How Brands Can Overcome the Biggest Influencer Marketing ChallengesShane BarkerBlogger ExtraordinaireSimply Measured
You’re familiar with influencer marketing. You already know the benefits it can offer your business. Now you want to launch your very own influencer marketing campaign, but you want to make sure you’re doing it right.
As Denis Waitley said, “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” Planning for the worst means learning about the potential problems you could encounter, and being prepared to face them.
In this post, you will get an in-depth look at some of the biggest influencer marketing challenges, and how you can overcome them.
Challenge #1: Measuring Influencer Marketing ROI
Linqia recently surveyed 170 marketers from a variety of different industries about “The State of Influencer Marketing.” According to the report, the biggest influencer marketing challenge is determining ROI.
In fact, 78% of the marketers surveyed said that measuring influencer marketing ROI will be their #1 challenge this year.
Since an influencer marketing campaign is typically run alongside other marketing programs, it can be difficult to determine which conversions were generated by influencers.
There are several ways you can determine the conversion rate and measure the ROI of your influencer marketing campaign. Some of the most effective methods are:
Invest in State-of-the-Art Software
To understand the ROI of your influencer program and the difference between individual influencers you are investing in, you need to be able to:
Accurately connect influencer activity on social and the web to your brand’s on-site activity and conversions
Put dollar signs next to your influencers’ social posts so you can report and optimize based on business outcome
Visits to your website that come via private sharing, AKA dark social
The number of impressions and conversions each influencer is driving, with insight into the specific content and social posts that are working
Which social channels are most successful for working with influencers
How different influencer campaigns match up against one another, for continuous improvement
Create Custom URLs for Each Influencer
Instead of having all your influencers promoting one link, you could create a custom link for each influencer. The link should include their name or handle so it’s easy to remember.
These custom URLs can help you track the conversions resulting from your influencer marketing campaign. They can also help you track the individual performance of each influencer. You can then run a more effective campaign by focusing your efforts on the high-converting influencers.
The Dollar Shave Club creates custom URLs for each of the influencers they work with. In the screenshot below, you can see a sponsored video created by YouTuber LEGIQN, who has more than 500,000 subscribers. As you can see, the link to become a club member is customized with his username.
Use Unique Promo Codes
Your influencer marketing campaign may involve promoting discounts, or using other offers through influencers. You can track the performance of these campaigns by using custom promo codes, unique to each influencer.
Like the custom URLs, these promo codes should ideally contain the name, username, or handle of each influencer. Using these codes, you can track how many people took advantage of the offer, thereby helping you track the conversion rate. You can also track the individual performance of each influencer, just like with the custom URLs.
Loot Crate assigns unique promo codes for different influencers to promote. The screenshot below shows influencer Bunny Meyers (@grav3yardgirl) promoting an item from her latest Loot Crate box. And she’s also encouraging fans to use a unique code that includes her handle name to get a 10% discount.
A photo posted by grav3yardgirl (@grav3yardgirl) on
Challenge #2: Finding the Right Influencers
Based on the Linqia study, many marketers still struggle to find the right influencers. Nearly half (45%) of the marketers surveyed said that this is one of the biggest challenges they face. In another study, by Econsultancy, of fashion and beauty marketers, 73% found it to be the biggest challenge in influencer marketing.
There could be many reasons behind this. Some brands may be focusing on reach alone, which means they’ll be working with mega-influencers with millions of followers. While these influencers may be able to help you boost your visibility, they may be unable to drive conversions if your product isn’t relevant to their audience.
While you’re probably already using tools to find influencers, the hard part is choosing which influencers to work with. And the factors that determine what makes an influencer “right” for your campaign differ based on the unique goals of your business.
What do you wish to achieve from the campaign? Are you aiming to drive both visibility and conversions? Or are you satisfied with raising brand awareness? When choosing influencers for your campaign, consider the following factors:
The best way to determine if an influencer is right for your brand is by determining whether your target audience looks up to them. If you’re targeting gamers, for instance, you could try to work with influencers who are popular in the gaming and entertainment niches. Selling video games through a lifestyle influencer may not be the best option for you.
In the case of BlueSmart mia, the best way to promote their new technology was by connecting with mommy bloggers. Their technology helps parents keep track of their babies’ feeding schedules and provides parents with several features that can help them look after their newborns better. BlueSmart mia partnered with popular mommy blogger Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog for a sponsored post to raise awareness about their new technology.
Is the influencer able to generate plenty of engagement on their posts? Are they getting enough shares, likes, comments, and retweets on their social media posts? It doesn’t really matter much if the influencer has millions of followers if they can only generate a few hundred likes.
American footballer Deandre Hopkins has a following of less than 300,000, but he manages to generate thousands of likes and several hundred comments on his Instagram posts. The following screenshot shows a sponsored post he did for MVMT Watches, which garnered almost 7,000 likes and over 100 comments.
When you’re pulling up influencer data using an influencer marketing tool, try to look at the engagement rate instead of focusing on the number of followers. See the average number of likes, comments, shares, and retweets on their posts.
Make a list of potential influencers who are relevant for your audience and have the highest engagement rates.
Once you’ve filtered out the irrelevant and poorly-engaging influencers, you can check out which of the remaining influencers have the largest reach. You want to drive high levels of conversions and engagement, but a large follower base is still a crucial factor to determine whether or not an influencer is right for you.
Among the relevant and highly-engaging influencers, those with a massive following are bound to yield better results than those with only a few hundred followers. But instead of using reach as the first and/or only factor to look for potential influencers, you’ll be using it in the final process of eliminating less-suitable influencers.
Challenge #3: Maintaining Authenticity
Like every other marketing channel, influencer marketing faces the challenge of maintaining authenticity. Some celebrities (like Scott Disick), have even made the mistake of copy-pasting the entire email they receive from brand reps into their Instagram captions, for which they received massive backlash. Aside from this huge influencer marketing fail, a lot of the promotions by influencers don’t seem as genuine as they’re supposed to.
Consumers can easily see through it when someone is just raving about a product because they’re being paid to do so. Similarly, they can easily be won over when an influencer seems to be genuinely praising a product, or when the influencer is being honest about the product.
While it’s not easy to maintain authenticity in your influencer marketing campaigns, it’s not completely impossible. Here are a few ways to make sure that your influencer promotions are authentic:
Work with Authentic Influencers
The most important tip is to work with influencers who are known for their honesty and authenticity. Few influencers are capable of creating sponsored posts that are so authentic that their fans don’t even realize they’re being sold to. Many of them are also honest about the content being sponsored, which is another trait that consumers appreciate.
NikkieTutorials, with more than 6 million subscribers on YouTube, is an excellent example of an authentic influencer. This beauty vlogger speaks to her viewers as if they’re her friends. She uses a casual, friendly tone in her videos, but that’s not the only reason why she’s authentic. This influencer doesn’t sugarcoat her reviews about beauty products.
For example, she recently reviewed a new makeup brush/sponge by Ricky’s. She created a first impressions video (shown in the screenshot below), in which she used the brush for the first time. The video shows her genuine reactions to and opinions about the product. At one point in the video, she tells viewers that she “flipping hates it.”
Give Influencers a Voice
Many influencers hate it when a brand is too controlling of the way they carry out the campaign. In fact, a recent study by Julius found that 63% of influencers refuse to work with a brand for a second time if they’re too controlling of the content.
Influencers have massive followings for a reason. They know how to create content that their audience loves, and they know how to frame messages in a way that will resonate with their fans and followers.
But if you’re trying too hard to control their voice, just because you’re paying them, it can negatively impact the authenticity of your campaign. Their followers will realize quickly that the influencer isn’t speaking in their own voice, and that could cause their audience to lose trust in your products or services, and possibly even in the influencer.
YouTuber Markiplier, who has more than 15 million subscribers, helped promote the Best Fiends game by creating a series of hilarious sketches in which he and his friend get into fights. But if you listen to what they’re fighting about, they’re actually talking about how viewers can download the entire Best Fiends game by clicking on the link in the description.
These videos fit perfectly into Markiplier’s usual content, and by being honest about the promotion, the YouTuber helped maintain authenticity. Additionally, making the videos look like actual movie trailers helped add an element of entertainment to the promotion.
To ensure a high level of authenticity, first determine the goals of your campaign. Then give influencers a clear idea of what your product does, what your brand values are, and what you wish to achieve from the campaign. Then hand over the reins to the influencer. Give them the freedom to come up with unique content that promotes your products in their own style and voice.
Build Relationships with Influencers
When you have a genuine relationship with your influencers, it will reflect in the way they talk about your brand and products. Their audience will immediately detect that authenticity, helping you win them over more easily.
It’s important to work on building real, human relationships with the influencers you work with. There are many ways you can show your appreciation and build a more genuine connection with your influencers. You could try hosting an event just for them, and personally interact with them during the event. Or you could send them handwritten letters, thanking them for their partnership.
You now have a clear idea what challenges you may face when launching an influencer marketing campaign. And you know how to prepare for and overcome those challenges in order to successfully pull off your campaign.
Depending on the unique challenges you face in your industry, you may have to make changes to the solutions mentioned above. But all in all, these tips will help you be better prepared to face the challenges that may pop up when you promote your brand through influencers.
Have any questions or doubts about the tips mentioned here? Let me know in the comments below. And if you need some professional guidance in launching your very own influencer marketing campaign, feel free to get in touch with me.
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Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant. He specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.
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