ROI remains the key issue facing organizations
When I meet a new client to develop an influence marketing strategy, his first concern is always how he will get the best return on his investment. Each year, the ROI of influencer campaigns is one of the priority issues for companies and organizations. But they still seem to have difficulty assessing the ROI adequately.
As I also explain in my trainings, influencer marketing on the social networks is much more complex than just a popularity contest, a race to build ¨followers¨ or a recommendation campaign. The results of an influencer marketing strategy are based on different objectives and must, therefore, be evaluated on the basis of a series of contextual factors.
Multi-channel integration model options
To adequately evaluate the ROI of a web-based and social networking strategy, it’s necessary to adopt a multi-channel approach. This approach allows the company to diversify its tactics and to analyze the results on a more general basis. One must then determine their own key performance measures (KPIs) according to the objectives on each of the different platforms. This is still the most effective way to optimize the ROI of an influence marketing campaign and content on social media.
Gini Dietrich, from Spin Sucks, introduces an additional element to the ¨Trifecta¨ combination of Paid, Owned, Earned Media (POEM) … Shared Media. A new approach, that integrates the commitment and engagement of micro-influencers and partners, who deliver the content in their own communities on the different platforms.
In another article, Nicolas Chabot, from Traackr goes further and proposes the model of the ¨Cross-Functional Influence Programs¨. A more comprehensive model, that integrates definitively all aspects of a marketing strategy of influencing the web and social media. A model that necessarily involves several departments within the organization, and which includes:
- Ambassador programs in companies (employees / HR)
- Community micro-influencers (community managers)
- Satisfied consumers (customer service)
- Experts and opinion leaders (communications)
- Relations with the media and journalists (public relations)
- Affiliate programs and recommendations (marketing/sales)
Key performance measures are tailored to the context
The results of each of the interventions in an integrated strategy such as that proposed by Traackr bring different spin-offs for each of the departments involved and must be part of an overall ROI evaluation:
- Membership and recommendation programs will generate sales and attract new leads
- Relations with journalists and the media will lead to online mentions and impressions
- Corporate ambassador programs will attract new customers and encourage the recruitment of new talent
- Niche influencers and community micro-influencers will not hesitate to make recommendations, as will satisfied customers and collaborators
- Bloggers – influencers and opinion leaders will bring greater awareness, and amplify the message in their own networks
To secure a fair and complete assessment of the ROI of an influence marketing strategy, different key performance measures (KPIs) must be established, that depend on the context and objectives of the campaign. With a multi-channel approach, it’s necessary to consider several factors, to obtain a complete report. Depending on the specific objectives of the campaign, this contextual analysis may include several components that can be quantifiable or qualifiable:
- Direct (online) and indirect sales (in stores)
- New prospects generated during the campaign (potential sales)
- The traffic created on the different platforms (quality of new subscribers)
- The commitment of ambassadors to their communities (quality of audiences)
- User recommendations (quality of P2P references)
- The amplification of the message with influencers (range and resonance)
- Quality of relationships with influencers (sustainability and collaboration)
A multi-channel approach involves several stakeholders within the organization, and consequently several departments. Today, on social networks, the importance of relationships is paramount, and customer service remains the cornerstone of success. Connected consumers of Generation C now require conversations and exchanges with companies and organizations to establish peer-to-peer communication to be trusted. They must establish a new corporate mentality of services rather than sales with consumers. This is the first step. And then, to get a complete and proper reading of their ROI with an influence marketing strategy, they shouldn’t limit their evaluation solely to the increase in readership or the number of clicks.
These key performance measures will make it possible to accurately estimate the relationship between the actual customer acquisition costs and its longer-term value. Which let one precisely evaluate the real return on investment of the campaign.