How to Run a Powerful Influencer Marketing Campaign

Tourism marketers are really great at planning itineraries for influencers, but fall short on fully leveraging the impact of an influencer marketing campaign. This blog will cover everything tourism marketers want to know – from picking the influencer, to maximizing their visit, and measuring success.

Tips for Picking Your Influencer

Many Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) hire outside agencies that specialize in pairing influencers with brands. Even if you have an agency who is working on your influencer marketing, still take the time to evaluate the influencers before pulling the trigger. Here are some things you can evaluate.

Check the quality of their followers.

Did you know it is extremely easy to buy followers on Instagram? This is far from a best practice as it creates an unauthentic audience, which is most likely riddled with fake accounts. That is why it is worth it to do a simple quality inspection of their followers. Also, check out the influencer’s use of hashtags. Avoid accounts that use spammy hashtags such as #follow4follow and #f4f. Another great way to legitimize your influencer is to read the comments on their photos. Do they seem authentic? Does the influencer engage with the comments? Taking a few minutes to look over these aspects of your influencer’s account could help you avoid an ineffective experience!

Check out all of their channels to get a scope of their impact.

We immediately think of Instagram when we talk about influencers. However, evaluate if your influencer has a meaningful presence on different networks such as Twitter, YouTube, and now – IGTV!

Make sure their brand and your brand mesh.

If you are a family-centric destination, you can probably skip out on the influencers who are ethereal fashion-driven Instagram princesses. There are tons of different types of influencers, so take the time to find the right fit. Select an influencer who is similar to your ideal visitor, or matches a specific niche (for example, if you are a craft beer destination, try to team up with a craft beer influencer). This will help the influencer tell YOUR story, and encourage similar people to visit.

Review content from other places they have visited.

If this influencer is on your radar, chances are they have visited other destinations. Take a look at the content they have created in the past. Find things you like about their channels, which will help with future conversations with the influencer. You can also email the marketing team at other destinations that hosted the influencer. Ask them about their experience to make sure they were timely, easy to work with, and dependable!

Do more research!

Take a look at examples of influencer marketing campaigns, and read a few articles to get some creative ideas for your campaign. Here are some great articles and examples with more helpful tips and examples of influencers in tourism.

Don’t Run an Influencer Marketing Campaign if…

If you are thinking of running an influencer campaign, make sure you are ready to take on the challenge! Influencers are not “quick fixes” and their content should be leveraged to its full advantage. Here are some reasons to not run an influencer marketing campaign.

You don’t have a solid, thorough social media plan

Marketers love to chase shiny objects. We like all of the hot, new tactics and trends. However, make sure we have a solid base before embarking on influencer marketing. Do you have a thoughtful blog strategy? Do you have a handle on Twitter? Are you leveraging paid tools on Facebook to their full advantage? If not, consider getting the basics under control before moving onto the next level!

You feel you can tell the same story with the on-staff talent

Make sure this influencer brings something to the table other than their followers and “reach”. You may have some un-tapped talent on your marketing team that could be leveraged before considering an influencer. If the influencer has a unique perspective and/or impeccable content creation skills – they may be worth your time and dollars!

You don’t have clear, written, agreed upon expectations between yourself and the influencer

Many marketers are left feeling frustrated and taken advantage of by influencers. The best way to avoid this is by clearly stating your expectations in a written and signed document.

You and the influencer do not see eye-to-eye on content usage

This is the biggest missed opportunity for DMOs and influencer marketing. What are you getting out of this partnership other than a few tags on their posts? Make sure you get content out of the deal (including photos, videos, blogs, and social media posts). Be sure to feature the influencer on your channels or have them do a takeover. This will ensure you are not paying a pretty penny to help someone grow their personal social media followers. Have the influencer populate content on your channels, and encourage them to engage with comments and followers.

Ways You Can Maximize An Influencer’s Visit

If you are ready to bring an influencer to your destination, be sure to have a plan.

Before their visit

    • Make sure they have links to key landing pages: You can take this one step further by including campaign codes in the links you share with the influencer. This will allow you to track the exact amount of traffic they drive to your website.
    • Make sure they have all of your social media handles and hashtags: Have the influencer use your hashtag aggressively during their visit! If the influencer is not participating in a takeover on your channels, let them know you would like them to tag your account in all of their posts photos.
    • Plan an Instagram-worthy itinerary: Send them somewhere beautiful. Send them somewhere iconic. Send them to the places that make you special.
    • Establish rights to their content: Whether the influencer is conducting a takeover, or posting on their own channels – make sure you have access rights to the content. Be sure you can include any images or videos on your website, blogs, social channels, and print materials.

During their visit

    • Go live: You can have the influencer go live by themselves, or you can find someone to interview them. Just be sure to find folks who are comfortable and engaging on camera!
    • Create Instagram Stories: Now it is so easy to add other IG user’s posts to your Stories. If the influencer is not using your channels, this is an extremely easy way to feature their content!
    • Engage their followers: Comment on their posts, answer questions, and maybe even follow some of the people who seem really interested in your destination!
    • Make the influencer feel at home: Give them swag, show them around (but also let them explore on their own), and introduce them to key members of the community who are passionate about telling the story of your destination.

After their visit

    • Write at least one blog about their visit: Include social embeds of their content, and add some dollars to promote the post!
    • Make gifs out of the videos they create: It is so easy to make gifs out of YouTube videos, if your influencer is making videos on their visit.
    • Make a UGC gallery of their visit: Put those UGC aggregators (like Crowdriff and Chute) to use! Add these galleries to key landing pages and blogs.

Track Success

It is easy to anecdotally classify an influencer’s visit as a success or not. Be more strategic with your analysis, and gather data to determine the impact of the influencer. Take a look at your analytics based on the time the influencer was driving traffic to your channels and website. Compare the data year over year to see if they helped move the needle.

Here’s a list of items you could measure to track success:

    • Web visits
    • New followers
    • Profile impressions (on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)
    • Social engagements on influencer-related content

Overall, influencer marketing campaigns can add a new twist to your destination. They can help you reach different audiences, and produce amazing content! Just be sure to maximize the entirety of their visit, track success, and produce awesome content.

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