The core objectives of influencer marketing have been around for a very, very long time. Everyone across the public and private sector understands the general idea of pairing with a well-known and respected name to help expose their messaging to a certain (and bigger) audience. In many ways, the practice is more or less a stamp of approval deeming a product or service as credible.
As influencer marketing becomes more and more widespread, understanding the granular details before, during, and after a campaign is incredibly important. In the age of “constant connectedness,” a botched influencer campaign can have detrimental effects on everyone involved. Fortunately, the meteoric rise of big data in the business world has made given brands the ability to execute an influencer campaign with the upmost precision.
Here are four ways you can use it to do just that.
- Use the Right Keywords
When you are creating content, in any capacity, one of the initial steps of the process should be long-tail keyword research. This is what gives you a data-backed idea of what people are entering into the search bar, what their intentions are, and how you can position to your content accordingly.
Once you formulate a nice list of keywords related to your topic/goals, you can create your content (or instruct your influencer to create it) around that list. After the content is crafted and published with a healthy mix of relevant keywords, the search engine bots will crawl it and see if it can be ranked on the SERPs for those particular terms.
For example, let’s say you own a website that offers recipes for vegetarian diets. You are looking to work with an influencer who runs a popular food blog. Regardless of whether you are writing the content to be placed on the website, or are having the influencer do it, the posts should include relevant terms such as: vegetarian dinners, veggie meals, amazing vegetarian meals, delicious vegetarian recipes, etc.
There are many data-driven tools out there to give you the proper insights you need for this task. Neil Patel’s keyword tool Ubersuggest is a fantastic – and FREE – keyword suggestion and optimization resource for getting the information you need to create content that gets noticed. The tool helps you in researching and finding the trending terms and phrases based on monthly search volumes, and ultimately output a long list of relevant keywords with information on how difficult each one is to outrank. Additionally, it shows you how your competitors are using them.
Most content collaborations with an influencer should be rooted in keyword research. Being as how the heavy majority Google searches never go past page one, the name of the game is producing data-focused content that ranks in the top 10 spots on a search. Furthermore, the trending keywords and terms serve as the basis for how you can create content that plays to the target audience’s interests.
- Justify Your Direction
Influencer marketing has become a staple in business campaigns of all industries. However, now that there is practically an unlimited amount of options for a brands to partner with, it can be surprisingly difficult to know where to start.
While setting general goals like increasing web traffic, growing followership, and boosting sales are important, there needs to be a defined path for what these objectives entail and how they will be executed. This is where big data enters the mix.
Let’s say you run an online jewelry store. Your overarching goal is to improve conversion rates. Your sales data will give you a much more in-depth understanding of what you need to do, who would be an ideal influencer fit, and how you can formulate your campaign. Most ecommerce platforms these days have in-built point of sale (POS) systems that show you datasets relating to sales trends, the geographic location where certain items are most popular, the channels that lead to sales, and much more.
For example, let’s say your sales data shows that sapphire gems are selling incredibly well in the northeast region of the United States, and a great deal of the traffic to these pages is coming from Instagram. So, in this case, targeting an Instagram influencer known for posting pictures of sapphire jewelry would be a great way to expand your messaging even further.
Using data-backed insights to identify trends is perhaps the best way to determine the direction of your influencer campaign early on. Your ability to read between the lines and understand the numbers is the key to choosing the right influencer and how to structure your collaborated content.
- Create Noteworthy Content That Benefits Everyone
Content creation for a single brand is one thing. Creating content for an influencer campaign is a whole different ballgame. In most cases, the trick is knowing how to frame your messaging in a way that speaks to both your audience and theirs. Additionally, the tone, voice, and overall feel of the content should accurately reflect the influencer.
Viewers, readers, and all other types of consumers are not stupid; if a piece of content comes off as inauthentic or forced, it will stick out like a sore thumb. When this happens, everyone loses. Your message does not get received well, the influencer might lose credibility, and followers get subpar content.
For the most part, giving the influencer creative freedom is the best option. In fact, 76% of influencers value brands that let them take the reins on content creation. However, you will likely need to provide general guidelines for topics that fit both parties. That being said, your inspiration needs to be backed with data. Start by looking into the chatter taking place throughout your niche. Tools like Mention make it easy to monitor certain keywords, brand names, or topics across social media and forums.
This way you stay on top of conversations taking place in your industry and the general sentiment on certain issues. You’ll want to conduct research on both your own brand messaging and the influencer to look for content overlaps. This should be your inspiration for messaging that gets the maximum benefits.
- Put ROI Under a Microscope
One of the toughest aspects of influencer marketing is measuring the ROI. When partnering with a big name, the costs can be very high. If the campaign isn’t meeting your goals, you need to know when it might be time to opt out and cut your losses.
If you use a special analytics program for influencer marketing such as GroupHigh, this aspect of the job will be pretty straightforward. If you use a more general tool like Google Analytics, you might need to do some problem solving and critical thinking to get a clear idea for these metrics.
Once the influencer’s post goes live, you need to be checking your analytics very frequently. For example, if you paid the influencer $1,000 for a post, and if the spike in traffic didn’t take place or revenue was only $800 after a certain timeframe, you need to assess whether or not you change the strategy, or terminate the partnership.
The data you see should be the guiding force behind your relationship with influencers and how you evaluate success.
Influencer marketing, while it may have its ups and downs, is a tactic that has been brought to new heights in the age of social media. Thankfully, the advancement of big data took center stage at about the same time.
If you want an influencer campaign to work for you, you need to know how to extract and read the datasets that apply. The answers are in the numbers. Once you know what they all mean, you are in a fantastic position to put every single dollar to good use and reduce your losses.
Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder of E2M, a full service digital marketing agency and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Entrepreneurship and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, and other major events across Asia. As a passionate marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge on publications like Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web and the Huffington Post to name a few. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.