5 Social Influencer Metrics that Matter

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92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth over advertising. That means 92% of your potential consumer base trusts what other consumers say more than what you say. That word-of-mouth is the building block of your brand's earned media online. This eBook discusses five key insights that will help you identify, understand, and connect with influencers who are driving word-of-mouth conversations about your brand.

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It’s no surprise that brands have discovered that relationships with influencers can be quite lucrative. This practice of outreach to influencers has become known as influencer marketing.

With the publication of Forrester’s Groundswell and their POST methodology in 2008, businesses learned that social media was an important consumer channel, even for companies selling in the B2B market. One of Forrester’s guiding principles was an understanding of your business objectives, which as you can see to the right, is a key element of WOMMA’s definition of influencer marketing.

Meaningful data and insights are vital to developing objectives that truly support your business. Understanding your business objectives can be hard enough but the problems presented by tool proliferation exacerbate the frustration felt by so many businesses today

According to the 2012 Technorati Digital Influence Report, 65% of brands participate in influencer marketing. These businesses use several methods of determining which influencers they work with because there is no one standard measurement.

What attribute is the most important? How many followers do they have? How many posts do they write? Are they a brand advocate or brand assassin? Are they willing to truly engage with your brand ambassadors? Then, after you decide which measures are important, what scale or ranking do you use?

When it comes to understanding why and how influencer marketing fits into your marketing toolkit, you need a social media management system (SMMS) that gives you insghts that matter.

Finding, engaging, and cultivating influencers has been a hit or miss proposition until now. Influence is subjective and tracx believes there’s no one-size-fits all approach to influence.

The tracx SMMS applies a patented analysis of four key influencer qualities: reach, impact, quality, and volume. Integral to factoring these qualities and planning your strategy are relevance and engagement, which are included in the tracx analysis and reporting. Let’s investigate all of these qualities a bit further.

1) Relevance

Relevance is determined by how closely the posts of an influencer match your brand’s strategic keywords. You need a solid list of search terms and a reliable software platform to identify and rank influencers.

This isn’t important only for you, to make sure you find influencers who can help you advocate your brand; it’s also important to the influencers you’ll talk to, because they’ll appreciate a good fit, too. Influencer marketing is most beneficial as a symbiotic relationship—work to provide a positive experience for the influencers, and you’ll be more likely to have a positive experience for your program.

[Download PDF to see Table]

2) Reach

Many people think about reach purely in terms of followers, fans, and likes. If an influencer’s Facebook page has 2,000 fans, his Twitter account has 2,500 followers, and his blog traffic averages 10,000 views per month, one might be tempted to calculate that reach as 14,500 people. Depending on your goals, that impressionbased view of reach may or may not be adequate.

Think about it: is word of mouth truly effective if it’s seen in passing and unremarked? Does it help if your message is seen but not remembered? Realistically, no. Knowing an influencer’s potential reach is important to gauge who you choose to work with and how.

The tracx platform considers reach in a more active context. Instead of assuming every impression results in a desired outcome, tracx calculates reach as the number of unique people engaged in conversations with the influencer.

By calculating reach as the number of people engaging with the influencer, you can determine a more realistic view of what impact your influencer has on his or her audience.

Tracx also shows the influencer’s potential reach, measured by the number of fans, followers, and subscribers linked to the influencer’s social accounts. In this way, tracx helps you understand what percentage of the influencer’s potential reach he actually achieves.

3) Impact

We’ve looked at reach, beyond the impression-based approach, to see how many readers are engaged with influencer posts. It’s helpful to turn that view around a bit and look at how many interactions each post gets. Reach feeds an influencer’s impact. Impact feeds your brand conversations.

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A recent study found that 55% of brands have earned media goals that include Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and other social network interactions that result in web visits (Source: 2013 Digital Influence Report, Technorati Media). So if your company has earned media goals, impact is where you begin to see results. It’s these interactions with influencers (impact) that fuel your earned media engine.

You can use impact as an insight before, during, and after your influencer marketing programs. Use it beforehand to help rank influencers during selection. Use it during to ensure that your influencer engagement is resulting in audience interaction. Use it after as a success measure of your program.

4) Quality

We know how many people interact with influencer posts (reach) and how many interactions each post gets (impact), now we look at quality. Quality is determined by the type and amount of interactions with an influencer.

Why does the type and amount matter? You want consumers to invest time in your message via your influencers. Using time spent viewing content is not a new marketing metric. You want consumers spending more time having positive, or at least constructive, conversations about your brand.

The tracx platform weights some types of interactions higher than others for this reason. Interactions such as replies rank higher than likes, re-tweets, and other single-click actions, because they involve more investment from the consumer. This is a good indicator of how relevant and engaging the influencer’s content is.

Depending on the goals of your program, you might want to target influencers with high quality interactions with the assumption that this will lead to more conversation about your brand.

Many brands work with influencers to increase their influence. For example, you might find a blogger who speaks very eloquently about your topics of interest, but they don’t yet have a sizeable audience. Often, association with your brand and the other influencers with whom you work will help raise the stature of an up-andcoming influencer. Use quality of interactions as a way to gauge the progress of an up-and-coming influencer.

5) Activity

Knowing what an influencer posts, when they post, how often they post, and where they post is key to shaping expectations for any influencer engagement. As with other influencer insights, there is no one-size-fits-all metric or scale. Rather, you must decide what matters most for your particular program’s needs.

Influencers are more connected than ever before. In fact, the depth and breadth of their social connections are what shape their influence. They use their connections to promote their content, learn about trends, and interact with their community.

[Download PDF to see Table]

As you’re researching influencers, activity is an important insight so you can target influencers whose activities will best support your program objectives. During and after your program, being able to quantify and track their posts will likely be a key performance indicator.

For example, one objective of your program may be to influence the influencer. You might want to educate and engage them so they’re more likely to post positively about you in the future. In this case, you’ll want a clear view into what they posted about you before your program compared to during and after the program. And you won’t want to know just quantity and location, but sentiment and engagement.

Another example influencer objective may be to drive engagement and traffic from the influencer’s sphere to yours. In this case, you’ll need to know where and when they posted so you can correlate engagement from their conversations that resulted in web traffic referrals, additional fans, or engagement on your owned media.

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