How Far Can Your Hashtag Go?

The ripple effect in influencer marketing

One of the undeniable benefits of influencer marketing is the ripple effect it creates. An influencer talks about a product using a campaign-specific hashtag, and before you know it, the hashtag itself has gone viral. Influencers big and small, sponsored and unsponsored, are using the hashtag in both personal and public capacities.

What’s so great about the ripple effect?

Posts that are created out of this ripple effect are essentially “free” publicity. The brand has only paid the influencers for the first few posts. All user generated content after that essentially comes without any additional cost. And if the seeding campaign was done well, brand and campaign awareness could skyrocket without brands having to lift a finger.

So how do we measure the ripple effect?

In this piece, we’ll be talking about how the ripple effect can be measured by using the example of a recent campaign held by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) in Singapore. For the uninitiated, the MEWR is the second ministry in the country, after the Ministry of Finance, to have hired influencers for an outreach campaign.

Method One: Hashtags

The simplest and most efficient way of tracking the ripple effect of an influencer marketing campaign is via hashtags. The hashtags used in the MEWR campaign were #ClimateActionSG and #SustainableSG. This is how both of the hashtags performed over time.

Graph of #ClimateActionSG, including sponsored posts, from the 30.11.17 to 11.02.18 generated using Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.
Graph of #SustainableSG, including sponsored posts, from the 30.11.17 to 11.02.18 generated using Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.

Both graphs show similar usage patterns, which is hardly surprising given that influencers used both hashtags in their posts at the same time. The influencer marketing campaign was carried out as part of a larger contest, and influencers also asked members of the public to post climate action tips using both of those hashtags.

The ripple effect can clearly be seen in both of those graphs. Whereas both of the hashtags were not used very frequently during the month of December and the first half of January, use of the hashtag began to pick up from mid-January onwards. While this is in part due to the influencers’ posts, this only accounts for 23 of the 400 approximate posts that have been made with both of those hashtags.

This means that a good 90% of the posts that have been uploaded with either one or both of the hashtags are user-generated and have not been paid for. The volume of user-generated posts may have to do with participants’ desire to win MEWR’s contest but in terms of spreading the word and getting users to talk about their climate action tips, the influencer marketing campaign does seem to have done its part.

Method Two: Mentions

Another effective way of measuring the ripple effect is by tracking the number of mentions of a brand’s or organization’s account. This allows the brand or organization to see how often owners of other public accounts wish to call their attention to something. Let’s take a look at how often @mewrsingapore was mentioned.

Graph of mentions of @mewrsingapore, including sponsored posts, from the 02.01.17 to 11.02.18 (no mentions before this period) generated using Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.
Graph of mentions of @mewrsingapore, not including sponsored posts, from the 02.01.17 to 11.02.18 (no mentions before this period) generated using Popular Chips‘s proprietary platform.

The two graphs above suggest that while the influencers drove up the reach of the posts that mentioned the MEWR, many more posts (42 of 51) were actually created organically, clearly illustrating the ripple effect in action.

The ripple effect is a good way of measuring the success of a campaign to increase brand or organizational awareness. Those making use of influencer marketing should ensure that the ripple effect of their campaign is duly measured for greater understanding of how useful the influencers were in reaching out to their target audience.

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