Brands are always attempting to make human and relatable connections with consumers. That’s why influencer marketing is so relevant. No other current marketing channel leaves you feeling you’ve connected with another actual human being.
Brands often fail to see that where that connection shines most is in the post comments.
It’s in the comments (and also in the data) you see that 1:1 conversations between influencers and audiences are actually at an all-time high. Forty-six percent of people feel personally connected to an influencer, and 45% of people now regularly comment on influencer content (Source: MINTEL, 2020).
So, if people are commenting on influencer content more than ever, why haven’t brands started using conversation as a primary KPI?
More than any other form of engagement, comments show influencer impact on a personal level. Making these personal connections is what gives campaigns purpose. So, as we embrace a purpose-driven world, tracking comments is the most effective way to measure your influencer marketing campaign.
So start changing the conversation and the stigma around comments, and then use them to your advantage. Here’s why:
Comments prove that people care.The social listening tools we use aren’t as reliable as we need them to be. They’re limited to certain channels, and they have a tough time categorizing sentiment like sarcasm and emojis.
Digesting the comments on influencer content helps fill in the gaps. We’re able to tell within minutes if our post was well-received or missed the mark.
Comments address backlash. Consumers also make it clear when they feel content is forced or inauthentic. This isn’t something to fear; it’s something to learn from. Responding to negative comments is a good, transparent move for a brand that can easily be overlooked.
Comments indicate purchase intent. We often lose the ability to track consumer purchase behaviors after they see or engage with an influencer post.
Following the comments will help you understand intent and interest, even if people aren’t buying right now. You can see that people may be thinking about buying, or learning more about where to buy.
Common comments mentioned things like “Seriously considering buying this!,” and “Have to get my hands on this" are a great proxy for forecasting and anticipating future sales.
Comments show the way forward. We can use comments more reliably than engagement rates alone to generate new ideas and concepts for our creative marketing approach. We can crowdsource trends and glean learnings from groups of consumers commenting about the same idea or topic.
Dropping a new sneaker or clothing line? What colors or styles are resonating best? What locations are people asking about shipping to? These are all lessons that cannot be learnt from other forms of engagement.
Don’t be afraid to have influencers ask their audiences questions about the things they like best. Their followers will be thorough, honest and directional.
On your next campaign, consider how you can not only do a better job of staying in touch by checking comments -- and also put influencer partners in a position to foster as much conversation as possible. It’s a forward-thinking approach to measurement that almost no one’s exploring yet.
The comments section isn’t always the internet’s most friendly place. But when it comes to measuring the success of your influencer marketing, it can be your best friend.