person Guy Potter access_time November 27, 2018
Agile Research for Influencers: How Agile Can Help Drive Growth and Improve Client Relationships

2018 has been a bit of a bumpy year for Influencers. Fake followers, concerns around return on investment, and transparency around brand endorsements, have been some of the issues hitting the news agenda.

Like anything new, especially social media, we’re all guilty of feeling our way around this new way of marketing, and this is no less the case for Influencers.

Having said that, this is a space that is certainly on an upward trajectory. 67% of marketers have increased their Influencer marketing budget. It is now the fastest growing customer-acquisition channel – and with the growth of Instagram as the Influencer platform of choice – this form of marketing is most definitely here to stay.

However, with some of the negative issues starting to come to the fore, now is the time to get your Influencer credentials packaged-up into a tighter, stronger and more attractive proposition in order to attract brands and garner trust.

As part of this, Agile Research can play a critical part, not only for your own influence, but also in tracking campaign effectiveness. We show you how.

It only takes one person…

As teachers and parents the world over say; “it only takes one person to spoil it for the rest of us”, and, unfortunately, this has been the case with some Influencers buying fake followers.

This does tarnish the image of those of you who have worked hard to attract and grow your follower base. As a result, this does mean you’re going to have to work harder to show brands or partners that you are authentic.

For Marketing Managers and PR’s, stats, evaluation and market analysis are their definitive guide to measuring campaign effectiveness, not to mention the tools with which to report to the board. This is a great approach for measuring success and one you could adopt when looking at follower engagement and brand endorsements.

You may have this under control with tools such as Instagram Insights and Facebook and Twitter analytics, but, as we’ve mentioned in previous posts, all this data gives you the facts but it doesn’t give you deeper insights into why followers are behaving or engaging in such a way.

It is this knowledge that could be a brand’s make or break decision as to whether they use you or somebody else.

Get to know your followers

As you know, an effective Influencer is somebody who has follower engagement and attention. This is why more brands are focusing on Micro Influencers as opposed to macro, as they feel they may be better value for money.

We recently spoke to Kaya Cheshire of Influencer agency Hachi Digital. She says the most important indicators of influencer growth are:

“Engagement, Engagement and Engagement. Influencers know that when you grow your following you can often charge a higher fee. They want to step out of the “micro” status to “macro” as fast as possible, but should focus on not losing their genuine audience while growing their numbers.

She continued:

“Actually, comments and likes are more important than numbers, because the more engaged an audience is, the more they trust that Influencer, and the more chance there is of them purchasing something related to the Influencer. It’s all about ROI.”

In addition to looking at posts with the most hits, likes or comments, when a brand approaches you and wants to know what value they will get from you – do you actually know what your followers want? Do you know their behaviours and what gets them interested on a more personal or insightful level?

This information is like gold dust to brands. In order to achieve this, you could commission a follower survey where you can get this valuable insight. Invite them to take part but do incentivise in some way.

Agile research is very lightning-fast, so if you’re concerned about taking up people’s time, then these surveys only take a few minutes to complete.

Then, when a brand asks you about follower demographics and profiles, you have all this data packaged up and good to go. Not only that, but it will also bring you even closer to your followers and help you shape future content.

Take control

You are the brand, and you control it. Think about your growth strategy and how you want to develop your business.

One way of doing this is with market analysis, which is a great way to gauge sentiment and opinions. If you’re thinking of offering a new product or service, instead of launching and hoping for the best, then it makes sense to do a survey to check if there is interest and if it’s viable.

Investing in research will save you money in the long term. Launching an offering that doesn’t hit your follower’s, or the consumer’s, sweet spot will incur additional spend in trying to get it right. A survey will highlight any issues before you go live.

 

Pre- and post- campaign analysis

When it comes to brands working with Influencers, campaign tracking and analysis is on a very steep learning curve. It’s also been flagged as one of the main issues around assessing campaign effectiveness.

Again, taking the front foot on this will also help re-assure your clients their spend isn’t going into some sort of social media vacuum.

Tracking studies can help you, and the brand, to monitor and react to engagement. If the campaign seems to be flagging, then a tracking study will help you manage and adjust activity accordingly.

This data will not only help you with your brand engagement but can also help advise future clients on what has and hasn’t worked in the past. That way, all expectations are managed and the Marketing Director has solid data to present to the board.

Budgets

The speed and nature of Agile research is that it isn’t budget-busting. Surveys are cost-effective and you can control how much you’re willing to spend.

Additionally, when it comes to analysis of brand work, then you may want to look at coming to an agreement with the client. Do bear in mind that some brands may want complete control over the data, so think about whether you want to make a contribution in order to have your own analysis.

As you know, the Influencer landscape is constantly evolving and changing, so it’s important you respond and adapt accordingly. This doesn’t happen in isolation, however, and this is where insights and evaluation become invaluable.

Guy Potter is maru / usurv's head of research and clients.