BY COLLEEN PATTERSON

It’s tough to measure influence. Influence is intangible. It’s a measure of the quality of a relationship, often defined as a series of impressions built up over time or an affinity which develops between online content creators and their fans. So how to do calculate what to pay an influencer?

As Jon Miller writes for Marketo:

“Proverbial marketing wisdom says at least seven touches are needed in order to convert a cold lead into a sale.  Whether or not this is the correct number, the principle conveys an element of truth: every marketer knows it takes multiple touches to create a customer.  This fact makes it difficult to allocate revenue to any specific touch.”

The huge value in it comes from the fact that influencers have a pre-established relationship with their customers. They’ve covered your bases in the arena of brand trust. One touch is often enough for a potential customer to take an influencer’s word for it.

When determining what to pay an influencer, the real gauge of potential success for the business is relevancy. Influencer marketing entirely hinges on the relevancy of an influencer’s audience to your brand and their ability to influence a purchase decision.

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“Social acquisition is 80% community and 20% sales,” says Shanelle Mullin is the Director of Marketing at Onboardly. Rather than measuring weight, do your research to make sure their audience is on target. Assess whether or not your two brands align in messaging, mission, aesthetic, demographics, interests.

Back to McKinsey’s research, messages which circulate within tight-knit networks tend to have a much greater impact than high volume, highly dispersed groups.

The smaller your following, the higher your chance of reaching more followers. Fashion blogger, Svetlana Mushta corroborates with her own estimates that “reach varies from 50% to 60% of  follower count” for accounts with up to 20K followers.

Now, a post’s visibility tends to positively correlate with engagement. As comments and likes and shares of your social posts accrue over time, your visibility and reach will likewise improve.

Remember, you’ll never reach all of your followers at once. Reach is dependent on a variety of behavioral factors beyond your control. If one of your posts reaches 50% of your followers, you’ve done well.

How much should I pay an influencer?

Influencer price points are likewise tied to both reach and engagement although prices vary from account to account and across industries. If you decide to pay an influencer for help, they’ll like send you a media kit with a set of prices which vary according to campaign.

According to a recent study by Influence.co, micro-influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers, charged prices that averaged at $83 per post; influencers with more than 100,000 followers averaged around $763 per post; and everyone in between fell in line around $271 per post.

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Ultimately, if you decided to pay an influencer it’s up to you to put your own price on influence and come to terms with the right person who fits your audience and goals.

This is where your own marketing intuition comes into play as you ascribe weight to your various marketing touch-points. If you think influencers play an important role in your strategy, focus funds there!

Test and repeat. Work with people whose work you trust.

Dig into these blog posts more for tips and ideas on how to get there. Check ‘em out!

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.