Influencers are the new opinion leaders.
Information is passed from opinion leaders to opinion followers, as first proposed in the ‘two-step flow’ model of communication by Lazarsfeld, Berelson and Gaudet in their book: The People’s Choice (1948).
A brand that takes advantage of audience empathy, admiration, aspiration and personal ties is able to reach relevant influencers more effectively.
Direct communication between a brand and its audience has broken down. The influencer serves as an intermediary between company and consumer.
Unfortunately many opinion followers have developed an understandable suspicion of brand-influencer collaborations, due in part to over-exposure. The ‘top’ influencers are assumed to be speaking on behalf of a brand as part of a commercial agreement, no longer as the result of altruism or spontaneity.
To avoid scepticism and a loss of credibility brands must seek out, adopt, and develop an organic relationship with relevant influencers. We have highlighted the following successful methods:
- Work with new and innovative influencers.
- Work with bloggers who target different communities.
- Devise long-lasting, exclusive influence programs and ambassadorships.
- Develop frequency plans: that is, allowing a reputation or product campaign to grow over time, in order to avoid saturation.
- Choose ‘fans’ to represent the brand; by choosing influential people who already enjoy or promote a brand or product, the brand can better avoid audience skepticism.
Our best ally
To make sure a brand has identified and collaborated with the most suitable influencers, we must quantitatively and qualitatively analyse shared actions between brand and influencer.
At Good Rebels, we believe that technology is our best ally in understanding these shared actions. First, we define and implement influencer KPI reports using the following benchmarks:
- Visibility: gathering together the number of posts published by collaborating influencers. For this we use monitoring tools, like Brandwatch, a platform that allows brands to upload the various ‘channels’ (or social profiles) of different influencers and monitor posts published within a given period of time.
- Impact: measuring the potential scope of all posts. Again, Brandwatch can be used to calculate potential post impressions. This tool proves most reliable with Twitter, while other platforms like Facebook and Instagram require different methods of calculation. Number of visits obtained by a postmust also be taken into consideration. Influencers can provide this data themselves.
- Engagement: gathering the total number of interactions obtained by all collaborator posts (retweets/ shares, comments, likes/ mentions, favourites…etc.) The best indicator, perhaps, is the humble hashtag.
- Conversion: how we draw the consumer closer to the point of sale through influencer recommendations? To measure this we use a variety of different metrics, for example:
Web traffic: number of visits to the microsite, e-commerce, landing page or mobile application through influencer recommendation. We can track traffic to a particular web page through Google Analytics.
Redirecting traffic to the POS: to count the number of people that arrive at the point of sale based on the recommendations of influencers, we rely on a combination of methods. There is existing technology that helps us to count store traffic.
Data acquisition: the redirection of traffic to registration forms in order to grow the brand’s database. It is recommended that brands make use of Google Analytics to register all visits immediately, as they occur.
- ROI (return on investment): measuring the cost effectiveness of influence actions, taking into account the initial investment and whether or not conversion or awareness goals have been met.
All this data should be compiled to create an influencer dashboard; so brands can analyse the evolution of their actions as well as comparing the success of one set of actions to another.
Influencer relationships can help improve a brand’s visibility and engagement. However, everything depends on influencer profile. Bigger is not always better, sometimes less impactful influencers serve as support to more popular influencers and can help to further increase the conversion rate.
Analytics and social media monitoring help us understand the impact of influencer collaboration, as well as tracking goals and objectives. It is important not to get stuck in a never-ending cycle of customer identification and relationship through PR and conventional communication models. Rather, we recommend going full circle and closing the loop through phases of monitoring and analysing impact.
Isabel Peláez and Ruth Núñez