When Jerry Maguire shouted, “Show me the money!” in the 1996 hit film, he was promising his pro-athlete client that he could deliver a more profitable contract. If that movie were made today, instead of an NFL athlete, Cuba Gooding Jr. might have been an all-star social influencer. Alright, maybe that’s a stretch, but if Twitter Counter were in the movie biz, that’s a plot we would bank on, because in today’s world, influencer marketing is at the top of its game (did you know that just 3% of the people engaged in an online conversation yield over 90% of the results?). But how do you know if it’s worth the big bucks? Here are five ways you can keep track of your influencer program ROI.
One-Off Endorsements vs. Lifelong Ambassadors
First, it would behoove us (not enough people use the word behoove these days!) to spend a minute or two discussing the pros and cons of establishing a single one-off endorsement with key influencers, or an ongoing relationship. Dollar for dollar, the long-term relationship usually wins out.
Why? While enlisting the help of relevant influencers to help launch a product, brand or service may provide an initial spike in interest and engagement, that spike is usually short-lived. But building long-term relationships with your influencers results in deeper relationships, where they become passionate ambassadors for your brand, not just for one campaign because you’re paying them to, but for the long-run because they feel connected to your brand. It’s akin to relationships, lust burns out people, but love is forever!
Alright, now that we know we’re in it for the long-haul, here’s how to determine whether your influencer campaigns are flourishing or fading fast.
#1: TRACK CUSTOM URLs
If you use custom URLs for your influencer marketing campaigns (i.e. unique tracking URLs that you only use for these specific campaigns) you’ll be able to see exactly how much traffic has come to your website through these programs. You can create a custom tracking URL using a service like bit.ly or TinyURL. Make sure you create a URL for each influencer and each campaign so you can measure who and what is having the most impact. Twitter Counter is also launching a service that will help you connect with influencers to create and measure campaigns, sign up and be among the first to hear when it’s released!
#2: TRACK PROMO CODES
Similar to custom URLs, your influencer marketing campaigns may involve custom promo codes that you extend to individual influencers for exclusive use. Through the unique promo codes you can track the performance of each influencer and each campaign. For example, if you partner with mega-blogger Julie Sariñana (@sincerelyjules) you might offer a 20% discount to her followers with promo code JULES20 – that way, you know that anyone who has made a purchase on your site using that promo code has come via that particular influencer. Got it? Good.
#3: TRACK ENGAGEMENT ON INFLUENCER CONTENT
Say it with me amigos, what’s the golden ticket in social media currency? ENGAGEMENT, ENGAGEMENT, ENGAGEMENT! Likes and followers are great, but engagement is the key to business success. So if you want to know if your influencer marketing campaigns are doing well, you need to track engagement on their posts.
Track them against
(1) their other top-performing posts to see if the content they’re creating for you is outperforming their regular content (or at least meeting their baseline for engagement); and
(2) their engagement vs. the engagement on posts from regular customers who also participate in the campaign.
If you engaged the right influencers, their posts on your brand should have at least as much engagement as their regular content and their engagement should be higher than the general audience. That’s why you’ve picked them after all.
#4: TRACK ENGAGEMENT ON YOUR BRAND CONTENT
In addition to tracking engagement on the influencer posts, you can also measure the success of your influencer campaigns based on your own posts that mention the influencer. Invoking their name should boost your content in the same way that celebrity endorsements help boost big brands like Rolex and Coca-Cola.
#5: TRACK HASHTAG USE
Have you seen a post with hashtag #thesweatlife lately? Chances are, if you’re young, fit, and active, the answer is yes. That’s because Lululemon’s owned hashtag has had incredible adoption and success in the social media sphere. Give it a try by creating a custom hashtag and then asking your influencers to use it and encourage their followers to do the same. Then measure the growth of the hashtag to get an idea of the reach of your campaign.
What Gets Measured Gets Done
Influencer marketing ROI can sometimes feel a bit inexact, but the bottom line is, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it, so finding ways to quantify your campaigns is the key to making sure your efforts are yielding maximum results.
A Little Inspiration Never Hurt
And just before we sign off, here are some examples of great influencer marketing programs. Maybe something will spark your next campaign!
Twitter Counter is developing a tool that will help your brand effortlessly connect and engage with social media influencers. Sign up for your early FREE access invite at alpha.social.co