Jason Keath, a social media speaker and consultant, first bought the domain name SocialFresh.com in 2008, as he began to plan the first Social Fresh Conference in Charlotte NC. Originally, he wanted to Fresh Social, but the name was taken. In retrospect, he thinks that was probably a good thing. Jason began in the agency world as a creative person with an art degree. That evolved into more of a marketing strategy position. Later he became a social strategy person. Social Fresh tailors everything for marketers: PR pros, AD people and digital marketers.
Influence is a huge ecosystem of push and pull. If you ask people if TV influences buying decision, they will probably say no, but the data shows differently. Your subconscious builds up all of these data points that you use to make a decision. Influencer marketing is so powerful because people are the most important influences in our lives. We place more trust in individuals than in advertisements. Social media is cross section of people and content.
There are four levels of influencers:
1. Celebrities (Will.i.am)
2. Publishers (bloggers and YouTubers)
3. Fans (customers and stakeholders)
4. Friends (friends, family and coworkers)
At the top of this list you're reaching the most people, but they have the least influence on our lives. At the bottom, you're reaching a much smaller group, but they will have much more influence. Still, publishers are going to be your main target. The majority of what you are looking for is people with blogs and email lists attached to that blog. This is the most effective use of influencer marketing because these people have the infrastructure to make an impact on your target audience.
Advocacy is important component of influencer marketing. You have to target those that have an audience with an existing passion, and you must give them a good reason to promote your brand.
It's going to cost you to get influencers to act on your behalf. You're either going to pay for it with time or money. Paid media within the blogger world is relatively new but can be very effective. Bloggers must disclose they received compensation for the content, but this can be done in a creative way (i.e. fashion blogger says at the bottom that this blog helped contribute to her new shoe fund). Bloggers who do this well yield great results.
Jason outlined six key steps to influencer marketing: focus, research, refine, relationship, activation and follow up.
1. Focus on two to four key topics your target audience would consume.
Ford might look for:
Moms – parenting
College students – music
Newlyweds – home improvement
You can also look for tertiary topics. Some skincare brands will look for crafts on Pinterest because their audience is highly connected to the topic.
2. Research is an important step in finding your influencers. Create a huge list of people that are influential in the topic you want.
3. Refine your selections. It's a balance between reaching the influencers and advocates your client wants to reach and those that actually care and will write about your topic. You can use both objective and subjective tools to refine your list of targets.
Objective tools: Google Pagerank, Alexa Score, Klout Score, Amazon reviews, YouTube subscribers, comments, Twitter followers and publishing frequency.
Subjective tools: website design, language, frequency, community, ads and
Refine your selections. It's a balance between reaching the influencers and advocates your client wants to reach and those that actually care and will write about your topic.
4. Relationships DON'T happen overnight. If you want real value, build long-term relationships.
Tips for Relationship Building:
• Say hello
Read the content your targets produce regularly. Participate by commenting and retweeting. Consider what their existing partnerships look like and how they like to spend time online. Say hello and introduce yourself, your brand or agency without making an ask. Let them know that you've been following them and let them know how their content is relevant to you. Showing you appreciation without asking for something seems more genuine. When you are asking for activation, to move their followers to action, do it in a way that is most beneficial to them. Follow up by sharing their content far and wide!
5. Activation can happen once you build the relationship with your influencers. “Highly-targeted smart bombs” leverage the bigger fish first to drive movement. When you make your pitch/ask, make sure that you are using an angle that will provide the most value.
Tips for Activation:
• First access
• Big creative
• Feature them
• Spotlight the movement
• Tailor the ask (relevance)
6. Follow up with influencers to nurture a long-term relationship. Look for opportunities to be a resource, and continue engaging.
Tips for Follow Up:
• Be a resource
• Answer questions
• Get feedback
• Say thank you
This influencer marketing presentation was particularly interesting because at MCG we already do this for our clients, and so much of what Jason said rang true from our experience. A great example of our recent influencer marketing efforts is our work on blogger outreach for Maxwell Health. Our team has garnered great exposure for our client so far from key influencers, and we’re continuing to use all of these principles to get the word out. We did this through our excellent creative and targeted pitching. You can see and example of the blogger kit we sent here.
Influencer marketing done right really makes an impact.
View Jason's full presentation here.