The first influencer marketing campaign I ever ran was some five years ago when we paid a certain individual well known in the industry, a hefty retainer to ‘promote our brand’. This lasted a couple of months before we cancelled the deal, frustrated that there was no stampede of new customers and we were unable to prove our return on investment.

Fast forward more years than I care to announce, and influencer marketing has flourished, so much so that it’s expected to be a $2.4 billion industry by 2019. Yet believe it or not, the scenario I painted above still resonates with many. The issue both then and now, it that it’s hard to see results when clear goals haven’t been defined.

As with most of modern marketing and PR the real success lies in great content combined with strategic goal setting, and the technology used for execution and measurement.

Here are three steps you need to follow to ensure ROI in your influencer campaigns:

 

Step 1: Set Your Campaign Objectives

They will determine whether the campaign has been a success. They should also be agreed by your team / clients, and the influencers you end up working with - it’s a team effort after all so transparency is key. Your campaign objectives are likely to be one of the following:

Awareness

A campaign to drive brand or product awareness will be measured on impressions. Your aim should be to work with influencers who have the largest reach and decent engagement. Don’t necessarily feel the need to work with one influencer across all their channels – they will likely have the same followers, so while impressions may be up, the reach is diluted. You should also consider that audience numbers and demographics may vary per channel, ZINE’s influencer database gives you a breakdown of audience and engagement per channel, so you can spread your campaign budget across the influencers channels that best suit your campaign. Keep in mind though the the amplification effect of channels like Facebook when thinking about reach.

Sentiment

Through your influencer marketing campaigns you can understand what resonates with your target audience and create content that helps strategically shape your product offering. In the longer term, combined with a media monitoring tool you can clearly measure the effect of your activities have on your brands value.

Engagement

Likes, comments, shares, website clicks - assign each action a value and remember to track where possible e.g. landing page tags. Keep in mind engagement averages vary per industry, per channel, and per influencer size.

Content Creation

Remember that if the content lives on your site it can diminish the authenticity of the influencer. So ideally the influencer needs to work their magic, creating unique content, that they host, with you tracking its effects. Again, click rates, likes, shares are a good measure of the quality of content and how it resonates with their audience. Don’t forget though -  while blog posts may seem like they get the highest view rates, on average 55% of people will read a blog post for less than 15 seconds, so scoring engagements is crucial.

Conversion

By far the easiest way to measure the influencers influence which is ultimately the bottom line. This can easily be done using unique URLs, Google Analytics goal tracking and promo codes, not to mention click to buy on platforms like YouTube. Facebook and Instagram.

 

Step 2: Influencer Selection

When making your selections have your objectives in mind. If your goal is driving broad awareness, you may choose to use a small handful of top-tier influencers to share your message, whereas engagement or conversion objectives often require more mid-tier niche influencers. You should also be carefully considering their audience per channel they will be working on. This is where ZINE can really help to ensure you are maximising your budget. As ZINE’s influencer database provides you with a detailed breakdown of influencer data per influencer, per channel, you can make sure you are spreading your campaign budget on the right channels for each influencer. You can then use the search function to create a list of influencers with your target av. engagement rate / following, per channel.

 

Step 3: Set Guidelines, then let them work their magic

It may be a little scary to ‘hand the creative-reigns over’ to your chosen influencers but remember that you are enlisting the expertise of a professional. You are ultimately paying for access to their following, that they gained through their original content. Set guidelines and timeframes and share your objectives with the influencer, then let them work their magic. Creativity and authenticity are important components of successful campaigns. With ZINE you can also see all of their past collaborations and press coverage to see how they have engaged with other brands in the past, and check whether you are good matches from a content and style perspective, then rest assured knowing you’re in safe hands.

 

Click here to learn about how ZINEs technology you can achieve more ROI in your influencer marketing campaigns.