With influencers posting your content, you don't have the level of control as some other mediums when it comes to who is seeing your message. How do you make sure that the right people are seeing the right message at the right time?
It comes down to correctly identifying influencers. I think that's why we're seeing a huge increase in campaigns involving micro-influencers. Because their audience is much more specific and likely to drive higher conversions. They’re going to deliver that right message because that’s what they and their audience is passionate about. People who have smaller networks are much more focused and are proving to be much more likely to convert.
There are definitely use cases for collaborating with influencers who fall into the generalist category and can talk about a wide variety of topics. They often have a much larger following so the flipside is it can be harder to define who's actually receiving the message and whether the desired target audience is taking action. But, for creating general awareness and buzz it is smart to include generalists.
For companies that want to run an influencer marketing strategy, should their sales team be involved with any of the strategy behind setting those up?
I would vote yes, they should be involved. No one should know your target customer better than your sales reps, because they're on the front line.
I'm a huge advocate for personas. Not just the persona for the best-fit influencer, but also the personas of your target customers. Having that insight from a sales rep can help you flush out the needs and wants and the particular pain points of each target customer.
"Leads generated from influencer marketing move down the funnel quicker than others because they've been educated about who you are from someone they know and trust."
Should inbound leads from influencer marketing strategies be treated differently than leads that come through more traditional mediums?
It may vary depending on your particular line of business and the length of the sales cycle or what the particular touch points are, but generally leads from influencer marketing can be moved down funnel quicker as they are already aware of who you are as a company. They've heard about you, they've been educated about you from someone they know and trust. They have rapport, and that's the beauty of influencer marketing.
The rapport that influencers have with their audience can speed up the sales process and get them to convert quicker than your typical lead-gen. It's kind of like hearing from a buddy, "Hey, I really liked my experience with XYZ." You're more likely to act on that referral versus hearing a commercial on the radio, or a Facebook ad.
When it comes to goals that should be set for an influencers' strategy, what are the some common goals you see being set and how do those compare to the goals that would be set 5-10 years ago?
Today, a lot of clients are choosing more conversion-oriented goals. When I started a few years ago in influencer marketing, most of the campaigns I was doing was about awareness. How can we grow our Twitter following? How can we get more people to like us on Facebook?
Now, clients want them to download a white paper, sign up for a trial, or participate in a survey. A lot more things that are tangible. For influencer marketing, this is great because there are more metrics that we can get behind and show business value.
Are there metrics that you would point to as ones that should be tracked more closely with an influencer strategy?
It's important to track the success of each influencer. We know that through a link shortener, that it was clicked 5,000 times. It’s also important to get a little more granular, and be like, "We had 10 influencers contributing to this campaign, what did they each do?" I recommend using a specific link for each influencer, so then you can say, "Well, Paul, he shared it 50 times and we got 2,000 clicks. But then Rachel shared it 50 times and she got two."
You can then determine who you want to continue to collaborate with, because on paper all influencers look compelling. You want to work with people who matter to your target audience and are moving the needle for you, business-wise.
So, tracking influencer performance as well as which platforms are performing better will help hone your future campaigns. If you know for a particular client that Instagram is the best platform, based on the current campaign, then it’s easy to recommend that we don't touch Google Plus or Facebook right now. You can get a lot more specific.
Influencer marketing has evolved from awareness to conversion as the preferred outcome. How far down the funnel would you track the effectiveness of your influencer marketing strategy? Does it make sense to track it right down to revenue?
It depends on what you're selling or what your service is. It could make sense to track all the way to purchase in some scenarios. For example, we work with a lot of enterprise brands, where they have a longer sales cycle and high dollar buys. It’s important to know that from this influencer campaign, we generated 15 purchases. But those were potentially million dollar purchases.
For other things, our goal is 500 downloads of this ebook, and we track it there. Once the emails go into your CRM, then it’s up to sales to convert.
It depends on the project and the end business goals.
"Numbers aren't everything."