You Ask, I Answer: Managing Brand Expectations for Influencers?

In this series, I answer questions from the B2B Influencer Marketing Summit hosted by SAP and Onalytica. I participated in a panel discussion, a format that doesn’t really allow for deep dives into particular questions, so we’re tackling these questions individually here. Today’s question is:

How do you manage brands’ expectations?

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You Ask, I Answer: Managing Brand Expectations for Influencers?

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Christopher Penn 0:00

This is the fourth in a series of questions from the B2B influencer marketing Summit held recently by SAP and Analytica.

These are the questions from the panel discussion that we just didn’t have enough time to dig into depth about? So I’m answering them here.

Today’s question, how do you manage brand expectations within an influencer marketing program? And this to me, is very much a measurement question, right? How do you measure influencer marketing, so that the influencer and the brand are measuring the same things, and the influencer and the brand are setting expectations appropriately based on the scope of measurement? So let’s start with a few different things, because there’s a lot to unpack here.

First, it depends on the kind of influencer, right? We have a tendency, and I mean, we in B2B marketing, have a tendency to think of influencer marketing as social media marketing.

And that is partly true.

Social media is a component of influencer marketing.

But it is mostly not true, especially in B2B.

Here’s why.

influence extends way outside of social media.

If you are a pharmaceutical company, where the influential people than not on Twitter, they are in archive and Bio Archive online, they’re in published academic papers.

They are in peer reviewed journals.

That’s where those those folks are who make who influence decisions.

If you were in law, and the legal realm where you’re influencers, right? They’re gonna be in LexisNexis, and find law and all these places where influential people, people who can change a conversation are hanging out again, probably not on Twitter, right? Even though for a lot of influencer marketing tools, they seem to over focus on Twitter, that’s about to change.

If you are in real estate, where where are your influences? Good chunk, then we’re going to be on on places like YouTube and Instagram.

Sure, publicly, behind the scenes, there’s backend systems like MLS, there’s understanding how to manipulate those systems, to to accomplish different tasks.

If you are in coding and development, where are your influencers? They’re on GitHub.

They’re on GitHub, they’re in code repositories.

Maybe they’re on Reddit, maybe a few of them are on Twitter, but they’re in GitHub.

And if you know, get hubs data model, you know how to find those influences, because it’s they’re the ones who are doing lots of commits on public projects that are about the subject area that you care about.

Influencer Marketing extends way outside of social media.

Right? Where if you are in in your industry, where do you see prominent people getting attention? And chances are for a lot of B2B, it’s not social media, it is someplace very specific to some kind of realm where they have expertise.

So that’s first Where are you influencers? Second, how do you measure the impact of influencer marketing? Influencer Marketing is very similar to public relations.

There are two primary outputs, right.

One is awareness, to drive awareness to a new to a brand, its products and services.

How do you create that awareness.

And the second is trust.

You’re bringing in influences because consumers rightfully and the consumer we use here in in the B2B and B2C sense.

Customers don’t trust you.

They don’t trust you to do talk honestly, about your product.

And so you have to bring in third parties to do so on your behalf public relations, uses a lot of influencer marketing.

And so if you think about how you measure public relations, then you should have to have a pretty good idea of how to measure influencers.

You have basic, sort of top level metrics, like impressions, media impressions and things which are not worthless, right? If you have zero media impressions, yeah, you don’t have anything else because you no one saw you.

So clearly, that number does mean something if if zero is bad, but then you have more complex forms of measurement.

Example uplift modeling is something that if you’re engaging influencers to do influencer marketing, uplift modeling should be part of your toolkit, which is the statistical method to look at.

What was business as usual, right? What would you have gotten no matter what, and then you have the influencer campaign, what’s the Delta on that? Right? What’s the what’s the impact in the days and weeks and months after an engagement above and beyond what you’re gonna get anyway, there are statistical techniques for doing that, that are statistically valid media mix modeling and other example your influencers should be part of your media mix model to see how they impact outcomes that you care about.

Setting brand expectations means having a conversation about measurement.

Ask them, how do you measure things? How do you want to measure this program? How will you know what success looks like? How will you know what failure looks like? And if a brand doesn’t have those answers, it’s probably not going to be a successful long term partnership.

Right? If you can’t say to somebody, here’s what we did.

And here’s the line of sight, the dotted line, but the path to a metric that you care about, right? If the CMO is in charge of marketing, qualified leads, something that you provide in measurement wise, had better have a correlation to marketing qualified leads in some statistical capacity so that you can say, Yeah, we did XY and Z, which resulted in a 6% lift in marketing qualified leads, that’s something that a stakeholder can take to the bank, or at least take to the boss and say, Hey, we got 60% more leads because of this program.

Let’s keep doing it.

So setting expectations with a brand is about setting expectations around measurement.

And what you’re willing to provide, what the brand is willing to provide, and what you’re willing to agree on to say like, yeah, this measure doesn’t make sense, right? If there will be cases where if, if you’re providing awareness and trust, you’re probably not direct selling.

Might be but you’re probably not, you’re probably just trying to get people to recognize this brand even exists, that they even belong in the consideration set.

What are your consideration metrics? What are the things that people would type into a search engine or ask on a social media channel? Here’s, here’s a ton of people talking about how to learn more about this thing.

That’s awareness.

So that’s how I think about managing brand expectations in an influencer marketing program.

It is what what are you measuring? What does success look like? And then can we create modeling around that, that helps you understand? Yep, you’re, you’re getting what you you want it and it is a a partnership for both the influencer and the brand, to collaborate on measurement to agree on a common standard of measurement and then to implement that measurement as part of the program.

So that’s a part four of the questions from the influencer marketing summit, the B2B influencer marketing Summit.

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