T.P.R. Episode 13 - Why Most Companies Need to Leverage Influencer Marketing Tactics


Sam: Good day to you, wherever you may be. This is The Production Room, brought to you by Replay, The Collective Marketing Agency. I'm your host, Sam Smith, head of growth at Replay, and I'm joined by my cohost, Hannah Moyer and Sofia Caputo. Good afternoon.

Hannah: Hello.

Sofia: Good afternoon.

Sam: Let's do this. So, this episode of The Production, we're going to be talking a lot about influencer marketing. Influencer marketing or celebrity marketing, celebrities have always kind of been a part of marketing, but social media has put a huge influence and there's a lot of money being traded for these, the attention of the followers of some of these huge social media, Instagram celebrities, or what have you. So, an article from Ad Week states that the average American is exposed to 5000 ads on a daily basis. So, we are retaining a low amount of information and we've kind of trained ourselves to block out a lot of these ads.

 However, MDG Advertising says that 70% of Internet users want to learn about a product through people that they follow, like social influencers, and people that they're friends with and connected with on different social media platforms. Other than like traditional advertising, no one likes to be sold to. And also, a survey from Forbes says that 84% of marketers plan to execute some form of social influence or marketing in the next 12 months. This is a form of marketing that's growing big time.

Sofia, in what ways do you feel that social media advertising and the use of social influencers is more effective than traditional forms of online advertising or traditional forms of advertising?

Sofia:Yeah, I think social media influencers have been so successful because it is more personal than just a typical email coming into your inbox or maybe a banner pop-up ad that you're just trying to quickly click out of.

Sam: Okay.

Sofia: You're interested in what the people, the bloggers and the influencers you follow are posting about. If there's a fitness influencer and they're posting about a product they're using and you're interested in fitness and health and all of those things, you're going to want to try it, too, because you admire them or you want to know what they're doing, what they're using. So, that connection, I think is what makes-

Sam:  That's a great point.

Sofia: The influencers so successful in what they do. And I think it's also something that's really trackable. You know, if a company is having you promote something, they can see how many likes did that get, what was the engagement, did that increase our sales that week, were a lot of people buying our product after that influencer posted it? So, I think having that trackable data is also really helpful in that sense, as well.

Sam: Interesting. Yeah. I mean, if I follow someone, like if I'm a big Dodger fan, as most of you know, if one of their players is like, makes a post about like a subscription box. There's this Five Four subscription box that one of the players was promoting. That carries a lot more weight because I look up to those players, I follow those players, I admire those players, right?

Sofia: Right.

Sam: So, if I was going to see a regular ad for the Five Four subscription box, it doesn't mean as much to me as if I saw someone who I admire actually promoting that product, and so it makes me want to buy that product more. So, it makes a ton of sense.

Hannah, how can the use of influencers help a company build their search engine optimization?

Hannah: Yeah, so primarily, this is done through in bound links with influencers. So, the more links that are coming into the site, it's a type of in bound marketing. And so having them post the live links on their profile or the swipe up feature in Instagram stories, that can all help drive more traffic to the website and build authority. And we're talking about social, but it's also on blogs. So, if you have an influencer that writes a blog post, links back to your website with a specific, trackable link a couple times throughout the post, and then also posts on social, that's five to seven more links. That can help you build that.

So, over time, all of those in bound links will help build and increase your SEO value.

Sam:  That's some amazing cross channel stuff right there. So, we were reading about Captivate. They're a company that does a lot of connections, they facilitate connections between brands and different influencers and things like that. And they say that if you have three to seven million followers, you can charge like $75,000, up to $75,000 and even more for Instagram posts, for Snapchat posts, and $30,000 for Twitter. And only, that's just because the half-life of a post or a Tweet on Twitter is much less, which kind of reflects the lower cost. But for influencers that have under a million followers, the cost, I mean, they can still charge four or five figures for some of these posts.

Hannah: That's crazy.

Sam: There's a lot of money being exchanged for this influence. An article in the New York Times talks about how Jack in the Box will pay close to $100,000 for a celebrity to post on social media mentioning Jack in the Box. Sofia, how believable is it that someone like, let's say the Kardashians, okay, who pride themselves on working out, eating healthy, lifestyles and things like that, how believable is it that they would sponsor a fast food restaurant?

Sofia:  Well, I mean, just kind of like you said, they pride themselves on fitness, health, beauty, all of those kind of things, so what are the odds that they actually are going to Jack in the Box on a Wednesday night to grab dinner, that kind of thing? I think that's something that's really important about that connection thing, is having it be something that your followers are going to be interested in. I'm sure the Kardashians, a ton of people that follow them do like fast food, but is seeing that photo of one of the Kardashians eating a burger going to make them go want to buy one right at that very second kind of a thing?

Sam:  Well, maybe it justifies, like, "They're eating a Jack in the box tacos"-

Sofia:   So now I can.

Hannah: I can look like them and eat Jack in the Box.

Sam: That's fine. I can do it, too. They're doing it.

Sofia: But I also think-

Sam:  That carries a lot of weight.

Hannah: Literally.

Sofia: The fast food industry is something that thrives so much off of convenience. That's like you're driving home, it's late. You just got off work. You don't want to cook tonight. You're like, "What's cheap, quick, easy?" That kind of thing. And then it's maybe a lesson for that industry about paying somebody to say their company, say Jack in the Box in one of their posts more as like, "That's what I need right now at that moment," kind of a thing. So, I think that's something to keep in mind and you want it to be something that's relatable in that kind of time and date. So, maybe having one of the Kardashians, who probably don't eat Jack in the Box, having them promote that maybe wouldn't be the best idea and more of, I don't know, what do you think?

Hannah: I think it's definitely, it's a balance because there are a wider variety of interests following the Kardashians, so if it was a fitness Instagram account, it's not just fitness people. The Kardashians, it's just people who enjoy their show and people who follow them for the pure-

Sam:   Just general pop culture.

Hannah: It's pop culture and things like that. And because they have that wider base, Jack in the Box is like, "Well, this is worth the money for us to be able to do that". And just like the top of mind, if you're driving past Jack in the Box, you're like, "Oh, wait. I want a burger," or whatever they sell-

Sam:  "I saw Kim, she was eating some of those 99 cent dollar tacos or whatever," and like you said, the timing, too. If she posted like that at like 10:00 PM on a Friday night, people on their way home from the bars in an Uber, not driving, obviously. They're like, "Hey, swing me by the Jack in the Box. Kim Kardashian said these tacos are good," right? So, Hannah, when is using an influencer beneficial to a company and then when is it like a waste of resources?

Hannah: It's more beneficial when you do the targeting correctly. So, you need to look at your company's personas, their target audience, and look at, okay. So, if we want to target moms who enjoy fitness who are in their 30s that have little ones, like one to two year olds, then you can target the bloggers who are also in that same stage of life, and that could be a new fitness shoe, or apparel, or some kind of healthy snack program or something that focuses on who you want to target.

  So, it's all about the demographics, it's all about audience. It's a waste of money if you don't do that. It all comes down to the targeting. So if you say, going back to the Jack in the Box example. If a fitness blogger is promoting Jack in the Box and it's not some healthy new menu, debatable how healthy it is, but talking about that, then it's more, it's not believable. And so it-

Sam: So, it's genuine.

Hannah: ruins the, exactly. It's people like, "Oh, they're just doing it for the money". People know that bloggers have to make money somehow-

Sam: Right.

Hannah: but now because it's such a saturated market, there are more options for you, for influencers, and there's also more of a chance that people will stop following the influencer or not like your company anymore because of how you handle influencer marketing. So, it's definitely a balance. You need to target well and you need to just be careful about the general types of accounts that you're using.

Sam:  Cool. So, to speak on the targeting, too, we talked about Jack in the Box and the Kardashians, those are like at the very highest level, but medium and small sized companies can leverage influencer marketing as well by being super laser focused with their targeting.

Hannah: And also choosing companies that don't have as many followers. Someone with 1500 followers, 1500 to 2000, that can be more valuable than someone with 5000 if it's a really targeted, engaged community. If they have great engagement on their posts, then it's worth a shot and it's also gonna be a little less expensive than choosing someone with 5000 followers that might maybe have bought followers, or they aren't as engaged or something like that.

So, it's all a balance game.

Sam: Gotcha. Okay, so with any types of advertising, there's obviously, it's regulated, right? There's compliance that you have to be in line with. So, federal trade commission, the guidelines, the federal trade commission sort of regulates advertisements and what you can and can't say, and how you can and can't mislead the public and things of that nature. And they shared that roughly 93% of celebrity sponsored posts, or influencer posts, don't meet these FTC guidelines because they're failing to make it clear that it's a sponsored, it's an advertisement.

 Do you think that celebrities or companies try to go around these guidelines, Sofia? Because they think that writing ad or making it clear that it is a sponsored advertisement will make consumers less interested? Or do you think that they're not doing it because it makes it seem less genuine?

Sofia:  I think that's like a good point. When I'm see, and I'm sure a lot of people, they see a celebrity post something and it says, "#ad" or "#sponsored", and you're immediately thinking "Do they actually use this product?"

Hannah: They're doing it for the money.

Sofia:  Or are they doing it because they're getting paid and they've never even touched the product or the service kind of a thing. So, that's something, I think that goes through a lot of people's minds, 'cause you do, we were talking about, you want it to be something that's genuine. That connection between the influencer and your followers, you want it to be something that they'd have an interest in. And there's also like that trust value. Like, you look up to the people that you follow if it's an influence or something, and you don't want to be misled by them, either, so I think that's definitely a gray line id of area, but I also think there's the side of it that's like ... I always think of, have you seen the Sugar Bear Hair?

Hannah: The little blue ones, right?

Sofia:  The little blue gummies that every influencer is talking about and promotes on their page. It also, it says ad and it says sponsored, but it's like everyone's doing it. And there's been times that I'm like, "Everyone has it, now I kind of want it," kind of a thing, like maybe I should give it a try, 'cause everyone's talking about it.

Hannah:  'Cause it's not just one. It's probably 10 accounts.

Sofia: It's multiple, you know? And I think in society today, that's how a lot of people look at things. They're like, "If everyone's trying it, maybe I should try it. I want to know for myself, is it something that's worth buying again-"

Sam:   "Am I missing out on it?"

Sofia:  Right. So, I think there's like the both sides where that "#sponsored" can kind of be that, "Eh, do they actually use it?" But again, if you're doing your targeting right and everyone's using it and you're getting people engaged, it's something that the followers are going to want to be a part of, too.

Hannah: And they won't ultimately care if you do it right, and also both the company and the influencer, it's better to maybe lose the, a little bit of the fat, the "Oh, they actually use this product," in order to put sponsored and ad in the post, because ultimately you want to protect yourself and while they aren't necessarily cracking down on it too much right now, you still, you want to come from a place of just protecting yourself, doing what you need to add to make sure that it happens.

Interestingly enough, Instagram has instituted or has started a feature where for example, Reebok partners with Crossfit. So, one of their accounts will say, instead of location, it'll say "Paid partnership with," and it'll tag an account. So, that is another way to do it where it's not in the caption necessarily, but it just kind of like, "Okay, it's not super obvious, but it's still there".

Sofia: Still there, yeah.

Hannah: And it makes it kid of just, covers all your bases so that if anything does happen, you're covered.

Sam:  Well, we follow all the rules here at Replay.

Hannah: Obviously.

Sam:  So, no need to worry. All right. So, going into some of the success, Hannah, that you've had with some of your clients in the beauty supplement business and the beauty supplement vertical, and some of these supplements can be incorporated in all sorts of different types of ways, especially in food recipes and things like that. And you have experience partnering with some health and wellness experts, leveraging some of these influencer marketing tactics to create recipes and to promote new products on social media.

what was the thought process behind partnering with this particular health and wellness expert and how do you think that it has increased traffic and overall performance?

Hannah:  Definitely it's based on cross-promotional value, and so this, he's a chef. So, he develops recipes for the company, so they would pay him for that partnership. So, we could post the recipes on ours, we'd tag him in each post, and then he would also post it on his website, he would do Instagram stories and Instagram posts and Facebook and all of that. And so it's not just sending a product to a beauty influencer or a fitness influencer. It's benefit for both of you. So, he creates this recipe, whatever it might be, and he's coming up with more unique ones than, "stick collagen in a smoothie" or something like that.

 So, he's creating these unique recipes, it's creating content for both parties to share, and then that's something that you can keep sharing over and over again. So, it builds more value over time.

Sam: Gotcha. Okay. That makes sense. So, do you think the smaller collaborations with people like personal trainers or health and fitness food bloggers have been effective when it comes to how much pull you think smaller collaborations have for a brand?

Hannah: Definitely. I think you need a mix of both. So, you need the recipe development side of it and you also just need the, "Hey, I've been taking, I did the 14 day healthy hair challenge," or whatever it was, so it's not necessarily a recipe, but as you took this challenge, before and after shots. Before and after get a little iffy with claims in the supplement world, or it can just be like, "This is the results that I've said. I love it. I have product to give you," do a giveaway. So, it just kind of depends.

 We tend to do a mix of it because we've found value in both, and it's always good to reach as many people as you can in a targeted way, if that makes sense.

Sam:  Is health and fitness, beauty health and wellness verticals, are influencer marketing tactics uniquely effective in these verticals as opposed to in other ones? Or is it just super popular right now?

Hannah: It's probably a little bit of both. So, yes it is popular, but it's also there's so many different supplements out there, like the Fit Tea that was going around last year at some point. So, people are kind of skeptical of, "Does this actually work?" And while using influencers doesn't totally remove that question, it emphasizes a little bit more of, "I follow two influencers and over the past month, they've both mentioned this product and said that it's worked for them, so maybe I'll give it a shot".

Sam: Gotcha.

Hannah: So, it's building that trust between the influencer and the potential customer for the benefit of your company.

Sam: Okay. And is it like, is the frequency of posts, so not just like one post, but like multiple posts, does that make a difference? How is it that you sort of navigate that?

Hannah:  It's definitely harder now with the algorithmic changes over the past year or so with Instagram, but generally, for the specific beauty client, we generally do one Instagram post and then two to three stories. So, it'll be them making a recipe with it or them talking about the benefits and how they've seen it work in their own health and beauty regimen. So, that balance if there's one permanent post on their profile that will stay there when people scroll through, but then there's also the story, which people, I mean, if they're just going through all the stories, just tapping through all of them, then they'll see it and they can interact and you can do the swipe up feature, even, if their follow base is about 10,000.

  So, it's just the balance of not doing it too much so that users get annoyed, but it's also getting the most value that you can out of a couple posts.

Sam:  Gotcha. Right on. Wow, guys, that was awesome. Great job. Good job, guys. This has been an episode of The Production Room, brought to you by Replay, The Collective Marketing Agency, and until next episode ...


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