5 ways to improve your influencer marketing

By: Tajik Ifrad
November 9, 2018

The influencer marketing sphere is relatively new compared to other online marketing activities. That is why, many of us are uncertain about how to approach it. The trick is to break it down into simple structure and make logical decisions.

Keep in mind that your campaign can be done manually or through the use of an influencer marketing platform like Modash. It will save you both time and money if you do decide to go with a platform. Some of the reasons why it is not feasible to run influencer campaigns manually are :

  • Without a database, researching to find influencers is unscalable
  • Understanding the followers and the niche of the influencer isn’t objective
  • Tracking the ongoing campaign and result is frustrating without a proper structure

There are no magical formulae to run a successful influencer marketing campaign. However the following 5 tips will help you to improve your campaign and make your life easier:

Know the influencer’s audience

This is probably a common tip that you see everywhere for any form of marketing. However, in terms of influencer marketing, it is not just enough to know your own target audience but also to know the audience of your influencer. In other words, you need to observe and follow how the audience of the influencer engages within the social networks.

You should monitor the comments and try to understand how it can all relate to your brand. You can do a qualitative breakdown of the comments, like are the majority of people showing positive or negative sentiment at a given post. It will bring out the nature of the mass followers of that influencer.

Targeting the right influencer

When you begin the search for an influencer in your field, you will find many that match your criteria. But you need to make sure that the influencer is right for your brand. It’s like selecting a candidate from a pool of qualified job seekers who applied for a position in your company. You go through a certain process to make sure the person is fit for your business.

The same goes for influencer, you need to check if the influencer has the right tone in his/her messages. How engaged is their audience? How long it takes for the influencer to answer people? Does the influencer talk to people about products or services or pain points related to your company? What kind of content are they making?

When you have the answer to all your questions, then you can reach out to the influencers that match your profile and hire the best ones according to their value and typical pricing. You should also think of their motivation before you onboard them so that they deliver their best performance. Long term, trust-based relationships work best so choose influencers wisely, keeping that in mind.

One thing you must never do while choosing an influencer is to make your selection based on the size of following alone. Some brands think that if an influencer has a huge number of followers, then he or she is automatically going to fit. That is a huge mistake because if the niche of the influencer is not related then the followers are not going to convert into your goals, and the message given to them will be irrelevant.

Not only do influencers with smaller audiences tend to cost less, they also have highly engaged audiences and content less saturated by product placement. So go for an influencer who is related to your service or product, even if that person has less followers than an irrelevant influencer.

Track influencer profile and actions

We all know the saying ‘actions speak louder than words’, well in case of influencer research you need to emphasize on both actions and words. Be on the lookout for the manner of discussions the influencer indulges in. See the history of his/her profile to find out if there are any controversial topics. Do they get heated up about serious issues like politics and religion, and is that something you are alright with? How do they react with negative comments?

You can track the influencer throughout the web using social listening tools. You can search the mention of the influencer’s name inside social media, blogs, forums etc. After that you can relax knowing that your influencer will not do anything irrational or controversial that can jeopardize the brand image in case he or she is representing you.

Note: Sometimes brands make the mistake of thinking discussion equals radical thought. Think carefully about whether the influencer aligns with your brand’s values, but don’t jump to conclusions based on the simple mention of an important issue. Look at the Monese Brexit stance for example. Sometimes having a backbone solidifies you as a human based brand.

Freedom of influencer’s speech

As marketers, we always set the tone of the brand. Marketers make sure that the brand image is going in the right direction, the website, the taglines, the content in blogs, newsletter and much more must go according to the marketing strategy. While that is true and necessary to unify marketing efforts, it is also important to give some room to the influencer.

It’s like talking to your content writer, you just tell them to execute a topic, or a marketing copy. You do not go ahead and force them to write in a certain way. The same should be followed for influencers. Do not try to tell them when to post and exactly what to post. The influencer can have his/her own style, if that is not affecting you in bad way then why should you force them. And if it is affecting in negative way, then you have messed up your influencer selection. You need to understand that the influencer has more control over the followers than you do, so let them deal with the followers, as they deem it best.

In fact, in order to reach the best results and a solid middle ground on the creative, consider a brainstorm. Influencer campaigns are a collaborative process, they know their audience and you know your brand. Working together will lead to a mutual understanding and creative you are both happy with.

KPIs and Goals

Setting the right KPIs to measure the success or failure of your campaign will be vital for your brand. You will not understand what to improve, if you are not looking at the right metrics. For online influencer marketing, you should track the following:

  • Engagement
  • Traffic
  • Reach
  • Conversions
  • Audience sentiment

It is not necessary that you must track all the metrics given above, but at least some of them you have to track according to your goals. Most common goals are either to have increased lead generation resulting in higher sales, or to get more brand awareness, which are easily measurable using the metrics above.

Take the attribution model into account as well. This means not to focus on direct conversions only. Your attribution model is probably set as last-click (that is the default in Google Analytics) so it will only consider the last click as the source of conversion. This can undermine the influencer because a person might check out the product from the influencer but not finish the purchase at that moment. Later that same person can organically go to your site and finish the purchase which will not show the value from the influencer. So try to measure and understand the overall value an influencer can bring to your business, not only the conversions or clicks, see the holistic data and then make decisions.

Pay attention to how the metrics are coming though. You need to make sure that your tracking parameters for links are working properly in case you are using UTM codes. Remember that you don’t have to wait for a campaign to end, start optimizing while its running. Talk to the influencer and align your goals. Make sure the influencer clearly understand them as well.

Not sure what a UTM code is? Buffer has a great article on the topic here.

Remember influencer marketing is a cross-functional part of your business. It should be targeted at a specific part of the customer journey to help the user move to the next step when focused on sales. That being said, influence can be used to create hyper effective case studies, testimonials, for hiring, customer engagement, education and more. Don’t get stuck using your influencer content in one aspect of one department of your company, when you can scale it cross-functionally acrossed your entire company

Conclusion

At first, the influencer marketing field might seem daunting, but do not be afraid. With increasing competitors using the pay per click channels, the demand of influencer marketing will only rise. This means it is high time to get used to it.

If you select the right influencers for the job, you will have a pain free campaign. The rest can be improved further by data driven actions and focusing on always on relationships with influencers you love to work with.