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Social media marketing comes in many shapes and sizes, and regardless of which path you pursue, understanding the impact your efforts have on your target audience is mandatory – or at least it should be! This is particularly true when evaluating influencer effectiveness. You not only need to understand whether or not their influence is as valuable as anticipated, but also to see that they’re complying with applicable advertising laws. Let’s examine some trouble spots.

Influential Or Not?

Working with influencers can be tricky – so much so that many businesses never bother pursuing it. And some doubt influencers have any influence at all!

Others go at it, hard: “A 2018 study found that 79% of marketing decision makers will invest in influencer marketing . . . 43% plan to invest even more than they did last year . . . and 22% are venturing into the market for the first time.”

Regardless of where you land, you’ll likely be asked about influencer marketing and without a good way to evaluate influencer effectiveness (or prove ineffectiveness), your opinion is just that. Understanding how to spot fake influencers and pinpointing those capable of affecting real ROI makes the case. To do this, you need to pay close attention to:

  • This isn’t just a numbers game, though an engaged audience of millions is certainly desirable. Many “influencers” have gamed the system and purchased followers, so that huge following is meaningless. You’ll need to watch them for a bit to see if those numbers make sense.
  • Of those many, many followers, how many are favoriting or sharing their posts? If their reach is contained to that set audience, make sure it’s the audience you’re after. They may not be as narrowly focused on your niche as you’d like and followers, though genuine, may be there pursuing other interests. This provides a limited reach, that’s much less than the actual follower count.
  • How active is the influencer with those liking, favoriting or commenting on their posts? If they aren’t fueling the fire, you’re looking at a lazy influencer who will offer minimal ROI. You want someone who will actively participate and get fans excited about the recognition. It doesn’t need to be excessive interaction, but it can’t be nonexistent.
  • How are people responding to this influencer? Do they find s/he is a credible voice offering authentic reviews of products and services, or a paid shill whom few are genuinely listening too. Social sentiment is key to sorting this out, as it won’t always be obvious.

Where Are Influencers Interacting Right Now?

Influencer marketing is hot right now, and Instagram is the place to be:

It makes sense as online has become such a visual medium, with audiences communicating more than ever with emojis, memes and other imagery. So, it’s important to not only have very visual influencers, but also the means of analyzing imagery around your brand and your brand’s competitors.

And image analytics must be powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to be worth its salt these days, so be sure you aren’t settling for less. Capturing objects, scenes, emotions and logos, sans text, has become table stakes for capturing brand mentions, that’s for sure.

But let’s get back to those pesky influencer details that many seem to gloss over – and regret they did.

Those Pesky Details

Once you’ve identified that rockstar change maker, you’ll need to not only evaluate how effective s/he is, but watch closely to see that your influencers are legally compliant.According to the Financial Times, “Britain’s competition and consumer protection watchdog has opened an investigation into celebrity ‘influencers’ who use social media to advertise brands and products without revealing if they have been paid to do so. The Competition and Markets Authority said on Thursday it had written to a number of celebrities to ‘gather information about their posts and the nature of the business agreements they have in place with brands’.”

So that doesn’t really have an affect on your brand – not financially, but it can tic off a bunch of potential consumers and turn that positive sentiment sour faster than Kylie Jenner can make another million.

Some influencers are entirely up front about their influence and have built it in – as a job – to their online personas. These folks have tons of aspirational followers, who are often influential in their own right. You want them.

Others let the #instafame affect their brain and fail to live up to their end of the bargain. So beyond the appropriate disclosures, it’s important to ensure your terms are very clear – and met. It’s almost unbelievable to think an influencer would flake on such a sought-after arrangement, but it happens. Just ask PR Consulting, which is currently suing the patootie out of an influencer for just that.

He had one job, to Instagram himself a handful of times wearing Snap Spectacles for a cool $60k. He did not. A few posts, sure, but fell noticeably shy of his contract and the brand is demanding the advance ($45k) with damages. Yikes.

That isn’t a common tale, hopefully. And if it is, it will be easy to find said influencers embroiled in public disputes with unhappy brands – or with consumers who just find them insufferably fake. Either way, it’s smart to dig a bit beneath the public persona to get a sense of the influencer and follower buzz.

We can help you avoid costly influencer mismatches! Contact us for a demo and we’ll show you how!