Clara Chen
Jun 11, 2014

How do you measure the impact of social influencers?

No matter what platform you use to build your network it’s essential to measure the real effects of your social influencers and brand advocates.

Clara Chen
Clara Chen

The Return on Investment (ROI) on the impact that your social influencers can have on your business can be tracked in various ways. 

There are some common-sense metrics that you can use such as:

  • Who are your star performers? Which of your social influencers have shared your content and who has done it the most?
  • Who has created their own original content (inspired by yours) and made a real impact with it and who has just re-shared the content that you supplied them? In effect who is working harder for you and who is merely being reactive?
  • Who are your most influential advocates? The platform should have easy to display metrics that track all activity and give everyone a score that combines all factors in one. This will give you a simple snap shot of who your top 20 per cent of influencers generating 80 per cent of your engagement are. Any metrics should clearly state how they relate to the marketing objectives that you are using the influencers for.

It’s also essential for your content marketing strategy that you measure what specific content generated by individual influencers about your brand is being shared the most. Which are the hot topics and which are the subjects that just didn’t catch on? What are people saying about your content? How are they sharing it?

There was the classic case recently of a Singapore Tourism Authority video aimed at the Philippines being shared for all the wrong reasons. It ended up having to be taken down but not before it went viral and people had shared it hundreds of thousands of times. This sent out the wrong message not only to those being targeted but also of the Tourism Authority itself. You want your content to be shared for the right reasons and not the wrong ones.

The sentiment of why your content was shared is therefore crucial. Any business needs to track exactly why its content was shared beyond quantities and measurements. What was it about the content that really caught the imagination? These insights are crucial for understanding how they can effect product development, marketing strategy and a brand-focused content marketing strategy.

There is a make-up brand in Singapore who used the pre-release of a new product to test it with social influencers first before unleashing it onto the public. The influencers came back and suggested that various parts of the product didn’t work as claimed and the company delayed the launch and changed the product. When it was then released later on it gained universal approval, thanks in part because of the feedback given by the influencers.

Which platforms were the most used and most effective? It may not always be Facebook, for some male brands it may be Google+, for business brands it may be LinkedIn, for retail or fashion brands Pinterest may be top and for more visual youth orientated brands in may be Instagram. In Asia for example it may not yet be Twitter but as the network grows it maybe in the future. This in turn helps you determine the nature and format of future content to be shared and which platform to use for the greatest impact.

Also when it comes to countries such as China it’s important to know which local social network was being used the most. Don’t assume it will be RenRen or WeChat or SinoWeibo.

Ultimately for the ROI to be justified, a measuring tool needs to be able to track the overall impact on purchase intent and actual purchases. A brand can track the impact of the conversations and shares initiated by your network of influencers on both purchase intent and actual sales. The key here is to engage with the platform with the most appropriate content through your key social influencers that allow for a strong tie with your e-commerce platform that tracks online to offline sales and customer interactions.


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