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How to Measure the Results of B2B Influencer Marketing

Posted by Wendy Marx

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Still on the fence about influencer marketing? 

Consider this stat: 49% of people say they rely on third party recommendations before making purchase decisions. This illustrates why B2B influencer marketing is growing in power and popularity among many marketers.

But how does this power and popularity translate to ROI? Can you measure the results of your influencer marketing program? Does lack of effective measurement hold you back from embracing influencer marketing as a tool in your campaigns? We’re here to help.

First, let’s discuss…

How Does Influencer Marketing Help Your Brand?

Influencer marketing is still in its infancy stages. While many who use it see favorable results, it still has a long way to go. The Future of Influencer Marketing Report of 2017 reported that only 11% of B2B businesses have adopted an ongoing influencer marketing program. Contrast that with B2C businesses where up to 48% have an influencer program.

So why should you begin your own influencer marketing program?

When asked what goals brands had for their influencer marketing programs one report revealed these top benefits:

  • Brand advocacy
  • Brand awareness
  • Reach new target audiences
  • Increase share of voice
  • Improve sales conversion

Influencer marketing has the power to help brands at every stage of the buying cycle -- from awareness to purchase.

There's doubt that influencer marketing is an effective tool that will only grow in signficiance.

 

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But once you’ve decided to adopt an influencer marketing program, how can you measure your results and prove ROI? Let’s  look at 6 steps toward doing just that.

 

Influencer marketing has the power to help brands at every stage of the buying cycle Tweet: Influencer marketing has the power to help brands at every stage of the buying cycle @wendymarx http://bit.ly/2xcz1H4CLICK TO TWEET

 

6 Steps to Effective Measurement of Your B2B Influencer Marketing Program

1. Create a Plan that Focuses on ROI

Influencer marketing programs have many moving parts. Key in on the parts that create visible ROI for your brand.

Co-created content

Create content, such as a blog post or eBook, in partnership with a notable influencer within your industry. For instance, you could create a post that asks questions about popular industry issues, and use your influencer’s answers as the main attraction. Promote it as Hot Q & A with Top Industry Expert [influencer’s name].

Repurposed Content

Have you already created a piece of content with an influencer? Get more life (and results) out of it by repurposing it. For instance, if you created a blog post that got great results, transform it into a video or infographic that may reach a wider audience.

Make sure that your whole team is on the same page about how you’re going to approach influencer marketing. And no matter your approach, don’t expect over-night results -- it takes time to build credibility and awareness!

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2. Count the Cost

Whatever your plan is, start measuring what the cost will be -- both for implementation and nurturing influencer relationships going forward.

Another key factor you should consider during this process is the cost of not using influencer marketing. What will it cost you if your competitor instead embraces influencer marketing? Could you lose out on a key influencer? Could you miss out on potential customers? Might your current audience turn to your competitor instead of you?

Once you know how much money you plan to invest into your influencer program, you can measure it against the results you receive later.

3. Create a Mixed Approach

As in many other areas of life, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one influencer basket, so to speak. Vary your approach to influencer marketing.

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, many businesses have found success with micro-influencers (those with audiences fewer than 20,000 followers). Oftentimes, micro-influencers have a more loyal and attentive following than their larger counterparts.

Other kinds of influencers you might try include:

  • Journalists
  • Bloggers
  • Affiliates
  • Customers

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4. Determine the Metrics You Will Use

When it comes to influencer marketing, be creative in terms of measurement. Think beyond the common metrics, such as views, click-throughs, and time on page. Nail down the metrics that are important to your brand early on in the game to avoid confusion later.

Focus on metrics that will show you the progress of your influencer marketing program. This could be referral traffic, downloads of gated content, or subscribers. Set up specific calls to action and landing pages that are associated with the influencer so you can tie these metrics to specific activities.

You can also use metrics that show an effect on brand awareness or credibility. For this, you can monitor those within your influencer’s community.

For example, during a campaign, you might set up alerts (such as through Google Alerts) for your brand or industry terms that will show the effect of your campaign on the influencer’s audience. A positive comment or conversation is a definite boon to your company and may later lead to a purchase decision.

 

When it comes to influencer marketing, you need to be creative in terms of measurementTweet: When it comes to influencer marketing, you need to be creative in terms of measurement @wendymarx http://bit.ly/2xcz1H4CLICK TO TWEET

 

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5. Invest in the Right Tools

Tools are a big part of PR measurement -- and the more accurate and easy to use, the better. Once you know what metrics you will track, finding the right tools will be easy.

Here are a few of the major tools that we have found helpful for measurement:

Traackr - This is a great tool if you are new to influencer marketing. This tool does everything. Find influencers who fit your brand, industry and goals. Create a team to collaborate and nurture your influencer relationships for best results. Monitor mentions and analyze results related to your specific influencer campaigns.

Google Alerts -- This handy and free tool helps you to keep up with what people are saying about your brand across the internet. Choose what words you want to monitor -- such as your personal name or brand name -- and sit back and wait as Google Alerts brings the results straight to your inbox.

AirPR -- This tool is specifically designed to analyze your content marketing and PR efforts, and give you helpful insight into what those metrics mean. Set it up specifically to monitor the progress of your influencer marketing program, and adjust from there.

Also consider these smaller tools and tricks that will help you to measure your results:

Pixels -- Embed a tracking pixel on your influencer’s page to see what portion of your traffic comes from your influencer.

Coupon Codes -- This may be a little bit of a throwback, but they are still around for good reason. Set up a special coupon code for your influencer’s audience to use -- it gives them an incentive to try your product, and allows you to track the effectiveness of your influencer program.

Links -- Create unique links that you can use to measure results. Bit.ly is a great way to create short, unique links that you can track. If your influencer is on YouTube, then create a link for them to use in their description that allows you to monitor how many visitors you get from their video.

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6. Amplify What Works, Ditch What Doesn’t

As with many things in life, the best formula for your influencer marketing program is not going to happen overnight. It will take time and a good deal of trial and error to get the right balance for your brand and industry. Just don’t give up too quickly.

Start small. You might also begin within your own company. Provide incentives for your employees and community to spread the word and build your brand’s credibility.

You can also start out by co-creating a piece of content with an influencer. Choose a hot topic within your industry, and get an influencer to provide his or her unique point of view or advice. Promote the content -- you could even gate it if it’s really unique and valuable -- and see what results you get.

When you find something that works, amplify it. If co-created content works with your target audience, include more influencers in your content creation. If employee advocacy is your golden ticket, make it more widespread.

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Exceptional Examples of Influencer Marketing at Work for B2B Companies

SAP

SAP is a wonderful example of keeping it fresh in terms of influencer marketing -- and the software company uses video marketing to highlight their influencer relationships. For instance, the company uses its  employees as brand advocates in a program called Business Beyond Bias. The following is one of its customers speaking out about the enjoyable experience of working for the company. It is a genuine and touching way of humanizing SAP and elevating it in the minds of their audience.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great example of co-created content with its Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn. Within this guide LinkedIn leverages the advice and views of influencers within the industry. Those who download this co-created content aren't only attracted by the LinkedIn brand, but also by the various influencers that they've come to admire.

LinkedIn Influencer Marketing Example

 

A Few Points to Remember…

  • Create content that is easy to measure, such as a co-created blog post
  • Determine what metrics are important to your brand, such as brand mentions, downloads, or referral traffic
  • Choose the right tools for your measurement, such as Traackr, tracking pixels, and special links.

B2B influencer marketing is an important tool that you want in your marketing toolbox along with the tools to meaure its ROI. 

What metrics do you use to measure your influencer marketing program? Let us know in the comments below.

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Topics: Influencer Marketing, PR Measurement

Oct 23, 2017