1. Make influencer marketing part of paid media
While influencers are on social media, it’s best not to think of influencer marketing only as earned media.
There is certainly earned media value — to the tune of $7.65 for every dollar spent, according to Influencer Marketing Hub — but influencer campaigns are only comparable with other paid media when brands own the content and can distribute it through official channels.
This represents a mindset reset when it comes to the general perception about influencer marketing: influencer-generated content should be considered work-for-hire, while influencer-amplification through their networks should be seen as paid placement.
2. Be clear about who’s responsible
This is important from both a strategic and budgetary standpoint. According to our research, less than 50% of organisations make marketing teams responsible for influencer programmes. Sometimes it’s the PR or social media teams; sometimes it’s content; and on rare occasions, there’s a dedicated influencer marketing team.
Not only does this confusion make it near impossible to generate interest and buy-in with internal stakeholders, it makes developing a meaningful and impactful strategy difficult as well. As a result, campaigns are disjointed and the impact is isolated, making it impossible for organisations to maximise the benefits of influencer campaigns.
In order to maximise the strategic impact of influencer marketing, there needs to be senior level stakeholder to champion the strategic value for the organisation.
3. Establish measurable KPIs
One of the main issues related to data and metrics in the influencer marketing space is the lack of benchmarks. One of the big reasons for this is the shift from an industry that evolved as an alternative to paid media, when the only KPIs were reach and engagement.
When social media platforms became pay-to-play, marketers sought new ways to engage audiences in an organic and authentic way. As the industry evolved, marketers have focussed more on how to track ROI and show results to back up the increasing investments on influencers. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to gathering the right data; ultimately, KPIs are dependent on the objective of the campaign.
For example, if you want to prove sales lift, the best way to track it is by using promo codes or features such as the Instagram shoppable links, which makes it possible to see which influencers drove the most sales.
4. Use the right tools
Unfortunately, the era of scraping data from Instagram and Facebook using API connections is over. However, the solution lies in holistic platforms capable of providing direct access to influencers’ data.
When it comes to gathering data on the efficacy of influencer campaigns, the best option is to team up with a company that provides global measurement insights, so you can compare results of your campaign versus non-exposed audiences. When talking about data on creators — demographics, audiences demographics and brand affinity — the only answer is tech.
This is where using a platform that provides a variety of data and insights through a real-time dashboard can enable brands to measure average engagement per channel and audience demographics. Such data is key for brand affinity and understanding which creators represents the best fit for a brand. The right tool for marketers is the one that offer all these capabilities in one place.
It’s clear that the influencer marketing space is undergoing a big evolution as marketers work to prove its value. And while many organisations are moving toward DIY solutions, the reality is that influencer marketing is often managed by consultants and next generation media companies.
Whether it’s managed in-house or by an agency, in order to move influencer marketing forward, we have to examine its performance within the context of other paid media. Indeed, getting clear on where influencer marketing lives and who is responsible enables marketers to prove its value and brands to make informed decisions.