The Complete Guide to Managing Social Media Influencers
[Originally published on the Dash Hudson blog]
Social media managers know how to deal with change. The social marketing landscape evolves before our eyes on the regular. If one thing is for certain right now, it’s that brands need great content to engage their audiences. Community-created content is an integral part of many brands’ strategies, and influencers play a major role. As influencer marketing matures, brands are getting more savvy in how they choose, work with, and measure their influencer relationships. To make the most of your partnerships we’re walking you through:
- How to make data-backed decisions and choose the right influencers
- Why communicating performance data leads to better creative
- How to measure influencer ROI relative to your goals
How do I choose the right influencers to work with? We hear this question every. single. day.
The answer is: it depends on your goals and objectives. If you’re looking for growth in a new region, a mix of local influencers can help to spread your reach and narrative fast. However if you’re looking for sales, a longer-term partnership with influencers who are revered as experts in their fields-be it skincare, fashion, home design, and so on-and regularly educate their followers on their latest finds, gifts, or top products, will be a better option.
Holistically thinking, it’s best to work with influencers who are aligned with your brand’s values, are honest and transparent, and who have genuinely engaged followers. A great way to start is to look at who is already talking about your brand and featuring products on social.
Many brands will use their user-generated or community-created content as a starting point to looking for new influencers to work with. That way they are starting with a group of fans who already care about the brand and its products, and there is more likely to be an alignment of values.
From here, there are a couple of ways to find out if an influencer is the right fit.
Firstly, the savviest brands are looking for visuals before metrics. Using Dash Hudson’s Visual IQ technology, social media managers can see the most engaging UGC trends automatically segmented.Not only can they get an overall feel of how their community is visually communicating about their brand, but it’s the perfect starting point for finding influencers who are the most likely to produce top-performing content that aligns visually.
Secondly, for users who have already tagged or @mentioned the brand, it’s time to take a deeper look into engagement rate.
Within Dash Hudson’s Relationship IQ tool, brands can compare the engagement rate of an influencer overall, against the engagement rate when the influencer mentions the brand. The sweet spot here is when the engagement rate is higher when the influencer features the brand than their engagement rate overall. What this is telling you is that the influencer’s audience is engaging with the content because the brand is featured, and not just because it’s from their favorite influencer.
To Pay or Not to Pay?
Another question we hear an awful lot. There are a whole myriad of ways in which brands can engage with influencers, from gifting and hoping they post to full contracts with reams of deliverables, timetables, and expected return.
For brands looking to partner with new influencers, many find the most productive route is to start by gifting to test the waters. This way the brand can see what the engagement is like, how the content is received by both the influencer’s audience and the brand’s audience, and also to review the quality of the content. From there, brands can make data-backed decisions on who they move to a paid relationship. Gifting first also allows you to spread your testing further, and experiment with different influencers with different styles to see what works.
Of course there are influencers who will not post unless paid to do so, and it’s up to you as a brand to decide if that’s right for you. Some brands, especially in the beauty sectors have found success trialling influencers’ Stories first, as these positions are often cheaper due to the ephemeral nature.
Influencer marketing is no longer in its infancy. Brands are now moving influencers through their tried-and-tested review processes, starting with gifting, stories, and one-off partnerships before entering into more long term agreements. For more on the legal side of influencer marketing in the UK, here you go.
If you’re working with influencers on a contractual basis, you’ll already have the content rights addressed. However, if you’re looking for new influencers to partner with there are a couple of ways you can make sure to cover the bases of repurposing content. The rule Dash Hudson stands by, is if a brand has been phototagged or @mentioned in a piece of content on Instagram, and wants to repurpose that content on the brand’s feed, simply crediting the user in the caption and/or tagging them content owner will suffice. Afterall, they reached out to you by tagging in the first place. On the other hand, if you’re working on a gifting basis, and you receive some stellar influencer content as a result, you might want to use that great organic lifestyle content on other channels, like the brand’s website or as part of a paid campaign. In these situations, it’s important to make sure the rights of the photo have been acquired before the content is repurposed across different platforms and channels.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for great content. Only now it’s easier to find the balance between what works for both the influencer’s audience and the brand’s. Having access to the metrics on the performance of influencer content featuring your brand gives you the power to have more open and transparent conversations around content creation and ways in which you can improve results for everyone.
Sharing performance data with your influencers is a win-win situation. By sharing metrics, you can turn the relationship from a one-for-one transaction into a more fruitful, transparent, and productive arrangement. Maybe outside shots aren’t working as well as indoor shots right now, or maybe one style of image cropping is outperforming another. Whatever it might be, sharing these creative insights is a step in the right direction to increasing engagement which means growth and return all round.
Measurement Is Key
Goals, goals, goals. As we’ve mentioned, objectives are everything when working with influencers. Ask yourself, what does success look like? Being clear with what you’re trying to achieve as a brand will help to narrow down the vast number of metrics available to the few that really matter. Yes the reach numbers might look great, but what does that matter if your goal was new followers or sales?
For short campaigns with very specific goals, the metrics that matter most will be those that give you a clear picture of how a campaign contributed to your overall goal, meaning they’ll be easier to define and pick out. Check out how REVOLVE understands its influencer activations here.
When it comes to longer partnerships and ambassador relationships, many brands will take a more long-term view and look at different metrics at different times, taking a more holistic approach.
Firstly, brands need to be able to easily track when influencers are posting about them. Using Relationship IQ, brands can track all their influencers, and see the engagement rate, gained followers, total posts and the EMV (Earned Media Value) overall, and right down to the individual post level. It’s a data-backed influencer report card to help you make the right decisions.