Over the last five years, investment in influencer marketing has skyrocketed, from 1.7b in 2016 to 13.8b in 2021. When executed well, an influencer marketing strategy can lead to massive ROIs and be an extremely effective component of the marketer’s arsenal.
In this session of our Elevating eCommerce series, we brought on two influencer marketing experts from Organifi and Kizik and had a blast talking to them about how they’re running stellar influencer marketing programs. If you’re looking for some of the latest strategies and tips, read on. You can also catch the full webinar on-demand below:
Influencer marketing strategy TLDRs
- The metrics that matter: topline revenue, ROI, revenue per conversion, engagement rate. Don’t forget qualitative data, though. Some great information can come from feedback/DMs that influencers’ followers send to the influencers about your product(s).
- Segments and cohorts: Breaking down influencers by segments (or niches) can be quite effective. For example, demographic data (gender/career/etc.) can create highly effective and targeted segments: Organifi has found great success with nurses as a segment.
- Choosing influencers: Number of followers can, but isn’t always the best way to identify a good potential influencer. Consider things such as individual creativity, ability to tell a story, level of activity on Instagram (e.g., daily Stories), and level of audience engagement on posts. Also, consider their number of channels. Are they only on instagram, or are they also on TikTok, YouTube, Twitter? Do they have an email list?
- Tiers in an influencer program: Using tiers in your program is an interesting strategy to both organize influencers (on your end) and reward them for great work. E.g., communicate differently with VIPs (your best influencers), perhaps give them a bit less oversight than with lower-tier influencers.
How you can measure the success of your influencer program
Revenue: Influencer marketing programs are great opportunities to drive revenue. As with any marketing program or strategy, a place to check overall trends and success is revenue generated from the program. If revenue continues to climb consistently over time, it’s a key indicator of success (Also, pay attention to your influencer program’s ROI!).
Revenue per conversion: Once you start digging into your data past topline revenue, looking at the success of each conversion may indicate how successful a particular influencer is at driving AOV. Or, it may indicate how engaged and excited that influencer’s audience is and whether they’re more or less likely to bring in higher revenue than other influencers’ audiences.
Engagement rate: Engagement rate (average # of comments/likes/interactions per follower) is a great way to track how much an influencer’s followers engage with particular posts when your brand is mentioned.
A qualitative note: While metrics are key to measuring success, don’t forget to spend some time reading comments under influencers’ posts/videos. Also, ask your influencers to send you any DMs or emails they get from followers about your products. Honest feedback (or rave reviews) can be helpful both from a product/product improvement standpoint and can indicate how well an influencer is telling the story of your products/brand in their posts and videos.
Do you use any segments or cohorts in your overall influencer marketing strategy?
Segments: In the same way that you can leverage value-based and zero-party data-backed email segments for more effective marketing, you can find segments/niches on social media who will respond best to your products.
For example, both brands have been able to search for and find people in niches on social media who love and respond well to their influencer programs. For Kizik, nurses have been a particularly successful group
New Personas and Targeted Promotions: You can take your learnings from influencers and use those to inform your customer personas, increase the number that you have, and add detail to them. Additionally, you may find that certain promotions can be tailored to certain groups: Organifi was able to create athlete-specific promotions based on what they learned from their influencer program.
How do you choose influencers to represent your brand?
Once data starts rolling in from your influencer program, you can more easily choose which influencers might be better to keep in the program. But choosing them in the first place can be tricky. However, our panelists mentioned some guidelines to follow:
- Look for overall activity: Is the potential influencer highly active on social? Are they leveraging all elements of their social channels every week? For example, if they’re on Instagram, are they posting regularly, uploading daily stories, and maintaining a highlight reel?
- Look for multiple channels: Is the influencer leveraging more than one social channel? Are they on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook? Do they have an email list? An online store selling their own products?
- Look for storytelling and authenticity: Is the influencer good at setting up and creating stories on their platforms? Are they truly compelling to watch and listen to?
- Number of followers isn’t everything: Although the number of followers that an influencer has can certainly be an indicator of potential success, both brands have found that sometimes, a tighter connection with a smaller audience (i.e., higher engagement rate) is better than a large audience with a looser one.
- Who is commenting on posts? Some influencers can have followings that have a huge number of comments from other influencers, but not a ton of comments from non-influencers. As much as it is nice to see influencers supporting each other via likes and comments on Instagram and other social media platforms, a higher number of comments from non-influencers indicates a likely legitimate and dedicated audience.
Using tiers in your influencer program
An interesting and potentially useful way of structuring your influencer marketing strategy is by using tiers to categorize them based on their value to your brand.
In the same way that you can have a loyalty program to reward your best customers and build stronger relationships with them (including some with VIP status, who are likely your top customers), you can break your influencers into tiers and work to increase their tiers so that they are closer to your brand and build greater value.
Organifi, for example, has three tiers: Beginner Ambassadors, Middle Ambassadors, and VIP Members.
If you have or can figure out certain value thresholds for your influencers, you can “promote” them through your program, or even recruit new ones that may have much higher statuses faster. An influencer with a ton of close followers, multiple channels, and an email list may jump onto your influencer marketing program as a VIP, but others may start as beginners and work their way up.