By Mayank Garg, Head of MediaCom Beyond Advertising, MENA
The hottest buzzword of 2018 is quite certainly ‘influencers’. It doesn’t matter if they actually influence their millions of followers; they certainly carry the title in their Instagram bios and increasingly well-designed media kits.
Influencer marketing is big business too. Advertisers globally are positioning themselves to invest more and more of their marketing budgets on these digital celebrities.
While influencers have been called many things such as key opinion leaders, social celebrities, social storytellers, content creators and of course the buzz-wordy title above, they traverse the fine line between a publisher and an individual. In the traditional sense, an influencer is a single person behaving like a publisher that creates written and visual narratives on a periodic basis. Except, they also star in their own productions. For this reason alone, I prefer to call them content creator-publishers.
As a paid-for content creator and publisher, it should come as no surprise that both marketers and influencers themselves should follow the same barometers of the digital advertising industry. This will help ensure that there is both transparency and parity in this space. After all, if you’re going to command marketing investments designed to generate certain outcomes and benchmarks, it seems only prudent that you be measured in the same stead.
Here are the five steps that you as an influencer – especially if you’re based in the Middle East – need to get started:
Almost all social platforms offer business accounts to influencers these days. What this offers you is the ability to get deeper analytics, launch partnerships and easily create branded content that your followers are aware of.
Having a business account will give you access to a lot of rich data about your profiles and followers. If you are a serious content creator, you would have already spent time understanding the kind of content that performs well and the kind that doesn’t.
After all, this is your livelihood.
And so, skimming through the deltas on followers and engagement is not enough. It’s crucial to focus on the more granular metrics and study them in different contexts such as type of content (photo, video, GIF, LIVE), timing (day, hour, event, occasion), location, duration, etc.
I still find it strange that so many people are unaware that adding a simple ‘+’ to the end of a bit.ly link gives you the traffic that link passed through – and for free, if you have an account. Why is tracking links in your bio so important? To prove your ‘influence’ you have to achieve certain measurable outcomes – beyond reach and engagement because that’s not what influence is.
Real influence is better measured by your ability to, for instance, drive your followers to an e-commerce platform where they bought the featured product; or to sign up for an event (and actually show up). If not, change your title from ‘influencer’ to simply ‘content creator-publisher’.
Losing your captive audience as you experiment with content can be a painful experience. However, other than the retention of followers and subscribers, you need to apply experimentation to the frames of the video content that you publish. Advertisers pour hundreds of millions of dollars in research and learning about the right lengths of video, when to introduce their brands, how often to do it for and for how long before their viewers lose interest. They look at influencers’ captive audience and wonder what they can do to get the same reaction. As brands get more and more savvy with their metrics, they will come around to ask you for the View-Through-Rate (VTR) and percentage retention. These numbers are not only important for you to know, but also a key way for advertisers to calculate their ROI.
The above are simple and quick steps to get started on analytics for your profiles. There’s a lot more that you can do but most importantly, have fun and experiment with numbers. These unique data points will become your USP and position yourself better in front of advertisers.