It’s time for Social Influencers to join the KPI party

By Lorraine Murphy, Founder of The Remarkables Group.

With any marketing activity, there are going to be multiple people involved in bringing it to life. There’ll be the brand, an agency or three, and some combo of media owner/tech product/talent.

Influencer marketing is the very same.

Depending on the players, there’ll be a brand, agencies, and influencers playing together for the duration of whatever the activity is. This requires communication, trust, honesty and a mutual commitment to the project at hand from all parties. Each partner has expectations of the other, and each has their own responsibilities to fulfill within this process.

Having acted as a specialist in influencer marketing for 5.5 years, there is one area I don’t see the fair share of heavy lifting – and that’s when it comes to setting KPIs.

Every influencer marketing play should have associated KPIs. I have seen brands sign off hundreds of thousands of dollars on a campaign and have no KPIs going into it.

If the brand and agencies don’t set KPIs for the overall activity, then it is impossible for influencers to know what success looks like – and as such, they create and share content with no true idea of what they’re setting out to achieve with it. The onus sits firmly with the agency or brand to make the content work as hard as it can, and there is a distinct lack of direction and clarity for all parties.

In our experience, influencers are eager to knock the socks off a brand with their content, however, they haven’t had the opportunity much of the time as they don’t know what they’re shooting for.

This would not fly with any other channel, and KPIs must be set for influencer marketing. These KPIs will depend on the overall objectives of the activity. Given the fact influencer marketing is still in its infancy, accurate KPI-setting still has an element of art versus science to it. Of vital importance is chunking down to individual KPIs per influencer, and communicating those KPIs to the talent.

In our previous model at The Remarkables Group when we represented talent, we developed key benchmarks we communicated with our influencers. Some were non-negotiable (like organic reach). These success benchmarks gave the influencers clear direction on what was expected from them when they embarked upon a brand campaign.

If for whatever reason the content wasn’t performing as expected, the onus was on the influencer to address it – by doing additional shares, editing a caption or (if a post was tanking completely) creating some additional content to take its place.

Now we have resigned our talent to instead focus on providing unbiased strategic advice to brands, we have continued to set individual influencers with a benchmark for what success looks like for their individual contribution to brand activity.

This means an influencer can come to the party as a full team player, and the onus sits equally across all parties: on the brand to provide clear direction in their brief, the agency to create a strategy and talent mix to deliver on that brief, and the influencers to create engaging and effective content within that.

Of course, knowing what KPIs to set for an individual influencer requires due consideration. At The Remarkables Group, we will research that influencer’s previous content, including asking them to provide analytics on previous posts.

I won’t lie, this is a time-intensive task.

However, the outcome of clarity and shared responsibility makes the additional elbow grease worthwhile, and ultimately better-performing influencer strategies.

Photo by Nik MacMillan

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