What is the ROI on Influencer Marketing?

When I talk about social media, I mean more than just the platforms of Facebook, Instagram, etc. I mean the entirety of the social media space in which those platforms exist. To me influencer marketing, i.e. engaging with those people who have influence in social media, is a pivotal aspect of a good social media strategy. Yet, this term is confusing and the concept of influencer marketing is loaded. In fact, more often than not people get a blank look in their eyes when asked to explain it. When they finally do explain it, it sounds exhaustive and time consuming, and then my students often ask: what is the ROI of influencer marketing?

A study put out last year claims that on average an every dollar spent on influencer marketing returns $6.58. That’s not bad; although, not quite as good as email marketing.

So, what do you need to have a good influencer marketing strategy? It’s simple: time, dedication, research and value.

  • Time: Influencer marketing is a long haul game and the relationships that you make now may not prove fruitful for a year or more.
  • Dedication: Influencer marketing requires lots of testing, re-testing and re-engaging with different groups of people until it pays off.
  • Research: You must continue to constantly resource and determine new types of influencers. A great tip from the Intel head of Influencer Relations is to look at traditional media to determine where social media influencers are being quoted, photographed or writing. A great social media influencer will have multiple channels of influence.
  • Value: To be good at influencer marketing, you must provide value to your audience. Some marketing experts see the term value and think: money. However, I believe real value in influencer marketing comes from providing non-monetary value so that you build deep relationships. Think of it this way: an employee only has loyalty to you while you are paying them. A friend has proven loyalty to you even if you are paying them. Great influencer marketing involves making great friends.

So, work to get your money out of it but also work to get your network out of it. Those influencers who you can convert will drive long term sales benefits into your value funnel.

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