Influencer Marketing – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting Mon, 20 Aug 2018 15:06:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Influencer Marketing – Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting 32 32 11 Things You Must Know About B2B Influencer Marketing Wed, 16 May 2018 13:00:00 +0000 B2B influencer marketing shares many of the same best practices as does B2C. But there are several important differences that should be kept in mind. Jay Baer breaks them down here, including how to best find, educate, and motivate B2B influencers.

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11 Things You Must Know About B2B Influencer Marketing

Because paid advertising is increasing in expense and, in some cases, decreasing in effectiveness, companies of all sizes and shapes are turning to earned exposure through influencer marketing.

In theory, it makes perfect sense. Consumers trust one another more than they trust messages from brands. Thus, if we can get human beings to carry our marketing water on behalf of the company, not only do costs go down, but persuasiveness goes up simultaneously.

There are some critical challenges with this type of marketing, including scalability, disclosure, and the tendency of companies to confuse influence with audience when selecting persons with whom to align. But the genie is not going back in the bottle. With hundreds of influencer marketing software firms in play, powered by venture capital, this is a marketing sub-genre that’s going to be around awhile.

But the overwhelming majority of influencer marketing software and industry chatter focuses on the use of influencers to pitch consumer-focused products. Instagram is rotten with influencer appeals (many of them ham-fisted) for all manner of B2C doo-dads and gadgetry.

In reality, however, influencer marketing is more important for B2B than for B2C. After all, the average purchase size in B2B typically dwarfs that in B2C, and the impact of referrals and word of mouth are more critical to the success of the organization. Note that 19 percent of the overall US economy (B2B and B2C) is driven specifically by word of mouth, but 91 percent of B2B transactions are at least influenced by word of mouth.

In short, without word of mouth and influencer marketing, B2B purchases would grind to a halt, because nobody takes a flyer on B2B products and services the way they gamble on consumer-focused items.

Many of the tenets of influencer marketing work the same for B2C and for B2B. But there are several important differences that I’ll focus on in this piece.

11 Things You Must Know About B2B Influencer Marketing (and Why It’s Different from B2C)

Lengthen Your Time Horizon

Because the factors that go into a B2B purchase decision are often more nuanced and comprehensive than consumer purchases, the impact of B2B influencer marketing will naturally take longer to take root. Consumers goods companies can—in theory—pay some models to hawk bikinis on Instagram, and purchases will roll in almost immediately. It doesn’t work like that for B2B.

Further, because most B2B purchases involve multiple decision makers, it is likely to take longer for the impact of B2B influencer marketing to touch a plurality of those people. This is why, incidentally, we all should be using more influencers in cooperation with account-based marketing.

In the estimation of me and our strategist here at Convince & Convert, you shouldn’t expect results from a B2B influencer marketing program for at least six months, and you should seek to work with B2B influencers one year at a time. This differs a lot from B2C influencer programs, which can be as short as 30 days.

Don't expect results from your B2B influencer marketing program for at least 6 months.
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Look First for Existing Advocates

Categorically, I’ll say that companies are too eager to look outside their existing ecosystems to find “fresh” influencers. In many cases, outstanding advocates with pre-baked topical knowledge are already associated in some way with the brand.

The first step—once you know why you want to engage in B2B influencer marketing at all—should be to carefully analyze and evaluate your existing customers, fans, business partners, and employees for evidence of advocacy and influence.

Something as simple as using a tool like Cision (a Convince & Convert partner) or FollowerWonk to examine the relative social influence of everyone who follows the brand on Twitter can yield remarkable insights. Social chatter is so diffuse now that it’s entirely possible influencers are routinely talking about your brand without you even knowing about it (until you make a specific effort to identify them).

These people constitute the first pool of potential B2B influencers because they already have a proven affinity.

Look Second for Who Influencers Your Customers

Advertising is about influencing potential customers. Influencer marketing is about influencing the people that influence your potential customers. It’s one step removed.

If you want to figure out who is really going to resonate as a B2B influencer—and you do—it really helps to know who your customers are already listening to, reading, and watching. I love the Affinio software for this purpose, as we used it to determine who influences fans of Convince & Convert, and used that list to help select podcast guests, among other outcomes. It’s slick.

But, if you don’t want to purchase a software license to do that kind of analysis, launch a quick survey of your customers using Typeform or something similar. Ask them specifically who they listen to, read, and watch. We’ve done this kind of research too, and I suggest you add a question about trust—something like, “Among this list of B2B influencers you’ve acknowledged you listen to/read/watch, please rank them by how much you trust them.” This is incredibly helpful information, as influencer marketing is all about trust for B2B.

Don’t Focus Only on Social Strength

Of course, social media reach is often used as a key measure of influence, but it’s by no means the only way to gauge B2B influencer marketing viability. In fact, some of the most powerful influencers in the world are not active at all in social media. On the marketing front, for example, Seth Godin is, by any measure, a massive influencer. Yet his use of social media is modest to non-existent.

When we create B2B influencer marketing programs for clients, we also look at potential participants who may not be social mavens but are respected authors, speakers, thinkers, podcasters, and researchers. Yes, using social footprint as the sole criteria makes it easier and faster to run a report to “find” influencers, but I can absolutely guarantee that doing that alone will miss a lot of truly influential people that your customers respect.

Social media reach

Create B2B Influencer Dossiers

Once you have a list of potential influencers, it’s incredibly useful to be able to compare them using consistent data and a common format. This is why I always strongly suggest preparing influencer dossiers.

This is a document—usually in Keynote for us, but it doesn’t really matter—that discusses the strengths, weaknesses, history, and passions of all candidate influencers. For each person, chart:

  • social channels
  • engagement ratios
  • topics covered
  • hashtags used
  • geography
  • best-performing relevant posts/content
  • history of influencer work/relationships in the industry
  • any red flags or warning signs
  • non-social influence platforms like books, speaking, podcasts
  • media coverage
  • results of your research into how relevant this person is for your customers

(If you’d like a sample dossier template, send us a note at and we’ll send it to you.)

Be Hyper-Aware of B2B Influencer Conflicts

Many B2C influencers make all or part of their living doing just that: recommending products. That is not the case with B2B influencer marketing. Most B2B influencers have a “day job” and are influential in part because of that position.

In some cases, the influencer may be a sole proprietor or may run a company, but she is still tied to that organization. Consequently, B2B influencer marketing programs are much more likely to have circumstances whereby a proposed influencer cannot participate, or at least can’t participate in a way your brand would find ideal, due to existing relationships, company partnerships, or job restrictions.

This is another reason why you need to make sure you give yourself enough time to find and activate B2B influencers. In our estimation, 60 days is the minimum lead time necessary to research and approach influencers, and then figure out what’s possible, what creates an untenable conflict, etc.

Time to find B2B influencers

Build Relationships with Trends and Predictions

When working with a B2B influencer for the first time, it’s wise to build those bonds incrementally. Unless they are already huge advocates, they’re unlikely to jump immediately at the chance to work on something together.

A better approach is to tap into the influencer’s wisdom and connections by putting together a curated collection of influencer thoughts. You’ve almost certainly seen these kinds of pieces, like “23 content strategists predict 2018 trends” or similar. Here’s one we created for Cision, called “Listen: 5 Audiences Brands Can’t Afford to Ignore.” It features Scott Stratten, Jeff Bullas, Mark Schaefer, Neal Shaffer, and myself.

This is a great first step when building relationships because it doesn’t require a ton of the influencers’ time, and it’s a nice entrée into the brand, its products, and its messaging. After finding success with an initial trends/predictions report, expand and enhance the relationship to include more detailed and comprehensive content co-creation and promotion. Also, if you have a brand-led podcast, that’s another good way to break the ice with potential influencers.

Spend the Time to Educate on Products

When you’re ready to expand the relationship beyond a trend piece, it is imperative that you spend time truly educating the people in your B2B influencer marketing program about your company, products, customers, competitors, and culture. This step, unfortunately, gets overlooked quite a lot. I think it’s because brands think they may be imposing on their influencers if they require so much education time. But in my experience, if the influencer is truly engaged with the company, they want to know as much as possible, for two reasons.

First, the best influencers have genuine passion for the industry and for the company, so spending time learning more about the ins and outs is a joy rather than a burden. Second, B2B influencers—especially those who have some experience with these kinds of programs—know that the more they learn, the more effective they can be because they’ll be able to better tell company stories in their own words.

Focus on Co-Creation

B2B influencers aren’t just supposed to parrot your party line and retweet your brand account word for word. If that’s the game plan, just buy some ads. The more influencers put their own spin on the benefits of the products and services, the more impactful and persuasive they are on your behalf.

The best way to move the needle with B2B influencer marketing is to find the right people and educate them. Next, explain clearly what you are looking to accomplish with influencers, and why. Then, just listen. Let the influencers come up with ideas on how to create interesting content, how to promote your events, how to engage with key customers, how to enable your sales team, and more.

Let them pitch you ideas. This works so much better than you and your marketing team concocting a content initiative and just recruiting influencers to amplify it. Influencer led co-creation breeds better outcomes and is much more interesting for the influencers, as well.

It’s Okay to Have Fun with B2B Influencer Marketing

B2B doesn’t stand for “boring to brainwashed.” Almost universally, the best B2B influencer marketing programs are those that have a heavy dose of creativity.

This piece last year from LinkedIn called “Great Marketing Stories Read by Top Influencers” is one of my all-time favorite examples. In that program, the company worked with a dozen marketing influencers and asked them to select a favorite, recent digital marketing blog post or articles.

Then, each influencer created an audio recording of themselves performing a “dramatic reading” of the blog post, which the company then published as a holiday-themed playlist.

Discovering that Scottish marketing genius Chris Marr chose to read my blog post (in full brogue) about why you shouldn’t post quotes of yourself in social media was a delightful surprise.

Attract Influencers to Your Brand

In most cases, you’ll go out and “recruit” people for your B2B influencer marketing program. But it doesn’t have to be that way every time. In fact, some of the most successful influencer programs in history turn this relationship on its head. In these cases, the company creates enough great content and community that influencers show up and participate without having to be asked to do so.

Hubspot’s recently deceased community is an example of this influencer attraction in practice. The best conferences do the same. Joe Pulizzi’s Content Marketing World and Mike Stelzner’s Social Media Marketing World collect digital influencers like Kim Kardashian collects weird baby names.

The events are good enough that influencers want to be there.

(We’re doing the same thing at our CONEX event we’re producing with our partners at Uberflip. It’s going to be a KILLER event. August 20–22 in Toronto. Tickets on sale now.)

It’s by no means a certainty that you’ll be able to pull off the reverse attraction. It requires a huge commitment to killer content and a truly thriving community. But it can work, and when it does, it creates self-perpetuating momentum that you rarely see in B2C.

B2B influencer marketing can be a tremendous boon to your brand, and many of the best practices are similar to how you’d handle B2C programs. But there are important differences you should keep in mind. I hope this article will help you along your journey. And if the team and I can help you, please do let us know.

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How to Stay Competitive in the Growing World of Influencer Marketing Mon, 14 May 2018 15:24:31 +0000 Not so long ago, internet marketing was all about affiliates. Today, brands are turning to influencers to earn consumer trust, and influencer marketing has never been more competitive.

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How to Stay Competitive in the Growing World of Influencer Marketing

Not so long ago, internet marketing was all about affiliates. It was one of the more effective ways to reach a mass audience, and brands could compete with one another through an affiliate publisher, or web portal, to increase exposure and drive sales.

Now, ordinary individuals can gain massive reach through a single social channel. Brands that once relied on affiliates to promote their products online are turning to influencers to lend more legitimacy to their wares.

Because of my background in affiliate marketing, I can say with confidence that influencer marketing is the new wave of affiliate marketing. The most engaging of influencers leverage the newest, most exciting technologies to provide a better experience for their audiences.

Brands that once relied on affiliates to promote their products online are turning to influencers.
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The Future of Influencer Marketing

It’s easy to see what I’m talking about just by looking at trends. Consumers are “cutting the cord” from cable television, instead choosing to create their own viewing experiences from their phones, tablets, and computers. Those still tethered to the tube now have the ability to skip what they deem unnecessary and consume digital content whenever they want.

Cord-cutting—and a growing skepticism about what brands say about themselves—has bolstered the impact of user-generated content, making celebrities (or microcelebrities) out of people with knacks for taking selfies and videos of themselves.

The influencer marketing space will keep evolving, especially as people continue consuming digital content. Greater sophistication will emerge regarding the ways that brands customize their messaging and measure the impact of their marketing efforts—particularly through this new breed of media personality.

Platforms of Influence

Curated newsletters are growing in popularity. If you follow business influencers on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn, you will most likely find them promoting an article in a newsletter. And if you like what you read, you’ll keep going back. Eventually, the authors of that content will become trusted sources of information, and what they say will have some sway over your thoughts. And when they start promoting a product or service, it just might become a viable purchasing decision.

Newsletters and blog posts are nothing new, but what I’m getting at is the importance of thinking outside the box to reach your target audience. It’s becoming increasingly clear that traditional marketing methods are no longer enough to increase brand awareness. You need to lean on the people who have influence with your ideal customers.

3 Tips to Influence Others

How do you use these influencers to your advantage? Keep these three strategies in mind.

1. Be selective in your choice of influencers.

Influencer marketing is like any other form of marketing—at least when it comes to the basics. It’s essential to understand your audience members before you can reach them, let alone provide them with anything of value.

Segment your target audience into personas based on their likes, interests, and hobbies. Then, find influencers who already appeal to those personas, rather than selecting influencers solely for their reach.

Athletic shoe brand ASICS successfully targeted a variety of personas by harnessing influencers at different levels of expertise. To promote FrontRunners, its global health and fitness initiative, it sourced content from amateur, semi-professional, and professional runners. These influencers created profiles and blog pieces the brand used to target a wide range of readers, from those interested in distance running to those just in the market for a shoe.

Relevance is, after all, the most important element in your relationship with any influencer. Reaching the right people requires choosing an influencer who shares the same target audience as your brand. And with 83 percent of consumers trusting friend and family recommendations, it’s easy to tap a source that has authority over purchase decisions. Followers of influencers often regard their videos, photos, and other posts as endorsements from a trusted friend.

83 percent of consumers trust friends and family

2. Go niche with your influence.

Plenty of influencers reach millions of people, but partnering with them sometimes provides the same results as other “mass” marketing efforts: a big bang for few bucks—at least on the back end.

Instead, try looking for influencers or channels with smaller followings. They often offer more engaged and devoted fan bases. They will also know their audiences well and communicate in ways that will generate responses.

Sperry embraced this method when it elected to go smaller with a 2016 campaign that partnered with more than 100 Instagram micro-influencers. The boat shoe brand sought loyalists who were already sharing primo photos of the shoes via their personal Instagram accounts and asked the customers to create similarly alluring photos for Sperry’s own account. The approach had less to do with ROI and more to do with widening the brand’s social imprint, which can produce financial dividends in due time. Sperry saw what possibilities could arise from investing in niche influencers, like what Amazon did when it invested in the live-streaming video platform Twitch.

Twitch viewers watch other people play video games. The platform currently has more than 100 million monthly visitors, with nearly half clocking more than 20 hours of viewing each week. Amazon saw so much potential in Twitch’s ability to drive game sales that it bought the service for nearly $1 billion in 2014. Influencers on the channel feature products they like, earning commissions on any resulting sales. Twitch has proved an easy way to tap a big potential audience.

3. Create the right mix of content.

Think of influencer marketing like you would content marketing: It provides just as many types of content, and each content type connects you to a different portion of your audience.

In other words, don’t rely solely on short-form content platforms like Snapchat or Instagram. Although these platforms have viewer influence, depending exclusively on them means you might miss out on opportunities that only long-form content can provide. Instead, consider using sites like Medium to strike the right balance with your mix of content. Unlike Snapchat or Instagram, Medium provides a channel for your audience to dig deeper into topics.

You should always be curating marketing collateral, and any good collection has more than one form of content. The real trick is knowing when to use a picture, video, article, or even email to further the conversation.

Influencer marketing is quickly becoming the most powerful weapon in a marketer’s arsenal of strategies. Using it effectively comes with a learning curve, and it can take time, energy, and a whole lot of research to find the right influencer to promote your brand. But once you do, it can be a match made in heaven for your bottom line.

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The 5 Best Influencer Marketing Studies of 2018 So Far Tue, 01 May 2018 13:00:28 +0000 Massive growth is on the horizon for influencer marketing. These must-read influencer marketing studies examine what's ahead in 2018 and how marketers can prepare.

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The 5 Best Influencer Marketing Studies of 2018 So Far

The field of marketing is in constant flux, with marketers constantly analyzing emerging trends and data to determine optimal strategies. As a result, marketing studies only a year old can be outdated. Fortunately, a fresh crop of influencer marketing studies published in 2018 provide marketers with fresh insight that can positively impact their campaigns.

1. Increasing Marketing Budgets

The vast majority of marketers are increasing their budgets in 2018. Only five percent of marketers report plans to decrease their investment in marketing, per Linqia’s State of Influencer Marketing 2018 study.

Budget increases in marketing have been a trend for the past several years, with more viable channels than ever available for marketing efforts. The cost of managing influencer marketing is one noteworthy reason for increasing budgets, as well.

Another big reason for the continuing increase in marketing budgets is the rise of big data, which confirms the immense value of marketing to anyone previously doubting its importance. Today, brands compete to provide superior customer experience across many digital platforms. Buyers are increasingly seeking out products on their own, whereas in the past, the majority of products were broadcast to them. Customer journeys are becoming increasingly self-driven, which raises the importance of effective marketing.

Influencer marketing has the potential to captivate audiences with influencers they know and trust. As a result, marketers are finding influencer investments to be worthwhile and necessary. Marketers are also choosing to embrace turnkey providers for managing influencer marketing programs, especially since market research costs can vary depending on a variety of factors.

As long as customers continue to browse the web and pursue a self-guided approach to discovering content, marketing budgets are likely to continue increasing.

Customer journeys are becoming increasingly self-driven. #CX
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2. Challenges in Managing Influencer Marketing Programs

Marketers in 2018 report that one of their biggest challenges is incorporating influencer marketing into their busy schedules. Influencer marketing has immense value in 2018, so marketers do not have much choice. However, many marketers are finding viable solutions to managing influencer marketing programs. According to Linqia, 42 percent of marketers report using a managed service or “turnkey service provider” to help run the programs, with an additional 18 percent outsourcing influencer marketing to an agency.

Agencies that act as turnkey service providers and influencers of marketing middle-servicing are increasing in popularity among marketers, who recognize the necessity of scaling their campaigns in 2018. Even if marketers do not have resources on their own to manage influencer marketing, they are getting it done nonetheless with outsourcing and turnkey service providers.

3. Influencers Continue to Engage

One of the most prominent reasons for increasing investments in the influencer marketing sphere is the strength of influencer engagement. The average influencer engagement rate across industry verticals is 5.7 percent. Comparatively, brands on Instagram have an average engagement rate between two and three percent.

Why do influencers have about double the engagement of brands? The answer may lie in influencers’ greater feeling of authenticity. Consumers are well aware that brands are promoting with the incentive to sell. An influencer, however, may be promoting something because they enjoy the product or service. Although consumers are aware that influencers often receive payment for promotion, they also know that influencers are unlikely to damage their reputation by promoting a product or service that’s low-quality or undesirable.

Influencers attract double the engagement

4. Video Content Continues to Reign Supreme

The dominance of video content is nothing new, though it’s notable that 2018 may see video reach a whole new level of engagement. Experts estimate that by 2020, video consumption will reach 80 percent of global online traffic.

86 percent of marketers use video content, which makes even more sense when you consider that viewers absorb 95 percent more messaging via video. Video’s staying power is also clear, with 99 percent of marketers already using video saying they will continue to use it throughout 2018.

In a 2018 study by Wyzowl, 97 percent of marketers reported that video helped increase users’ understanding of their product or service. Combine that with the fact that 72 percent of consumers prefer video over text when learning about a product or service, and it’s easy to see why marketers embrace video content.

It’s worth noting that influencers are rampant throughout video-centric social media platforms, like YouTube and Instagram. Video content’s rise in popularity alongside the ascent of influencers is no coincidence.

Video will constitute 80 percent of traffic by 2020

5. Marketers Are Honing in on Instagram and Blogs

In 2018, Instagram reigns supreme as the most important social network for influencer marketing, according to 92 percent of marketers in Linqia’s The State of Influencer Marketing 2018. The majority of social networks support video content, though Instagram stands out due to its enormous user base and easily digestible, often concise video content.

The Kardashian family alone provides a taste of Instagram’s potential, with Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, and Kourtney Kardashian attracting over 26,000,000 likes and comments on Instagram from January 1 to March 15, 2018. When an influencer achieves success on Instagram, it’s usually a massive success.

Instagram is the most important network for influencers

Don’t overlook the rising importance of blogs, either. Although blogs still lag behind Instagram and Facebook as the most important social networks for influencer marketing, they are a close third and have risen in popularity since 2017. Influencers on social media are embracing the blog form for more word-heavy content, especially the influencers launching their own e-commerce lines. These blogs showcase products and more informative content beyond these influencers’ social media presences.

2018 is an exciting year for marketers, who are seizing emerging forms of content like video and embracing influencers in their marketing campaigns. As consumers become more wary of conventional marketing techniques and gain more awareness of market research, influencer marketing offers a fresh and (hopefully) authentic approach that provides consumers a new perspective on why a particular product or service may be a good fit for their needs.

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5 B2B Marketing Trends That Will Shape 2018 Tue, 06 Feb 2018 14:00:00 +0000 From multimedia content creation to story-driven copywriting, watch for these B2B marketing trends in 2018—or experiment with a few yourself.

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5 B2B Marketing Trends That Will Shape 2018

B2B marketing values relevancy, which makes emerging trends pertinent for any marketer looking to get a jump on their effectiveness in 2018. From embracing multimedia content creation to using copywriting in a more story-driven, personal form, these marketing trends are something all B2B marketers should keep in mind.

1. Multimedia Content Creation

Blog posts are fine for informational reference, but there’s demand for multimedia content, especially video. In fact, on today’s multimedia-driven web, people spend more time with digital video than social media. The podcast audience also continues to expand.

The message is clear: Audiences are becoming more familiar with visual and auditory forms of content, instead of traditional copy. In 2018, B2B marketing looks to involve more multimedia content to engage business-to-business leads.

Live video is another exciting aspect of multimedia content. B2B marketing relies strongly on at least one party demonstrating desirable expertise, and one excellent way to showcase expertise is live video. In fact, a Livestream study found 80 percent of brand audiences would prefer to watch a live video instead of reading a blog post. Hosting videos on Facebook Live, while taking and answering questions, is a fantastic way to showcase expertise to potential B2B partners and the general viewing audience alike.

It’s easy enough to have a professional-looking website in 2018, but be prepared for your audience to demand more.

Audiences are becoming more familiar with visual and auditory content, instead of traditional copy.
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2. Mobile Accommodations

It’s already essential for brands to have a mobile-friendly website, considering that 69 percent of digital media engagement is on mobile platforms—a number that will only increase in 2018. In fact, mobile is steadily surpassing the web as the go-to platform.

As a result, B2B marketing will likely embrace mobile formats in the future and beyond. These range from mobile-friendly website and email template designs to mobile apps that enhance the brand experience.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality

The virtual and augmented reality industries are rising quickly. Industries from fashion to B2B marketing are embracing these new technologies. In 2018, B2B marketers will continue to explore ways to engage audiences with virtual and augmented reality.

We’re just now seeing the impact of VR and AR on B2B marketing engagement ideas, including putting customers in a virtual product simulation and using a “virtual space” where marketers can address questions, as if they’re in the same room with the viewer. It’s a form of futuristic webinar, and it’s effective: Research from Stanford shows virtual reality simulations can be effective motivators for buying behavior.

4. Automating Business Leads

While you should certainly be doing your part to attract leads to your businesses naturally, there are also resources out there that can provide B2B leads directly to you. You can set demographics like industry, number of employees, and business revenue to hone in on a demographic that is most likely to be in need of your product or service.

For small businesses, especially, which may lack the time and resources to uncover a multitude of leads on their own, automating business leads can be ideal. The efficiency of business lead automation makes it a likely trend for business in 2018 and beyond.

Automation tips businesses can use to bring in new leads more efficiently include:

  • Consider marketing automation software. In surveys of marketing automation software users, the users highlight the usefulness of marketing automation software in increasing leads and accurately measuring results.
  • Use mail merging software to automate email send-outs and follow-ups, with automated tracking capabilities on a spreadsheet via Google Drive. Mail merging enables users to personalize emails, like a contact’s name and publication, drawing from information on a spreadsheet of contacts.
  • Compile key information about leads with forms and surveys. To incentivize survey participation, offer a discount or prize to someone within the pool who participates. Base the survey questions around information relevant to the business’ target demographic.

5. Influencer Marketing

There are a variety of influencers across social media that drive purchasing decisions for their high number of followers. Although B2C brands tend to dominate influencer social media channels, there are also business-oriented influencers, on YouTube in particular, that reach audiences in the B2B sphere. Look for B2B marketers in 2018 and beyond to embrace influencers just as advertisers have, using their platform as a way to engage a relevant audience quickly.

2018 is an exciting time for B2B marketing, with a wide variety of exciting new ways to market with relevancy and technological savvy.

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This Is How Fast Influencer Marketing Is Changing Tue, 30 Jan 2018 14:00:00 +0000 New research reveals how influencers plan to up the ante on content production and shift their monetization strategies in 2018.

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This Is How Fast Influencer Marketing Is Changing

#InfluencerGoals. If you don’t have them, you know someone who does. Take a quick video, snap a few selfies, multiply your Instagram hashtags, and bam! Influence.

At least that’s how it’s perceived by marketers and wannabes who don’t understand how someone evolves from a content creator into an influencer. As marketers, we’re guilty of promoting that notion too. After all, brands who need help raising their profile are a dime a dozen.

In short, online influence works. Influencer marketing can generate 11 times the ROI of traditional advertising, which is music to every marketer’s ears. Seems easy enough, right? It may look that way on the surface. But building and sustaining influence takes more effort than posting a handful of selfies or Snaps each week.

There’s a disconnect between creators and those who want to hire them. It’s easy to overlook the investment a creator puts into building a brand, engaging an audience, and making money from their efforts. Whether you’re an online content creator, a wannabe influencer, or the agency looking to hire influencers and understand why they get paid, keep reading. With a hat tip to the Creator Monetization Report 2017, we’ll dive into who these creators are and how they produce and monetize their content as they build influence.

Influencer marketing can generate 11X the ROI of traditional advertising.
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Calculating the Average Workload of Content Creators

Many online content creators don’t limit themselves to publishing on just one platform. Here’s an analysis of the different types of content creators make:

  • Bloggers: 36 percent of bloggers create video content, 17 percent do live video, and eight percent podcast.
  • Video creators: 26 percent of video creators also create blog posts, 24 percent use live video, and seven percent podcast.
  • Podcasters: 55 percent of podcasters also blog, 40 percent use video, and 31 percent are using live video.

Creators are blogging an average of seven times per month. Those that identify primarily as bloggers tend to publish more—on average nine times per month. In addition, bloggers publish approximately eight times a month across other media channels. This includes podcasts (twice monthly), live video (twice monthly), and pre-produced video (four times a month).

Based on this frequency, a blogger’s publishing schedule could look something like this:

  • Week one: Two blog posts, live video hit, and a produced video that ties into one of the blog posts.
  • Week two: Two blog posts, a podcast episode, and a produced video that promotes what’s on the blog.
  • Week three: Two blog posts, plus one live video and one edited video.
  • Week four: Three blogs posts, including one that ties into a podcast episode, and one produced video clip that also promotes the podcast.

Tallied up, that is a minimum of FOUR pieces of published content each week. But wait, there’s more.

Influencer Content Creation Is On the Rise

Over the next year, creators plan on increasing their publishing frequency for video (74 percent), blog posts (66 percent), live video (58 percent), and podcasting (34 percent).

How will creators change their publication frequency in the next year?

How will creators change their publication frequency in the next year?

A blogger committed to growing their blog and brand must continue to find opportunities to create even more content. It’s no surprise that video appears to be the medium of choice for the majority of creators, since 96 percent of all US teens watch YouTube and most consume two hours of YouTube video per day.

Creators will flock to Stories (on Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, depending on the intended audience) to level up their video posts and uncover new ways to connect with audiences.

Grow Audiences and Sustain Attention With Email

Creating and publishing content is only one step of the creator’s process. When we evaluate influencers for our consulting clients, we do look at site traffic and social media audience sizes. But often, we cannot publicly find another key validation metric. One undeniably important audience base for influencers, however, is their email list. Successful creators rely on audience bases they can reach with new content, and email is the last surefire way to reach an audience organically.

At Convince & Convert, we’ve dialed up and back the number of emails we send weekly to our subscribers who want to stay in touch. After years of sending emails nearly every weekday, we dialed back our email frequency. We’ve focused our efforts on the one “ON” email sent by Jay Baer on Sundays. (Click to subscribe—it’s worth your time!)

One email to subscribers weekly is a standard frequency. Subscribers will also tolerate one or two additional emails each month that feature a specific piece of content or a product, provided it adds value in exchange for their attention.

When we add email to the creators’ expected content production schedule, it starts to look like this:

  • Week one: Two blog posts, live video hit, and a produced video that ties into one of the blog posts, plus one email to subscribers.
  • Week two: Two blog posts, a podcast interview, and a produced video that promotes what’s on the blog, plus one email to subscribers.
  • Week three: Two blog posts, plus one live video and one edited video, plus one weekly email and one in-depth email to subscribers.
  • Week four: Three blogs posts, including one that ties into a podcast episode, and one produced video clip that also promotes the podcast, plus one email to subscribers.

Be Present and Engage With Online Communities

Creators become “Influencers” with a capital “I” when they demonstrate the ability to influence or engage their audience, which doesn’t come as easily as you think. Making the leap into true influence requires additional time spent cultivating a community of your audience, getting to know them, and being present for them, beyond a blog and social media posts. Influencers have to establish credibility while maintaining a sense of approachability. Otherwise, they risk alienating the audience they are attempting to serve.

Community management requires dedicated daily time spent:

  • Reading and responding to comments, messages, and emails.
  • Watching and engaging (Likes! Hearts!) from within your community.
  • Find and follow others to grow your network and reach.
  • Participate in groups within your niche or with like-minded communities.
  • Promoting your content and sharing content from others you follow.

Expect to spend seven to ten hours weekly (minimum one hour/day) focused on community management activities.

Where’s the Payoff? How Creators Make Their Money

Over a quarter (28 percent) of creators surveyed for the Creator Monetization Report don’t make any money from their content. But a nearly equal number of respondents (29 percent) said online content is their main source of revenue. The majority of creators (62 percent) are not satisfied with their monetization income, even though creators are seeing increases in revenue year over year.

Advertising is both the number one way creators monetize content and the most lucrative source of creator income. Some also subsidize their work through affiliate commissions, brand deals, or sponsorships, though usually at a lower share of total income.

There’s no industry standard rate card for influencer marketing. Rates vary by creator, by type or number of posts, or by time spent in a branded experience. Some influencer agreements are based on quantity, but it’s not uncommon to strike a deal based on cost per engagement, cost per click, or cost per acquisition, similar to other online advertising options.

Influencers with 50,000 to 500,000 followers can ask upwards of $400 for posting a single tweet, around $1,000 for an Instagram or Snapchat post, and (for video creators) $2,500 to produce a YouTube video.

Creators can also monetize their influence by selling more of themselves. They might turn to consulting and speaking, two popular ways to parlay thought leadership into a steady income. They might produce their own product and sell it to earn passive income. These kinds of products might include:

  • Templates or customizable products
  • Online courses
  • Books and ebooks
  • Mastermind or private coaching groups
  • Specific repeatable services that align with expertise

Creators intend to increase revenue opportunities in the next year by selling their own products, increasing advertising opportunities, consulting/services, and aligning with brands through deals or sponsorships.

How will creators change their monetization plans over the next year?

How will creators change their monetization plans over the next year?

Creators Are Making Investments to Become Influencers

Making content, even a ton of content, doesn’t result in immediate influence. Creators who want to monetize their content and products aren’t settling for random acts of content. They’re focused on creating content that intentionally drives engagement and grows their audience. Influencers show up and are present for their audience base. They’re thinking beyond traditional content and creating products or services that monetize their efforts even more.

Attaching recognizable faces (celebrities, athletes, etc.) to brands or products to increase awareness and boost sales is a core marketing principle. Only now, influence is more democratized. Billions of social media users have the ability to create content and build audiences around even the tiniest niche. Intention and investment are the ways influencers will separate themselves from the deep pool of creators.

The post This Is How Fast Influencer Marketing Is Changing appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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How to Boost On-Site Conversions with Influencer Content Thu, 28 Dec 2017 16:06:13 +0000 Don't churn out the same influencer round-up post everyone else is doing. Use these influencer content ideas to supercharge your on-site conversions.

The post How to Boost On-Site Conversions with Influencer Content appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

How to Boost On-Site Conversions with Influencer Content

Expert roundups are the new guest posts: Everyone is doing them, mostly without much strategy behind them. And that’s unfortunate—the tactic is highly efficient when approached creatively.

Engaging niche influencers to co-create content for you is a great way to create free content and get those influencers promote it for you. But don’t stop there. If you target long-term benefits, you’ll achieve so much more than just free content and free shares.

Stop doing what everyone else is doing: Here are a few ideas and examples for you to get your influencer-driven content marketing to a new level, allowing you to up your site conversions and achieve long-term marketing goals.

Make Them Part of Your Product

The smartest thing to do is to engage those contributing influencers in the creation of a product you are selling or giving away to collect leads. One of the best examples of this tactic is David Bain’s Digital Marketing in 2017 paperback book. David invited over 100 digital marketing experts to participate in his live show which was streamed on Facebook Live. Then he collected the tips and turned them into a book featuring all the participating experts and encouraged them to share the product.

Following the event, David Bain’s podcast grew to 10,000 downloads per month, and he sold over 1,000 copies of the book—all thanks to the influential names featured in the book, as well as help from those experts.

The tactic can be applied to evergreen content too. FirstSiteGuide interviewed blogging experts to feature them on their downloadable guide page to increase the trustworthiness and virality of their tutorial.

The FirstSiteGuide team offer the PDF guide for free, making the influencers part of their primary lead magnet.

Featured Tool: If you’re thinking about making influencers part of your product or lead magnet, start with brainstorming a topic which is both in high demand and interesting enough for more influencers to get on board.

Tools like Serpstat allow you to find keywords with high commercial intent (something I explain in more detail here). Serpstat also allows you to find phrases that trigger “People also ask” boxes. These are perfect for brainstorming a product because they show what people are curious to know in your industry. Combine the filter with “shopping” results to discover phrases that are both commercial and informational. (These make great downloadable assets.)

Keyword selection

Make the Most of Those Quotes

There are two things that make quotes an effective marketing tactic: People love being quoted, and people love sharing quotes. Furthermore, quotes make your site more trustworthy which ultimately leads to more conversions.

Now, if you have gone through the trouble of contacting all those influencers and collecting all their answers, there’s no reason to stop there. It makes perfect sense to repurpose those valuable quotes on social media, in your other articles, and in other content assets outside of your blog (like Medium or guest contributions).

Each time, there’s an opportunity to tag the contributing expert drawing them to your site again and again and encouraging them to help you promote your assets again and again. Plus, through influencers’ personal branding, visual quotes make your content more recognizable, encouraging readers to stop, read more, and subscribe.

You can even turn your expert interview into a whole new visual asset and use it as a new piece of content (i.e., as a guest post on an authoritative blog). That’s what Shane Barker did. He turned his conversion optimization expert roundup into a “gifographic” and successfully pitched it to with a nice link back to his blog.

Important Notes: If you are planning to use expert quotes, you may run the risk of duplicate content. Editors hate receiving non-original content. You can use Shane’s tactic above, but don’t forget to use tools like to make sure your expert roundup is 100 percent original.

Furthermore, make sure your contributing experts know where you will use their quotes. You don’t want any misunderstandings with those powerful social media users.

People love being quoted, and people love sharing quotes.
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Bring Those Relationships to a New Level

The greatest asset you earn from any expert roundup is the relationships you build with industry influencers. One collaborative piece of content is likely to increase your traffic and conversions (if done right), but it’s a one-time deal that will decrease in value once that article gets buried in your blog archives. On the other hand, having long-lasting relationships with industry influencers is priceless.

Imagine running a highly engaged list of people with huge social media followings you can turn to again and again with new offers and updates. It’s a two-way street, of course, so in order to keep them engaged, you’ll need to be around to help them whenever they need you.

Keep your contacts well organized. I use Salesmate to manage my connections on many levels. It tracks the history of how you acquired and verified all your contacts, including when and how you first contacted the influencer, what kind of a project you collaborated on, and what kind of a perk you used to entice them.

Once you have developed your own relationship management system, consider developing those contacts into a micro-community of your own. This will allow you to keep in touch with those influencers on a regular basis instead of using your list to only pitch your ideas when you need help. For example, at #VCBuzz Twitter chats, we interview a new marketing influencer each week and encourage each of our experts to join our private Facebook group, where we share chat calendars and answer their questions every day.

To keep talking to your influential contacts, consider following a similar model using Facebook groups, Slack, or other community building platforms.

Are you doing influencer-driven content marketing? Which tactics are you using to get more out of those efforts?

The post How to Boost On-Site Conversions with Influencer Content appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

Here’s What Your Influencer Marketing Strategy Should Look Like Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:00:00 +0000 This small business's influencer success offers a blueprint for taking your influencer marketing from rainy-day tactic to sustained strategy.

The post Here’s What Your Influencer Marketing Strategy Should Look Like appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

Here's What Your Influencer Marketing Strategy Should Look Like

Influencer marketing came on my radar in late 2013, but it didn’t really start picking up steam as an earned media tactic until 2015. Since then, an entire ecosystem of tools has cropped up to facilitate the identification, management, tracking, and reporting for influencers. For some, it’s moved from an occasional tactic in the marketing mix to a full-fledged, complete, and sustained strategy.

Influencer Marketing Interest

Influencer marketing interest over time

This post features one such company that has infused influencers into all of the marketing it does. It’s a unique approach. In fact, I’ve never seen a company do influencer marketing this way. I spent an entire afternoon with its CEO interviewing him, and what he shared serves as a blueprint for future strategic deployments of influencer marketing for companies both large and small.

A Profile in Leadership and Revenue Growth

One of the biggest complaints in content marketing today is executive buy-in. It’s a consistent grievance that permeates conference Q&As. For those that have executive buy-in, success is much more likely.

While this complaint is common for content marketers, I’ve never heard anyone moan about influencer marketing buy-in. Why? Because most marketers look at influencer marketing as merely a tactic and not a sustained and complete marketing strategy. In fact, many think “influencer marketing” means “round-up posts.” Marketers don’t necessarily need executive buy-in to implement a tactic.

Not only does the below case study have executive buy-in, but it’s the brainchild of the company’s CEO. Below is the profile of the company featured in this case study:

Dearringer credits the recent growth of NewPro directly to their unique approach to influencer marketing. Revenue at this juncture is up 35 percent from last year. Revenue was up 20 percent in 2016, from the previous year. They’re growing so fast from this marketing approach that they just broke ground on a new $4 million warehousing facility.

It All Starts with Blogging

It’s very important to NewPro that its blog is the trusted center of the universe within its industry. They’re trying to be the host of the party that everyone in the industry wants to attend. The content needs to be authentic, helpful, and effective at providing credibility to the company. It should also attract industry decision makers and influencers.

NewPro Containers blog

Blogging has both tangible and intangible returns for NewPro. While it does provide leads, it also helps shape the impression of the brand within its industry. This is critical in executing a complete and sustained influencer program.

Dearringer recognizes that blogging in his industry, and many others, has been a total failure for the most part. Over the years, he’s seen many try and only make it 90 days to 12 months before the blog died. He blames this on one or more of these four things:

  1. Interns: Many companies in this niche (and others) throw blogging at the interns because no one else has time to do it. The problem is that interns don’t have enough experience to write credible industry articles.
  2. Salespeople: In some organizations, sales folks are told to maintain the blog to help them with “social selling” and attracting leads. Sales should be out selling, not writing blog posts. Good salespeople don’t want to blog, anyway—they’re hunters, not creatives.
  3. CEO: Many companies’ Chief Executives are simply too busy to maintain a blog.
  4. Third-party writers: No matter how good the writers are, the posts are never authentic enough because they’re not in the industry. Industry insiders can see right through this.

To overcome the above problems, NewPro made an investment and paid influential people (insiders or veterans within its industry) to write original content. It offered $200 a blog post, and half refused it. (NewPro insisted on donating the unclaimed money to a non-profit of the person’s choosing.) In some cases, NewPro would pay a third party to write content and then send it to the influencer to rewrite for greater authenticity. NewPro made it easier for an influencer to say yes.

One of the biggest challenges was getting contributors not to sell anything in their content. Dearringer addressed this by coaching contributors and explaining that they’re speaking to their peers in the industry and gaining thought leadership.

NewPro didn’t have some formal submission process or set of rules. It would take the content any way it could get it, from notes written in an email to outlines and Word Docs. If it was written, it could be worked with, refined, and edited. NewPro made a conscious effort to remove as many barriers as possible, while at the same time providing financial incentive and stroking the egos of the influencers.

Finding Influencers

Marketers have many tools and plenty of software available to them to assist in finding influencers. However, Dearringer takes a more holistic approach. He personally reaches out and asks his best customers to contribute, recruits conference speakers and attendees, has a contributor call-to-action in his email newsletter, and occasionally recruits from his industry Facebook Group (more on this later). In fact, he does 100 percent of the contributor outreach.

Since NewPro is constantly curating content, it’s exposed to many industry writers already. All of these have proven to be fruitful places to discover influencers. Out of the starting blocks, however, NewPro needed its first big fish: its first major influencer.

Introducing the Bug Lady

Dearringer kicked off NewPro’s influencer blogging effort by enlisting a third-party to write the “Professional’s Field Guide: Plant Pest Control.” However, he didn’t stop there. He knew that a third-party writer would not come off as credible to the industry folks he was targeting.

With the guide in hand, he reached out to Suzanne Wainwright-Evans, more prominently known as the “Bug Lady.” He didn’t do outreach on social media or email like most do. Instead, he picked up the phone and called. His request was simple: “Will you edit this PDF guide for NewPro?” He offered to pay her for the service and prominently give her credit as the author of the guide.

Bug Lady influencer profile

She agreed, and he sent her the guide. Dearringer’s concern that third-party written content would not come off as credible was correct. When the Bug Lady got back to him, she said she’d need to rewrite the whole thing because it was not accurate. They agreed to new terms, and she set off to rewrite the guide. The guide included five sections, which NewPro turned into five blog posts, publishing one per week. Each post linked directly to the guide. The best-performing posts were then syndicated on two industry non-profit websites.

Courting the Bug Lady was the cornerstone of NewPro’s complete and sustained influencer marketing program. Her industry clout gave NewPro the credibility it needed to enlist other influential people in its industry. Here’s a post that features many of their influential contributors. Its purpose was and still is to recruit even more influencers.

NewPro influencer content campaign

Influencer Marketing Through Social Media Account Management

As NewPro recruited more and more industry insiders, one thing became apparent: Most of these folks didn’t have much of a social media presence, if any at all, especially on Twitter. Dearringer offered to manage their social media accounts, grow their followers, and post on their behalf—all for free. The only catch was that one-quarter of the posts would be NewPro content. Since the contributors all trusted NewPro and its content, most agreed. Dearringer now controls around 20 social media accounts from influential people in the industry.

It also became apparent that not only do industry folks struggle to maintain their social media profiles, but so do the companies in the industry. As a result, NewPro sends out a curated industry newsletter to social media managers within the industry that struggle to find content to share. This newsletter is separate from its main newsletter. It’s not just NewPro content, either—it’s the best content from across the industry. NewPro provides a valuable service to the industry, all while showcasing the NewPro brand and its content to prospective customers.

Influencer Marketing Through Roundup Posts and Advanced Content

NewPro Resource Library

Many marketers associate influencer marketing with roundup or list posts. While this is a form of influencer marketing, it certainly isn’t the only tactic. NewPro uses roundup posts as a tool to recruit more influencers and solidify relations with existing ones.

Every roundup post features a call-to-action for new contributors. Industry veterans with titles and clout not currently featured want to be showcased by NewPro because their peers already are.

Dearringer doesn’t stop at roundup posts. He also creates copious amounts of advanced content (guides, ebooks, etc.) by stitching together prudent influencer articles. For each one, he gives complete authorship to whichever influencer’s content is featured. This advanced content is shared with the influencers, who in turn promote their new ebook on the NewPro website. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.

Influencer Marketing Through Newsletters

NewPro newsletter

NewPro’s weekly newsletter, “Your Weekly Cup of NewPro,” isn’t your typical email. It’s kept simple and has a very strategic purpose. Each week, NewPro chooses three articles to feature: two really good articles from other industry websites and the best-performing NewPro influencer article of that week.

This newsletter serves a few purposes. First and foremost, NewPro wants to deliver only the best content to its audience. It also gets the attention of the other industry writers that create great content and entices them to become contributors to the blog. Lastly, it solidifies relations with current contributors by prominently featuring their work in front of the NewPro audience.

How successful is it? This newsletter boasts an open rate north of 30 percent. It’s so popular within the industry that Dearringer often gets contacted by CEOs requesting he subscribe their entire company staff. On several occasions, he’s been sent entire spreadsheets with all the employee information necessary to subscribe them all.

Dearringer described being at an industry non-profit board meeting recently when a conversation about industry content came up. One guest at the board meeting claimed that if it wasn’t in the “Weekly Cup of NewPro,” she won’t read it. Unbeknownst to her, the NewPro CEO was right there in the room and is one of the board members.

Influencer Marketing Through Print Magazines and Tradeshows

For the last two years, NewPro has put out an annual print magazine called Modern Plantscaper. While this company isn’t the first to put out a print magazine, it’s one of the few to incorporate it as part of its sustained and complete influencer marketing strategy.

Each issue features the best influencer blog posts from the previous year. Dearringer makes sure each contributing influencer gets multiple copies of the magazine to show off their work to peers and other industry folks. It has a subscribership of over 600 in an industry that only boasts about 500 significant companies. At tradeshows, NewPro’s magazine flies out of the booth.

Dearringer described crowds of people around his humble booth wanting a copy of the magazine and wanting to talk about all the cool content NewPro publishes for the industry, all while surrounded by the “big money” booths with little to no action. These kinds of events are an opportunity for both sales and influencer recruiting, and NewPro takes advantage of both.

Influencer Marketing Through Paid Promotion and Facebook Groups

When it comes to social, NewPro invests the most time and resources in Facebook. Every single influencer article that’s posted gets a paid boost. Dearringer spends $20 a post and targets users with appropriate interests and job titles. This paid promotion helps solidify relations with the influencers due to the heightened exposure.

In addition to Facebook promotion, NewPro set up an unbranded closed Group called The decision to create an unbranded group was strategic. Facebook pages have very poor organic visibility, but Groups fare better. Since it’s unbranded, the Group doesn’t feel like a self-serving tool for NewPro to push its wares.

To date, it has over 730 members, all folks within the landscape industry. Engagement is very high. The group also serves as fertile ground for recruiting new contributors and influencers for the blog, and combing through the comments helps Dearringer identify leaders and influencers within the industry.

Group members also help identify hot topics and challenges that NewPro should be covering on its blog. When Dearringer uncovers these opportunities in the Group, he immediately sends the individual an email asking for their take. Most of the time, the answer is enough content to craft into a blog post and feature the person as a new contributor.

Influencer Marketing Through Newsjacking and Influencers

As many in the US are aware, 2017’s hurricane season was pretty disastrous. Hurricanes impact most everything in their path. Growers and nurseries, a core client base for NewPro, were hit particularly hard this year.

Knowing the NewPro blog is a trusted resource within the industry, Dearringer decided to enlist one of his influential contributors to shed light on the disaster while providing a resource for readers to donate. In addition, NewPro waived/credited all open invoices for all areas impacted by the hurricanes and the fires on the west coast. Recognizing the community it created, NewPro sought to make a positive impact on its industry by producing timely content with an influencer that led to real tangible outcomes for some victims.

Influencer Advertising, the Influencer Marketing Shortcut

Turning influencer marketing from a tactic into an all-encompassing marketing strategy didn’t happen overnight. NewPro is entering its third year of executing this strategy. It started off slow with initial cash investments, but as the momentum picked up, NewPro achieved its goals and revenue grew.

For those with less time and patience, there’s another solution to consider for ramping up influencer marketing: influencer advertising. NewPro went 100 percent organic in its influencer recruitment effort and did not tap into any of the paid solutions described below. However, if speed to market is important, these networks help facilitate influencer relationships for marketers.

Not every solution will be ideal for all deployments, so do research prior to partnering with one of the platforms below.

  1. adMingle: Connects brands and influencers globally.
  2. Adproval: Connects brands with social media, blog, and video influencers. USA.
  3. Bideo: Connects brands with influencers, journalists, vloggers, and musicians. Global
  4. Blogsvertise: Connects brands with bloggers for sponsored blog conversations. Global.
  5. BrandBrief: Connects brands with influencers. Industries include fashion, beauty, food, wellness, tourism, and gyms. Mobile interface. US, UK, Australia.
  6. BrandPlug: Connects brands with influencers. Pay per impression pricing. Global.
  7. Buzzoole: Connects brands with influencers. Pays in discounts, offers, credits, and Amazon gift cards. Global.
  8. Content BLVD : Connects consumer product brands with YouTube influencers. Global.
  9. Izea: Platform for marketers to discover influencers, pay them, and manage content workflow. Global.
  10. Linqui: Has over 100,000 “power-middle” social media and blogging influencers. USA.
  11. Liquid Social: Connect brands with social media influencers. Pays influencers for shares, clicks, and views.
  12. Markerly: Platform for brands to build their own influencer network via campaign management and CRM. White glove service. Global.
  13. Megan Media: Platform for custom content delivery, influencer activation, and digital media campaigns. White glove service. Global.
  14. Nevaly: Connects brands with influencers. Gaming and mobile only. Global.
  15. Peadler: Connects local businesses with influencers. Pays in rewards—products or services. USA major metros.
  16. Style Coalition: Connects brands with lifestyle influencers. Includes analytics and content tracking. Global.
  17. Sway Group: Connects brands and agencies with the largest network of female bloggers on the web. Full-service influencer management. Global.
  18. The Flux List: Connects brands with influencers using their proprietary FLUX Compatibility Index.
  19. Unity: AI-driven technology platform that connects influencers and brands that share the same passion.

Influencer Marketing Strategy Takeaways

There’s a lot to take away from the NewPro example featured above. However, when you peel away the story, you’ll find eleven specific takeaways that can have a major impact on moving influencer marketing from just an occasional tactic to a full-fledged, complete, and sustained strategy:

  1. Don’t think tactically: think strategically.
  2. Get executive buy-in.
  3. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.
  4. Don’t be afraid to initially pay influencers. If they refuse, offer to donate it to their favorite charity. It will pay off in the long run by getting content for free from contributors later.
  5. Remove barriers, so influencers are less likely to say “no.”
  6. Make contributing content as easy as possible.
  7. Offer to run their neglected social media accounts for free.
  8. Offer social media community managers a curated newsletter to share. Include your influencer content, too.
  9. Build a community.
  10. Feature contributors everywhere possible: blog, newsletter, magazine, email, paid promotion, Facebook Groups, tradeshows, advanced content, etc.
  11. Get influencers involved with industry/brand-specific causes or philanthropy.

Influencer marketing, as a marketing strategy, can have a major impact on bottom line revenue. Most marketers simply view influencer marketing as a tactic. Some even just think it’s a roundup post, but it can be way more than that.

There aren’t many brands currently putting influencers at the center of their marketing. However, with examples like this cropping up, it’s likely we’ll see influencer marketing more prominently featured in marketing departments everywhere.

The post Here’s What Your Influencer Marketing Strategy Should Look Like appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

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Will Amazon Dominate Influencer Marketing Too? Wed, 22 Nov 2017 14:00:00 +0000 Amazon is getting serious about influencer marketing. Is this good news, or very bad news? Jay Baer analyzes the plusses and minuses.

The post Will Amazon Dominate Influencer Marketing Too? appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

Will Amazon Dominate Influencer Marketing Too

Jeff Bezos and Amazon already oversee dominant or emerging powerhouse businesses in cloud computing and storage, e-commerce, rockets, ebooks, smart speakers, and original programming (check out the $250 million they recently paid for just the RIGHTS to make two Lord of the Rings TV shows). Now, they’re making a new move into influencer marketing.

There’s a new wrinkle in the long-running Amazon Associates affiliate program: The company is now offering Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram influencers the option to set-up a simple storefront on Social media stars can send their audience to these storefronts to buy recommended products. The store comes with an easy-to-remember vanity URL—especially useful for YouTubers who often promote URLs with audio only.

Commissions average about eight percent of referred sales—perhaps not a windfall, but potentially quite attractive for influencers able to move real merchandise. Take, for example, YouTube star Dan Markham. While on a panel at Web Summit (where Amazon announced that Twitter and Instagram influencers would now be eligible), Markham revealed he sold $161,000 worth of fidget cubes through his Amazon store, netting more than $12,000, according to coverage in TechCrunch. That is a LOT of fidget cubes.

The Good News of Amazon Influencer Marketing

On its surface, I like this move for three reasons:

First, from Amazon’s perspective, it’s low-hanging fruit. Why NOT run these referred sales through your massive e-commerce empire? Somebody has to sell fidget cubes and whatever else consumer product influencers are pitching. And I’m sure that in many cases, those sales were already coming through Amazon, but in a haphazard fashion.

Second, from the influencer’s perspective, it’s a no-brainer. A storefront that requires essentially no work and no fees? Custom URL? Eight percent commission? Yes, please. This is the same reason Amazon has been such a huge player in affiliate marketing for nearly 20 years—they make it easy to make money together. They are like the Jerry Maguire of e-commerce.

Third, from a brand perspective, this is terrific if you’re using influencers to drive consumer product sales. Now, you have definitive tracking of units sold, and thus evidence of why, whether, when, and how much influencer marketing is working. No more guessing games. And after all, isn’t influence about driving action, not just awareness? This helps connect those dots.

And it IS so simple. I was accepted into the program based on my Twitter following. I built a storefront in five minutes and included some favorite recent books, a microphone I like, and a green screen I bought recently for video work. Presto! Now, I just need to sell $161,000 worth of green screens!

The Bad News of Amazon Influencer Marketing

But upon further reflection, this move troubles me. Amazon’s market penetration gives them the ability to dominate influencer marketing in short order.

What’s to stop them from going one more step and creating their own database of influencers? Why wouldn’t they add a services layer to help brands find and select influencers too (the same way they’ve organized affiliate portals in the past)? And then, why couldn’t they ask influencers to create content on the Amazon video network, rather than YouTube or another platform? Or audio versions for Alexa? If you’re making $12,000 hawking fidget cubes, and the guy writing the checks says you need to put all your content on Amazon now to keep getting paid, you’re going to give that request serious consideration, I’d wager.

The one historical truism of digital marketing through the years is that whoever controls the metrics controls the budget. And if Amazon becomes the de facto scorekeeper for influencers via their storefront program, it’s not at all a stretch to imagine the entire influencer marketing ecosystem disrupted and subsumed by Amazon.

There are plenty of marketers who would welcome that kind of disintermediation. Lots of folks would prefer the turbid bouillabaisse of influencer marketing agencies, software, and measurement to just disappear. It’s too confusing and uncertain, they say. But an Amazon-dominated influencer marketing landscape is the precise opposite: It’ll be crystal clear who’s in charge and how it all works, but as always, Mr. Bezos and his associates will extract their pound of flesh.

Do you want to hand them a knife?

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Metrics That Matter (and Don’t) When Attributing Influencer Effectiveness Mon, 20 Nov 2017 14:43:43 +0000 Influencer marketing may still feel like the Wild West for many brands, but identifying the metrics that matter is likely simpler than you think.

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Metrics That Matter (and Don't) When Attributing Influencer Effectiveness

Influencers can add significant value to a marketing campaign. Top-notch influencer campaigns use high-quality content to start organic conversations about a brand with its target audience. At a minimum, brands gain exposure, but many brands want more. They want to see a direct link between influencers and sales.

As with all marketing, metrics matter when it comes to influencer marketing. Knowing what impressions, clicks, conversions, or sales a campaign generated helps gauge performance and measure progress. Historically, influencer marketing has been difficult to track and measure, yet the pressure on marketers to be able to measure the value and impact of these campaigns has risen steadily.

Current Approaches to Tracking the Influencer Metrics That Matter

Currently, most brands working with influencers engage in a highly tedious, time-consuming process to track reach (followers) and engagements (comments, likes, shares, etc.). This manual approach typically involves counting the individual metrics from respective influencers and adding them to a spreadsheet. What’s more, these results often don’t include bottom of the funnel metrics, such as clicks, orders, and sales.

Brands may also use UTM parameters, coupon code tracking, like-to-buy (or comment-to-buy) features, and more to track further down the funnel. However, this can also be a manual, time-consuming process.

For larger brands, influencer networks are valuable partners. They can handle tracking, manage influencer relationships, create content, calculate reach and engagement, gather top of funnel metrics, and more.

Many influencer networks are limited in their ability to track bottom of the funnel metrics, such as clicks, orders, sales, conversion rates, and average order value. While top of funnel metrics are valuable, CMOs and marketing professionals now want both. They want to close the loop and see the whole picture of how their influencer marketing campaigns are performing.

Many key elements of influencer marketing fall under the affiliate umbrella. This means influencer performance can be measured and incentivized according to some of the same metrics used to gauge any affiliate program’s success. There’s very little difference between these two forms of marketing—both are essentially performance partnerships where compensation should align with the level of success achieved.

Measure influencer performance with the same metrics you'd use to gauge an affiliate program's success.
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Performance-Driven Approach to Influencer Marketing

While some brands partner with celebrity influencers with millions of followers, most partner with microinfluencers who have 10,0000 to 100,000 followers via their blog, social accounts, and other online channels.

These partners tend to focus on a specific niche and have smaller, but often more loyal, audiences than celebrity influencers. To track top and bottom of funnel metrics for a microinfluencer marketing campaign efficiently, the following components need to be in place.

1. An Influencer Network

Influencer networks have access to thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—of microinfluencers and macroinfluencers. Moreover, they regularly bring new ones onboard.

Having access to large numbers of opt-in influencers allows brands to run a variety of campaigns with different microinfluencers. Opt-in influencer networks also make it easier for brands to communicate with influencers, approve work, and pay through the platform.

2. Performance-Based Tracking Technology

By connecting influencers to affiliate networks or SaaS platforms, brands can track the entire customer journey, from awareness to conversion. This allows brands to collect data such as clicks, orders, and sales to help determine attribution of payments for conversions to specific influencers.

3. Clear Goals That Establish What Success Looks Like

Marketers’ goals may be different from one influencer campaign to the next. To gauge whether a campaign is successful or not, it’s essential to establish what success looks like. Do you want to reach more potential customers? Increase brand awareness? Get a certain number of likes, comments, or shares? Drive sales? Create great content for their brand? Setting clear goals at the start of a campaign is vital for understanding what to measure and whether or not a campaign is successful.

4. Performance Plus Payouts

Currently, most influencers aren’t used to getting paid on a commission basis. Content affiliates are, but not influencers—yet. What they are familiar with is getting either a flat fee payment or a free product to use and review. In a performance-driven influencer campaign, influencers are paid on a “performance plus” basis. This means they are either paid a flat fee, given a free product, or given a free product plus a flat fee, in addition to a performance fee.

5. Exclusive Discounts or Time-Sensitive Promotions

If the goal is to drive sales, it’s important to provide influencers with valuable discounts, giveaways, and exclusive offers that they can share with their followers. Offering something special that no one else has helps influencers guide consumers down the funnel and closer to conversion. It also gives their followers a reason to click on a tracking link and redeem a special time-sensitive offer. The key is to provide them with something special or unique to promote in their content.

Powering Influencer Campaigns With Affiliate Networks

At Acceleration Partners, following these steps has proven to be successful for many of our clients, particularly Stella & Dot. This boutique-style jewelry and accessory brand ran an influencer marketing campaign intended to increase brand awareness and customer engagement with content generated by a select group of fashion influencers. These influencers created posts across blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing unique Stella & Dot styles. By managing influencers through an affiliate program, Stella & Dot had the opportunity to track the results, reward the influencers based on performance, and ensure that their promotional efforts were aligned with the brand.

Using affiliate networks to manage influencers provides exponential benefits. To illustrate: Recently, we ran several influencer programs on behalf of seven of our clients. The campaigns lasted between 10 and 12 weeks and utilized up to 20 “engaged” influencers at the start of the campaign. We also targeted content-focused microinfluencers to help our affiliate clients reach and engage new, targeted audiences.

In addition to the brand awareness and engagement generated by the campaign, our clients also now own this high-value content produced by the influencers. Brands can reuse this content, with credit to the influencer, to save time and money in content creation. Some of our clients transitioned participating influencers to in-house ambassadors following the campaign.

At Last, the Metrics That Matter

At a time when the largest brands in the world are demanding more transparency and measurable return from their marketing programs, influencer marketing is at a disadvantage. Most brands lack a standardized, performance-based pricing structure to incentivize and compensate influencers. As a result, many end up overpaying people who aren’t getting the desired results—but not for long. By aligning the content creation capacity, authority, and leverage of microinfluencers with the scalability and outcome orientation of affiliate marketing, brands can finally acquire the metrics they need to improve the performance of their influencer marketing campaigns.

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How Influencers Can Improve Every Step of Your Sales Cycle Wed, 31 May 2017 13:51:21 +0000 There's a place for influencer-generated content at every stage in your customer sales cycle, from the research stage through retention.

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How Influencers Can Improve Every Step of Your Sales Cycle

It’s old news that influencer marketing can drive brand awareness and spike sales. But what makes this post stick out above any another marketing post about influencer marketing is that I’m about to dive in and explain how your brand can use influencer marketing tactics through the whole sales cycle and to improve customer experience. After all, when looking at a brand’s overall worth, both sales and customer experience (CX) are considered.

While many companies are throwing time, resources, and money at improving the buyer and consumer journey, your brand should consider inviting a different kind of guest: influencer marketing.

Review the Facts on Influencer Marketing

First off, check out this massively important study put out by Traackr and Top Rank Marketing, as there’s a ton of data and progressive ideas in there. The main idea is one we’ve talked about a lot: Marketing and CX are fluid and ongoing journeys, rather than finite and linear processes with a beginning and an end. One phase flows into the next, always with an eye on the past and the future of the cycle.

A campaign is never completely over, and the ways we measure CX and ROI need to incorporate more than revenue and clicks. Let’s work through the sales/CX cycle in both B2B and B2C situations, and see where and how influencers can connect with your customers.

Consumer Research Phase

This is the step where influencer marketing has proven to be very valuable, as it’s part of brand awareness. Businesses and customers are searching, researching, reading, and watching every video and blog and retail site review they can find. They might find their way to your website eventually, but first, consumers want trusted peers and experts to voice their opinions, concerns, and recommendations. Having your brand and products strategically in place with the help of influencer partners spreading word of mouth recommendations during this search/research phase is crucial.

Word of mouth recommendations from influencers during your consumer's research phase is crucial.
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Establishing Brand Credibility

By now, the customer has gotten curious enough to visit your site and social channels. Now that they’ve self-directed themselves to your channels, the potential consumer is far enough along in the journey that they actually want to hear from your brand now.

Still, a brand doesn’t need to be too boastful. While your site and social channels should be filled with your brand’s words, those words should be informational messaging about your product. On these channels, there should also be a second perspective woven throughout—the consumer and third party opinion. Influencer messaging is great content to weave into a brand’s owned channels.

Repurposing quotes, photos, post links, and more adds more depth and credibility to your brand’s channels while the voice of your brand explains sticks to the facts for interested potential consumers.

Purchase and Selection

Once a consumer looks at peer reviews, listens to what your brand has to say, and likes what they read and hear, it’s a logical next step that said consumer will be ready to buy.

What’s going through their head at this point? What do they need? Well, a little reassurance goes a long way. Employing influencers to relay their experiences at this stage can help the customer avoid that dreaded buyer’s remorse and gives your brand the chance to showcase a little social proof.

Once a consumer has purchased and their status is marked in the marketing automation platform of your choice, an onboarding process usually takes place. Whether it’s to train a consumer on a product, give them ideas of how to wear your brand’s new piece of fashion, or provide them with recipes that use their new cooking gadget, new consumers should be dripped and offered help and tips. Think of the popular unboxing videos or #lifehack posts where influencers share their direct experience with a given brand.

Partnering with influencers who will showcase your product and offer their own tips on how to interact with it, in conjunction with your brand’s words of advice, can reassure the buyer of their purchase and ensure they’re getting the most out of it, so that they, in turn, become influencers or advocates for your brand. See the snowball effect happening here?

Brand Immersion in CX

Keep in mind that while you are certainly trying to make the CX better from this phase forward, you are also trying to better understand how that experience feels—or, at least, should feel. Having a comprehensive knowledge of the new or repeat customer’s impression is extremely valuable and something many companies struggle to achieve.

Influencers with honest opinions can provide loads of pertinent data. They’ve already walked a day in the new customer’s shoes and can provide detailed and candid reports on how it felt. It’s their job to do so, as influencers are, by trade, excellent communicators and usually have the brand’s best interest at heart. All departments should pay close attention to this and constantly tweak and improve.

Usage and Maintenance

At this point, the customer is well into product usage. Every marker knows it is a lot cheaper to retain a customer than get a new one. This fact motivates strong customer service teams at plenty of companies, but many don’t use influencer power during this phase. Maybe they should.

An ongoing weekly video showing how much money your payroll software is saving, how effective your vacuum cleaner is after two months, or how many different meals you can create with your gluten-free pizza crust is authentic and evergreen content. Influencer-generated content can give customers new ideas about using your product, keep them engaged with your brand, and add a variety of resources for your customers.

Think of it like this: Influencers are building content for your brand that can potentially make your brand “sticky” to the consumer and will increase the chances of the consumer renewing a service, upgrading an item, or buying more of your brand’s products. Not only can influencer-generated content reassure the customer, but it can also reach backwards in the cycle to prospective buyers who might wonder how the product holds up over time. This builds and nurtures your relationship with both your influencers and consumers while increasing brand loyalty.

Looking to the Long Term

Keep your influencer relationships strong, and have them use your product for the long haul. Recommendations after a year of use have an authenticity and level of experience that is extremely valuable.

We’ve now come full circle into the first phase of sales and consumer journey with influencers along for the whole ride. Which areas of your brands customer journey can you strengthen with influencer partnerships?

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Why Influencer Marketing Should Be Part of Every Marketing Mix Tue, 02 May 2017 13:00:00 +0000 Your best influencers are already out there. Formalize those relationships, both new and existing, and transform your influencer marketing.

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Why Influencer Marketing Should Be Part of Every Marketing Mix

We’re all consumers here, so let’s do a little thought experiment together. Think about the last few things you purchased or new spots in town you investigated. Do you remember how you heard about those products or places initially? Did any of the information you used in your decision originate from family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, or celebrities?

If so, consider yourself INFLUENCED.

Word of mouth (WOM) isn’t anything new, and it’s certainly not a bad thing; as long as we’ve been conducting transactions of goods and services, we’ve expressed opinions and shared experiences. “Influencer marketing” is simply the modernized version of word of mouth, selectively enhanced by product placement originating from a trusted source (an influencer).

Today, many brands are using influencer marketing as a powerful amplification layer for their social and content initiatives.

Word of Mouth is Dead, Long Live Word of Mouth

“Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused.” True words, indeed, but not a new circumstance. In fact, that quote is from Dr. Samuel Johnson in his The Idler essays—published in 1759!

The consumer world has become inundated, and we’ve adapted by turning off our attention—and tuning up our bullshit meter. With the barrage of ads we’re exposed to each day, it’s not surprising that we trust people more than logos. Nielsen studies show that we trust people about twice as much as we trust brands and organizations.

Do You Need Influencer Marketing?

Yes, you do. “But, Jay,” you ask doubtfully, “how can you KNOW I need it?” I know you need it, because you’re already doing it. Influencers already exist in your customer base.

These individuals are talking about your brand at this very moment. They are creating content through texts and photos and Tweets and Snaps. They are introducing new people to your business. They are advocating on your behalf and defending you during those times you have to hug your haters.

Formalizing relationships with existing and new influencers makes good business sense beyond curating great UGC and strengthening your brand’s reputation. According to consulting company Tomoson, brands are seeing average returns of $6.50 in revenue per $1 spent on influencer marketing. That’’ll work.

There are even more things that online influencers can do for you and additional ways to measure influencer marketing ROI, but I think you get the picture.

Know Your Influencer

Marketers commonly identify three types of influencers based on the number of followers they command and what value they may bring, but don’t fall into the trap of assuming that a bigger audience equates to a more “valuable” influencer. Even individuals with smaller followings can contribute to a winning influencer strategy and should be considered in your marketing mix.

Before launching any campaigns, consider both the tangible stakes of cost and time as well as the intangibles such as trust and reputation. The most successful brand-influencer partnerships are those that define goals, determine metrics, outline expectations, and communicate results.

Not every individual will be a good fit for your brand, so be strategic about with whom you work (and how). Influencers can be engaged under either paid and/or unpaid (“earned”) arrangements—the choice may change depending on business budget, timeline, and philosophy. As expected, there are both benefits and challenges to earned and paid influencer marketing, but no matter what, the best possible scenario is to find the right influencers and build relationships BEFORE you need them.

Finders, Keepers

Services including Insightpool and GroupHigh exist to help businesses efficiently identify and contact potential influencer partners. Criteria such as industry, audience size, content expertise, and more can be quickly matched with results displayed through user-friendly dashboards.

If you don’t want to perform outreach yourself, there are even influencer “talent agencies” like Viral Nation and IZEA who can assemble a custom social task force for you. Talk about some instant marketing super powers!

Whether a brand hires influencers via a service or earns them through organic interaction, what matters is this: “At the heart of both paid and earned influencer campaigns is creating long-lasting relationships.” After all, a successful brand-influencer relationship can have overarching effects beyond supporting a one-time campaign. It’s worth investing the time and effort to nurture long-term benefits.

At the heart of both paid and earned influencer campaigns is creating long-lasting relationships.
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Above and Beyond

Through the trust we extend to those in our circles of influence, we’re able to learn new information, solve existing problems, and discover new joys. That makes word of mouth a very powerful thing, when you think about it. Used selectively and managed correctly, influencer marketing can be a win-win-win for brand, influencer, and customer alike. As civil rights activist Andrew Young gently reminds, “Influence is like a savings account. The less you use it, the more you’ve got.”

Think about how you could use influence marketing to reach your customers, and let us know what successes and challenges you’ve been finding. If you want to learn more about the advantages of earned and paid influencer marketing and how influencer-based advertising can help scale your marketing efforts, download “Paid and Earned: The Two Sides of Influencer Marketing.”

This post is part of a paid sponsorship between Insightpool and Convince & Convert.

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Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Popular? Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:00:00 +0000 With influencer marketing, there's a trade-off between audience size and reach. That's where your brand can benefit from micro-influencers.

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When it comes to influencer marketing, there’s a serious trade-off between audience size and reach. That’s where your brand can benefit from micro-influencers.


  • Instagram micro-influencers receive double the engagement of accounts with millions of followers.
  • Popchips saw major success leveraging micro-influencers for their northeast launch.
  • Influencer marketing is proving to be less about campaigns and more about building relationships.

Zontee: Is there such a thing as being too popular? When it comes to influencer marketing, there’s a trade off between audience size and reach, and that’s where companies can benefit from working with micro-influencers.

Hi, I’m Zontee Hou, senior strategist at Convince & Convert, and today I wanna talk to you about why micro-influencers can be a great way to build credibility and reach niche audiences for many brands. A recent article from Digiday highlighted a study that showed that organic reach for accounts on Instagram that are one to 10 million followers have 1.7 percent engagement rate, which is less than half of the engagement rate that is found for posts from accounts that are only one to 10,000 followers.

Now, on one hand that doesn’t seem so surprising, right? But it means that we can focus on working with many individual niche influencers who can then total to have more deep connection and deep reach with their audiences than just one single, large influencer. And for companies, this can be really beneficial because these are influencers who can speak more credibly to their specific niches, and they are more likely to be influencers who are engaging on a more frequent basis with their audience, and so there’s a high level of credibility.

And this level of credibility with these micro-influencers doesn’t have to exist just online. In fact, I’m reminded of a case study from the book Cooking Up a Business by Rachel Hofstetter in which she talks about the snack company Popchips. Well, you might have seen Popchips products all over the place now, but back when they were rolling out, they focused on having a big micro-influencer outreach during their rollout into the northeast through New York City. And what they did was actually reach out to people across, not only media, but also arts and other influential spaces and send them just a killer snack box. And once they received that snack box and enjoyed it, there was also a card in there handwritten by somebody from their actual team that said, “Hey, you know, Jane, if you enjoyed the snack box, we’d love the names of three other people who you’d like to share this with, and we’ll send it on your behalf.” And so, it really allowed them to tap into the network effect of these micro-influencers, and reach, not only them, but other people. Because here’s the thing: It’s not just about reaching people with the biggest stage. It’s actually about reaching people who are going to be advocates for your brand over time, and winning them over.

And so, that brings me to my last fact about micro-influencers. A recent article in Adweek highlighted it in the best way, which was that they said we have a big blind spot when it comes to marketers and working with micro-influencers. We have a tendency of thinking about influencer marketing in terms of campaigns, but the truth is that we have to build relationships over time in order to get these people to talk about our products again and again and again, and to be those advocates who are gonna share and spread the word about our products.

So, that’s the takeaway that I’m gonna leave you with, and as always, we wanna hear from you. So, if your company has worked with micro-influencers, or is thinking about it, we’d love to hear about what you think are the main challenges. Leave a comment in our blog post, or shoot us a note, and I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, and see you next week.

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Why Micro-Influencers Make a Winning Influencer Strategy Mon, 10 Apr 2017 13:00:38 +0000 When used correctly, micro-influencers provide a powerful, highly targeted, cost-effective option for marketers on a budget.

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Why Micro-Influencers Make a Winning Influencer Strategy

Social influencer marketing is more accessible than ever to brands. As one of the most effective forms of promoting a business, it’s increasingly used as a means of increasing brand awareness, gaining more traffic and more engagement, and boosting overall sales.

With social media, though, social influencers can be very diverse—not necessarily in terms of their niches, but rather in terms of the size of their audience and their popularity. Most brands tend to go for the big names in their respective industries—after all, they’re very well-known and respected, and they could possibly have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of followers just on social media.

That being said, what if you could get amazing results with smaller, micro-influencers? Or even regular people who have a decent following on social media and who hold their own influence, only over a smaller crowd?

There’s no denying the power and influence of a macro-influencer with a large audience of loyal followers. But, largely because of this very reason, it’s also more difficult and more expensive to employ macro-influencers to help promote your business.

To give you an idea of the kind of numbers involved in using macro-influencers, say you have a clothing brand and are looking to use one of the many Instagram female models and top influencers to help promote your clothes. You could be looking at an investment of over $1000 per single Instagram post, while for male models, you could potentially have to shell out around $700 per promotional post. And if you want to go for the biggest names in the business, then you’re probably looking at prices of hundreds of thousands of dollars per post.

Micro-influencers, though, are much more accessible, and with enough work, you can get similar results—improved brand awareness, more traffic to your website, and more engagement on social media—but at a much lower price.

Social influencer marketing is more accessible than ever to brands.
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What Are Micro-Influencers?

Micro-influencers are social influencers that have an audience of about 10,000 to 100,000 followers. They have a loyal following, although smaller, but it doesn’t affect the influence they hold. In fact, as they have fewer followers, this also usually means that they are much more engaged with them on a day to day basis, compared to some of the hugely influential people with hundreds of thousands of followers who couldn’t possibly have the possibility to engage with their followers at a high rate.

Another thing that happens when an influencers’ popularity grows and they start getting more and more followers is that their audiences broaden exponentially. Micro-influencers, on the other hand, have a much more compact, targeted audience, which is much more useful when you’re actually selling something.


For example, if you look at some of the biggest gaming vloggers in the world, like PewDieDie or Markiplier, they have huge audiences, of millions of subscribers. When we’re talking about audiences this size, you get people from all walks of life, with all kinds of interests and passions. The more famous someone becomes, the more attention they get from a wide variety of people—people that otherwise probably wouldn’t have had any interest.

Influencers, usually, are thought leaders in their respective niches. They tend to stick to a certain niche, and their popularity grows because of their thoughts, views, and expertise in that particular industry.

What to Look for in a Micro-Influencer

Before you can start an influencer marketing campaign, you need to establish what your goals are. Do you simply want to raise brand awareness? To get more traffic to your business blog? Do you want influencers to help promote a product so as to drive more sales?

Once you’ve established these goals, you can start looking into what micro-influencers you can use. When researching influencers (in general, not necessarily just in the case of micro-influencers), these are the main things that you need to look into.


What niche would you put them into? What sorts of subjects do they cover and talk about the most? What is their area of expertise, if any?

Engagement vs. Followers

While an influencer’s number of followers definitely has some bearing, it’s much more important to look into the amount of engagement they receive, as well as give. Check to see how often people engage with these influencers, as well as the engagement and response rates of the influencers themselves. The more they engage, and the more genuine the engagement, the better.

This is one of the big benefits of using micro-influencers. Because they don’t have as many followers, they can afford to interact more with them. If an influencer has a lot of followers, but they’re rarely engaging with them, or their followers aren’t engaging with them, then they won’t be of much help to your promotional campaigns. You can use this Twitter Report Card to not only get a quick snapshot of any account, including their followers and engagement, but you can also compare several accounts at the same time.

Agorapulse Twitter analytics tool


Who forms their audience? Do you share a similar target audience? Is their audience in the same location you’re operating in (where applicable)? When using influencers, the end goal should be to reach more of your target audience, so that you can raise awareness of your brand and make more conversions. Because of this, if an influencer doesn’t share a similar target audience, then they won’t help much in achieving your ultimate goals.

For example, if I were to use to use influencer outreach to promote a digital marketing business to entrepreneurs, I wouldn’t get much value from using an influencer whose target audience is formed by corporations. Even though they might cover the same subjects, they are targeting a different audience. Most likely, I won’t get many inquiries from my target audience based on this promotion. You need to look beyond the subjects they usually cover and the niche they are in to make sure you have a very similar target audience.

What They Share

What kinds of links, tools, apps, and so on are they sharing with their audiences? If, for example, your goal from influencer marketing is to raise traffic to your website, then you should look into the types of links they tend to share to get an idea of what types of content they prefer. The more you understand what types of content they like, the better you will be able to create content that they would want to share and, therefore, increase your chances of getting your own content shared by them.


How authentic is the influencer? People tend to be much more trusting of those who are authentic and have an organic approach to promotion. If an influencer is very aggressive in the way they’re pushing a product or a brand, more often than not, this will put off their followers. This could even impact the advertised brand negatively.

As an example, look at Joe Pulizzi’s Twitter account. Although he does actively promote his blog posts, he also shares other information that might be relevant to his audience, he live tweets from the events he attends, and, in turn, he always receives likes and retweets from his followers. If you take a look at his “Tweets & Replies,” he also takes the time to engage with other users and respond to any of their questions.

Now that we’ve gone through what to look for when researching social media influencers, here’s how to actually find them.

How to Find Micro-Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

If you’re using social media often, then you’re probably already aware of some of the influencers in your niche. However, for many influencer marketing campaigns, you’ll need to find and reach out to a much larger number of influencers.

There are quite a few options for tools you can use to find influencers. First, start by looking at your own followers to find influencers that are already following you, as well as any followers that have a decent-sized audience (in the thousands) that is very engaged with them. For this, you can use something like Agorapulse.

Agorapulse influencer identification tool

As you can see from the screenshot above, any influencer or brand ambassador in your list of followers is tagged as such, and they are ordered in terms of their social media popularity and the size of their audience. If you can find any relevant influencers this way, you have the big advantage of already being connected with them, which means it will be that much easier to get them on your team.

To find more influencers, there are many different tools you can use. Some of the most popular include BuzzSumo (for influencer research) and GroupHigh (for influencer research and for outreach).

With BuzzSumo, for example, you start by searching for influencers with relevant keywords:

BuzzSumo influencer identification

From there, you can filter your results so that you can easily find the right influencers for you. You can filter by type of influencer (everything from regular people to companies), as well as by city or country, and you also have the option to order your result by follower numbers, reply ratio, or average retweets, among others. These filtering options make it very easy to find influencers that are not only appropriate for your campaign, but also that have a certain amount of followers. Plus, you can also get an idea of how engaged they are, as well as what types of links they tend to share:

BuzzSumo Twitter influencer analysis

Once you’ve compiled a list of influencers to use, you can use a tool like the aforementioned GroupHigh or Buzzstream to start reaching out to them.

Micro-influencers and regular people can be a highly effective promotional tool. So long as you share a similar audience and they are actively engaging with their followers on a daily basis, they can be just as useful as a macro-influencer.

Are you using micro-influencers to promote your business online?

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Influencers Are Going Mainstream Wed, 29 Mar 2017 20:00:00 +0000 Sometimes, our life-changing influence happens by enabling others to do the influencing.

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Sometimes, our life-changing influence happens by enabling others to do the influencing. Explore how more brands are turning to ordinary, real-world influencers to reach their audiences.


  • Brands are focusing less on big-budget, high-profile endorsements and more on real-world influencers.
  • Everyday influencers like YouTube’s Casey Neistat and Chewbacca Mom are becoming the focus of influencer marketing campaigns.
  • Kelly’s round-up of influencer marketing resources and research will help you start honing your strategy today.

Kelly: “Sometimes our life-changing influence happens by enabling others to do the influencing.”—Rory Vaden

Hi, I’m Kelly Santina, Head of Operations and Media for Convince & Convert. Rory Vaden posted that quote earlier this week from one of his team members, and it relates perfectly to this week’s topic: influencers going mainstream.

Isn’t that what we’re already seeing? Big brands spending less energy and fewer dollars on large celebrity endorsements and looking for the real-world influencers that they can deliver brand messaging from? Look at Casey Neistat on the Oscar campaign for Samsung, or even Chewbacca mom Candace Payne.

In our consulting practice, we help clients each week figure out their exact influence marketing strategy, how to maximize it, how to create those relationships, and also determine the ROI. As our Jay Baer says, “True influence is not just about awareness, but action.” Check out the articles below and start to grow your influencer marketing campaign, extend the ones you already have, or figure out the right dashboard to deliver the ROI. Take care.

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3 Steps to Building Influence Through a Guest Blogger Program Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:06:50 +0000 This case study offers an example from a regulated industry of how guest blogger programs can help brands build influence.

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3 Steps to Building Influence Through a Guest Blogger Program

Content marketing, when done right, should be about providing Youtility—marketing that provides help, not hype—to your audience. Companies that do this successfully balance a clear representation of the brand’s core value proposition with content that’s truly valuable and engaging.

For over five years, The Allstate Blog has been publishing thousands of articles, videos, infographics, slideshows, and more. “Our content marketing is never a hard sell for Allstate’s products. Rather, it provides value for users by answering their questions to general insurance questions and giving tips, information, how-tos, and more on related topics—accompanied by calls to action should (as we hope, and often happens) the user want to learn more about Allstate,” said Melissa Hodai, Digital Content Team Manager at Allstate.

In 2015, to grow the blog’s audience and expand upon its successful content marketing approach, 85-year-old insurance stalwart Allstate decided to reach out to influential content creators to add new voices, expertise, and additional value to its blog. Allstate reached out to content creators across about 10 different areas of expertise, working with Convince & Convert to vet and contact these potential partners.

Not only did these guest bloggers engage with The Allstate Blog’s existing audience, but they brought their own audiences and spheres of influence to the site.

Content marketing should be about Youtility—marketing that provides help, not hype.
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Start with the Basics

“As with any content marketing program or project, it’s important to start with the ‘why?’—what do you hope to gain, and is a guest blogging program going to help you achieve that? Guest blogging programs may not be for everyone, so don’t just do it because everyone else is. Only do it if you think it will further your goals. Once you have decided to undertake a guest blogging program, to me, it’s important to put processes and governance in place,” Melissa said.

Developing an action plan and resources for the contributors is also key. As Melissa explained, “Think about the attributes you want in a guest blogger—is there a specific demographic of user you’re trying to attract? Is there a topic area gap you’re looking to fill? Is there something that your own content can’t achieve that you think a guest blogger’s content on your site could? Make a list of these attributes, and use them as a guide when you’re searching for potential guest bloggers—thinking these things through beforehand will potentially save you a lot of unnecessary work.”

The Allstate team also created a guide to help on-board guest bloggers. “Talk about your audience, your style, and anything else it is helpful for a contributor to know about your content, in addition to length and format considerations. Planning, documenting your plan, and sharing your plan with your guest bloggers are all great steps to set yourself up for success.”

Balance New Voices with Your Overall Content Approach

“As our content marketing strategy evolved, we wanted a way to bring new voices into the mix—people with specific areas of expertise, who could speak from experience about topics important to our audience. Additionally, we are always looking for ways to appeal to an ever-broader audience by filling topical and search gaps especially,” said Melissa.

“The idea of incorporating guest bloggers was a way to tackle both of these aims: We looked for people with a specific, narrow area of expertise in a topic area that suited our strategy—say, car maintenance—who had a blog or a YouTube channel or another content outlet of their own. And, we worked with these content producers to create unique content—videos or articles—on topics that we had not covered before, or on new angles on previously covered topics.”

Like many companies, whether in regulated industries or not, Allstate also had to find its footing in developing processes with these external contributors. “Once we found bloggers who wanted to participate, there also was a bit of a learning curve for them in terms of our style and approval process. We had to balance our internal approvals and The Allstate Blog’s style with our desire to allow the guest bloggers to express their own style in their posts—which was one of the reasons we sought them out in the first place. The key to negotiating this learning curve lay in open communication—we created a one-sheet style guide for our guest bloggers outlining our requirements, and then worked closely with them on any edits that were necessary, in order to come to an agreement on the final post,” Melissa explained.

Define Success to Achieve Success

High quality blog content can pay dividends for companies of all shapes and sizes, providing value through SEO, thought leadership, engagement, and lead generation. Setting specific goals and making sure that appropriate tracking mechanisms are in place (e.g. Google tags or goals) must be part of the planning process.

For Allstate, the value of this guest blogging program has come in several forms. “The guest blogging program has been very successful for our blog in terms of our measurables, including platform traffic. As we hoped, it has provided a rich source of new ideas and new takes on the topics we cover, and it has also brought our content to a wider audience, especially when the guest bloggers shared our content with their social networks. In fact, the most-visited video on our Blog to date is from a guest blogger—’Check Engine Light: What Does It Mean and What Should You Do?‘ by The Humble Mechanic. In addition to actually producing the content, the guest bloggers also often come up with the topics, bringing new and interesting ideas to the table stemming from their subject matter expertise and their experience in creating their own online content,” Melissa shared.

“And, the numbers talk. The blog enjoyed an increase in its traffic metric of nearly 40 percent in 2016, and the guest blogging program was definitely a contributing factor to that success.”

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Editor’s Note: This post is part of a paid collaboration between Allstate and Convince & Convert.

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4 Goal-Specific Ways to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI Wed, 01 Feb 2017 15:29:29 +0000 The best way to measure influencer marketing ROI depends heavily on your campaign goals. Learn how to make your measurements goal-specific.

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4 Goal-Specific Ways to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI

It’s hard to believe now, but two years ago, “influencer marketing” barely registered on Google Trends, receiving just six percent of the interest it does today. When we launched Shopping Links, an influencer marketing platform connecting fashion and lifestyle bloggers and leading international brands, many marketers didn’t know the term. The only way for brands and influential bloggers to connect was through expensive social media agencies, which offered little in the way of reporting.

In this environment, measuring the impact of an influencer marketing campaign was nearly impossible. Thankfully, influencer marketing has become far more transparent. Through social metrics, affiliate links, and Google Analytics, we are able to show brands a great deal of data that allows them to measure many aspects of their campaign.

How you measure your own ROI on influencer marketing depends largely on your objective.  Although many marketers look first at sales, there are many other benefits to influencer collaborations that can ultimately drive sales. For a brand looking to enter a new market, for example, visibility can become more important than sales tied specifically to that campaign. Likewise, a brand looking to reshape its image can measure success in terms of positive engagement. Other brands are simply looking for content to feed their social campaigns, EDMs, blogs, and style pages.

These brands will all approach their ROI differently. Here are four ways to measure ROI based on different objectives.

Goal: Visibility

Whether you’re promoting a new brand or introducing a new product, sometimes your primary goal is visibility. For these growth-oriented campaigns, your return on investment is the number of new potential customers who become aware of your brand through the campaign.

For your true ROI, it’s important to ensure your impressions are targeted. Influencer marketing allows you to reach the consumers most likely to shop your product by selecting bloggers who closely align with your target audience. We allow brands to see the Google Analytics data from many of our bloggers, which gives them a clearer picture of their demographics and suitability.

Goal: Engagement

The cost-per-engagement (CPE), measured in terms of dollars spent per “like,” comment, or interaction such as a video view or click-through, is a valuable metric that brands can use to measure long-term return on investment, since engagement is a good indicator of how consumers feel about the brand, not just the product. In many ways, the engagement metric goes beyond traditional measurements of ROI, which track immediate sales earned from a single campaign, to measure the likelihood that viewers will become brand loyalists. We have seen the CPE for collaborations reach as low as $0.01 (one cent), demonstrating how cost-effective strategic influencer marketing can be.

CPE has become a key measure of success for influencer collaborations, as it takes into consideration the value of a consumer’s long-term interest in the brand, not just their interest in an immediate sale. Engagement can include clicks to the website, likes, comments, video views, number of sales, repins on Pinterest, retweets on Twitter, and shares on Facebook, among other social interactions.

Goal: Content

Content is another benefit of influencer marketing that brands often overlook. Negotiating image rights to an influencer’s content is often far less than the expense of coordinating a photo shoot, and you have the added benefit of a third-party endorsement. This makes content a powerful return on investment, both in terms of savings on in-house content creation and the sales potential and reach generated by the influencer collaboration.

Another very valuable use of content is for email campaigns (EDMs). Our clients report seeing a much higher level of engagement, click-through-to-purchase rate, and average order value on EDMs when they include lifestyle content and imagery from bloggers than from EDMs with brand content alone.

Goal: Revenue

Now let’s talk about what people usually think of when they hear “ROI.” How do you know what your influencer marketing campaign has returned in terms of revenue to your bottom line? How can you measure your revenue earned versus dollars spent? This is actually easier to track than you might think. Here are four ways to measure your return on monetary investment.

Affiliate Links

Combining your influencer marketing campaign with affiliate marketing is one of the simplest ways to track your ROI in terms of dollars earned directly through influencers. Generating a unique affiliate link for an influencer allows you to track online sales made through their social channels and blog posts. Influencers typically receive commission from these sales. These links will also provide data around the number of clicks to the brand’s website, the number of sales, and the average order value for those sales.

It’s important to remember that affiliate links do have some tracking limitations. Sometimes a purchase can occur as many as 90 days after a shopper sees a product on an influencer’s site. Since the cookie duration for affiliate links is normally just 15–30 days, if that shopper buys the product online or in-store, you won’t be able to trace the purchase to influencer content, even if that was what drove the sale.

Promo Codes

Custom promo codes allow you to track the impact of your influencer campaign beyond immediate sales. As mentioned above, not all consumers will make a purchase immediately upon seeing an influencer’s post, even if the content ultimately inspires their buying decision. In this sense, affiliate links only reveal part of your ROI. Promo codes help you track “down the line” purchases spurred by influencer marketing. Most e-commerce sites like Shopify or WooCommerce will allow you to generate promo codes easily that you can provide to your influencers.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is another incredibly powerful tool for tracking online sales. By setting up an “Event” goal, you can see which of your online customers visited your e-commerce site from an influencer’s blog or social channel, giving you a reliable assessment of ROI on e-commerce sales. Working with an Influencer Marketing platform like Shopping Links, you can also see this important metric in the overall results. Our results page also shows you how many people visited a blogger’s website while they were promoting your brand.

Isolated Marketing

Isolated marketing is a way to measure an influencer’s impact on sales no matter when or where the purchase takes place. With this method, you select a special “test” product that, for a period of time, you promote only through influencer marketing. Isolating your marketing efforts allows you to track sales throughout the entire funnel, including in-store purchases. Your test will also give you a more complete picture of your consumers’ buying behavior, from which you can better gauge the total sales you’re likely to generate from influencer marketing in future campaigns.

The above examples of ROI demonstrate some of the ways to measure influencer marketing’s impact, but they are by no means complete! Influencer marketing also provides the intangible benefits of a third-party endorsement and an SEO boost from the number of organic conversations (and links to your website) taking place around your brand. Although there are many ways to measure the success of influencer marketing, any individual measurement of ROI is only a piece of the overall value.

We encourage brands to spend some time identifying what is most important to their sales and marketing function, and from there, determine the platforms and tools that will help them to clearly articulate and measure the return they are getting from their spend and effort.

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Just How Powerful Is Influencer Marketing? Wed, 28 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000 Influencer marketing is more powerful, measurable, and beneficial than you think, according to new research on influencer marketing's ROI.

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Editor’s Note: This post is one of Convince & Convert’s Top 10 Posts of 2016.

Just How Powerful Is Influencer Marketing

Listen to this blog post as a podcast:

Four trends are converging to make influencer marketing an increasingly important part of any B2C or B2B marketing program:

  1. There is a glut of content being created, and breaking through the noise is more difficult than ever
  2. The precipitous decline of organic reach on Facebook (and now Instagram) makes social media promotion of content a trickier proposition
  3. Ad blockers make amplification of content through display ads (even hyper-specific remarketing) less appealing
  4. Americans trust recommendations from real people significantly more than we trust advertising and promotions from brands, in any guise

This last point is a major key, as the perceived authenticity of other humans contributes not only to the rise of influencer marketing, but also its cousin – employee advocacy programs.

Influencer Marketing Has Been Around for Centuries

The idea of using someone else’s celebrity and/or credibility to help boost awareness or trial of products and services has been part of the marketer’s toolkit since at least 1760, when Robert Wedgewood of Wedgewood China began using endorsements from members of the Royal Family to boost pottery sales.

The underlying premise and even the primary mechanics of influencer marketing have never changed.

What has changed is the number of people that have “influence” in this modern age of people as media. And now, our ability to measure the impact of influencer marketing has also morphed.

We Now Know How to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI

The clickstream produced by online influencer marketing is one of its great advantages compared to its offline brethren. But the ability to calculate true ROI – to assign actual dollars to those clicks and shares – has mostly been limited to e-commerce companies who can successfully close the attribution loop. Not anymore.

A new study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions (a major research company that tracks real world food and grocery purchases) dug deep into the results of an influencer marketing program conducted for White Wave Foods, the parent company of Silk Almond Milk and other products.

The program was created and managed by TapInfluence – a terrific Convince & Convert partner whose marketing head is the co-host of our Influence Pros podcast.

Screenshot_4_15_16,_7_26_PMTapInfluence found 258 fitness and food influencers, each of whom was asked to create content about Silk for their “Meatless Mondays” initiative. Content was also amplified on influencers’ social presences – but only organic. No paid media was employed.

The program was automated and overseen using the TapInfluence platform, including the addition of relevant FTC disclosure statements, and insertion of a special tracking pixel from Nielsen Catalina Solutions, used to determine whether a household had been exposed to content created by the 258 influencers.

Online Advertising Can’t Compete with Influencer Marketing’s ROI

The results of this program for Silk Almond Milk were staggering.

Influencer Marketing generates as much as 11X banner ad ROI (highlight to tweet, you’ll love it)

  • Households exposed to influencer marketing purchased 10% more Silk products than the control group
  • Each 1000 people viewing influencer marketing purchased $285 worth of Silk products over the control group
  • The ROI of the blog posts alone (not including social promotion) is 11X the ROI of banner ads, after 12 months


Even More Benefits of Influencer Marketing

In addition to the pure ROI, this program created three other wins for White Wave Foods:

First, this is the gift that keeps on giving. The company has seen more than 1.2 million additional impressions – mostly from organic SEO and Pinterest – since the study period concluded. This is double the impressions included in the ROI study, and the impressions continue to accrue every day. Any sales lift generated by these impressions is not modeled in the ROI calculations.


Second, this programs offers huge reuse potential. Silk now has a treasure chest of influencer-created content they can (and are) deploying on their own social channels.

Third, it’s relatively inexpensive to deploy. The cost of creating banner ads, television, outdoor, etc. are always an investment layer on top of the media spend. With an influencer marketing program like this one, the “creative costs” are shouldered by the influencers themselves, and thus are baked in to fees paid to Tap Influence or other influencer marketing platforms.

We’ve known for years that online influencers can generate net-new impressions, clicks, and even e-commerce sales. But this new study demonstrates that online influencer marketing yields offline purchase shifts too, and to me that’s an exciting discovery.

Will your own influencer marketing programs deliver the same kind of ROI? I can’t say, but given the four challenges cited above that are driving interest in marketing of this type, I’d at least consider testing a robust influencer marketing initiative.

Learn More with These Resources

Full study + results

2-Page Executive summary

Influence Pros podcast starring White Wave Foods

Social Pros podcast starring White Wave Foods

Convince & Convert’s Influencer Marketing Strategy Services

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How We Built a Successful Influencer Marketing Strategy Fri, 16 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000 Learn how Convince & Convert helps our clients align with the right influencers and elevate their influencer marketing strategies.

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That brands need to be part of the conversation in social media is axiomatic and obvious. But can brands be part of a conversation in which they are not participating directly? Yes, through influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing enables brands to cede at least partial control of their message while customers, advocates, online journalists, and others steer the story of the brand and its products and services.

Most of our consulting clients at Convince & Convert are large, global brands. As consumer, most of us would be thrilled to get a Twitter reply from them. Even though many of these companies have broad reach on their own, they also leverage social media influencers to increase niche reach and/or to enhance authenticity.

But this only works when marketers align first with suitable influencers, and then determine how best to work together. Here’s how.

How to Build Trust in a Regulated Industry

Brands in regulated industries care about trust and authenticity as much as companies outside those categories—maybe more so. But because of limits on what can be said and by whom, many regulated brands take a conservative approach to social media and content marketing. The upshot is that the brands that do push harder stand out even more by comparison.

One of our clients is a major insurance company that you see on TV every day. They are comfortable creating strong content for their audience of policy-holders and prospective policy-holders, but they wanted to increase reach, boost authenticity, and supply even more interesting tips and advice online via their blog and YouTube channel.

The goal wasn’t (and isn’t) to create content about their products—because content that is only about your products is just a brochure. Instead, the key is to create content that fulfills the brand’s role as a trusted advisor and resource.

The strategy makes sense, right? Find influencers, and partner with them to create Youtility content that helps people make better decisions about their home, auto, boat, motorcycle, etc. But at the operational level, this kind of program creates a number of questions, starting with, “What influencers do we want to work with, and why?”

For this project, we used software from our friends at GroupHigh to help us identify, analyze, sort, and approach potential influencers—primarily bloggers. GroupHigh allows you to run a ton of different queries when searching for suitable influencers. In this case, we focused on these criteria:

  • Freshness: How recently had the blogger posted content? How frequently did they post?
  • Traffic: What is the blog’s traffic? How much audience has the influencer aggregated?
  • Social footprint: What are the opportunities to work with the influencer in social? Are they active on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest?
  • Fit: Does their content make sense for our client’s audience and their overall brand vision? (We got at this by doing keyword queries in GroupHigh, which shows if the blog has covered the topic, if the keyword was in the headline of the blog post or just the body, and how recently the keyword appeared on the blog.)

Once we identified potential influencers and vetted them with our client, we worked with the influencers directly to brainstorm and create content that all parties felt showcased the unique points of view and expertise of the influencers. In 2016, we discovered and worked with nearly 100 influencers as part of this program.

Measuring Along an Active Campaign

One of the other big questions around influencer marketing right now is how to measure impact and effectiveness (our Influence Pros podcast has many episodes devoted to this issue). At Convince & Convert, we’re often asked for guidance about how to track an ongoing influencer marketing program. But in many cases, we’re asked to figure this out once the program has already commenced, making pre/post comparisons difficult and unreliable.

So it was fantastic when we were asked by one of our long-time agency partners (we support many independent agencies with their social/digital/content/influencer strategies) to help measure a yearlong travel influencer program for one of the largest states in the nation, before the program started.

We built custom worksheets to help the agency and their client monitor and evaluate success. We included five sections:

  • Influencer Log: Record every influencer who is part of the campaign, the dates they are expected to contribute, and every social channel or website/blog link associated with them for tracking purposes.
  • Content Log: The nagging feeling that some tweet or blog post will go uncounted is avoided with a tracking system in place, be it manually recorded in an workbook or auto-saved in the firehose of data GroupHigh collects. We’re fans of the GroupHigh Bookmark and URL Grabber plugins that allow click-to-add to any engagement report.
  • Keywords: Most experiential campaigns or events have unique dedicated hashtags, but also be aware of other, spin-off hashtags that originate from the experience, as well as keywords for places or products used in the campaign.
  • Reach and Engagement: We used GroupHigh to measure the reach and impact of each blog post and several other tools to do the same for social media content.
  • Equivalent Media Values: Marketers are challenged to show ROI on all campaigns. Many agencies are asked to value blog posts and Instagram photos in the context of traditional media placements. Personally, I’m not a fan of equivalency reporting because it measures two things that are quite dissimilar, but I understand why brands and agencies gravitate toward it, so we created an equivalency valuation formula for this project.

Codifying and simplifying the influencer tracking process allowed the agency to see the connections between initial goals and resulting outcomes all the way through the campaign. They were able to make real-time decisions to make the experiences even more effective for the influencers and the tourism client.

Using tools to help find and measure influencers is an absolute requirement. Some brands and agencies still do a lot of this work manually, starting with Google searches and ending in Excel spreadsheet hell, but I’ve got no interest in using time that inefficiently.

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5 Influencer Marketing Myths from 2016 Tue, 13 Dec 2016 14:57:59 +0000 It's time to separate the facts from the hearsay and debunk the five most common influencer marketing myths.

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Getting started with an influencer marketing program can be an intimidating venture for a brand. With new information being released all the time, and examples of big-name companies finding success, it’s no surprise that misconceptions exist. Below we address five common influencer marketing myths and explain why they’re wrong.

1. Influencers Will Only Work with Brands If They Receive Monetary Compensation

As 2017 approaches, compensation is still one of the most asked-about topics in conversations around influencer marketing. Many content creators have spent years building loyal communities and solidifying their reputations as thought leaders, and they agree that providing their audience with quality content is more important than the paycheck itself.

Research by GroupHigh found that although 70 percent of content creators “prefer monetary compensation on a per-post-basis over affiliate partnerships, running ads on their blogs, or product trade . . . they will only take compensation from brands with products and services that align with their readership and personal branding.”

According to Jessica from Savory Experiments, “Balancing authenticity and paid sponsorship is a delicate balance. For me, I only accept agreements from brands that I truly believe in—being genuine and real is what my blog is based on. I’ve turned down very well-paid programs due to not feeling in-tune with a message or product.”

2. FTC Sponsorship Compliance Is Not Important

A few months ago, the Federal Trade Commission announced plans to tighten oversight around paid promotion disclosure. But is requiring influencers to disclose brand sponsorship really that important? The answer is yes. From Warner Bros to Lord & Taylor to the Kardashians, it seems no one is safe from the FTC’s recent crackdown on deceptive influencer sponsorship.

Mistakenly leaving out an “#Ad” hashtag in an Instagram caption is one thing, but according to a survey by influencer marketing platform SheSpeaks, “One out of four influencers has been asked not to disclose their commercial arrangements with a brand.” The consequences? Examples like Lord & Taylor may have gotten away with only slaps on the wrist, but according to the FTC, violations like these “may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.”

3. Measuring ROI Is the Biggest Challenge in Influencer Marketing

Many marketers try to report on everything: mentions, engagement, social shares, brand lift, website traffic, increase in social following, sales conversions, impressions, and more. In fact, marketers should choose two to three specific key performance indicators and follow the growth over time rather than trying to keep track of heaps of irrelevant data. The top two metrics marketers use to track their influencer campaign efforts are:

  • Traffic from media to a specific site.
  • Social shares of a post.

4. An Influencer’s Total Reach and Social Follower Numbers Are More Important Than Relevance and Audience Engagement

When it comes to influencer marketing, bigger simply isn’t always better. Just because an influencer has a large following on social media doesn’t mean their content reaches and gets interacted with by the entire group. Working with a content creator who commonly posts about similar topics and has an active and loyal readership will always yield more engagement.

There should be a compromise somewhere in the middle. You want someone in a niche that is related to what you are selling because they will be authentic and passionate and able to nurture their following. But you also want them to have a nice reach to help engage with the content. Rather than taking into account followers alone, InsightPool, an influencer-marketing platform, focuses outreach efforts on relevance, influence, and activity all together.

5. Short-From Social Content Yields the Same Value as Long-Form Content

Short form content in the form of Tweets, Instagram photos, or Pinterest pins are, as the label suggests, meant to be short in length and consumed quickly by the audience.

The benefit of using short form content is to drive engagement and clicks, but the return is much shorter, and the lifespan of an average tweet, for example, is only 18 minutes. Long form, in comparison, is meant to give the audience a more insightful look into the topics. The benefits here are higher SEO rankings on Google search results and more social shares, with three thousand to 10 thousand-word posts gaining the most average shares. The best strategy is using them in conjunction with one another, as a way to push viewership and amplify rich blog content.

Influencer marketing is notoriously dynamic and always changing. Identifying and learning about industry misconceptions are great places to start when developing an approach of your own.

Get more content like this, plus the very BEST marketing education, totally free. Get our Definitive email newsletter.

The post 5 Influencer Marketing Myths from 2016 appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.

3 Smart Resources That Help with Influencer Marketing Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:00:00 +0000 Influencer marketing is more important than ever, and Jay Baer recommends 3 educational resources to get up to speed.

The post 3 Smart Resources That Help with Influencer Marketing appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.


Image via Unsplash

Content marketing is hard, and it’s getting harder, for three reasons:

1. More competition
With 70% of companies creating more content than ever in 2016, the glut of content inherently makes it more difficult to get noticed.

2. Organic reach is nearly gone
Most brands relied at least in part on organic social media posts to drive content consumption. With the free lunch just about over in social media, new avenues for awareness-generation must be embraced.

3. Watching instead of reading
Spurred on by social platforms who benefit if the standard “unit of content” becomes short video rather than a Web page (which benefits Google), everyone seems to be all-in on video, which requires retraining and reconfiguration of content marketing processes.

Amidst these content marketing trials and tribulations, many brands are turning to influencer marketing as the way forward. And for good reason. Done well, influencer marketing creates awareness, reach, and content consumption. It also has the benefit of being more trustworthy than most brand-produced marketing.

But it’s still relatively early days in the field of influencer marketing. What works? What doesn’t work? What are the rules? The best practices? The norms? The pitfalls?

The Source for Influencer Marketing How-To

To clarify some of the confusion around influencer marketing, software companies and agencies and consultants are creating educational resources in multiple channels. Here are three I recommend, two of which are produced by my team at Convince & Convert Media, and one boffo collection created by our partners at Insightpool (which I also use for influencer marketing myself—here’s a post showing how I do it).

1. Influence Pros Podcast

InfluencePros-logo-tagWe produce a funny, topical, informative and timely podcast every week called Influence Pros. The show is co-hosted by Heidi Sullivan from Cision and Juliana Vorhaus from TapInfluence.

They interview leading influencers, agencies, brands, and other people from the world of influencer marketing, shining a spotlight on successes. A great weekly listen to learn more about how influencer and advocate marketing works.

Here’s a good episode to try: How to Use Micro-Influencers to Create Big Engagement

The home page for the show is at and you can subscribe to all episodes on iTunes or similar.

2. Insightpool’s Age of Influence collection

age-of-influence-banner-5This is so smart. Insightpool partnered with several other marketing software companies to create The Age of Influence Series, an entire catalog of webinars, white papers, videos and Q&As about influencer marketing.

They’ve done a great job of creating content about all sides of the eco-system. For example, from the main landing page hub of the Age of Influence series you can find:

Webinar – “The Science Behind Influencer Marketing”

Q&A – “Throw the Right Punch with Influencer Marketing” (featuring #realtalk from Shanda Maloney, formerly head of social for UFC)

eBook – “Master Influencer Marketing Done Right”

AND, this library grows every week. Upcoming Q&A sessions with Hootsuite, video series on earned vs. paid influencer marketing, and a lot more. Thanks to Insightpool for creating this resource, and continuing to add to it.

3. Definitive Daily Digest archives

d285ee08-407b-4a2e-a238-136d2e5d00e4Four times each week, my team publishes our email update known as “Definitive”—it’s been called by many subscribers “the most useful marketing email in the world.”


Because instead of covering the day’s news in social/content/influencer marketing, we pick ONE topic each day and tell readers the three most useful resources about that topic from all corners of the Internet.

This year, we’ve covered influencer marketing topics several times. To catch up on the resources we’ve curated for Definitive readers, visit the archives:

Content Marketing archives

Digital Marketing archives

And if you don’t subscribe to Definitive, let’s get that fixed! Scroll down, provide your email, and you’re all set. Or just visit this link.

We’ll be producing more content about influencer marketing in 2017, as I fully expect it to continue to be a very important part of the content marketing amplification story. Until then, spend some time with Influence Pros, The Age of Influence series, and the Definitive archives.

Have some other ideas of great influencer marketing resources? Leave them in the comments, please!

The post 3 Smart Resources That Help with Influencer Marketing appeared first on Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting.