Level Up Your Influencer Marketing Strategy For The Holiday Season
It’s the most profitable time of the year! The holiday season represents a huge portion of the marketing efforts of brands, especially for those brands that rely on the digital space to attract and convert new customers. Now more than ever shoppers are turning to their devices to find the perfect holiday gifts for their loved ones, and it’s up to brands to find creative and cost-effective ways to stand out from the crowd and show just how great their products are. Consumers need to see your product more than once before they are persuaded to buy it. Because of this, people look to their friends, family, and even favorite personalities on social media to get an idea of what’s hot for the holiday season. Influencer marketing is an incredible way to get your products out there and in front of new audiences in time for the gifting season. This means, Influencers are in demand now more than ever and their content calendars are filling up fast!
For those brands looking to launch successful influencer marketing campaigns during the peak shopping season, you want to make sure your strategy covers everything from creator selection, outreach, the scope of work, content publishing, and even how to track and report your campaign’s metrics to calculate ROI. There’s a lot that goes into planning a marketing campaign that gets results, and your customers are going to be more intentional about their holiday purchases due to the economic climate. By partnering with online creators, brands are able to leverage their existing and engaged audience to increase consumer awareness of the best prices and promotions during the crowded holiday season.
Make your plan clear before you begin
Every strategy from ads to influencers all starts the same, with clear goals, and realistic objectives. Before you start selecting and vetting your creators your team needs to plan. Your strategy should include specific campaign goals, a defined budget, your offer, what you plan to promote, and the key messages around it. You also need to have a clearly defined target audience. With this information mapped out, you can then decide the influencer campaign KPIs you’ll measure to define the success of the holiday campaign. Influencer marketing is one of several layers of your overall marketing strategy, and you want to make sure that your campaign works cohesively with your other efforts. If you’ve worked with Influencer before, take a look at the data from that previous campaign. Is there room for improvement? What could you do better? What should you do differently? Do you want similar results? What item is your target audience looking for this time? These insights will help ensure your goals are more customer-focused while making as many sales as possible.
Next, consider all of the channels your target audience is currently most active on, and what type of content they most engage with, as this is the type of content that your brand will want to get from your creators. Some content may need to be unique to the platform (such as a video made specifically for Instagram Reels), while other assets can be used across multiple channels. If you plan to whitelist the created content for paid advertisement, you need to work that into your strategy as well. Once you have your strategy in place, you should have a better idea of the type of Influencers you are looking for, and which platforms to start your search.
Identify the right creators
Not every creator is the right fit for your brand, but that’s okay. You don’t want to choose anyone. Follower count will not matter as much as an engagement when it comes to running successful Influencer campaigns. You want to make sure your creator has their pulse on what attracts and holds the attention of their audience, and also what gets them excited enough to take action. The right influencers will have an audience that makes up your target demographic, be actively engaging with that audience, and give your brand a direct line to driving traffic and sales, and increasing overall ROI. You should start your influencer search as early as possible. so that you have the time to fully vet your prospective creators. Like any industry, there are people who are the real deal and have worked hard to build engaging audiences, and there are people who pad the numbers and create false platforms for attention and brand deals. Many brands get soured on the concept of utilizing Influencers because of the latter but make no mistake when done correctly, Influencer marketing can yield great rewards for your business.
When compiling your list of creators you want to make note of several things. Audience size, audience engagement, location, post frequency, and audience demographics are all going to impact your campaign results. This will also impact your budget as the bigger the audience size for an Influencer, the more the rates for their services will be. You want to be sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Creators are also highly sought after for holiday season campaigns, so you can increase your chance of success by beginning the search as early as you can and locking in dates for your campaign. At this stage, it’s best for your team to cast the wide net and approach a large number of influencers for their rates and deliverables to see who fits best for your brand and campaign needs. The key to successful influencer campaigns is all about community. You want to activate people with a valuable social reach, who are already or will become fans of your brand, and have an effective way of leveraging their organic brand affinity and knowledge of the products for authentic influencer campaigns.
Communication is key
Outreach and communication is going to be the most time-consuming element in your campaign. Especially for those managing multiple creator campaigns for the season. Again, the earlier you can identify your Influencers, the better, as you will need to spend this time confirming rates, getting scope approval (as needed), sending out agreements, agreeing on content deliverables, setting up the content schedule, and of course getting the product in the hands of the Influencer. The earlier your influencers get the products, the sooner they can create content that aligns with your main focus for the campaign. You want to give them adequate time to get familiar with your brand and product so that they can test or try out the product and give the most honest messaging when creating content. Letting your influencers get first-hand knowledge of the product also allows them to communicate your brand’s missions, vision, and key messages in an authentic manner to their audience leading up to product releases and sales.
To make sure your campaigns are running smoothly, you need to make sure communication is seamless. Reply to your Influencer’s questions and inquiries quickly, and remember to follow up with any prospective or tentative influencers who may fall behind in communication.
Make your content work for you
With so many important shopping dates around the holiday season, you want to be intentional about the content you plan around the special dates. Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, New Year’s Eve, and even Halloween are all important opportunities to generate potential sales. Use these dates, or the days leading up to them, to launch limited-time offers, exclusive deals, and special savings that will build excitement, and drive more traffic to your landing pages and website. The job of your Influencer is to not only promote your product to their audience, but to create tailored content that stands out, and amplify your message. Although you will manage and approve content pieces, you want to be sure to provide your creator with clear instructions and expectations of the type of content you are looking for, while giving them the creative freedom to create content that aligns with their brand and their audience’s interests. After all, they know the content that resonates best with the audience, and the goal is to generate as much engagement as possible from your campaign.
With all the hard work that’s gone into making a creative holiday campaign, publishing the created content on only one platform is limiting. You want to go one step further by repurposing influencer-created content for your owned social channels and other relevant marketing mediums like emails, web, SMS, and even ads. Deliver holiday season influencer marketing campaigns that make more of an impact by whitelisting influencer-generated content as part of paid social media ads, organic brand social media content, and much more. Reusing high-quality content in this way will help to amplify the messages shared through the influencer campaign and improve campaign performance.
Track, report and measure
As your Influencers begin to publish their content, you want to be sure your team is tracking the performance in real-time to make note of important insights and to allow for last-minute adjustments if needed to enhance results. If your campaign goals include generating sales, you want to be sure your Influencer and your team are effectively navigating the native promotional codes, and tracking sales generated by individual influencers. The same goes for the number of leads being generated, and traffic being driven to your owned channels. These insights and data are crucial for demonstrating the efficacy of your influencer strategies and management of the campaign. By the culmination of your campaign you want to know exactly how the campaign is performing and clearly understand the ROI generated. Post campaign, you will want your Influencer to send over all insights, screen captures, and downloads of post and page performance analytics for easy reporting. It’s worth noting that being able to easily communicate the campaign’s success will no doubt lead to more repeat business in the future.
It’s never too late to plan ahead for your holiday influencer program. Not only are the holidays a great time of year to promote gifts and limited-time discounts, but it is perhaps one of the best times of the year to leverage influencer relationships for social media takeovers, giveaways, and more! Are you ready to develop the best strategy for your holiday influencer campaigns? As an Idealgrowth partner, we will guide you on how to find influencers that align with your brand and your goals, set a budget, plan content, track performance, and also help you develop the best campaign strategy that gets the results you need for a profitable and successful quarter.