At IBTM World’s new immersive zone, IBTM Accelerate, ex-MPI president and Founder of Word of MICE Mariska Kesteloo ran the MICE Influencers series for the next generation of event planners.
Here, Mariska shares her six steps for how to create a successful campaign.
- Analyse the target audience you want to reach
The first step is the most essential one, which is to align your influencer marketing campaign with your strategic goals. An influencer campaign shouldn’t be independent from your other marketing efforts. It must strengthen or support other online and offline activities.
The most important question you need to ask yourself is: what is the desired outcome of this campaign? When would you be satisfied? Of course, this is different for everyone: some companies need more awareness or visibility for their events, others need new leads for guests, and others want to attract associations to their destinations.
You should also ask yourself: On which channels am I currently active and how do these contribute to my overall strategy? On which channels can an influencer make a difference? Spoiler: this is usually the channels where your social media presence is the strongest.
A related question is: who is your current target audience versus who is your desired target audience? Are you reaching the users you should be reaching? You can have all the right posts with fantastic content, but if you serve it to the wrong audience, it will fall on deaf ears.
Something else to bear in mind is that we are working in a B2B market, therefore we strongly recommend creating a campaign that lasts at least six months, preferably longer. That way you can rest assured that you did everything to reach your desired audience.
- Scouting and selection
We are all influenced by our surroundings and, of course, we all influence others. We prefer to call influencers KOLs, or Key Opinion Leaders, to give them the recognition they deserve.
Most companies have difficulties with this step, but once you’ve completed step one above, you should have a clearer idea of your ideal influencer. Ideally, we advise people to gather a shortlist of several potential influencers so that you can decide on who best suits you.
Once you have chosen to work with an influencer because of his/her expertise, knowledge and followers, treat them as experts. They know what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t, so involve them from the start.
These experts have some great ideas and already know what works for their audience. Not including them when outlining the content strategy can be a big mistake. They aren’t merely executors of your strategy. Neither will they post everything you want them to. They have a reputation to maintain! They are creative and aware of the trends and developments in the industry.
They will make the bridge between your goals and their audience of followers. They will create content aligned with the desired outcome of the campaign.
This is the most time-consuming part. While the influencer will create a basic content calendar, they will expect a more thorough strategy from the customer, including what to post, when and where. The exact scope of what an influencer is going to create can vary greatly, from creating blog posts, videos, podcasts, interviews and quizzes to participating and reporting on an event, collecting recommendations, carrying out site-inspections, reviewing new restaurants etc.
The options are endless, just ensure that the activities and posts of the influencer are aligned with the outcome of your campaign. It’s crucial for the client/supplier to have an overview of all influencer activities.
Everything is in place, all parties are informed and the influencer knows what to do. Use this time to monitor the campaign and check what the results of the first post or video are. Ask the influencer for feedback on a regular basis. It’s a must to plan a monthly call to keep track of activity.
One of the great things about influencer marketing is its flexibility: if there are unexpected surprises or negative or positive developments you can change the influencer’s course of action. For example, if your hotel has won an award, that’s the perfect opportunity for the influencer to engage in that conversation.
Your influencer campaign is over, so now what? Have you reached your goals? And have you reached your desired target audience? Has any other interesting data come out of the campaign? Any comments, feedback, or other facts and figures?
This is where you must measure the impact of your campaign. But honestly, you can’t measure everything! Ask the influencer for feedback: not only on the data but also how they experienced the collaboration and what could be improved for next time.
If your team needs some social media training, why don’t you ask the influencer to train your employees? You can get much more out of your campaign than you might think.
For a look at both the brand and influencer side of the relationship, check out this fantastic blog featuring charity Just a Drop and travel influencer Kirtsy Leanne: https://stories.borderlesslive.com/2020/02/14/influencer-marketing-2020/