Influencer marketing sounds magical. You ask people to talk about your brand and its products with their digital audiences. When they do, your profits increase.
But influencer marketing on social media is more complex, and like any content marketing, its connection to the bottom line usually isn’t direct. How can you create a social media influencer program that elicits metrics that get the results you want?
Tracking influencer key performance indicators (KPIs) requires structuring a program that uses metrics to identify influencers. It incorporates the most valuable success metrics and uses tools to help you assess and optimize what works.
6 influencer-focused metrics
Before you reach out to influencers, determine which metrics to evaluate. They can help you identify the influencers most valuable for your brand. Then, the metrics can help you evaluate how well their engagement works for your company.
1. Reach and impressions
Audience size determines the category of influencer – macro, micro, nano, etc. That total audience can be on single or multiple channels. But that overview number isn’t enough. Take a look at the influencer’s reach and impressions:
- Reach indicates the number of people who have checked a post, a story, or a video. That number could be bigger than the audience size because the content can be seen, shared, cited, tagged, and commented on by people who are not your followers (i.e., the audience).
- Impressions encompass the number of times a post, a video, Reel, etc., appeared in newsfeeds. A post could appear in a user’s feed multiple times, or the user could click on it multiple times. Impressions may indicate better than reach how well the content resonates with the target audience.
2. Audience engagement
Audience engagement can indicate how well the influencer’s energy, creativity, and effort contribute to the development of their channel. It indicates the followers’ level of interest. That, in turn, can influence the social media algorithms that seek to promote the most popular content.
When comparing influencers by audience engagement, keep in mind the metrics depend on the total audience size. The engagement metric calculates all the ways someone could interact with a social post – likes, shares, and comments.
To figure out the engagement rate, you can use a tool that does it automatically, or you could do it manually. Add up the total number of interactions with a post. Then, divide that number by the total followers of that influencer’s social media account. Multiply that result by 100 to get the engagement rate for that post.
3. Audience growth
Assess the audience growth metric before and after you contract with an influencer. Though the effect takes longer to appreciate, audience growth serves as another indicator of how well the influencer continues to attract an audience. (Tracking it also can be an indicator to let you know the influencer is losing audience.)
Track the influencer’s audience growth by tracking its audience numbers (followers) as each new post appears. Audience spikes usually directly correlate with the posting schedule.
4. Brand mentions
When you’re working with an influencer, brand mentions are the most evident metric to track. It shows the number of times the brand is mentioned by the influencer and their followers on social media platforms.
Track your brand mentions before and after holding a marketing campaign. This metric will help you estimate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and how they influence brand awareness.
5. Traffic from social media
Just mentioning your brand in a social media post isn’t enough reason for you to partner with an influencer. You want their followers to get in touch with the brand. That’s why it’s important to have the influencer include a call-to-action link inviting the audience to visit your company’s site and interact with the brand. (How to incorporate the CTA differs by platform.)
If you use a CTA with a URL unique to the influencer, you can evaluate how well their mentions of your brand convert into traffic for your brand. If you don’t use a unique URL, you can look at your web analytics to assess traffic from social media and see if the social influencers’ campaigns have had an impact.
6. Conversions from socials
As soon as a follower transfers to your website or an application, you can track their behavior. Converting the influencer’s followers is the primary goal for most influencer marketing campaigns – and it factors into the return on investment for the influencer deal.
What do you want the visitor who arrived through the influencer’s channel to do? Do you want them to subscribe to your newsletter? Sign up for a product discount? Buy your services?
By identifying your conversion goal(s), you can use analytics tools to assess whether the social influencer’s campaign had the desired impact.
Note: To effectively define where your conversions come from, use trackable links. Their unique ID can show which social media content made the conversion.
Handy tools for influencer analytics
Tracking all the metrics mentioned and analyzing each influencer’s performance manually would be a nightmare for the most devoted marketer. These five tools can help alleviate those bad dreams in assessing your influencer engagement.
Brand and reach: Awario
My employer’s tool, Awario, tracks reach, number of mentions, and share of voice. It also compiles a list of influencers and their posts where your brand name is mentioned that received the highest reach.
You can create alerts for your brand name and related keywords. The resulting mention feed shows social media posts related to your brand that you can sort by date, platform, hashtags, etc. You also can monitor the frequency of posts. The tool’s mention statistics section reveals reach, audience demographics, post sources, sentiments, and keywords.
Influencer search: HypeAuditor
HypeAuditor lets you find influencers on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok who match the needs of your marketing campaigns. You can search for influencers who already talk about your brand and/or whose audiences match your target audience. You also can search for experts in a niche and those who create authentic content – all vital criteria for finding the best influencer partner.
Influencer analysis: Affable.ai
Affable.ai is a marketing platform that lets you evaluate the influencers on your prospective partner list. It works for influencers on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and more. You can learn their age, location, follower count, language, etc.
Affable.ai also serves as a platform to build, optimize, and execute influencer campaigns. Its influencer relationship management tool tracks influencer content, provides simple-to-export reports, and compares influencer performances.
Posts’ performance: GRIN
GRIN’s handy tool provides the most detailed information about a social post’s performance. It evaluates such metrics as engagement rate, clicks, and conversions. This information will help you quickly assess if your influencer campaign was successful.
Apart from influencer tracking, GRIN can also monitor various KPIs for your marketing campaigns, including a budget, revenue, conversions, and media value.
Audience insights: Emplifi.io
Emplifi.io (formerly SocialBakers) is an AI-driven tool that simplifies audience analytics and management on social media. This multi-feature platform can analyze each follower and influencer profile, revealing ideas and strategies to implement in your marketing campaigns.
Metrics matter in social influencer marketing
You should assess the metrics before, during, and after your influencer social marketing partnerships. It isn’t a one-time activity. By paying close attention regularly to the numbers and adjusting as necessary, you improve the chances of a successful long-term influencer strategy.
All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please add it in the comments.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute