“what gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
It was Peter Drucker who said that what gets measured gets managed. Which means it would be great to be able to enter data on a spreadsheet and output a SMI (social media influencer) performance rank. Having metrics gives you the chance to compare one SMI’s performance to another, or to other marketing efforts.
To try to get at some metrics, you’ll want to define some key performance indicators, also known as “KPIs.” For example — are you looking to see a specific increase in comments on your posts, or an increase in your number of followers? Those are measurable and realistic.
Decide on Your KPIs
It’s commonly thought that KPIs should include: Reach (which is the number of followers), impressions, views, engagement rates, and increase in followers and shares.
As you can see from the Instagram Insight screenshot here, most of the data for those KPIs can obtained from the social media platform analytics, which makes things convenient.
However – evidence shows that number of followers is not the best KPI to use. According to various testing, the more followers an account have, the lower level engagement. That’s why Nano and Micro-Influencers are so in demand this days. Number of followers just does not tell you anything about potential levels of engagement, which is really important.
So a better thing to look at would be Engagement — and what THAT can tell you about added value, commitment, and trust.
Not Everything is Measured
However, there are some intangible things that just cannot be measured easily, or at least not without doing survey research. For example,
- It’s hard to measure loyalty, especially short term
- It is also hard to measure how a marketing campaign builds brand awareness. But over time, with repeated exposure via best-fit SMI, your target audience should have increased awareness of your brand.
- What about people who see an SMI’s post, but don’t “Like” or “Comment” — they are still seeing it and it will have an impact, even if that can’t be measured? Take this post for example — people like it, but not many commented. Could it be that there was just nothing to say, but it still made them smile? I think so!
- Finally — Influencer marketing has a delayed effect, Like all Marketing – the point is to get your brand into people’s minds and to have the SMI generate trust for your brand. Then – when they are in the buying mood, your brand will come to mind.
So yes, practical measurements are critical, but some of the ROI of Influencer marketing is not immediately evident and only manifests indirectly and over time.
Updated: My Suggested Measurements
Assuming that you choose to work only with SMI who are relevant to what you do, here are the reasons behind my suggested KPIs for evaluating them.
Since evaluating Influencer Marketing is not as straightforward as some would have you believe, I’ve developed this practical scoreboard for evaluating an SMI.
And finally, don’t forget about the delayed effect. This means give the influence 30-90 days to take effect.
Smart Use of SMI Metrics
An example of a brand that is obviously using the right metrics is Glosier. Do you see what great content and engagement they gained by working with Micro-Influencers? The impact is mind blowing and they mostly use unknown SMI who are real life customers. It’s obvious that this is a brand that chooses long-term advocacy and positive sentiment over short-term engagement.
Generating that engagement comes from working with SMI who align with your brand and are passionate about it. Capturing that engagement requires brands to be thoughtful about their metrics: move away from ‘old metrics’ like press coverage as well as shallow data such as ‘likes’ or clicks.
Instead, what you want to look at is depth of engagement, including things like sentiment over time and long-term uplift.
Last word: to get Influencer Marketing right you should treat it like any other marketing channel – test, optimize, and try again. Try different brand stories, with different SMI. Work to understand the market and know your customer. There is no substitute for the hard work!