How well you adapt to the Influencer Marketing Revolution may make or break your career; This article will reveal the secrets that make someone a best in class influencer marketing expert
Whether you’re the CMO or a fortune 500 corporation or one of 20 interns at an advertising agency in New York, you need to recognize that your profession is experiencing a paradigm shift. Pretty surprising, considering we’re less than 10 years into the last paradigm shift (social), and around 25 years into digital marketing as a whole. But powerful forces like ad blocking, banner blindness, click fraud, short attention spans have driven digital marketing to the point where opportunities are diminishing and the value created for marketers is significantly lower than it was just a few years ago and online user acquisition costs have gone up 300 to 500 percent (depending on industry).
You may already know this and most of your competitors certainly do, and are searching for alternative channels. Of those, Influencer marketing is becoming a clear winner. How clear? My company HYPR tracks everything that goes on in social media and we estimate that over $2B were spent in 2016 on sponsored posts with Social Media Influencers. That’s right. $2B on an industry where virtually everything is done manually and there is little to no actionable data.
It’s a new market. It’s extremely inefficient for a variety of reasons, and it’s really easy to take advantage of if you know the secrets I know. This presents you with a tremendous opportunity (for your own career and for your company) to do it right and outperform everyone else in the space.
How do I know what I’m about to share with you?
A few years ago, I led an effort by photo and video sharing platform Mobli to compete against Instagram by enlisting over one hundred and twenty of the world’s biggest celebrities and influential people to use our product in a visible way. We’re talking Leonardo DiCaprio, Lil Wayne, Serena Williams, and many of the biggest names in the world. You could say I was doing Influencer Marketing before it was called Influencer Marketing.
The strategy was simple. These people have enormous audiences. Let’s have them use our platform and share their content publicly, so that their audience comes, consumes and falls in love with our app.
On paper, this should have worked very well, but in reality success was sporadic. The reason might be obvious. We knew nothing about their audience and as a result, struggled with predicting which ones would do well and which wouldn’t. This was 2010. Lo and behold, it’s 2016 and the world’s largest brands are making the same mistakes as we did back then.
That’s why I started HYPR. I wanted to develop the technology to address all the challenges that I was facing when I activated influencers and avoid the tremendous inefficiencies that a lack of information were causing us, and today, impact pretty much everyone running influencer campaigns.
If you know this and use it, you’ll be better than 95% of the others in the Influencer Marketing Space.
Would you ever spend a dime on digital advertising without researching everything there is to know about the audience that visits the website, watches the TV show or walks by that street sign? Of course you wouldn’t. But for some reason, brands are willing to completely overlook that little tidbit when they activate influencers.
At HYPR, we shake our heads every day, looking at brands making awful influencer related decisions. Some examples from last month:
- Bikini brands hiring models that have a 95% male following to post photos of themselves in those bikinis. Female reach = 0.
- Cosmetics brands selecting influencers that women have an extremely negative sentiment towards. Sometimes going as far as hiring women who come from a soft porn background.
- Local brands paying influencers with a tremendously global audience. A luxury jewelry chain hired a model that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to activate, and have less than 20% of its audience in the US. Another one chose an influencer with an audience that has a primarily low income level.
Don’t get me started about high following, low engagement, type influencers or the dime a dozen guys who appear on prominent TV shows claiming they should be paid a million dollars for a post, when there are over 100 similar alternatives a brand could choose.
There are many reasons brands select influencer marketing but I think it could be summed up to one major point. People see 1,000 to 5,000 ads a day and they don’t remember them. They do remember the products the people they follow on social media mentioned and tend to take a positive genuine interest in them.
Brands recognize this and are eager to spend with influencers – so eager in fact, that they tend to forget that the core fundamentals of marketing still apply here. (a) Market segmentation and targeting – identify your audience; (b) Find a proper and effective channel to that audience; (c) find a message that resonates; (d) measure and analyze; and (e) repeat what’s working, fix what isn’t and abandon what’s unfixable.
So what do you need to do to become the authority on Influencer Marketing in your space? Easy. Insist on applying the same rigorous fundamentals you would with every influencer campaign or activation you run, and you are guaranteed to achieve far better results that anyone else in your space.
- Find Influencers that speak to your audience so you don’t throw away money on irrelevant audiences. You already know who your audience is. Never settle for just hiring an influencer. Find one that has a strong, engaged following within your audience group. We have identified over 10 million influential social media personas, each influential towards different audiences who care about different things, come from different locations, are of different genders and ethnicities, have different income levels, education levels and more. Make sure you insist on receiving a report from the Influencer or through HYPR before you make any selections!
Let’s say you’re a toy brand targeting parents who would buy the toys for their kids. You pick an awesome influencer that has 1 million followers. Of which only 28% are in countries you serve. And only 70% of those can afford your product. And only 45% of those are actually parents to children in the right age groups. You see where I’m going with this, right?
- Find a ton of them so you can price negotiate. There used to be 5,000 celebrities in the world and if you wanted to work with one of them you had to find their manager and reach out to them. If a celebrity asked for too much money in the old world, you were stuck. Now you can generate a list of hundreds of alternatives at the click of a button. This shifts the power to your brand and allows you to negotiate from a position of power. Influencer isn’t interested or giving you a hard time? No problem, let’s go to number two on the list. Or maybe lets reach out to ten and see which respond and agree to our terms.
To put this in perspective, we typically see clients saving anywhere from 50% to 90% by approaching multiple influencers and telling them only one will be selected.
- Remember followers are not unique. Our engine estimates the Kardashian sisters have almost identical audiences to each other. The same goes to the members of one direction. If you hire two of them, you’re likely to be seen by the same people around 70% of the time. The same applies at certain degrees to beauty bloggers. If they each have a million followers, you can be almost certain that they aren’t unique. This increases as you activate more influencers – each one adds a lower unique count because the previous influencers already exposed part of the audience to your content.
- Insist on metrics that count. Up until 30 seconds ago, when you were dealing with Influencers, you were approaching them from a weak position. But now you know every single one of them has hundreds of twins online that you can tap into. So make sure you insist on measurable results. If they want to work with you, you want access to their data. What was the reach according to Instagram? How many people actually engaged with this product? Is there a place where you can plant a trackable link?On a side note, later in 2017 we’ll be releasing an analytics and attribution tool for influencer marketing that doesn’t rely on links. More to come on that end, but if you want to be on the waitlist to try it, shoot me a note.
- Ignore the non-data backed nonsense people will tell you about Influencer Marketing.
“Disclosing you are running a paid promotion will make your campaign ineffective”. First, it’s the law. You have to disclose. Second, our data shows that disclosures actually increase effectiveness of influencer campaigns because social media users recognize promotions from a mile away.
“It’s all about authenticity”. Nope. It’s about entertaining. It’s about enticing. It’s about having a product that really appeals to your audience. Lebron doesn’t drive a Kia. I guarantee it. His audience does. And I don’t think you’ll find a single person at Kia that regrets that relationship.
“Give the influencers creative freedom. They know their audience better than you do!”. This one always makes roll my eyes. If their audience isn’t your audience that what the heck are you doing spending money with them? And if it is your audience, I sure as heck hope you know more about it than they do. For example, you’ve tested different messaging on this audience to see what sticks.
Still here? Pretty impressive! You now know more about influencer marketing than 95% of the people who do it. You have the tools to succeed, now use them. The inefficiency in this market will disappear in a year or two, and those who take advantage of them will be greatly rewarded.