Whether you or your brand have been running campaigns on social media since the days of MySpace's Top 8, or whether you're new to the game, there's some important self-inventory you need to take before you put a single marketing dollar toward social media.
As important as the quality of campaign content is, choosing the right social channel to run your influencer or other marketing campaign is even more critical. Posting the "right" content on the wrong social network is just as frustrating for the users who'll see it as it is for the brand or company that posts it. Great content from influencers isn't all that "great" if it seems out of place and leads to a negative reaction from a social network's users.
Being smart about choosing a social network (or a few) for a campaign comes down to knowing your company or brand (and goals) and understanding the network (and what makes it unique).
Setting some measurable goals for your influencer marketing campaign is up to you, but here's what we've learned in the 250+ campaigns we've run with brands and influencers on social networks.
The biggest in the biz, Facebook has many native tools to provide you with campaign analytics. If you're looking to track app installs or purchases, Facebook is the best channel. With a sophisticated newsfeed algorithm, Facebook is also a great choice if a brand wants to target its message to a highly specific demographic. Location, age, gender, language, interests, behaviors... if there's a group at that Venn diagram intersection you're trying to reach, Facebook can help.
Because Facebook owns Instagram, it's hard to talk about one without the other. Running a concurrent campaign on Facebook and Instagram is helpful because you can quickly see which campaign posts are performing well organically on Instagram and then use Facebook's previously mentioned targeting capabilities to boost its presence in users' News Feeds.
Content that performs well on Instagram is likely to perform well on Facebook, and even more so if you give it the leg-up of putting a targeted boost (i.e., ad buy) behind it. In short, Instagram can be used as the test for what content to highlight on Facebook.
Keep promoted post copy short, and use visual content to draw users into your full message. A long caption may get cut off after a "Read more" fold, but an image/video is always visible.
Stay on-top of new native tools and use them early: Facebook's algorithm tends to bump posts that use newly launched tools to the top of users' timelines, such as when Facebook Live launched.
If you're looking for highly talented creatives posting quality content, look no further than Instagram. The goal with Instagram content is to be a "thumbstopper"—content so good it grabs users' attention and halts their scrolling through their feed.
Instagram influencers have built a following based on the quality of their content, and they would bring that same drive to a brand's campaign—delivering content their followers will appreciate while still communicating a brand message.
Beyond getting them to post for your campaign, activating Instagram influencers is a great way to build a bank of high-quality content that you can use across any number of your own channels, from billboards to tweets.
Despite the addition of a Facebook-like, non-chronological algorithm in 2016, Instagram Influencers are still enjoying high organic engagement. Instagram is also a great place to build brand affinity. Influencers are less likely to post content that looks like an "ad," and overall the tone of followers' comments skews positive.
On top of all that, the recent addition of Instagram Stories brings another layer of engagement between influencers and followers, and a space where influencers can share "behind the scenes" or "slice of life" content that's more casual than the content on their formal feed.
Higher engagement on a post means being preferred by Instagram's algorithm and being seen by more users. By default, Instagram preloads videos as users scroll their feeds. Use a native tool like Boomerang to create a short, looping video that will play as users scroll—thus drawing their eye, increasing your engagement, and boosting the post up other users' feeds.
With a user base that's 68% female and an average household income of $100,000+, it's no surprise Pinterest is the most shoppable of all the networks covered here. Beauty, home, fashion, kitchen, and food brands would do well to spend time and money on a Pinterest campaign.
As with every social network, Pinterest has its own stars with massive followings, who should definitely factor into a brand marketing campaign. In addition, Pinterest recently added the ability to promote pins, which can be used the same way a brand can use Facebook to boost content that's performing well.
Pinterest users love content that teaches or inspires, and they love to repin that content, potentially spreading your brand message for you. Focus on activating Pinterest influencers known for creating content such as recipes, home DIY projects, and inspiration boards.
Are you an established brand looking to shift perception about your product or engage with a younger audience? Big brands that already have an identity in the public's collective consciousness should be looking to Snapchat to run campaigns, and reinvigorate what may be perceived as a stale image.
They can use Snapchat influencers or native Snapchat features, such as branded filters, to reach younger consumers who might not be aware of the brand.
Who isn't Snapchat great for? Startups. As it stands, Snapchat can't deliver on tracking downloads or signups, and companies can't link outside the app. Also, maintaining the "always on" nature of a Snapchat presence could quickly become burdensome to a small team.
Create a custom Snapchat geofilter that ties in with an upcoming popular community/cultural event that makes sense with your brand. If the geofilter is creative and engaging enough, you have a built-in audience ready to share event memories overlaid with your brand's message. Also, having influencers attend and promote the geofilter at the event will add value to your marketing dollars.
For cosmetics, food, or lifestyle brands, YouTube is a perfect place to put products in the hands of YouTube influencers—for a makeup tutorial, haul video, recipe walkthrough, etc.
Notable YouTubers have devoted, specialized audiences who look forward to daily video drops from influencers and trust their expertise and advice. That's also the reason it's especially crucial to only partner with YouTubers who have honest, believable connections to your brand and product... because hell hath no fury like a YouTube commenter scorned.
If a campaign's primary goal is building positive brand affinity with a mass audience, be aware that YouTube comments are also one of the drawbacks of the platform; they can get nasty, out of nowhere, quickly.
There's no right video length for your influencer marketing campaign on YouTube. Combine some short videos with longer formats so you can cater to everyone's attention span (and repost the shorter videos on other networks).
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The most important things to remember when you're planning a social media campaign are "who" your brand is and what your goals are. That's the only way you can move on to properly match your campaign and the social platform to run it on. For example:
- Though Snapchat may be buzzy in all the trade publications, if you're a startup looking to increase downloads of your new app you're only going to be frustrated if you spend all your budget and time on a Snapchat campaign.
- If you're a big brand looking to reintroduce yourselves to teenagers, Facebook might not be the best first step for you.
Set your goals and determine which social network can give you the measurable results you want. You'll be rolling in likes, repins, and comments in no time.