In 2015, The Motherhood found that 70 percent of influencers feel there is a gap between what type of content works with their audiences and what brands think works. So we set out to find why this disparity exists.

Earlier this week, The Motherhood’s Cooper Munroe spoke on this topic at the 11th Annual Marketing to Moms Conference in New York City, where she shared best (and worst) practices for brands as they’re engaging influencers. When done right, online influencers can serve as rocket fuel for a social media marketing plan.

Here are five key takeaways from her M2M session: TheMometer Reports!

1. Influencers want to be involved with your campaign objectives. In our research, The Motherhood found that 96 percent of bloggers say knowing the objectives of an influencer campaign would improve the quality of the content, the community engagement and the actions taken by the audience. However, as the brands reported, specific or detailed program objectives rarely make their way to the front line of the program – to the influencers themselves.

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2. The most successful companies are led and informed by their customers. The companies that perform best in sales are also the best at listening to, valuing and engaging with the real customer – not the data customer. What customers are saying to each other, in conversation, online or in real life is not easily found or analyzed in stacks of data. But it can be found in the conversations moms are having every day on blogs and social platforms.

3. Think outside the blog post. When it comes to implementing a social media campaign, brands should think outside the blog post and one-size-fits-all blog tour approach – flexibility and listening to influencers may also be in order. The ecosystems a blogger has created on her platforms are individual to her. She’s worked hard to build that community, she’s earned her audience and she knows her readers intimately. Brands managing every word and image of a blog post, and placing too many requirements, almost always diminishes the value of a user-generated post because it eliminates the “user” piece of it.

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4. Consider lifelong views a long-term goal. Social media content, sponsored or not, doesn’t always go viral right away. Like all good things, sometimes it just takes time. As SEO builds, the content gets higher placement on social platforms like Pinterest, as well as in search results. If the content adds value for readers and is evergreen information, there are many reasons for the influencer to re-share it again and again, over time.

5. What if we’re measuring all wrong? We are confined by the limitations of measurement today – impressions, unique monthly views, page visits, bloggers’ reach. But the numbers do not tell the whole story. Big numbers don’t immediately translate into big action. Many brands have requests for bloggers with the highest reach, but highest reach doesn’t mean the best results. In research, The Motherhood found that of influencers’ audiences, 80 percent of readers reported that when they read about a product on a blog, they are more likely to put that product in their cart at the store – but the transaction is not immediate. The most important KPI to keep in mind is engagement – conversation, sharing and liking provides valuable consumer insight and often indications of purchase or action.

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