influencer marketing

4 Steps for Tracking Influencer Marketing with Profitable Precision

Influencer marketing has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry and continues to rise. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, it’s expected to grow into a $6.5 billion industry in 2019.

Yes, influencing is now a billion-dollar thing. Thanks, Kylie Jenner. 

An influencer is an “individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience,” or an “individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with.” 

Instagram, the fastest-growing social media platform last year, is driving that growth. While influencer marketing may seem like a fad to some, it’s here to stay. 

In this article, an Instagram influencer shares her data-driven approach to Instagram as a business. She describes four key steps brands and organizations can take to make influencer marketing more data-driven and precise.  

An original influencer: Kirsten Alana

Kirsten Alana
(Image courtesy of Kirsten Alana)

Kirsten Alana is a photographer, content creator and an original Instagram influencer. She has cultivated over 214,000 followers on Instagram, with high impact content in the luxury and sustainable travel niche. 

In contrast to many influencers, Alana uses data strategically to grow her platform and visibility.

Below, Alana shared some major takeaways about influencer marketing, Instagram analytics, and what effective influencing online actually looks like.  

Related: What is Influencer Marketing? And Should My Business Try It?

4 steps to profitable data-driven influencer marketing

Define your KPIs

A common myth about influencer marketing is that it is less “trackable” than other digital efforts. However, this type of marketing can be analyzed like any other online campaign. 

The key is knowing which metrics to focus on. These metrics are commonly referred to as KPIs in the greater digital marketing industry. KPIs should be just as important in influencer marketing.  

Alana relies on data to help her understand what she’s doing well, what posts perform the best, and other details that give feedback about what her audience likes. 

“The thing I’m interested in the most is what works,” Alana said, “so I can do more of that.” 

As Alana indicates, KPIs shouldn’t be overly complicated. The north-star metrics are the ones that indicate what works, and what doesn’t. Strive to track three to five primary metrics closely during your influencer marketing campaigns. 

Choose your data tools

To properly track your influencer marketing, you’ll not only need KPIs, but tools to track them.

Yes, influencers can gather insights directly through Instagram’s analytics features. However, to really have a complete, reliable picture of your influencer marketing efforts, there are specific data tools on the market for savvy social media marketers. 

We recommend defining your absolutely necessary KPIs first. Then, search for the right social media analytics tool. If you choose your tool first, you may select a solution that doesn’t have the tracking you need. 

“When I go to other measurement tools, they have a different set of data that Instagram seems to,” Alana said. “The information is more dialed-in. I want to know not just what country, but what cities and towns people are coming from.” 

Tailor and test

We’ve all seen poorly executed promotions on Instagram. It’s tempting to reduce influencer marketing to just a brand thrusting its information onto a celebrity, who then blindly promotes it to their audience. However, the best influencer marketing involves responsibly promoting a brand by adapting its key message to an audience in a natural way. 

From a data-driven perspective, authentic content can be tested. Alana starts by creating genuine content. She then uses her data tools to analyze which posts, themes, and products drove the most engagement and results. This tailor and test approach blends the creative, grassroots aspects of influencer marketing with the precision of data-driven analysis. 

The key is to continually leverage feedback on how posts are performing to enhance future content generation. 

Take action on your insights

For influencer marketing to truly become data-driven and profitable, it’s important not only to review reports, but to take action.

While staying aware of KPIs consistently will certainly help improve an influencer’s content creation, true ROI will only come when continual, strategic action is taken.

According to Alana, some of the best insights available for data-driven influencers include:

  • Which time of day to post to maximize audience engagement
  • Which hashtags drive more traffic to your posts
  • What media types are performing best on your page (i.e. single-photo posts, carousels, Boomerangs)
  • The most highly-engaging filters on photos

Thus, from these insights, the actions that could be taken include:

  • Shifting your posting days and times to maximize engagement and exposure
  • Adding additional hashtags and testing new ones to improve reach
  • Implementing more media styles to drive more engagement

It’s also important to analyze what doesn’t work. For example, if an influencer is posting every week on a Friday night and not getting any engagement, don’t assume it’s a failure as a campaign. It probably means there is a better time of day (perhaps day, period) to post. 

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The data-driven future of influencer marketing

At the end of the day, there are plenty of “numbers” available to Instagram users. In the not so distant future, follower counts and likes will hold less power. The most profitable influencers and digital marketers will know how to access and mine Instagram insights for maximum impact. 

We’re at the edge of an influencer marketing sea change. In the next year, we predict that influencer marketing will be much more controlled and monitored with the help of data. Be ahead of this shift and implement your data-driven influencer marketing steps today. 

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