Influencer marketing has vastly grown over the last number of years - and has no intention of slowing down.
The rise of influencer marketing is impossible to ignore. Social media feeds are flooded with perfectly manicured photos of influencers promoting the latest travel spot or beauty product. But just how popular are influencers?
In a new report, 65% of brands said they planned on upping their influencer budget. With such a large increase, one would presume a high level of brand measurement is in place to ensure that the influencer relationship is performing as it should.
The influencers who run these campaigns for a brand have the dream job - or at least that's how it appears. Think about it. Often our social media feeds are overrun with influencers showing off the latest product or the most recent press trip.
While no doubt there is a lot of work involved in creating these campaigns in the background, it is easy to see why being a full-time influencer is a very highly sought-after job. And with high engagement on their posts, it is no wonder that brands want influencers to lead their campaigns.
The relationship between influencers and brands
The relationship between influencers and brands isn’t one-sided. Influencers also strive to work with brands. Collaborations are how they make their money, after all.
Unfortunately, the vast competition between the increasing number of influencers to be seen by brands can often lead to unorthodox practices. This can include buying followers and/or likes. As many brands are new to influencer marketing, they can sometimes choose the wrong influencers to work with as they only look at the number of followers, likes, and so on. Brands just need to remember that the influencer with the largest following may not always be the best influencer to promote a brand.
Brands who enter contracts with the wrong influencers can often see the relationship turn sour when expectations are not met. If a brand is running a campaign for the sole purpose of sales, then it can be pretty evident if the campaign is working. But what happens if it is a brand awareness campaign? How do you know if people are liking content because of your brand or because of the influencer? This is where brand measurement comes into play.
We are going to discuss why understanding brand measurement can help improve influencer relationships. We will also touch on the key things you should look out for. Once you realize the importance of linking the two, you'll wonder why you didn’t consider brand measurement in the past.
Why bother with brand measurement?
In all other areas of marketing, there are levels of measurement in place, whether it be how many emails are opened, how many posts are shared on social media, or what the bounce rate of a website really is. All these metrics allow you to understand the health of your company and what areas are performing best. Why not have the same for branding?
There is a need across all industries to understand that brand measurement is important. Without a level of understanding, among other things, it will be difficult to improve influencer relationships. That's all well and good, but how does brand management help your company?
1. Brand measurement helps track the ROI of your campaign
Think about it. Without brand measurement, how else would you see the true impact of your influencer brand campaigns? How would you know if these campaigns have increased brand perception? Awareness? Consideration? You will understand why it is necessary to measure brand campaigns further along this article.
2. Brand measurement informs other aspects of marketing
Likewise, understanding brand measurement will help you with another important aspect of branding: knowing more about your target audience. By implementing brand measurement, you will be able to see how your target audience(s) reacts to your brand. Essentially, you will be able to get inside the minds of your customers.
3. Brand measurement helps build your customer-base
Plus, you will be able to find new audiences. Being able to relay to your influencer network exactly who your target audience(s) is, and also being able to pinpoint any new audiences that come as a result of influencer campaigns, enables the transparency that will work to further cement good influencer relationships.
How to track brand measurement
Another thing you need to understand about brand measurement is that it has to be done right if you want to get the best results. This includes improving your influencer relationships too.
It is essential to ensure you are tracking what is best for your brand right now. Now, there are some areas of brand measurement that can be done as a once-off, but there are some important metrics you must measure - and measure long term.
What should your brand be tracking?
Most brand trackers will track these metrics for you. There are also some brand trackers that will allow you to add custom questions to track. However, do not overlook the metrics listed above in favor of custom questions. If you plan on implementing brand measurement, you will get less value from these questions. Brand awareness, consideration, and associations provide much better information to help improve influencer relationships.
Secondly, make sure that the data you get is accurate, reliable data. Things will not progress in the right direction if you are basing decisions and relationships on unreliable data.
How to track influencer campaigns
Just how can you get this information? Well, a brand tracking tool can provide you with the insights needed to help you grow your brand and improve influencer relationships. If you're looking for something more targeted, there are now a number of influencer marketing platforms designed specifically for marketing and tracking influencer campaigns.
These platforms offer a number of offerings, including tools that enable brands to match with influencers, dashboards that allow users to visualize and evaluate influencer campaign performance, and centralizes your influencer marketing program into a single, simple platform.
Understanding brand measurement will help improve influencer relationships
At this point, it should be apparent why brand measurement is important and how you should go about implementing brand measurement as part of your strategy. Now let us connect all this information together to show why understanding brand measurement will help improve influencer relationships.
First of all, you will have a better idea of what you want from the relationship with an influencer. This is achieved by looking at the data provided by brand measurement. Let us take for instance brand awareness. You will be able to look at your various target audiences and see for which audiences brand awareness is lacking. These become the audiences you want to improve on and now you have a clear idea of whom you want to target with influencer campaigns.
You can see by how much these underperforming audiences are lagging behind your top audiences for brand awareness, get an average of how much you expect brand awareness to climb over time with the help of influencer campaigns, and then set a solid target for you and your influencer. With this information, the influencer now also has a better idea of expectations and it becomes easier to work together, thus improving your relationship.
In addition, this data enables you to pick the right influencers to work with from the start. You can choose the influencers based on your target audience. At the end of the campaign, both you and the influencer you collaborated with have solid numbers on the effect of the campaign. These numbers once again allow for better transparency and provide something solid to base the future of the relationship going forward.
Creating an influencer program that works
All this sounds great but how would you actually work with the influencer to gain this improved relationship. A flow between brand measurement and an improved influencer relationship would go as follows
1. Focus on the data first
Both you and your influencer can look at accurate and reliable insights in the areas of brand awareness, consideration and associations across your target audience. These insights can be set with the data the influencer has from their personal accounts regarding the campaign. With all cards clearly on the table, the trust will become stronger and the relationship improved.
2. Make the connection between your brands
Look at the data across different timeframes and connect the dots with influencer campaigns. This will help both you and your influencer understand how campaigns have impacted your brand performance over time. All parties involved will be happy to be able to pinpoint the success of a campaign.
3. Create a dynamic plan
With the insights, it is possible to further tailor your influencer campaigns to fit your target audience(s) and improve brand performance. This can be a collaborative effort with you and the influencer and is something that will once again strengthen the relationship.
Don't be influenced by the lure of influencers
It can be very tempting to just throw money at a hot new trend that seems to be working for your competitors: but that's not how influencer marketing should be done.
They key to doing influencer marketing the right way is patience, practice, and planning. Understanding brand measurement will help you choose the right influencers to help you grow your brand, provide an accurate representation of how influencer campaigns are performing, and show exactly how an influencer campaign has impacted brand performance.
Share this data with influencers so the relationship is built on transparency and get them on board in devising campaigns that will not only reach your target audience(s) but also help grow brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand associations. Over time, it won’t be hard to see how understand brand measurement can improve influencer relationships.
Building relationships through brand measurement
There you have it. Exactly what you need to understand about brand measurement to improve influencer relations. While you may not have been able to see the connection between the two before, this article should have changed your mind - and your brand strategy - to now put a bigger emphasis on brand measurement when it comes to influencer campaigns.
Did you know? Instagram is the most popular platform used by influencers. Here's everything you need to know about Instagram influencer marketing.
Steve Habazin is a content marketing specialist working with Latana. He enjoys sharing insights with the community and growing network of people sharing the same level of enthusiasm. You will often find him taking a walk with his dog.