One of our previous blog posts discussed the issue that as more focus is placed on digital and social media in PR communication campaigns, measuring the output of these campaigns accurately and meaningfully is becoming more difficult.
There are several ways in which social and digital media has transformed traditional PR campaigns. One of the biggest changes is that the focus is no longer just on long lead traditional media sources. Campaigns also often include so called ‘short lead’ media that includes more traditional outlets such as daily or weekly newspapers, magazines, and their websites, but also blogs and social media influencers.
Influencer marketing is seen as one of the most effective marketing tools to promote word-of-mouth publicity. This boils down to partnering on social media with a person that carries credibility and has a large enough loyal brand following to become a brand ambassador. Unlike paid advertising, an influencer can connect with consumers, earning credibility and trust for a brand.
Influencer marketing includes aspects of traditional PR practices like building a relationship with the influencer, creating content with added value, and then aiming for today’s version of readership – reach and engagement. But it also merges aspects of product placement and user-generated content. You get your product or service in the hands of someone your audience would trust, that person creates content around it; and then this content is published on their own, as well as the brand’s platforms. The benefits of this approach are that it increases your audience, creates more organic(earned) promotion of content (than advertising) and it increases the speed by which your audience receives a message.
But how do you measure the success of an influencer campaign? Do you simply look at the number of followers an influencer has, and in effect the potential number of people that your campaign reached? Or is it more nuanced than this? Should we also look at a combination of reach, the relevance of the content to a following, and how the content resonated with that audience?
The first step is narrowing down the goal of the campaign, be it visibility, engagement, content creation or revenue. Next, performance indicators should be developed for each of these goals. For instance, if an influencer campaign was developed to improve visibility, the goals could be increased social media reach, post engagement or follower growth. Some metrics to look at are social media likes, brand mentions, click-through rates, referral traffic, and revenue.
As with all strategies, you will get the best results by tracking progress and adjusting as needed; an infinite loop of developing strategy, measuring results and learning.
For some specific strategies to measure influencer marketing ROI, have a look at this article.