Influencer marketing is important year round, but as with most retail marketing methods, it takes a busy turn as brands gear up for the holidays. Because of this, it presents some unique challenges and forms of preparation. Here are a few of our best tips for planning an influencer marketing campaign during the holidays.
1. Focus on certain types of products.
Your brand should be focusing on gifting products during this time of year (starting in October/November). For example, if you are a skin-care company, you should probably focus on gift-sets, rather than your anti-aging serums, because most people aren't going to buy an anti-aging serum as a gift. If you are a company that does not have gift-type products, then you can put your energy into capitalizing on Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.
2. Planning is key.
I don't find that holiday campaigns are that different from typical campaigns, there is just less room for error. This is why you need to set realistic goals and start planning early. Make a list of influencers you want to target. If you are targeting influencers on Instagram here is a pro-tip: use the Instagram "save" feature, to keep track of influencers that you want to pitch. Finding the right influencers can take time so saving them as you come across them will save you time in the long run. Check out our blog on how to start influencer marketing for more planning tips!
In addition, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared on the physical end before you launch your influencer campaign. For example, if you’re promoting a huge Black Friday sale, you’ll want to have plenty of inventory on hand to account for an uptick in sales. Your website should also be up to date to streamline the buying process for all new customers and repeat buyers. Keep in mind, if you want influencers to help promote your brand’s Black Friday specials, you should get those gears in motion a few months early so they can post in time for your promo’s launch.
3. Reach out to the influencers early.
You should start your influencer outreach in October/early November for the holidays (the earlier the better!). This gives you time to negotiate with the influencers you want to collaborate with and get them your products. Remember that many people start their holiday shopping in November, and getting influencers to start posting in November will also give you content that you can promote in December.
4. Understand how to calculate influencer marketing ROI.
Remember that tracking the success of influencer campaigns can be challenging. There are many benefits that you need to take into consideration outside of direct ROI, especially around the holidays. That's why you need to make sure that your influencer marketing campaign ties in with other campaigns that you are running (social, paid search, promotions). Check out our blog to learn about the different forms of influencer marketing ROI.
5. Keep it simple.
Because there will be an influx of brands reaching out to the influencers you need to make sure that you create a clear plan and clear requirements for the influencers. Influencers will be pitched with tons of brands, so the simpler your campaign - the better. Put together clear requirements for the influencers when you pitch them. If you are not clear what you want from the influencers and what you will provide them in exchange, many will not respond. Although this is important for influencer marketing collaborations all year, it is especially true during the holidays because they are getting so many pitches.
6. Include a promotion.
Tie your influencer campaigns to your Black Friday and other holiday promotions by providing influencers with a coupon code to share with their followers (and make sure you require them to mention the coupon code or promotion when they post). This can help improve your tracking and campaign insights. When creating your influencer promo, be sure to add some exclusivity. If you’re already running a 20% off campaign on your website, make your influencer promo code slightly different, for example: 20% off + a surprise gift. This makes it more exciting to share with their followers and feels more exclusive than your other sales. I also find that if you give a deadline for the promotion it creates more of a sense of urgency, which drives more conversions. For example, "you can get free shipping on all orders through the end of the month," or "Use coupon code HOLIDAY for 20% off through December 15th."
7. Make it part of a multi-channel marketing approach.
If you have never done an influencer marketing campaign in the past, make sure you manage your expectations if you are going to try it out for the holidays. I would say the main misconception I see is business owners thinking that if they just do influencer outreach that they will get customers and ROI instantly. Influencer marketing should be one part of your full marketing strategy, and you should be doing many things in conjunction with your campaign to make it successful, for example:
- Making sure to have updated social accounts, with all current promotions listed.
- Engage with the influencers and their followers as they comment and answer any questions they have.
- Reposting and promoting the influencers content (with their permission). They created the awesome content so now you need to make sure lots of people see it!
- Triple check your website and ecommerce check-out process to ensure there are no issues, especially on mobile.
- Set up retargeting campaigns so that if people go to your website and leave they will still see ads that remind them of your brand and products.
8. Calculate the cost of running a successful campaign.
As with all forms of marketing, budget will, and should, vary depending on your goals and company resources. If you are planning to do influencer marketing in-house, remember that on top of monetary budget it is also going to take a lot of time. I find that most companies run out of time before they run out of budget, which is why you may want to consider outsourcing to a company that specializes in influencer marketing (like Statusphere). It is hard to give an exact budget without knowing more about the company. I have worked with companies that have $1,000 – 6 figure influencer marketing budgets.
One thing we focus on at Statusphere is collaborating with micro-influencers. Although these influencers have smaller followings, they actually can have up to 4x the engagement rate of the larger influencers. You can read more about them here.
Need help incorporating influencers into your holiday marketing? Click here to chat with one of our influencer marketing specialists.
Last updated August 2, 2021.