Trying to reach Gen Z and millennials? Well, it’s time to talk influencer marketing. Afterall, Gen Z is 40% more likely to follow actors than brands they like on social media and are more susceptible to a brand recommendation from an influencer they follow. Similarly, according to Forbes, millennials hate ads but 58% of them will listen to ads from their favorite influencers.

Whether your brand chooses to work with a macro or micro influencer to reach critical millennial and Gen Z audiences, it’s imperative to engage with influencers. Because if you’re not doing it, your competitors probably are. According to Meltwater, in 2017, 86% of marketers used social influencers and 92% found it effective.

If you decide an influencer campaign is right for your brand, you may not be sure what it entails or even where to start. If so, here’s some helpful tips:

  1. Set Your Goals: At Padilla, we always start any campaign with a clear set of goals to measure against. Because you can’t measure success unless you know what you’re trying to achieve. Start with the business goal. Are you trying to break into a new market? Increase sales? Acquire new customers? Then you can set key performance indicators (KPIs) that clearly define success (i.e., 100K impressions, 10% increase in sales, 1,000 click throughs). Just remember: Always make your goals and KPIs realistic for your brand.
  2. Identify Your Audience and Influencers: Now, you’ll need to decide who your target audience is, because that will be especially important in identifying the influencer(s) your brand works with. For example, is your target audience Gen Z and millennial women? Likely, you will need an influencer active on Instagram. This will then help you identify the influencers you want to work with. You may already have someone in mind. But if you’re unsure of who might be the right fit, you can use a tool such as Meltwater or Tagger. They have databases of thousands of influencers that you can filter down based on demographics, audiences, followers and more.
  3. Look for Red Flags: Once you’ve selected the influencer(s) your brand wants to work with, thoroughly vet them. Make sure they don’t have any red flags that you wouldn’t want to align with your brand. Play the role of a private investigator. Scour their news history for anything from major scandals to small slip-ups. Go back years into their social media posts. Scrutinize followers and make sure they’re authentic, not bots. In short, leave no stone unturned.
  4. Negotiate: Be ready to negotiate with the influencer like you would any business partner. If you’re asking for a custom video, know that it’s going to cost more than a static post. If you tack on Instagram stories, that’s going to be another fee. Generally, influencers are going to counter offer, so plan to offer a little less than what you’ve budgeted to pay them. This will give you a bit of wiggle room. Also, make sure that all requirements, including deadlines and creative pieces, are defined upfront. Finally, ethics and transparency should be important to both your brand and your influencer. So, it’s very important that the influencer follows FTC guidelines and includes “#ad” or “#sponsored” in their post.
  5. Provide Brand Messaging: Equipping your influencer with key messaging can help make sure they align their posts with your communications goals. However, allow them to use the messaging to guide their posts rather than demanding that they use your messaging verbatim. The best influencers are authentic, so the messaging needs to sound like it’s coming from them.
  6. Align Your Execution: In addition to synchronizing messaging with your influencer, you also need to be aligned on timing. Specifically, when they will post for the campaign. A kick off call is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page, and a content calendar can be very helpful for keeping everything in order, especially if you’re working with multiple influencers in this campaign.
  7. Measure Your Success: Since you set goals and KPIs, you know how to measure your success. You’ll be able to clearly measure how your influencer campaign performed against your KPIs, and hopefully you’ll see strong results!

So how will your brand ensure a successful influencer campaign? Have clear goals to measure against. Plan ahead. Have a target audience and choose influencers who will reach that audience. And of course, provide the tools to ensure your campaign is executed properly.