Like Christmas-Eve shoppers, brands often wait until the last minute to begin their holiday influencer marketing campaigns. But unlike the last minute shoppers who may strike a good deal, waiting to start your influencer marketing campaign until the last minute only reduces the amount of impact your campaign will have and limits your opportunities to repurpose content.
To ensure holiday campaign success, we’ve developed a best-practice timeline for you to follow and have highlighted each milestone throughout the process. Furthermore, through in-house interviews with our account management team and extensive qualitative research, we figured out why, exactly, the success of a campaign is so dependent on an appropriate time frame.
When Should Brands Initiate a Holiday Influencer Campaign?
While it may sound premature, brands need to contact influencer marketing agencies in September or October to maximize the results of their holiday campaigns. Don’t worry, this proactive approach doesn’t mean you’ll have influencers snapping pictures of your products in front of a Christmas tree at Halloween, but it does mean is you and your team will be better able to:
- Consider the content, context, and scope of the campaign
- Fulfill influencers’ gifts and resolve delivery issues
- Repurpose campaign content proactively
Consider the Content, Context, and Scope
At ApexDrop, we preach the value of authentic content. We do not recommend controlling every element of an influencer’s post. If brands take away creative control, authenticity is lost and the content essentially becomes an ad -- clearly not the intent of influencer marketing.
There is a considerable difference between providing guidance and suggestions (which many of our influencers actually appreciate), and dictating the fine details of each post. Expect to get a smattering of this, that, and the other, and remember: variety isn’t just the spice of life; it’s the flavor of success. Think of it like you would diversifying a stock portfolio.
In essence, you want to cast a wide net of relatability. If one photo doesn’t catch the eye of your customer, another will.
Additionally, before ramping up a campaign, brands need to consider how many and what “type” of influencer they’d like to work with. At ApexDrop we generally recommend 100 posts to start.
However, it’s critical that you take an objective look at your capacity to handle the production and fulfillment of the influencers’ gifts (and also your ability to repurpose content, but more on this later). For small organizations, thinking about shipping out 100 packages is significantly easier than actually doing it. Should you discover that 10, 25, or 50 influencers are better, that’s A-OK. Brands of all sizes can capitalize on the power of influencer marketing. Just know that it’s essential to carefully and objectively consider how thinly spread your business will be during the holiday season.
Furthermore, from fashionistas to fitness gurus, there are endless styles, personalities, and aesthetics on Instagram, and your brand may be particular about the influencers involved in the trade collaboration. While our account management team guides brands through this selection process, the more insight into your preferences, the better. These details will help ensure your campaign meets and exceeds your expectations.
Fulfill Influencers’ Gifts and Resolve Delivery Issues
During the 2018 season, ShipMatrix estimated that around 2.5 billion online deliveries were made between Thanksgiving and Christmas. While average delivery success rates are about 99%, research from Business Insider shows that during the holiday, there is a slight dip. In 2016, UPS’ and FedEx’s delivery success rates fell to 96%.All this is to say that, if you’re sending out 100 influencer gifts late into the season, then you should expect more fulfillment issues in general. Prepare for three to four packages to get lost or delivered late. Better yet, avoid fulfillment issues entirely by starting your campaign early.
But it’s not just inundated carriers that you need to consider during fulfillment; it’s “porch pirates.” According to InsuranceQuotes.com, nearly one in 10 Americans have holiday packages stolen from their front porch or doorstep. Therefore, starting a campaign earlier not only helps with deliverability, but it also leaves you with enough time to resolve those shipping problems.
Leverage Campaign Content Proactively
The content that brands receive from influencers is arguably the most valuable aspect of the entire campaign. Not only do influencers’ posts offer in-depth insights into your target audience, but the sheer quality, quantity, and variety of lifestyle images that brands receive would cost tens of thousands of dollars to replicate in-house.Moreover, when brands start repurposing content on their own social profiles and websites, the floodgates open to even deeper consumer insights. This deluge of useful data is especially apparent when brands create shoppable Instagram posts and see a return on investment (ROI) in exact dollars and monitor Google Analytics for precise website referrer traffic.
Speaking of ROI, remember to include the value of high-quality, professional-grade, reusable photography to which you gain access. As a baseline, the industry standard is $100 per post. While at first glance that may seem steep, consider this: a photographer often charges between $100-$150 an hour and an up-and-coming model charges around $20 an hour. Plus, it would likely take days, if not weeks, to find the right model (or models) and scout locations.
However, it’s more than the expense of production that is a disadvantage of creating content in-house. You’ll also miss out of the brand awareness and trust that influencers bring to the table.
The point is, content is a valuable asset, and you should use it as such. We know the holiday season gets busy for brands and influencers alike. But if you’re part of a marketing team, you need to have someone ready to repurpose, reshare, and Regram content as it’s coming out.
Knowing full well you’ll have to tend to a significant increase in customer needs, brands should consider hiring or dedicating someone to be the point person for social media and influencer touch point. A lot of brands make the mistake of taking off around the holidays without assigning anyone to monitor influencer posts, then they come back the day after Christmas to a Dropbox full of images that they can’t use.
With such a short holiday window, brands have a matter of mere weeks to utilize the content optimally. The turnarounds are quick. Are you ready?
Contact ApexDrop Today
Our team at ApexDrop sorts, curates, and analyzes each post and then trains brands on how to leverage content. However, it’s ultimately up to the brand to decide how they’ll utilize their media and how much time they’ll have to do so.Our best advice is this: if you’re interested in engaging in an influencer marketing campaign this holiday, start early and give yourself time to leverage the incredible content that your influencers have created. If you’d like to learn more about our ramp-up process, hear about the brands we’ve worked with and the incredible success they’ve had, schedule a call today.