How to Run a Powerful Influencer Marketing Campaign

Influencers have become quite popular for destinations and organizations to use to increase their online brand presence and expand reach. However, many tourism marketers fall short of fully leveraging an influencer marketing campaign’s impact. Some marketers may not know where to start when it comes to choosing an influencer or running an influencer marketing campaign. Continue reading to learn how to run a powerful influencer campaign. 

Tips for Picking Your Influencer

Although many Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) hire outside agencies that specialize in pairing influencers with brands, you should still take the time to evaluate the campaign before pulling the trigger. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the right influencer to showcase your destination.

1.) Check the Quality of their Followers

Did you know it is extremely easy to buy followers on Instagram? These bought followers create an inauthentic audience and are most likely riddled with fake accounts. That’s why it’s worth it to do a simple quality inspection of their followers.

Don’t forget to check 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!

2.) Make sure Your Brand Correlates with Their Profile

An important aspect in picking your influencer is to ensure that your destination’s offerings will git well within their social media profiles. For example, if you’re a family-centric destination, you can probably skip checking into the fashion-driven Instagram accounts. There are tons of different types of influencers, so take the time to find the right fit. Select an influencer similar to your ideal visitor, or that 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.

3.) Review Past Content from Other Places They’ve Visited

If this influencer is on your radar, chances are they have visited other destinations and may have even promoted them. Take a look at the content they created in the past and find the things you like about their channels. 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!

Don’t Run an Influencer Marketing Campaign if…

1.) You Don’t Have A Solid Social Media Content Calendar

As marketers, it’s important to be able to adapt to new and emerging trends quickly. However, before you integrate these new trends into your social media strategy, ensure that you have a strong, solid base first. Start by asking yourself these questions; 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!

2.) You Can Relay the Same Story With In-House Staff

Although using an influencer is the hip new trend, make sure that they can bring something unique to the table that your in-house staff cannot. You may have some untapped talent on your marketing team you could leverage 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!

3.) You and the Influencer Don’t See Eye-to-Eye on Content

As many marketers are left feeling frustrated and taken advantage of by influencers, make sure you and your chosen influencer have a clear and concise expectation of content. Ensure that you get content out of your partnership (including photos, videos, blogs, and social media posts). An easy way is 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 using campaign codes (UTM 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.
    • Ensure 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 easy to add other IG users’ 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 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

Be strategic with your analysis of your influencer campaign’s success 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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