According to Facebook IQ (now Meta Foresight), in 2020, 58% of consumers bought a new product because of a content creator’s recommendation. Creators and influencers appeal to our need for authentic human connection through storytelling, giving us a sense of belonging by aligning ourselves with people who stand for the same values we believe in.
That’s why more and more people are subscribing to the feeds of leading creators on social media, enriching our lives with educational, entertaining, and inspiring content. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, partnering with content creators is a powerful way for brands to better connect with their target audience, boost brand visibility, and drive conversions.
While it can be tempting to collaborate with creators who have the largest followings, it’s actually the lesser-known ones who drive the most engagement, which means that to maximize the impact of your creator partnerships, you’ll want to partner with a higher volume of lower-tier talent.
Indeed, partnering at scale with many content creators can lead to bigger results, in terms of brand exposure, reaching new audiences and ROI. But it can also present some challenges:
- Consistency: Working with several content creators can make it challenging to maintain a uniform brand message, as each creator has their own style and approach to content creation, which could lead to deviations in messaging and branding.
- Coordination: Coordinating with multiple content creators requires significant effort to ensure each creator is on the same page in terms of timelines, expectations, and deliverables.
- Quality control: While partnering with many content creators can increase the amount of content produced, it can also make it tricky to maintain quality control and content standards.
- Costs: Partnering with multiple content creators can be more expensive than working with a single creator. If you aren’t careful, you might find your digital marketing budget dwindling quickly.
- Metrics tracking: Keeping track of the content performance of multiple creators can be overwhelming. Brands must have a system in place to track engagement, conversion, and ROI metrics for each piece of content from each creator.
To tackle these challenges, here are six tips, tools, and strategies you can consider for your next multi-creator campaign.
1. Begin with a buyer persona
As with any marketing initiative, a strategic approach to successful creator partnerships involves creating a persona to thoroughly understand who you’re targeting with your creator campaign.
Are you aiming to reach a new audience? Are you trying to reach more of your existing target audience? Either way, build an audience persona with relevant demographic and psychographic information to get a clear picture of your campaign’s target audience.
Answering these questions right off the bat is also essential to recruiting the right creator crew for your campaign. Looking at your audience persona, you can then map the right mix of:
- Topics: Which posts does your audience engage with the most?
- Tones: Casual or formal? Straightforward or story-driven? Witty or professional? Analyze your audience engagement to determine the right tone of voice for your campaign.
- Channels: Which social media channels does your audience use most? For B2C, visual-first platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube tend to work best. For B2B, LinkedIn and Twitter are typically better choices.
- Formats: Based on the topics, tones, and channels, figure out the best content formats for your campaign — product reviews, giveaway contests, social media takeovers, etc.
Using an audience research tool like SparkToro, you can conduct an in-depth analysis of your audience to learn granular details like which websites they visit, social accounts they follow, hashtags they use, topics they frequently talk about, YouTube channels they engage with, and more. This enables you to build a super-accurate persona based on your audience’s online behavior and preferences.
Now, with a concrete idea of your audience and content strategy, you can triangulate the right influencers for your campaign. But first, you need to…
2. Create a centralized campaign brief and style guide
Every creator has their own way of getting their message across to their audience. They have their own way of working and a personal brand to build in their niche.
In other words, your creators will be more effective at promoting your product if they convey your brand’s story in their own unique voice. But, while you want them to stay authentic to their own voice and style, you also need them to understand your brand’s value proposition and campaign objectives so they can tailor content that hits the sweet spot.
Moreover, when you’re planning to work with multiple influencers at the same time, it’s crucial to align them all with your content strategy for the campaign.
A centralized campaign brief and style guide helps streamline the creation process and avoid chaos. It serves as a single point of reference for your team and creators to understand:
- Campaign goals: Clearly communicate if the objective is to boost brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate sales, or build engagement. Define metrics to articulate what success looks like.
- Target audience: While there’ll be an overlap in the creator’s audience and your brand’s, share exactly who you’re targeting with this campaign (using the persona from above).
- Brand guidelines: Provide detailed guidelines on your brand’s voice, tone, and visual identity. This can include specific messaging, brand keywords, and visual elements such as color palettes, typography, and imagery.
- Content guidelines: Define the content formats required for the campaign. Provide specifications for the content, such as the length of the video or blog post, the captions and hashtags they must use, and the calls to action to end the posts with.
- Key messages: Describe the key messages that influencers should convey in their content. This can include specific product features, benefits, and unique selling points.
- Timeline: Share the timeline for your campaign and the deadlines for content submission and posting.
With all the groundwork done, it’s time to partner up with various creators and launch your campaign.
3. Engage with talented and niche-relevant content creators
Based on your persona and campaign brief, dig up relevant content creators that will help you amplify your brand’s reach, credibility, and authority.
Place emphasis on picking creators who mirror the traits you want to stand for and whose audiences match your ideal customer persona. Evaluate their past collaboration campaigns, content capabilities, storytelling skills, and engagement rates, rather than focusing on their follower count.
With an influencer discovery and collaboration platform like Popular Pays, you can find and vet content creators based on attributes such as location, capabilities, engagement rates, aesthetic style, sponsored history, competitive activity, and of course, follower size. You can curate lists of creators, start conversation threads to brainstorm creative concepts and strategies, and segment your influencers by tags for easier management.
Put simply, Popular Pays helps you streamline your influencer collaboration at scale by enabling you to easily create campaign briefs, review and qualify creator portfolios, message posting requirements, share pricing information, handle payments and contracts, aggregate all of your final assets, and more — all from a single platform.
4. Engage with UGC creators
As you’d expect, partnering with many content creators simultaneously has the potential to cause your influencer marketing budget to shoot through the roof.
A great way to dodge this is to collaborate with user-generated content (UGC) creators — these are passionate photographers and videographers who work with brands to showcase their products via high-quality photographs, testimonial videos, unboxing videos, in-action videos, lifestyle shots, detailed reviews, and so on.
As opposed to influencers, UGC creators essentially serve as happy customers for your brand, helping you drive positive word of mouth and social engagement.
Plus, given how effective UGC is in influencing customers — 93% of marketers agree that people trust content created by customers more than content created by brands — this strategy is a solid bet for brands looking to amplify their marketing efforts with the help of creators.
For this, consider using a UGC creator platform like Trend that connects brands with handpicked content creators to scale user-generated content across a variety of platforms. You start by making a campaign brief that invites applications from creative people eager to shoot compelling product photos and videos for you.
Once you approve them, you ship your products to those UGC creators, collaborate with them with in-platform messaging to plan content delivery, and finally download their content with complete licensing rights, so you can use their videos as social proof on your website’s homepage, product pages, social media, paid ads, etc.
5. Partner with affiliate influencers
Another great way to work with multiple creators at once without breaking the bank is to partner with them on an affiliate basis — you pay them a commission when they send customers your way via social channels or their blog.
With fairly large and engaged followings, affiliate influencers leverage their social media authority to subtly promote your products in front of potential customers. Whereas most creator collaborations are focused on building brand awareness, reach, and trust, affiliate engagements are effectively about driving conversions. And so, working with them is an opportunity to build your business via more authentic ad content, in exchange for a small fee or commission.
Consider using an affiliate marketing platform like UpPromote that lets you recruit affiliates, create coupons or customized links to help them promote your brand, pay them through PayPal or store credit, build an auto-tier commission structure, and analyze the most popular products that drive the highest affiliate sales.
The platform offers a marketplace where you can list your affiliate offer and get discovered by potential affiliate influencers from 20+ consumer categories.
6. Use tracking URLs to attribute ROI from content creators correctly
Finally, you want to make sure you know you’re getting your money’s worth. With influencer campaigns, it’s easy to get distracted with vanity metrics (such as likes and comments) that may not necessarily translate into sales or sign-ups.
Sure, an impressive view count and post engagement is great for brand awareness, but if your goal is to drive qualified traffic or generate sales, then ensure you have an accurate ROI attribution system in place.
One way to track the visitors a creator sends to your website is by using UTM parameters — these are essentially short text codes that you add to URLs to include information about the link’s placement and purpose, making it easier to track clicks from a specific social media post or campaign and thus track its performance. Check out this guide to learn how to use them to track your influencer campaign’s ROI.
If your team, or the content creators themselves, are using Agorapulse, they’ll find that all links – and that includes published posts as well as comments, replies, and even direct messages – are tracked with a full suite of UTM parameters and synced with Google Analytics for rich, automated reporting on results.
Another way is to use a tool like Ruler Analytics that lets you automatically tie revenue back to your campaigns and channels via marketing attribution. It uses multi-touch attribution models to assign credit to each touchpoint in the customer journey. This means that you can accurately attribute conversions to the specific creator who referred the customer, even if people interacted with multiple touchpoints before making a purchase.
Joining forces with a high volume influencers in one go can be challenging yet highly rewarding. Put these six tips into practice to do it right and reap the rewards.
If really want to level-up your influencer marketing efforts, and your relationships with influencers, learn how Mike Allton can work with you directly.