Influencer marketing isn’t a passing fad: this digital phenomenon has permanently changed the face of online marketing as we know it. In fact, 86% of marketers are using influencer marketing today, and that number is only increasing.

Why? Because it works. Marketers say influencer marketing is effective and more trusted by consumers than other marketing tactics. 

As the Co-founder of Big Crowd Media, I’ve seen my fair share of influencer marketing campaigns. While I firmly believe influencer marketing is an ROI-positive way to grow your brand, many brands don’t measure their ROI. They have no idea if the money they’re spending on influencers has an impact on the bottom line.

You likely spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on influencer marketing. Shouldn’t you know how it affects your business?

Want ROI? 3 steps to measure influencer success

The good news is that influencer marketing is highly measurable. Follow these 3 steps to create an ROI-positive influencer campaign that moves the needle.

1.   Know what you need

Don’t jump headfirst into influencer marketing without addressing your needs first. What does your brand need to get from this campaign to make it worth your while? Why are you doing influencer marketing in the first place?

When you know your desired outcome, you’ll be able to take concrete steps forward. Without a goal, your influencer campaign will be like traveling without a destination: aimless and meandering. Don’t do that to yourself—without a destination, you’ll burn through your budget dollars with few results to show for it.

You want a marketing campaign that’s structured and measurable, and that starts with goal-setting. Determine your overall “need” from the campaign. What do you need to get? Brand awareness? Audience expansion? Cold, hard cash?

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Start with a general goal and then get more specific. I recommend using the SMART goal-setting framework for this. You’ll be able to create quantifiable goals that are easy to evaluate at the end of the campaign.

For example, a goal like “I need more brand awareness,” won’t give you a good direction for your influencer campaign. A goal like “I want 3 million views on my product video by Q1,” is much better. You know what you need to ask of your influencer (“boost my video”) and how to evaluate your goal (“Did I reach 3 million views by Q1?”)

Now that you have a SMART goal, break it down into bite-sized pieces. Choose the metrics that will contribute to your SMART goal. Most influencer campaigns focus on engagement metrics such as likes, comments, or shares, but it could be about conversions and views, too. It depends on your SMART goal. If I want to reach 3 million views by Q1, I’m going to care about views as a metric, and possibly shares and comments, too.

2.   Track influencer performance

Once you know what you need from the campaign, partner with the right types of influencers. For example, if you were doing a brand awareness campaign on your beauty line, you would partner with a beauty influencer with a large following.

Be upfront about your campaign goals so the influencer knows what they need to do to be successful. Some brands choose to work with only one influencer at a time, but if you’re new to influencer marketing, you might want to work with a few. This way, you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. You also amplify your reach, which is always a win!

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I recommend working with a small handful of influencers so you can compare their performance against each other. You’ll quickly discover which influencers are better brand advocates.

Remember how you set metrics for your campaign? Set metrics for your influencers, too. Your contract with the influencer should detail the targets they’re expected to meet, like a certain number of engagements per post. Again, the metrics will depend on your campaign goals. If you’re concerned about ROI, you can keep things simple by tracking the amount of sales that each influencer brings in.

3.   Automate the process

But you don’t have time to watch your influencers day and night—you’ve got a business to run. Don’t waste time with manual tracking; this takes a lot of time and the numbers won’t be as accurate.

Instead, use an influencer marketing tool to do the work automatically. Choose platforms like Traackr, UpFluence, and more to do this for you. These tracking tools will help you generate a unique URL or promotion code for each influencer, so you can be sure that you’re tracking their individual results.

Whatever platform you choose, make sure it can pull automated reports once a month. Use these to track influencer performance so you can see who to keep and who to cut.

The bottom line

Data helps brands make better decisions about their marketing. While influencer relationships are valuable, you need to see a return on your marketing dollars. Use this three-step process to partner with the most effective influencers to get more bang for your buck.

Want to see influencer marketing in action? Big Crowd Media recently did an influencer campaign with Amber Rose that resulted in an average 500% increase in brand engagement.

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