It's Time to Look Beyond the Social Media Post

Jonathan Gardner

While influencer marketing grows in popularity, share of marketing focus and budget, brands may be going into it without fully understanding what they’re paying for. Unfortunately for marketers, the vast majority of approaches to measuring the value of earned media and influencer programs are seriously limited by a focus on the post, as opposed to the content.

It’s critically important that any brand budgeting for visual content, social media marketing or influencer programs has a clear window into the return on that investment -- the earned media value it is producing.

Marketers need to see all of the content related to a brand -- not just how many times a logo appears. However, most social media monitoring and content marketing platforms are really blinkered and only look at individual and specific social media posts (on Instagram, Facebook Pinterest and elsewhere), and not at the lifetime value of that earned media and the content within the post.

Brand- and product-related visual content -- whether in the form of a company-created image or one that is user-generated -- is nearly always reposted, re-embedded and shared, getting moved from Tumblr to Twitter, then to Instagram and Pinterest, and so on.

What’s more, each individual platform’s dashboard provides very limited insights and analytics, and the systems are siloed, giving a blinkered view of content performance.

The major brands ShareIQ works with previously had a very limited view of the value of their content -- often simply how many times an influencer’s product post got liked or commented on -- and no perspective whatsoever on what happened to that post later, outside of the initial platform where it appeared.

That state of affairs short-changes brands, as well as influencers. Marketers are crying out for influencer marketing to be made as quantifiable and measurable as the rest of the marketing mix. Brands want to know what influencers’ work is worth, and so do the influencers.

Only having access to limited information paints a narrow picture of the value of social media, influencer marketing and visual content. In an era where we’re learning to question the veracity of everything, marketers need as much data as possible to make informed decisions.

Until now, the long tail of social media content has been largely unmeasurable. Brands may have thought their social and influencer marketing campaigns were doing well, but the value was underestimated. Marketers know that their photos get posted on Instagram, go quiet and resurface, pinned and repinned on Pinterest for months to come. Now they can fully measure content’s lifetime engagement and earned media value by looking past the post and seeing the full picture of their content.

Check out more examples of brands' smart social media strategies

Earned media and influencer programs are seriously limited by a focus on the post, as opposed to the content
Jonathan Gardner

Jonathan is vice president of marketing for ShareIQ, based in New York City.