Coming Clean. Does Influencer Marketing Work?

Published by: Tim Mischuk On

MavenSocial is in the influencer marketing software business. Maven runs various campaigns and licenses its technology to customers. Maven has reviewed analytics and findings from over 5oo campaigns for over three years now. Generally Micro Influencers (we call them Amplifiers) will generate a significant number of impressions and clicks. They DO NOT do as a group drive significant revenues in the short term, more on this later. On the other hand, influencers with content and domain expertise (we call them Experts) with a particular product or service can generate a significant amount of revenues in the short term. These influencer understand their area of speciality, they have significant sized networks (usually less than 100,000 followers), and understand what channels work most effectively.

In a recent campaign for a book retailer, selling in both the US and Canada, we employed  3 expert influencers. Over a 7 day period they accounted for over 5% of the sales for their eCommerce division. How do we know? We tracked not only their impressions, but clicks and sales. They were experts, they had significant followers and they used their preferred channel, in this case YouTube. The retailer was able to overcome digital marketing obstacles such as a) Ad Blockers and b) Effective Targeting and engaged  the right audience with offers they passed on to their followers from the Retailer.

Micro Influencers or Amplifiers can build up a database. They help the potential customer with branding and start the potential prospect on their Customer Journey. The customer journey is defined by the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination. The more touchpoints you have, the more complicated — but necessary — such a map becomes. Sometimes customer journey maps are “cradle to grave,” looking at the entire arc of engagement. For example, is a customer journey timeline that includes first engaging with a customer (perhaps with advertising or in a store), buying the product or service, using it, sharing about the experience with others (in person or online), and then finishing the journey by upgrading, replacing, or choosing a competitor (re-starting the journey with another company).

Example of the Customer Journey.

Typically these influencers start by engaging their followers on the customer journey. It may be a pageview on a blog, this may lead the follower to click on a contest, landing page or other engagement. Once the email of the follower is captured the company can re-engage with them several times via email provided they opt-in. It could be be 6 months or later before we see the customer purchase and usually NOT in the volumes we see the Expert influencers.

Influencer Marketing is a fascinating business, it is a game changer. However, if used incorrectly it will deliver disappointing results. Here are some keys a) engage with the best influencers for your product or service b) influencers are not inexpensive, they are professionals and demand reasonable payment for good work c) Measure impressions, clicks, optins and sales d) understand the true ROI e) Build your own database of influencers and use them monthly to engage their audiences with your message f) keep the message authentic real – most people can see through a thinly veiled sales pitch.

Tim Mischuk, President MavenSocial, Dec. 13, 2016.