**Originally published May 21st, 2019. Updated January 21st, 2020**

Influencer marketing continued its meteoric rise in 2019. We continued to see a growth in consumers preferring non-celebrity endorsements to those of their celebrity counterparts. This trend demonstrates a clear shift in the paradigm of the digital marketing landscape. Brands are realizing the value of word-of-mouth marketing and peer-to-peer endorsements.

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But increased popularity brings increased scrutiny. The influencer marketing landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, so it’s important for brands to assess their current strategies, note directional shifts and optimize their campaigns. To meet these ever-changing business needs and deliver measurable ROI, brands are analyzing influencer marketing statistics in order to fine-tune their approach. 2018 brought about a few fleeting trends in the industry: micro-influencer programs, high-production IGTV programming and using reach as the new primary benchmark for influencer value and success.

The reason influencer campaign optimization is important is clear; you want to get the biggest bang for your buck from your marketing efforts. That might mean getting the most reach, brand awareness, website traffic, engagement, leads and/or conversions possible. You don’t want to leave any money or opportunities for growth on the table. So let’s break down 10 ways to optimize influencer content and campaign in 2020.

1. Tell a story with your content

The great Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. The same truths that exist within the fabric of human culture and communication exist within the invisible walls of social media. Now more than ever, audiences connect with content that tells a story and speaks to them directly. Allowing influencers as much creative freedom as possible with their social media content creation for your brand will speak more directly – and authentically – to your target audience.

2. Establish a content cadence

Establishing an effective content cadence helps your audience connect with who a brand is. It humanizes a brand, company, or business. It also is the storytelling element of your brand as a whole, connecting a piece of content (and others) with your customers or audience. Build your content cadence around the windows of time your target audience is on social media. You need to be posting your content on your social accounts during time periods where your target consumer is online and perusing their feed.

We touched on the practices around content cadence during a recent LinkedIn live with Youtuber TD Barrett and our Director of Social Media, Travis Hawley. Check it out below!

3. Select the right hashtags

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Hashtags are extremely powerful in attracting more followers in your niche and increase engagement. It is very important to know which hashtags will attract your target audience the most. In addition, when selecting the appropriate hashtags for your business profile, you should also have a look at the most used hashtags on Instagram for your vertical.

4. Leverage Instagram Stories

The Stories feature allows users to post photos, videos, or even simple text that stays live for 24 hours after posting. Instagram Stories are interesting and fun, and you can make them as creative and interactive as you would like. It provides your followers with good reason to engage with your content and hopefully keeps them coming back for more.

5. Utilize the full range of video ad formats

This includes the whole gamut of formats, from Live streams, 360 videos, AR videos, looping videos, animated text videos, vertical videos, and Stories videos. Every ad format has its own unique value and audience characteristics.

6. Create brand authenticity by partnering with an influencer

Influencers who promote products that align with their personal brands are seen as more trustworthy by their audience, and the products they promote are more likely to be viewed as a genuine recommendation, which typically results in higher conversion rates. Additionally, when brands and influencers maintain lasting relationships, both parties benefit from what consumers perceive as increased authenticity. An influencer marketing agency can provide tremendous value in helping establish those relationships between brand and influencer.

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7. Take advantage of GIFs and emojis

GIFs and emojis are a great way to add more fun and personality to your content and make it more engaging for your audience. And they can help you improve your Instagram engagement rate and grow your Instagram account.

8. Add a compelling call to action

A strong call-to-action is essential to convert followers into leads. The type of CTA you choose should depend on what it is you are actually looking for your followers to do. For example, a business whose main marketing objective is to drive traffic back to their website could incorporate a link to their company’s website and craft a compelling CTA that encourages clicks.

9. Convert Social Media traffic into Website Traffic

Much like any other web traffic source, social media traffic can also be analyzed to determine which sites hold the most value for your social media efforts. Calculating goal conversion rates (GCR) for each social media site allows you to understand how well your message is resonating with the audience on that platform. With this information, you can retarget this audience with your e-mail marketing and website ads as well.

10. Monitor and learn from your high performing content

Once you have established benchmarks and targets for Social Traffic and Conversions, you’ll want to establish processes for monitoring this and other social media KPIs. Dashboards can be critical in this regard. Monitoring your most effective (and ineffective) content allows you to make decisions on where to invest your efforts, and double down on the content that is actually driving results.

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