Influencer Marketing Has Grown And So Has Its Strategies. Use This Social Media Influencer Planning Template To Grow Yours.

Influencer marketing is a growing part of social media strategy with 64% of marketers using influencer marketing. This is expected to grow to 86% by 2025. Influencer marketing focuses on leveraging key leaders to advocate on behalf of a brand to reach the larger market.

Influencers can be people with a large social following in specific areas of interest or industries or they can be celebrities such as sports stars, musicians, or Hollywood actors. Influencer marketing has grown beyond experimentation and is now a significant part of social media strategies. Planing for the right influencer marketing strategy is more important than ever.

Influencer marketing has grown more complicated over the years.
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Why and How Brands are Investing in Influencers.

Edelman’s Trust Barometer reveals that 63% of consumers trust what influencers say about brands more than they trust the brands themselves. Nearly 35% of social media users ages 16-34 say they’re very or extremely likely to purchase something because their favorite influencer and another 46% are somewhat likely to do so. The leading goals of influencer marketing include sales (38%), brand awareness (29%), and brand Engagement(24%).

Influencer marketing is big yet you don’t a big celebrity to succeed. Only 18% of people say they’re attracted to influencers for their larger following. Relatability is nearly twice as important as popularity as a quality that attracts people to influencers. Micro influencer marketing is when brands partner with people who have smaller followings on social media to promote products in an authentic way versus sponsored ads. Micro-influencers have fewer followers, but they have highly engaged audiences.

To put together an effective influencer marketing program:

  1. Identify your objective. Are you trying to increase sales, awareness, or engagement?
  2. Identify your target audience or audiences, as that will determine your influencers.
  3. List the social platforms on which your target audiences are most active.
  4. List the message you want to convey or the interest area you want to influence.
  5. Identify influencers active on those social platforms discussing those interest areas.
  6. Decide the type from a brand-run program, influencer network, or influencer agency.

To create an influencer marketing campaign, leverage existing sponsorship deals with influencers, find influencers and negotiate a campaign, or use an influencer marketing network or agency. Influencer marketing tools can be used to find influencers and brand advocates.

The way you plan and purchase influencer marketing is different than other social media advertising. Use the social media influencer planning template below to select, schedule, and track your influencer strategy.

(Click on the template image to download a PDF)

Social Media Influencer Marketing Planning Template

Consider the Type of Influencer and Type of Program.

Are you looking for a celebrity (famous in traditional media), a social media star (known for or because of social media), or a thought leader (known for industry knowledge)? Celebrities have a lot of advantages, including their mass reach and appeal. Yet film, music, or sports celebrities can be expensive, and people may question the authenticity of their endorsements.

Social media stars may have fewer followers, but those followers could be more engaged, and endorsements could be seen as more believable. Thought leaders are a good choice for certain product or service categories in B2B. A mention or recommendation by an industry leader can carry a lot of weight.

Influencers are categorized by follower numbers into three categories of mega, macro, and micro. Also consider the type of influencer program that is right for the brand, budget, and resources. Some brands choose to build and manage their own influencer program. Some use an Influencer network that streamlines finding and paying influencers for fees. Others hire an influencer agency to provide full-service management of their influencer marketing. Types of influencers and types of influencer programs are summarized below.

Different Strategies and Budgets Require Different Types of Influencers.

Types of Influencers Types of Influencer Programs
Mega-Influencers More than 1 million followers Brand Influencer Program Company managed program
Macro-Influencers 100K-1M followers Influencer Network A platform that streamlines the process
Micro-Influencers 1K to 1M followers Influencer Agency Full service managed

It may be tempting to only go for the mega or macro-influencers because of their massive reach, but micro-influencers are often more effective. Adweek reports micro-influencer engagement can be 60% higher, their buys are 6.7 times more efficient, and they can drive 22 times more conversions. More than half of the Association of National Advertisers’ brands use mid-level (66%) or micro influencers (59%) while less than half are using macro influencers (44%).

Influencer Content Type and Strategy.

Once you have your influencers, decide how content will be created and spread. You may think it is best to have the most control, but content created by the brand and merely shared could come across as not genuine. Certain influencers or influencer networks may also have their own standards for what they will or will not do.

Consider the pros and cons of influencer-shared brand content, influencer-created brand content, or product and service reviews and mentions. Get creative with influencer brand account takeovers, brand guest content contributions, or collaboration on content, or a giveaway.

There are four main influencer marketing strategies:

  1. Affiliate marketing is an advertising model that pays third-party publishers, including influencers, to generate traffic and sales via a commission.
  2. Giveaways are promotions to give away free products to drive awareness and engagement, often with influencers.
  3. Social media takeover is when a brand lets someone, typically an influencer, temporarily post content on its social media accounts.
  4. Branded content is content created by an influencer featuring a business partner.

The average price per influencer marketing post is between $2,200 and $3,000—lower for micro-influencers and higher for macro influencers. This may seem like a lot, but according to the State of Influencer Marketing report, firms average an earned media value of $5.20 per dollar spent on influencer marketing.

Average influencer rates:

  • More than 500,000 followers: $2,085 per post
  • 30,000 to 500,000 followers: $507 per post
  • 5,000 to 30,000 followers: $172 per post
  • 500 to 5,000 followers: $100 per post.

No matter which influencer campaign a brand runs, the law requires influencers to disclose their financial relationship with the brand. The Federal Trade Commission summarizes the requirements in its Social Media Influencer Guide. What type of influencer strategy is best for your business or organization?

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Social Media Spending Has Increased And Strategies Have Complicated But This Template Is Still A Simple Guide To Calculating A Social Media Budget.

Social media marketing spending is up and social media strategy is maturing. In a previous post, I explained how a Social Media Metrics Template can help track increased spending to company performance. The CMO Survey reports average spending on social media marketing is 16% of marketing budgets. Yet, there’s no guarantee you will get that amount of money for social media, and if you do how do you know what to spend it on?

A social media budget begins with breaking expenses into categories.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Few managers or clients will approve a social media strategy without knowing the cost and how that money will be spent. To estimate the cost of a social media plan I created a Social Media Marketing Budget Template in the first edition of my Social Media Strategy book that is still relevant today. It breaks down costs into five expense categories: content creation, social advertising, social engagement, software/tools, and promotions/contests.

Each category is also divided by in-house costs (to be performed by employees) and outsourced costs (to be hired out). The template also calculates the percentage of each item under categories and the percentage of each category out of the total budget to understand where the most money is being spent.

After running the plan and getting some KPI metric results, you’ll have an idea of how each category is contributing to overall success. Based on evaluation results consider adjusting budget category percentages to match contribution level.

(Click on the template image to download a PDF)Social Media Marketing Budget Template


Content Creation Is Time And Assets Used To Write And Design Posts.

Estimate the time to create content in a month. You can get an idea of how much content is needed from a content calendar. For in-house employees, divide salary into an hourly rate. For outsourced help, use their hourly rate or their cost per piece or project. Include any fixed costs such as stock photos or video production.

Social Advertising Is Paid Outsourced Costs For Reach Per Platform.

From the content calendar estimate paid posts. Calculate costs based on current rates per social platform. Most brands buy social ads with set per-day limits. Estimate spending per day, per platform, multiplied by the number of days you expect to run social ads in a month. Then include influencer marketing spending which is often negotiated with a per-post cost. Add the number of posts multiplied by each creator’s per-post rate to estimate monthly expenses.

Social Engagement Is Cost To Listen And Respond To Brand Talk Per Platform.

Live engagement can’t be planned, but you can estimate the cost based on current activity. Get an idea of the level of brand engagement needed from a Social Media Audit. Does the brand typically get hundreds or just a few dozen brand posts a day? From that estimate the hours per day needed to engage all or a percentage of those consumer brand posts. Multiply the number of hours by employee or outsourced rates.

Software/Tools Cover Costs For Social Monitoring, Scheduling, and Analytics.

This category is broken into monitoring, scheduling, and analytics. More specialized software may require additional categories such as consumer research, automation, or AI. You may need to subtract categories if your software solution covers multiple functions. Or a software solution may provide services outside social media such as Salesforce CRM. In that case, divide a percentage of the cost for the integrated system by social media–only services.

Promotions/Contests Are Costs For Prizes, Discounts, Coupons, Or Offer Codes.

Besides buying reach through social ads, many businesses build audience and engagement through special offers and contests. Estimate the costs for offering these sales promotions per campaign. You may have seasonal and holiday campaigns, new customer and event promotions and contests. Included with a monthly expense estimate.

How Do You Know If You’re Spending too Much or too Little?

Add totals per month, per line item, and per category. Then calculate a percentage for each category and category percentages for the total budget. Over time seek to balance spending in each category based on results. Investing in software tools may free up time to be spent on engagement to increase performance. Investing in automation or AI tools may free up employee/outsource costs to invest in social ads.

You can also seek insights from other social media marketers. Join social media professional groups and ask what they tend to spend on various categories. For example, one survey found that top social media costs were internal employee compensation (37%), followed by social media advertising (18%), external staff compensation (10%), and content costs (7%).

Another way to put total social media budgets into context is to compare to competitors. In a social media audit, you may notice a more successful competitor engages fans more and uses more social ads or influencers. You could recommend a similar social media strategy and your budget becomes an estimate of costs to match the competitor’s level and type of activity.

Social budgets can also be compared to industry standards by looking at typical percentages of social media spending. As we saw at the beginning of this post the latest CMO Survey reports average spending on social media marketing is 16% of marketing budgets. But this average varies based on the economic sector from B2B products (8%) to B2C products (22%). To check the latest averages, visit

Sometimes a boss or client will set a specific budget based on what they can afford or what they have left over. Then your social media plan and objectives may need to be adjusted to fit available resources.

Budgeting in social media can be complicated. However, taking a step back and calculating costs based on categories and in relation to marketing spending averages can simplify the process. If you’re budgeting against a solid social media plan tied to business, marketing, and/or communications objectives a budget with the right metrics in place can help justify ROI.

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