Did you know that mastering Influencer Marketing doesn’t have to be complex?
To show you, we’ve interviewed three Influencer Marketing experts to give you their opinion and viewpoint on how to be successful with Influencer Marketing.
From scaling to fine tuning, we hope you enjoy this deep dive.
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When it comes to Influencer Marketing, there are only a few people we turn to for amazing advice that works across the board for different goals.
Whether you’re in SaaS, eCommerce, or lead gen, you’ll be excited to learn that the recipes these experts will share will all help you hit your goals faster.
In Order Of TheGuests Below:
Travis is a US Air Force veteran turned expert social media marketer. These days he spends his time helping companies and organizations improve their awareness and sales through effective digital and social media marketing strategies.
Nuggets Dropped x31
“Overlap your target audience with influencer’s target audience”
Maria Sipka pioneered influencer marketing in early 2000 and is visionary and co-founder at Linqia. Linqia is the leading performance-based influencer marketing technology company whose turnkey programs deliver guaranteed results for over 350 major brands. Prior to Linqia, Maria was part of the founding team and COO at XING, Europe’s leading business network, where she led XING’s monetization and internationalization strategy exiting shortly after its IPO.
Nuggets Dropped x36
“Utilize the influencer to ask the audience a question”
Tyler is passionate about telling incredible stories, building and leading award-winning teams, and helping brands connect with the people they serve. He has deep experience developing innovative strategies for a diverse group of clients/companies spanning various industries.
Nuggets Dropped x30
“Influencers we work with are telling good stories”
Influencer Marketing With Travis Hawley
Johnathan: Hello, is this Travis?
Travis: Hey Travis here.
Johnathan: Hey, Travis.
Travis: Hey, yeah.
Johnathan: Johnathan here from BootSauce. So pumped to have you on the show. For our listeners, I just wanna introduce you real quick. You are Travis Hawley.
Basically the Director of Social Media from the agency called Viral Nation. Is that correct? Do I have the right Travis?
Johnathan: Okay, good.
Travis: You have got the right Travis.
Johnathan: Awesome, my man. So you obviously know the name of the game in regards to dropping as many nuggets as you possibly can, but I wanna kinda take people through what you guys do for your clients at Viral Nation, ’cause I think that gives a good unpacking, and also some insight into how a great influencer marketing campaign is shaped. So do you wanna take us from the beginning?
Travis: Sure, so actually what Viral Nation does, it actually stems from foundation and influencer management. So we began as a talent agency where we have the direct relationship with influencers and are working with them directly to get them branded deals.
Travis: That evolved into an actual full service agency where we’re not only representing influencers, but we’re also developing the strategy for brands, executing on the creative, tracking, reporting, the whole shebang.
Johnathan: Oh wow.
Travis: So essentially, yeah, because a full service agency. That stemmed from talent, and that’s really important for, I think that’s a main pillar that people need to realize about influencer marketing, is that it’s actually people marketing.
This isn’t buying media on Facebook, this isn’t pushing ads through any type of platform. You are working with people. So it’s very, very different, and it involves personalities, it involves people’s schedules.
Travis: And whatnot. So it cannot be seen as a traditional media, and that’s kind of one of the high level things people need to realize before they even get into influencer marketing.
Johnathan: Okay, I like that. So what you’re basically saying, and I could be over simplifying it, but it’s way more relationship based, so to speak.
Travis: Yes, it’s all about relationships, and the better relationship you have, whether that’s directly. If you’re doing influencer marketing yourself up a brand, or whether you’re working through an agency that has those relationships themselves.
The better the relationship you have, the better results you’re gonna get. And by better result, that can be a multitude of things from the actual engagement you get from posts, the quality of the content you get, and even down to negotiating the price within an influencer.
Johnathan: Got it.
Travis: So it’s all about relationships, and that should be something everyone puts a lot of emphasis on.
Johnathan: So you’re like a sports agent, almost, in a sense, is how I’m trying to connect the dots.
Travis: Yeah, I mean, well, it’s way more complicated than that, but when it comes to an influencer agency, we have those, quote unquote, sports agents or entertainment agents–
Travis: That have the daily interaction, and probably the closer relationship with the influencers, but what makes us different and makes any kind of full service agency different is that we’re not only just managing communication with influencers and the negotiations with them, we’re actual marketers and creators in house as well.
So it’s not just finding influencers and talking to them, it’s actually finding the best way to create content that’s going to be impactful, using the right channels to drive impact for the brand, and doing it all in the right way, and having that work more as an integrated piece to the brand marketing strategy, and not live in a silo and just have influencer marketing just serving its own purpose, but actually bringing it into an integrated fashion.
So yes, it’s really complex.
Johnathan: Sounds like it.
Travis: At the end of the day, those relationships with influencers is a big piece to it.
Johnathan: Okay, got it. So you guys obviously have people that you work with already that you worked with in the past. Let’s say a client comes knocking on your door. You find that they’re a great fit. What determines a great fit client for you guys?
Travis: There’s many layers to what makes them a great fit or not. So one thing, like any agency or anyone that’s being sales, for that matter, is they need to be in a position to actually run a campaign, first and foremost.
If they’re just looking to be educated on influencer marketing, we’re happy to kind of help them out with that, but if they’re in very early stages where they don’t know what its purpose is going to be, they maybe don’t have internal buy-in, they may not even have budget allocated, then they’re not a good fit, ’cause they’re too early for us, but in general, what someone is a fit for influencer marketing is, right now, we tend to focus on the B to C side of the realm.
So consumer type of audiences, consumer brands–
Travis: Rather than the B2B space. So that’s a big check mark as well, is if they’re in the consumer space. Which is where we spend most of our time.
Another element to that would be an alignment of objectives.
And what I mean by that, is this is really important. Is what are they using influencer marketing for? What is the goal? What is the objective for that goal, and how are you measuring it?
Travis: So some brands come to us, for example, and they say, hey, we want to grow our following of our brand in channel.
Making that very clear, we understand that how we put together a campaign is gonna be completely different than another brand that comes to us and says, we want to drive installs for our mobile app, or mobile game.
Travis: How you get to those goals is very different.
Travis: So knowing whether or not there’s an alignment in that a brand is a good fit for us, is the first and foremost to understand what their goal is, and if that goal is really achievable to their standards, informs their marketing.
Johnathan: Got it. Okay, let’s say that we take the example of sales. Is that an okay example to use? They wanna drive sales.
Johnathan: Okay and they’re B2C, they’re an eCommerce store. You then go out, and what’s the next step after that? You find a client, you find out they’re a good fit.
They have the budget. They wanna make more sales. What kind of things do you guys do next?
Travis: Sure. Yeah, so what’s most important is to understand what the product is or what the service is. If the product is eCommerce, let’s say it’s T-shirts or something like that. Understanding the product, first and foremost.
And the reason why I need to understand what the product is, is because pretty much the first step to starting an influencer campaign is defining the audience. Who is the target audience, who is the target consumer, because every single thing that comes after that that’s built in the strategy ties back to who the audience is.
For example, you’re looking to reach GenZ, you’re not gonna realistically do that on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Johnathan: Good point.
Travis: You’re gonna really want to go hard on Snapchat or Tiktok
Travis: So understanding the audience is really important on a channel level, okay. And then second to that, next layer might be on the content level. What kind of content resonates with that target audience?
So if the product is, let’s say, women’s fashion, we’re gonna look for different types of influencers. Then let’s say it’s technology, or say it’s hardware, or something like that. It’s the new Oculus hardware, Oculus Quest, or something like that.
So that’s why it’s important to understand the audience, because what happens is, when we start building an influence or a candidacy list, some potential influence history campaign, what is paramount is to overlap the brand target audience with the influencer’s target audience.
Travis: And honestly, that’s something we need to be doing as marketers no matter what, because you can push the right product at the right time with the right message to the wrong audience.
Travis: And then it falls flat on its face.
Travis: So the audience is just an incredible piece, and that’s kind of part of the briefing process when we’re working with the brand.
Tell us your target audience. Where are they located? If there’s a gender split or a gender focus. Is there a language focus? Is there a vertical focus in terms of, we’re looking for influencers with gaming audiences, or fashion audiences?
People interested in X type of industry. Things of that nature. And then, like I said, where’s the location, and events, and there’s a lot of other elements that go into that, and we tend to just layer those as three things what we say is demographics, geographic, and psychographics.
So those three buckets of audience insights are really important to understand from the brand target audience and overlapping that with the influencers.
Johnathan: Okay that makes sense, and a lot of these similarities are interestingly cross marketing. Especially for our world, which is paid advertising, things like that too. Like you said, you can get everything right except for one thing in the equation, it all falls flat on its face. So we’ve seen that before, again.
Now, on the topic of T-shirt design, for example, these are some very, very popular, or I should say, soon to be popular T-shirts. You’re finding, and you got the three buckets figured out. You have the demographics, geographica, and the psychographics. You have your influencer list, they say yes. I’m just simplifying. Obviously there’s a lot more to it than this.
They say yes, you get going on the actual campaign structure like the visuals, the storytelling aspect. How do you approach that?
Travis: Yeah, exactly. So for example, if the objective is sales, that is also gonna be tied into the creative, and the messaging, right? So when you’re trying to drive sales, it’s called direct response marketing. We’re trying to push our way through the funnel extremely quickly and get immediate sales and conversion.
So when it comes to that, we’re gonna have to understand that the type of content we make really needs to be short and sweet. It needs to be an elevator pitch of why someone would want that product. It needs to be very value proposition focused. It’s not necessarily about entertainment so much, unless the product is very entertaining, but let’s say it’s about utility, or let’s just say it’s about relatability.
We’ll say it’s a T-shirt that is LGBT related, and that’s why this community would be interested in it. So the content needs to be very value proposition and it needs to be an elevator pitch and very clear in the context, and then that happens to be the same case or any type of text in the process of that as well.
So that’s kind of how we might first approach getting the content on par as well.
Travis: But something to keep in mind that’s important is that this is a collaborative effort.
So it’s not a good idea for a brand to push a lot of talking points and a lot of must haves and must nots and must have nots to the influencer and just overly script what they’re doing, because then it’s not organic or authentic feeling, and it just comes off very salesy and much like an ad, and that’s really counterintuitive or counterproductive as to why you’re even using influencers in the first place.
So there has to be a balance of the influencer having the freedom to kind of take brand guidelines and talking points, and then flexibly making them in their own style so that the audience is receptive to that, and that yet it still drives the results, and I’ll be honest with you, it’s very difficult to do that a lot of times. Especially if sales is the objective.
Travis: And that’s why like anything it’s important to just test various types of creative, and copy, and channels, and content to see what kind of balance you need to strike to get that intended result.
Johnathan: So that was actually leading up to my next question. Do you guys have the influencers on a warmup period to get their audience ready for it depending on their posts and what their sharing, and how long do these campaigns usually last?
Travis: Yeah, I would say there rarely is kind of the warmup period. I would say, unfortunately, to some degree, influences of marketing has become very transactional–
Travis: Rather than feeling like an ambassador ship.
Travis: Or even an ongoing relationship. I think that’s in everyone’s best interest to try to have those kind of relationship.
Having said that though, as marketers, we always wanna test the waters and see what sinks and what doesn’t, so I understand why you don’t wanna jump into a huge commitment or long-term commitment.
Travis: With influencers until they’ve kind of proven their value. So I can see both sides to that, but having said that, there typically isn’t too much of a warmup period.
What we try to do to, I guess, circumvent that, is to look at their audience in depth, look at their engagement in dept, and get as many data points as possible to give us a high degree of confidence that this is the right move.
Travis: And I’m sorry, I forgot your second question.
Johnathan: No, how long does a campaign usually last?
Travis: Got it, got it. Actually, a lot of people ask that, and I never give them the answer they want because there is no typical campaign. I’ll be honest with you. We do lot s of campaigns that are just big burst campaigns in one day.
Travis: We do a lot that are weekend based. We do a lot that are more or less kind of like a monthly thing or an evergreen thing.
Travis: So we have relationships with really big brands that we have more of an evergreen relationship, or we have influencers pretty much posting every week ongoing indefinitely, to some extent.
Travis: But if I had to just choose the most popular length of an influencer campaign, I would say it’s probably a week or two, because what happens is, I think just naturally, a lot of brands of leveraging influencers ads part of another campaign.
Travis: Right, ’cause there’s a new product launch, it’s an event. Things of that nature that tend to be where influencers are leveraged less on the evergreen side, and then other than, let’s say, black Friday, cyber Monday, there isn’t too many one day big burst either.
Johnathan: But we do occasionally have that for some other holidays too. We’ve done some Christmas campaigns, of course, and Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day we actually do a lot of big campaigns that are sort of one day.
Some campaigns, let’s say Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, there’s definitely a lead up time, right? Just culturally these holidays pretty much might as well be the whole month.
You can get away with doing influencer campaigns for several weeks around those holidays, but something like Valentine’s Day, it’s really just a big massive push on one day.
So with, like you said, some campaigns can be a week or two. Within the span of that, how many posts per influencer would you usually see on average, would you think?
Travis: Yeah, again, a little bit difficult to answer.
Johnathan: I’m asking the hard questions, sorry.
Travis: Case by case.
Travis: Yeah, well honestly, that’s the great thing about it, is it’s so flexible, ’cause it depends on what kind of budget you have, first and foremost, but second, whether or not you’re using a few large heavy hitter influencers.
Whether you wanna call them macro influencer or whatever terminology you wanna use, or whether you’re using a lot of micro influencers. I would say, on average, depending on the channel and influencer, probably post just one to two times.
Johnathan: Okay. Anything above that would seem too pushy, right? That’s what I would at least think, from the outside.
Travis: Not necessarily. Like I said, it sort of depends on a lot of factors. I’ll give you an example. Like a YouTube video. It’s a long formed video and it also tends to be one of the most expensive type of buys of influencers because of that reason.
Travis: So often times it’ll just be one YouTube video for an individual influencer.
Travis: But you may have multiple influencers doing one YouTube video. But when it comes to some of these kind of bite size micro content, like an Instagram story, we might actually have them do, what we call, three frames, and each Instagram story can be up to 15 seconds in length, if it’s a video.
We might have them do three, what we call frames, or slides of that. So it’ll be 45 seconds of three different slides in a row, but then they might do that three days in a row, right? So that’s a little bit of the different approach.
So it kind of depends on the channel, the medium, the budget.
Johnathan: The influencer themselves, ’cause they have a say in it too, I would imagine, right?
Travis: Absolutely, because they tend to know what they think the audience will be most receptive to without saturating them or fatiguing them. That’s also something you don’t want to do is like you said, sort of come off too salesy, too pushy, or inauthentic–
Travis: By just pushing really hard. So yeah, it’s a delicate kind of balance, and I think it’s just something that you have to learn over time for your product, your brand, and the influencers you work with will kind of cadence in volume you should you push to get the best results for the budget.
Johnathan: Okay, cool. Now, let’s say that we figure that out, we figure out the type of content, we want direct sales. I’d imagine there’s some level of tracking and reporting.
How do you guys measure that back to the client? What do you give them?
Travis: Yeah, absolutely. So influencer marketing is still a little bit behind on that area of tracking, reporting, and attribution, and that’s, I think, mostly because granting access, gaining access to influencers accounts is more difficult than, let’s just say, pushing a Facebook ad.
You may have a third party attribution partner like Cochlear or somebody like that, and the the brand ties in their backend we tie in the front end of engagement metrics and there’s just very smooth relationship and continuity between performance, right?
That’s not really always the case with influencers. Let’s say, when it comes to mobile apps, which we do a lot of, and we do eCommerce as well. There tends to be a unique tracking link either created by the brad or by us, the agency.
Travis: Which is attributed to that influencer or that mentor. It can get really granular or really high level. It could be a unique tracking link at the channel level, it could be at the influencer level, it could be at the post level, it really depends. So we just make sure there’s unique link.
Johnathan: Makes sense.
Travis: And those links will obviously be able to track clicks, and then on the backend of the brand if we’re not going through some third party attribution partner, they will, of course, be able to track the direct sales from those posts and whatnot as well.
However, there are a few influencer agencies out there, which of course, we happen to be one of them. We have our own in house tracking platform that we developed to actually give marketers what they expect, nowadays, right? It’s very transparent, a very high level and granular look into all performance metrics.
Travis: And tie it directly into the API so that you can see all the kinds of APIs you would normally see on a media buy, but when it comes to conversion, that’s where it’s sort of case by case basis in terms of how that’s being tracked. Like sales and installs, but that tends to be unique links.
Johnathan: Okay, that makes sense. Now, this is probably not the world where it would make a lot of sense for you guys to work with somebody like me. Hypothetical, let’s say that I’m a great friend of yours, and obviously we are on the way there because we’re already talking.
So hi, Travis. But let’s say I come to you and say, Travis, I have $5,000. What can I do in the influencer marketing world? Either not going through you or doing things myself. What would you recommend?
Travis: Yeah, so what I would call more small introductory test budgets. Let’s say they’re 20 grand and less. I actually think it would be smart for the brand to kind of dabble themselves in house if they have the human resources to do that.
Where you may reach out directly to influencers to kind of test the waters and get an understanding of how the industry works. Where you’re reaching out to influencers yourself, you’re gonna have to kind of go through the grind and finding ways to outreach them to get them to actually reply. You’re gonna have to figure out how to negotiate with them in terms of cost and in terms of deliverables.
The reason for that, is I think if you’re really early in that stage with a small budget, just being realistic, a lot of agencies won’t be able to work with you, not because they don’t to, it’s just you gotta understand they’re dealing with a lot of clients with much bigger budgets. So that’s just the name of the game.
It also may not be worth it to the agency, or excuse me, to the brand, because, well maybe the agency too, but to the brand because obviously when you’re working with full service agencies, they’re gonna take a fee, and that fee could be 10 to 30%, I don’t know. It really depends.
Johnathan: Okay, interesting.
Travis: So that might lead up a little bit. Yeah it might get up a little bit too much of your test budget where you’re not getting the results you want, and it’s a little bit more expensive.
When you have bigger budgets, in the agency’s case doesn’t feel as painful and it obviously makes sense for the level of work they’re doing.
Johnathan: Of course.
Travis: Yeah, I would encourage brands to try to do some work themselves, and I think they’re gonna learn a lot.
And quite honestly, they might even fall on their face a little bit, but I think that’s good, because they’ll realize that maybe if they want a large scale effort, they will need an agency, but having said that, they’ll also be able to retain control of that budget and how they use it, and companies that tend to have small budgets tend to be a little bit more scared, or not have much ability to lose budget and get away with it.
Travis: If things don’t go right. So I’m all for them trying to be a little bit careful initially.
Johnathan: Yeah, and talking to you, I learn more and more how much actually goes into it, that from the outside before talking to you definitely didn’t know about.
100%, if anything, in all things marketing execution is so paramount and not only can it be great to work with you guys as an agency, because of the resources and the experience you have, but also the sounding board.
I would probably come to with some preconceived ideas that you’re like, here’s why you don’t wanna do that, Johnathan, and I’ll be like, yo, okay, now I’ll learn.
Johnathan: Like the saying goes, it’s like, try to, I’m not even gonna say it correctly. But the whole point of work with somebody who charges a fair amount and make sure you’re actually gonna do it right, because then you’ll learn quickly.
So sometimes, depending on the product, and all that kind of stuff, and their budget, it might not be making sense for them yet, it sounds like. In some situations.
Travis: Yeah I have a cool expression for that. I’m gonna paraphrase it as well. Is the expression is, if you think hiring an expert is expensive, try hiring an amateur.
Johnathan: That’s what I was trying to say earlier.
Travis: Yeah, that speaks to what you might lose and screw up by trying to do it yourself. What are you gonna do, fix the electricity, the wiring in your own home, or are you gonna hire an electrician.
You’re gonna hire an electrician for most things, right? Certain things that you just have, you’re rally blind to and potentially dangerous and have setbacks and challenges. You wanna hire someone, if you can, right? But if you can’t, you do with what you have.
Johnathan: Right, yeah, my analogy was like that with the electrician, but I do it with a surgeon instead. ‘Cause I think that’s a little bit more extreme.
Travis: Oh lord.
Johnathan: Gets the point across. All right, so Travis, anything I haven’t asked that you think are some good nuggets to share with the listeners?
Travis: Yeah, at a macro level, I want people to understand that influencer marketing is not gonna save your business. It’s probably not going to drive the greatest impact in your business, unless you’re investing a lot of money into it.
What people should understand is to some extent influencer marketing is a subset of social media marketing. Which is a subset of digital marketing. Which is a subset of your overall marketing.
So if you see it like that, you’ll understand that it’s a piece to your puzzle, right?
Travis: And that doesn’t mean you can’t invest heavily in it, but don’t be distracted by the height status, this new shiny object and it’s the best thing ever.
Johnathan: Yeah, I love that.
Travis: Honestly, you can drive a lot of impact from it, and you can make a lot of difference on it, and that’s very valuable. That’s why I’m doing it for a living. However, I think it’s just safe for people to have more realistic expectations with it at a macro level, and get the most value out of it.
One thing I don’t want people to be blind to is just thinking that people are just pushing your product, and it’s just another way to just sell things. There’s a lot of ways to use influencers. It’s not just to make posts on social media. There’s ways to use them to bring them into events. Experiential purposes.
Travis: A lot of influencers are very entertaining and great personality. Bring them into your exponential marketing. Bring them into your event.
Another thing is there’s a lot of quote unquote influencers that are really just content creators. Maybe they’re really good at Photoshop, they’re really good at Adobe Premiere, they do Illustration, they’re artists.
There’s a million different things, and they’re more categorized as just content creators. They’re maybe not influential. They could have a lot of followers and people enjoy their content, but their personality is removed from their content and it’s more about the content. Has nothing to do with them.
Travis: So you can use those quote unquote influencers and instead of getting them to post on your behalf, just leverage them as a content source.
Travis: And they can make really badass content for you, and then you can buy or license that content from them, and then use it in your own channel on your paid site or your own site.
So there’s just many different ways to work with influencers, and don’t get too fixated on the probably most popular way. Really you need to figure out what the best way is for your organization to use influencers.
Johnathan: So what you’re basically saying is that not everybody should go to Kim Kardashian right away.
Travis: Please don’t, and she won’t like you anyway. She’s busy pushing jail reform, which is actually a really good thing.
Johnathan: It is.
Travis: She should stop pushing products and she should do jail reform, that’s all.
Johnathan: True, I agree.
Travis: But yeah, exactly. That’s a great point too. Don’t just go to the celebrity level, or even the celebrity level of influencers. They can be effective, don’t get me wrong, but kinda be mature about it and be thoughtful about how you approach influencer marketing.
Johnathan: For sure, and everything you laid out in mentioning of the steps to figure that out too. Super, super helpful.
Travis, thank you so much for your time. Very excited for when this goes live, and we’ll let you know.
Travis: All right brother, I appreciate the opportunity, thank you very much.
Johnathan: Of course, talk to you soon.
Travis: All right man.
Johnathan: All right, bye.
Influencer Marketing With Maria Sipka
Maria: Hello, hello, hello, or good day should I say.
Johnathan: Hey Maria, how are you?
Maria: I’m awesome, how are you?
Johnathan: I’m so thrilled to have you on this show. I’m very, very excited as well. I actually didn’t know your background until I heard your accent for the first time.
So even more impressed. So we have a little bit more variety on the show.
Maria: We do, all the way from down under.
Johnathan: Yup, yup. So you and I have been talking about influencer marketing. You’re, of course, the expert on this, and you have founded Linqia. It’s one of the leading companies around this.
Now, one thing you mentioned that I think is really important to our listeners is how you pioneered this back in the early 2000s. So can you tell us a little bit about that?
Maria: Yeah, well the journey actually starts, I think you’re gonna appreciate this. We’re all at that stage in our life where we don’t know what it is that we don’t wanna do, and I was 17, my boyfriend’s like, you need to go figure out what you wanna do with your life. I went to an Anthony Robins seminar.
Johnathan: I love that guy.
Maria: And I’m like, I wanna be financially independent, and the reason being, is I wanna do what I want with who I want when I want. And that sort of just catapulted me on this incredible path of studying communication university, and basically was working for a senator during his marketing and communication with his constituents.
And before long, I finished my studies, I get tapped on the shoulder by the Westfield founders and family, and you just sort of, like in the 90s, sort of digital revolution started to happen, and they’re like, you seem to know what you’re doing. Do you wanna come in and work on a project?
And I’m like, sure. It’s a really lucrative contract, and within a few days I’m like, I really don’t know what I’m doing here. Maybe you should go and hire somebody because I don’t wanna lose this, and to cut a long story short, ended up building an agency in Australia. Worked with about 100 customers from rabbis to multinational–
Maria: Companies, and basically built this content marketing performance agency that was all about understanding the psychology of how people make purchasing decisions, and designing marketing communications that would really resonate with different customer segments and nurture them across the customer and so built that business over eight years, ended up investing all the money into real estate, and basically by the age of 27 had bought 50 properties like houses, cabins, and apartments.
Maria: Yeah, it was insane. This business was phenomenal. It was a really good cash cow. I had a really awesome framework for investing into real estate.
Johnathan: I was gonna say, I thought I was ahead of the game and I’m way behind. This is impressive. Didn’t even know.
Maria: It’s Anthony Robins. It was all Anthony Robins.
Seriously, that guy, when he thinks you can do it, you can do it. So I’m 27, and I’m like, okay, I’m at that point where I can do what I want when I want with who I want, and basically thought, I don’t wanna be building this agency for the next 10, 20 years, or even investing into real estate.
To be quite honest, I sort of lost interest in this notion of just making money.
Maria: And I wanted to go and discover, and I wanted to go discover my purpose.
I’ve been reading a lot of self-help books and so on, and everyone that I knew that was happy had discovered their purpose and utilized their sills into something that could create impact in the world. I know that kinda sounds cliche.
Johnathan: A little bit.
Maria: This was in early 2000. I left everything behind. I left my boyfriend, my friends, my family. I ran my business down. I totally detached myself from and went on this journey–
Maria: Discover my purpose, and basically traveled the world for two years. Met hundreds of people. Drivers in Mumbai to the priests of Saudi Arabia, and my whole mission was to just get a sense of people.
It’s like, if you’re gonna go and figure out where you create impact in the world, you sort of go and just see the world and talk to people, and after this two year journey, I came to the point where I’m like, I’m really passionate about storytelling.
When I think about what impacted me, it was all stories that people shared, and when stories are told by people that you have this phenomenal immediate connection with, and they share these nuggets, that’s what inspired me to take action.
I’m like, how do I take this passion and how do I turn it into something meaningful, and when I really started to look at where my roots came from, and I’m like, you know what, there’s a trillion dollars being invested by businesses, by people to connect with customers, and they’re all of the messages, all of the content, to me, seemed so uninspiring.
It didn’t have impact, and I’m like, imagine if you could turn that trillion dollars, or a portion of that into story, into messages that could really resonate with people. That could add value, that could inspire them to take an action, and I’m like, I’m gonna go and build a business around that.
Maria: That was kind of my second step. I found my purpose too, I figured out how I was gonna do it, but then three, I then had to really go and build a toolkit. I was tapped on the shoulder by the founders of The Social Network in Europe Zingy. It’s a 1.70 billion dollar company today that nobody in America’s heard of.
Johnathan: Never heard of them.
Maria: And as part of them saying here’s really where influencing marketing was pioneered and born. We had this business social network that was growing at a rapid pace.
Millions of members, and just look at human behavior and people for thousands of years as people communicate into communities, they start to create sub communities, and that’s what was happening on the social network.
All of these groups and community leaders were coming to us going, hey, we’re building this community. How can you help support us? We’d love for you to connect with your sponsors, with brands, and we’re like, well why?
And they’re like, well they can offer us content and events and just even prestige, and I go, oh this kind of looks interesting here.
Maria: And Dove came out with their self-esteem campaign and was a concept of real beauty. And one of my key beliefs is, the brand with the best story wins, right?
Johnathan: Yeah, yeah.
Maria: If you wanna win the hearts and minds, you’ve gotta have a good story that’s born out of your ideology, and Dove nailed it with their self-esteem.
Johnathan: I remember that campaign.
Johnathan: Yeah, I do remember.
Maria: I mean I cried when I watched that. I was just like, this is really the kind of content that brands should be creating. So we took that video, we put it in the hands of a number of women, group leaders, and said, watch this video.
If it resonates with you, the story resonates with you, you write a story, you share it with your audience, you invite them to participate, and let’s sort of see what happens here.
Maria: And Johnathan, it was an absolute watershed moment within 24 hours, 25% of the women in these groups have watched the video. Hundreds started to pour out their hearts and souls in the comments.
And when you think about programmatic advertising, you get a 0.01% direct response, which is where I came from with one to 2%, and 25% I’m like. It was 2004 and I’m like, this is the future, and how every business organization and brand will connect to the people that matter to them.
It’s through authentic content, it’s by tapping into these real everyday voices that have the trust amongst their followers, and it’s a much more authentic organic and decentralized way to really get your message across.
I’m gonna go build a company around that.
Johnathan: Wow, now I understand, because you gave us more context, I now understand the power of influencer marketing if it’s done correctly. So that lead you to start your company now. Is that correct?
Maria: Yeah, so I brought a co-founder on board. Somebody that actually knew how to build a multi hundred million dollar Silicon Valley company.
That’s not easy, especially as a foreigner coming to the United States. And Silicon Valley, by the way, I was seven months pregnant when I came out here. So you can imagine.
Johnathan: Oh wow.
Maria: During the and trying to bring a co-founder on board, but that was eight years ago, and really everything fell into place. My co-founder is phenomenal.
He focuses 100% of his time on building the business, and I get to spend 100% of my time working with brands, working with influencers, and really just cracking this nut that I’d bet my entire life on.
Johnathan: Yeah, sounds like you did. So that’s amazing. So take us through in the day of today, and what you’re able to do with the different platforms.
If you were to talk to somebody about here are the fundamentals of influencer marketing and what you can do, what would be the first step, in your opinion?
Maria: So despite whether you’re an entrepreneur that’s embarking on launching a new product or offering, or if you’re a big multinational brand, we have to take a step back, because influencer marketing is such a bugged word, and people are clamoring over it, and it’s just like, I gotta find the influences, what sort of technology and tools should I use, and then they suddenly just go out and then they invest a lot of money, invest a lot of time, and then they and they’re like, is this working?
Just sort of really take a step back and have a look at influencer marketing. It’s really all about people and emotion.
Johnathan: Okay, I like that.
Maria: You as an entrepreneur, right, you’ve got to understand the customers. Who are you going after? Because if you look at any form of advertising and marketing as it was, it was very much a one size fits all. Even if you haven’t looked at influencer marketing, often brands and businesses will grow out of these influences that have massive reach.
Kim Kardashian, they can afford one, but even folks that are starting out. It’s just like, I wanna go to the beauty, or fashion, or parenting influences that have phenomenal reach, and that’s not what influencer marketing is about.
You’ve gotta really peel it right back, and first and foremost, just truly understand who are you as a brand, what do you stand for, what’s your ideology, what problem are you solving, and who do you believe is going to really resonate with what you have to offer.
So first, identify influencers that truly map to your brand in every way, and talks about identifying your 50 super fans, right?
Maria: Then I wouldn’t suggest that you go and identify 50 influencers, but go and identify five, and build a relationship with them. So forget about the technology and tools for the time being. Go find the five influencers that truly resonate with your brand.
It might be simply going to Instagram or Google search and just looking for hashtags or key words that are really closely aligned with your product or service. So then build a relationship–
Johnathan: Let me ask real quick. Sorry, so obviously they should have some level of reach, but what you’re saying is don’t go straight for the king pin, like Kim Kardashian has, because within all of her followers, there’s obviously a lot of subsets of people and audiences that could resonate with you, but blasting that message to everybody doesn’t make a lot of sense, to begin with, or in general, it sounds like.
Maria: It’s like a fire hose, right? The true power of influences is understanding influence. It’s decoding the component and the way that you’re gonna structure your story and what channels you’re gonna deliver on, and what the action that you’re looking for people to take across the entire customer journey.
So first and foremost, say you identify your five influences. You get to know them, you interview them, ask them questions, get them on the phone. See if they’re passionate about the solution that you’re bringing to market, and then start to really work closely with them around the storytelling.
This is not about product review. It’s not like, oh here’s my product, and the influencer with what you’re really looking for is how is your story going to be told by these influencers across the customer journey, and again, looking at the different customer segments that you wanna touch.
That’s the first step. It’s really about just ideating and research, and seeing what are those early signs. So what you’re looking for from an influencer is not necessarily their reach, but you want a healthy level of engagement.
Johnathan: For sure.
Maria: 2% is a good starting point, right? Follow account to engagement. You wanna look at influencers that have a high level of comments.
Instagram is a great channel to just get comments. So have the influencer actually pose a question to their audience. Otherwise, a lot of the comments are gonna be like, oh I love your dress, or what beach are you at?
That’s all very well and good, but utilize the influencer to ask the audience a question so you can get those insights. So once these five influencers start creating content and stories, you want a combination, because right now you’re just experimenting to go what channels? It’s a big combination of Pinterest, and blog, and Instagram, and even Twitter.
From that point, you will start to surface the things that the influencers are likely to talk about, because if you’re going to engage an influencer, often brands will look at these influencers as one trick monkeys. It’s just like, yup, great, you’re awesome, and off they go.
The feedback that you often hear from influencers, I put my heart and soul into this brand and I never heard from them again.
Johnathan: Yeah, yeah.
Maria: So you wanna build a relationship with these influencers, and enable them to unfold the narrative over time. You’re going to start getting a sense of different themes, you’re looking at the audience comments to see what resonates most with them.
You’re looking now at measurements saying, okay, across the customer’s journey, if you’re looking for you wanna look at impressions, you wanna look at engagement, you wanna look at shares, comments, likes, that’s more upper funnel metrics. That will give you a really good gauge.
The second stage of the customer journey is consideration. You’re still looking at engagement, but you’re looking at click through. Now you wanna drive them to your website, and you don’t wanna drive them straight to a product page. It’s kind of like meeting someone and saying, right let’s go get married, right? You want to be able to really drive that connection.
Johnathan: We’re so aggressive as marketers, but I hear you.
Maria: Some of the marketers are so desperate they have no patience, and they never achieve anything. It’s like a magnifying glass. Keep it in one spot and burn the hole and move onto the next one, right? You’re looking at engagement metrics, but more importantly, now you’re looking at click through.
And you wanna drive them to a site, to your site, but now you wanna offer an experience. Get them to watch a video. Teach them something, create an institute. Content marketing, go and learn anything you can about content marketing.
It is mission critical, ’cause you’re now going to start developing a content marketing strategy because from there, you can start to, the more time a prospect or a customer spends with your content, the deeper the connection that you drive with them, as opposed to saying, here’s a coupon, go buy that you know?
You don’t want that to be the first experience. And then bottom of the funnel, obviously is purchase. But you need to develop a plan where everything works together, and now it’s a funnel, right? You’ve been optimizing it.
Johnathan: That’s super cool I mean, it’s so interesting how many things in regards to marketing, the principles come again. Same thing we see with our own landing page optimizations, not go for the jugular. Warm them up, court them. Don’t be so aggressive.
When you get to successful influencer marketing campaigns. I mean, I think a lot of people think that it’s super shortcuts that they can take, or use these platforms that have almost a roster of influencers where they can just kinda, like you said, be commoditized.
From the relationship building aspect, when you’re actually running things, can you walk us through what to expect? Some of the things that are gonna be really, really cool, but also things that could be really, really tough to do in regards to, let’s say, the execution of the marketing by the influencer?
Maria: Yeah, so when you look at influencer marketing, it boils down into how much time are you willing to invest, how much money you’re willing to invest, and what’s the skill of the resources that you have on hand?
Because a lot of folks will go and get an intern, and getting an intern can be cool. If you actually go and get an, so many brands, contractors, a social media intern or manager to come in that is an influencer themselves within the segment that they’re looking to reach.
Maria: That’s just like one approach a lot of younger brands will take.
Maria: So looking at the level of skill and resource, because measurement is the deal to end all here, and you really gotta set your measurement in place from the very beginning so you can manage your learning, and your optimizations, and where influencer marketing fits within your overall business plan or marketing plan.
So from that stage, stage one is that testing and learning, and there are free tools that are out there that you can just start with, because once you get into more robust tools or even platforms that have a managed service, you can be paying hundreds of dollars a month to thousands of dollars a month to many managed solutions will have minimum budgets of $50,000 per program, and some might even, very more well established ones have $100,000 per program.
So run the entire gambit before you actually go and contract any of these services. You really wanna figure out some of the basics first.
Johnathan: Makes sense.
Maria: So that’s kind of one approach, yeah? We have a look at this like it’s the nuts and bolts, and you have a look at, okay, how much time do you have, how much budget do you have?
Then you’ve gotta be able to really allocate some funds to working with these influencers, respecting and putting a value on their time and negotiating those rates with them. And be really clear on what it is that you want them to do.
Maria: I mentioned earlier the brand with the best story wins. The program or an execution is only as good as the brief, right? They say a lot of programs fall short, and just generally in this industry where the influencers haven’t been briefed correctly. And in order to brief an influencer correctly, you wanna have an envision of what it is you’re looking for.
Maria: You’re really looking at influencers in two buckets. One is to generate word of mouth, to get those engagements, and sending those impressions. Get the wheel moving. That’s the second most important bucket. Especially for a younger business. Even for very well established businesses, is the biggest trend that’s happening in influencer marketing is utilizing influencers as a means to create highly nuanced content.
Maria: So you’re looking at a library of images, and videos, and blog posts, and social posts. What gets you to base camp is just activating an initial program, assuming that you’ve really reached the influencer role and then created the type of story and the content that you’re looking for, but that gets you to base camp.
Maria: The that you have to utilize the influencer content is tremendous, because now, as a young business, you can tap into this treasure chest of content and start plugging it into your own social channels. Into your website, into your email news letters your marketing.
Johnathan: Good point, yeah.
Maria: You could create a report. You could create a report.
Maria: Your institute that you’re looking to launch can be fueled by influencer content, but where the rocket fuel comes in is any business who’s going to have some form of performance marketing, customer acquisition retention.
Whether it be online or offline, and what’s most expensive, and the biggest piece of your marketing dollars, advertising dollars is going to go into paid media. The cost to reach your customers today is significantly more than it was a few years ago, five years ago, right?
Johnathan: Yeah, totally.
Maria: Yeah, whether you’re investing into search, or social ads, programmatic display. As advertising you want those dollars to work for you, so build into your influencer marketing plan a means to utilize the influencer content and then through data, through measurement, you can prove that this content is actually driving results, driving conversion across the funnel.
Johnathan: Yeah, that was a different cluck, cluck. So you’re basically saying, with the content they’re producing for you, in partnership, you can then take that and use it for your advertising efforts. Put some actual dollars behind it and see how it performs by itself too, in that sense.
Maria: Absolutely. And some of the world’s biggest brands going to influencers to produce 100% of their content today. Even a host of emerging brands. They are foregoing having a majority, if not all of their assets created in traditional creative agencies.
Maria: Yeah. So brands for you, brands will utilize their creative agency to develop the story, to develop the hero assets, to develop what I call, the Disneyland experience. The website.
You gotta be able to channel. And often the brief will come from a combination of the creative agency and the PR agency. The brand with the best story wins.
Johnathan: Right, coming back to that.
Maria: You really wanna have a phenomenal creative agency that can establish that foundation for you. The cost and the time for a creative agency to produce the assets that you’re gonna be using for all of your paid media channels, in nine out of 10 cases is ineffective.
We’ve actually shown that through qualified influencer assets, the images, the parings of the call to actions and the social channels will out perform the brand created or agency created assets by three to 400%.
Johnathan: Believe it.
Maria: so that’s significant impact on those media dollars.
Johnathan: That’s crazy. I knew for a fact that there’s a five to 10% win rate when it comes to creative. Whether it’s video or anything static when you’re using through paid media.
I had no idea that influencer marketing related content could out perform by that much. That’s crazy.
Maria: Consistently in every single performance study that we run, we will see the influencer content out perform the brands assets anywhere between two to 400%.
Johnathan: That’s crazy. That’s insane. Now I need to go back and make some changes to our agency and figure some things out.
When it comes to the type of products, I mean, I know we’re close to wrapping up here too, but is there anything that you’ve seen where hey, this does not make sense from an influencer marketing perspective?
Whether it’s a service or a product. What’s the sweet spot in regards to the type of things you can offer through influencer marketing that work the best and which ones work the worst that you’ve seen?
Maria: You know, every single brand service individual can tap into influencer marketing. It just is a matter of how you go about doing it.
Maria: Even a brand that is completely being annihilated in the media can utilize influences, but you need to take the approach that I outlined earlier where it’s very much a grass route relationship building endeavor to understand who are you looking to reach and what’s important to them, what do they value?
How can you have a difficult conversation, or if there’s a solution. We just ran a program for, this is a little bit of an unusual one. We do everything from ranch dressing to irritable bowel syndrome to–
Maria: Testing kits, all sorts of things, and of course, toilet paper, cookies, and milk. So it’s a whole gambit, it’s a whole gambit.
Johnathan: Basically everything I have on my desk right now.
Maria: Anything and everything, but you take a topic. I know this sounds odd, but irritable bowel syndrome. We’ve learned a lot out of that. It’s just like, well you know what, if you’re a 19 year old and you’re at college and you wanna go on a date and you’re bloating, and you’re bumbling, that’s a huge issue.
Johnathan: Yeah, embarrassing.
Maria: How are you gonna talk about that as a brand? You’re not gonna just go to that 19 year old and say, here’s our product. Lead you to a product page. Let’s create stories and content that truly emotionally connect with those audiences.
In short, I’d love to say that there’s another answer, but influencing marketing works for every single use case.
Johnathan: I believe it. No, that’s amazing. Maria, we’re gonna have you on a follow up episode, because I feel like there’s so many things that we can talk about more, but I am very, very thankful for the fundamentals from a setting yourself up in a strong manor to then being able to execute.
I know there’s a lot of varying things when it comes to the creative, the storytelling, and that’s probably a whole nother episode that we can have on that, but thank you so much for your time, and we’re definitely gonna be back.
Maria: Thank you, things have been fun.
Johnathan: Awesome, we’ll talk soon. Thanks, Maria.
Maria: Thank you guys.
Johnathan: All right bye.
Influencer Marketing With Tyler Farnsworth
Johnathan: Hey Tyler, it’s Johnathan over at BootSauce.
Tyler: Hey Johnathan. How are ya?
Johnathan: I’m doing pretty great man. I’m excited to chat with you about something that I know nothing about, which is influencer marketing. And you have a whole agency dedicated towards it.
Tyler: I’d give yourself some more credit, Johnathan. I bet you know a couple of things about it.
Tyler: Been all over the place the last few years. I would imagine, at the core you are an influencer yourself, my man.
Johnathan: I appreciate that. Look at that. I need to give myself some chicken love. So Tyler, I wanna intro you real quick to the listeners. So you’re Tyler Farnsworth. You are the founder and managing director at August United. You guys are in Gilbert, Arizona, is that correct, or Tempe, Arizona? Which one is it?
Tyler: Yeah, based in Tempe, Arizona. So right in the heart of Phoenix.
Johnathan: Got it, cool. Never been there. One day I know I will. But yeah, for our listeners’ sake, influencer marketing can be super overwhelming, but it can also be pretty straight forward. It depends on how you look at it.
So when you guys bring on clients or people reach out to you. How do you navigate the conversation with where a person should start when it comes to influencer marketing?
Tyler: Yeah, I appreciate the question.
So we typically start, like we would, with nearly any type of marketing program, and a good understanding of what the problem is, what we’re trying to solve. The marketing problem, I should say. Who are we trying to get in front of, what does that audience look like, what do they care about, where are they spending time?
And that’s where we start. We don’t assume that influencer marketing is the solution, necessarily, but we found that over the last several years of helping a lot of organizations, influencer marketing is a great part of a well rounded marketing mix.
Tyler: Yeah, that’s where we start.
Johnathan: Awesome, and then if you guys were to say, hey, anybody knocking on our door that wants to work with us, what do you guys consider a slam dunk of a client?
If you can get unlimited amounts of these, you would literally go on the New York stock exchange tomorrow and be a public company?
Tyler: Yeah it’s a challenger brand. Meaning a brand that’s not necessarily the top of their industry, but they have an incredible product, they have a desire to be a bit different, to think a little bit outside the box.
They have a desire to be invest in programs that are unique, and really it’s got to be, I can’t stress enough. It’s gotta be, the product has to be good. You can’t just add juice, marketing juice to something that’s terrible, or else you’re gonna do the determent there.
Johnathan: Isn’t that the case with everything? Not just influencer, but every marketing. The product usually is gonna make it a lot easier for you as a marketer, or a lot harder depending on how good it is.
Tyler: You know, it is, but I wanna make a point to the listeners here that influencer marketing is a bit unique in the case that in most marketing challenges, if inventory exists, you can run it, you can run a terrible ad.
No one’s gonna respond to it, or very few people, but in the world of influencer marketing you’re not dealing with ad inventory. You’re working with people, and influencers are not ad units, they’re people, and they’re really awesome people who are great creators, and if your product is terrible, a good influencer, meaning an influencer that’s in it for the right reasons is not going to work with you.
Tyler: They’re gonna say no. There’s a different audience in place than what you see in traditional running a billboard or banner ad, or anything where there’s just inventory.
Johnathan: Right, absolutely, that makes sense. Let’s give a hypothetical example to make this easier for myself too. Let’s say that I’m a challenge brand of really amazing underwear, but this underwear doesn’t need to be washed for two weeks at a time.
That’s the only thing I can think of that would make it a challenger brand. What would be the next approach and be like, you believe in the product, you’ve seen it, it doesn’t smell. Things like that.
How do you go about deciding do you already have individual relationships with these influencers, do you go through a platform? How do you decide to scope things out from an expectation standpoint as well?
Tyler: Yeah, so you may have some relationships. If you’ve gotten to a place where you’re not just a brand new company, likely you have some fans, some people love ya. We can certainly start there.
You may not have fans who have a large degree of audience, but that’s okay. You can start with these advocates that already love you–
Tyler: And give them permission, or give them a reason to talk about you. Some of that goes into your packaging, and the way you invite people to talk. I know a whey brand has done a wonderful job of that.
Let’s go back to our underwear example. So if you have this great product, likely you’re gonna start with identifying who the core buyer is, like you would do in a lot of marketing programs.
Then we get influencers involved that we know would interact with or would be close to that audience. Whatever that might look like. Whether that’s a male or a female influencer, a lifestyle influencer that has an audience that is perfectly dialed into our core buyer, and yeah, we’ll approach that.
And that approach, in a lot of cases, will start via email, but if it’s a key partnership we wanna have, we’ll likely do a video call and talk to them a bit about what we’ve got going on.
Tyler: Now that’s one level. There are a lot of tools out there today. I’m not gonna mention all of the tools there’s, I swear, a new one coming out everyday. That’s great. There’s a resource online called Influencer Marketing Hub.
Actually based in the UK, but they have tons of resources all over the world. I love these guys. They’re incredible people. We’re partners with them as well.
And in that hub, you’ll see access to really great articles about the space as well as agencies like August United and others who work in the space, as well as tech platforms. Kind of fast platforms.
Tyler: So depending upon who you are and where you are in this space today, it may make sense for you to partner with a fast platform and do it yourself in house. It may make sense for you to partner with an agency like August United. It may make sense for you not to do it at all.
Tyler: But that’s where I would have folks start.
Johnathan: What do influencers, like when you reach out to them, what do they care most about? Do they immediately talk about, well how much are you paying me, or how does this benefit my audience? What do they care most about that you frequently hear as questions from them?
Tyler: Yeah, the ones that we like to work with are the ones that care about telling good stories. They care about creating good content. They care about creating something that their audience will love and will engage with.
The ones who we don’t like, yeah, they do lead with it all about the money, and that’s not appropriate for us. I love working with a creator. We often use the term creator in house versus influencer, because that’s how we see folks, because our belief is that everybody’s an influencer. Everybody influences other people. Just different degrees of audience size and resonance.
Johnathan: Sure, yeah.
Tyler: But the creators we partner with that are great fits, they’re excited. They see the brand as being something that’s natural to integrate into their audience.
They care enough about their audience to say, hey guys, even though you’ve done your vetting, I don’t know that this is a good fit for me.
Tyler: And honestly, if an influencer says that to me or a creator says that to me, I love that.
What I mean by that is they care.
Tyler: And they’re not just in it for another product promotion. They really care about the way they’re protecting their audience.
Tyler: I would say a trend we’ve seen in the world of influencer marketing, good influencer marketing, has been really a turn away from singular partnerships. Just a one off transactional style partnerships, and really a trend toward longer term bidirectional partnerships.
Tyler: Meaning, the influencer is talking about the product appropriately, and making it their own, but they’re also giving feedback back to the brand around what they would like to do next or how the product could change a bit depending upon what they’ve learned.
These longer term six month or a year long partnerships where there’s that bidirectional feedback. Man we’ve seen some awesome successes there.
Johnathan: That’s awesome, and I’m assuming too that the brands themselves can use the content that the creator or the influencer has generated for other things. They also raise the influencer and creator up in a sense, sometimes.
Tyler: Yeah, it’s huge. I mean that’s a huge, huge piece. So a key thing we’ve done. So one of our core clients is a major restaurant group.
Johnathan: Is it Olive Garden
Tyler: they have awesome. It’s not.
Johnathan: Dang it. We have a lot of Olive Garden fans.
Tyler: Oh good. Give me some bread sticks and Alfredo dip all day long. Give me some Andes Mints at the end. But no, it’s a restaurant, kind of a trendy restaurant group.
They do a lot of fun things, but one of the neat things that we’ve been working with them over the past couple years is creating content that’s not just about the food. And I know that sounds weird from a restaurant standpoint, but their restaurant is a lot about the ambiance and the lifestyle that interacts there.
So people enjoying the food and the ambiance, and because of the work we’ve been doing with influencers, they actually cut their in house custom photography budget like crazy last year.
Johnathan: Oh wow.
Tyler: And they moved it over to influencer marketing, because the content they were getting was so much better, and so much more real, and less staged, and we’ve now used influencer content with this brand all over the place. Not just on social.
They used it in their email communication, they’ve used it on banner ads, they’ve used it on billboards. So print out of home, and I would say, organizations that are really seeing the vision of influencer marketing are seeing it much, much beyond social media.
Tyler: And seeing it for where all of the different places where it can live.
Johnathan: I’m gonna guess on the restaurant. Is it Red Lobster?
Johnathan: Dang it. O for two.
Tyler: We’ve worked with Red Lobster in the past, but no, it is not Red Lobster.
Johnathan: Nevermind, I’m not gonna ask again.
Tyler: Those cheder biscuits, buddy.
Johnathan: You’re impressing me with your knowledge of the menu of these things that I’m throwing out. No that makes a ton of sense. Do you feel like brands and individual companies should have no fear thinking about that long-term relationship?
‘Cause I feel like a lot of people, that’s why I was asking. What does the creator or the influencer care most about? When they approach an influencer or a creator. Maybe start off with those things that the influencer’s gonna ask back.
But since you already answered that question, my next question is, in regards to tracking things, and knowing what expectations you guys set with your clients, how do you go about that?
Tyler: Yeah, so tracking is huge. That’s been something that’s been, in a huge way, in the or in the media around influencer marketing over the past year plus. ROI, that’s the key of any sort of marketing program. What are we doing here?
And fortunately, the algorithm, not the algorithm, the key or APIs have been such that we now have technology systems that allow us to have really good tracking capability on both the organic content, as well as the amplified content on the backend. So there’s a number of things that are put in place.
Obviously at the basic level, the reach of the content, the quantity of the content, the engagement that occurs on the content, but all the way down the business funnel as well.
So clicks generated, coupons redeemed, obviously down to the sales and conversion that are as appropriate for that organization. All of these things can be a part of what’s based on our attribution model, and should be.
Tyler: And as well as those other, I don’t wanna say softer ROI metrics, but ROI metrics like reduction in, in house custom photography budget because of this.
Johnathan: Yeah for sure. Yeah, 100%.
Tyler: So those are all components to a good measurement strategy.
One thing I’d like to mention though is accurate measurement is huge. Anyone who’s getting those space, ensure that you’re working wither with an agency that does this or with platforms that is working with authorized data.
So the influencers you’re working with have gone through O auth (open authorization), they’ve gone through authorization to where their data, they’re not self-reported, but they’re coming through us.
Tyler: The shout out to a company that we love called Silo. They are a third party data verification system as well in the influencer marketing space, and those are the kinds of things that as an industry we’re really focusing on.
Johnathan: Yeah, yeah for sure. Do you guys, let’s say that I, and you’ve seen my product. It’s good for the underwear that you don’t have to wash that often. If I were to be like, hey Tyler, how many sales do you think I can get? How do you guys answer that question?
Tyler: Yeah, a lot of it’s gonna go down to the partners that we select to work with that will have historical data on a lot of different partners around their engagement rate and then do some different conversion rates on what we could expect.
Tyler: Typically we’ll take a look, first, at what clicks we can expect, and then there’s a lot of other variables that go to a conversion. As you well know. From how well that landing page is set up, how easy it is to convert, how many steps to conversion.
So a lot of these other things that we look at form a conversion optimization are from there, but from an influencer standpoint we’ll often look at the alignment to the audience, the barriers to conversion, what that looks like and the type of product, and then getting down to what kind of click volume can we expect. From there we’ll translate it into are they entering the funnel at a lower rate than if they were coming in externally.
Tyler: So is there a quicker click to conversion ratio that we would see from another model.
Johnathan: That makes sense. What questions am I not asking that you feel like you get more often than not? Or am I a perfect interviewer? I could be a perfect interviewer. You just tell me.
Tyler: Johnathan, you’re doing great, buddy.
Johnathan: Thank you.
Tyler: You’re doing great. I would say people often look at things. How do we ensure that this influencer has a real audience?
There’s so much we’ve heard today around people buying followers or having fake followers, or fake engagement. Or are they a fit for my audience? Are they gonna say something that doesn’t align with me? Right?
Tyler: These are all very real things that I think companies need to consider. The approach to that is ensuring that you have the right systems in place. There are tools that can help from really looking at follower growth and making sure that’s appropriate. Making sure that engagement is appropriate and not out of bounds.
But then also ensuring that, well we create something that we call the influencer litmus test. Think about it as a filter or a screen that is a bit different depending upon every client we work with.
So from a brand fitness standpoint, are they brand safe? And that brand safe is very different for different clients.
What type of person are they? Do they have audience that is within a certain geography that is appropriate for that client? There’s all kinds of different things that go into that appropriate filter, or the litmus test for that brand.
Tyler: So that’s one thing. The other thing I wanna mention is it is very important that you use dual contracts where it makes sense, as well as a creative briefs.
We build an influencer creative brief for every single program we run. It’s not to restrict an influencer. Anybody who knows good creative brief, it doesn’t restrict–
Tyler: Rather it gives direction and allows you to actually open up to creativity within the right bounds of what we’re trying to do.
Tyler: So both those things are super critical to ensuring a quality program.
Johnathan: That’s awesome. Well Tyler, I’m really appreciative of your time, and anything that I now know from wanting to do influencer marketing, and we even thought of doing things that are more brand related, even though we as an agency focus a lot on the direct response.
I’m gonna pick your brain in the future, ’cause I’d love to work with you on something. So really appreciate your time.
Tyler: Absolutely, Johnathan, I love what you guys are up to. You guys are doing great work. Appreciate you having me on.
Johnathan:Thank you man, talk soon.
Tyler: We’ll see ya.
Johnathan: All right, bye.