The rise of influencer marketing has been a boon for big brands with corresponding large budgets but it has left small businesses struggling to figure out the best way to utilize the tactic and accurately measure success.
A recent study showed that 38 percent of marketers are unable to tell whether influencer activity actually drove sales, and 86 percent are unsure how to effectively and fairly pay the influencers.
Big brands can choose from celebrities and social media stars with gigantic, wide-reaching audiences but budget-conscious brands are increasingly working with a wider range of influencers, often prioritizing engagement quality over scale. Quality engagement can still generated—along with an increased perception of authenticity—by partnering with smaller influencers whose images reinforce specific brand values.
A recent Unilever campaign for its margarine brand Stork asked influencers for images of foods they had baked using Stork ingredients. Unilever picked the 21 creator posts it liked best and those creators then posted their images to their Instagram accounts, leading to around 436,000 followers seeing the images over five weeks.
More and more often, brands working with influencers are using a CPE (cost per engagement) number to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns. The Stork campaign had a CPE of 21 cents (anything under 40 cents is considered “good value”).
Businesses looking to work with influencers without the built-in audience that Stork had can either search for mentions of their products themselves (time-consuming but cost effective) or use a partner like TapInfluence, Group High or Tribe to find the right influencers.