Even the best-run influencer campaigns can hit costly snags. Influencers are human beings, after all, and in the bustle of a live campaign, it’s best to have a little wiggle room in your budget for last-minute needs. Easier said than done, you may be thinking, and you’re right: influencer campaigns can go over budget like any other. But with the right tools and thoughtful preparation, they can also be run highly efficiently.
We put together five proven strategies for maximizing your budget—and helping your influencers make the greatest possible impact.
Invest in tech with robust workflow capabilities
Manual processes are the ball-and-chain of any campaign. From proposals to contracts to content approvals, campaign workflow is the number-one pain point in influencer marketing.
Beyond being tiresome, inefficient workflows are also costly. When time and resources are eaten up by spreadsheet creation and version control, campaign budgets bloat with extra hours. This leaves less money for realizing the influencer’s vision and hinders the overall profitability of the campaign.
Eliminating time-consuming manual processes is simpler than it may seem, because technology is finally catching up to campaign managers’ needs—and going far beyond the Discovery phase. Today, you can find efficiencies along the entire workflow by hiring a tech partner with deep experience and comprehensive automated solutions tailored for influencer marketing.
As just one example, consider how much time automation could save your team in just the influencer approvals phase. Instead of asking an Account Executive to spend two business days putting together a deck, double-checking her numbers, and doing multiple rounds of revisions, she could instead browse influencer options from a digital collection and add her picks to a campaign folder with a few clicks. Using the same tool, internal stakeholders (like a supervisor) can then approve her picks; the selected individuals advance into a client-facing folder; the client reviews all the important profile details and approve, deny, or provide feedback on the options. No deck edits required.
Establish strong processes with legal
As with any campaign, the contracts associated with influencer marketing can create a monumental bottleneck in your workflow—unless you have clear processes and expectations in place ahead of time. A strong and buttoned-up framework for legal approvals will save you time and money (and headaches!) in the redlining phase.
Whether you’re working with in-house counsel or a partner firm, your team can pitch in on answering questions and managing client expectations in order to save time and streamline communications. To that end, make sure your team becomes familiar with the business terms and common sticking points in influencer contracts. Only ask the legal team questions that you really cannot answer yourself.
Establishing clear processes for legal approvals will not only earn you the gratitude of the lawyers you work with, it will also elevate your team members’ skill sets and preserve more of your budget for the execution of great influencer content.
Productize a few objective-based campaigns
On occasion, you may encounter a client who needs a fully custom campaign to achieve totally unique goals. But that is the exception to the rule. For the most part, campaign objectives fall into a few predictable categories: increased awareness, audience growth, engagement, and the like. Given that fact, why should your team start from scratch for every new client looking for help with promoting a product launch?
It is highly advisable to productize several structured, objective-based campaign frameworks. First, because packaging campaign options in this way saves immense time and resources. Your team needs only to select the framework or frameworks that they feel fit the client ask, then fill in the details. Second, a productized campaign takes the pressure off the clients, by making it easy for them to grasp the ins and outs of the strategy and feel confident that the framework has worked in the past. Furthermore, by avoiding deep customization, you remove unknown factors from the campaign, factors that can hinder efficiency and eat up budget.
Productized, objective-based campaign offerings should be formulaic when it comes to defining success—and achieving it. Once you’ve developed your key frameworks, be sure that you have a training program in place so that current and future team members can sell these offerings with confidence in their clarity and cost-effectiveness.
Automate campaign reporting
Reporting represents one of the most clear-cut examples of a process that begs to be automated, and which can make a huge difference in the efficiency of your campaign workflow. At this point in time, there is no reason that any employee should be manually creating reporting decks. Putting together custom reports for different clients is time-consuming and creates far too much opportunity for human error.
As step one in your efforts to design a more efficient workflow for influencer marketing campaigns, invest in a technology platform that automates reporting as much as possible. The time, mental energy, and resources that you save will far outweigh the cost of the tech.
Introduce a training program for incoming employees
Influencer marketing strategists wear many hats. The best ones can shape-shift between roles like negotiator, account manager, analyst, and handler without skipping a beat. By putting training programs in place for new hires, you’ll accelerate their development and abilities—which will then make every campaign more efficient and profitable.
A smart way to approach the creation of the training program is to ask the best strategists on your team to develop it themselves. This way, the most effective employee processes become ubiquitous across the team. Training programs should absolutely include discovery, budget management, content approvals, pacing, reporting, and negotiation. That last point, in particular, deserves special attention: negotiation sets the tone for the rest of the campaign. When strategists can feel confident in the deals they strike, they’ll feel in control of the campaign as a whole.
The most efficient campaigns are those that require the least number of people in the driver’s seat. By grooming new hires to excel in multiple areas of the strategist role, you’ll set them up to steer campaigns to success while maximizing profitability.
Efficiency in influencer marketing campaigns is achievable, no matter the scale. So whether you’re activating two Instagram influencers or two thousand, focus on the above five strategies to streamline your processes and nip issues in the bud, and you’ll find success.