Imagine a likely scenario: You have just run another social media display advertising campaign across Facebook and Twitter, and have spent $10,000 on promoting a report your company has published recently. So far, five people have downloaded the report The cost per conversion is embarrassing, and so you hide from your boss until he finally catches on. Although the results are usually much better than in this extreme example, social advertising is still very much about segmenting audiences based on what is being advertised, then running sponsored posts that may include banners, videos and more. Your competition is already way ahead! Think influencer marketing.
Influencer Marketing Is Customer Reviews on Steroids
I’ll bet there have been multiple times you’ve bought something based on a positive review you saw. You likely do it all the time. With the pervasiveness of social media, you can find and publish reviews easily. Research shows people are more likely to buy if they see previous customers’ positive reviews. Check out the chart below from an Inc article that shows over 80% of people are more likely to buy if they hear about a product from a customer review. Interestingly, the same is true for only 20% of people exposed to social media posts from a company.
Now consider if you would be even more inclined to buy a product if the recommendation came from someone you know and respect. Of course you would! For any business, this represents a significant opportunity to find and work with the most influential or knowledgeable people in their industry. These engagements between brands and influencers are already happening on a large scale. In fact, Forbes reports 84% of companies have planned to engage in influencer marketing in 2017. If you are in the remaining 16%, or just haven’t considered how to go about starting this kind of marketing yet, here are a few relevant tips to get you going:
- Set up your first influencer campaign
As with any advertising campaign, start with what you want to accomplish. Are you looking for brand awareness, leads or sales? Define the goals and how you will measure them. Then you need to find the right person (or multiple influencers) to help you achieve the defined aims. There are tons of solutions available out there for searching and vetting influencers, including Upfluence, Brandnew or Crewfire.
Finding the right influencer to do what you want is important. Do you want to expose your brand or products to their YouTube, Instagram or Twitter followers? Depending on the channels, different content will need to be produced, and the costs will vary. Check out the video below describing what you may end up spending with influencers across various social channels:
Content production by influencers on your behalf has the added benefit of longevity and gives you highly beneficial evergreen SEO content. For example, at 1E we engage with well-known Microsoft experts called MVPs, for whom we have created a special blog theme called MVP Mondays.
- Make sure you measure every step
You may already be getting excited about influencer marketing, but the only way to tell whether this marketing tactic works better than your standard social advertising is to compare your approaches for return on investment or goal achievement rate against spend. The analysis can become very complex, but, in the simplest terms, you want to look at underlying spend and make sure your return from influencer marketing is higher than your standard social advertising. The crude chart below shows this basic relationship:
Notice in the chart the breakdown of spend and the return by day, which is in fact how detailed you want to get. Analysis of daily variations across social is critical to spot rapidly developing trends and address them quickly. Most obviously, at the very minimum, you want to make sure your return doesn’t dip below spend. If it does, then this exercise will be very short lived.
- Stay authentic and relevant
With the constant exposure to marketing messages, we have become pretty good at spotting when we are being pushed bogus claims and useless sales messaging. Unfortunately, typical display advertising has become less effective due to this constant overload. According to research by Social Media Examiner, though the majority of B2C marketers still find value in promoted social posts and ads, in the B2B sphere, fewer than half of marketers find promoted social posts and ads effective. On the other hand, with influencer marketing, your impact can be very effective in both B2C and B2B. As shown by research from TapInfluence/Altimeter Group, marketers find this tactic to be important in letting them tell more authentic stories about their brands. It also gives them better reach and offers higher return on investment than other channels:
Although you probably don’t want to switch all your sponsored posts quite yet, the time is now to investigate and test out how influencer marketing can help your organization grow. You may actually already know the influencers who can make a difference. If you do, contact them today!
Lucjan Zaborowski is the Head of Digital at 1E responsible for all digital marketing activities of the company. He has over 10 years of experience in digital marketing for financial and technology B2B and B2B companies. He has contributed to various media such as Moz, Internet Advertising Bureau and Content Marketing Institute. You can connect with him on Twitter at @GOcontent