How to Measure the Influence of an Influencer [A Simple Framework for You]

Ever wonder how influential an influencer is?

Or…lets ask a better question.

How relevant their influence is to your business?

DARTS framework

They may be influential but not among the audience you are interested in.

Look:

We talked about influence scoring tools such as Peer Index, Klout, and Kred for years.  But none of these tools lived up to their promise.

And the promise was…

A single number that indicates a person’s level of influence and that’s all you needed to know.

Ian Cleary

Unfortunately, there’s no automated way for measuring influence but there’s an extremely useful framework you can use.

Are you ready?

I’m going to share this framework with you in detail!

What is ‘influence’

Influence is the ability to move people to action.

For example:

You mention a new product online and people go out and buy it.

Here’s an example of women sharing pictures of a new line of clothing on Instagram.

It was sold out in a couple of days!

Influence

Or…

You mention a product online and this stimulates a lot of conversation that helps with brand awareness and builds positive associations and trust for a brand based on who is sharing this information, etc.

What is Influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is working with influencers to market you product or service.

Wikipedia explanation (COLETTE – need image)

It’s so expensive to build a community so quite often it’s cheaper to work with someone that has the trust of an audience you want to get access to.

influencer trust exchange

Why you want to measure influence

There are various reasons why you might want to measure influence:

An ‘influencer’ approaches you to guest post on your site.  Typically you want someone who writes great content but will also expose you to your target audience.

You are going to reach out to influencers to see if they are interested in promoting your products/services.

You want to invite influencers onto your podcast/video show.

You are creating an expert post on your site and want to involve influencers.

So how do you measure influence?

As mentioned earlier, measuring a person’s influence is not about going to Klout and looking up a score.

You need to work out a score that is specific to each person.

And you need to understand how they can affect the decisions of your target audience.

I created a 5-step approach to help brands assess the influence of someone they are thinking of working with.

And here it is:

<< Colette Insert image for the DARTS framework>>

  • D for Domain Authority – what kind of authority does a website have and how much traffic do they get for new content (this gives you an idea of the reach you can get for a new piece of content on that website).
  • A for Appetite – do they appreciate what you are selling/going to write about? Is this something they are passionate about?
  • R for Relevance – being influential is great, but if the influencer is not relevant to your brand then working with them won’t help your business.
  • T for Track record – do they have a proven track record of success working with brands?
  • S for Social media authority – are they influential on the social media platform that’s relevant to your business?

Looking at each area of the DARTS framework will help you effectively measure an influencer’s influence.

Now, let’s look at each of these areas in more detail.

D for Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a solid indicator of the value of a website. DA (Domain Authority) score is a number on a scale from 1 to 100 calculated by an SEO company called Moz. The higher the number, the higher the authority.

Basically, if you look at the DA score of a website plus its traffic, you can get an idea of reach for a new piece of content.

This is a very useful insight to help you assess the potential impact a content piece on an influencer’s website can have.

One way to check the DA of a website is with Moz’s Open Site Explorer tool.

Here’s an example:

Open Site Explorer

 As you can see, the Digital Marketing Institute’s website has a high DA of 52!

And I didn’t choose their website randomly. When I searched Google for “influencer outreach,” a DMI’s article titled How to Create an Influencer Outreach Strategy That Excels was in the top 3 results.

So, if I worked with them on a piece on influencer outreach, I could expect that content to rank well in the search results, bringing a lot of organic traffic to the content itself and consequently to my website.

Here’s a diagram which shows the power of the domain authority from Andy Crestodina:

Domain Authority Curve

What else can show the authority of a website?

How about asking the influencer for a copy of the Google analytics report?

I was running an event recently where we gathered a group of the top travel influencers in the world in a castle in Ireland (fun weekend!) and Gary Arndt who is one of the top travel influencers globally remarked about website traffic.

He said that website traffic does not have any relevance to a new piece of content you are writing.  It shows what traffic you got for older content.

What is useful is to see the traffic you got from a previous piece of similar content.

That shows how interested your audience is likely to be and the traffic you can expect to get.

You also want to see the results of this traffic.  Did they sign up for a tour, purchase a flight, sign up for an email list, etc.

So…

Chat to the influencer and ask for the Google analytics report.  On the report you want to see:

  • What traffic was generated from previous similar content
  • What goals were achieved from this content
  • What traffic did they get for recent content (they may have legacy content driving lots of traffic but very little for new content)
  • How engaged is the audience (e.g. bounce rate)

Domain authority is a good number to use looking from the outside in but it’s also useful to look at it from the inside out.

Note:  See later on when we discuss social authority.  Some people may have low Domain Authority but a high social authority which may still be very relevant.

A for Appetite

An influencer can have all the authority in the world but if they are not interested in your brand/product then they won’t have the ‘appetite’ to share as much as you’d want them to.

Here’s a guy that got a tattoo of a coffee brand on their arm.  This is an extreme form of demonstrating passion for a brand.

tattoo

You want to find people that are passionate about your product/service/brand.

They probably won’t have a tattoo of the brand on their arm but it’s worth checking!

Here’s another example.  Bret and Mary are two of the top travel influencers globally and they are all about Ecotourism.

I think their website gives it away (Greenglobaltravel.com)

green global travel

I’ve met Mary and Bret before (two great people) and they are very passionate about Ecotourism.

No matter what type of contract you sign, if an influencer is passionate about your product you’ll get more benefit from working with them.

Have they been involved with similar brands before?

Do they write relevant stories even if they are not sponsored?

A genuine mention or use of your product will create 10x more impact than a scripted product review.

R for Relevance

How relevant is an influencer to your brand?

It’s great if someone is a “celebrity influencer” and you can actually get them to work with you.

Influencer Typer

But…

If they are not relevant to your brand, you’ll just waste time working with them because their audience won’t have any interest in your product or your brand.

I’m super passionate about sports, but my audience is not!

So, for example, if I mentioned your running gear brand to my audience on Facebook, would this really bring you any sales? Highly unlikely!

Although I have a solid number of followers, in this case they would not be the right audience for your brand!

So how do you measure an influencer’s relevance to your brand?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this person write or speak about the topic that is relevant to your potential customers?
  • Do they attract the kind of audience that you want to attract?

It’s a complete waste of time building relationships with influencers that are not relevant.

So make sure to understand their relevance by reading their blog content, analyzing their audience, looking at what they share on social media, what they talk about at conferences, etc.

This is the only way to ensure that the influencer has the right kind of influence!

T for Track Record

Does an influencer have a positive track record working with brands in the past?

You may wonder what this has to do with influence…

Well, look at it this way:

If an influencer doesn’t have enough experience working with brands, or worse, if they show a tendency towards certain behaviors that affected the brand image of companies they worked with…

…how would working with them help you achieve your goals?

A good track record gives you a piece of mind that an influencer will help create a positive perception of your brand among their audience.

So…

You want to see:

  • Traffic they generated
  • Goals achieved
  • Targets set out
  • Impressions (if that’s what the customer was after)
  • Target audience reached

An influencer can have a big audience (and big ego!!!) but may not produce the best results.

S for Social media authority

Someone may not have a high Domain Authority, but they may have an active social presence and a large, engaged audience.

For example, an influencer could have tens of thousands of engaged followers on Instagram but focus little to no attention on creating content on their website.

This doesn’t mean they are less influential or that they won’t be a good match for your business – the kind of authority they have on social networks may be exactly the right match for your brand.

You’ll often find that people that like video/photo hate writing and vice versa!  So the love goes to one part of the equation!

Let’s illustrate with an example.

Jake Paul is one of the biggest social media influencers on the planet and his videos on YouTube were watched literally billions of times.

His website’s Domain Authority? You’d think it had to be high, but the score is a low 35!

For the right brand, this shouldn’t matter at all because his audience on YouTube is counting 14+ million subscribers.

So, if an influencer is influencing the right audience on the right platform – they can make a serious impact for your business.

Summary

With all the promise of the six times ROI, the wrong kind of influencer can be a huge failed investment.

That’s why you need to understand and measure the level and type of influence someone has before you decide to work with them.

Influencer marketing is big business.

It could be a very cost effective method of accessing a new audience.

But you need to have a framework for assessing influence.

Wham…. Use this 5 step framework!

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