It’s no wonder marketers have placed such great emphasis on social media marketing —consumers currently spend more time on social networks than on any other site on the Web. Today, social media marketing ranges from banner ads on Facebook to activating influencers to do their job – influence! To generate social influence, some brands believe they need the Kim Kardashian of their industry to send out a tweet, hoping the celebrity’s massive following across social will drive more attention and awareness to the company. But it’s hard to attach sales or conversions to one celebrity’s tweet or post, making ROI unmeasurable.
The term “influencer” means different things to different marketers, and so it’s important to establish those differences, realize that they drive very different results and map out specific goals. It starts with creating content – whether the brand creates the content, it’s co-created with the influencer or the influencer creates it on their own– and the brand must know whether they want to achieve large reach/awareness, receive high engagement or drive sales.
- Awareness: Influencers with large reach have a big number of friends or followers (think celebrities or popular bloggers like YouTube sensation Bethany Mota). When one of these influencers tweet, post or upload, they get thousands of likes, reposts and comments. For brands, it’s easy to confuse audience with influence – it might drive awareness, but not action. Choose this route if pure awareness is the main goal.
- Engagement: Influencers driving quality engagement still have a large amount of followers, but they have a better rapport for actually interacting with followers as a result of the content of the post (versus a follower simply liking a post because a celebrity posted it). Followers leave meaningful comments and share content because they actually enjoy it. Choose this route if engagement is the main goal.
- Sales: Influencers with a large percentage of their reach engaged means that the influencer could be a customer of the brand, or someone who is involved in a brand-related community. They might have a smaller audience, but it’s more likely to convert as a result. These influencers have personal connections with their followers, and on social, word-of-mouth recommendations from friends are much more trusted. Choose this route if the goal is to capture leads and generate sales.
Goals will differ by brand, but it shouldn’t be assumed that Kim Kardashian is the holy grail of influence marketing. By finding the right influencers to create user-generated content or distribute branded content, instead of simply delivering views and impressions, brands can drive sales at scale across social channels.