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

Social Media Influencer Marketing Planning Template

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.

You don’t a high-profile 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 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.

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A Content Audit Template For All Digital Marketing Communications and Why You Should Use It.

If you search “content audit” most of the blog posts, articles, and templates, you find focus on auditing a website. This is valuable but in creating a broader digital marketing strategy a content audit of all digital marketing communications is necessary.

Rob Stokes in eMarketing defines a content audit as “an audit of all the existing content supplied by the brand.” This includes types of content on the website but also content created for and distributed through other digital marketing channels.

Why perform a content audit?

A content audit enables you to access each piece or type of content against the strategy of the brand, its target audience’s needs, and the fit with the channel. Website content audits focus on capturing every page. In this broader content audit you want an overview of the main types and channels of content looking for gaps in strategy.

Before performing a content audit, I recommend you first complete a customer journey map. Your digital marketing communications audit will be much more useful if you first understand your target audience’s digital buyer’s journey. I have written a separate post on how to map a buyer’s journey including a Customer Journey Map Template.

Why understand the buyer’s journey?

A customer journey map helps you understand how a prospective customer goes from awareness of a need to purchase your product or service. The path to purchase includes many pieces and types of communication and digital channels that influence decisions to proceed toward your product, service, organization, or toward a competitor or alternative.

People look for different content in each stage of a buyer’s journey. It begins with awareness and consideration and then purchase. The journey continues after purchase with loyalty and advocacy. Having a solid understanding of your target audience with a buyer persona can better prepare you to create a buyer journey map. I recommend Xtensio’s User Persona Template.

How to perform a content audit.

Search and discover what type of content your brand or your client’s brand currently has and what digital channels are used to distribute it. With an understanding of the customer’s path to purchase and/or target audiences’ path to use you can compare what you found in searching for brand content.

Examples of content to include in a content audit:
Websites Social media sites Ratings/reviews
Website pages Email newsletter Games
Articles Tools/Calculators Corp./employee blog
Podcasts Mobile apps Celebrity/influencer
Short/Long video Reports/guides Behind the scenes
Live video Case studies Q&A/FAQ
Demonstrations Testimonials Promotions

Organize with a content audit template.

Using the template below create a table or spreadsheet and list the channel, any significant content on the website and other channels like specific social media sites. Next, describe the content and content type. The categories of entertain, inspire, educate, and convince come from Dave Chaffey’s Content Marketing Matrix. Then indicate which stage that content may be viewed, listened to, or read during the buyer’s journey. Remember that one piece of content could be accessed in multiple stages.

Click on image to download a PDF template of the Digital Marketing Content Audit.

Make content recommendations.

In the last two columns determine fit and make recommendations. Does the content fit the brand positioning and message? Does it fit what the audience is looking for? Does the type of content fit the platform? Determine if there are gaps in what the customer is looking for in each buyer’s journey stage and channel and what the brand is creating. There may be a mismatch in message or a missing channel in owned and paid media.

The goal of the content audit isn’t to detail every page and post. It serves a broader strategic purpose. The goal is to highlight existing content types and channels to evaluate appropriateness in supporting a current or new strategic direction and discover gaps in what is sought and what is provided. Then you can determine what content is on strategy, what needs to change, what needs to be removed, and what needs to be added to meet strategic objectives.

If you’re looking to focus on social media only, I have also created a focused audit process for this Social Media Audit Template.

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