Why Negotiating With Influencers Is Hard (But It Doesn’t Have To Be)

computerbagEDIT

By Courtney Moser

What is it worth to you?

In business today, we can get so caught up with strategy, plans, cost and deadlines that we lose perspective. But, the idea of value should always be top of mind – especially when working with influencers. Both brands and influencers should ask “What is it worth?” when entering into a campaign agreement.

After all, everyone has a job to do. Some brands expect influencers to work solely for free samples or get frustrated when they don’t accept the first payment offer, but remember: this is their business, too. What is their work worth to you? What value are you offering them?

As this Entrepreneur article says: “Producing unique, interesting and relevant content for a campaign involves a great deal of work and effort. When pitching influencers, agencies should bear this in mind and propose something that will benefit everyone involved.”

When brands and influencers respect the others worth and business, negotiating becomes a whole lot easier. But let’s back up – before even entering into negotiations, make sure you’ve done your research and chosen the right influencers for your brand. Once you’ve identified the influencers you’d like to work with, reach out and introduce your brand – remember, influencer marketing is a relationship, and this is setting the stage for it.

Discussing influencer rates can be tricky, and there are no set rules. Many influencers evaluate and determine rates on a case-by-case basis, but some will have media kits with a list of prices.

“Be prepared — and respectful — of what their rate might be. If it falls within your budget, great; if not, it will help determine what caliber of blogger you can partner with. While an A-list influencer is most likely not willing to do a sponsored post for $300, a newer blogger might gladly do so and reach the niche audience you are so lusting after,” as said in this Small Business Trends article.

Following are a few tips to keep in mind when you start negotiating a brand-influencer agreement.

Outline strategy and goals: Let the influencers know exactly what your brand wants to accomplish with your campaign. They are the content and social media experts, and hopefully, your professional partners. It will be easier to work together if you have a clear understanding and visibility from the start.

Determine expectations: This is as simple as it sounds – what value are they bringing to the table? What do you expect them to produce? Discuss all factors of content and promotion, including what will be created, when it will be published, where it will be shared, and so on.

Prioritize communication: Throughout the introduction and negotiation process, keep communication at the core. This will help to prevent any future misunderstandings once the campaign begins.

Still have questions? Contact the Find Your Influence team for further campaign guidance.

Read More

Broader & Louder: Content Amplification With Influencer Marketing

computerEDIT

By Courtney Moser

“Can you hear me now?”

This simple phrase made infamous by a phone company years ago illustrates the frustration many brands face online today. The internet is so cluttered – with companies, consumers, blogs, social networks, readers, advertisers, you name it – that standing out and being heard can seem impossible. What used to be an opportunity (connect with your customers anywhere in the world!) is now a challenge.

The solution for this challenge is ever evolving. Just when it seems like we have the answer (Google! social media!), there’s a software update or algorithm change and brands are once again lost in the digital hustle and bustle of progression. But, this isn’t a glass-half-empty kind of article. There are plenty of emerging opportunities for companies to be heard.

Influencer marketing presents a powerful way for brands to partner with individuals who have an influential voice online – whether that’s in a specific blogging community, a niche market or on specific social channels. This updated form of word-of-mouth marketing can help brands increase reach, awareness, affinity and even intent to purchase – while connecting with consumers and engaging target audiences.

“Partnering with influencers helps get your message in front of a much larger audience and drive conversions, as well as help accelerate buyers’ decisions,” according to this MarketingProfs article.

There are different tactics within the influencer marketing umbrella, with the most popular being content creation – in which a brand gives participating influencers a topic or idea and has them create original blog or social content around it. Content amplification, however, is equally as valuable and actually an easier process. It’s centered around the practical concept of using what your brand has: giving new life to old words, images or campaigns.

With content amplification, you can take impactful brand content you already have, and ask influencers to promote it. Marketing Land refers to these influencers as the “Megaphone” for a reason. With content amplifiers, you can repurpose clever messaging or impactful content and reach new audiences with different methods, across multiple channels.

Your branded content may be a video or article that didn’t get quite the traction you were hoping for the first time around. Or, it may have done so well last year that you feel it deserves to be seen again. Either way, influencers can help you expand your reach by linking to it from their blog, posting about it on social networks, and more.

It’s been found that a small percentage of your content actually generates the majority of shares and links. The takeaway? “Focus 20 percent of your time on creating fewer high-quality pieces of content and the other 80 on promoting that content,” according to Larry Kim in this article. This supports content amplification efforts, and illustrates the value of increasing promotional tactics with influencers – you can save your resources and still make an impact.

“Start where you are; use what you have; do what you can.” Those words from Arthur Ashe were not necessarily meant for influencer marketing, but they describe the opportunity within content amplification. Are you going to take advantage of it?

Learn more about influencer marketing best practices here.

Read More

Building Influencer Marketing Into Your Budget

influencer marketing

By Courtney Moser

Nearly 65 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget this year. And with an impressive 6.5:1 average ROI, why not?

Influencer marketing is said to be the fastest growing online marketing channel, beating out tactics such as affiliate marketing, display ads and paid search. By now, you probably recognize the power and necessity of this tactic for your brand in 2017. The question, then, is not whether you should include influencer marketing in your strategy, but how to build it into your budget.

The first time you incorporate influencer marketing into your budget can be daunting – How much do you need? What should be included? At Find Your Influence (FYI), we recommend outlining your brand goals for the year, along with any planned campaigns you could capitalize on or expand with influencer marketing. Determine if you’re going to focus on driving specific product sales or increasing overall brand affinity and engagement. From there, you can approximate content needs.

Your content needs will vary from blogs to social media channels, and that will greatly impact cost. Hard numbers are difficult to dish out without context here, ranging anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands. For instance – how much will an Instagram campaign cost with one celebrity influencer? This would require a very different budget than partnering with ten micro-influencers for seasonal blog posts.

A brand just testing out the impact of influencers may want to utilize existing content and just ask them to reach new audiences with it. A survey cited in this Tech.co article discovered that 34 percent of brands plan to center their influencer marketing strategy on blogs – while 29 percent will focus on Instagram, 23 percent on Facebook, 8 percent on Twitter 5 percent on YouTube and 1 percent on Snapchat.

At the core of all content lies the creators or promoters – the influencers. Overall, your biggest influencer marketing cost will be the number and type of influencers. If you’ve always wanted to partner with a certain public figure, for example, that one influencer may cost more than 25 micro-influencers. It all depends what you’re willing to pay, what kind of campaign you’ve chosen (are they simply sending out a tweet or writing 800 words?) and what is worth it for ROI (how you’ll measure the output of what you put into the campaign).

So, what should be accounted for when budgeting for influencer marketing? Look at your goals and strategy for the upcoming year. Let’s recap the essential decisions you have to make:

Content: Will you focus on original blogs, social media or repurposed content?

Influencers: What matters most – reach, engagement, content or audience?

Measurements: How will you measure success?

If you’re ready to get started and reap the benefits of influencer marketing, the FYI team can help you organize your campaign and connect with influencers.

Read More

Who Owns an Influencer’s Content?

pexels-photo

By Courtney Moser

What does “ownership” really mean? According to the dictionary, it’s the act, state or right of possessing something. That sounds pretty simple, right?

Trick question – it’s not. Advancing technology and complex business today keeps us on our toes when it comes to the concept of ownership. Just in the realm of influencer marketing, the question of “who owns an influencer’s content?” is prevalent enough to warrant this article.

The short answer? It depends on the brand-influencer agreement. The longer answer is that the influencer will always maintain ownership of the content they create, unless an agreement states otherwise. Within those ownership rights, however, it typically states that the brand they’ve partnered with has the right to share the influencer’s content on social media channels (with credit). It may address all re-purposing uses, or the agreement may need to be more specific about when and where the brand can re-use influencer content.

“In order to respect consumers’ intellectual property rights and comply with legislation, companies need to get the proper permissions from the content’s owner prior to using it for their commercial purposes,” explains this Convince&Convert article.

If an influencer signs away the rights to their original content, then the brand has the ability to use it however they’d like. This should be discussed at the very start of the agreement, as it could impact which influencers agree to the terms of the campaign. It may also impact how much the influencer is compensated – depending on whether their content will be utilized in commercials, print, internally, and so on.

At Find Your Influence, we have it written into our agreements that the influencer maintains ownership of all of their content, unless otherwise negotiated on a case-by-case basis. We believe influencers should be protective of the original content and images they produce, and we work to help make the agreement processes as smooth as possible – with total visibility and understanding all around.

Setting these legal guidelines and adhering to agreement terms is critical for a positive relationship between brands and influencers. It’s best to discuss expectations up front, and determine what makes the most sense for the individuals, business and campaign.

Do you have any questions about brand-influencer agreements? Contact our team here.

Read More

Breaking Down Business Language Barriers With Influencer Marketing

FYI_BestPractices

By Courtney Moser

Es esto efectivo?

If we have to ask if it’s effective, the answer is probably not. It’s hard to make an impact with consumers who don’t know what you’re saying. And yet, many businesses have diverse audiences who speak a variety of languages. How can you break down those language barriers to cultivate a connection and raise brand awareness?

Global influencer marketing can help companies connect with audiences across the world. Instead of just translating content, however, we encourage them to build relationships with international influencers. By leveraging influencers in different geographies, brands can keep it local for consumers and increase authenticity.

“A recent Eurobarometer survey found that 9 out of 10 EU Internet users preferred to use their native language to read or watch content on the Internet,” as discussed in this article. It’s important to meet consumers where they are, in their preferred medium and language, in order to earn trust. By partnering with international influencers, brands can make the most of their global opportunities, improve awareness and increase purchase intent.

Finding influencers in other countries or who speak other languages is mostly done the same way – with a few alterations. For example, if you’re searching through hashtags on Twitter, make sure you’re using the correct term in the other language. Once you’ve found a few bloggers covering a certain niche in a different country, you can sort through their comments or social media channels and groups to discover more.

Across all languages, quality always wins over quantity. The core ideals of influencer marketing stay the same. Following are a few best practices to keep in mind when diving into global influencer marketing.

Global influencer marketing best practices:

Do your research. You know that phrase “lost in translation?” Your campaign content will likely change to accommodate the different language and cultures – make sure it all translates appropriately and results in the same concept!

Go local. Partner with influencers who live in the specific country or are part of the culture you are targeting for campaign authenticity.

Listen and learn. Seek advice from the influencers who know their home and language best. They can help ensure everything translates and let you know if something isn’t working.

Did we miss any best practices for global influencer marketing? Share your advice in the comments below!

Read More

Why Engagement Matters More Than Reach

pexels-photo-70304

By Courtney Moser

Quality over quantity.

Not to sound like a broken record over here, but if you’re ever pitting quality against quantity — quality wins every time. Within quality in influencer marketing lies content, engagement, expertise and more.

While quantity focuses on pumping out a large amount of content to as many people as possible, quality hones in targeted consumers who are engaged and listening. Because of this distinction, we call quantity “reach” and quality “engagement.”

A higher reach used to be the ultimate marketing goal, but now we’ve seen the light and realized that it doesn’t matter how many people you’re reaching if they’re uninterested. Times are quickly changing and it’s much more important to connect with the right people – even if that means there aren’t as many.

This is especially relevant when it comes to the celebrity influencer marketing trend. Although celebrities have an impressively large reach, it’s due more to public status than true interest in what they have to say. Credibility isn’t always there. In fact, according to a recent study, we are “50 times more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend than a celebrity or internet personality.”

Reinforcing the emphasis on quality content and engagement, marketers are turning to micro-influencers to connect with niche audiences and those who are most likely to become customers. Micro-influencers are typically categorized as having less than 10,000 followers, but even influencers with a much larger following can effectively cultivate an engaged audience.

“Influencers in smaller niches may have a much better ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level. This means you should be prioritizing relevance over mass reach. When you’re searching for the right influencer for your brand, look for higher engagement levels instead of large social following,” reinforces Search Engine Journal.

Ultimately, it all comes down to authenticity and credibility, and choosing influencers who are focused on engagement and creating a true community online. Brands who partner with engaging influencers are more likely to see success in influencer marketing.

What are the business benefits of prioritizing engagement?

More meaningful connections: Influencers with higher engagement are likely closer to their followers, with potential for engaging future brand loyalists.

Increased credibility: Smaller influencers are known for more niche topics or expertise, and often cultivate a trust with their readers.

Higher intent to purchase: A study found that influencers have 22.2 times more conversions each week than regular consumers. Clearly, their purchase influence is valuable.

Social Media Today best summarizes the importance of engagement over reach in influencer marketing: “You can’t build a loyal consumer base on reach alone. Reach certainly forms something of a bedrock… But without your audience acting on your content (likes, retweets, shares and comments) there’s very little chance of leveraging that relationship to score leads and converting these to sales. This is why 73% of content creators plan to prioritize creating more engaging content in 2016.”

Have you hopped on the engagement train with us yet? If you have any questions or concerns, the Find Your Influence team is happy to help you get on board. And in the meantime, you can learn more about influencer marketing best practices on our blog.

Read More

3 Massive Mistakes Influencers Make

influencermarketingcomputerEDIT

By: Courtney Moser

You know those little mistakes we all make that go largely unnoticed? A typo here, a quick after-post edit there? That’s not what this is about. The mistakes we’re talking about today go far beyond any minimal “oops” moment – and right into professionally unspeakable territory.

We’re not trying to scare you, but these mistakes could cost an influencer a campaign, their audience or even a partnership with a brand. How so? Keep reading to learn what to avoid as an influencer in the marketing industry.

1. Not paying attention to Google updates

If you’ve worked on campaigns as an influencer, you probably already have at least a basic knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO). The tricky part about thinking you know SEO? It’s always changing!

SEO is highly dependent on Google algorithm updates, which occur regularly. You have to pay attention to industry news, set an alert for “Google algorithm updates,” or make sure you have a tech publication in your reader. Once an update occurs, it’s important to determine whether it impacts your blog or strategy – and then make the needed changes immediately.

In theory, Google updates their algorithm often so that they can provide users with a better search experience—higher quality content, more relevant content, and less spam. However, these updates aren’t foolproof, and it’s possible that you’re doing something unintentionally on your blog that Google is filtering for. You have to stay in the know, because if your blog includes some sort of link or tactic that Google has deemed negative, your traffic could plummet.

2. Not paying attention to the social media campaign instructions

If your site is performing well and you’re partnering with brands, you’re probably feeling pretty confident about your influencer status. But to keep growing and succeeding, you have to make sure your new confidence doesn’t result in carelessness.

Let’s look at this scenario, for example: A campaign offer comes in. Since you’ve done this a million times, you quickly scan over the instructions, skim the blog prompt and grab the hashtag. You’ll have this done in no time.

Flash forward two weeks and you’re suddenly receiving not-so-positive feedback your brand. What gives? As it turns out, those instructions you barely skimmed were important.

Is this really a big mistake? Yes. Brands trust you to follow instructions and act professionally so that they can accurately track the performance of the campaign. We’ve seen bloggers forget everything from a special link, no-follow tags and specific content instructions to announcing an event or meeting a certain deadline. These mishaps can burn bridges. Brands depend on campaign performance, and if they don’t feel like you did your job, they’ll move on to someone who will.

3. Writing low-quality content

This one seems obvious, but we see it every day. Bloggers are creating content constantly – some even juggling several brands and requirements. It can get hectic, and it’s tempting to rush assignments to try to fit more in. Bad choice: Quality always overrules quantity.

“We want the story to be great and the whole reason we work with influencers is to accelerate the sharing of the story,” Karin Timpone, global marketing officer at Marriott International, said of their focus on content excellence.

As a blogger, you’re typically both the content creator and publisher. It’s clear to everyone involved if your post is just thrown together—the brand, your fans and the communities you’re working with. A poor-quality post could mean you never work with that brand again. But even worse? You could lose the trust of your fans and connections. After a few rushed or low-quality posts, you may see your readership start to dwindle.

It’s critical to treat each campaign with respect, think about what the prompt really means to you, and write a high-quality post. Success in influencer marketing is as simple (and complex) as that.

If you need help, we hope you’ll check out what Find Your Influence (FYI) has to offer. FYI helps influencers of all levels connect with brands and manage their campaigns more efficiently. Get the details here.

Read More

What is a Social Media Superstar?

SocialMediaSuperstarEDIT

By: Courtney Moser

Lights, camera, action? More like post, share, go viral (am I right, influencers?).

With 1.6 billion people on Facebook, 400 million on Instagram and 320 million on Twitter, it’s clear that the world of social media is a cluttered one. The digital revolution has given many people a platform and voice, but between all of the posts and noise, it can be hard to stand out. Unless you’re a social media superstar, that is.

A social media superstar is someone who is famous because of their social channels, as opposed to someone who is already famous for something else and has social channels. Did you get that? The superstars’ fame is social-media made.

“Now more than ever, fame is accessible, and it creates a different breed of famous person. You can release a funny photo… You can create a social media account for your adorable pet, or post inspiring or funny videos about your life. You can change the world, if only for twenty-two seconds,” writer Sarah Klegman said of the changing fame landscape.

Social media superstars have not only used technology to their advantage, they’ve discovered an alternative path to fame and earned digital influence. Typically, they have a total reach of more than one million. There’s a wealth of interesting stories of social media superstars, across many different networks such as YouTube, Vine, Instagram, and more. Even if a superstar is famous because of, or known specifically for a certain network, they still have a presence on the rest of them for cross-promotion and increased reach – a great takeaway for all marketers. This Social Media Today article on YouTube celebrities, for instance, said: “No single successful YouTuber is to be found without any of the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

What are these superstars doing right? First and foremost, they have a definite target audience. They have a following that connects with them – whether niche or more broad – and it isn’t one sided. Engagement is the next critical aspect to social media stardom. Consistent posting, cross-promotion and responsiveness are all important for high levels of engagement. After all, if you have a loyal follower who constantly comments on your videos or asks questions about your photos with zero acknowledgement or feedback, won’t they eventually just stop trying? Social media is all about connecting and sharing, and superstars only rise up with the help of others.

What else sets social media superstars apart? Have you worked with any superstars in influencer marketing campaigns? Share your insight with us in the comments!

Read More

6 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Influencer

influencer

By: Courtney Moser

Ten thousand and one, ten thousand and two… oh, never mind. We’re not even going to pretend that we know how many bloggers and social media users are online today. The total number is overwhelming and constantly increasing! With so many influencers out there, how do you know who to choose for a campaign? The truth is, there are a billion factors you could consider when choosing influencers to work with. A few key metrics will certainly make the search easier, but it’s also important to consider the big picture and ask: “Does this influencer make sense for my brand?”

When evaluating influencers, here are the six most important factors to consider, from the bottom up.

6. Traffic

The most straightforward metric to rely on is blog traffic. If an influencer has a lot of daily visitors, then you can pretty much guarantee a certain amount of impressions. This is a great starting point and a metric that should always be considered, but it’s not the only thing you should look at. Plus, have you learned anything from banner ads? Impressions don’t necessarily mean high engagement or lead to conversions. There are a lot of other factors that comprise the big picture.

5. Social networks

One of the main reasons you shouldn’t depend solely on blog traffic is that influencers span many networks. It’s possible for an influencer to have a low or mediocre blog following, but have a huge social media reach on certain platforms. And social media can lead to high conversion rates. An influencer with an impressive social fan base could easily be more influential than an influencer with high blog traffic – it just depends on where your audience is and which platforms align with your goals.

4. Total Reach

The best of both worlds is total reach. To get this metric, you start by figuring out your influencers’ blog traffic or blog subscribers. Then, you add the social platforms they have a presence on – either combining total fans or getting more detailed insight from the influencers. Finally, calculate total reach and compare to other influencers. Prepare to be surprised: it’s possible for an influencer with an average following on many platforms to have a higher reach than an influencer with one stellar platform.

When you’re looking at total reach and traffic numbers, it’s vital to keep it all in perspective. Numbers don’t mean everything, and “celebrity” influencers aren’t always the way to go. It has to make sense for your brand to be real. As wisely said in this article, “Inauthenticity kills trust.”

3. Engagement

As we said above, it’s not all about numbers (gasp!). An influencer can have a high reach but also a high bounce rate. If your campaign goals are more focused on engagement – if you’re measuring new subscriber comments or promoting an interactive contest – then this metric might be more important to you than reach.

To determine engagement, start with the influencer’s blog. Are people commenting? Does the influencer have email subscribers? These are all questions to ask if you’re considering working with an influencer. Then, move on to the social platforms. Are people commenting, liking, retweeting and sharing? Ask influencers for their engagement metrics to better understand their impact.

2.  Fan demographics

Influencer marketing helps brands reach new consumers – and more importantly, targeted consumers. For the best results, you want to find influencers with a fan base who would love your brand. So, start with your own demographic data — what age groups, location and marital status make up your biggest customer segments? Next, find influencers who have an audience that falls in those specific targets.

If you’re a local brand, be sure to find influencers who have an active voice in your city or state. If your customers are often married with children, parenting bloggers might be a great fit. There are many ways to go about this, depending on how much you know about your segments and demographic data.

1. Content

The most critical thing to consider when choosing influencers is whether or not the influencer’s content, interests and voice match the quality and goals of your brand. Content is king, always. An influencer with a high reach in an unrelated industry is much less effective than a small influencer with a passionate fan base in your industry. Make sure to choose relevant influencers who are developing high-quality content.

This advice from Forbes best illustrates the sum of all six factors: “Just because a person has an impressive number of followers, doesn’t mean they actually wield any real persuasive power. Take time to do a deep dive into the analytics to understand the influencer’s audience. Who are they? Are they engaged? How often? How does the influencer interact with her followers? What do they talk about? Is the relationship genuine? Would your brand make sense in their life?”

And remember: Before you launch a campaign, it’s important to outline specific campaign goals. With the right goals, metrics and content concepts in place, it will be a lot easier to choose influencers based on your campaign needs.

Of course, if you need help finding influencers, we’re available here at Find Your Influence.

Read More

What Your Company Gets Out Of Influencer Marketing

startup-photos (2)

By: Courtney Moser

It’s no surprise that influencer marketing is continuing to gain traction in the digital world. By now, you’ve likely read the articles and seen the success stories. Everyone seems to claim that influencer marketing can increase reach and drive sales. But how will it impact you? And how can you be sure it’s worth the hype?

There is plenty of proof and research illustrating how and why influencer marketing works. When you get to the core of it, it’s not even a new concept: brand ambassadors or advocates are tried and true in marketing. The new face of influencer marketing just streamlines strategic solutions and improves the potential impact.

But these updates don’t necessarily equate to simplicity. As with anything that’s worth the work, you have to set goals, measure KPIs, build influencer relationships and prioritize authenticity. A high-quality content strategy will always be vital in order to stand out and achieve success with influencer marketing. As said in Forbes, “Influence isn’t just having a lot of followers. It’s also driven by expertise and credibility on subject matter and the relationship between the influencer and his or her followers.”

At Find Your Influence (FYI), we’ve seen the success stories firsthand. We have the experience to simplify the complex and can help you get the most of influencer marketing. This is what you need to know:

“On average, marketers who implemented an influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media.” The 2014 Influencer Marketing Benchmark report by Burst Media found that companies really are seeing results—and ROI dollar signs.

42% of consumers look to blogs for information about potential purchases while 52% say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions. You can’t argue with this statistic: sales are sales. If potential customers are looking for information about your industry or products on blogs, don’t you want to make sure they find you?

92% of consumers trust their friends and family more than ads, and they’re more likely to make purchases based on recommendations than billboards. You might be thinking “duh,” but it’s important to connect the professional dots here: this is why your ads aren’t working.

86% of marketers assess that marketing has changed more in the last 5 years than in the 50 years preceding, according to traacker.com. If you don’t evolve with the times, you’re going to be left behind (and see your ROI for traditional ads drop lower and lower)

Influencer marketing campaigns work with any budget. You can go big and pay for celebrity influencers or launch an interactive campaign with lots of perks and engagement. Or, you can go small and invest in a just few influencers who will still make a big impact.

Everything influencer marketing is at your fingertips at whatever price your company has budgeted for the initiative. Learn more about how influencer marketing can help your business here.

Read More