You already know that working with a social media influencer as part of your marketing plan can increase your company’s success. In fact, social media was a top priority for marketers in 2017. According to a study from Econsultancy and Adobe, marketing via social media is set to remain as top priority, with about 56 percent of respondents in the study planning to increase their social media planning.
Social media influencers can have a big effect on social media marketing. Now, you’ve picked out the influencer that works best for your strategy, now it’s time to plan your campaign. If you’re looking to start with an unpaid campaign, you’ll likely be working your magic with micro-influencers.
We’re going to break down the process of working out an unpaid campaign with your social media influencer, and hopefully answer all the questions you have about setting up a successful, payment-free campaign.
How to Make an Unpaid Campaign Work for You and Your Influencer
Here’s a few quick checklist items to make sure you’re covering when putting together your unpaid campaign with your social media influencers.
Step One: Reach Out to the Right People
The first step in creating a successful, unpaid campaign is making sure you’re reaching out and working with the right kind of influencers. An unpaid partnership will typically only appeal to micro-influencers, or the social media influencers who work with a smaller audience, and are, most often, regular people who have the potential be relevant and influential for your brand. It is likely that these influencers might become more loyal to your brand once they are influencers, and because they’re not on the scale of your macro-influencers, more willing to partner and collaborate without a salary. Overall, reach out directly to them, tell them who you are, why you’re contacting them, and how you’d like to work with them and implement them into your brand.
Step Two: Work out Ways Both You and Your Influencer Will Benefit from the Partnership
Next, it’s time to be clear about your partnership. Try to lay out ways to your micro-influencer the ways that you can both be influential for your mutual brands. Discuss mutual and cross-promotion on each other’s social media accounts. Offer them features on your company’s pages – for example, tags and posts linking your followers to their account on your Instagram of Facebook pages.
You could also try to work out a product exchange in your unpaid campaign as a form of compensation. An unpaid campaign is when you gift your influencer one of your products so that they can craft a post about it on their social media pages. Work out a deal with them based off what works best for the both of you. Does a one-time product exchange work for the two of you? What about a monthly product exchange for a few posts? Discuss which sort of product exchange can benefit the both of you.
This type of exchange will be unpaid, but you’ll compensate them in the form of product. With this strategy, you’re not giving them a specific post type, instead, you’re sending them the product, and instructing them to promote your product in the ways that fit their accounts and the ways that will benefit your brand. This will not only provide you with an avenue to spread the word about your brand, but also provide your influencer a way to become more widely recognized as an influential person.
A second way to orchestrate an unpaid campaign is to work out a product-review type arrangement. This is like a product exchange but gives you a bit of control over how the post is constructed. Gift your social media influencer a product (for keeps, of course) and have them review it on their own accounts, linking your companies page in their post.
The compensation here is still the same as your other strategy – product exchange or free product, however, this strategy is more structured and geared toward actual reviews and real feedback on the specific product you’re sending over, as opposed to an overall promotion of your brand. This type of agreement still works without compensation and it based on product exchange, however, it’s built to focus on a review of the specific product you’re sending over, as opposed to a blanket brand promotion.
Step Three: Build Brand Awareness Via Your Influencers
One of the best ways to implement your micro-influencers sway into your campaign is by building up your brand through their accounts. Work with your influencers to create custom, branded hashtags for the products that you give them in your product exchange system. This way, they can use the branded hashtag, link you, and create a specific product awareness with their posts.
Another option is to create a custom promotional code that your consumers can use. Simply work with your influencer to create a custom promo code that includes both of your brands in the hashtag, ask they use it for their posts with the specific products that you’ve given them, and have them link the posts back to you. In exchange, share their promo codes and their account on your company’s profiles as well. This will benefit the influencer as they’ll be exposed to a much larger audience and a different reach altogether.
Step Four: Measure Your Analytics and Adjust with Your Influencers
One of the most important parts of your unpaid campaign is making sure that it’s working. Your social platforms should already have analytics built into them, and you can certainly access certain third-party programs that can help you measure your analytics.
Work with your influencers to see how their numbers are being affected by your partnership and share with them how their involvement has boosted or affected your numbers, too. Set up analytics on the specific hashtags and promo codes that you’ve designed with your influencers to see how much traffic is being driven to your site because of these. The most important part of this process is being direct. If something isn’t working with your micro-influencers, tell them, adjust, and make sure you’re only implementing strategies that are positive and worth it for your company.
Our Final Thoughts
Working with social media influencers via unpaid campaigns can be a wonderful, economical way to gain an audience, build your brand, and increase your ROI. Make sure that when working with your influencers, you clearly outline your unpaid campaign ahead of time. Be clear and direct about your purpose when working with influencers and be creative when it comes to coming up with ideas that will benefit both you and your influencer. Most importantly, always analyze your results to ensure that your efforts are effective.
About the Author: Billy Bones is the founder of Booking Agent Info, which provides brands with the contact information for the official agents, managers, and publicists of influencers and celebrities. He also runs Celebrity Endorsers, which provides brands with influencer data including past endorsements, interests, and the charities and causes that they support.