How to Create Meaningful Influencer Marketing Campaigns
As part of our Ask the Experts series, we’re learning from the world’s leaders in influencer marketing and sharing their advice. In this interview with Kin Community Canada’s Director of Integrated Marketing, Ashley Riske, we chat about the real costs of influencer marketing and go behind the scenes of an incredibly successful campaign.
The following interview contains excerpts from an updated version of The Epic Guide To Content Marketing– over 50 pages of free advice from the experts at The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable and more! If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing you can see Ashley speak on May 17 at the influenceTHIS conference in Toronto.
Pressboard: Tell us more about your role and the background that led you to influencer marketing?
Ashley: As the Director of Integrated Marketing for Kin Community Canada, I lead the company’s sales and client-marketing operations. I helped lead the launch of Kin in Canada in 2014 and have since worked with dozens of Fortune 500 companies with my team. Working with these brands, the team develops plans that leverage the voices of Kin Community’s influential creators, the power of content storytelling, and strategic media amplification to drive success for brands.
I also work closely with Corus Entertainment – Kin Community’s media partner in Canada – to ideate and implement highly successful multi-platform brand solutions spanning both digital and broadcast. In the past two years, Kin Community and Corus have co-executed over 50 successful campaigns, receiving a MIA nomination for McCain in 2015, and winning the DigiAward for Best Multi-Platform Strategy for Motrin in 2016. Media In Canada also named Motrin one of the top 10 best-branded content strategies of 2016. Prior to Kin Community, I held positions at Corus Entertainment, first in TV media sales for W Network, and then as a project manager leading the creation and execution of broadcast and digital client campaigns.
Pressboard: What are some of the most important criteria to use when evaluating which influencers or personalities to use?
Ashley: We ask all of the following questions when evaluating which influencers to use for a campaign:
What is the demo of the audience that the brand wants to connect to? What would be the best strategy for engaging that audience?
What is the brand trying to achieve? What are the KPIS, and who would be effective in achieving that?
Does this creator share the same values as the brand? Does this creator make sense for this brand?
Does this creator already use, or like the product in mind? It is imperative that it is a product they would use or endorse without payment.
What are the platforms that are important for the brand and what are the goals for the content? Does that make sense for the creator’s platforms/content? Will this feel organic?
Will the collaboration of the product and the creator produce content that will provide value to the audience?
What type of content performs well for the creator, and will this work for the campaign?
Is there an opportunity to take the creators off platform to support the message (i.e pre-roll), and does that make sense?
What is the budget? If the creator isn’t large, but they make a lot of sense as a brand fit, do we have dollars to support with media?
How do you typically charge for influencer programs?
We look at a combination of factors. We typically start with a base rate for the production because there is a significant investment in time, creativity, and resources to create a successful campaign, specifically if there is video production. We then would scale the rate based on the reach of the creator. This base rate would cover the costs for:
Our production team, which is the client lead, project manager/producer, creator(s) fees (taking into consideration their time for production and access to their platforms to leverage their credibility and likeness) and depending on scope of campaign a coordinator
Shooting and editing
Rounds of revisions- we have kick off calls, often weekly check ins, and pre-pros before we shoot
Legal for contracts to protect all parties
All of the technical requirements- posting, tagging for SEO etc
Monitoring of the campaign and a full post report to evaluate the metrics and learning’s of the campaig
We then look at other factors to determine additional costs:
How will the assets be used? If they are being used outside of the platform as a brand asset or as media, we look at the licensing costs for that
How many assets are being created? We look for efficiencies of scale depending on scope.
What platforms are being included
Is the integration subtle, or is it a deeper brand integration/partnership
Exclusivity and the opportunity costs that presents
The size of the social reach is taken into the equation. After base line costs are taken into account to cover the resources for production we then evaluate number of subscribers, average views and engagement, and it is a sliding scale depending on the added reach the person provides.
Do you use paid media to amplify your influencer campaigns ?
Almost always. It is important that the assets you are creating will translate to an impactful media buy, so we keep that in mind from a storytelling perspective in order to ensure the assets perform (i.e on YouYube you should have a hook, on Facebook the content should be largely visual and any VO needs captions etc). We have an in-house media team, and always recommend including media as part of the proposal to maximize the value of the assets. Canada is a relatively small country; so in order to guarantee reach we do normally recommend to include at least a small media buy to amplify.
It is also important to ensure you are accounting for licensing fees to the creator that are fair. As soon as you are leveraging the creator’s likeness as an ad, it takes it from organic placement in situation, to a media strategy, and it’s important to compensate for that.
Kin Community Canada creators, Edgy Veg, created this video in partnership with McCain
What would you say is the ratio between money spent on creative and money spent on paid media to amplify the creative ?
The question of the ratio to creative vs. media is an interesting one, because prior to this type of marketing, all production was done in isolation and then you needed to run media in order for anyone to see the assets. Now you pay for production and you have the added value of reach and engagement before you even consider media, which is incredible. Therefore I don’t think a standard ratio always applies, since it depends on the campaign and creator, and how many components is part of the campaign. As a baseline though, we often aim for a budget between 10-30% of the total budget.
How do you typically measure for influencer programs?
All of the above in addition to:
Positivity ratio (likes to dislikes)
View Rate (for media)
Can you tell us about one of your favourite influencer marketing campaigns that you’ve worked on?
McCain’s #Modifry, created with Corus Entertainment, was our first campaign where we leveraged content creators on their platform, and utilized footage to create a TV contest spot driving to a custom microsite for people to engage with. It was highly successful, and created a case study of what could be possible when utilizing both YouTube creators and TV.
The creator’s YouTube videos
The creators posted videos on their personal YouTube channels and promoted the campaign across their social networks to showcase how to #Modifry appetizers, snacks, and main dishes and inspire followers to create their own #Modifry. The creators each called out the other Kin Community YouTube creators involved in the collaboration driving their audience to check out the other videos in the Kin Community Playlist.
The creators were also featured in a :30s TV commercial, driving users to a #Modifry McCain® microsite, which hosted their videos allowing visitors to browse and watch all of the #Modifry recipe videos. Visitors were also encouraged to enter an online contest to win $5000 towards a kitchen makeover.
Contest microsite received 43,000 unique visitors and over 58,000 contest entries.
Average click through rate was an impressive 2.9%, more than double the industry average.
McCain reported an increase in sales for this time period
The TV commercial created from the creators’ videos
Can you give us an example of a great influencer marketing campaign that you didn’t work on?
Emily Henderson and HBO. Emily Henderson is a well-known Interior Designer and blogger with a huge following on social media. In general, her brand partnerships are not-surprisingly home and decor related-think paint companies, furniture stores, and magazines. However, earlier this year she partnered with HBO to promote their new mini series, Big Little Lies. For the collab, Emily created a series of short videos on her Instagram, with styling tips to create the ultimate rooms in your home based on themes and spaces from the book turned miniseries. I thought this was a clever campaign because pairing a TV miniseries with an interior designer may seem unconventional, but when you consider Emily’s audience it actually perfectly aligns with the show’s target demo. In the end, the content was interesting and engaging, and it enticed me (and likely many of her other followers) to tune into the show!
A post shared by Emily Henderson (@em_henderson) on
What is the most important thing to think about when working with influencers and brands?
The most important thing is remembering that to be successful, this needs to be a collaboration of brands (the creators brand and the advertiser’s brand). All parties are important in that equation and it’s important there is a level of trust for success.
The goal for all creator campaigns should be effective storytelling to engage an audience. Content needs to be interesting, and it’s important to use the campaign priorities and KPIs as a guide when creating that impactful story, but to ensure that you are remembering the platform, remembering the audience, and at the end of the day providing value. You can’t create content by putting the brand first, you need to create content that puts your audience interests first. By creating a leaned in experience that provides something that is creative, that is useful, that is funny, that is engaging, or that is interesting, this will be more impactful in positioning and connecting with your audience. We have seen this is actually more effective in increasing sales than if the first priority is to sell.
The other point to seriously consider, is how important is exclusivity? We sometimes hear from brands that they would like exclusivity for a period of time during and after a campaign launches. While we are always open to this conversation, one thing that we ask brands to keep in mind is that creators are trusted sources in their area of expertise-whether that be parenting, fashion, DIY or any other verticals. If you opened a fashion magazine and the editor only spoke about one brand, you would question that editor’s credentials, and wonder whether they were actually curating the best of the best. For the same reason, when working with creators, we remind brands to consider that these creators are experts in their field, and that it’s important for them to speak to varying brands on their platforms, which helps to prove their authenticity and credentials with their audience. It is a different world, where these people are no longer traditional talent; they are their own mediums now. Brands should get out of the mindset that that they need to “own” people, and value that the right people are positioning their brand in the right place, in front of the right audience.
Pressboard would like to thanks Ashley Riske and Kin Community Canada for taking the time to speak with us and contributing to the updated version of The Epic Guide to Content Marketing. If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing you can see her speak on May 17 at the influenceTHIS conference in Toronto.