How To Avoid The Most Costly Mistake In Influencer Marketing With Shane Barker [AMP 115]
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Did you do a lot of stupid things when you were a kid? Did you get caught and yelled at? Was your #1 go-to argument: Well, my buddy was doing it first – only to be told, “Well, if your friend jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?” As a kid, there are certain people who influence and inspire you. As you get older, that doesn’t change. About 92% of consumers trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, more so than any other form of advertising. The result: Influencer marketing.
Today, we’re talking to Shane Barker, a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing. He shares the top three things needed to execute a successful influencer marketing strategy, as well as pitfalls to avoid.
Some of the highlights of the show include:
- Influencer marketing is the practice of using social media influencers to promote your brand, Website, or products
- Social media influencers have some type of influence over their followers, who trust and believe in them for information and guidance
- Don’t look at the follower count; number of followers incentivizes who is an influencer, but fake followers are used to make that happen
- Brands that use influencer marketing successfully include LinkedIn and LikeToKnowIt
- Software can be used to find influencers – consider engagement rates and profiles, not “likes”; conduct research to build a long-term relationship
- Pitfalls to Avoid: Don’t go after the influencer with the largest following and spend time selecting and setting expectations for an influencer
- Measure success of influencer marketing via affiliate codes/links, Website/landing page traffic, brand mentions, engagement rates, etc.
- Future of Influencer Marketing: How to scale this type of marketing, develop a win-win strategy, and educate brands on how to find influencers
- Shane Barker
- Shane Barker’s Email
- Content Solutions
- Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages
- The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn
- Send suggested AMP topics and guests
Eric: When I was a kid, I got into a lot of mischief with my friends, as I venture, you probably did as well when you were children. I had this one friend, his name was Clint, and we just did a lot of stupid things. When they were particularly moronic, we always got in trouble, our parents found out, I’d be getting yelled at and my number one go to argument was, “Well, Clint was doing it first.” You know what the response was. You can see it coming a mile away. “Well, if Clint jumped off the bridge, would you, too?”
Two things. One, that’s not really fair to my mom. She sounds nothing like that. She’s a wonderful mom with a beautiful voice. Two, turns out maybe I should’ve done more of what Clint was doing because he is now the VP of Strategy and Development at The LA Times. Kind of funny anecdote but really what it does is it really sums up just how influential people that we look up to or we hang around or that we trust can be, especially at that age, and really no surprises we grew up, that doesn’t change.
Nielsen, a whopping 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. Well, marketers have figured it out, and of course we have influencer marketing now. It’s sort of the biggest buzzword that I’m hearing right now. How do you tap into it? How do you leverage individuals? There’s a lot of strategy around them.
I brought on an influencer himself onto the Actionable Marketing Podcast. His name is Shane Barker. He’s our guest and he’s a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, as well as help with product launches, sales funnel and targeting traffic strategy, as well as website conversion. He is a contributor to Ink, he’s a Fortune 500 consultant, and he has a number of A-List celebrity as clients, I’m told as well.
He dives into one of the top three things to execute a successful influencer marketing strategy, and of course, what is the number one pitfall we should avoid. He hint it has to do with fake followers. One of the information around them in the news lately. Something we could have known but now everyone’s getting ousted for such a thing. He dives into all of this. It’s a great episode. I’m so excited to jump into it and have you introduced to Shane. My name is Eric Piela. I’m the Brand and Buzz Manager here at CoSchedule and the host of the Actionable Marketing Podcast. Let’s get this thing underway. All right, let’s get AMPed.
Very welcome. I’m excited for my guest on today’s Actionable Marketing Podcast. I have Shane Barker. Shane, welcome to the show.
Shane: Hey, Eric. Thanks for having me, man. I’m excited about talking to you guys today.
Eric: Yeah, I’m excited as well. This is one of those things where I have seen—whether it’s on social media or at conferences—your face so many times, you feel like you know somebody and just like that. You picked a really cool stained glass version of your profile. I feel like I know you. This should be fun. Welcome to the show.
Shane: That’s awesome. That’s good. I’ll have to tell my team that since you’ve seeing use everywhere, that’s working, that’s good.
Eric: It is. It is working. I’m a Brand and Buzz guy, so I’m all about exposure and I love you’re in the right place to sell. It’s finally get a chance to sit down and talk with you. I’m pumped to talk about our topic today, which I know you tons about, and that’s of course influencer marketing.
Shane, I know you’ve got an illustrious background in digital marketing. You’re a consultant, you help obviously, you specialize in influencer marketing, but you also have product launches and sales funnel and targeting traffic and a whole lot of things sort of a long repertoire. I love it if you could take a moment just to take a chance, just talk about sort of your pedigree, if you will, and kind of how you ended up really specializing in this area.
Shane: Yeah, absolutely. Really, it’s always so hard to have a title because there’s so many different things that I’ve done over the years. But really, I’m a digital strategist and we do branded influencer consulting. At shanebarker.com, which is really – we do consulting for companies, that can be on the brand side and the influencer side, and it can be under just general business development that people are looking for to grow their business.
I have another side of my company called contentsolutions.io and that’s where we do content marketing. We do a lot of online PR stuff, a lot of people who want brand mentions or looking to get more publicity to their company or their launch or something like that. Once a time, with people come in and, like I said, they’re looking to kind of getting an idea of what they’re looking to do to be able to take their business to the next level and we can help them do all that.
That’s kind of like my daytime job is, that is the influencer marketing, the product launches, sales funnels, all that stuff, the targeted traffic, and then my night time job is actually—I don’t know if you have noticed—I’m an instructor at UCLA. My teaching course out there called Personal Branding and How To Be An Influencer, which is pretty ironic because it’s in LA. There’s plenty of people out there that either want to be actors or want to be influencers. It’s a two-part course. One part is for how to be an influencer and the second part of the course is how brands can work with influencers. I work on both sides of the coin there.
Eric: That’s fantastic. You’re on the academic side, on the corporate side, some great background. I noticed in your bio, you have helped a number of A-List celebrities. Can you share any of those for us? Is all that top secret?
Shane: Yeah and no. Some of them I’ve had things that are signed that my attorney would probably lose their mind if I was to say their name. It’s funny. The reason why I can’t disclose a lot of them is because what it was is we’re doing online reputation management forum. What is was is people saying bad stuff online or TMZ came and did a story on them doing this, whether it’s true or not true. I have heavy on the PR side of helping people kind of clear their names.
This one was kind of an interesting space. We also helped them back in the day, we helped a lot of influencers get verified on Facebook and Instagram and stuff I had some good connections, which these days you wait for them to come and to send you the email and whether you be verified or not. Back in the day, because I had the relationships through my firm, we were able to kind of get in the door and get some really big celebrities verified. That was kind of fun.
Eric: Well, good. Fascinating. We’ll have to use our own imagination then with who they are. We’ll check the tabloids and see if we can find some. I’m excited to jump into kind of what made our conversation today, Shane. I was doing some research for our webinar and I ran across this interesting study by Nielsen. You’ve probably seen the stat but a whopping 92% of consumers around the world say that they trust – earned media such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, and that’s above all other forms of advertising.
When we think about influencer marketing and sort of leveraging that relationship and that audience as a word-of-mouth and as a recommendation, boy, what a perfect time, what a perfect platform. In certain ways, I’m in the Brand and Buzz and sort of the PR world and influencer marketing really has become a large piece of that, so to speak. Maybe if we just start super simple, it be a quick refresher for our listeners. If you could just kind of talk to influencer marketing, maybe just a quick what it is and when is it working well?
Shane: Yeah, absolutely. It is interesting because influencer marketing just last few years has really come, I know you’re hearing about it all the time. It’s something a lot of people are adding to their marketing mix. The idea of influencer marketing is essentially just the practice of using social media influencers from your brand like your website or products. When I say social media influencers, there’s a number of things that that can be. That can be writers, that can be people on Instagram, that can be YouTubers, there’s a number of different thing which we indicate as influencers. That’s one of things have to look at is that, “Hey we talk about influencers, what type of influencers do you think are going to be best to promote your product or service that you have?”
The idea this is that, the people when we talk about influencer or we talk about influencer marketing, these people have some type of influence over their following. They built some type of a community. Whether that’s subscribers on YouTube, whether that’s followers on Instagram, whether that’s your email list that you have from your website, those are all things where you have influence over those people because some kind of content that you’re sending to them in your emails or videos or pictures or something.
Those people, at a certain point, start to trust and believe in the things that you do and they’re looking to you for information, whether that be guidance or whatever that is. Everybody kind of has their own thing, there’s certain people they follow for those reasons.
One of the big questions I get is like, “Is there any specific number? At what point do I become an influencer?” The numbers are something that I think kind of mess with the industry recently, just because a lot of the fake follower stuff. Brands would go in and the idea is that it would assume that there’s one influencer that has 10,000 and there’s one influencer’s 100,000 and one influencer that has a million. They automatically make the assumption that the person with a million followers is going to be the better way to go because that’s going to be more eyeballs.
You’re basing this off in your mind which is like impressions. How many more people will see this because of a larger follower count. That’s where we’ve gone today where you jump into a lot of people who don’t take followers and stuff because the brands have incentivized people. “If you have 5000 followers, we’ll pay you this. If you have 10,000, you get paid this. If you have 100,000 then you get this really big payoff.”
We really have to re-evaluate that. The problem is is that’s why people are going and getting fake followers because if I can make $1000 or $10,000 and all I have to do is get my follower count up, the issue is that, and I’m not blaming the brands but the issue is that the influencers are going to want to go to that next level so they can get paid a lot more money.
What I’m telling brands is I don’t look at the follower count. That’s not the number one thing. The same thing with the influencers. Don’t make that your number one thing. I would much rather have somebody that has 1,000 heavily-engaged followers than 100,000 non-engaged followers. That’s what we look at, and we’ll talk about this a little later, but this is how you want to niche down and have a very specific thing.
The example I could use is like a yoga instructor in Los Angeles. If you’ve always grown your following from that and we know that those are usually yoga people that are following you for the most part, or you have the opposite side of the coin of Kim K. where you don’t know what people are following them for. It’s either for the drama or because of her makeup line or because she’s together with Kanye West. You don’t really know so it kind of dilutes if you’re a brand. It’s not very niched down. So, you’re going, “Okay, I got the big eyeball. I’m going to pay the big price tag but you’re better off finding the influencer that, like I said, has that perfect audience for your perfect product or service.
Eric: I think especially now in a content-saturated world, it’s hard to get any kind of reach to the audience you’re looking unless you’re willing to pay potentially on social and the idea of, “Hey, here’s the people I’m looking for, here are the people that they look to and respect and follow. If I can create a relationship or a partnership with this individual, I can get an immediate access to the right demographic from our product our product fed.
I totally see it and there’s definitely some process behind that what you think we’ll dig into. Maybe make it tangible if you could, Shane, give us an example of a brand, maybe a B2C, and then maybe a B2B, who is using or doing influencer marketing right or do it well.
Shane: Absolutely. I think from a B2B perspective, LinkedIn. Obviously, they’re huge but LinkedIn’s done a great job of leveraging influencers. They came out with a book called The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. What they did is that they went and grab, I think it was 10 influencers. What they did was they went and interviewed them and said, “Hey, how do you use LinkedIn? Why do you like LinkedIn?” and they came out with this guide. The idea of the guide is to say, “Hey, these are great influencers. Look what they’re doing. They’re using LinkedIn. You should be using LinkedIn as well.”
LinkedIn, obviously, sends it out to the network but then the other side of it, you have these 10 influencers that have their communities. Who doesn’t want to say that they’ve been included on LinkedIn in this Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide are getting sent. It’s a win-win. It’s like everybody wins in this situation.
Those kind of things from a B2B perspective and using those influencers once again to create those guide and having those people go and promote it to their audience, is a no-brainer. You have some cross-promotions that are happening there. If LinkedIn is doing their thing and then you have the influencers doing their thing, all that drive traffic to LinkedIn and say, “Hey, (a) I’m a big deal because LinkedIn featured me, and (b) let me explain to you why I’m using LinkedIn and why it’s worked for myself as an influencer.”
That’s more like the B2B space and then the B2C has been really interesting because of the retail space. LikeToKnowIt or LIKEtoKNOW.it, in regards to B2C, has been phenomenal. I don’t even know how many subscribers but I think it was 1.3 million. Some crazy amount like a 12-month period. What they did is they just built it out. They realized that there was going to be all these influencers out there. They’re realizing that they’re going to continue to take pictures and they’re going to do the things that they do, and then how are you going to be able to monetize that, which is great for the influencer to make some kind of commission of pictures that they’re already posting, assuming that they’re in the lifestyle or fashion space.
On the other side of it, it’s great for brands because this person’s already posting a picture of your dress or your hat or whatever it is, your shoes, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have all those people click on that and then be able to go over to a place and be able to buy that? To be able to understand where that influencer got it.
It really was a natural fit for both sides. But the key to the whole thing is how do you put that together, how do you put together an app where it makes it accessible for influencers to grab these types of clothing that you potentially already have and you go and find out their network, and then you go post it and you get some type of an affiliate credits for that.
Because they were one of their early adopters and the way that they put their program together, now they are receiving, I think is, I don’t know, it’s like a thousand plus applications a week to be an influencer on their network. People write, so it’s crazy. Before, I’m sure they were probably started off, “Hey, we’ll accept anybody for the most part.” They probably had some kind of a vetting process, but now it’s a point where they literally have—I don’t know how many people on staff they have—just to review the applications and to make sure sure that things are going good and they’re picking the right influencers that fit well.
There’s a lot of people that been writing about that blogger since, saying, “Hey, we don’t know the approval process but this is what we think that it is.” Once again, kind of like everybody’s trying to figure out the algorithm for Google and figure out, “Hey what do we need to do to be able to get number one.” Now, they’re trying to figure out like, “How am I going to be able to get on to LikeToKnowIt, to get on their network because of, once again, the possibility of making some money off of content that you are already going to be creating anyway.”
Eric: I trust that you are enjoying the conversation with Shane Barker. Great information on influencer marketing. I want to take a quick moment just to pause and ask a favor. As we roll into 2019, I would love to get some feedback on particular guest you’d like to hear from or companies you’re curious about, our marketing tactics and strategies you’d like to learn a bit more about. You can send those to firstname.lastname@example.org. Look forward to getting some of your insights and advice as we roll for another exciting year. All right, let’s get back to Shane’s conversation.
What should we all be looking for when we’re deciding to build a relationship with an influencer? It’s not that they’re just everywhere. You’re going to have like, “Hey, look at me. I’m an influencer. Pay me and I’ll talk about your product.” There’s obviously some authenticity that needs to be a part of the influencer relationship there when you’re talking about your products, et cetera. But what recommendations do you have? You kinda hinted about maybe getting niched but what are some other things that I think we should think about and consider when doing so?
Shane: I think the biggest thing and the biggest disconnect is that you really have to find the right influencers. That’s always the big question. How do I find those influencers? What do I do? How do I pitch them? What do we talk about? There’s obviously great software that you can use.
There’s a number of software we use. I’m very lucky in a sense because I’ve been writing about this for a long time, I’ve been doing it for a long time. I get access to all the software. I’m blessed in that sense but we use Grin and there’s a number at influence.co. It just depends on how you want to put your campaigns together.
What we do is we’ll go and let’s say we have a client and let us use yoga as an example. Let’s say there’s somebody in LA that have a yoga product they want to come out with and it’s very specific to a certain demographic or demographics and location. We would do is we would go in through Grin and we would go in and do the hashtags and take a look at keywords and stuff like that.
Initially, we will pull a list. Let’s say we wanted to work with 10 influencers. We would look at maybe at 100 influencers or 50 influencers and ones that would have certain types of engagement rates and stuff like that. We’re not as excited about likes because I can go to Fiverr and go spend $5 and get 1000 likes on anything I want. That’s how people are messing with the system that we’ve built but we’re not worried about that.
We’re more worried about engagement and really what it comes down to is an engagement rate can be, a good one is 2%-5%, something like that. Obviously, it’s nice to have higher but the idea that it’s just, as a base system, what we take a look at are the parameters that we’ve got, and then we kind of go from there. Then we’re going to go ahead and actually go pull that list and actually go and take a look at the influencers’ profiles.
Another thing is just because you have a high engagement rate, if I go and look at your content and there’s 15 pictures I’m looking at and engagement is 50 emojis, that’s not really engagement. It fools the software because software is like, “Oh, look. It’s somebody responding.” But if it’s all emojis, that’s not engagement. If I walk into a store and somebody just throws me an emoji, we really didn’t have a conversation right there. There was missing something there.
We really want to take a look at what type of engagement they’re getting as well. Not all engagement is good engagement. But somebody that you go and look at the content that they’re putting out there and they’re getting negative stuff, that is engagement, but is that an influencer you want to have your name associated with?
Really, one of the biggest things is if people miss that step of going into really researching them. You really want to dig deeper. You really want to make sure that this influencer’s going to be a good fit. But you want to pick quite a few of them. I interview all the influencers as well. For all the brands that I work with, I do an actual interview because I want to see where their heads at.
I mean, you’re going into this thing. You and I wouldn’t say you’re going in there and going to get married but you’re definitely starting a relationship. So I want to know a little bit more and want to know you’re not heavily medicated, we got to fill these kind of things out. Do you know anything about the company that I pitched to you? Have you heard about our products? How many other companies have you worked with that are similar to what we do?
Really the idea of this thing is you want to build a longer relationship. The idea is you really want to try to pick the right people from the beginning and that’s not just a numbers thing. Most companies’ brands will go and look at numbers. “Okay, this person’s got a higher follower count. This must be successful. This has gotta go great because they’ve got all these eyeballs and this is perfect.” We don’t look at at that. This is more of a long-term relationship.
The cool part about influencer marketing is there’s tons of influencers. There’s thousands of them, not millions of them. That’s what’s cool about it, that there’s a lot of options out there. But finding the right one is the key. It’s like anything else. People talk about influencer marketing, “Oh, it doesn’t work.” You get this PR stuff or people have put stuff out there, and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t work if you don’t pick the right influencer. I mean SCO doesn’t work if you don’t pick the right keywords. PPC doesn’t work if you don’t pick the right target audience.
It’s not just you go throw something up and you just going to make millions of dollars. There’s a process you’re supposed to put in place. There’s a certain research and time that you want to put into that. Just because you don’t work with one influencer doesn’t mean you’re going to hit a home run. The idea is that you’re going to try different things and there’s different platforms, there’s YouTube, there’s Instagram, there’s your blog, there’s SnapChat, there’s potentially Facebook and Twitter. There’s all kinds of different audiences, there’s different communities you can go after, and you kind of have to test each one and see where it’s going to be a good fit for your product or service.
Eric: Yeah, I love that. Really being very methodical about your influencer choice, the idea of even talking to them and interviewing them potentially, because you really are, in certain ways, you’re kind of marrying your brands together and you want to make sure you’re smart about who you decide to do that with.
Great advice there, Shane. Thanks so much for that. Is there maybe a pitfall that you see out there? Something people continuing to make this number one mistake? Maybe boil down all the mistakes into one. Is there something that our listeners should avoid doing before venturing in or while they’re into influencer marketing efforts?
Shane: Yeah. I think for me there’s two things. I already context on one is don’t go after the influencer with the largest following. Just don’t. That’s not the number one thing to look at. What were you seeing consistently is that the higher follower count they have, the lower the engagement.
There’s two reasons for that. One of the main reasons is, the analogy I always use is a restaurant. Let’s say, I open a restaurant and my opening night, on a Friday night, I have 200 people that come through. I’m able to do what I call shake hands and kiss babies. I thank everybody for coming and I’m able to get to every table and tell them, “Thank you. Thanks for supporting local. Blah-blah-blah.”
Those 200 people represents, let say 200 comments. Not everybody has the whole day, but when you respond to those people and you have this engaging conversation. Let’s say I have an opening night in my restaurant and I have 100,000 people come through. Well, I’m not going to be able to get through everybody. So my engagement rate is going to be lower because I have more people come through the front door.
It’s the same thing with influencer marketing, that Kim Kardashian something up and she has 10,000 comments, she’s not going to be able to respond to that. Her engagement rate, her connection to her audience is going to be a lot lower. That’s something to take a look at. Don’t just look at the highest follower count. That’s one of the things you have to take a look at, have to be careful of because that’s what most people do look at. They assume high follower count and this is going to have to be successful.
The other thing that I have to say is make sure you spend the time. One of the biggest pitfalls is not spending the time being methodical as you touched on, that you talked about earlier, being methodical about who you’re picking and how you’re putting the campaigns together. Also, what would you consider one of the things, the question that I ask, is what would you consider a big win?
I have a brand and I will say, “Hey, Shane. We want you to help us with our influencer marketing stuff,” and I ask them, “Hey, what would be a big home run for you guys? What would you guys look at this and say, ‘Man, Shane crushed because he did this.’ That helps the expectation,” and they go, “Hey, we’d like to put $10,000 into the campaign but we’d like to get a million dollars in sales.” I’m like, “Wow. I would, too. That sounds awesome but I don’t think that’s realistic.” That’s the one thing that you have to realize is you have to be realistic about what you think the expectations are, but the idea’s you have to set up your KPIs and your goals with those influencers.
One of the biggest things in the last few years that I’ve seen is that a lot of the brands don’t put together goals or KPIs. They just have the influencer put the content up there and then they come to me and they say, “Hey, it didn’t work.” I say, “Okay, but what were you guys’ goals? What did guys talk about the influencer?” “Well, we didn’t. They put the content up and we were supposed to get millions of dollars in sales and it didn’t happen.” I’m like, “Well, but you got to talk that out a little bit.”
I think that’s one of the issues is that you got to have that conversation with the influencer, like, “Hey, what are the campaigns have you done in the past? Can you show me some of the stuff that you’ve done? Some recording or something like that so I can kind of get a general idea what you’re looking at,” because the misconception is that people think that influencers are automatically marketers. They’re not.
That’s one thing you got to think about. These are people that have a community and built a community but it doesn’t mean that they’re marketers. They might not even know about the goals, the KPIs. It’s the responsibility of the brand to say, “Hey, this is what we’re looking at. We’re not expecting to get a million dollars in sales but we like to see an increase in brand mentions or maybe some sales for this specific product or whatever that is, but that is on the same page.”
Eric: Yeah, and that’s in perfect transition to the question I wanted to follow-up with was, how should we be measuring the success of influencer marketing? What are some smart KPIs, Shane, that you use to measure the impact of an influencer? Is it sales? Is it mentions? Should we be using specialized URLs to drive traffic? What is your recommendation there?
Shane: It depends on the product or service and you kind of touched on them. Obviously, the easiest were probably the best way to know if this influencer’s moving the needle or not, is going to be some kind of a UTM or some kind of an affiliate code or something like that or an affiliate link. We talked about Instagram as an example or on a blog or something. On a blog, it’s easy to use some kind of an affiliate link because it doesn’t change the price of the product for the consumer. It’s still the same price except I get some kind of a commission for doing that.
That’s the easiest way because now we know that anybody that clicks on this link, this is a unique link that was given to Shane and he put it on to his blog. Obviously, on my blog I disclose there’s affiliate links in here. I’m highly recommending these companies just not because I have an affiliate relationship with them but because I actually use the products. Then they can click on that. That’s the easiest way to get to do it.
A second still easy to do is you can also give somebody a code, it can be barker25, so anybody who uses this code gets 25% off. There’s still some room for potential error because people aren’t clicking directly on a link and if they forget to use the code or something like that.
For sales-wise, those are the two easiest ways. You can take a look at it is obviously website traffic. Let’s say we’ll do is we’ll set up a specific landing page that that influencer can throw that traffic too and see if we moved the needle there. Not just general. If you’re a huge company, just throw it into your homepage. That’ll probably not move the needle that much. You have to know how did they move the needle and what are we looking at there.
We usually use landing pages which is to do that. We look at brand mentions as well or any kind of awareness on social media. We have tools that we’ll set up to say, “Hey, looks like we had an uptick in people mentioning the product or service,” and that can be what it’s going to do to the influencer.
One of the hardest parts back in the day we had a lot of issues was, if I did 10 campaigns with 10 influencers today, who moved the needle? That’s the biggest thing in marketing is that I spent $10,000 a month and $5000 is driving $20,000 my business, but I don’t know which $5000.
Eric: Which $5000.
Shane: Right? That’s always the deal. How do you go about that? You kind of have to look at that. What we try to do is—this depends on the kind of service, obviously—we try to do specific campaigns for specific influencers and then we’ll figure out where there’ll going to be those KPIs. Is it going to be engagement rates? Is it going to be brand awareness? Is it going to be lead generation or conversions to links or something like that? It really comes down to the brand, what they’re looking for, and how realistic they are with the outcomes of what they’re going to be getting.
It’s easy to read articles that like, “Hey, for every $1 you make $7.” If that was for every influencer marketing campaign, everybody will just do that forever. There’s upsides and downsides and that does happen. We’ve gotten great results for our clients but there’s also the times where it’s taken two or three or four campaigns to be able to get the results that they’re looking for. It’s like anything else. It’s going to take a little time.
Eric: Yeah. Good advice. We’ve done some and built some strategic relationships with some marketing influencers and we find the landing page works great. That’s a good suggestion and I can second that here at CoSchedule and our site as well.
As we wrap up our conversation here—we can talk forever on this—I think there’s so much to kind of get through. We talked a little bit about some avoidance, some of that fake follower trap, thinking more besides just number of followers, being thoughtful of how you choose. How do you see influencer marketing kind of evolving and shaking out in 2019? Any big changes? I see you talked about more and more influencers like, “Hey I can make money using my audience here.” Are you going to see an influx of influencers? What sort of the big thing you kind of keeping your eye on as we roll into the next calendar year?
Shane: We’re talking about 2019, I think there’s going to be two things. There’s one thing that we’re working on. There’s another thing that I think is going to big for brands is how are they able to scale influencer marketing because right now, a lot of people are doing one-off campaigns and then how do you take that initial campaign that you had success in 2018 and how do you magnify that? How do you make it so you work with 10 influencers, now you want to work with 100 influencers, and how do you bring them in as either ambassadors or something like that where you’re developing out that campaign and you can scale it?
Once you find something that works, once you find, “Hey, YouTube is my place and it looks like they can have at least 10,000 subscribers.” These are the kind of content with this kind of demographic we’ve seen some good successes there. Now, what we need to do is go find somebody that’s similar with a similar demographic, similar subscribers, and then we need to develop a program around them. But it needs to be a win-win.
I think one of the biggest things is that a lot of brands think that, “Hey, I’ve seen this great content, I’ve seen this great video of YouTube, and I want to go and offer him a free $50 t-shirt to do a video.” They probably have a videographer, they have an editor, they have all the stuff in place. It’s not cheap. Once you’ve been doing it correctly and you love their content, that’s something you’ve got to look at is how do we make this a win-win for everybody?
Every influencer is different. Some people are looking for a pay-for-post, some people are looking for some kind of affiliate thing, some people will do it for a free product. Everybody’s different. That’s one of the big questions is like, “Oh, what do I pay an influencer?” Well, it really depends. It really depends on the influencer because each one of them run their business differently.
That’s a big thing. Another big thing is education. We’re actually doing brand workshops in San Francisco the start of next year, where we’ll actually bring brands out and it will be a one day kind of an intensive course where we were going to talk to them about how to find influencers, how to pitch influencers, how to talk to influencers, what’s to negotiate, how to put your contracts together because we’ve just seen that there’s this area of influencers and brands getting together and doing this thing called influencer marketing but there’s just not a lot of parameters there.
You’re going to have an influencer that isn’t going to get hired again by the brand because the brand was disappointed but the brand really didn’t know what to ask for from the influencer, neither the influencer didn’t know what to get to the brand.
It’s the education side of things that we’re doing. UCLA is the basis of that we’ve been developing the course out of. But I’m doing a course myself for influencers where they can come and ask questions and I can help educate them on how to work with brands, how to pitch brands, how to find brands, and then on the other side, working with brands, how to find influencers, and how to find the right influencers, what to look for, what not to look for, the things you have to be careful of. We’re putting those programs together right now, like I said, to launch in 2019.
Eric: Great. This has been great. I think there’s so much to cover. There’s so many good things to really dive into influencer marketing. We hit a lot of them today. Thank you for that. Like you said, there’s a whole other world around how do you make the right ask, what does the influencer wants, what do you need to give in order to get them to talk about, and there’s all those things that kind of unpack. Where can they go to learn a little more about this, Shane?
Shane: You can go to my blog. It’s just shanebarker.com. You can go to my blog, obviously jump to the newsletter, I’m always writing stuff there, and I write for LinkedIn, Forbes, and all the other websites as well. If you just google Shane Barker, you’ll see some fun stuff pop up [being 00:34:12] take a look at it there. In any event, I’ll give my direct email address as well. Just email@example.com. You can reach out to me anytime and like I said, I usually respond within 24 hours.
Eric: Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing that. I know our listeners are going to be interested and happy to help connect to you with them. Well this has been great. Thank you so much for your time, Shane. I know there’s tons of things in there that people can take and go implement right away, right now. I hope they do so. I hope this was informational. Thanks so much, Shane. I hope to have you on the show again sometime in the future.
Shane: I’d love to be a part of it, Eric. Thank you so much for the opportunity.
Eric: You bet. Take care.
December 11, 2018