Influencer marketing has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade to become a mainstream tactic to maximise ROI for a brand or business. By blending editorial and advertisement, the influencer medium offers several advantages over traditional marketing.
Leading marketing resource Influencer Marketing Hub found in a survey that 90 percent of the 5,000 participating marketers consider influencer campaigns to be successful. The same survey expects the market for creator-driven advertising to hit the US$13.8 billion-mark by the end of 2021. The data further revealed an earned media ROI value of 5.78, a sizeable chunk by any standard.
The way I see it, influencer marketing that maximises ROI relies on three pillars: consistency, authenticity, and optimisation. All three are closely linked, yet marketers can sometimes neglect consistency, leaving the other two unsteady. Here’s how to strengthen the consistency pillar and boost ROI from influencer marketing.
Consistency meets expectations
Consistency in influencer marketing relies on two factors – the frequency with which a creator posts and selecting the right influencers to work with over the longer term. It’s not to say one-off posts have no place – they can be quite successful in their own right – but to maximise ROI, marketers need to formulate a strategy that makes provision for multiple posts over time.
Making influencer marketing part of an “always-on” content strategy integrates the brand with the community and allows the creator to fine-tune their approach to audience expectations. It also demonstrates trust between the creator and the brand, establishing a deep association with one another.
The second factor relates to the brand’s choice of influencers to work with. Establishing a medium to long-term collaboration with the same influencer is critical to building consistency, so it’s essential to find the right talent for your audience. The last thing a brand wants to be associated with is inappropriate content or paid followers.
In the past, sourcing influencers that aligned with the brand’s values, focus, and image were highly time-consuming, requiring hours of scrutinising feeds. Fortunately, modern platforms like Vamp use advanced algorithms and a thorough screening to match the most suitable influencers to a brand.
Authenticity builds loyalty
The trust between creators and their audiences is powerful yet delicate. Influencer marketing is powerful because it creates a trust advantage over traditional forms of advertising, but it’s a balancing act: if the influencer or message loses its authenticity, then a campaign will be at risk of failure. Therefore, it’s important that the relationship between influencer and brand remain stable to ensure influencer marketing success.
If, for example, users label a post as feeling fake, they’re not implying that it’s because it’s supported by an advertisement which, after all, is an accepted component of social media. Instead, they indicate that the brand being advertised doesn’t match the influencer’s persona or message. Therefore, to preserve authenticity, there must be a genuine and plausible match between the creator and the brand they partner with.
Follower count is not necessarily a good measure of authenticity. Creators with smaller audiences often have an advantage since they have time to engage with their followers and act on their feedback. This creates a more intimate connection, and as a result, the influencer’s audience takes their recommendations more seriously. So, before considering metrics like follower count and engagement rate, marketing teams should determine their objectives, and maximised engagement-per-pound will follow.
Optimisation increases return on advertising spend
Influencers fine-tune their content constantly to match what resonates with their audiences. Reiterating their personal brand with every post, stream and comment, ensures sponsored posts get maximum exposure, once again underlining the intrinsic value of influencer marketing.
Establishing an extended working relationship with an influencer generates data that marketers can use for campaign optimisation. Brands often do A/B testing with verticals of influencers to see what works for their brand. In this way, they can learn from past mistakes and increase ROI on future campaigns.
For instance, at Vamp, we worked with luxury fashion brand Russell & Bromley across two seasonal campaigns – the first for the spring-summer season and the second for the autumn-winter season. By applying the lessons from the first campaign and using the same influencers, we managed to optimise the second and deliver an increased return on advertising spend (ROAS). The first campaign delivered a 7x ROAS, while the follow-up campaign nearly doubled the average purchase value with an 11.8x ROAS.
Influencer marketing is a quantifiable approach with the ability to deliver unparalleled ROI, but only if marketers take the time and effort to come to grips with it first.