4 exciting ways that influencer marketing turbo-charges the rest of your marketing

Influencer marketing is exploding onto the scene: It’s the hottest topic - all the rage - we need to be on it now! 

Wait, hold on a second. What exactly is it again? 

Oh yeah, it's the marketing strategy of using highly influential people to promote your brand. Which, makes it a lot like spokespeople, which means that it’s been around for … well, thousands of years actually. So that’s not new. But why is it so big now? Two important reasons.

The first is because it’s happening in an unbelievably hyper-connected world. People are better able to find each other and coalesce into niche interest groups more easily than ever before in history. It’s the only explanation for phenomena like Reddit, which boasts 923,000 active sub-communities, or the profusion of pet influencers. People are finding people like them who like things like them.

The second is that the digital marketing ecosystem is getting crowded. Everybody and their mother are clamoring for people’s attention. Even as long ago as 2013 thought leaders like Marketo were touting the dangers of attention deficit in the digital era, and we are no doubt nearing the singularity of media saturation. “We keep doing it, but it’s ringing false” said Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez at least year’s Marketing Nation summit, when highlighting the need for more personalization.

Together, these are major challenges for marketers everywhere. They’re desperately seeking out the right people and trying to get a word in edge-wise. And as they push ever harder to come up with more unique and engaging content that’ll be heard above the din, buyers are turning their backs and sheltering from the storm by looking for authentic voices from people like them who they can trust in their buying decisions. 

Here are a few statistics that back this idea up: 

·       70% of people 18-34 years old said that their recommendation preference was from an influencer - MediaPost

·       85% of B2B decision-makers rely on trusted online communities when buying - Forrester

·       20-50% of all buying decisions are directed by word of mouth recommendations - McKinsey & Company

Influencer marketing is thus incredibly powerful because it empowers influencer brands to skip the digital marketing arms race and work through those authentic, trusted, recommending voices that buyers have turned to. 

Given this, and given how pervasive it now is, we’re able to observe not only how influencer marketing performs alone, but how it impacts the rest of your marketing. The results, frankly, are profound.

 Here are the 4 big ways that influencer marketing can turbo-charge the rest of your marketing: 

1.      It improves your targeting

One of the biggest challenges for modern marketers is targeting the right audiences. Sure, you can buy lists, monitor online behavior, build personas, and set your multi-channel marketing system up to target people with the right content throughout their buyer’s journey, but you’re still going to hit some people with the wrong messages some of the time. Not so with influencer marketing. 

In influencer marketing, “influencers give you access to an audience you’d never reach on your own,” says Forbes. Influencers wield a highly active and perfectly targeted group of followers - a sea of people already clamoring for answers to the questions that your solution solves. 

By disseminating your message through them, you essentially release your influencers as homing missiles to identify and dig up highly motivated prospects who you couldn’t find and who couldn’t find you.

When they strike gold, you’ll gain a treasure map that leads back there every time. New niches will suddenly become well-charted territory, and when an unexpected new fin-tech or gov-ed client signs on, you’ll seize the opportunity to break open the new vertical. 

2.      It teaches you how to get your message through

This is the big one. If there are two TV’s in your buyer’s rooms, one full of annoying paid ads and the other with something that they actually want to watch, influencer marketing puts you squarely on that valuable second screen. Your influencers are the people that your buyers are already tuned in to, be that over social media, forums, or professional groups, and you’re placed in direct touch with them without having to navigate their ad-wariness and spam-filtering instincts.

Through this process, you’ll see your influencers bend and warp your message ever so slightly as they deliver it. This is good. They’re showing you in real time precisely what words and ideas are most potent to your prospects, and there’s nothing stopping you from using this to sharpen all of your other campaigns.

3.      It gives you credible, authentic, and creative content to repurpose

This is the big, hidden 90% of the influencer marketing iceberg that nobody ever talks about: influencer marketing is pretty much the answer to your content shortage. By delegating some creative authority to tried-and-true professionals who just happen to also be customers, you’re going to watch your influencers dream up stuff you never imagined. From those quotes, phrases, text, and images, you’re going to amass an armory of content that you retain the rights to and which couldn’t be more relevant: your buyers created it for themselves. (If you do this through an influencer marketing platform, you’ll automatically gain rights to content created)

4.      The incredible ROI lets you do more with your budget

This is the real attention grabber and we saved it for last: according to eMarketer, influencer marketing returns $6.50 for every $1 invested. That’s a 650% return. Yeah, we didn’t believe it either at first, but here we are. How does this help your other marketing? It opens up your budget for more of everything. 

Influencer marketing can help you achieve the same brand-awareness and drive the same leads as a boatload of digital advertising spend while allowing you to invest in other high-performing categories like marketing automation and account based marketing (ABM).

Nothing like putting a little budget back in your quarter, huh? 

Putting it all together

All told, influencer marketing is the hottest new thing because it’s delivering some amazing results for a lot of companies and rather than staying confined in the marketing channel “box,” it’s influencing all other areas of the business and making all of your entire marketing organization more effective.

The question then isn’t whether you’re going to try influencer marketing - according to Adweek, 75% of brands are already using it. It’s a practical inevitability. What you should be wondering is how will the rest of your marketing survive without it?

 

Creator Spotlight: How @artsyagnes stays on pointe with dance, social media & a sustainable lifestyle!

 

Agnes Muljadi is a Los Angeles based vegan ballerina running a successful social media profile under @artsyagnes. The amazing dancer captured the hearts of her 140k followers through beautiful ballet inspired content and advocating a cruelty-free lifestyle. Her impressive following, consistent engagement  and photogenic skills have attracted over 130 brands to reach out for collaborations and allowed her to successfully launch a popular vegan body oil. We are honored Agnes took the time out of her busy lifestyle to speak with us about her passions, building relationships with brands and followers, and what’s next to come!

1. How long have you been dancing and how has ballet helped you create really unique content for brands?  

I started taking ballet when I was seven so I guess I've been dancing pretty much all my life. Ballet is essentially the foundation of my Instagram feed and the majority of my content. I love creating a ballet content and it's great to know that the majority of the brands I've worked with are very much drawn to the art form as well.

2. What has always helped whenever you felt creatively stuck?

Honestly taking a ballet class fixes the majority of my creative blocks. I also love going to the museum for inspiration.

3. How are you able to balance, dance, work etc.?

Oh yes my schedule is quite insane. Being a social media influencer as well as a dancer requires a tremendous amount of commitment, work ethic and time. But I am learning slowly to carve out time for myself. It's extremely important for me to recharge myself so I can be that much more effective in what I do. Meditation and yoga has helped a lot as well as setting positive intentions every morning.

4. What do you want to provide your audience with?  How do you want to be remembered?

Instagram has given me a valuable platform to start a dialogue about two things that I am passionate about: ballet and the sustainable lifestyle. I find it extremely rewarding to introduce brands who genuinely care about improving the wellbeing of the people, animals & environment through their use of health-conscious, sustainable and ethical practices. If my content helps even just one person to realize that they're constantly voting with their choices and dollars, then I would consider my social media efforts to be worthwhile. I would love for my audience to start asking important questions such as: when I buy this piece of clothing, am I voting for fair wages or unsustainable sweatshop practices?    

 

ARTISANskin x ArtsyAgnes Vegan Body Oil

ARTISANskin x ArtsyAgnes Vegan Body Oil

 

5. You’ve worked on many amazing collaborations, how do you build deeper relationships with these brands?

I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work with so many amazing brands. I think communication is key to any relationship. I always ask a lot of questions in the beginning to find out exactly what the brand is looking for and what kind of content would make sense for their product. Other than that, I always strive to deliver the content within the time frame we've agreed on.

6. What are some of your best practices on handling any arising conflict during a collaboration?

Luckily I haven't really had any major conflict with any of the the brands I've worked with. I think again, communication is key and the most important question that I always ask myself is what would work best for this particular product? There were occasions when I would've loved to create a different type of content but it just wouldn't make sense for that particular product so at the end of the day, I think our job as influencers is to do what's best for the brand.

7.  Is there anything you would like to change about how brands and creators work today?

From my experience, everything seems to be working pretty smoothly so far. The only thing is I started noticing how a lot of the influencer feeds tend to look very similar. I think originality is essential for many different reasons and each of us as influencers should strive to create content that uniquely reflects our lifestyle.

8. Lastly, any exciting projects you’re working on we should keep a look out for?

I recently started doing a weekly ethical OOTD every Friday where I put together different items from sustainable brands and create a head to toe look. All of the items featured are vegan, sustainably and ethically made. It's been getting a ton of engagement and I've also received so many messages from people who truly want to live a more conscious life. So I am very excited to expand on that. I am also currently working on a few ethical looks for a magazine campaign which I am super excited about.

@artsyagnes 11/11/16 ETHICAL #OOTD

@artsyagnes 11/11/16 ETHICAL #OOTD

 

Make sure to stay connected with Agnes as she continues to grow! 

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr |

 

How do I find the best influencer for my brand?

With 500 million Instagram users, 1 billion YouTube users, and 1.65 billion people on Facebook, there is no small shortage of influencers or people being influenced out there. 

Within this thriving ecosystem exist tens of thousands of powerful personalities with more than 10,000 followers, all ready, willing, and able to promote your brand.

How then are you supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff and pick out the handful of influencers who are best?

Extremely careful qualification, that’s how!

The downsides to getting it wrong, after all, are more than just wasted marketing dollars: the wrong influencers can damage your brand’s reputation and set you back some social capital, as large brands like Microsoft and Time Warner recently learned. You need to team up with ethical, effective, and professional influencers who are going to increase your brand awareness, traffic, and revenue without a trip to the supreme court. 

It’s thusly important to have very strict criteria when choosing your influencers!

Here are the top 4 Criteria for Choosing the Perfect Influencer: 

1.History of creating relevant, high quality content

Past behavior is an excellent predictor of future performance in influencer marketing. Those with the greatest ability to create high quality content that promotes your brand will have done it before for others and luckily for you, their portfolio is by-definition, on display. Peruse their accounts to see that they are consistently eye-catching and engaging. 

Success in this realm isn’t necessarily about great pictures, videos, likes, comments, or shares: it’s an artful combination of all of the above. It is always possible for people to amass a very large following which is entirely hollow, built from in-organic or purchased followers. In this case, the profile in question doesn’t really strike a chord with any real people and doesn’t have any power to influence. Just take a look at these two, for example. See the difference? 

Truly engaging Influencers achieve viral content engagement organically, and the tell-tale signs are high shares, lots of relevant comments, friends tagging other friends, and enthusiastic responses. 

Want to make it really easy on yourself? Using an influencer platform (like Revfluence) will preselect influencers and allows you to simply browse their profiles.

2.Similar audience demographics

What would you rather have: 1 paying customer or 10 non-paying customers? 

This is the question you should be asking yourself when you try to balance finding the right influencers versus finding the influencers with the biggest followings. Bigger isn’t always better and many times, gargantuan audiences can be misaligned, inactive, or poorly targeted, and your advertising there can have little to no impact on them.

For example, if you were to advertise luxury men’s watches with Justin Bieber (not probable, but let’s just say) purely on account of his 75 million followers, your ads would likely fall flat among his primarily young teen female audience.

Instead, focus on the right demographics. As long as they have at least 10,000 followers, they’re a candidate. Also remember that you’re not necessarily trying to find influencers who look like your audience, but ones who your audience are likely to follow and be influenced by. People often follow people of the opposite sex, and people’s audiences can often be much older than they are. Along those lines, here are some criteria on which to evaluate their audience:

  • Category (style/beauty/health, life hacks, opinion, aspirational lifestyle, etc.)

  • Age

  • Sex

  • Location

  • Size of following

  • Engagement

  • Preferred platforms

  • Frequency of posting

3.Excitement and passion for your brand

If you’ve got something worth talking about, odds are that people already are! Even if it’s not your product in particular, there are already thousands of Influencers vLogging, writing, posting, and tweeting about your industry and your niche. It’s those Influencers who are already well-versed advocates with great talk-tracks and personal insights who are going to perform the best.

An easy way to explore top influencers on these topics is to search top content on those various channels. Search twitter and Instagram for hashtags used on content that you’d like to replicate, and see who is using them. Search YouTube for similar videos, and see if some names come up more often than others.

All of this of course takes time, which is why influencer platforms exist. They provide a suite of software that pre-selects influencers based on your requirements, pre-vets them, and allows you to request proposals to narrow down that universe of possibility to just a handful of those most qualified. 

4.Ethical

You might think this one would go without saying, but unfortunately it doesn’t. As recent FTC interest shows, audiences have a legitimate interest in knowing what is sponsored and what is not. The FTC has in fact published guidelines to this effect.

Beyond legality however, it’s just good business. Influencers need to disclose their relationships to brands in order to maintain the trust of their followers. When their brand is authenticity, nothing can cause a mass exodus like appearing inauthentic. When choosing influencers, make sure that they are properly mentioning their sponsors and using #ad tags.  

Putting it all together

What should an effective Influencer look like after all of this selection? Like your best customer! They should be highly skilled at creating credible, newsworthy, and viral content, and have done it before. They should have an audience with demographics that match your target audience. And of course they should come fully imbued with the passion to promote your products!

Do all of this and you’re on the right track to find the best influencers for your brand!

Have you seen what an influencer platform can do yet? If not, request a demo of Revfluence today!

The 3 best Black Friday influencer campaigns of last year

Don’t be a “that guy,” the last-minute marketer

 Black Friday is fast approaching and if you haven’t yet solidified your marketing plans, it’s about time. Shoppers spent a reported $10.4 billion on Black Friday last year and the built-in hype is better than any marketing campaign you could possibly hitch your wagon to. The ecommerce march towards retail dominance continued as well, with the numbers of online shoppers outpacing in-store ones, if only barely. 

 This means that over half of your consumer audience plans to skip the crowds this season but still wants the same deals. It also means that you’re going to have to reach them amidst the ever rising tide of digital noise: Ad blockers are up 34.4% this year, consumer trust in advertising is at a nadir, and people’s interests are coalescing around highly-curated social media experiences where they can restrict who can access them. 

 The result is a massive, clogged bottleneck of paid advertising that your message has to fit through.

 The answer to that? Be where the consumers want to be and amplify your brand’s voice though highly credible and authentic influencers. It’s vastly more effective because it’s the marriage of earned and paid media - you can purchase it, but it acts like it’s earned. It cuts through the noise.

 At least, that’s what these brands happily discovered in using influencers during Black Friday 2015.

 Top 3 Influencer Marketing campaigns last year: 

 1.      Inspired by Aldo #InspiredXAldo

High end fashion footwear retailer Aldo understands when it’s time to brand and when it’s time to market. Rather than join in the cacophony of direct-promotion this past year they used influencers like Paul Octavious and Brittany Asch to curate styles and designs inspired by their brand. They turned it into a fun and enjoyable game of visual pairing that skirted around outright advertising. 

They also used their influencers in a series of marketing influences designed to shine a spotlight on their unique and authentic styles.

2.      Crayola’s A Hero Draws Near campaign

Crayola pulled out all of the stops last year and is taking influencer marketing to the next level - their highly produced videos with YouTube influencer Zach King have the production values of a Spielberg film and capture all of the awe and wonder of the holidays. We could go on explaining, but you should just watch the video: 

It’s of such a high quality that it almost smacks of being an advertisement, or it would, without Zach’s presence. "Zach's brand, as a motivating film magician who is always experimenting with unbelievable special effects and visual stunts, just synced up so well with the benefits and features of our Easy Animation Studio product," said Karen Waters, Crayola’s director of content.

The video went viral after he released it to his following of over 3 million fans across channels.

3.      Aeropostale - #FreeYearOfAero

Teen-oriented clothing retailer Aeropostale really went all out last year. They combined a jaw-dropping offer of a free year of clothing for the first 100 people to line up outside their stores with an influencer celebrity visit - get this - by helicopter. That’s right, they ferried Vine Star (RIP Vine) Paul Logan via airship, by pink jeep, and by a series of classic cars between stores to greet waiting fans. 

To top it all off they razed prices with a 60% discount and created a powerful vacuum which drew thousands of reluctant customers back their store locations after several months of declining foot traffic.  

Be there on Black Friday

Like it or not, Black Friday is a shopping bonanza that you simply can’t afford to miss out on. If you’re serious about being seen and cutting through the nose, there’s no better route than to leverage the authenticity-power of influencers like these brands did. 

 

Want to try it out?

Request a free trial of Revfluence, the top influencer marketing platform, and connect with one of our marketing experts to plan out your Black Friday!