4 Tips for Driving Results in the Age of Influence
The impact of social media and other technologies continues to evolve. Brands are shifting the way they are communicating with their audiences. Influencers are now bringing brands into our everyday conversations by way of text, video, photo and audio, as today’s social platforms allow people to digest information in their preferred medium.
Neal has paved his way as an industry leader helping brands to transform their own sales and marketing initiatives through influencers. In his keynote, he shared effective strategies and key ideas for how you can better use influencers to drive results for your brand. Here are some of the highlights you may consider taking stock in:
Algorithms favor people over brands. Most of us are becoming more and more discerning of ads despite their relevance keeping us looking over our shoulders. We want to hear from the people we trust - what products are the people we look up to using in their homes? At work? And, why do they use them? Typically, the return you see from a mention by a thoughtful influencer whose livelihood depends on creating content will be far greater than a paid ad, regardless of how well it’s targeted.
In an increasingly digital world, we often hear reminders to limit screen time. For me, this has manifested in a very well-curated Instagram feed designed to prevent “doom-scrolling” and a loyal lineup of podcast subscriptions. I am purposely consuming content from influencers I’ve developed some trust in, and am intentionally looking for more of it with every scroll and every listen. This kind of conscious media consumption coupled with the curse of a love for consumerism means the brands associated with these accounts and podcasts always get my attention and, often, my dollars.
Brand Affinity > Number of Followers. With influencer marketing on the rise due to its perceived efficacy, basing your decisions on the number of followers can be tempting. Brand affinity, however, is a far more compelling prerequisite considering the right match could make or break your ROI. Fortunately, there are several resources that can help you identify potential influencers who are already traveling in your lane. The key here is to find the influencers who already possess a certain level of brand affinity for you:
- Approximately 97% of brand mentions on Twitter are not tagged. Using a social listening tool to catch instances of your brand being mentioned could identify pockets of an already engaged audience. Find out who is talking about you in a positive way, and consider partnering up with them.
- Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms often allow you to identify the people most engaged with your page. Check into who is liking, re-posting, and commenting on your page, and whether there might be an opportunity.
- If you have a Shopify store, tools like Carro can sift through your customer database, email subscribers and social media mentions, to identify customers that might be a good fit for an influencer relationship. This could help you identify customers who aren’t followers, and vice versa.
- Scoring tools for fans and followers can provide social media handles and cross-referencing with other resources can provide invaluable insight into the quality of interactions with your brand.
Deepening relationships delivers multifaceted ROI. From driving website traffic and reaching highly niched audiences to providing converting content, influencers can boost your brand’s performance marketing initiatives in myriad ways.
When influencers interact with your brand, you’re able to gain customer insight for stronger strategies. You’re able to educate, and in turn, convert your followers into customers by offering advice or answering questions. You can discover hidden influencers and brand advocates who are genuine fans that can help leverage your brand. As an added bonus, your pixel is strengthened by targeting those that engage with your page and opening up your ability to create look-a-likes audiences to advertise towards.
Perhaps one of the most valuable returns is the user-generated content (UGC) that often becomes a by-product of an influencer relationship. UGC can become a powerful tool you can use with your own website that often yields greater results at a far lower cost compared to paid media.
Track with nuance using Everflow’s robust platform. While payouts based on performance with affiliates are generally straight forward, compensation in the influencer space is often more nuanced. You may offer the influencer free product or provide discount codes that will earn the influencer a cut of the sales associated with them.
Most importantly, Neal advises that you never stop testing. Around 20% of your influencers usually drive 80% of your results, so once you’ve got some momentum it’s crucial to continue A/B testing to prove your efforts are in the right place.
The relationships and how you measure may be different than with a traditional affiliate program, but with Everflow’s sophisticated tracking features like Direct Linking, Coupon Codes, and Coupon Code Tracking URLs, you can capture the whole journey. With the right setup in place, you can measure nuanced KPIs such as community growth and content creation as accurately as you measure traditional paid media.
There is so much an influencer can bring to your brand outside of sales figures. Before influencers, as Neal mentioned early on, brands were used to seeing their content’s performance rapidly drop off. Influencers and social media bridge the gap between your content, messaging, and what potential customers care about. They meet the audience where they are.
Not to mention what a privilege it is to truly collaborate with your audience, invest in people rather than concepts, and then celebrate those wins together.