How To: Leverage Celebrity Influencers to Grow Your Brand

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By Courtney Moser

Nike does it. So does Apple. Disney was one of the first to do it. Microsoft is paying the NFL more than $100 million dollars over the next five years to do it for them.

Celebrity influencer marketing is wide spread, but not always clear cut. It’s not about who you know, but how much you’re paying them to know you. This type of influencer marketing can be effective, particularly if you’re a billion-dollar brand looking to stand out in a crowded market.

But what if you’re not a billion-dollar company? Is celebrity influencer marketing still a viable tactic for you?

SMBs and Influencer Marketing

Let’s be clear – influencer marketing works for all company sizes. And by offering an ROI of 6.5:1, influencer marketing can quickly become a marketer’s best friend. So why add a celebrity – and the risk that comes with that publicity – to the mix?

“The whole concept of celebrity is very different than it was just a few years ago,” said Jamie Reardon, CEO of Find Your Influence. “Even five years ago, you would never have seen movie stars making commercials or endorsing brands stateside.”

The concept of a “celebrity” is certainly evolving, as the phrase is no longer limited to high-profile athletes and movie stars. Celebrities now run the gamut from YouTube sensations to reality TV stars. In fact, a celebrity is no longer defined solely by how “famous” they are, but instead by how motivated their audience and fans are.

“As content – and the way people receive that content – continues to personalize to an audience, so does the nature of celebrities and their relationships to consumers,” said Reardon. “There are a lot more ‘celebrities’ today than ever before – and given the increasingly fractured nature of the market, more celebrities are extending beyond their ‘fame,’ and building brands.”

Personal celebrity brands have become an alternative revenue stream to traditional celebrity-status, and are valuable if audience relationships are nurtured properly. Ryan Brunty, head of Social for Zappos COUTURE, agrees with this evolution: “We are living in an incredibly interesting time in which we are hyper connected to not only each other, but the pop culture icons we love and adore.”

Never before have we been able to connect on such a personal level with our chosen celebrities. Whether they’re a famous singer or a successful blogger, we’re connected to these ‘celebrities’ (or influencers) online in a way that blurs the lines of real-life relationships. We are now able to witness personal vignettes of their lives – to chat, comment on pictures, share stories – as though they’re close friends.

And who do consumers trust when it comes to what they purchase? Friends, of course!

“Consumers are now able to get styling tips, shopping advice directly from their pop culture icons,” said Brunty. “Interestingly enough, celebrities are now becoming their own pseudo-retailers as well, creating a personal shopping experience plugged into their blogs/websites.”

In that sense, celebrity influencer marketing is an extension of the circular marketing experience. Marketers are challenged with aligning trust with celebrity endorsement’s demographics while also staying true to their own brands.

Why are celebrity endorsements so valuable?

Celebrity brands are a multi-billion dollar business today, but there are only so many mega-brands to go around, which makes celebrities more accessible to smaller brands than ever before. Given this increasingly fractured marketplace, it’s becoming difficult to continue using traditional (think direct mail, or even email) marketing methods.

So instead of a one-at-a-time approach, marketers are learning the benefits of influencer marketing, or leveraging an individual with an audience.

“Influencer marketing is the new word-of-mouth marketing, but scalable – and cost-effective,” said Reardon. “SMBs don’t have the resources to market one-at-a-time, so influencer marketing makes a lot of sense – communicate to a large group who share a common interest through a mutual thought leader, and you’ll see a much higher conversion rate.”

Zappos COUTURE began their first celebrity marketing campaign working with Lauren Conrad and the LaurenConrad.com team.

“It has become very important for our Zappos COUTURE marketing initiatives to add influencer marketing to our yearly budget,” said Brunty. “It’s important for anyone in the retail space to highly consider this outlet as consumers look to celebrities for style tips, and we as advertisers want to ensure were aligned with where our customer’s interests are.”

Their relationship with Lauren Conrad has certainly paid off for the retailer, leading to a redux for their spring line.

“It’s exciting to see just how wonderfully these campaigns have affected our strategy in ways we couldn’t have even forecasted,” said Brunty. “It’s especially exciting for me, because of the fact that I championed this project; it was very near and dear to me and was important to implement.”

Zappos had originally allocated budget toward a display buy, but Brunty tweaked tactics at the last minute to sanction off a portion of the budget to experiment with influencer marketing.

“It took some convincing to the rest of the team, but in the end, we are so happy with the results that we just completed our second campaign with Lauren Conrad,” said Brunty. “Buyers are informing me of sold out and low inventory SKUs which is always exciting to see after a campaign execution.”

It turns out that even other celebrities are not immune to celebrity influencer marketing.

“For me, the biggest success story comes from Sarah Jessica Parker being so excited about her SJP Collection being featured in the blog post that she sent a note to Lauren personally,” said Brunty. “It doesn’t get any cooler than that!”

Pieces of the Pie

Social media spending in the U.S. is expected to reach $27.4 billion by 2020 and continue growing at a five-year annual growth rate of 17.4%, according to Forrester Research. The way marketers slice their pie is getting more complex, with more offerings – and influencer marketing can check off a number of boxes for most brands.

While celebrity influencers are more expensive than a traditional influencer, they offer a greater megaphone that some brands desire to amplify their reach.

“The key to influencer marketing is target audience reach. It wouldn’t make sense to use Lauren Conrad as a brand ambassador for beard wax, because that’s not where her target audience lives,” said Reardon. “By the same token, you wouldn’t have the Duck Dynasty guys selling women’s shoes… the audience fit is critical for brands.”

That’s not to say marketers should completely abandon all other marketing strategies to jump on the celebrity bandwagon.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say celebrity endorsements ‘rather than’ any other form of marketing, as much as in addition to,” said Brunty. “It’s important to have a well-rounded strategy and this form of marketing falls directly in line with what we are trying to accomplish with our social marketing strategy.”

Want to learn more about how celebrity influencer marketing can boost your marketing strategy and efforts? Contact the Find Your Influence team today. 

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Influencer Marketing Best Practices

Influencer

By: Courtney Gibb

When it comes to finding influencers, what should you look for? Someone clever? Sure. Someone in-the-know? You bet.  An industry thought leader? Absolutely.

But what’s the difference between a know it all and someone who’s in the know? Is your ideal influencer the type of person everyone turns to for advice and guidance, or are they a thought leader known for the ability to make every person feel like they were the only one in the room?

Truth be told, influencers come in all shapes and sizes, and choosing the right influencers is just one thing to keep in mind when you start planning your next influencer marketing campaign.

As one of the hottest trends going, influencer marketing serves as the bridge between advocate and digital marketing. Instead of focusing on an entire general audience, influencer marketing works with key individuals to heighten the impact of a brand, product or message in a more direct and organic way. In order to be successful marketers must It means seeing the potential and know who the important influencers are, how to target them and what the campaign’s impact will be.

That’s where influencers come in – by leveraging an influencer, you’re speaking directly to their followers/audience. 74% of consumers say third party endorsements from influencers impact their purchase decisions, and 81% do independent research on products and services beyond brand-generated content.

It’s critical to get your brand’s message out where the consumers are in order to increase brand awareness, brand affinity and your target consumer’s intent-to-purchase.  That’s where influencer marketing comes in. So now what?

To help you plot and plan your next (best) influencer marketing campaign, follow along on our blog each week as we explain the following influencer marketing best practices.

  1. Build manageable campaign deadlines
  2. Set campaign goals to measure success
  3. Fully integrate your influencer marketing
  4. Pick the right social platform
  5. Find the right influencers
  6. Communicate frequently
  7. Provide feedback to your influencers
  8. Scale, and repeat

Stay tuned for more at blog.findyourinfluence.com. Do you have any tips or tricks that have made your influencer marketing campaigns successful? Let us know!

 

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5 Tips for Growing Your Social Media Following

Social Media Following

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up one day and magically have thousands of people following and engaging with you on social media? Well, while we couldn’t agree more, we do know that there isn’t a magical formula that can do this for you. However, we have five effective tips to share that will not only increase your social media following, but also get you connected with like minded and engaging users.

  1. Make sure you’re utilizing the right social media channels for you. Are photos your passion? Then you should be on Instagram! Are you not into inspiration boards? Then you should probably stay away from Pinterest . Go through this process for every social media channel and confirm which ones really are the best for you (or your brand, style, etc.).
  1. Facebook and Twitter are two very similar, yet very different social media sites. While it’s fine to share the same post on both channels, it’s also very important to tailor your message to the audience you’re speaking to. Keep your tweets sweet and short and save your photos and detailed posts for Facebook.
  1. Using relevant hashtags is very helpful in spreading your post further, and finding  likeminded users. Don’t be afraid to try out different hashtags to find the ones that work best for you.
  1. Follow Twitter accounts and like Facebook pages that are relevant to your interests, focuses or business to further build your social media community.
  1. Lastly, don’t forget that when it comes down to it, social media is social. Utilize your Facebook page to like and share other people’s posts, along with favoriting and retweeting tweets on Twitter. Be a good social media neighbor, because everyone likes feeling recognized and appreciated – even if it is only online.

 

By: Kailey Loud and Chelsea Goodson for Find Your Influence

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Influencers: How to Launch Social Media Campaigns

rsz_how_to_launch_a_social_campaignWhat we’ve got here is a case of the middle child syndrome. There’s a ton of content out there for novice bloggers — the youngest child has to be coddled afterall. And superstar bloggers have paved the way for their siblings and our now making it to all of the grownup events like conferences, meetups and more. But what about the middle children? Is there any educational content for them?

 

Well tweener bloggers, this is an article for you. If you’ve been blogging consistently for a while and have seen your readership grow, you’ve probably got this blog thing down. But how do you turn your blog into a personal brand? How do you become an influencer?

 

A great way to take your blog to the next step is to start <thinking like a marketer> and launch a social media campaign. Now before you get overwhelmed with all the overused marketing jargon (strategy, metrics and optimize – oh my!), take a deep breath and read this easy step-by-step guide to launching your first social media campaign for your personal brand.

 

1. Establish a specific goal

First things first, why do you want to launch a social campaign? To gain more followers? To get links back to your blog? To get email subscribers? Figure out what you want out of this campaign and be as specific as possible. Try to have only one goal for this first campaign. Write your goal down.

 

2. Decide on a metric

Once you have a goal, you have to figure out how to measure it — otherwise how will you know if your social campaign worked? This is where your marketer hat needs to come in. We wrote a <great blog about metrics> a while back that may help. Buf if those metrics seem too complicated, keep it simple. You can focus on something easy like new likes or a boost in traffic. Just make sure it’s something that can actually be measured. “Spreading your brand voice” might sound good in theory, but how will you know if you actually did this effectively? Be specific and pick a measurement.

3. Write a one-page proposal

This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You don’t need to get out a spreadsheet and calculator and write a 15-page report. Keep it to about one page and include these things:

 

  1. Goal
  2. Measurement
  3. Purpose and background information
  4. Details about your brand
  5. Summary of the steps and events
  6. Timeline of key milestones including a start and end date

 

4. Gather assets and create content

Now that you have a solid plan in place, get everything you need ready. Write the social media posts, write the blog posts, gather images, PROOFREAD, prepare your survey or newsletter, set up a promo code, set up your analytics. Prepare as much as you can before you actually launch so that things can go smoothly. Keep it all in one folder, schedule what you can and get excited.

 

5. Launch your social media campaign and do a post-mortem

Ready, set, launch! Once you launch your campaign, don’t change your plan. Don’t decide mid way through that you think newsletter signups would be a better measurement than likes. Don’t decide at the end to throw in a giveaway. Just stick to the plan, interact with your followers, promote your campaign and try to enjoy it. And try not to obsess over your analytics. Some marketers prefer not to check them until the very end.

 

Once it’s all over, you should do what marketers, advertisers and brands like to call a “post-mortem”(uplifting, huh?). It simply means gather all of your data and spend some time thinking or talking about what went well and what could be improved next time. It’s a good idea to turn your metrics into percentages. For instance, 50 new likes might not sound like that much but if that’s a 30% increase in likes, you might consider it a success.

 

Try to gather some insights for your metrics, write down what you think you should have done better and give yourself a pat on the back for doing such a good job!

 

Once you’ve made it past #5, it’s time to start all over again using what you learned to launch an even better campaign the next time. Use your data from your first campaign as a baseline. In your next campaign, you should try to improve them!

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