Despite its vast potential to lift brands above the noise, influencer marketing is building a muddied reputation. Given the #fyrefestival debacle, for example, it’s easy for this kind of shallow influencer marketing to quickly morph into a false advertising scam. The practice deserves much better, because smart marketers know that authentic, relationship-driven influence will yield results far greater than (false) message promotion.
Among the confusion and misuse of influencer marketing, we developed a landmark research report that revealed data from 102 brand leaders on what’s going right and wrong with the practice. And last week, we hosted a live webinar, Navigating Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing, that brought these insights to life. A few of the highlights included:
- Breaking down influencer marketing program maturity for both B2B and B2C organizations
- Grasping the current impact of the practice and what marketers hope to achieve in the near future
- Defining the gap among short-term, campaign-led versus always-on influencer strategies
- Overcoming top challenges with key success factors illustrated by B2B and B2C leaders
Not surprisingly, we received plenty of insightful questions prior to and during the program, so we wanted to answer some of them below and include helpful resources to get up-to-speed. Additionally, we have also provided the presentation, including live poll results from the audience.
Answering Top Questions around Navigating Influence 2.0
How do we measure the impact of influencer marketing?
For influencer marketing, what you measure is just as critical as what you don’t. Traackr’s CEO recently called out the influencer marketing KPIs that will lead you to a dead end. It’s important to measure impact using value-driven KPIs instead of vanity metrics or metrics used in advertising. For measurement, you need to benchmark where you are today and where you’d like to be. Map the organizational goal and then determine what role does the influencer marketing initiative play in satisfying that goal.
One of the challenges of influencer marketing is tying the effort to revenue. Are there any creative recommendations that you have to tie these efforts to ROI?
For the ability to report influencer marketing ROI, there’s a sizable gap between companies that take a transactional approach and those that take a relationship driven approach. When content is an outcome of the influencer interaction, and the brand has content marketing expertise, then all the ROI measurement ambiguity disappears. Very specific metrics of success can be provided, including actual leads and sales or other areas that impact that business, calculating shorter sales cycles, greater order volume, order frequency, etc. Then you can add other metrics that are important to the company in terms of thought leadership, brand credibility, share of voice, etc.
Influencer marketing must stand as an investment priority in its own right. When influencer marketing is operated as an add-on, it’s not going to attract the executive level sponsorship needed to prove success.
It sounds obvious, but your performance in influencer marketing should help you benchmark your performance in the market.
How do you balance the corporate ‘ask’ versus keeping the relationship with influencers?
This is a relationship business. You need to place your influencer activities in the framework of what should be an always-on approach to influencer marketing. This breaks the corporate ‘ask’ out of traditional silos, so it’s not just a campaign but a full-blown daily part of the engagement process. When you lead with the corporate ‘ask’ versus the relationship, you run the risk of losing viewers because it’s not authentic. The most fruitful relationships will have loyalty, shared values, and a common purpose.
There are so many reasons influence can yield opportunities. Influence 2.0 is a legitimate call for change agents and champions that really want to push the industry forward to reimagine the potential of influence. For example, you can have influencers involved in customer service, talent acquisition, or credibility in communications, and that rolls up to having much greater and broader objectives. This helps in realizing the potential of what influencers can bring to an overall organization.
What is the difference between influencer marketing and content marketing?
The role of influence and credibility when it’s connected to content is a horizontal function. When aligned, influencer and content strategies will attract and convert more qualified buyers for your organization.
For the literal sake of defining the two terms:
- Influencer marketing, as defined by Rachel Miller, is a byproduct of marketing that focuses on using an individual's influence to amplify your brand’s message. Instead of marketing to a large group of potential customers brands collaborate with influencers who already have trust and rapport with your desired audience to help tell the brand story.
- According to CMI, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience--and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
To really dive into the untapped power of content and influence, you’re invited to enroll in our Academy of Influencer Marketing Confluence course for free ($495 value). Just follow @traackr on Twitter and send us a DM for the code needed to enroll (available for a limited time).
Top hurdle: How do I structure the deal with influencers?
Influencers prefer to work with companies who are interested in building long-term relationships. Why should the influencer care? What’s in it for their audience? In order to “structure the deal” you have to lead with the relationship first. Check out the following video to learn how Travelocity kicked off its influencer marketing program to build a meaningful, inspirational community.
For more specific tips on the most appropriate and beneficial ways to work with influencers, check out the Seven Golden Rules to Paying Influencers.
What are some ideas of things (tangible and not) to offer influencers to build your relationship that are low cost?
Is there something that only your organization can uniquely offer the influencer? Perhaps it’s exposure to a niche audience, being featured in content that highlights their expertise and credibility, or giving them a platform in which to increase their authentic reach.
To understand ways to build your influencer relationship, check out the following influencer marketing insights from 24 top brands and influencers.
What social platforms drive the best referrals conversions when working with influencers?
The short answer: it depends.
It’s very likely that your influencers have different personas across various social platforms. This means you need to have a deep understanding of your influencer’s personalities, across all platforms, in order to gain the critical insight needed to develop a successful relationship with them.
You need to also understand which pieces of content perform best across all platforms and channels, in order to know who to work with on a given initiative.
Hopefully this post helped to answer some of the major questions about Influence 2.0. If you have any additional questions, feel free to join the conversation and leave a comment.
To relive the webinar experience, check out the Navigating Influence 2.0 recording.