Building better influencer marketing campaigns with social listening

Once upon a time, if your brand was big enough, your company had a department dedicated to one thing—reading newspapers.

They’d find any mention of your company or topics your company cared about, preparing reports so decision makers knew where things stood in the world.  

Like rotary telephones, darkrooms, and AOL CDs, the days of those departments are long gone.

They live on in spirit though, thanks to a cool little suite of software called social listening tools.  Replacing all those eyes are crawlers—little pieces of code that scour the online world to find any mention of what you care about.

While many employ social listening to ensure their brand isn’t getting blasted online, savvy marketers know it can do a lot more.

For instance, in the world of influencer marketing, we’re seeing it used in a multitude of ways.  From guiding strategy, to optimizing campaigns, to providing greater context during post reporting.

Used this way, social listening leads to quicker learning, finer-tuned campaigns, and ultimately better results.  

Don’t have time to read this whole article?  Check out this quick 1-minute video with #paid’s Measurement & Insights Lead Richelle Batuigas for a quick summary of how social listening can be used for influencer marketing campaigns.

Social Listening & Influencer Marketing Strategy Development

Social listening is extremely useful in crafting better influencer marketing strategies because it allows you to pressure test ideas.  

Pressure tests with social listening usually come down to taking the core ideas of any upcoming campaign and testing each element against alternatives to see what is more on trend.  

  • Teal vs. purple?  What has more positive sentiment associated with it?
  • Throw-back or futuristic? What are people feeling more this season?
  • Associate with cause A or cause B?  What are people most excited about? What has more detractors, and therefore riskier for your brand?

Done this way, you can craft a campaign strategy and brief that gives your influencer marketing campaign the best chance to catch fire—the stretch goal of just about every campaign. 

The best part of building your strategy this way is that it’s proactive rather than reactive.  If you think about alternative test, such as focus groups, you’d need to come up with the campaign ahead of time and then ask peoples’ opinions.

Not only is that slower, but you often will have to rely on small groups, for instance 20 people, to make decisions on content that will one day (hopefully!) be seen by millions.  

With social listening data you’re using hundreds of thousands, if not millions of data points to guide your strategy, giving you the best opportunity to create a winning campaign.

Social Listening & Campaign Optimization

It’s no secret influencer marketing is a fast moving discipline (something we talked about a lot when discussing the evolution of brand lift studies for influencer marketing).  

Creators are all about authentic content reflective of themselves and their audience.  Spend too much time testing an idea and what you come up with on the other side likely won’t work.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t optimize influencer marketing campaigns though—you 100% should! And social listening is one of the best ways to do this.

When you have a roster of creators releasing content on your behalf, social listening helps you to understand the conversations you’re fueling. 

Do people like what you’ve had created or not?  Are people commenting not only on the creators’ posts, but through their own handles to their own followers? What is working best? What isn’t? How do these trends change as a result of age, geography, or gender?

With information like this, you can quickly provide feedback to your roster of creators and influencers about what they should do prior to pushing out any more content.  

Furthermore, if you’re pairing organic content with paid amplification, you can use these types of learning to create better targeted campaigns.  And of course, with better targeting comes better return on ad spend (ROAS).  

(Want to know about the future of likes based feedback for influencer marketing? Check out our just released research report!)

Social Listening & Contextualizing Results

Social listening is an amazing tool for being proactive, but you shouldn’t sleep on its power as part of post reporting.

During post reporting, it’s possible to combine social listening results with other tools such as brand lift studies and ROI models to gain a much clearer picture of why a campaign performed the way it did.  

This is done by using social listening to surface an extensive list of external variables that were competing or synergizing with your campaign.  

Combining this information with brand lift studies and accounting for them in ROI models improves the insights you’re able to generate from these tools.

Best of all, not only do they provide insight into past performance, but like all good research, they become a jumping off point for your next campaign.  

Using measurement tools this way in combination creates a powerful marketing flywheel that continual improves and powers more-and-more effective influencer marketing campaigns. 

Video Transcript

Social listening is exactly what it sounds like; we’re tuning into what your audience is saying online, in the news, and on social media.

And we can use social listening throughout the program process –
from strategy development to optimization to post reporting…

When it comes to strategy development, social listening can help us pressure-test ideas in real time with your audience.

When it comes to optimization, it can help us contextualize performance metrics.

And when it comes to post reporting, we can pair social listening with other methodologies like brand lift studies and like ROI models to understand external variables within your landscape and industry that can impact performance.

And I think social listening is a valuable tool that you can use in real time
to relate your campaign back to your audience.