What you should really be trying to achieve with influencer marketing

Because of a distrust in advertising, influencer marketing is exploding as a way for gaining trust with increasingly discerning audiences. But a lot of brands are set up for failure because they’re measuring the wrong metrics or using the wrong model.

Metrics for success

The main thing most brands want to see is cold hard cash, so conversion is a major expectation. This is an easy metric to affect if you’re a commerce brand – especially fashion. You can advertise a product through a person that will influence your audience and watch the sales roll in.

But that doesn’t deliver long term value. And it isn’t a one-size-fits-all theory. Sectors like financial services, utilities and entertainment need to use different methods to reach audiences and consider different metrics to measure success.

Reach, resonance and scale

A universal starting point for all brands when choosing the right influencer (as well as checking for fake followers) is to ensure your content will reach the right people in the right volume. You should look at influencer reach – the total audience size across all platforms. The amount of people they have in their audience is a good indicator of how influential they have the power to be. But you also need to consider relevancy – just because they’re influential in one topic doesn’t mean they will be in another.

Look at what demographics they engage to ensure your content will reach the right people. Resonance is how much activity their content generates e.g. retweets, comments, shares and link-backs. This is a great indicator of how relevant the influencer is to their audience and how engaged they are with the influencer’s current content.

A broad reach and a high resonance gives you scale, which means you can get the most benefits from your influencer marketing.

Why relevance is so important

Staying relevant is life or death in a crowded market so choosing the right influencer is integral to gaining and maintaining relevance. The right influencer or influencers can increase your relevance with a target audience, a new demographic or reach new niche audiences that are difficult to reach through traditional advertising.

Maintaining relevancy in your target audience can provide longer term value like an improvement in brand sentiment, repeat custom and brand advocacy which are arguably more important for the longevity of your brand but undoubtably harder to measure.

Relevance in action

A great example of influencer marketing achieving relevance for a brand is football media business Copa90. Their content comes from a deep understanding of what is truly important to the fans. They focus on ‘how football feels’ rather than traditional reporting and put fan and creator content front and centre.

By handing over the power to influencers, they maximise on the micro moments of football, creating a more compelling story than if the brand themselves were simply telling their audience what happened in a game.

What Copa90 understand is that to be relevant to today’s audience you have to create content that people seek out of their own accord. And the best way to do that is to make sure the content comes from a compelling voice. Rather than using suited presenters in studios, they use real fans and relevant influencers like Stormzy who use the same language as the audience. Copa90 have found their niche in influencer marketing and scaled it.

Here are the main things we can learn from them:

  1. Don’t try to copy another brand’s influencer marketing model, find your niche.
  2. Only create content you know your audience wants.
  3. Maximise on micro moments that are important to your audience.
  4. Use influencers as the voice of your brand to create a compelling story.

Why conversion isn’t always the best success metric

Depending on the industry, conversion might not be the best metric for influencer marketing. The amount of positive sentiment and engagement is often a better indicator of how relevant you are and how your brand is considered.

Social capital is a highly valuable yet delicate element that’s hard to earn and hard to keep. It’s imperative to understand what’s truly important to your audience in order to maintain it. Brands should use influencers with this in mind especially when choosing people to work with and designing content. The reason a person is appreciated in the audience they influence is what makes them valuable to brands. Collaborative content should never deviate too much from that in order to be effective.

Getting value from social capital is about context and trust. How and when you’re reaching people is important because in some contexts your message will have effect and in some contexts it won’t. Trust is something you can only achieve through authenticity. The tone of your influencer marketing activity has to be your influencer’s tone or it’ll be inauthentic.

By handing over your brand voice to a relevant influencer, you build a sense of brand ownership in your customers because they see themselves represented. If they see themselves represented, they’re more likely to be advocates for you. The more advocates you have, the stronger your brand becomes.

If you want to find your niche in influencer marketing, get in touch.