Influencers used to be limited to celebrities and a few passionate bloggers. They appear to be everywhere nowadays.
At its most basic level, influencer marketing relies on endorsements and mentions from influential people—people who have a large following or who are thought to be experts in their field. Influencer marketing works because influencers have earned the trust of their community, and their recommendations provide social proof to prospective consumers. This trend aligns with the public's desire for genuine marketing. Even the most popular influencers can find themselves in deep water if their fans discover they're being untruthful, such as advocating a product they don't use.
So, how will you know whether your influencer marketing effort was a success? Is it solely about the number of likes and comments? Are there any other essential indicators of influencer marketing success?
Don’t panic! We’re here to answer all of your questions.
Why do you need to keep track - they are influencers after all.
While it's pretty obvious that influencer marketing is on the rise, it's critical to plan out a rigorous analytics strategy before beginning your own influencer program or community. With false followers costing marketers an estimated $1 billion, the days of naively paying influencers for vanity metrics are long gone.
Setting goal-oriented KPIs is, therefore, more critical than ever. Make sure you have the appropriate tools to track an influencer before you choose one.
KPIs can be derived from industry benchmarks or historical campaign results. Measuring your return on investment (ROI) will determine your campaign's success, just like any other marketing strategy.
It's no easy chore to keep track of your influencer marketing initiatives. Everything boils down to analyzing the success rate of the influencer marketing campaign, whether it's discovering appropriate social media influencers, implementing the campaign on the right social media platforms, or obtaining data for the campaign.
The marketing strategy entails leveraging other people's influence to help establish confidence in your brand among their communities.
The distinction between employing a standard celebrity and hiring an influencer is that influencers are frequently regarded as average consumers who are experts in their respective fields. It's the current version of word-of-mouth, with influencers who are approachable, relevant, and whose followers trust their thoughts. It's no surprise that (higher) ed Institutions are eager to raise their influencer marketing budgets, given their relative affordability and good returns on investment.
Let’s get measuring!
Here is a breakdown of the 4 key metrics that will help you measure - and evaluate the success of your influencer campaigns!
Brand awareness is one of the main reasons higher ed institutions work with influencers. Before you can expect a boost in enrollments, you need to get your name out there, and one of the greatest ways to do so is through an influencer marketing program. These are the KPIs to keep track of if your influencer marketing strategy's primary goal is to raise brand awareness:- Your audience growth: The number of followers or audience growth is a good indicator of brand awareness. To track your follower growth during your campaign, you can use a variety of third-party apps. You can also monitor your mutual followers after the campaign ends by going to your influencer's profile, pressing "Followers," then "Mutual." This is about the number of followers you earned as a result of the collaboration. Don't forget to look at your mutual followers before the campaign starts for a more accurate amount.- Your impressions and reach: "Impressions" refers to the number of times a single user has seen your post, whereas "reach" refers to the total number of unique people who have seen it. Instagram Insights, which is available to all Instagram Business accounts, may be used to obtain all of this information.
Track those conversions.
The easiest (but most effective) approach to evaluate the success of your influencer campaign is to track conversions. This includes anything from email subscriptions to free trials - and student enrollments! Track your campaign goals by using Google Analytics (and other analytics tools through your CRM) to track your users' journeys. This will allow you to see if your campaigns are bringing you closer to your intended brand objectives. Also, make sure to monitor where they go after they have clicked through to your website. How much time do they spend there and how many pages do they view? Do they end up dropping off or leaving their data with you? This is a great way of measuring the quality of this influencer collaboration.
Pro Tip: A uniquely tracked link that you share with the influencer allows you to collect UTM parameters whenever one of the users coming from that influencer converts to your website. So that means not only can you track click-2-lead conversion rate but eventually lead-2-student progression rates and calculate your CAC from that campaign down to the penny.
If you have the resources in-house (or work with an amazing agency such as Pink Orange), we would go even a step further and suggest you create influencer campaign-specific landing pages. Imagine you work with a micro-influencer trying to get potential prospects to sign up for a webinar about your newest program. So the call-to-action of the influencer's stories would be 'Sign up to this amazing webinar and learn more about the school's newest program'. You know that webinar attendees are highly likely to request a call with a program advisor afterward and then move further down the funnel naturally until they enroll. Knowing which student comes from this initial webinar sign-up page is not only great for you but also a major reason for an influencer to want to work with you as you will be able to provide data on campaign effectiveness and ROI which could help the influencer win more business in the future. It's a win-win!
Besides that, a clear CTA means fewer users getting lost on your website, more conversions, and therefore more prospect data to nurture and work with.
Get to know your CTR.
The CTR is the total clicks your ad got - divided by the total number of impressions, multiplied by 100. It's a fantastic way to determine whether your campaign call-to-actions were appropriate for the audience, or whether the audience was the right one for your product or program. To give you an example: You work with an influencer and they tell their followers to apply to one of your programs. Bad idea! Why? Because their followers have most likely never even heard of you. The result? A probably rather poor CTR and most likely no applications from that collaboration. If the influencer would have prompted them to a landing page to learn more about the reasons why students choose your programs with a form to download a brochure, the CTR will have most likely been significantly higher and conversion on the brochure form as well. The number of times a prospective student clicks on a given link is measured by the click-through rate or CTR. Custom links can be assigned to influencer marketing campaigns using tools like Google Campaign Manager.
Keep referral traffic in mind.
The number of prospective students who land on your page as a result of a certain link is known as referral traffic. In the sense that you may track them using customized URLs or UTM parameters, CTR and Referral traffic are the same.
And what if it's not yielding results?
It's rare to come across a perfectly planned, executed, and measured marketing campaign, especially if it's your first step into influencer marketing.
Don't be discouraged if you try a monitoring system and it doesn't work the first time. It doesn't automatically mean the campaign had no effect; it just means you need to tighten up your tracking and measurement systems. You can always do some reporting after your collaboration has ended and look at a couple of ‘vanity’ metrics to see the impact of the campaign (such as reach and impressions as well as a spike in website traffic and session duration).
In this instance, the first step is to change the goals you're working with. If you're having trouble tracking website visitors, for example, try creating a conversion target centered on a single piece of content.
These are just some considerations that will help you in determining the success of your influencer marketing campaign! The more you interact with influencer marketing, the more comfortable you will become in your ability to track its ROI. Influencer marketing is an excellent way to attract the attention of your target audience. Make sure you use data and analytics to develop and execute your influencer marketing efforts.
Influencer marketing for Higher Ed.
Your target audience - primarily teens or young adults, will rarely delve into a pamphlet or analyze a website when seeking out information on a particular university or institution. That’s just not how Gen Z rolls! Instead, they frequently use social media to assess the institution, and whether or not they deem it a fit for their current, and desired lifestyle.
In the future, enlisting the help of your school's influencers to create content and communicate online will become a more important component of your marketing strategy. How authentic will the material be when potential students go to your school's hashtag or location on Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok to peek at the feed to get a sense of the atmosphere?
As a Higher Ed marketer, learning to navigate the world of influencer marketing can seem like a daunting task - and more often than not, you’ll be left feeling overwhelmed. The trick is to realize that influencer marketing is only one small piece of the puzzle - a puzzle you will get better at with time! And besides that, there are still multiple other ways to engage with your target audience that are incredibly important so if you don’t nail it straight away, don’t feel discouraged but instead try it again - and maybe consider getting help planning and executing your influencer marketing campaign.
If you found this topic interesting - then we’ve got something lined up for you! Stay tuned for our Influencer Marketing webinar - we’ve got a special guest! You can sign up to listen to the webinar, here!