influencer prospects

Your influencer prospects are those with whom you desire to collaborate but haven’t yet agreed on terms or campaign details. You might already be in negotiations with these influencers or working on campaign ideas for which they’d be a good fit. 

Active influencers

Your active influencers are solidly in your camp and either participating in a campaign or about to do so. It’s critical that you know which influencers are active and which are not.

Step 5: influencer contracts and agreements

Getting your terms in writing is essential for your brand-influencer relationships. Keep in mind that your influencers – even those partnering with brands “on the side” – are part of your marketing team. Assuming that you and your influencer are on the same page regarding campaign details, content rights, and compensation could prove disastrous for your entire marketing department.

Step 6: outline your influencer campaigns

It’s likely that each of your influencer campaigns will have different objectives and KPIs. For best results, you’ll want to discuss these goals with your active influencers. 

The most effective way to outline your influencer campaigns is to create campaign briefs for your influencers. These briefs spell out expectations, goals, timelines, style, and more. Your influencers will appreciate the specificity and professionalism. More importantly, it keeps the arrangement clear and helps you define campaign success.

Step 7: track your influencer marketing performance

Once you launch your influencer campaign, you’ll want to gather metrics to evaluate campaign performance.

Track individual influencers

The first way to track campaign success is to examine your individual influencers. You’re looking for sponsored posts, appropriate use of hashtags/tags, post engagement, and general authenticity. 

An automation tool like GRIN allows you to sort influencer results by post, sales, engagement, and more. These metrics allow you to compare an influencer with other influencers on your team, as well as past performance.

Track campaigns

Some campaigns will involve more than one active influencer. In the same way that you tracked individual influencer performance, you’ll also want to note overall campaign performance. 

In time, you’ll recognize that certain combinations of active influencers produce best results. Tracking campaign KPIs allows you to optimize for maximum influencer ROI.

Step 8: nurture your influencer relationships

In a short time, you’re likely to spot those influencers that outperform the rest. These high performers are opportunities to nurture long-term influencer relationships.

Getting to know your influencers allows you to build trust with them, increasing campaign authenticity and excitement. This approach will also improve your ability to negotiate different kinds of campaigns, such as Instagram takeovers or social media whitelisting.

Developing deep relationships with your influencers will also allow you to try new things and identify new ways of generating campaign ROI. Influencers generally have great campaign ideas of their own, and if they see the relationship as mutually beneficial, they’ll want to provide feedback to enhance your campaign results.

Conclusion: don’t be afraid to activate different influencers, social channels, and campaign types to ensure success with influencer activations.

Influencer marketing is a place to explore campaign creativity and various tactics. As you develop your influencer relationship management skills, you’ll feel more confident about trying new things, including:

  • Incorporating influencers with different follower sizes
  • Trying new social media channels
  • Expanding your product line
  • Running special events, promotions, etc.
  • Integrating your influencers with other marketing campaigns

Marketing ROI is broader than short-term sales. Your active influencers can help you establish a reliable marketing funnel and deeper insights into your customer journey.

Learn more about influencer marketing: Influencer Marketing 101

Updated: July 2023

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Written by GRIN Contributor

GRIN is the pioneer behind the world’s first Creator Management platform built to support every brand’s journey to connecting with consumers through authentic creator relationships. Thousands of the world’s fastest-growing brands—including SKIMS, Warby Parker, Allbirds, Mejuri, and MVMT—use GRIN to make creators feel like trusted, empowered partners and work with them to build their brands into household names.

© Grin Technologies Inc. 2024. All rights reserved.

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