5 Experts Share Their Best Tactics for Influencer Campaigns

This post is an excerpt from our Authentic Marketing Conference in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for brands and influencers to openly discuss tactics for authentically building a strong following. All of the content from the Authentic Marketing Conference is available as a Virtual Replay Ticket

Here are some key takeaways from the What Brands Know Works panel:

  • Connect with influencers who share the same philosophy as your brand
    Connecting with an influencer just because they have a large following may not be the best fit for your brand’s influencer campaigns. Instead focus on finding influencers, with an engaged audience in your niche, who share the same values as your brand.
    • Consider partnering with influencers as a way to create engaging content
      Traditional content creation is typically slow and expensive, leverage influencers as a way to generate high-quality content for all of your brand’s various channels.

      • Track influencer campaigns with unique offers codes
        Use unique offer codes to gauge the conversion rates of the different influencers in your campaign. Utilize these metrics to better understand which influencers had the widest reach, the most engaged audience and the highest conversion rates. This data allows you, as a brand, to determine which influencers to work with on future campaigns.


      How do influencer campaigns get conceived? Where does it happen in the organization of a marketing department when it comes to marketing plans and budgets?

      I always start with the target audience and the market space. I think at the end of the day, a purchase or a consumer decision is always based on emotions. Really trying to understand not only who your customers are, not only from a demographic perspective, but from a psychographic and emotional perspective is important.

      I think one of the brands that has done this really well is Jeep. There are sites, blogs, Instagrams, and clubs dedicated to Jeep and it’s because Jeep really tapped into the fact that people—when they think of Jeep and when they buy a Jeep—it’s because they have this vision of them being wild and free, running through the dunes, and going where no car can go. Jeep taps into this emotional idea for their consumer, and that is where I like to start. Once you understand that, the story can unfold from there. –Cynthia Rojas, Hype Digital Marketing

      I think it’s interesting because organizationally, influencer campaigns falls into a lot of different places. This is because influencer marketing is a tactic, a way to reach your customers and deliver a message. I think the common misperception in influencer marketing is that it is a magnet, just a way to get eyeballs. However, it is also effective at reaching new audiences and leveraging existing brands and influencers to build your own. At the same time, there are a lot of applications of influencer campaigns that build loyalty, educate consumers, and get people through that consideration phase, into the conversion phase to actually buying your product. –Andrew Higgins, Pixlee

      For me, high-volume influencers are not really the people I consider first. Going for influencers with huge followings is definitely one tactic for a brand new product, however I think of high volume influencers as only “semi-authentic.”

      I wouldn’t use influencer marketing to start a conversation, but I would use it to close one. –Seb Webber

      This isn’t disrespecting this type of influencer at all, but you also have to ask yourself, what are they actually experts in? Someone who isn’t that passionate about your particular product or niche, but has a large reach is not as attractive to me as someone with 1,000 followers who knows everything about the subject. For these reasons, I wouldn’t use influencer marketing personally to start a conversation, I would use it to close one. –Seb Webber, Coldplay

      The 1st sign (of an influencer who fits our brand) is when someone comes to us and says, “You fit my philosophy, you fit in my lifestyle.” –Kerry Konrady

      Our brand is built on authenticity. When I talk about our influencers, I’m talking about guys like Mark Healy. Mark Healy is a high-profile sponsored athlete. He came to us. He said, “Look, I only wear your brand. I only wear OluKai. Let’s work together.” For us, that is the first signal when someone comes to us and says, “You fit my philosophy, you fit in my lifestyle.” If it’s anything other than that, we won’t really talk to them because it’s just not worth it. –Kerry Konrady, OluKai

      Today, every consumer has the chance to be a media company. –Andrew Higgins

      We help brands make their marketing more authentic at Pixlee through real customers. A message no longer needs to come from the brand itself, and quite frankly, it’s often a much stronger message when it doesn’t. It’s word of mouth. You go back thirty or forty years, word of mouth was maybe someone talking to 20 to 30 people a day but today every consumer has the chance to be a media company. They have a giant megaphone in their pocket so the concept of micro influencers, it’s really just relationships. You can develop your brand through these relationships and when you are talking about influencers, it can’t be a transactional relationship. It’s not, “I pay you for your audience.” It really is about going deeper and that comes down to picking the right influencers. If you have to alter the influencer to fit your brand, it won’t work. –Andrew Higgins, Pixlee

      What are brands spending on YouTube stars and Instagram influencer campaigns? How is performance measured with influencer marketing?

      There is wide range in terms of the economics of it. There are quite a few influencers that I’ve worked with who are willing to take some sort of percentage backend deal, and those are typically influencers that have a smaller following.

      Oftentimes, these influencers have a really good understanding of their followers, and their followers are passionate and motivated. These influencers know when they recommend something that their followers are going to get on board with whatever they are saying.

      The bottom like is that you can build influencer campaigns regardless of how small or large your budget is. Influencers who are younger are going to be more willing to partner and be flexible in their partnership, which is great for young brands. –Cynthia Rojas, Hype Digital Marketing

      Influencers are promoting the brand in whatever way they want in many cases, which makes for a more authentic campaign. –Tony Winders

      Those influencers, then, are promoting the brand in whatever way they want in many cases, which makes for a more authentic campaign. –Tony Winders, Winders Consulting Group

      If it is purely about reach, then I look at partnering with influencers in the same way I would look at a traditional print ad or an online buy - a CPM, essentially. In your world you know what those costs are and you negotiate against that.

      The other way that I look at it is that an influencer is coming in and becoming almost a part of our organization similar to a full-time employee. This gets a little soft, but it is also similar to artists who I commission to work on our behalf, so they can continue to do your trade.

      Right now we are funding murals all over the country by artists. It’s really less of a pay-to-play, as much as it is our brand helping these artists with their passions and then these artists help provide us with a passionate group of followers who care about what we are doing. –Kerry Konrady, OluKai

      I’ll be honest, it’s still really hard to track this stuff. It’s like that age old saying, “50% of my marketing is working, I just don’t know what 50%.” There are metrics that you can view. I can tell if you have opened an email, clicked through it, been on a page for 17 seconds, etc. I can’t tell if you actually go home and think about my stuff. I’ll know if you buy it, but I won’t also know if it’s because of anything that I have done that you are buying it. –Seb Webber, Coldplay

      A big piece of this is that every marketer needs more content. There are just too many channels. Traditional content generation is really slow and it’s expensive. I think what you are doing in partnering with these influencers is generating some really high-level and engaging content.

      Another way to look at the value and track the performance is to look at the content metrics and channels that you are using to share that influencer content outside of social. –Andrew Higgins, Pixlee

      One of the things that we have done with our influencer campaigns is provide influencers with unique offer codes. We have also developed separate landing pages for them so we can track their customer’s journey so that we can get at least a gauge on conversion rates for the different influencers. You can then kind of know who to invest more in and who not to invest as much in. –Cynthia Rojas, Hype Digital Marketing

      One point that I would make to influencers is that I’m seeing more and more people start to market themselves and promote multiple brands, even competitor brands. It’s becoming an issue for us because waters down our message. It makes them less appealing to us when they are associated with a number of brands in our market. –Kerry Konrady, OluKai

      How can the influencer educate a brand relative to quality vs. scale and relationship building vs. analytics and measurement?

      Influencers who provide real examples can demonstrate the value and the quality that the they can provide. –Cynthia Rojas

      Some of the influencers that I have talked to have developed marketing packages for themselves that showcase parts of their website, testimonials from people who are in their community, and this demonstration of efficacy has really helped them. These real examples helps demonstrate the value and the quality that the influencer can provide. –Cynthia Rojas, Hype Digital Marketing