It’s not new news: bloggers are most likely to post about the brands that, well, they like. But impactful influencer relationships don’t hinge on preference alone. Brands will get the most value from partnering with bloggers whose content is aligned with their brand’s values and messaging—influencers who fit the brand’s story. Traditionally, brands have tried to gauge fit based solely on aesthetic, but the data shows that it’s more helpful to look at whether or not an influencer’s brand-focused content resonates with their following.
In Part One and Part Two of our three-part series on Community Management, inspired by Tribe Dynamics’ new Community Management: How to Build Your 2020 Influencer Strategy report, we detail how to group content creators by brand affinity, and how to use community retention to understand the impact and sustainability of your influencer network. Here in Part Three, we’ll unpack another key metric for community health: fit. Let’s take a look at how you can calculate fit, why it matters, and how, along with retention, you can use fit to measure and improve your influencer marketing performance.
What Makes an Influencer a Good Fit?
Fit essentially measures how “on-brand” an influencer is based on how well content mentioning that brand resonates with their following. An individual blogger’s fit score is calculated by comparing the engagement of posts that mention a specific brand relative to that blogger’s other posts, with a score of 100 indicating equal engagement on branded and non-branded content. A brand’s overall fit score is determined by averaging the fit scores of each influencer in that brand’s community.
Why is Fit Important?
Strong fit indicates that an influencer is a good match for a brand. Not only is a blogger with a high fit score likely to be aligned with the brand’s image and messaging, but also that brand resonates particularly well with the blogger’s following. Additionally, because bloggers with strong fit are more likely to have a genuine brand affinity, they’re also more likely to post consistently over time. This means that strong fit ultimately leads to significantly more impactful brand-influencer partnerships.
Throughout 2019, we observed a direct correlation between brands’ fit score, and the proportion of their community on a posting “streak”: that is, the percentage of influencers, each month, who had also posted the previous month. Because streaks directly contribute to retention, brands with high fit generally have higher retention scores.
How You Can Use Fit and Retention to Understand—and Improve—the Health of Your Community
You can use a combination of fit and retention to assess the behavior and sustainability of your influencer community based on a four-quadrant model.
- Pay to Play: Brands that typically only engage influencers in a sponsored capacity fall in the poor fit, but strong retention, quadrant. They see consistent content creation from sponsored partners—but these bloggers are likely to stop posting as soon as they stop being compensated because the content does not resonate with their followers. In order to foster sustainable, long-term growth in Earned Media Value (EMV), these brands should identify and activate influencers with a genuine affinity for them, rather than relying on transactional campaigns.
- Genuine Affinity: Brands with strong fit and strong retention boast passionate communities of organic supporters. These brands, like Fenty Beauty and Fashion Nova, have nurtured deep relationships with influencers who champion them month-after-month, and tend to see the steadiest EMV growths of brands in any quadrant.
- Interested, but not Engaged: Brands with strong fit but poor retention have fans, but have yet to build deep, lasting connections with their communities. This could be due to a lack of consistent outreach from the brand: ongoing gestures of appreciation, like a personalized product send or invitation to an exclusive event, can begin to transform initial interest into a more enduring relationship.
- Red Zone: Brands with poor fit and poor retention have yet to identify authentic champions. These brands may rely on one-off paid campaigns, and often see high rates of turnover within their influencer community as well as unstable EMV. However, brands in the Red Zone shouldn’t give up hope: they can still build impactful communities if they refocus their strategy on identifying and nurturing relationships with their true fans.
Wherever your brand falls, there are steps you can take to foster a loyal, invested influencer community. For a more in-depth look at fit, retention, and community groups—and how to leverage them to drive growth for your brand—download our Community Management: How to Build Your 2020 Influencer Strategy report!