In this episode, Stacy sits down with digital marketing consultant, Susana Yee. The two discuss Susana’s experience working with brands like Guess and Kate Spade, and reveal the best ways to engineer effective strategy driven influencer marketing campaigns that work!
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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of Influencer Marketing and Branded Content Agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy, or money, whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 2: 00:31
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.Stacy: 00:35
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so excited to be here with you all today. I’m going to give a very warm welcome to Susanna E at Digital Everything, a Los Angeles based digital marketing consulting firm that serves a global clientele. Susanna is a marketing expert and a pioneer in the field of social media and influencer marketing, and helps companies and brands learn how to create effective strategy driven influencer marketing campaigns that result in our line. Over the last 11 years, Susanna has worked with clients including Guess Jeans, Kate Spade, One Coconut Water, and Lucky Magazine. Her team’s Guess Color Meanings Inspired campaign went viral, with Mashable naming it as one of their Five Interesting Pinterest Marketing Campaigns. Additionally, Susanna has been featured in E-Help, Bloomberg, Business Wire, and most recently, on [inaudible 00:01:18]. Today, we’re going to talk about influencer marketing needs from the brand’s side. We’ll learn what has worked from her experience, but maybe can be avoided and where people are missing the mark. Susanna, welcome.Susanna: 01:26
Thanks for having me.Stacy: 01:28 Super happy to have you. I am always thrilled to talk to someone else who specializes in influencer marketing. Love chatting about the topic, and love getting other people’s insight on how to make it best work for brands. Can you start off by telling us a little bit about your background and what got you to where you are doing what you do today?Susanna: 01:50
Yeah, so, I actually started off working in business development in 2000. And that’s when I actually entered the space of startups and you know, technology and the Internet and the whole thing. And I ended up in business development for a few years and then sort of migrated to digital marketing. And then found my way to social media marketing, which I really enjoyed. And in 2010, I actually started my own consulting agency, and, for a few years I partnered with a bigger firm that offered a lot of things, you know? Development, web development, SCO, SCM, graphic design. And, also on my part, I brought in the social media and the PR. And then, I did that for a few years, but then I went back on my own again. So, that’s kind of the story. And I also had a personal blog on the side that has grown with popularity, people really enjoyed it, and brands started calling me to do certain collaborations. And then when they came to town, they found us some bloggers to do an event. And then that kind of started my HSC career.Stacy: 03:02
That’s awesome. So you really started because you were an influencer and brands recognized they got value from working with you. And thought that you could help link them into other influencers and network and do the same thing with them. That’s awesome.Susanna: 03:16
That’s a really great way to start out a business versus just saying, I’m going to start doing this. You had a need and you filled it.Susanna: 03:25
Yeah. I thought it was great. You know, I really like both sides of it, but I really enjoy the other side of it more, you know, just working with the brands and helping educate them and helping them understand what it is that they need to do to work with influencers, how to get the most out of the partnerships and collaborations. You know, just seeing it from the other side, from the perspective of the influencer, I’m always able to make sure that the campaign worked for the brand.
Okay. So, why do you think influencer marketing is one of the best marketing tactics out there?
I just think that it is amazing because of the costs involved, how cost effective it is. For example, if you were just to put together a Google ad, you have to have a copywriter, you have to have a graphic designer, you have to have a photographer or a videographer. And then you have to have somebody who’s going to do the digital ad, you know, the paid ad person. But when you hire a person who’s an influencer slash blogger, they are an all-in-one person, and they come with an audience. So, I mean, there you have a content creator, you have a videographer, a photographer, you have a content creator, you have a person who’s already a marketer of themselves. And then on top of that, you have a model. They’re modeling the inside photos so you don’t have to hire a model and you don’t have to hire a copywriter to write the copy. So, I think it’s a great deal. And then they have an audience that’s waiting to listen to what they’re saying.
Your words sound like they’re coming from my mouth. That’s what I say to people all the time. Because there are so many hats that influencers actually wear, that I don’t think brands really truly understand that it’s a dual opportunity. It’s not only that you’re getting a fan base, which is what the brands really always think about. What I think a lot of brands forget about is that value of that content that’s being created that is just so killer and it involves so much time for someone to actually create.
Yeah. And it’s been a whole education process throughout all my brands, clients, partnerships with collaborators. And even today, you see a lot of white papers out there and comments all over on LinkedIn and every where else about how people, I don’t think they appreciate what the legit influencers do. And of course, you know, the sad thing is, like any market, there are some people who aren’t legit influencers. And so that kind of ruins it for a lot of people.
Yeah, but I think there’s a lot. I think the main that we’ve run across are people who are really vested in what they do. You have to dig in and make sure that you’re qualifying people before you work with them. But, I think most of the influencers, whether they’re nano and small, or micro and building, or macro, or celebrity, they get it. They know their own brand and they actually really value their fan base. And they really take care to make content and have conversations that they think are going to be impactful.
Agreed. I mean, they wouldn’t have started these blogs or started posting about what they post about if they weren’t passionate about it, because when they started out there’s no guarantee that they were going to get where they are.
Right. So, where do you think influencer marketing makes big wins for brand partnerships?
I think influencer marketing is a big win for, you know, b to c of course. That whole industry. But in terms of bringing people to just brand recognition, I think, they’re not seeing the value of that. I think a lot of times, people are thinking, in terms of ROI, they’re always thinking, if I didn’t make a sale on it or I didn’t get a [inaudible 00:07:20] or I didn’t get an email, I didn’t win. But, I mean, how many times do you drive by a billboard before you even decide you’re going to watch that Netflix show? At least 20, 30 times. You know? And these brand partners, these influencer marketers, usually when you do something with them, they put it everywhere. They’re putting a billboard on every street corner in terms of their audience. When you do a partnership with them, you get a lot of value from them.
100%. Completely agree. And we constantly see brands who are saying, oh, you know, how many downloads will I get? How much sales will I make happen? And our counsel always is to look at influencer marketing more so as building brand awareness, versus trying to drive that. You know, there’s some brands out there that do awesome at getting, you know, diet pills, magic potions and lotions and gummy hair products, lots of sales. But it’s not what works.
No. And, I think, also, I think, sometimes people are just not patient enough to see some of the results. You’re planting seeds. And sometimes those results come a few months later, and then they all come at once.
Right. Right. 100%. And you have to stick in long enough with a campaign in order to actually meet the results. When you’re doing influencer marketing, how long do you, since I just said that, how long do you usually try to have a brand do a campaign? Do you usually do projects? Or do you usually do like a longer term plan of 36, 12 months at a time of partnerships? What do you suggest people do?
I suggest that if you can do a three months at least partnership per campaign per influencer, that you will start seeing results probably in the third month. I mean, some influencers, you see results right away. But usually when they’re posting the first time and talking about it on their blogs and on video and in their stories, their audience is saying, “Hmm, let me know how that goes.” You know, it’s sort of like your friends. Like, when your friend tries something new, let me know how that goes. And then like a month later, you go, hey, how’s that going? You know? So, I think that’s what we have to think about. We’re having basically a dialogue. These people are having a dialogue for the brand to their friends, basically. And so, yeah, three months from now, how’s that diet pill working for you? Okay, that’s really what it means. Right? Or how’s that teeth whitener working for you three months later? So, that’s what they have to think about.
Okay. So what are some of the biggest misconceptions to influencer marketing that you come across when you’re talking with brands?
Just how much time it takes. They don’t understand, they think if they give something to an influencer for free, that they’re going to just post about it. And also just sending, finding an influencer that’s the right target influencer for their target demographic takes time. Not every influencer’s going to want to do every single project that comes across their email. And the negotiation that’s involved. So, the most time consuming thing, there are so many time consuming things in influencer marketing but at the brand. But first of all, the time. I think the time, number one thing they’re not really aware of how much time it takes. And then the second thing is how much time it takes just to find an influencer who wants to talk about what you’re talking about.
Right? Do you end up using a lot of online databases? Do you think that solves the time problem? Or do you think that just creates more influencers to potentially look at versus actually solving issues?
Yeah, you know, it’s sort of like when you go into an ice cream shop and there’s too many flavors. You just get very confused sometimes. And, also, I mean, there are some influencers who are just great at what they do. And they don’t need to be on these platforms. So they’re not going to be found there.
Right. The grade. And there’s a lot of clutter on the platforms typically also.
Yeah. And, if you’re organized and you’re professional, you really don’t need those platforms. However, if you really are just starting out and you want to get the platforms, they’re not cheap, number one. But number two, they keep you organized for the most part, but there’s a lot of things they don’t do also. So, pros and cons.
Okay. So, how does a brand go about making influencer marketing happen and work for them? What are your suggestions there?
Make sure that when you’re going to start an influencer marketing campaign, that you know who your target audiences are, and make a list of the categories that you think you fall into. And decide which two or three you’re going to concentrate on, and then find influencers in those categories and make a list. That’s number one. And then, just be very organized about who you go up to and what you ask them to do. And then make sure you have a budget before you even start, because a lot of brands think that they can just send free product and they’ll get something done. I think some people do things for nothing, depending on how passionate they are. But most people need to get paid because they have right to pay. And then, also, internally, I don’t think brands understand how much work they’re going to need to do on their end internally to get the work done. And that is almost like a part time person’s work.
So what do you mean by that? Can you give us a little bit more detail on your insights on what that means that the brand’s need to get done on their side? Because it’s not just magically emailing someone and saying hey, do you want to do this? And it’s done. There’s a lot to it.
Yeah, I mean, if you’re doing it internally as a brand and you don’t have a firm working for you, it would be best to have a part time person who probably has 20 hours of extra time a week. And this person will be spending their time looking for the right influencer, making a list, getting buy-in from the internal CMO, VP of marketing, VP of digital, whoever, VP of PR. So, you know, there’s a lot of buy-in internally. You have to work with the CFO to get your budget. You have to work with legal to make sure all your FTC rules are in place and what they’re going to be talking about. You have to get everybody in agreement on what the campaign is about. And that’s before you get started. And then, after you reach out to the influencer, there’s a lot of back and forth with negotiation with the contract with the fees with what they’re going to do and what they’re not going to do. And when they can do it and when they can finish it. And then, once the content starts coming in, you have to funnel it to all the right departments to make sure it gets approved. And then you have to send it back to them if it needs revising, and you have to be very organized. And then, when it finally gets published, somebody has to go and make sure that they actually did what they were supposed to do, because, depending on what your product is, the FTC is very strict about everyone now. That every hashtag is in place if it’s a paid ad. And, that they’re saying what they’re supposed to say if they’re making claims. So, there’s a lot of work involved.
There is a ton of work involved. Okay, and so, when they’re going through here, and they’re spending their 20 plus hours a week with all of that, what do you think, where are the areas besides the FTC that they can make a colossal mess of this, where it’s just not going to go in the right direction? What have you seen in [inaudible 00:15:04] campaigns, shootdown or case studies?
I think main thing is that people think that they’re doing an influencer campaign and the influencer is going to make it magically happen for them. Internally, you have to make sure that you’re going to leverage that content and amplify it and make it work for you. You own that content now, so, do something with it on your end. And I think a lot of times, the campaigns fall flat because they just think that, okay, I paid this person. They’re going to magically make it happen. But it’s just one component of your whole holistic marketing situation.
Yeah, we see that a lot, where we’ll do influencer marketing campaigns for brands. And, we’re like, great. We don’t have control over their socials. We can’t reshare through them. We can’t actually go in as the brand and even like what the social influencer said about the brand and the campaign you’ve created. And, it can be like, really, really difficult getting someone on the brand side to take the steps to do all of those things. And it just seems like it’s so natural. And it’s one of those number one areas I think people miss.
Yes. Totally. They just, I don’t know what they’re, you know. A lot of times they think they just don’t know that they need to. And I think that’s the number one conversation that people need to have internally, that we’re onboard and we have the bandwidth to handle it when it comes. And it’s a lot. And, you know, if you’re onboarding 20 influencers and then all their content’s coming through, and it needs, you know, the digital department to suddenly start funneling it through amplifying ads and things like that and they have to do that. And then everything else that they’re doing, it’s a whole other job.
Yeah. Plus, it’s also capturing all the content, not only to make sure that it’s, you know, through the FTC, FCC regulations that everything was signed off on, but that they actually did what you contracted and paid them to do. Because sometimes things slip through the cracks just a little bit here and there.
Oh yeah. Always.
And then there’s like Instagram stories, too. And if you don’t catch them within 24 hours, you’re not going to catch it unless they caught it. And that they share it with you. So, you have to be kind of fast and timely on these things, right?
Totally. You have to be on it and you have to let them know that you will need them to get it to you. Hopefully they’ll do that. But, a lot of times they don’t. It’s pretty amazing, considering, I don’t know. If I get paid to do something, I make sure I do it. But it happens. So, but more than you think, so it’s your responsibility as the brand to make sure that you get what you need out of it.
Yeah. I think what happens with influencers, because we’re dealing with people from all spectrums and all different times in their own lives. And a lot of influencers, if not the majority of influencers, still have daytime jobs that they’re doing where they’re not full time influencers posting and doing brand collaborations and deals out there that, it’s harder for them to kind of stay on top of things themselves. And, they aren’t necessarily always very business minded. They’re sometimes more creative minded. And so dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s gets left out. And that’s why you have to have someone, either your agency or on your brand side, going in there and making sure everything actually comes to fruition that was in black and white on paper.
Yes. I agree. And, to your point, that is more legwork for whoever it is that’s in charge of that part of it.
Yeah. That’s why people should outsource to agencies. Makes it easier.
What type of contracts do you typically suggest people put in close with influencers?
I really think that an influencer should be a long term partnership. And, you know, if you identify somebody that you like, make sure that you have something with them in place for at least six months, because that person, if they’re doing enough for you and getting you enough attention, even if you don’t think you’re not getting the sales from it, your competitor’s watching. And, as soon as you let them loose, you know, they don’t have to be loyal to you anymore. They’re going to be snatched up by your competitor. You’ve already done all the legwork for them. That space is already created for you. And you’re the brand that’s going to come in and they’re going to say, oh, she’s not drinking Pepsi now? She’s drinking Coke now? Okay. I’m ready. I’m going to buy that kind of a beverage.
So, do you think, like, when you’re doing influencer contracts and creating partnerships, do you know from the get go that you want to work with that influencer for the next six months? Or do you try to do a test campaign with them to see how it vets out? How do you dive in to determine if the individual you’re working with is actually going to be worth it for the long haul?
Well, a lot of times we ask for stats. If they’re willing to give them, that’s the first positive. Especially if you’re paying somebody a good amount, you know. I understand with nano influencers, you probably can’t get a lot. But some of the bigger micro influencers do have information and they’re pretty organized now. They’re getting there. And, you know, you can ask for like, how did the last campaign go? And if they really want the job, they’ll give you that information. Or they might give you an insight on Google Analytics. They might let you see that. And you can always check on your own. You can sort of figure it out by looking at some of their stats on different things like Sim Rush or Alexa and just comparing notes on certain campaigns that you’ve seen and what you think is happening. You can sort of see what’s happening with certain campaigns. So, I would say that. And then just your dialogue with them should tell you a lot of things about how confident they feel about how it’s going to go.
Okay. And you mentioned a moment ago, you kind of glossed over it, and I want a deep dive here. Costs. So, the cost to work with influencers. How do you suggest come up and budget for influencer partnerships?
So, there are a lot of ways to look at these. But there are some standard fees now that are out there. You know, they get paid per thousand, for certain follower numbers. And everybody seems to be using those. So, across the board, if you’re just asking them to post on social, there are some standard numbers out there that you’re paying them. For that 10,000 followers, you’re giving them $100 for a social or a platform post. So, that’s kind of the guide for that. But, beyond that, if you’re asking them to do extra things like create a video or, you know, show up for an event or things like that, you kind of have to play it by ear based on what your budget it. But I would say, if you have somebody who has 50,000 followers, be prepared to pay them $500 to do something for you. Because, that’s what they’re getting paid. And usually, if they’re doing more than that, they’re getting more. So, I would say, per influencer on average, if they have 50,000 followers, they’re probably making $500.
Okay. And then when you’re looking at the fees, are you also looking at their engagement? So, as far as, you know, someone obviously could have 50,000 followers. And they could have extremely low engagement. Which could show that they just don’t have real followers, or they just don’t have engaged followers. They picked them up, you know, from doing contests or doing different things, and people just aren’t really looking at their posts. Do you try to adjust your CPM payment, your $100 per thousand people, based off of how highly engaged someone actually is?
Yeah, for sure. And also, if they’re not getting the engagement, I usually don’t recommend working with them, because what is the point of that?
Right. And do you like working with the smaller influencers versus larger influencers? When you’re putting together brand campaigns, how do you decide who should go into the basket of potentials that you’re looking at?
I think it depends on what the brand needs. Sometimes, the brand, there are certain clients who have maybe they’ve already done their big PR campaign, and they have a big endorsement deal and they have a couple of celebrities on board. And now they’re looking to, you know, dig in deep and target their target audiences. And so then, my job is really to find the micro influencers in their target categories to work with them. And that’s where I concentrate. But, if you go in and it’s a fresh start, startup brand that doesn’t have anything, I would recommend engaging with a macro influencer just to get the party started as they say. And get people interested. Because, usually, if there’s nothing, everybody’s afraid to come on board. And, the macros will come on board first because obviously they know they’re brand builders and you pay them more. And then everybody else will follow suit. But if you don’t have an endorsement or some kind of spokesperson, especially for some product that other people have endorsed, endorsement brands with, you know, with somebody who’s either a celebrity or a reality star or a large, macro influencer. That’s something I highly suggest.
Okay. And then, when you are casting and looking for these influencers, how do you do your outreach? How do you actually engage with them and start the conversation?
So, I recommend an email, because nobody really emails anymore. I mean, you get a ton of emails from like PR people. You know, you get a press release or something like that. But, if you’re reaching out and you write the right subject line, you should get an answer. Of course, you’ll probably have to try a few times per influencer. If they’re popular, they get, you know, 25 to 50 emails a day. And so, if you don’t get them first thing in the morning, or if they’re traveling, you might not hear from them. But they’re not really, if they’re popular enough, it’s hard enough to get in with a DM. If you can get their information with an email, I really highly suggest that course and just start the ball rolling there. Try a few times if you have to. And that because it’s just they’re just getting a lot of emails. I still think that’s the best way.
Do you end up working with their management once they become a little bit bigger often? Or do you still usually work directly with one on one influencers or influencers who don’t have management representing them?
A lot of time, I work directly with the influencers. But the bigger ones all have management now. With all the firms that you know of that represent all our celebrities. And so, I go straight to their talent agents now, a lot of them.
Okay. And those are a little bit steeper pricing sometimes and a little bit more detailed contracts sometimes as well as far as expectations, right?
A lot more. And also, you know, if they’ve been on television, there’s consequences like SAG, unions, things like that. And so you have to consider that when you’re hiring them as well.
Okay. And then, we touched on this. I’m totally not going in order of anything. I’m just lobbing out questions to you right now. But, when the campaign is finished, and there is content that’s been created. And we already touched on the fact that brands sometimes fail miserably at actually going in and even liking the own content that the influencer produced for them, much less saying anything about it. This is really common, guys. Everyone listening, you’re going, of course we’d go in and like. No, like, it doesn’t happen a lot. It’s so frequent that brands don’t go in and comment or like or share. Even back to their own social feeds, whatever the influencer posted. I mean, it’s the thing. Right?
You’re laughing. Because it’s really, it’s that true. It’s like, people are just like, oh yeah, they did that. I don’t need to do anything with it. But, there’s more you can do with content too, if you’ve negotiated in the contract. Where you actually might want to, you know, find other ways to share the content that was created. It might cost you more fees. Is that something that you usually work with with influencers to get rights to that content so the brand has a limited window of time where they could repurpose digitally or through their web or do other things with the content that’s produced by that influencer?
Yes, absolutely. There is a rights usage time content with video and with images. Sometimes, if you’re using video that was shot by a videographer or photographer that’s well known, you have to license that from them before you can even sign the contract with the talent. They might not even sometimes own the rights to some of their stuff. But, if they’re shooting it directly for you or getting it shot directly with someone, then you know, you might be negotiating with two people sometimes too. And, usually, the requirement is, usually it’s like, how long do you think you’re going to use it for? They’re looking usually six months to a year at a time.
Yeah. And then, going back in to time, since you mentioned that, how long do you usually suggest brands contract to have the post stay up on the feed? Because, listeners, oftentimes, an influencer, after they get paid, if they don’t have it in their contract that they actually have to keep that post up, it could come down the next day after you pay them. Have you run into that Susanna?
Yes. We actually have that in all of the, we ask our clients to have it in all the contracts that they keep it up for at least the campaign time period or more. So, if it’s a three month campaign, we say, please leave it up for six months. Because otherwise they will take it down. And then, sometimes we’re doing something that is on their blog, we ask for evergreen content.
Okay. So how is it different working with influencers who blog versus the Instagrammer or the YouTuber instead? Cause that’s a little different.
Yeah. It is a little different. There are different personality sets too. Somebody who blogs actually knows a little bit more in terms of technical and linking and understands digital ads a little bit. And understands the workings of the business a little bit more. So, in terms of negotiating with them, the fees might be higher. And they also offer a little bit more of a long tail of results, because of the way they’ve done the work for you. So, for evergreen content, a blog post that can live forever, [inaudible 00:30:21]. To drive sales, you might be getting a sale from them, you know, 12 months from now, six months from now after the campaign’s over. It’s definitely a different aspect. I happen to like working with influencers who have blogs. I feel like there’s a lot of value there.
Yeah. And it’s great, cause usually the blogs have other types of social platforms where they’ll extend the campaign on to Instagram or Facebook. But you have that lovely, yummy, SCO as you mentioned rich content that is so evergreen and lives there for ever and ever more, building your brand.
Yeah, and I really feel like it builds the brand very effectively. You know, suddenly everything starts to pay off at the same time. If you’re investing in PR, you know, you’re investing in other parts of your business. It just all comes together really nicely.
Right. And do you see that a lot of brands even think about using bloggers anymore? Or are they just so focused on this, hey, there’s influencers. We should use them. Do they forget about the blogger?
I don’t think they even, I think they’re just like, oh my God, we need influencers. It’s like, somebody told them from the top, it’s time to get influencers. So then everybody’s like, all hands on deck. Okay, today’s the meeting. Tomorrow let’s find a company. You know, it’s kind of like that. That’s what I’ve seen in [inaudible 00:31:45] and then it’s like, everybody’s just running around, you know? It’s not that organized most of the time. And, yeah. I don’t think they think about that. I mean, let’s just give you a great example. Like, what if somebody gets kicked off of Instagram, or their account gets locked out? You know, then they’re done. They have nothing. And they don’t think about that. So, if you’re only invested in Instagram influencers and Instagram’s gone tomorrow, what happens to all your brand stuff?
Well, it’s beyond that even, because once you’ve paid the influencer and that time clock has ticked, your stuff’s gone. It was there for a nice period of time, and people saw it, but it’s not like someone is ever even going to, it doesn’t even matter that you don’t have your content guaranteed to be up there forever. No one in their right mind is sitting on someone’s Instagram account and scrolling down 100 pages to see all the content they’ve created. I mean, that’s insanity.
Yeah. Okay, yeah, 12 blocks down they’re not looking, right? That’s the step. Some of them post three times a day, five times a day. You know? So if you paid them for one post, guess where that’s gone by Wednesday? Yeah.
So yeah, I agree. When you invest in an influencer, you have to make sure that they have a lot of things going on on different platforms. And that you make sure that your campaign’s with all of their platforms and whatever else they have going on.
Are there any great case studies that you could share that you’ve seen influencers work really well for different types of brands?
You know, there’s one that I read recently which I really liked which was about, it was My Silk, you know that soy.
The soy milk alternative, yeah.
Yeah, there was a great case study on that where, they got so much great user generated content. Not just influencer content, but user generated content. And they showed the ROI on that, and they did a test case on how, it created so much brand recognition that they were tracking what people were buying at supermarkets. And the lifts that they saw from the sales as a result of all that user generated content, as the result of a campaign they did with influencers. That the influencers did, that ask for user generated content. Yeah. So some of the influencers created their own recipes of something, and then they asked their followers to create a recipe that, you know, do a recipe like mine and post it with the hashtag user generated content. Win the contest, and I don’t remember what the prize was. But basically, from these influencers, and then their followers doing what they were doing, it created just, top of mind, people kept seeing all the recipes and everything they were talking about in the Silk brand, and they saw a big lift at the supermarkets from checkout lines.
Well, that’s awesome. I’m not familiar with that one. But that was basically using nano influencers of what people are trying to say are the new new influencer. Very cool. Cause really, everyone listening today, if you don’t happen to be already a celebrity or a macro or a micro influencer, you’re pretty much left to be a nano influencer, which means you have friends and family who follow you and they like what you write and they share what you like, and they’re actually really tuned in. And it’s been proven that nano influencers and micro influencers have a way higher engagement overall than any other type of influencer out there. So, the return is really good for brands.
Yeah. So, where do you think brands are missing the mark right now? Where do you think that they’re not leveraging influencers in ways that they could be?
I just think it’s, they’re not understanding what they could get out of their content so, number one, they’re not sure who they’re hiring. So some people think it’s just about the numbers. You really need to find people who resonate with your target audience. If you have a specific, or two types of a target audience, find an influencer who resembles your target audience. Because those people are your audience, are your customers. That’s the number one thing. And then the other thing is keep that relationship with them going, because it will pay off in the long run. But, you know, it’s not like to get 20 influencers and work with them one time. Why not, if that’s your budget, why not do 10 people and invest in your relationship with them? Because that’s what it’s all about. Because the consumers are looking too and going, well, why is she talking about this vitamin today and then next week, she’s talking about a different one?
Right, and that just looks silliness when someone’s doing same category for different brands. I mean, obviously, it makes sense if someone’s talking, they’re a fashion influencer and they love this dress this week and that dress next week. But that doesn’t really extend to a lot of brand categories. It looks weird.
Yeah, it does. Especially if it’s like a vitamin that someone’s going to invest in for their health, and they’re supposed to be taking it every single day. You know, that kind of a relationship, you should invest in.
Do you ever look at doing partnership deals where you’re actually on a higher level? You know, you’re the vitamin company, but you are working now with an influencer to help them create their own limited line in addition to products. Cause that’s another way that you can use influencers of different sizes. Have you run across that in your practice?
I have. And a lot of you know, apparel brands have that done with just creating a jean line with their name on it and then also collaborating with a Nordstrom or somebody like that. And then you have three partners going in. And they’re all invested in it. And then, everybody in their whole audience is watching. And everybody’s doing a promotion. So, it works out well most of the time as long as the influencer is behind it and understands that, you know, this is a partnership that’s going to be long term, as long as the line is in effect. So, I think it’s really important to find the right people who have, you know, the influencer who has the right people in place so that they understand the business really well.
Right, and that they know that they’re actually taking this as a business opportunity and that it’s not now, that they’re just being the face of the brand. But they’re actually helping build a brand.
Yeah, and they’re getting a part of it. And they need to be invested in it and their business owner mindset and what that means. And how that means in every way, in every aspect of their business, and in real life.
So, where do you think influencer marketing is going to evolve?
I think it’s going to get to the point where the good ones are going to rise to the top. And then there are some emerging ones that are going to start learning the business. And then the ones who are not doing what they’re supposed to do are going to fall to the wayside. But it’s almost like, you know, the acting category where, there’s a lot of extras and things like that. I think that brands are going to start to learn their lessons in terms of, even with nano influencers, you have to find people that are reliable. And I think a lot of brands thing that if they can just give away free product, they’re going to get something out of it. But sometimes what you’re giving, even in your free product, whatever that free product cost you, it might not be worth it what you get back in terms of content because you can’t rely on it. So, I would say, pick carefully in terms of giving away free product. And that the brands are going to start learning some lessons on that part of the business. And then, I think it’s going to really start to evolve.
And it’s already starting to evolve where people are really starting to understand what this business means and how we have to take it very seriously whenever someone’s using your product and talking about it.
Yeah. I think what, you know, going back to what we were talking about earlier, brands really oftentimes, you guys don’t have the realization of how much time finding these influencers, no matter what the size. It takes just as much time finding a nano influencer, someone who’s small and working with them and talking with them and contracting with them and getting the points to be agreed to and shipping out the product and making sure they have the product and following up and making sure they’re going to do the post. And then looking at the post and approving the post before it goes if that’s what you’re doing. And then making sure after it’s posted that everything’s accurate, and then capturing the post and doing a report on the post. That takes as much time as doing something with a much larger influencer. And, so even though you’re not paying the nano influencer any money, your time or your agency’s time is going to be in a lot, in hundreds of dollars. I mean, whatever someone charges, it’s not that it took them two hours to do all of that. It’s going to be a lot of man hours to actually get that done. So, it might actually be a better spended time to put together a higher dollar budget to pay for influencers sometimes that have some broader reach as well.
Cause it really takes a lot of time.
It does, it does. And you know, it takes more time than anybody thinks internally. And that’s the whole brand education thing. And then also for the influencer, I mean, they want to do a good job too, so they have to go out and shoot it. They have to write the blog post if they’re writing a blog post. Even the content. If they’re just posting for you across the platforms, it’s two hours. But then you want them to write a blog post, you also want them to shoot something, and put it in the photos. I mean, that’s at least another three, four hours.
Right. And so, all of a sudden, you’re taking up the main part of at least one day for someone to have decided to move forward working with you on the collaboration, down to the point of making sure you have all the assets you need at the final end of that collaboration. So, that’s definitely worth the time to pay people money for.
Yes. I agree.
So, I also understand that you have a new course on how to work with influencers from the brand side. Can you share a little bit more on those details with our listeners?
Sure. So, I just feel like there’s a lot of education that needs to be done on the brand side. But also, there are people on the brand side that the brand feels can do the work. And so, I would love the brand to really understand how the work needs to be done, so it can be done properly. And so, from the brand side, I have a course called Learn Influencer Marketing, just the road map. And it’s like a cook book, basically. And it starts from start to finish, how to find your target influencer. How to hone down and create a list to figure out which ones you should be working with. How to develop a budget. You know, what kind of strategy to put in place. What your goals are for the campaign, and then tracking and templates and what kind of tools to use. And also FTC rules and sample scripts to use for reaching out to people. Sample templates that you can use that I’ve used over the years to track internally what’s going on with every department that needs to either approve a piece of content or send it back for revising. If legal needs to take a look at it, have they looked at it yet?
To, you know, your master sheet with your budget on it that you and your CMO or your VP needs to look at to track the campaign as a whole. And it’s from A to Z. So, it’s an eight week course. And when people are done, they can follow it all along the way and actually have a campaign by the time they’re done.
I think that’s great, especially the part with the templates. Because that’s something that could be a massive time saver for people.
Yeah, it takes time to create those templates, and whether or not they work and who they should be for. And I have templates for working with the internal team to just the master sheet to the external teams, if they’re giving you an external PR team to just tracking the influencers and who you’ve worked with and who their followers are and who you’re tracking. And also videos, videos that explain a lot of that too.
And so then we’re going to be sharing access to this awesome material, actually with this podcast. So it will be in the show notes section. And everyone will be able to find it on our website. And we will be able to help you get those templates by doing that. And, Susanna, what are some last bits of advice that you have that you want to send our listeners away with?
I think there’s going to be a rise in talent agencies for micro influencers. I mean, all the big influencers have UTA, NCA, but, I think there’s going to be a micro influencer, there’s lots of those agencies I think are going to start cropping up.
Yeah. They are, but then it’s just going to add to the overall cost of everything too, from, you know, even having brands. And we run into so much that brands have this issue with trying to figure out the justification of why they should pay an agency to do this. Cause I literally have to say, we could have an intern do this. And my response is, yes, you can have an intern do it. It will not be done well, but you can have an intern do it, yes. And when you are ready to go bigger, let us know. And we’re happy to work with you then.
I always just, I show them what the successful campaigns look like. Sometimes I show them like a Silk, you know, the soy milk campaign, or point out a few good campaigns and I’ll say, here’s all the things they did. So I just want to make sure you understand you have to do all of these things. But, that doesn’t mean everybody has buy-in, because maybe the influencer program is owned by the PR side of the business. And the digital side of the business hates them, you know? Or whatever. They refuse to do it. They refuse to do the work. Or they don’t have the budget. And why should they spend it to make PR successful? You know, so I’ve heard that too. But yeah, they can get an intern to do it, but the intern won’t know what they’re doing. And it won’t work. Then they’ll say, see, influencer marketing doesn’t work. But when the brands get it, they’re great. Like, I had a brand who I worked with for about two years. And then that contract ended and then they are still using those same influencers. And it’s worked out really well for them. So, I’m happy to do that. And those influencers, I do other things with, and they’re happy too. But it’s rare. But if they listen, it’s great.
Yeah, no, I fully agree with you. So, I mean, influencer marketing is super powerful. It makes major things happen for brands, it builds massive awareness. It can be a sales driver. But, brands have to kind of dip their toe in and actually try it in order to see if it’s going to work.
Yeah, and what scares me actually, or not scares me, but I just hate seeing it is all these people out there who don’t know what they’re doing and they say that they do this work. And that’s making it really not good. So, I’m actually grateful for these kinds of podcasts because you know, if actual people listen to them, then they’ll know why. Okay, at least these people know what they’re talking about.
Someone out there knows. It’s us, man. It’s us.
I really think that people have to understand that this is a business for the influencers as well. And it’s very time consuming for them. And if you want to work with somebody, that you should understand that what you’re giving them in terms of monetary value fees or even, what you’re negotiating, even if it’s free product, that it’s a relationship. And people need to understand that it is a relationship and that, sometimes you might not get who you want to work on your campaign. Cause maybe they’re just not feeling it. So, you never know. And so, it’s really about, you’re dealing with people. And if you want your campaign to succeed, you really make sure you understand that human element of it when you start your campaign.
100% agree. You have said so many things that I swear come out of my mouth every day. So, really, really, you do know what you’re talking about. And I really did enjoy having you on our show today. And i know our listeners are getting tremendous value out of this conversation. So, thank you, very, very much. And I’m looking forward to speaking with you more in more detail in the near future. And for all of our listeners, I will chat with you all again on our next podcast. Thank you all so much.
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