By: Kristina Libby, SoCu
December 29, 2017
Influencer marketing isn’t about gut instinct or aesthetics; it’s not about magically finding the right look and feel for a brand. Influencer marketing is, at its heart, a science.
Recently, I pulled some influencer data for a partnership strategy firm in New York. They work with brands and match them to other brands. In that case, the social footprint of a brand is often at the forefront of their mind. The brands themselves become, in a way, social media influencers.
The data I pulled for them included audience size, likes and preferences, geography and age, among other demographic info. It is standard data for those of us diving deep into the world of influencer marketing—and they were thrilled.
Yet, the real magic came next, when we were able to cross-reference that data, looking at a number of brands concurrently against their social footprint. This data helped them to make partnership decisions that would have otherwise seemed unnatural or, at the least, unintuitive.
It made me stop for a second and think: How many of us are applying rigorous data standards to the way we practice influencer marketing? And what does that collection and review process look like? And, then, do we have the skills as an industry to accurately review and interpret the data?
One of the biggest concerns I have in teaching students is the lack of quantitative skills they bring to the table. But at the end of the day, influencer marketing is a quantitative science. It is not about people who “feel right” or who “look like our brand.” It is about answering these questions:
- How many followers do you have to reach to make a sale?
- What type of followers do you have to reach to make a sale?
- How much will it cost to make the sale?
- How much will it cost to scale those sales?
- What types of influencers have these types of followers and what price will they charge to reach those followers?
Are you asking these questions when you hire, review or engage with influencers? For most people and for most agencies, the answer is no. In that regard, we are both letting ourselves down and letting down the industry.
These are not “fluff” questions and they are not questions to be answered by those trained in traditional PR practices. Instead, we need to spend more time with our quantitative skills and less time pushing brands to influencers who “look right” (a term we hear far too often).
What are you doing this month to improve your analytic skills? It’s what will ensure you have a job 10 years from now.
Kristina Libby is a professor at the University of Florida and the co-founder of SoCu, a PR, social media and influencer marketing platform in Dallas, Texas. She recently published her first book “You Don’t Need Social Media Unless You Are Doing It Right,” and has written for and appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan, Entrepreneur, More, Forbes, the Los Angeles Times and others.
Follow Kristina: @KristinaLibby