From ambassador programs to YouTube videos and all the influencer marketing tactics in between, how do you know which campaign inclusions are right for your brand? Getting sidetracked by what’s new, trendy, or even by what has “always been done before” can steer well meaning brands away from tactics that will drive real results.
Before we dive into the tactics, remember that what sets apart one brand from the next when it comes to influencer marketing is its ability to develop quality content (e.g., articles, social media posts, videos, etc.) that drives measurable results. Otherwise, the content may or may not generate impressions or lead to ROI. Why hope a campaign will be successful when you could be deliberate and create your influencer marketing campaign from the get go with results in mind? All it takes is aligning campaign inclusions with your goals by including tactics that will drive results and that are measurable. The result? Campaigns that enjoy huge ROI by paying for themselves and then some while increasing your company’s bottom line.
11 Influencer Marketing Tactics That Generate ROI
These 11 influencer marketing campaign tactics highlight brands that are rocking travel-focused campaigns.
1. Ambassador Programs
Description: An Ambassador Program is when a brand engages one or more influencer(s) for longer term engagement (a minimum of 3 months, often longer, or for three or more assignments). The more in-depth nature of the partnership allows influencers to become more familiar with the brand’s product(s) or services, allowing their followers and/or readers to associate the influencer(s) with the brand. In this way, the influencer(s) act almost as informal spokespeople.
Primary objectives: Ambassador Programs, depending on their inclusions, can meet some or all of the following goals: Affiliate sales, awareness, creative assets (e.g. professional photographs, blog posts, etc.), eNewsletter subscriptions, engagement (e.g., comments, likes, shares, regrams/repins/retweets, and views), giveaway entries, increased social media following, loyalty program sign ups, third-party site reviews.
Example: Alamo Car Rentals
Campaign: Alamo Car Rentals ran an Ambassador Program involving several bloggers and other social media influencers. The influencers went on various vacations and were paid for their time in addition to a stipend for the trip. Because the campaign was funded by Alamo’s corporate office, giving the influencer a stipend helped the influencer go through the rental process while protecting franchisees from losing revenue by donating a rental car. Click here to read one of the articles from the campaign.
Possible results: Awareness, creative assets, engagement, increased social media following, and likely increased Alamo car rentals from the Ambassador’s followers and readers
2. Blog Tours
Description: A Blog Tour is when a group of influencers are given a topic on which to write and then publish a post sponsored by a brand. Usually, influencers are either compensated with product(s) or funds to purchase the product and/or cash. In return, influencers produce content based on a set of requirements and instructions, including inserting key messages, links, SEO keywords, and hashtags into their posts and promotional content. In the end, content is king. In other words, the content has to be quality, the photos have to be beautiful, and the action items have to be easily accessible.
Primary objectives: Blog Tours can meet some or all of the following goals: Awareness (impressions), clicks (if provided with a trackable link), giveaway entries (if applicable), SEO (searchable content that enjoys impressions over time)
Tip! Promoting blog content on major social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter is key in driving post impressions and engagement. Did you know that some people think that Google+ is dying? Think again. Google+ helps drive SEO which increases the post’s searchability. Promoting posts on Google+ increases overall impressions and key results (e.g., clicks, engagement, sales, etc.). Without views, posts don't result in anything. Google+ can help a post index faster than almost any other platform. If you have a post that is high on quality content, has solid SEO, and just needs a little search engine juice, then promote the post on Google+, get comments and plus 1s, and the promotion will dramatically increase the views.
Campaign: Featuring articles on a brand’s website by popular influencers provides value to the consumer and makes visiting the brand’s website exciting. Expedia hired influencers to write regular articles for their site, highlighting various trips and locations. Carol Cain is one such influencer who wrote for the travel site: https://viewfinder.expedia.com/author/carol-cain/.
Possible results: Awareness, creative assets, engagement, increased social media following, traffic to Expedia’s website
3. Conference Retreats / Sponsorships
Description: Whether you decide to do a room drop (drop off products in the attendees’ hotel rooms) or have a booth that displays your product(s) and/or service(s), a conference / retreat sponsorship means that your brand will present and will be seen (think logo placement in brochures and conference / retreat website) by your brand’s target consumers, possibly including key social media influencers who are in attendance and who actively share their conference / retreat experience with their blog readers and social media followers.
Primary objectives: Conference Retreat / Sponsorships, depending on their inclusions, can meet some or all of the following goals: Affiliate sales, awareness, creative assets (e.g. professional photographs, blog posts, etc.), eNewsletter subscriptions, engagement (e.g., comments, likes, shares, regrams/repins/retweets, and views), giveaway entries, increased social media following, loyalty program sign ups, third-party site reviews.
Example: Universal Orlando
Campaign: Universal Orlando Resort has been the title sponsor of the annual Family Forward retreat for social media influencers and their families 2013 to 2017. During this time, nearly 1,700 digital influencers and their families have enjoyed VIP and behind-the-scenes access to the theme parks, giving them insider tips to feature in their posts and promotional shares.
Results: During last year’s 5 fun-packed-day event alone, Universal Orlando Resort enjoyed more than 1 Billion impressions from blog posts, social shares, and reviews shared on sites like TripAdvisor. Additionally and over the past 5 years, attendees have written comprehensive travel guides, driving quality and high-ranking content on search engines. The best result? Actual sales. Family Forward attendees’ family, friends, followers, and readers have booked travel and later asked for vacation-planning help, proving the partnership a success.
4. Facebook Campaigns
Description: By sponsoring a Facebook campaign that focuses on content amplification (as opposed to a paid Facebook marketing campaign that focuses on clicks, traffic, or other conversion tactics), a few to hundreds of influencers amplify the brand’s message(s) across via their Facebook pages. Controlling the message and guaranteeing FTC-compliance are possibilities of this campaign tactic.
Primary objectives: Facebook campaigns can meet some or all of the following goals: Awareness, content amplification, and engagement (e.g., comments, likes, shares, regrams/repins/retweets, and views).
Example: Biaggi Luggage
Campaign: Rachel Grant, an influencer and travel blogger, created a few videos on how to pack a travel bag. (source) In one video, she packed 100 items in a carry-on bag using Biaggi Luggage products to fuel her success.
Result: The video resulted in 9.3 million views and an incredible amount of exposure for Biaggi Luggage. The videos gave the brand visibility on all of Rachel Grant’s social pages and led to increased social media followers. Additional possible results? Increased brand website traffic, engagement, and sales.
Click here to see the Facebook promotion and video.
5. Instagram Campaigns
Description: Instagram is all about the visuals. By working with influencers on an Instagram campaign, you can find influencers who create beautiful photos that really show off your product(s) and/or service(s). The campaign can happen over a short or long period of time.
Primary objectives: Instagram campaigns can meet some or all of the following goals: Awareness, visually appealing creative assets, engagement with a targeted demographic, increased social media following.
Tip for travel campaigns that target millennials! Instagram is one of the leading platforms for millennials. A solid 59% of all millennials actively use this photo sharing platform. (source) When considering influencer marketing campaign tactics that will resonate with this target demographic, consider Instagram to tap into the millennial generation’s need to travel and heavy Instagram usage.
Example: Alaska Airlines
Campaign: Alaska Airlines wowed followers with their Weekend Wanderer series. Each weekend, they sent a different influencer on a trip based on various Alaska Airline routes. (source) Influencers shared photos from their trip on their Instagram accounts, using the hashtag #WeekendWanderer and tagging @alaskair.
Possible results: Awareness, creative assets, engagement with a targeted demographic, increased social media following, and likely, curiosity about Alaska Airlines’ routes and fares.
Description: A live streaming campaign is any campaign that involves a live video feed. Should you do a Facebook Live? Maybe an Instagram story? What about broadcasting via Snapchat or Periscope? Your head might be spinning and filling with a lot of questions about which live streaming platform you should pick for you and/or your clients. If that’s the case, then this post will help you pick the right platform to reach your campaign’s and/or client’s goals. In the meantime, let’s look at one travel-related brand that’s getting it right.
Primary objectives: Live Broadcasting campaigns can meet some or all of the following goals: Awareness; creative assets, including edited/repurposed content; engagement; behind-the-scenes/insider information and virtual product sampling opportunities; reward or loyalty membership subscriptions, prizes, and incentives; coupon downloads; traffic; contest entries, sales, and more.
Example: Southwest Airlines
Campaign: Influencer unboxing goods sent to them by the brand via live broadcast is all the rage in influencer marketing. The unboxing both drove traffic to the site as well as reaches a new audience outside of the brand’s social media following. Southwest Airlines sent several influencers on various caribbean vacations. Each of the influencers revealed their destination via a Facebook Live video unboxing.
Result: The video unboxing tactic drove awareness for Southwest’s Caribbean expansion, creative assets, engagement, and video views.
7. Live Events
Description: Brands can take advantage of live event in a retail location, at a restaurant, at a corporate office, or at another location (e.g., like a destination location for a FAM event).
Primary objectives: Live Events can meet some of the following goals: Awareness, creative assets, enagement, product sampling (e.g., touring a destination), relationship building (getting up close and personal with influencers), social sharing, and more.
Example: South Dakota Tourism
Campaign: South Dakota Tourism is in the midst of an outstanding campaign, involving over 20 bloggers from a variety of niches and using the #MyGreatPlace hashtag. Bloggers go on a trip (a familiarization trip, or a FAM) that South Dakota Tourism pays for and plans. The bloggers then live social media report during their trip, write follow-up posts after their return, promote them via social media, and provide quality photography all highlighting certain aspects and various experiences of South Dakota.
Possible results: Awareness, creative assets, engagement, product sampling and reviews, social media shares, traffic to the South Dakota Tourism website, and hopefully, more tourists visiting South Dakota.
Description: Pinterest is an image-driven social media platform that is quickly turning into a robust search engine. A Pinterest campaign is primarily based on Pinterest through visual content that either leads clicks back to an influencer’s site or to a sponsor’s Pinterest board or website. Pinterest can be a secret weapon in the world of travel, especially when targeting women (the majority of Pinterest users by far). Pinterest is often used for its planning capability. In fact, a recent study by Millward Brown showed that 96% of its users utilized Pinterest for planning research. (source)
Primary objectives: Pinterest campaigns can meet some of the following goals: Awareness, creative assets, engagement (e.g., comments, likes, pins, and shares via repins), increased account or board following, increased search, social sharing, traffic to influencers’ or your brand’s website, and more.
Example: National Geographic
Campaign: National Geographic has an impressive Pinterest following of over 870,000. The well-known company pins content such as food, places, and sites to see but one of their boards sets them apart from many other Pinterest accounts. The board, “Daily Dozen: Your Photos,” is a collection of photos selected from their following on Pinterest and other social media accounts. (source)
Result: The brilliant tactic encourages people to follow their social pages and creates a buzz in the community around the possibility of having an image featured on such a well-known account.
9. Snapchat Campaigns
Description: In addition to traditional snaps, Snapchat stories is an important tool for influencer marketing. Influencers are able to convey quick and witty messages in short increments. Stories last 24 hours and can be viewed as many times as the viewer would like.
Primary objectives: Snapchat story campaigns can meet some or all of the following goals: Awareness, creative assets, engagement, behind-the-scenes/insider information and virtual product sampling opportunities, and more.
Tip! Here’s a fun fact: 45% of Snapchat’s users are aged 18 to 24 years old, the highest percentage for that age bracket compared to any other social network according to comScore. (source)
Example: Beautiful Destinations
Campaign: Beautiful Destinations took their Instagram photos and put them on Snapchat to build a larger story for the brand. The brand worked with other travel and lifestyle brands (such as Food and Wine Magazine, Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Shangri-La Mauritius, and Starwood’s The Luxury Collection Koh Samui) to produce content for both their Instagram and Snapchat accounts. There was no need to reinvent the brand’s strategy or content in order to hop onto Snapchat.
Result: Beautiful Destinations receives an average of 40,000 views for each snap it puts on its Snapchat channel but the company is unsure of the exact size of its Snapchat community. Why? Snapchat doesn’t tell brands their follower counts, though most brands currently on Snapchat use their average number of views as a gauge for how many followers they have. (source)
Description: Twitter Parties are an online gathering that takes place on Twitter where all of attendees are tweeting about the same topic from their personal computers or smartphones and tablets, using a common hashtag (e.g., “#gno”). Twitter newbies and veterans alike look forward to a virtual party held on Twitter where they learn the Twitter ropes, meet and follow new friends, exchange blog URLs, and discuss popular topics including everything from health and wellness, parenting, and travel.
Primary objectives: Twitter Party campaigns can meet some or all of the following goals: Awareness, creative assets, engagement, focus-group like information, giveaway entries, and trending hashtags on Twitter.
Campaign: Tripit, a travel planning company, has been using Twitter to increase engagement within their brand. Each month, the brand hosts a Twitter party using the hashtag #tripitchat. A variety of well-known travel bloggers will host the event where they share experiences and travel tips. Anyone on Twitter is invited to join in on the conversation and put in their two cents. Twitter parties such as this are very interactive and are a great way for any brand to increase engagement.
Possible results: High impressions in a short period of time, awesome engagement, giveaway entries (optional), and trending hashtags (if you’re lucky!).
Click here to read our comprehensive guide to planning Twitter Parties (eBook available for free download).
11. Video Campaigns
Description: Scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, … you name it, short videos are the biggest thing to hit social media lately. Whether people are sharing a behind-the-scenes look on their days or showing off a product they love, short videos give an influencer’s readers and followers the chance to interact and engage on a different level. Consider the following platforms when thinking about video campaigns: Facebook (videos that can be 2 or 3 minutes long), Google+ news feeds, Instagram (15-second Instavids), Instagram Stories (60-second videos), LinkedIn Professional Portfolio videos, Pinterest pins, Snapchat (10-second videos), and Twitter.
Primary objectives: Video campaigns can meet some or all of the following goals: Awareness, creative assets, engagement, giveaway entries, and views. If your brand includes trackable links, incentives, giveaways, or other offers in the video, video campaigns may also result in clicks, downloads, sign ups, subscriptions, traffic, and more, including sales.
Campaign: YouTube influencers can be a powerful social media tool who are often under-utilized. Moxy Hotels by Marriott came up with a unique campaign using YouTube stars and other influencers. “Do Not Disturb” is a series of videos where their host interviews various influencers in a Moxy Hotel room around the globe. (source)
Result: The videos are witty, entertaining, and have the feel of a late night talk show. Some of the videos have reached over 500,000 views which is great exposure for the brand.
No matter what you’re trying to achieve with your influencer marketing campaign, aligning your tactics with your goals by including offerings that will drive results and that are measurable will lead to ROI. Your campaigns will pay for themselves while increasing your company’s bottom line. Win-win!
Influencer marketing is not a one and done deal. You will need to review and modify your strategy as goals shift or at the outset of each new fiscal year. Campaigns or tactics that worked yesterday may become outdated, obsolete, or stop delivering results tomorrow. And new platforms could skyrocket in popularity overnight, making them the newest must-add-to-your-plan item. As your influencer marketing efforts ebb and flow, come back to this series and check out these posts that will take you back to the basics. Consider these tips the solid ground in an ever changing social media world. Enjoy!