5 critical steps for running a successful influencer campaign in 2020

Influencer marketing campaigns can be incredibly effective. But done the wrong way and you not only waste money – you may also create negative associations towards your brand. Not only that – lots of brands nowadays are using influencers so you need to be extremely careful about how it’s managed to ensure you stand out from the crowd and get the most out of your budget.

Reach and influence are not the same. The focus nowadays is not on reaching the most amount of people (that’s easy) – the focus is on influencing the right people in the right way.

We’ve learnt a lot over the years, and things have changed. Here’s what you need to know to run a successful influencer marketing campaign in 2019.

1. Preparation

Too often brands begin an influencer campaign by getting creatives together in the boardroom to brainstorm ideas. This is never the best starting point – unguided creative campaigns almost always underperform, and worse, the disconnect from preparation insights and unguided creative campaigns creates confused brand associations, are usually less memorable, and in some cases enhance customer defection.

Preparation includes at a minimum: specifying aims, target market profile analysis, channel analysis, influencer profiling and onboarding strategy, KPIs, identifying the most appropriate campaign type, and probably scheduling.

This is a minimum. Depending on the campaign it’s not unusual for us to conduct target audience psychometric profiling (to isolate judgement and decision-making triggers), affinity identification, arousal triggering (engagement motives analysis), and repurposing strategy.

2. Rock solid influencer agreements

Nowadays you can’t get away with simple agreements to ‘mention our brand’, nor can you simply offer a ‘free product’ for a mention. The influencer marketing landscape is now relatively mature, though with several pitfalls. For a start, robust agreements and briefings including payment terms are now the norm and must be structured and negotiated correctly.

An typical influencer brief nowadays includes: key objectives (engagement, KPIs), deliverables and timeline, audience profile, influencer budget, deadlines, reporting requirements, content review process (for influencer produced content), inspiration guidelines, post caption requirements, mood boards, deliverables, and importantly a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. In addition, don’t assume you own influencer produced content – in most cases they retain copyright so you’ll need to negotiate repurposing and reuse licences.

Influencer payment expectations typically range from < $1,000 to over $20,000 per campaign. If you don’t know how to correctly onboard an influencer, you could end up paying way too much! (we see this a lot).

3. Influencer onboarding – using the right influencers

A critical step when running an influencer campaign is identifying the right influencers for the brand and campaign and content. There is common belief our there that ‘micro-influencers’ are more effective. Well, they are in many situations – but not always. More important is matching the influencer’s audience to your brand, and producing the right content that sits in the middle and drives the interaction.

Careful attention must be given to the influencer’s followers just as much as the influencer. The influencer and their audience must be congruent with the brand, campaign aims and message, and the influencer ‘saturation rate’ (how many campaigns they typically do within a period).

  • Mega Influencers
    • Over 1 million followers. Well-known celebrities and social stars.
    • Pro – Wide reach.
    • Con – Very expensive and because of their celebrity status may lack a real connection with their followers.
  • Macro Influencers
    • Between 100,000 to 1 million followers. Usually YouTube or Twitch stars, often working through an agency (got famous on the internet).
    • Pro – Most work with an agent (expensive).
    • Con – Engagement rates can be unpredictable
  • Micro Influencers
    • Between 10,000 to 100,000 followers. Usually experts in a specific skill or topic (e.g., cooking, makeup, travelling).
    • Pro – Usually have close connections with their followers, and therefore greater engagement (and trust)
    • Con – Given the recent popularity of influencer marketing, many micro influencers have a high saturation rate – meaning lower than expected engagement
  • Nano Influencers
    • Less than 10,000 followers
    • Pro – usually have higher than normal engagement
    • Con – more difficult to identify nano influencers who have the right audience

4. Compliance

Nowadays most jurisdictions have regulations that stipulate the rules of influencer marketing (e.g., FTC in the US, and ACCC in Australia), and will enforce those regulations (though Australian precedence has not yet been set – we suggest extreme caution). It’s critical that you know what those regulations are and ensure you’re compliant. Never leave it up to the influencer to ‘follow the rules.’ Many don’t – exposing you to legal risk. Included in your contract should be rules regarding hashtags (e.g., #sponsored or #ad), and correct disclosure placement depending on the media type. Check it yourself – don’t assume the influencer got it right!

5. Content Amplification

Included in your influencer contract and campaign brief should be an agreement and plan for content amplification after the main campaign has run its course (content licencing). Your campaign shouldn’t stop at influencer organic reach – nowadays social platform algorithms are becoming increasingly fickle (e.g., Instagram seems to be tightening certain organic posts). It’s good practice nowadays to boost the reach of sponsored influencer content through various complementary methods. For example, using the Facebook/Instagram handshake tool, negotiating an influencer admin access agreement, or even hosting twitter parties and Instagram challenges are becoming increasingly common.

You paid money for content – it makes sense to maximise the mileage, though in an intelligent well thought out way. Just be careful that you have the right content agreement in place – depending on your jurisdiction influencers may retain the copyright.


Influencer marketing campaigns have become the go-to strategy for brands nowadays because they’re relatively effective in terms of driving website visits and targeted reach, and relatively more efficient (conversion, ROI, attention) compared to more traditional digital marketing methods. But because of this newfound popularity, it has become increasingly important to run campaigns the right way. It’s no longer a matter of simply paying someone with a lot of followers to mention your brand. Reach and influence are not the same. Done wrong not only wastes your money, it can also also negatively affect your brand.

Contact us if you would like to learn more about how influencer marketing can help your brand.

8 Myths About Influencer Marketing as we move into 2020

Influencer Marketing is still a powerful way to seed great content and imprint powerful brand associations. As we move into 2020 and beyond, the shape of influencer marketing will evolve, as brands and agencies shift focus from attention to cognitive outcomes.

Here are the eight biggest myths of Influencer Marketing that we see, framed in the content of what is to come in 2020.

  1. Influencers Work for Free
    Meaning if you give influencers a free product, they’ll endorse it for you as thanks. Not anymore – this might have been possible in the past, but we increasingly the influencers you want endorsing your products need payment. Controlling brand risk, adhering to industry and regulatory policies, and the nuances of content value come into play here – we strongly advise brands to use vetted professional influencers, and not recruit amateurs (there is a case to be made for recruiting micro-influencers, but they need to be registered and paid also).
  2. Paid Influencers Aren’t Trusted/Amateurs Are Unprofessional
    It might look like influencers simply turn on their camera in their pyjamas and start recording. But this is far from the truth. The influencer industry is far more sophisticated than it was 5 years ago. Nowadays we’re more likely to refer to them as Creators rather than influencers. Influencers or creators nowadays are business professionals. Not only are they experienced and extremely good at what they do, they’re also bound by contractual obligations, training regimes, and protecting their reputation.
  3. More Subscribers Is Better/Big Audiences Equal Success
    No. In fact the research finds that Nano and Micro influencers (~5000 followers) in a niche area get way higher engagement and revenue based metrics than mega and celebrity influencers. Gone are the days of celebrity endorsement – social media is where information spreads nowadays, and there is more to it than just being a household name.
  4. Influencers Work Alone
    A lot of the time no. They often have support teams, especially if they work for an agency like Cape they’ll have a manager, editing staff, contract agent, and so on.
  5. You Can’t Measure Campaign Success
    Well, actually you can. The trick is knowing how to define ‘success’ and which metrics are relevant in accordance with the campaign. Most social media platforms have an API where it is possible to funnel engagement metrics, and tracking pixels may be used to identify a set of user actions (“events”) that contribute to a desired outcome, and assign value to key events.
  6. Influencers Don’t Need Disclaimers
    Yes they do. Usually using the hashtags #ad or #sponsored is sufficient depending on the jurisdiction, but failure to disclose brand and product endorsements may violate regulatory requirements and shift liability to the brand. It is critical nowadays to adhere to regulatory guidelines and policies to manage brand risk.
  7. Celebrities Are the Best Influencers
    Oftentimes no. Especially if your product is niche – finding an influencer with a niche audience that matches your target audience is often way more effective. In terms of monetary cost, in almost all cases using carefully selected creators and social media influencers is far more efficient than paying top-dollar for celebrities (So 90-ish!).
  8. You Supply the Content
    Usually no, depending on the campaign. Influencers are commonly called “creators” for a reason – this is not their first rodeo – they’re usually pretty good at creating content.

To find out how we manage our influencer network, or how we can help your content marketing strategy, please contact us.

How to Become an Influencer in 2020

It’s everybody’s dream job – getting paid by brands to feature their products in your social media posts. But things have become extremely competitive over the past couple of years, and ‘making it’ nowadays seems like an impossible dream.

But it’s not impossible. And it can be done.

Here is what you need to know if you want to succeed.

Become a guru now, the entertainer later

People follow others on social platforms because the content they’re sharing has value – either it’s educational or entertaining, or inspirational (they’re good looking, rich, or otherwise appear to be living the dream). Entertaining people is a lot more difficult to do than educating people, unless you have a clear gift.

Our advice to succeed in this climate is to focus on both educating a segment of population who share a common interest, and do your best to be an inspiration. Once you reach mid-level (lower macro) status – then you can focus more on crafting your shtick  – if that’s what you want to do (don’t suddenly stop educating – you might lose followers – that’s why they followed you in the first place).

To educate people you obviously need to be an expert on the topic. Find something you know a lot about, and ‘theme’ yourself on that topic. Your bio and imagery and even your stage name (Yes you will probably need one) needs to make it obvious that you are the authority in whatever subject you have chosen.

How do you make yourself inspirational? Be meticulous about what you’re showing in your content, particularly the background. Create the perception that you’re popular, in tune with the times, and successful. Don’t gloat or lie! You simply need to signal your successful and envious life in the footage you share – find interesting locations to shoot, interview people, do fun live feeds demonstrating yourself teaching a group of people. We hate the word ‘guru’ – but essentially that is what you need to become.

Let’s say for example you have a passion for motorcycles. If you post content like how to adjust the valves, how to change the brake fluid and so on you’ll amass a following of fellow bike lovers very quickly. It helps if the motorcycle you own is well sought after, to create the envy, but even if not you could include footage of yourself riding the motorcycle in nice scenery, or anything that makes people wish they were in your shoes!

Choose a platform, and stick to it

Focus your energy on one platform to start with. If you choose YouTube, you’ll tend to earn more from brand sponsorships simply because brands play a premium for video footage endorsements. Instagram is arguably easier since you don’t have to spend so much time editing and storyboarding, but a lot more competitive to get an organic following. Don’t discount TikTok – although you won’t get as many brand sponsorships as the more established platforms, this will probably change in the near future, and you might have an advantage if you were in there early.

Whichever you choose, you’ll need to focus all your energy – so rather than spreading yourself thin while you’re getting established – just focus on one and stick to it.

Don’t cheat the system

It might be tempting to speed up your influencer career by buying followers or using engagement pods to boost your popularity. DON’T DO IT! Most brands nowadays use automated tools to check influencer authenticity, that includes checking your engagement rates, active audience stats, follower growth rates (looking for unusual spikes), and comment authenticity. Once you’ve been found out – it’s almost impossible to recover without starting again.

Don’t think you must have many followers to be a successful influencer. In fact, many brands prefer nano-micro level influencers because their engagement and follower loyalty tends to be greater, meaning greater effectiveness of sponsored campaigns. Keep your content regular and consistent and you’ll soon find yourself in the macro-club. Just be patient – there are no easy shortcuts (but see our next tip).

Figure out Collabs

One of the best ways to earn credibility and gain new followers is from collabs with other influencers. If you’re affiliated with an agency like Cape they help to organise collabs, but if you’re not, you’ll need to try to make contact yourself. Try to research and choose other influencers who are at the same level as you, and in the same category as you. They’ll be more likely to want to collab if your followers are similar because there’s more likelihood of attracting each other’s followers (don’t count on getting a response from PewdiePie or Saffron Barker!).

Try to focus on telling your “story”

Content creators oftentimes tend to focus on each episode or post as a discrete event, but people are interested in your story overall, so keep that in mind. Each content you push out should contribute to a wider story that creates an illusion of what you’re about – whether it’s that you have a passion for makeup because you live in a theatrical world, or you love health and fitness because you’re all about helping others to be happy about themselves. Decide on a common thread of what you’re posting, emphasize it and stick to it.

Focus on your metrics

When brands are shopping for influencers, they’re looking for (1) followers that match their target market; (2) influencers who are not overly saturated (not too many of their posts are sponsored); (3) quality content – you’re a true content creator; (4) great metrics, including historical engagement rates, subscriber rate, and post volume.

Keep these in mind when you’re creating and posting – think of it like a business.

Once you’ve gotten enough followers, the next challenge is to get brands.

Have a champion. If you say you’re the best at something, people don’t believe it, and worse you end up sounding self-congratulatory, egotistical, and fake. But if someone else says you’re the best at something- others will believe it. This only works however if there is no clear conflict of interest – for example people probably won’t buy it if it’s your friends or associates claiming you’re the best.

You need someone who has something to lose if they’re wrong, such as an agent or a manager. Your agent already has established relationships with brands, and the last thing they want to do is ruin their relationships with their brands. Brands know this, and will trust your agent’s recommendations about you.

At Cape we offer influencer management services – go here to learn about our selection criteria.

Good luck with your career and we hope you join our Cape Cult.