I recorded a podcast episode on the Inner Sircle about working with influencers in today’s market. So many brands are missing this golden era and excellent time of opportunity by not engaging with influencers or by doing it all wrong.
First off, you should not be on the sidelines, plain and simple. Influencers represent targeted community infiltration at scale and that should be part of your mix. Find solid power users, who fit your target demo, analyze their posts, tone, energy, and community and then reach out and negotiate. Remember these are humans and often don’t know how to price themselves correctly. Most swing for the fences and unfortunately, often get their ask from PR Firms or brands that don’t counter well. As a result, they get the wrong sense of the true market. That being said, there is always room for compromise and conversation if you get in the sandbox and play the game. We find the best dollar value comes from multiple posts over many months, rather than “one and done” relationships. This happens because the human behind the Instagram profile values guaranteed recurring revenue for security.
Don’t just look at follower count, which is often BS or has a lot of fluff, that is not your target demo. We argue that you don’t even look at the quantity of engagement as this can also can be BS or just a lot of likes, that equate to nothing. Instead, find someone with fewer followers and less engagement, but who engages back with every single follower. This is someone who is creating a real bond with those users and therefore wields more influence over them. Bottomline – beware those who post but don’t engage and/or who only post staged, one-off product photos. Conversely, over-value those who really carry out on the dialogue and who integrate more with the products in their feed and Stories, like @calliegullickson did for OWYN above.
Once you do get in the game, source the right influencers and negotiate well, but don’t mess it up by trying to be too controlling over the message. Hire them for their storytelling and then let them do just that. The best example of the right way, was when Nike hired Casey Neistat to make a commercial for the #MakeitCount campaign. Rather than a big budget commercial, he and his friend Max just hit the road and went on an epic journey together to actually live the message rather than show it in a contrived way. The result was over 29million YouTube views and a campaign that went down in history as one of the best influencer engagements of all time. It doesn’t hurt that Casey is an all-time great storyteller and content legend, but worth noting this was way back in 2012 when he was not as expensive and was much less well known than he is now. Go out and find your Casey Neistat people!
We reached out to the blogger, The Fit Mitten Kitchen as part of our influencer outreach program for one of our CPG clients. She was very interested, but upon review that client didn’t feel she has enough of an Instagram following and passed. Our team got together and decided she would be a great fit for our client Modern Oats instead and we set it up.
We sent some product to the influencer and she posted it on her blog as part of a delicious looking recipe, pictured above. She also pushed it out on Instagram and it earned 250 Likes and 35 comments, which is nice value for the price we paid. The fun doesn’t stop there though.
HuffingPost Taste then went ahead and regrammed the picture to their 100,000+ followers and it earned an additional 1474 Likes and 31 comments. Some of those followers went ahead and followed our client’s account immediately afterwards too, so add that as value on top. This accelerated reach and engagement were not the intent, but is an ancillary benefit of being in the game.
We also have some great looking content that we can now share in our feed and have developed a relationship with the influencer (on her way up) that we can/will leverage as we move along. #Winning
We love influencer gifting for a myriad of reasons. Not only does it get your product into the hands of someone from your core demographic, but it also gives you highly targeted exposure to their audience. Now, not all influencers are created equal, so we would definitely analyze their accounts, their audience and their engagement before working with them. That being said, if you find the right ones, they can pay off in a big way.
We employ a “some is better than none” approach at Sircle Media (small influencers can be excellent allies) and we dont think you have to shoot for the moon either. Meaning you don’t necessarily have to work with people with really massive audiences to make a mark. The truth is, they are probably not priced right, so you are overpaying and not actually getting value for your spend. The big players might be great, but that doesn’t mean their financial structure is a good buy. For our clients we prefer to find those who are on their way up and their pricing is commensurate with their reach and value prop. Playing that arbitrage game right can make all the difference, especially for those who micro analyze data and ROI/KPI metrics on things like this.
We like to encourage website visits whenever we can so we can generate traffic, retargeting opportunities and build look a like audiences based on their profiles. So when you send a target demo influencer there, you are seeding your other marketing efforts with some very solid ammunition.
One proven method is to get the influencer to buy something from the website that we credit them for with a unique discount (or one time free) code. Not only should they receive and review (or snap photos with) the product we send them, but we also want them to experience the website UX too. If they are writing a review we would love for them to mention how great the website is and/or if they aren’t you could still get some solid “free” feedback from someone with a lot of experience shopping online. All upside!
Best bet is to create unique, one time use codes that they can use for the engagement and that expire after that one usage. This way you get the experience, but hedge against the risk that the code gets out to the masses and everyone takes advantage of discounted prices. With a one time use restriction, we are big buyers of a broad macro approach. Meaning if we can bring in a lot of people (which odds are wouldn’t have purchased from you otherwise) than that is a smart move and worth it to acquire a new customer. If you have confidence in your product and your CRM skills, then that client should be able to be turned into a repeat client and the LTV (lifetime value) is more valuable than anything else.
Don’t be nervous, be proactive when it comes to influencer engagements. They also will help you with the new Instagram algorithm changes, but that is the subject of another post coming soon. Employ some offense and put yourself in a position to win. Play the game and reap the benefits!
Traackr (an influence platform) and Nimble (a social customer relationship management platform) integrated together to create a more effective management of influencer outreach programs. You have “Traackr’s contextual influencer identification and content tracking coupled with relationship management tools that enable you to create a plan, implement that plan, document the results, and even follow-up periodically with a complete interaction history.”
This new integration provides new contact details, personal and professional milestones. It also gas RFP (request for proposal) timescales, deciding factors, competitive influencers, and peer connections, all in one place.
This really allows you to understand your potential and existing customers. It combines social online behaviors and software that monitors, analyzes, segments, and recommends. It combines the customers and the analytics all in one place.
Influence could be used as a tracking tool, not only as a promotional and social share tool. Alerts are set up to monitor any spikes in activity or the mention of keywords that would suggest the intention to buy soon.
It now allows companies to “fine-tune” their own offerings based on how their clients are using the new combination.
To check out more about this new integration, clickHERE.
Long gone are the days when your success in Social Media was measured solely by the number of fans or followers you attained. Marketers are quickly beginning to realize the importance of influencers and bloggers in helping them actually develop a real loyal following. These influencers are thought leaders and experts within an industry with loyal fans and followers in tow. Because many consumers do not believe everything a brand says about themselves, influencers are viewed as credible and trusted sources that can/should be objective.
Social Media influencers act as a vital link in the Social Media chain. They have reach far beyond the average person and their fans value what they say. They could be the boost that your brand is looking for to increase visibility and improve your image. According to a study by Meteor Solutions, “These very important Internet users can directly influence 30% or more of overall end actions on brand websites by recommending the brand’s site, products or promotions to friends.”
What does this all mean for your brand?
Integrating Social influencers into your strategy can help ensure future success and profits. When one of these industry experts says something about you, their constituency of fans and followers are now aware of your brand. Since these fans value the influencer’s opinion greatly, they will likely adopt the same feelings toward your brand (hopefully positive). Developing positive relationships with influencers is mission critical to your success and can instantly add creditability and value.
For a more in-depth look into Influencers click here.