Christmas is coming soon and your company decides that it is going to start its influencer marketing campaign for the jolly season. This is the first major project that your boss has put you in charge of. Everything starts out well, influencers have been selected, individuals and agencies have been contacted, contracts have been signed. All of the five influencers that you are collaborating with have even posted on time. Time to track the live statistics!
This is when you realize that things are not going as well as you have planned. You selected these influencers so carefully, making sure that they had good engagement levels and a low percentage of inactive followers. And yet their sponsored posts are not performing well–lower than the average number of likes and fewer comments than usual. Some of these comments even contain angry emojis. Thankfully, your contract with each of these influencers includes four posts over a span of the next month. You still have time to correct your errors in the next three posts and prevent your Christmas season marketing failure.
What do you do now?
I. Find Out What Your Audience Likes
In order to increase engagement, make sure you know the types of posts that your target audience likes. To do so, analyze the types of images that your influencer posts, in particular, those that have received the highest levels of engagement (a good number of likes, views and/or comments). For an example, a study conducted by Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs found that Instagram posts with human faces in them received 38% more likes and attracted 32% more comments. This could apply to your influencer as well, particularly if the influencer has gained their following because of their aesthetic qualities.
Some questions to ask when analyzing the influencers’ posts are as follows:
- Who (or what) is the main focus of the post?
- Who (or what) else features in the post?
- If people are present, what are they doing?
- Where and on what occasion was the post taken?
- What does the influencer say in the caption?
- Is this a sponsored post?
It is important also to compare these top posts against regular posts that the influencer has come up with so as to be able to accurately identify the elements that are specific to their top posts only.
In our example, we will use South Korean comedian, DJ and MC Park Myung Soo’s posts (@dj_gpark) for analysis. Take a look at his top posts below.
Notice that almost all of his top posts contain his face. An inference one might want to make then would be that in order for his posts to be successful, they have to feature his face. However, a comparison with the rest of his posts on Instagram suggest that his face makes an appearance in most of his posts, so perhaps this is not such a good inference after all.
We notice next that a large proportion of his most popular posts feature people other than himself. In the most highly ranked post, we see members from the popular boy band Wanna One. In the second post features his cameraman as he is in the middle of filming for one the shows he currently stars in: MBC’s All the World’s Broadcasts (세모방: 세상의 모든 방송). His third post features Super Junior-M’s Henry, his fourth includes one of South Korea’s most renowned MCs Yoo Jae Suk and his fifth taken with South Korean actress and businesswoman Lee Yuri.
It is safe to say then that many of Park Myung Soo’s top posts feature other popular South Korean celebrities as well. If one were to have hired Park as an influencer, one might want to consider asking him to collaborate with other celebrities in order to increase engagement during the campaign period.
II. Check Out the Best Time to Post
If your influencer’s posts are not getting the engagement that you expect them to get, perhaps they are not posting on the right day or at the right time. Since each influencer has their own group of followers, and followers have different usage patterns, it is important to get your influencer to post when their followers are most likely to see, and therefore to interact with your sponsored post.
The table above was generated using information from Park’s account from the months of May to October. We can tell from this table that Park’s posts receive the most number of likes on Thursdays, followed by Wednesdays. He also receives the largest number of likes and comments at 8 am, perhaps from office workers during their morning commute. Hence, if one were to hire Park as an influencer, one should direct him to post between 7 to 8 am on a Thursday, so as to anticipate the 8 am Instagram crowd.
In some cases where companies hire well-known influencers, it may be possible that that slot has already been taken up by a different company. One should therefore also take note of the worst time to post, so as to avoid having one’s influencer post at that day and time at all costs. For an influencer like Park, this would be 4 pm on a Sunday.
III. Use Top Hashtags Specific to Each Influencer
Different influencers use different hashtags in their posts and it is these hashtags that may help your influencer gain more likes and comments on your sponsored post. Posts tagged with a particular hashtag can be found via Instagram’s search function as long as users type it into the search bar. Have your influencer use the right hashtag and your posts will reach a wider audience than just your influencer’s followers.
Although Park uses the hashtags #dj, #edm and #gpark more frequently than he uses #wannaone or #tvn, it is the latter two hashtags that gain him more likes and comments. In Park’s case then, it seems that his participation in DJ-ing activities do not gain him as much favor as his participation in variety shows, at least on social media.
In the same way, influencers may partake or be interested in more than one genre of activities, some of which gain them more likes and comments than others. Take note of what these are through the hashtags and if possible, try to get your influencer to input elements of the activity or interest in their post if the hashtag typically results in a higher level of engagement.
If you have already begun with your influencer marketing campaign, which isn’t doing as well as you had expected, don’t despair. Follows these tips and you should be able to improve the KPIs of your sponsored post in no time. If you have yet to begin your campaign, do take note of these tips before you start. It might just save you a few of those sleepless nights.