The enormous popularity of social media has opened the door for more people to gain an audience of followers and fans around the world. With this shift, it is now possible for marketers to sift through these social channels and find people with large followings that could be a good fit to advertise their business or service. Thus, influencer marketing was born, allowing independent bloggers, models, musicians, business leaders and more earn extra income by using their following and exposing them to a new brand or new service they would like. There is big money in influencer marketing, paying some of social media’s most popular people upwards of $75,000 per Instagram post! While that may initially sound insane, the power of social influence and influencer reach is very strong and probably in most cases is not completely measured accurately. Let’s take a look at some potential benefits influencer marketing could have on your business and why it can be difficult to measure.
Let Personality Shine: In this fast-paced digital world, influencer marketing may turn back the clock more than we think, starting with letting a spokesperson show their true personality. One of the fun parts of beginning an influencer marketing strategy is finding that deal person on the web to represent your campaign. In doing so, you’re looking at their followers and reach – but also carefully paying attention to their personality and how they represent themselves. The human element is now back in play, as choosing someone to start your campaign promotion with is deeper than choosing the correct banner ad design. Every marketer knows their own audience best, now you have a chance to choose an influencer that you hope will resonate with your audience because their personality resonates with you. You could argue matching your audience with the correct influencer that speaks to them well is more powerful than having digital ads optimized for conversions.
Word of Mouth: We have all heard the phrase, “the best marketing is word of mouth!” Even as digital ads become a routine part of our day – once again, you cannot erase the human element of excitement or disappointment when you try a product. Those feelings are usually shared with those close to you and most of the time taken in with higher regard because people close to you will trust your advice. Social Media has allowed word of mouth to extend way beyond speaking to someone in person – this shift has been a huge win for marketers. With the correct influencer and strategy, you’re not just reaching someone’s audience with a message – but reaching their audience in a new form of ‘word of mouth’ advertising. While most followers do not personally know the influencer, they trust their judgement and direction. Remember this is ‘influencer marketing,’ these campaigns are set-up to influence a group of people to believe, think, try or take an action in a certain way.
The More Creative the Better: You don’t have to tell me that sometimes a new marketing campaign doesn’t ‘rock your socks’ with creativity – you create your ads, set your location and audience targeting, align your budget, etc. and press start. In the case of influencer marketing, the more creative you are – the better results you’re going to have. Lets review an example:
Product: A new thermos for protein shakes and drinks called “No Spill” that allows you to shake it and carry it anywhere without ever dripping or slightly opening.
Banner Ad with picture of a shake spilling
Call To Action: “Never Spill Your Shake Again – Buy Now”
Targeting: Display Network of healthy, fit, gym tips, blogs, etc. type of sites
Video of a someone finishing a workout all pumped up as they go to make their protein shake. He/She adds the powder, closes the lid, shakes it up and spills the shake everywhere on them, their gym bag, etc. Suddenly the camera picks up another shaking noise behind the messy influencer – the camera pans out to show another person sitting behind them smiling uncontrollably as they shake their new No Spill product.
Call To Action: URL link on the video to the Learn More / Purchase page
Targeting: That influencers’ followers / fans who are into a healthy lifestyle
After reading the two campaign examples above – influencer marketing stands out because it is a more entertaining, creative, word of mouth targeted and has a sharable reach on the internet or social media. If you’re looking for a new strategy with a chance to flex a creative idea – influencer marketing can provide that option.
A hot question when discussing influencer marketing is “How do we measure it?” Marketers have a responsibility to deliver an ROI and sometimes testing a campaign that cannot directly attribute a conversion to a strategy is scary. Here are some measuring ideas to gauge an influencer’s campaign effectiveness:
Impressions: Track the number of times an influencer’s post is viewed.
Engagements: Look at shares, comments and likes as a whole. Sometimes it makes sense to weigh an action like a share more heavily than a like. A Share is not only telling you the user liked the post, but then also furthered your reach and impressions by passing it along to their audience.
Brand Mentions: There are many tools in the marketplace now that allow you to track how many times your brand is mentioned on social media. Look at your brand mention data for the timeframe of your influencer campaign and compare that to a time before the campaign began. Not only should you hope to see a brand lift, but this is where measurement can get tricky. There is a residual branding effect on people who are hearing or seeing your product for the first time. It can be difficult to picture, but just think about your actions towards some advertising and how that effects your future purchasing decisions. I know there have been times where I have heard about a new product from an influencer campaign but not immediately purchased. However now that I am familiar with it, the next time I see the product or am lower in the marketing funnel and ready to purchase – I am more likely to do so. This purchase can take place days, months or even years after the initial impression on that user from the influencer campaign. Who gets the credit? That depends on your tracking, but it likely will be hard to directly link it to the influencer campaign that started the conversion funnel.
Trackable Links: Use Google Analytics to create trackable links that will attribute conversions for your campaign and tell your where your users came from. Some tips for this include setting your cookie at the highest domain possible so it can be tracked across subdomains and tailoring your cookie expiration date depending on the type of campaign you’re running.
These core measurements will help you get a good picture of how your influencer campaign performed. Other methods like coupon codes and measuring foot traffic can also be effective – remember it really depends on the action you want users to take from your campaign.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool and will continue to develop as more direct tracking and campaign ideas hit the market. If you’re looking for a strategy that can have a direct ROI, give you a lasting brand lift and expand your brand’s creativity then influencer marketing could work for you.