Whether you have a solid influencer marketing strategy in place, want to improve your current plan, or are looking to create your very first one, prepare before developing an influencer marketing plan so you can enjoy influencer marketing campaigns that deliver results later.

This post, designed to help you get all the pieces and parts in place to create your influencer marketing strategy, is the first in our “Comprehensive Guide to Influencer Marketing” 6-part series in which we discuss the 4 Steps to Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy, How to Create Results-Driven Influencer Marketing Campaigns, 6 Influencer Marketing Campaign Management Best Practices, How to Successfully Manage Influencers, and 11 Influencer Marketing Tactics to Rock Your Campaigns.

Pre-Planning Steps to Develop an Influencer Marketing Plan

The more prepared you are, the more solid your influencer marketing strategy will be. Follow these 6 steps to put yourself in the perfect position to strategize.

1. Get clarity on your company’s goals.

Before setting objectives, communicate with and get buy in from senior leadership on your company’s core business goals. Read more about how to set wildly important goals and what they’ll do for you here.

Tip! Getting clarity on goals can take time and may raise differing opinions among leadership. Hold firm about reaching consensus up front, before moving to strategy, campaign development, or execution. Having patience at the outset will save you time down the road.

2. Perform a competitive analysis.

Look at what other brands in your industry are doing in influencer marketing and ask yourself:

  • What brands are getting it right?
  • What are they doing?
  • What brands are not getting it right? Why?
  • Which of their campaigns are producing results that are in line with my company’s goals?
  • What can I learn from my competitors?

3. Set a benchmark.

Knowing where you’re currently at with your influencer marketing plans and execution will help you know where to go. Most importantly, you’ll be able to identify key metrics at the outset so you can measure your progress. When setting a benchmark, ask yourself:

  • What are the objectives, key results, and tactics in our current plan?
  • What results are we achieving on each individual goal?
  • What results are we achieving on each individual campaign?
  • Are the results of our goals leading our company closer to accomplishing goals?
  • Are the results of our campaigns helping us meet our departmental goals?
  • What is working?
  • What isn’t working?
  • What do we need to continue doing the same?
  • What do we need to change?

Common areas to benchmark in influencer marketing include:

  • Awareness (e.g., impressions, opens, views)
  • Conversion (e.g., sales, sign ups, subscriptions)
  • Engagement (e.g., clicks, comments, likes, regrams/pins/tweets, shares)
  • Loyalty (e.g., referrals, reviews, testimonials)
  • Quality (e.g., photography, video, writing)

4. Establish a campaign and influencer success algorithm.

Based on what is and isn’t working, determine a success algorithm. This could include the following:

  • Identifying influencer criteria—qualities, characteristics, skills, and key performance indicators about influencers and their readers/followers that make them an ideal partner (e.g., age, bi-lingual, community leadership among and engagement with his/her followers, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, media expertise, niche, notable mentions, photography expertise, professionalism/qualities, rate, spokesperson capabilities, website aesthetic, writing quality, etc.)
  • Campaign criteria—key performance indicators or other criteria that has a proven track record, when implemented, of leading to successful, results-driven campaigns (e.g., takes place during specific times of year, does not exceed a specific budget amount, requires certain lead time, follows quality expectations, streamlined process, etc.)
Tip! Identifying campaign and influencer success algorithms upfront helps you when you enter the campaign creation and influencer marketing campaign management phases.

5. Identify your resources.

A. Before you can set your budget, you need to understand your resource needs and cost, both internal and external and human and tech-based. Here is a list of some of the items to consider when identifying your resources:

B. Identify your internal team members’ availability and capacity (e.g., anyone that can donate time to influencer marketing-related tasks, including all full-time salaried resources, part-time folks, interns, etc.) by asking yourself:

  • How many hours does each person have available to work on influencer marketing?
  • What is the total budget for those people?
  • What tasks can we manage internally?
  • What tasks do we not have the capacity, expertise, or budget to handle internally that we may need to outsource?

C. Research external vendors (e.g., agencies, contractors, influencer networks, etc.) that you could add to your team and ask yourself:

  • What is the cost and benefits of outsourcing tasks to external human resources?

D. Determine external resources (e.g., tech platforms, metrics tools, etc.) needed to meet your goals and ask yourself:

  • What tech platforms are available and what is their cost?
  • What is the cost benefit analysis of subscribing to each platform/tool?
Tip! List resource needs, cost, and pros and cons of your research in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will come in handy when you determine your budget.

6. Streamline your processes.

Reviewing and refining or creating new processes, especially if you can streamline, merge, or offload tasks, can actually save you money by reducing hiring and purchasing, especially at the outset.

When reviewing your processes, ask yourself:

  • What daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks is each human resource performing?
  • In order of priority, how critical is each task? If we were to get rid of a specific task, how would it impact our team’s ability to deliver on our goals? Delete any tasks that are not critical.
  • For those tasks that are left, which tasks meet which goals? If tasks remain that are not driving results, consider dropping them or delegating them to another team (if by doing so, it’d help that team accomplish its goals).
  • What is involved with all the critical tasks?
  • What is the step-by-step process for each task?
  • How much time does each task take to perform?
  • What is the priority of each task (which should be performed first, second, third, etc.)?
  • Is the right person or people assigned/performing the right tasks?
Tip! Matching tasks with expertise helps you maximize efficiencies and budget.

Next Steps

With your pre-work done, you are ready to to move onto strategy. Check out these posts in our series to learn more:

Not sure where to start? Let’s talk! Partnering with a professional influencer network, such as Mom It Forward Media, yields many benefits. We’ll meet with you to discuss your ideas, goals, and objectives. From there, we’ll develop a campaign that will meet (and hopefully surpass) your objectives. Does that sound like a plan? Contact us at jyl@momitforward.com to get started.

4 Steps to Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy
How to Manage Influencers

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