In Tune: Influencer Marketing & Taylor Swift

blogphoto_music_edit

By Courtney Moser

 

“Did you hear her song about John Mayer? I can’t believe he did that!”

We tend to feel like we know pop stars from their music. This is certainly true when it comes to Taylor Swift – the queen of using her own life as song material. Any time she releases a new album, the buzz is all about who’s who in her songs, from break ups to love interests to spurned friends. There’s a vulnerability in the way she shares her stories that makes listeners feel a connection with her – just as influencers build trust with consumers online.

So, if Taylor Swift was a friend of the Find Your Influence team, this is the wise influencer marketing advice we imagine she’d dole out (in song, of course):

Fill your blank space wisely: Taylor Swift may be referring to the next name on her dating list here, but it also applies when it comes to your list of influencers. Which influential bloggers will fill your blank space? This is a pivotal decision for your campaign – the influencers you choose to work with will shape your strategy and reflect on your brand. No company wants to look back and think “I knew you were trouble.”

You belong with me: “I’ve been here all along so why can’t you see, you belong with me.” Not to get too intense with your influencers right off the bat, but it’s important to let them know why they belong with you. Why is this partnership a good fit? What value can you provide? We can all learn something from this bold Taylor Swift song: be up front about what you want and what you have to offer.

Let those sparks fly: Once you’ve set your campaign in motion, watch the sparks fly. Let your influencers do what they do best: create quality content and connect with consumers. Marketing guru Jay Baer said: “True influence drives action, not just awareness,” and so we’re looking for powerful results in the form of engagement—whether that’s likes, comments, shares, clicks or buys.

Shake it off: If one method doesn’t work, shake it off! There are copious ways to make the most of influencer marketing tactics. Don’t be afraid to change your strategy if an influencer isn’t the right fit or your content isn’t resonating with consumers. These teaching moments can lead to greater success in the future – like a $6.5 return on investment for every dollar spent – if you’re open to growing from them.

Inspiration is everywhere! And if you want to avoid bad blood when it comes to your influencer relationships, we advise listening to the best practices above. Of course, if you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Find Your Influence for strategy and campaign guidance.

Which other popular songs unintentionally offer influencer marketing advice?

Read More

Summer Loving: How to Turn an Influencer Fling into the Real Deal

pexels-photo-70304

By Courtney Moser

 

Sunset walks on the beach, pina coladas, sponsored blog posts…

Is it more than just a summer fling? When it comes to building a successful influencer marketing strategy, your seasonal partnership should last far past September – and continue to drive results all year long.

Influencer marketing is at its most effective when centered around relationships. Together, a brand and an influencer can increase product awareness, brand affinity, website traffic, intent to purchase and more. How? When you partner with an influencer, make sure their content and audience align with your brand mission and campaign goals – and then offer value in return. We dive further into how to turn an influencer fling into the real deal below.

Tips for creating influencer relationships that can go the distance:

Build on a foundation of mutual respect: So you like an influencer – but is your admiration reciprocated? As Forbes says: “Effective partnerships start with identifying influencers who already love your brand or have engaged social followings that align with your company and offering them some data-driven creative guidance.”

Commit for the long haul: Your attitude going into a brand-influencer partnership is crucial. You should start out the relationship with commitment in mind – this sets you both up to work together for the common goal of educating consumers, reaching new audiences, sharing product features, and so on.

Prioritize communication: Clear expectations and feedback are important when you’re building a partnership – this sets the tone for future projects and opens the door for effective communication and successful results. Don’t turn to the silent treatment when something doesn’t go as planned!

When you take the time to build a long-term relationship with your influencers, they can move from one-time associates to brand ambassadors who increase authenticity and trust among consumers. As said in this blog post, “The best influencers drive action – they spur their readers and followers to do something, rather than just listen.”

Looking forward, 83 percent of brand marketers say that “identifying and building one-on-one relationships with industry key influencers” is a top priority this year. Are you ready to take your influencer relationships to the next level? To learn more about establishing successful influencer relationships, contact the experts at Find Your Influence today.

Read More

The Gold Standard in Influencer Marketing

hands-woman-laptop-notebook

By Courtney Moser

 

“Any brand knows that having a product in a consumer’s hands or creating an authentic interaction with a consumer is worth its weight in gold.”

The above quote from Forbes explains why influencer marketing offers a return on investment (ROI) that’s 11 times higher than traditional advertising. This modern, word-of-mouth tactic works with both brands and consumers to elevate the typical marketing experience. Instead of a one-sided banner ad or promotional pop-up, influencer marketing hones in on target audiences through influential individuals and custom content.

Authenticity is key because influencer marketing is all about trust. In fact, 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands or ads. By partnering with blog and social media influencers, brands can benefit from the trust they’ve built with their followers and readers to increase awareness, affinity and intent to purchase. This means offering value to influencers in order to be more genuine – whether that’s free products, new recipes, creative ideas, a factory tour, a trip, or something else.

In return, influencers offer great value for brands as well – in the form of authentic content and interactions. They share their product or service experience on their blog or social networks and greatly increase brand visibility with new audience groups. This exposure is valuable both now and in the future, which is why influencer marketing is known for its long-term relationship building.

What else is important when it comes to creating an influencer community? Let’s dive into a few more best practices that are worth their weight in gold for successful influencer marketing:

o   Integrate your influencer marketing efforts with your larger marketing strategy: Before focusing on authenticity and connecting with consumers, you have to ensure that all of your marketing efforts are integrated. Your future success hinges on a streamlined campaign.

o   Pick the right influencers and social platforms: Depending on your brand goals and campaign type, the “right” influencer and platforms will vary. Choose based on who/which reaches your target audience most effectively.

o   Prioritize engagement:Quality over quantity – although a high reach can be impressive, engagement metrics prove consumers are actually listening; that they care and will take action.

Cultivating authentic connections with your target consumers – through engaged, relevant influencers – is a win-win for everyone. The definition of a successful campaign can change, but ultimately it includes increased awareness, brand affinity and a higher intent to purchase. Plus, converting brand ambassadors and increasing consumer relationships are an important part of a long-term influencer marketing strategy.

Are you ready to go for the gold with your influencer marketing efforts? Contact the Find Your Influence team today to get started.

 

 

 

Read More

Why Engagement Is The Most Important Metric… Ever.

pexels-photo-122383

By Courtney Moser

 

Is it better to reach 10,000 or 50,000 potential consumers?

Trick question: Neither one matters if there isn’t engagement. You can reach as many people as possible, but if nothing comes out of those impressions, there is no value in them. As shocking as that may seem at first, engagement is what proves people are listening; that they care about what you’re saying or appreciate what you’re offering. Without that feedback, you may as well be sending your message into outer space.

The real impact of influencer marketing surpasses celebrities and increased awareness – ultimately, it can turn passive browsers into active customers and paid influencers into long-term brand advocates. How? It all goes back to engagement.

Marketing guru Jay Baer once said: “True influence drives action, not just awareness.” If a campaign is powerful enough, it will make consumers want to engage – whether by way of likes, comments, shares, clicks or buys. Those goals will be different, depending on your strategy, but the ultimate measure of value remains the same.

When you focus on engagement in your influencer marketing campaign, you’re prioritizing quality over quantity. The benefits of this strategy include:

  • More meaningful connections
  • Increased credibility
  • Higher intent to purchase

Influencers who have higher engagement on their blog or social networks are likely closer to their followers. And a higher engagement doesn’t mean a large reach. It can be more valuable to partner with a small, niche influencer who specifically speaks to your target audience than a random famous figure. In fact, this study found that we are “50 times more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend than a celebrity or internet personality.”

Smaller influencers often become friends to their followers, and that trust is critical when it comes to influencing digital communities. By working with these influencers, you can build on their credibility to cultivate relationships and encourage brand loyalty. And once you’re in with them, celebrate! It’s been proven that word-of-mouth marketing results in a 37 percent higher retention rate.

“Once your social media foundation has been laid, you should forget the big names and focus on those influencers with the highest engagement… It’s important to remember that an engaged audience will grow itself, but an unengaged audience will not grow much at all,” this Entrepreneurarticle says.

For all of the above reasons – and many more – prioritizing engagement is the key to success in your influencer marketing efforts. Contact the Find Your Influence team today to start driving engagement and turning influence into action.

 

Read More

Video Games & Influencer Marketing

pokemon-pokemon-go-mobile-trends-smartphone-163042

By Courtney Moser

 

Total revenue for the U.S. video game industry in 2015 was $23.5 billion – up 7 percent from the previous year. And as we dive deeper into 2017, this number continues to rise. Clearly, the market is huge, so the real question is: How can video games stand out from the copious competition today?

Many games are turning to influencer marketing to increase launch awareness, product buzz, digital fans and sales. These game brands partner with influencers who have a large gaming following online, and ask them to promote their game, review it or play it live. YouTube has emerged as the social platform of choice for these gamers because of the ability to share stories and authentic content through video.

Ann Hamilton, brand representative at video game publishing company Ubisoft, said of their YouTube-focused marketing strategy: “YouTube is an amazing channel for the video game industry. It allows us to share our video content with our consumers directly… It has been a great tool at building communities for each of our games.”

In fact, a recent study found that “90 percent of gamers turn to YouTube at least weekly for a gaming advice, while 64 percent of gamers download games after seeing them on YouTube.” Video game brands can reach their target audience on the platform more effectively with the help of YouTube influencers.

At the height of YouTube gaming influencer fame is “PewDiePie.” Known for his “Let’s Play” commentary and video game experiences, PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg) has more than 42 million YouTube followers. What began as a simple YouTube channel featuring commentary while playing video games is now a full-fledged influencer business raking in millions. Along with writing a book and starring in a video game, Kjellberg has worked with major brands such as the Walt Disney Co.

The success story of PewDiePie, however, also comes with a cautionary tale. He was recently at the center of controversy when he posted videos with anti-Semitic messages. Situations such as this are troublesome because they often reflect back on brands the influencers work with – reinforcing the importance of guidelines and trust in influencer marketing partnerships. It’s vital to apply these best practices to your gaming campaigns for the best results.

Along with video game brands, every company in every industry should use caution when choosing to align with a celebrity or high-profile individual. Influencer marketing is always evolving, and brands have to stay on top of industry content and digital media in order to make an authentic splash and impact future success.

To learn more about different influencer marketing strategies for video game brands, contact the Find Your Influence team today.

 

Read More

How Influencer Marketing Is Changing The TV Landscape

pexels-photo-88737

By Courtney Moser

 

Consumers ages 13-24 are 2.5 times more likely to watch internet videos than TV.

Video-streaming services have overtaken live programming as the viewing method of choice.

Do we need to keep citing alarming statistics or is the picture clear enough? The TV industry is changing – from trending topics and viewers to advertising methods. Traditional ads and commercials just aren’t as effective as they used to be in the midst of the digital era.

That’s where influencer marketing comes in. To better promote TV shows and networks today, it makes sense to meet your consumers where they are – online. In 2016, 78 percent of Americans had a social media profile, and in 2018, the number of worldwide social media users is expected to pass two billion. There are millions of blogs on the internet, and even more blog readers.

Influencer marketing makes the most of this extraordinary digital age to reach consumers on blogs and social media through advanced word-of-mouth marketing. Brands partner with specific influencers – who have an engaged following that aligns with their target audience – to share cultivated messages, branded content or product promotions. Trust in traditional advertising is down, but up when it comes to influencer marketing: 92 percent of consumers say they trust earned media and recommendations over all other forms of ads. TV shows can take advantage of this influencer credibility to increase awareness, buzz and viewership.

Comedy TV show Kevin Can Wait, for example, turned to influencer marketing to promote awareness for its time slot change and drive new viewers. They identified lifestyle bloggers who had seen the family-focused comedy before, and asked each of them to write one original blog post about why they’re fans and how they relate to the show or characters. A few of the creative blog topics that resulted include:

o   My favorite TV snack and Kevin Can Wait

o   Sometimes it’s just good to laugh #KevinCanWaitAt8

o   Relate to the dreaded motherhood + balance dilemma?

The blogging influencers then shared their content across social media channels using the campaign hashtag #KevinCanWaitAt8. As a second follow-up to this campaign, the show asked a larger number of social media influencers to post three times on their social networks about the show. Ten targeted blog posts and hundreds of social posts achieved more than 252 million impressions, with a total campaign value of $3 million. These combined efforts led to 57,169 clicks to the Kevin Can Wait website – increasing awareness and interest.

Although influencer marketing may not be the go-to advertising method for TV shows yet, Kevin Can Wait’s success demonstrates that it has the power to be. Using influencer marketing, shows can reach their current audience along with a wide range of potential viewers to truly make a lasting impact.

Curious about how to get started? Contact the Find Your Influence team today to learn more.

 

Read More

The 150% Rule Of Influencer Marketing Budgets

pexels-photo-318240

By Courtney Moser

 

“Will you accept this rose?”

This catchphrase is undeniably recognizable after more than twenty seasons of The Bachelor. But how does it relate to influencer marketing?

It all starts with matchmakers – of the love and business variety. The producers on The Bachelor choose 25 interested women who meet certain criteria to vie for the attention of the infamous bachelor. The Find Your Influence (FYI) team, on the other hand, chooses a number of influencers in their network who match brand-specific criteria (this varies depending on strategy and goals). From there, the brand has to decide which influencers they want to send offers to for campaign participation.

Just as the bachelor on TV hands out roses to the women he likes best, these brands send out invitations to influencers who match their criteria and reach their target audience. Because it’s a two-sided relationship (no thank you, unrequited love!), an invitation doesn’t automatically mean it’s a match. Some influencers may not be interested in the campaign topic, or may not respond in time for the start date, etc. To make up for this – and ensure that brands partner with influencers who truly care – the FYI team recommends sending out invitations to 150% of your campaign budget.

The 150% rule for influencer marketing budgets empowers brands with partnership choices. The influencers who accept quickly are more likely committed, engaged and easier to work with. If enough relevant influencers respond to your brand invite right away, you can shut off your campaign when you hit 100% of your budget goals in the FYI platform. Or, you can decide to up your budget as positive responses continue to roll in.

“The 150% rule offers brands more flexibility,” FYI CEO Jamie Reardon says. “It can open your campaign up to more success and increased influencer relationships in the future.”

Along with the above benefits, the rule also ensures you aren’t waiting on a few influencers and delaying the campaign. In business – and in love – you want to be with (work with) people who want to be with you. This mutual respect results in enthusiasm and authenticity.

As this Forbes articles says: “Influencer marketing works best when the influencer matches the brand, is in tune with the message, has control of the format, loves the content and knows whom he or she is working with.”

So, how many roses will you be doling out for your next campaign? Make sure your budget accounts for all of the possibilities!

To learn more about influencer marketing campaign strategies, read our blog.

 

Read More

The Value Of Brand Ambassadors Vs. “One And Done” Customers

pexels-photo-216490

By Courtney Moser

 

“True influence drives action, not just awareness.”

This quote from marketer Jay Baer illustrates a major difference between long-term brand ambassadors or advocates and one-time customers. Are you driving action or just awareness? What about your influencers? The key lies in your brand objectives and campaign strategy. Determining your intentions for an influencer marketing campaign will set the stage for everything that follows.

If you’re focused on pushing a specific product through a short-term campaign, for example, you’re likely to end up increasing awareness with one-time customers. But if you enter into a campaign with the idea that you’re building a relationship with influencers and connecting with future customers, you’re more likely to gain brand ambassadors and see long-term results down the road.

In fact, a recent study found that building brand ambassadors is the most effective influencer marketing strategy. Why? It takes us back to the basics of influencer marketing: the reason that its thriving over more traditional ads and methods. Effective influencers have an ongoing relationship with brands they admire and purchase from personally – increasing authenticity and trust with consumers (and ideally, future brand ambassadors!).

Influencer marketing isn’t just about selling products or services right now, it’s about increasing brand awareness, brand affinity and intent to purchase in the future. And this is done by way of meaningful connections with influencers and consumers (with mutually beneficial value) through quality content and genuine engagement.

“At its core, influencer marketing is the latest iteration of word-of-mouth marketing. You like something, you tell two people, they tell two people and so on,” said Find Your Influence founder Jamie Reardon.

The best influencers drive action – they spur their readers and followers to do something, rather than just listen. These actions vary, from following the brand online to clicking to their website to making a purchase to recommending the brand to more people. That wealth of possibilities illustrates the power of influencer marketing: Ultimately, the influencers you work with will become brand advocates or ambassadors, and inspire consumers to become them as well.

How can you help your influencers drive action? It goes back to your brand objectives and campaign strategy – make sure you’re giving them value and content worth sharing. And of course, choose the right influencers to represent your brand. Partnering with influencers you admire and trust – who bring something fresh to your brand – will make a long-term relationship easier.

“Businesses turn influencers into ‘brand advocates’ by providing them with personalized experiences that motivate them to share positive brand impressions with others,” as said in this MediaPost article.

By now, it should be clear why we recommend working with influencers who can deliver long-term results and inspire consumers to become brand advocates – instead of just “one and done” customers. After all, who doesn’t want long-lasting success?

If you have more questions about influencer marketing campaigns and strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Find Your Influence team here.

Read More

The Value of Evergreen Content

pexels-photo-25100 (1)

By Courtney Moser

How did that old blog post shoot back to the top of your views this week?

Thanks to the digital black hole that is the internet, anyone can find anything at any time. The article your team wrote years back about the rise of Snapchat? Still here. The embarrassing photos you posted on Facebook in college? They’re out there, somewhere. Ahem, talk about a double-edged sword.

Anyway, the positive aspect of content on the internet is that it can continuously deliver results. Months – or even years – after it’s posted, a blog post can pop back up in popularity or a photo can be picked up in a story. And when that old blog post soars to the top of your views again, make sure to analyze why (along with high-fiving). Most likely, that content is what we consider “evergreen content,” which holds its value over time.

This article explains of the origin: “If you compare it to an evergreen tree, which doesn’t go dormant and keeps returning each year, evergreen content is continually relevant information that won’t ‘fade’ with time.”

For example, even as influencer marketing continues to evolve and expand, the basics will stay relevant. This includes evergreen topics such as “Working with influencers,” and “Influencer marketing best practices.” So although timely, trending topics are valuable, it’s equally vital to incorporate more general, all-encompassing ideas.

A seemingly one-time investment can actually offer long-term results. Because evergreen content sticks around, it’s important to be strategic on where – which links and landing pages – you or your influencers send consumers. If it’s to a brand or influencer blog, great: that content lives on indefinitely. If it’s to a brand landing page, determine how long you’ll keep it up at the start of the campaign. You may be surprised at the views it receives months down the road!

Through the years, you can pick certain high-performing or relevant content pieces to update with new statistics or quotes to ensure it stays evergreen. You can also repurpose pieces by converting several blog posts into one longer e-book or transforming an evergreen white paper into an infographic. Hopefully, you’ve kept up a relationship with influencers you’ve worked with on campaigns, and can reach out to them with ideas on new social promotions for an old brand recipe or an extension of a past sponsored post.

As Entrepreneur says, influencer marketing is a “long game.” The key is to work smarter – not necessarily harder. If you already have high-quality content that is consistently relevant, why not get creative and use it again?

For more influencer marketing ideas and tips, visit the Find Your Influence blog.

Read More

Take A Bite Out Of Influencer Marketing: How Food Brands Are Increasing Awareness & Engagement

food-salad-restaurant-person

By Courtney Moser

 

Have you ever tasted success?

The flavors and aroma are different, depending on who you are and where you come from: some might say it tastes like chocolate cake or decadent gelato, while others are adamant that success is a perfectly cooked steak.

For Pepperidge Farm, it’s Garlic and Mozzarella Microwavable Bread; but for Herdez, it’s Instant Refried Beans. These two food brands are tasting success in the form of influencer marketing campaigns promoting their new products. Along with increasing product awareness, they both started their campaigns with the goals of improving brand affinity and intent to purchase.

Influencer marketing has been proven to be highly effective when it comes to reaching consumers where they are online. It’s also bringing back brand authenticity: 92 percent of people say that they trust recommendations made by individuals over traditional advertising. Plus, ad blocking continues to rise. By creating content in partnership with blogging and social media influencers, brands have the opportunity to connect with their target audience and cultivate trust and brand loyalty.

Food brands, in particular, are finding delicious success working with food and lifestyle bloggers who can elevate their products and influence consumers. We take a closer look at Pepperidge Farm and Herdez campaigns below – both in partnership with Find Your Influence – with a focus on strategy and results.

Pepperidge Farm: To launch their new line of microwavable bread flavors and increase both brand and product awareness, Pepperidge Farm asked high-reach lifestyle influencers to write two blog posts incorporating their bread. Sponsored content ranged from simple recipes – like Italian sandwiches and quick kids’ pizza – to creative pairings like perfect pasta dishes that complement the garlic bread. Their #MicrowaveTheFlavor campaign achieved a total reach of 4.9 million, and generated more than 360 comments, 1,900 likes and 463 re-tweets.

Herdez: This Mexican food brand introduced new Instant Refried Beans to the market – allowing consumers to make restaurant-style quality beans at home in just five minutes. To increase product awareness and intent to purchase, Herdez asked influential food bloggers to participate in their “Frijoles Con Todo” (beans with everything) influencer marketing campaign. The influencers each created an original recipe using the Instant Refried Beans and then blogged about sharing the meal with friends or family. Herdez also incorporated a social media contest to encourage further reader engagement. Nineteen dedicated blog posts and 56 social posts led to a total reach of 7.6 million and an ROI of 5:1.

These influencer marketing campaigns successfully generated product awareness for the two food brands. After all, who doesn’t love to read about new recipes or drool over food blog photos? By capitalizing on the impact of influencers, brands can reach new audiences, stay top-of-mind and drive sales.

What other food brands are running successful influencer marketing campaigns? Share your thoughts with us below.

 

Read More