Planning Guide for Influencer Marketing Campaigns

The year is winding down which means it’s time to start strategic planning for your upcoming campaigns. Don’t know where to begin? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered.

Planning Guide for Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Read this article to learn:

  • Key dates and how to develop a campaign timeline
  • How to craft a winning always-on influencer strategy
  • What to budget for influencer incentives
  • Where you score on the influencer marketing maturity scale
  • 4 ways to measure your program ROI

Content Summary

Timeline Planning Guide
How to Craft a Winning Always-On Strategy
Your Budgeting Guide
Go the Distance with Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

The year is winding down which means it’s time to start strategizing and planning for your upcoming campaigns. It’s so important to start planning early, especially once your budgets and goals for the coming year are finalized.

In particular, campaign planning and influencer outreach can be a time-consuming yet rewarding process, which is why we recommend getting ahead now to save yourself the headache later on. Getting prepared now will also help you and your team pivot more efficiently should you encounter an unforeseen challenge.

Don’t know where to begin? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled our top how-to’s and timeline recommendations so you can make your best year yet.

Timeline Planning Guide

Follow this planning checklist to make sure your influencer marketing strategy aligns with your marketing/business objectives for the year and is optimized along the way. Your work begins now!

Q4 2021

  • Meet across teams to align on marketing/business objectives for 2022
  • Analyze 2021 influencer campaigns
    • Identify top performers from 2021 and consider an ambassador strategy to create consistent content
    • Collect feedback from influencers about 2021 campaigns to optimize for 2022
  • Discuss goals for 2022 influencer activations
  • Determine influencer budgets for 2022
  • Finalize integrated influencer marketing strategy
  • Create a calendar of all planned activations
    • Consider key moments in time or important events that align best with your brand. Make sure to incorporate diversity-related holidays or celebrations.

Q1 2022

  • Jan: Finalize the content strategy, goals and KPIs of all 2022 influencer activations
  • Jan: Create influencer briefs for 2022 campaigns, prioritizing January/February/March
  • Jan: Launch January campaigns
    • Conduct outreach to influencers
    • Finalize influencer selection
    • Collect influencer drafts, provide feedback & approve final content (if applicable)
    • Monitor IGC & engage with it/repurpose it
    • Promote top-performing IGC via paid media
    • Ensure influencers complete campaign
    • Send influencers payment
    • Create campaign reports
    • Review results of campaigns & optimize strategy for upcoming campaigns
  • Feb & March:
    • Use learnings to revamp calendar as needed
    • Launch Feb/March campaigns following all steps
    • Review results of all campaigns & optimize strategy
  • Mar: Analyze quarterly performance of activations
    • If running an ambassador program, determine if lower performers should be removed and/or if new creators should be invited
    • Send influencer surveys to collect feedback & optimize for upcoming months

Q2 2022

  • Apr, May & June:
    • Use learnings to revamp calendar
    • Launch Apr/May/June campaigns following all steps
    • Review results of all campaigns & optimize strategy
  • June: Analyze performance of activations for 1H
    • Re-evaluate ambassador program and influencer performance to optimize
    • Send influencer surveys to collect feedback
    • Review budgets to revamp strategy as needed

Q3 2022

  • July, Aug, & Sept:
    • Revamp 2022 calendar as needed
    • Launch July/Aug/Sept campaigns following all steps
    • Review results of all campaigns & optimize strategy
  • Sept: Analyze quarterly performance of activations
    • Re-evaluate ambassador program and influencer performance to optimize
    • Send influencer surveys to collect feedback

Q4 2022

  • Revamp 2022 calendar as needed
  • Launch Oct/Nov/Dec campaigns following all steps
  • Analyze yearly performance of influencer activations
    • Re-evaluate ambassador program and influencer performance to optimize
    • Send influencer surveys to collect feedback and optimize for the upcoming 2023 year
  • Start 2023 planning of influencer marketing strategy
Follow this planning checklist to make sure your influencer marketing strategy aligns with your marketing/business objectives for the year

How to Craft a Winning Always-On Strategy

In influencer marketing, an always-on approach is favored by marketers and creators alike, and planning for a new year is the perfect time to launch an ambassador program. If you’re not aware, an ambassador program is an evergreen strategy activating top-performing influencers via long-term relationships with your brand to achieve your goals throughout the year and maintain a consistent lift among your consumers. By leveraging an ambassador program, marketers can scale their influencer practice with new content being produced every month that achieves brand awareness, consideration, and other goals.

Here are some key benefits of an ambassador program:

  • Lock influencers in for longer relationships. Influencers prefer long-term relationships over one-off campaigns and contracts. When you can promise an income stream that is many months or a year-long for them, it builds trust and makes them a better spokesperson for your brand. It also builds trust with their audience, aka your consumers, who will come to know your brand through their favorite creators.
  • Scale your influencer practice with ease. Setting up an influencer campaign can be a lot of work. When you need to identify influencers, contract them, and brief them on your brand for each new campaign, you’re expending resources to do so. However, when you leverage ambassadors, you benefit from time savings of having influencers who are already contracted and have agreed to your requirements on a consistent basis. This allows you as a marketer to spend your time on more valuable efforts toward achieving your goals.
  • Drive brand affinity and trust. Due to the nature of a brand ambassador program consumers will be repeatedly exposed to positive brand messaging over a long period of time by brand advocates who have ‘online’ credibility. This allows marketers to achieve scale and speed to performance while building trust with your target consumers.

Your Budgeting Guide

The evidence is clear, the influencer marketing industry keeps growing. It’s on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data. And if anything, 2021 has confirmed this notion.

In just 5 years, influencer marketing spending has disproportionately outpaced global advertising spending (CAGR: 50% vs. 4.8% respectively). The key realization made is that consumer brands can extract more value per each dollar spent in marketing. Brands do not just cater to a single customer to buy a product, they start building loyalty through the influencer’s audience.

WHO OWNS INFLUENCER MARKETING BUDGETS?

In the early 2000s, Word of Mouth marketing lived with PR teams and agencies. Budgets were experimental or one-off. Transitioning into the 2010s, Social media teams were created and owned or worked with PR budgets. Beginning in 2015, brands started to form in-house influencer marketing teams.

Finally starting in 2018, influencer marketing becomes tied to real metrics and ROI, with a variety of stakeholders involved in supporting influencer strategy. The budget is shared across different departments to support influencer marketing initiatives, such as Marketing or PR, R&D, or Shopper Marketing.

BENEFITS OF INFLUENCER MARKETING BY TEAM

MARKETING:

  • Customer acquisition & testimonials
  • Content creation at scale for product marketing
  • Repurposed content on marketing & social channels

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT:

  • Product research via surveys & focus groups
  • New product ideation & concept testing

SHOPPER MARKETING:

  • Drive traffic to in-store purchases
  • Promote brand & retailers

BUDGETING 101: WHERE TO START

Before finalizing your influencer marketing budget, consider the three following factors:

  1. Outcomes vs. Output: What are the outcomes you’re trying to accomplish? Here are a few common ones to consider:
    • Awareness
    • Conversions
    • Sales
    • Brand Lift
  2. Influencer Marketing Experience: Which stage is your influencer marketing practice? Here are the typical stages you could fall into:
    • Test: Beginning your practice. Testing channels, objectives, and audiences.
    • Proof: Connecting performance to the customer decision journey.
    • Scale: Solidifying and growing budgets, working with creators at scale. Repeatable measurements and results.
  3. Budget Allocation: Where do you want to allocate your influencer marketing budget based on your goals? Here’s where your budget can be used for when it comes to influencer activations:
    • Influencer incentives: You must properly and fairly compensate creators you partner with, whether via cash, gift cards, or other forms of payment.
    • Paid media: Consider putting budget aside to promote top-performing IGC via paid efforts, to increase your ROI even further.
    • Agencies or technology partners: Invest in platforms or services to help scale and manage your influencer marketing programs.
    • Always-on incentives: If running ongoing activations, (i.e. referral or ambassador programs), you need to have budget for consistent compensation.
    • Reserve budget for campaigns: Think about setting aside extra budget to cover unforeseen items – i.e. activating more influencers in order to achieve goals.

EXAMPLE BUDGET BREAKDOWNS

Even though the most common influencer marketing budget is $10,000 and under per year, there are many breakdowns to consider if you are looking to invest more into influencer initiatives. Here are some sample budgets to get you started that can serve as a guide and should be adapted based on your goals.

$10,000 – $50,000 BUDGETS:

  • 50% of budget used for an ambassador program or campaigns to create high quality content distributed to the influencers’ audience. Channels include TikTok, YouTube, Blog, Instagram, etc.
  • 25% of budget used for paid media to distribute highest performing content to target audience through paid efforts. Channels include Instagram, Facebook via Ads Manager
  • 25% of budget used for ratings & reviews to leverage influencers & advocates to create product reviews in exchange for product or nominal compensation. Channels include Brand.com and e-commerce sites.

$100,000 – $500,000 BUDGETS:

  • 20% of budget used for a dedicated ambassador program to create high quality content distributed to the influencers’ audience. Channels include TikTok, YouTube, Blog, Instagram, etc.
  • 20% of budget for campaign plus ups – i.e. Save budget for marketing campaigns, additional influencers and content.
  • 25% of budget used for paid media to distribute highest performing content to target audience through paid efforts. Channels include Instagram, Facebook via Ads Manager
  • 15% of budget used for ratings & reviews to leverage influencers & advocates to create product reviews in exchange for product or nominal compensation. Channels include Brand.com and ecommerce sites.
  • 20% of budget used for platform fee to receive data-backed insights and measurement via a platform such as Mavrck.

$1,000,000 BUDGETS:

  • 20% of budget used for a dedicated ambassador program to create high quality content distributed to the influencers’ audience. Channels include TikTok, YouTube, Blog, Instagram, etc.
  • 10% of budget for campaign plus ups or events – i.e. Save budget for marketing campaigns, additional influencers and opportunities.
  • 10% of budget used for brand lift to understand the impact of influencer marketing on the brand.
  • 25% of budget used for paid media to distribute highest performing content to target audience through paid efforts. Channels include Instagram, Facebook via Ads Manager
  • 15% of budget used for ratings & reviews to leverage influencers & advocates to create product reviews in exchange for product or nominal compensation. Channels include Brand.com and ecommerce sites.
  • 20% of budget for platform fee + expertise/ services to work with experts and data-backed insights/measurement via a company like Mavrck.
Even though the most common influencer marketing budget is $10,000 and under per year, there are many breakdowns to consider if you are looking to invest more into influencer initiatives.

STRATEGIES THAT WILL MAXIMIZE YOUR INFLUENCER MARKETING BUDGET

Here are 5 best practices when it comes to getting the most out of your influencer marketing spend:

  1. Activate The Full Spectrum of Influence
    • Macro-Influencers: Earn their living as a content creator (bloggers, YouTubers, journalists).
    • Micro-Influencers: Have a side hustle creating content, and aspire to become a Macro someday.
    • Advocates: Consumers and employees who don’t produce content often, but will do so for brands they are passionate about, but with less quality.
    • Referrers: Share if the incentive is right, but will put in limited effort (think copy and paste a link).
    • Loyalists: Love your brand and purchase regularly, but will never share.
  2. Identify Advocates & Loyalists
    • Use social listening to identify fans of your brand
    • Share products and exclusive access to news and new releases
    • Reward those who share and convert new customers via affiliate programs
  3. Leverage Employees as Influencers
    • Pros: Free to activate if salaried; Familiar with brand identity and messaging
    • Cons: Content may be lower quality; Not all employees will be motivated to post for your brand.
    • Best Practices:
      • Offer additional incentive such as rewards or products;
      • Create a studio where employees can produce and shoot their content with low barrier to entry;
      • Educate employees with best practices for sponsored content, including FTC disclosures
  4. Leverage Ambassadors To Get Economies of Scale
    • Ambassadors may offer discounts for longer term partnerships and increased volume of content
    • Ambassadors who truly love your brand will integrate it into organic content
  5. Distribute Content
    • Increase efficacy and lifespan of content
    • Generate revenue
    • Gain predictability and scale
    • Get speed to performance
    • Bridge gaps between programs and always on
    • Drive exponential additional value

MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR BUDGET

Maximize your return on investment (ROI) by focusing on the following ways to increase your return, while simultaneously reducing your investment. Use these tools to measure your influencer content performance, and how it impacts your team’s effectiveness.

Increase Return:

  • Sales and Brand Lift: Measure the online conversions, mobile installs or offline sales lift that occurs as a result of an influencers audience engaging with social content. Measure increase in recall, intent, favorability or other brand metrics.
  • Channel Lift: Increase conversion rates on owned ecommerce sites, third-party retailers or other digital experiences 30-50% when influencer images, videos, ratings and reviews are repurposed or syndicated.

Reduce Investment:

  • Time and Content Savings: Scale your influencer operation by an order of magnitude (10x) or more without requiring the need to increase team capacity. Make more efficient use of incentives compared to other influencer agencies or platforms and produce quality content more efficiently than an inhouse or agency team.
  • Media Efficiency: Generate impressions, engagements and clicks for 50-70% less the rate than the average paid social media CPM, CPE, or CPC benchmarks. Generate content assets in a more cost effective way than your agency or in-house teams.

Go the Distance with Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

As we head into a new year, there’s an opportunity to reevaluate how your influencer marketing practice stacks up against the best-in-class brands. It’s not simply enough to be working with influencers in a transactional capacity. Instead, marketers should be striving to create well-rounded, integrated campaigns that align with their other marketing efforts and that touch the full ecosystem of creators.

We’ve created what we’ve called the Influencer Marketing Maturity Scale to help you align your efforts with different levels of activation and help you make progress toward excellent social proof programs designed to increase your brand’s ROI in influencer marketing. Use this as a guide to gauge your current level of success and find tactical ways to move to the next stage of success.

Use this as a guide to gauge your current level of success and find tactical ways to move to the next stage of success.

WHEN TO LEVERAGE AN INFLUENCER MARKETING TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM

As your practice scales, you may also come to the point where you’ll need to optimize your efforts by leveraging technology or services to make your work smarter and automated. How do you know when it’s time to leverage an industry-leading platform? We’ve outlined the pros and cons of manual management versus a technology-backed strategy.

MANUAL MANAGEMENT:

Pros:

  • Good for small budgets
  • Can work for those in the test & learn stage

Cons:

  • Lacks influencer and audience insights
  • Manual measurement
  • Requires dedicated resource with experience

INFLUENCER MARKETING PLATFORM:

Pros:

  • Technology backed by data
  • Transparency on influencer and audience insights
  • Superior, automated measurement
  • Data-backed expertise
  • Accelerates scale through streamlined negotiation, communication, measurement

Cons:

  • Requires dedicated budget

OPTIMIZE & SCALE

Here’s how a platform like Mavrck can help you optimize and scale your influencer efforts.

  1. Identify: influencers who are authentic and relevant to your brand and will maximize results.
  2. Activate: each persona of influencers to create, amplify, or submit content for your brand.
  3. Notify: influencers at the right time and via the right method in an automated way.
  4. Incentivize: influencers via product, promo codes, experiences or cash payment.
  5. Measure: the full lifecycle of an influencer activation including impressions, engagements, clicks, and conversions.