Through the Spyglass

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Understanding Quantity Versus Quality in Social Influence Marketing

Social influence marketing can take many different forms, but there are two primary tactics taken by most brands that pursue it. 

Quantity of influencers: get as many relatively influential people talking about your brand/campaign as possible for at least a brief period of time. 

Quality of influencers: get the most influential person you can to talk about your brand/campaign for as long as you can.

Now, at first glance you might think, wouldn’t it better for as many influencers to talk about my brand as possible? Before you start planning a campaign around this idea, there are a few things to keep in mind. Consider what kind of influencers you want to work with and how you want them to interact with your brand. Below are some of the key differences to each approach, and pros and cons related to them.

Overall Reach

When working with a large number of different influencers – let’s say 200 – you will definitely reach a sizable audience. Assuming each influencer has an audience of 2,500 fans and you get in front of one-third of those fans through any given interaction, you’re looking at reaching about 167,000 people through your campaign.

It would follow then that if the average audience count is lower among those 200 influencers, and if you’re reaching less than one-third of their audience through any given post, your brand reach will be lower.

Now let’s consider your brand decides to work more closely with one or a few high-quality influencers who each have several hundred thousand fans. It will take longer to develop the relationships because influencers with large audiences can be very particular about what brands they work with and how they work with them. The relationship is less based on transaction and more on compatibility. 

But with one higher-quality influencer you might reach the same number of people or more as a campaign with 200 lesser-known influencers. Usually you’ll have a longer relationship with that higher-quality influencer, providing more opportunities to reach their audience over time. Let’s dive into that concept a bit more.

Longevity of Relationship

There tends to be a correlation between how long it takes to develop a relationship with an influencer and how long that relationship will last. You might work through a middle-man that has relationships with many influencers and is your go-between to reach the 200 influencers promoting your company. If you do this, your company doesn’t really have a relationship with any of these influencers. You can’t just call them up and say, “Hey, I have this idea…”

Alternatively, if you spend time researching relevant influencers and develop meaningful relationships with them, you’re more likely to have long-lasting relationships that are more balanced. Influencers begin to value working with your brand as much as your brand values working with them.

Having these long-lasting relationships allows your brand to develop more exposure over a period of time with the influencer’s audience as well.

Type of Exposure

Typically when working with many influencers you have fewer, less meaningful exposure opportunities with their audiences. An influencer may post once on Instagram with a link to your website, and their fans have that one opportunity to click through and purchase, sign up, or perform some other action.

This may still be the right approach for your brand because these campaigns tend to be more expedient and are highly quantifiable. Each link posted by an influencer can be tracked and evaluated for performance. Sometimes you’re only paying influencers based on people who either click on a post or purchase from that post. These campaigns work similarly to paid ad campaigns, with the influencer being your ad platform, so-to-speak.

But if you have a deeper relationship with a single, highly influential person, you can utilize many different engagement opportunities, which can compel audiences more comprehensively. 

Take this scenario as an example. Say you get an influencer to co-author an e-book with your brand. They promote that e-book to their audience through social media and their blog. But in addition, they also sit in on a webinar highlighting concepts in the e-book. They may also participate in a Twitter chat fielding questions related to the subject.

By working with this influencer over a period of time in different formats, you’re more likely to reach more of their audience (as they’re promoting the events on their end each time), and you’re also likely to have a more meaningful impact with each of those audience members as they engage with your brand in a deeper way. You are more likely to be top of mind when they need something your brand provides. 

Which is Right for Your Brand?

Depending on your objectives, either one could work for your brand. Here are two main considerations to help with making your decision.

Expediency: if you’re looking to blitz the social space ASAP with brand messaging, then it may be better to work with a lot of influencers at once. As mentioned before, these types of campaigns work similarly to a paid ad campaign where you negotiate pricing for promotion based on number of clicks, percentage of sales, or impressions.

Longevity: If you’re looking for a long-term relationship with lots of diverse engagement opportunities, then working with a few, or even just one, influencer for a particular campaign is a better bet. These arrangements are more like celebrity sponsorships with each agreement being unique. However, you can still quantify success through tracking referral sources, utilizing a dedicated landing page, and other means.

If you’re not sure what approach is best for your brand, contact us. We’d be happy to walk you through your options via a complimentary consultation.