Marketers salivate dreaming of attracting attention from “influencers” – be it celebrities, established experts in a particular field, or talking heads. Convincing an influential industry leader to promote your brand would feel like a major win any day, as that kind of exposure can dramatically increase your brand’s reach and influence.
So let’s say you nail a pitch to a Coveted Influencer. You create a partnership. How do you measure the results of that outreach?
Not only has the team at TopRank measured the impact of influencer marketing and seen incredible results, but so has the popular blogger and speaker I’m listening to today at Social Media Marketing World 2015 (#SMMW15).
Douglas Karr is the President and CEO of DK New Media and before his presentation, he shared his top tip on influencer marketing with me: Invite influencers to be featured in an interview on your podcast or blog. “It doesn’t cost anything,” he says, “and you can see how their audience responds and whether they show interest in your product or service.”
Know the “what” and “why” of influencer marketing
What is influence? The word “influence” literally comes from the Latin root for “flowing,” which makes sense when you think about it: influence is all about action. Will someone be compelled to change their behavior because of someone else’s impact?
People commonly confuse selling, reach, or popularity with influence. Karr says that in particular, counting reach and popularity as influence is totally off-base. Although people tend to value followers, readers, and subscribers as indications of influence, those metrics don’t drive people to make purchase decisions. True influencers are not just well-known – they compel people to act (i.e. click, register, demo, or purchase).
Why do influencer marketing? Done right, there’s potential for true business results.
Find the right influencer for your demographic
Lady Gaga may be popular – but she’s probably not your lady! At the heart of successful influencer campaigns is identifying someone who:
1. Has an audience that matches your audience.
2. Shares the story with their audience.
3. Drives the audience to take a measurable action.
If the influencer doesn’t fit your audience’s demographic, they won’t be able to sway your audience in an effective way. Many brands are making the mistake of stalking celebrities who have a lot of followers – but not true influence.
Don’t ruin a good thing
A sneaky husband caught his wife rapping in the car and posted it to YouTube – and the The Cutest Gangsta I Know: My Wife skyrocketed this woman to influence. The video’s adorable and has garnered over 18 million views.
Acura, seeing the success of that video, actually used her in their Acura 2015 RDX “Drive Like A Boss” advertisement. Watch the video and it’s hard to tell that it’s the same woman here. The video is less human and feels very “branded” – and only got about 164,000 views.
Moral of the story: a viral YouTube video does not an influencer make – and as we all know, it is possible to botch what could’ve been a good thing!
Use Google and SEMRush
Influencer tools abound – Followerwonk, Buzzsumo, Klout, and Traackr are a few of the most well-known. The problem with focusing solely on these tools, Karr says, is that they can show reach and topical authority, but they don’t display results and conversions.
For finding influencers, Karr says his favorite tools are SEMrush and Google. After all, Google’s job with the SERPs is to do the best job of showing authority and influence. You should be able to do a Google search on the topic for which you want to find influencers and get a glimpse of who’s influential by who shows up.
How to negotiate with influencers
Paid relationships can get tricky – so if an influencer is perfect for your audience, but they’re asking for a hefty price, how can you move forward with 99% certainty that things won’t go south? Karr recommends careful negotiation. Here’s some ideas he gave:
1. Do a test. Give a coupon code to their audience. That way, the blogger/influencer gets something of value, their audience gets value, and you get value.
2. Set a goal. It’s okay to pay for performance. Request a minimum threshhold of attendees, visitors, downloads, demos, etc. that will come out of your program. Decide together with the influencer, if we don’t get it, what will we do next together (i.e. a webinar, another campaign) until we reach that performance goal?
3. Provide a revenue share. Provide opportunity for the influencer to exceed expectations and benefit from it.
4. Have an out. Don’t agree to annual contracts. If a partnership’s not working, get out!
Measure your campaigns
Create campaigns with tangibles that can be analyzed and measured. Karr recommends some of the following ways to measure your influencer efforts:
– Create a hashtag and measure the traffic and engagement that comes from it
– Provide a custom landing page that is hidden from search engines, and send your audience to it
– Utilize advocacy or affiliate software with custom URLs that include campaign tracking
– Feed influencers for free by featuring them in a list of top experts and measure the direct results from that piece of content
Has your organization tried influencer marketing? What kind of results have you been able to measure? I’d love to get your comments below.
If you like today’s live coverage of #SMMW15, there’s more to come! Watch for my next post and blog posts by TopRank’s @dfriez in the next few days.