Why Engagement Is The Most Important Metric… Ever.

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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.

 

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Video Games & Influencer Marketing

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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.

 

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How Influencer Marketing Is Changing The TV Landscape

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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.

 

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The 150% Rule Of Influencer Marketing Budgets

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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.

 

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

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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.

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The Value of Evergreen Content

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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.

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

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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.

 

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Influencer Marketing Strategy: Front Loading Your Campaign Content

 

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By Courtney Moser

 

Go big or go home.

There are many ways to execute an influencer marketing campaign, but for those looking to make a bang right from the start? This is how you want to do it.

Front loading your influencer marketing campaign means that the majority of your content goes live within the first day or two of the campaign. Then, the rest of the time is spent supporting that content – whether its blogs, YouTube videos, etc. – on social media. This is a popular strategy for many brands, because it allows for a controlled, quick content roll out within a short period of time. Then, simple social promotion follows the posts.

What are the benefits of front loading your campaign content? You make a lot of noise from the start. And, analyzing impact and ROI is straightforward, because you aren’t waiting for a second batch of blogs or follow up videos. You can begin tracking blog views and URL clicks immediately – with updated numbers based on continued social promotion, of course.

Cold Stone Creamery, for example, ran a front-loaded influencer marketing campaign for Mother’s Day. They asked participating influencers to each post one blog focused on their mom-centric #MyIceCreamMemories, while highlighting their Strawberry Splendor ice cream cake product. Blog content was posted during the week before Mother’s Day, and then influencers had to publish two to three social posts within 24 hours of their blog content going live.

The fast turnaround for blog posts and social posts in the Cold Stone campaign helped the brand make a bang right before the holiday. By ensuring that their campaign hashtag was used often during a short period of time, they upped their odds of trending on social channels and increased visibility and engagement.

“Largely thanks to the volume and interconnectedness of social media accounts, influencer campaigns can also earn almost 10 times the earned media value that paid media does,” Dan Sayer says in this article. “And this isn’t just a short-term achievement. These influencers’ brand endorsements stay online, continuing to influence consumers long after they’re penned.”

So, front-loaded or shorter influencer marketing campaigns aren’t missing out on long-term benefits: that content stays online. Although there isn’t continually new content for that brand, those endorsements and partnerships live on blogs and social channels – and in consumers’ minds.

What’s your influencer marketing campaign strategy? Which other brands are front loading their content and finding success? Share your thoughts below!

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Geo-Targeting And Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

Do your marketing efforts feel like a page out of the Where’s Waldo book?

In the crowded digital marketplace today, it can be difficult to stand out. Brands struggle to be seen and heard just as consumers waver between countless products and service choices. And yet, something has to give: You have to set your brand apart by way of marketing in order to reach those consumers and impact success.

How can you cut through the clutter? Location makes the brand marketing experience more personal. By using geo-targeting to customize your message based on location, you can make sure consumers find Waldo (er, your brand) quickly and easily. With influencer marketing, this typically means working with geo-targeted influencers who reach your target audience in specific areas.

Red Bull, for example, created a geo-targeted influencer marketing campaign to promote their live tour – Red Bull Flying Bach – in Phoenix. They partnered with local social media influencers to improve awareness and drive ticket sales. Along with asking the influencers to post content leading up to the three shows in Phoenix, the brand also gave them tickets to attend the event. By honing in on local influencers and their captive audience, Red Bull successfully used geo-targeting to increase event interest and attendance.

How can other brands use geo-targeting? Rideshare company Fare debuted their services in Austin by giving local influencers free rides and asking them to post about their experiences. This simple content focused on authentic reviews helped Fare drum up positive awareness in the city that recently ousted other ridesharing companies. Of course, geo-targeting also offers a huge opportunity for any company with physical locations – from retail stores to gyms – to draw in new customers.

“As more brands look for ways to drive in-store purchases, geo-targeting for influencers will become more prevalent,” this article on 2017 influencer marketing trends says. “The targeting won’t be limited to where the influencer lives, but rather where their audience lives – shifting the definition of ‘local influencer.’”

This concept shift means that influencer marketing is advancing past basic influencer profiles to include layers of audience demographics and psychographics. As our insights into an influencer’s audience become more comprehensive, the ability to more accurately target consumers increases. By geo-targeting your influencer marketing campaign, you can gain a deeper understanding into your target audience – and by extension, find more success from your efforts.

Ready to take the next step and start honing in on the right influencers and audience? Contact the Find Your Influence team today for help.

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Event-Based Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

 

RSVP yes or no.

What makes someone decide to attend an event? It typically comes down to interest and the fear of missing out if they don’t show up. After all, no one likes to be left out of the latest happenings or feel a pang of regret at skipping an event! Society today is all about being in the know – and sharing (or flaunting) it across social media.

Influencer marketing harnesses that feeling by motivating consumers to join in on the fun by way of a trustworthy source: influencers. It’s been proven many times now that we trust people over ads. So by extension, consumers are more likely to attend an event recommended by a blogger they follow than an event promoted by way of a digital banner.

Brands have started capitalizing on this by partnering with credible, relevant blog and social media influencers to drum up buzz for events. Finding the right influencers are key here, as reinforced in this article, “the more closely aligned your event industry and your influencers’ industry, the more receptive and interested their audience will be.”

This type of event-based influencer marketing can be broken down into several smaller strategies. They include:

  • Pre-event promotion to increase interest and attendance
  • Influencer live-streaming at events
  • Post-event recaps and future promotion

The first strategy – promoting the event beforehand – doesn’t always require influencers to actually attend anything. It can be something they’re interested in or that is relevant to their readers, and they can promote and extend the invite effectively without being there. Of course, if they do attend, you can incorporate several other components into your campaign agreement – from live-streaming videos to tweeting in real-time. And an event recap blog post can be valuable for sharing details and drumming up interest in future brand events.

The most comprehensive event-based influencer marketing strategy would include all three of the above aspects. The influencers you’re working with can promote the event, attend and post on social media during, and then write a recap afterwards. This offers the highest visibility and potential results – whether you’re aiming for increased awareness, social engagement, website clicks or something else.

“When you amplify your voice, you are likely to amplify your revenue,” Find Your Influence CEO Jamie Reardon said. “Influencer marketing can impact the success of events – both online and in person.”

Can your events benefit from an influencer marketing boost? See what the FYI platform can do for you here.

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