Influencer Marketing ROI: How To Make Your Results Really Improve

Do you get measurable Influencer Marketing ROI for your programs?

Don’t worry–we can keep this lack of c-suite-worthy results between us.

Even better–you’re not alone.

Why:
Because 4 out of 5 businesses that use influencer marketing can’t prove ROI!  

In addition:
Influencer marketing ROI is the biggest challenge they face.

top Influencer marketing challenges

I’m not surprised and you shouldn’t be either.

Why?
Because most marketers rely on easy-to-measure results. Dubbed Julian’s Law by Andy Crestodina, these highly visible metrics give you a false sense of accomplishment.

But–
They rarely translate to quality leads and/or sales that improve your bottom line.

Unfortunately:
As budgets allocated to influencer marketing continue to increase so does the pressure to show measurable ROI.

Further:
These numbers don’t provide the information you need to improve your marketing and, more importantly, increase your business’s profitability.

So let’s examine how you can make your influencer marketing results improve in terms that your c-suite can understand.

 

Why You Need Influencer Marketing

Before you can improve Influencer Marketing ROI, understand why you need it and how it works with the rest of your marketing mix.

Unlike other elements of your marketing, Influencer Marketing can:

  • Help your marketing to break through in a post-content shock media landscape. Since influencers have SOAA (or share of audience attention) with their engaged audiences, they can improve your brand awareness and increase your audience reach. But realize that influencers aren’t paid shills-You can’t control what they say or do.
  • Make your brand and company reputation more trustworthy. In today’s low trust environment, influencers offer a level of trust your organization and its leaders lack. However, influencers by themselves can’t move the trust needle if your business doesn’t evolve to meet the needs of your audience and customers.
    Active Employee Voices
  • Show your product and how to use it in relatable context. Even better, it’s content that your prospects and customers actively seek! Instead, they focus on the products and services used by the experts they follow. Remember: Actions speak louder than words, especially when the words come from your copywriters and content creators!

 

 

Why Influencer Marketing Fails

Due to the recent increase in the number of influencer-focused companies and use of influencer marketing, you may attribute your influencer marketing fails to the Gartner Hype Cycle Model’s Peak of Inflated Expectations or Trough of Disillusionment.

Gartner Hype Cycle Model

Before you do, check whether you’re guilty of one of these 3 assumptions.

1. Treat Influencer Marketing Like A Media Buy

While you get access to targeted audiences, don’t assess influencer marketing using the standards that you apply to a media buy. Influencers generally don’t provide the equivalent level of analytics and data that you get from media entities.

In addition, while influencers have large, loyal followings, their reach and sway may be limited to one or two social media platforms.

Or worse, many marketers view the use of influencers as “free marketing”. As a result, you don’t expect to compensate them for the use of their audience. This causes a big disconnect according to Influence.co research since:

  • 32% of promotional campaign offers that influencers receive pay in cash.
  • 69.4% of influencers use their following to earn money. Further 2 out of 5 influencers get 4 proposals per month.

Also:
Just as you optimize your advertising and content based media and context, you must tailor you influencer content.

This is particularly important since most marketers ONLY use social media content!

which content formats do you find effective for influencer marketing?

Further, this may create additional issues because:

  • Optimizing the influencer’s content for your brand may not align with the needs of the influencer’s brand and/or community or
  • Your changes may neglect to take into consideration FTC guidelines.

But you don’t want your influencer content to attract attention for the wrong reasons!  You don’t want to have the problem like the Instagrammer with 2+ million followers who couldn’t sell 36 shirts!

 

2. Neglect to provide sufficient influencer management support

While the majority of marketers bring influencer management in-house, they overlook the need for resources beyond the marketing department.

Unlike other forms of marketing, influencer management requires oversight to yield measurable results. From a marketing perspective, Influencer Relationships are more like Affiliate Marketing.

Further, this support often needs to be tailored to each influencer and their audience. As the number of influencers increases due to expanding your program or using smaller, more targeted audiences, your management needs also increase.

In-house influencer teams face these challenges:

  • 36% Have trouble finding influencers who are willing to work with their firm. (Although this may be associated with a lack of financial compensation!)
  • 24% Face issues managing contracts and/or campaign deadlines.
  • 15% Lack sufficient bandwidth and/or time.
  • 15% Have trouble processing influencer payments.

The biggest challenge in managing influencer campaigns are

 

3. Forget to apply best practices to influencer marketing

 

Although many marketers use influencer campaigns, they neglect to apply best practices from other forms of marketing to improve influencer results.Click To Tweet

 

Easy influencer campaign fixes to improve results include:

  • Create all related influencer content at the same time. While you  may start using the influencer campaign on one media entity, plan for additional content formats and contexts. Also develop other distribution presentations. Include this work in contracts to minimize costs.
  • Add related calls-to-action, landing pages and post-action communications (aka: connected content) to all influencer content to increase visitor action and measurability. Your goal is to encourage visitors to join you on your platforms. Also add this to RFPs and contracts.
  • Allocate budget for paid advertising support on social media and other platforms to amplify influencer marketing. Also extend the reach of influencer created content across owned media.

 

How To Improve Influencer Marketing ROI

Want to get better influencer marketing results?

Of course you do!

Then follow these Actionable Influencer Marketing Tactics.

InfluencerMarketing ROI - 5 steps to improve your resultes

 

1. Reach out to influencers directly

Select your influencers with care.


Before you choose your influencers, do your homework
. Research and monitoring what the people you’re considering using say and publish. And more importantly, assess whether their actions are aligned with your brand and business values. A tool like BuzzSumo helps with this research.

Where possible talk to other businesses that have worked with each influencer. (Note: This may be difficult since many marketers carefully guard what works and what doesn’t.)

54% of marketers say audience insight data is an essential part of influencer identification. (eConsultancy)

identifying talent

What’s missing from factors to consider when assessing influencer talent?
Backlinks and Domain Authority!

While they support improved search results and provide insights regarding updating content, they don’t apply to non-blog social media content!

Don’t delegate influencer outreach to your assistant or agency!

Why?
Because your objective is to build a long term relationship that yields benefits to you and your firm.  

At a MarketingProfs B2B Forum a few years ago, Mark Schaefer described a client who assigned responsibility for following and connecting with specific thought leaders across his team. This requires time not budget!

 

2. Specify the type of content, interactions and results you expect

Discuss your expected results and related tracking upfront with each influencer. Include these details in your contracts but realize that, like other types of marketing, you need repeated impressions to achieve your objectives.

Also retain the right to reuse influencer posts in other contexts and on different media entities without incurring additional costs.

 

3. Allocate additional budget for related marketing costs

Beyond paying for and managing influencers, designate budget for other influencer related marketing expenses. This includes:

  • Additional content creative for other formats and updating,
  • Social media scheduling, presentations and engagement and
  • Paid advertising.

Without investing in this related work, your influencer marketing may underperform expectations and yields lower influencer marketing ROI.

These 2 data points underscore the need for additional marketing support (Linqia 2018):

  • One third of marketers who placed influencer content on other media platforms found that it performed the same or worse than their branded content.While influencer content works in its original context, it often needs to be modified to be contextually relevant on another media entity or for a different audience. Changing content formats and presentations is key to successfully keeping existing content visible over time.
  • Three out of five marketers using influencer marketing have NEVER repurposed the content YIKES! This lack of content transformation increases marketing costs and decreases marketing ROI! Because influencer content is only used once, you need more new content.

 

4. Add tracking to each piece of influencer content

Don’t skip this step!

You need it to translate Influencer Marketing into meaningful ROI.

The key to improve influencer marketing ROI:
Use calls-to-action and landing pages that lead to email capture, lead qualification and/or sales.

BUT:
Track activities that support your marketing and business objectives!

While most influencer campaigns measure engagement and clicks, conversions and product sales are most closely related to improved profitability and ROI.

Influencer Marketing Success Metrics

Also continually test different influencers and the ways that they present your offering.  

Further create a method for assessing the ease of handling individual influencers.

 

5. Track internal costs carefully

Since influencer marketing requires employee time and resources from across your business, carefully track time tracking for the breadth of related activities. Use a spreadsheet or other tracking software.

Regardless of company size, employee time often gets poorly attributed to specific activities. To improve influencer metrics, have employees tracking their time on a daily basis! Otherwise, they over-allocate time to activities they dislike.

By taking this approach to monitoring internal influencer related expenses, you learn the full breadth of work involved. Then you can determine which functions to bring in-house and which to outsource.

 

Influencer Marketing ROI Conclusion

For most businesses the lack of measurable Influencer ROI starts with the lack of an Influencer Marketing Strategy.

If this sounds familiar, it should.

Why?
Because this happens with every new form of marketing!

The lack of strategy translates to:
Specific, measurable goals aligned with your business objectives do NOT get set!

Without these, your influencer marketing lacks the metrics you need to show influencer marketing ROI based on related calls-to-action and trackable landing pages.

As a newer form of marketing influencer pricing vary. Further some marketers still consider that they can get free influencer support!

So where do you start to ensure that your influencer marketing yields improved results?

Set influencer campaign goals

  • Brand awareness
  • Audience reach
  • Brand advocacy
  • Sales conversion
  • Reputation management

Define influencer campaign metrics
Make these metrics specific, have a set timeframe, and achievable.

Also track individual influencer performance including total impressions, clicks to specific landing pages, average engagement rate, and conversion to customers.

Go on–you can handle influencer marketing.

And what’s more important:
You can set your influencer marketing program up to yield measurable results!

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

 

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