How to Get a Great ROI on Your Influencer Marketing Plan

Trust, authenticity and word-of-mouth advertising are your best tools.

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By Murray Newlands

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To most old school marketers, influencer marketing seems risky and without merit. More than a few have asked me, "Where's the legitimate ROI?" Without a native knowledge of social media, those who have marketed the same way for years think that influencer marketing is flimsy and ephemeral. Some just don't know how it works or are unwilling to take a risk.

The fact is, there is loads of research to show that influencer marketing has one of the best ROIs of any marketing plan. According to a study done by SocialChorus, influencer marketing campaigns can capture up to 16 times the engagement of owned or paid media. Influencer marketing agency Tomoson also found that businesses generate, on average, $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing. Thirteen percent of those businesses make $20 or more per $1. Influencer marketing is the most cost effective way of advertising and generates a very high ROI.

Related: 8 Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing

While social media has created the ability to generate highly targeted marketing campaigns, many businesses have little to no idea how to create and measure what ROI an influencer marketing campaign gives them. To that end, follow these four essential tips to help launch the best campaigns ever:

1. Find the right influencers.

This cannot be overstated. First and foremost, define your audience. Obsess over them. What details about their lives can you define and utilize in creating the ultimate demographic? You need to know exactly who you are targeting to find the influencers who will reach your audience.

Then, find the influencers who are creating for your audience, in your niche. Ideally they are influencers who can and are catalyzing their fans to click. They are creating high engagements on their page, which will translate to your ROI.

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make in hiring influencers is always going for the cream of the crop-- influencers who have millions of followers. The problem with a large reach is that often, the demographic width of a large audience is too wide for a niche product, and costs too much money for a good ROI. Aim for a mid-level reach with an influencer who most suits your demographic, targeting the audience that will be likely to click-through.

2. Utilize your metrics.

The idea that social media marketing cannot be measured is highly outdated. There are plenty of tools out there to measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaign's ROI, and more are coming out every day.

Related: How Influencer Marketing Moves Beyond Raising Awareness

First, start with basics like tracking and measuring your Facebook and Twitter metrics. It's easy to look up metrics by date, time, location and more, so start there.

Next, make sure your campaign includes monitoring mechanisms. Hashtags and promo codes let you monitor sales, usage and click-through rates, making them invaluable in calculating your ROI. There are also plenty of alternate routes, like link shortener company Bitly. They've connected their shortened links to metrics that allow you to see a host of data that was otherwise difficult to track.

Last, use those metrics to isolate and target your audience in an even more keen way. Pay attention to your audience reception. The temperature of your audience's reaction indicates where your company is soaring -- or falling short.

3. Play the long game.

Traditional marketing is an immediate return that can be seen and measured over a short period. Influencer marketing carries the same weight, but it is a long game. You're building relationships and trust, and that takes time and effort. Influence is something you earn, not something you buy.

Keep in mind that the demand for your product or service could -- and most likely will -- extend well into the future, even after you're done with your campaign. Don't stop measuring just because you're done with your ads.

4. Reward your influencer.

Rewards for your influencer need to reflect the relationship that you're building between you two. Money is great compensation, but should be mentioned with caution. Influencers can also be paid with product, shout-outs, discounts and even commissions, if that is a good fit. Remember that you are building a relationship where the influencer should leave feeling loved, important and well-compensated for their time, effort and brand loyalty.

Related: Why Defining Content Campaign Success is Harder Than It Sounds

In addition, I recommend designating one or two employees to be the initial and continuing contact for your influencers, creating a genuine and ongoing connection. The more like family they feel, the more genuine love they will feel for your business and, by extension, your product or service.

To conclude, there is really no legitimate balk nowadays for not including influencer marketing in your campaigns. With so much information coming at consumers every day, trust, authenticity and word-of-mouth advertising are your best tools when getting your product out there. Keep using the tools, and you'll see an incredible ROI.

Murray Newlands

Entrepreneur, business advisor and online-marketing professional

Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, investor, business advisor and speaker. He is the founder of ChattyPeople.com chatbot builder tool and Sighted.com. Read his blog MurrayNewlands.com.

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