Investigating Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing has become one of the latest shiny objects in marketing and popular culture, but does it deliver? Matt and Ashley delve into this topic and provide examples of influencer marketing both done well and performed poorly.
Matt and Ashley discuss the following topics:
- How should a business approach influencer marketing?
- How does it compare to other marketing channels?
- What does a good influencer arrangement look like?
- How do you find a suitable influencer?
- Should you even consider influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is nothing new. Celebrities have been endorsing products for years. The only thing that has really changed is the definition of the word “celebrity.” The rise of Instagram, YouTube, blogging and social media have enabled individual content producers to gain followings. Many of these followings are highly desirable audiences for advertisers.
Cut past the hype and get information to help you make informed decisions about influencer marketing for your business. Don’t just jump on the influencer bandwagon before doing your research. Join Matt and Ashley as they discuss the highs, the lows, and the shameful side of influencers.
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Ashley Schweigert: Influencer marketing at the end of the day is about humanizing a brand and humanizing a brand goes into I’m sure we’ve all heard it. Content marketing is nothing now. But brand journalism telling a story, all of that really does connect. So if you’re thinking about how you’re going to humanize the brand and use that influencer, you have to really think about what’s the story that you’re really looking to tell to get that that user or that person that is looking at that post more involved with what you have to represent.
Introduction: Welcome to endless coffee cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.
Matt Bailey: Hello listener. Thanks again for joining us on the endless coffee cup. And today I have Ashley Schweigert back with us. How are you doing Ashley?
Ashley: I’m good. Thank you for having me.
Matt: Hey, thanks for coming because I think we talked about this in the last episode about doing something about influencer marketing and you were, I think even more excited about that one than the business plan.
Ashley: Oh gosh. I don’t know. I love planning, but this topic, I think the reason why I get so passionate about it is that a lot of business owners feel that they need to place a lot of investments into influencer marketing and I completely disagree.
Matt: Yeah. So influencer marketing, I guess, where do we even start with this? I think so. I’ll start it off by saying influencer marketing is nothing new.
Ashley: It really isn’t. It’s always been out there. Is it just a different form of network? Common sense networking. Yeah.
Matt: Yeah. I, I went back and I started pulling some old ads of like Frank Sinatra pitching cigarettes, Babe Ruth selling a certain kind of beer. I’m trying to think, there was Mark Twain even pitched a cigar.
Ashley: I think the reason why people are looking at it as so new is because of the element of social media.
Matt: Yeah, yeah. That the, well it’s either the threshold for celebrity has come down or our appetite for celebrity has gone up.
Ashley: Yeah. I could see, I could see it go either way.
Matt: Yeah. It’s, it’s if someone, you follow someone, I don’t know whether you respect or something like that, that there’s, they recommend something. I can see the draw of it.
Ashley: I can too, but I will say I follow a lot of comedians. I love comedians and, and there is a particular comedian that I love to follow. I actually thought about unfollowing him recently because of all the advertising.
Matt: Oh wow.
Ashley: And I did, this is probably a couple years ago. I read a study about how millennials and I am an older millennial. I’m an Oregon Trail millennial, not, I am not a younger millennial, but I will say I am in that bracket. And I’m kind of proud of it still, but I will say that millennials, they don’t put up with being advertised to, and I think that they are smarter and I don’t think it’s going to work as well as, I think advertising just in general is going down. So that’s why I feel like you really have to step back as a marketer and look at influencer marketing and really where it, where it is at in the sales cycle. And if that really makes sense for your, your dollars and what you have budgeted for your marketing overall.
Matt: Absolutely. Now you said something that’s really interesting. So I think the millennials they’ve already talked about that this is the generation, that’s the digital natives. So, you know, advertising but yet so much of the influencer marketing is geared towards the younger millennial and the next generation after that, which I’m losing. I can’t remember. What’s the, after the millennial, it’s the Z gen Z, something like that.
Ashley: I don’t remember either, but I will say you have to be smarter about it. If you are going to get into influencer marketing, they can’t be so obvious. It really needs to be almost like, I mean, when I see hashtag ad and they’re tagging and say the brand that to me is a red flag that this is influencer marketing. This is an advertisement. I don’t want to see it. It loses credibility in my eyes and I am a millennial.
Now, I will say, I’m a marketer, so I know better. But I also feel that that’s just not a smart way to market. I think if like say Kim Kardashian was taking a selfie of herself, and she just had in the background, a Coke can, then that might work, but to sit there and focus on that and say, you know, hashtag ad and at Coca-Cola, it’s just too obvious.
Matt: And that’s where, so I, we, we both brought notes. I’m laughing about that. So here’s a stat for you, 90% of the top celebrities consistently violate FTC regulations. Oh yeah, because they don’t mark ads as ads. Now on the other side, well, on the, on the side of the influencers, over 40% of influencers said they will not label ads as ads, unless they are specifically asked by the brand. Now, like you said there, why don’t they want to label anything as an ad?
Ashley: I guess it won’t work.
Matt: Nobody wants to see it. Yeah.
Ashley: Yeah. And I know you have to follow those regulations. I mean, as a marketer, I’m all about it. I mean, let’s keep compliant.
Matt: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Ashley: But it’s just, it doesn’t work when people know it’s an ad. It just doesn’t work. Or if you’re going to do it, you need to make sure that your language in the post is very natural. And even the way that they’re, they’re holding that product or whatever it is that they’re doing for you is very natural.
Matt: And that’s the problem. I mean, for something that strives for authenticity as the more I research influencer marketing, the more I’ve been involved with it and it’s anything but authentic. It is, it screams in authenticity.
Ashley: Yeah. And I just thought that you know, it was interesting that you mentioned how celebs or these influencers are just not doing it right. I was reading something about I do like, I don’t always watch Keeping up with the Kardashians, but I do find, I know, just gonna be. I know don’t judge me. I know, but Scott Disick, He did something with Bootea. Like he didn’t follow the directions that the company gave him and posted on the channel,
Matt: Oh, are the wrong channel?
Ashley: Yeah. I think that’s what it was. I might have this slightly wrong, but I believe it was the wrong channel. And, and that’s what you really have to think about who you’re using. Do they understand it? And really doesn’t make sense. I don’t care how big their name is. Is it really makes sense? I think the best influencer marketing is done when it’s more of a partnership. Yeah. And it just really makes sense for your industry.
Matt: I think one of either he did this or someone else did it, someone posted the instructions that were given to them that at 5 :45 post this,
Ashley: Maybe, It was, I know there was more while,
Matt: And it was a whole set of instructions with the post. It, like, he just grabbed it and posted it and it’s like, Oh, Oh, authentic. Right there. That’s great.
Ashley: I just, I just remember it because I laughed and I, you know, because I do like, Oh, I keep it up with the Kardashians. Because it’s just, it’s a train wreck. I can’t help it. So when I, so when I saw a sky, I was like, Oh, of course started laughing. Well, don’t judge me. Don’t judge me.
Matt: So I’m happy to say, I don’t know who he is. So I’m not the millennial. I’m more in the X, which I saw something the other day that was like, they’re always putting boomers and millennials against each other and gen X in the middle sipping, they’re letting you guys fight it out. We’ll just sit there in the middle. Influencers, aren’t salespeople.
Ashley: No. They’re not,
Matt: They’ve never been trained in sales, they or marketing. And so the ability to craft a message, or as I think Sue has mentioned multiple times, all marketing is inauthentic. There’s no such thing as authentic marketing.
Ashley: Oh yes, they judge about it.
Matt: Yeah. And so, but a celeb or an influencer, unless they have a background in sales and marketing, they really don’t know how to craft something so that it looks natural so that it even comes across as being, I don’t know. I hate to use the word authentic because it’s not, but at the same time, it, when I look at what they do, when I look at what a lot of influencers do, they stumble into it, they try to make it look natural and it looks terrible.
Ashley: It does. It really does. I just, yeah. I use Instagram all the time. That’s where you see it. And, you know, that’s, that’s where I’m following all the celebs and I’m seeing different things. And I just, I really don’t see a lot of them do it right at all. I mean, I got to say, I’m trying to think of somebody like right now, who does it the right way.
And I can’t think of it off at the top of my head. I just feel that when it’s done more natural and it’s more organic when there’s that partnership and there’s other things that are going, going with that, like, I think if you approach it more as a campaign versus like, make it just more obvious that you’re making a splash with that celebrity, because I just think that your audience is smarter. They know it’s an ad.
Ashley: So if you’re going to have an ad, you either come out with it or do like an entire spread on it. Like, let’s do some PR let’s do this, that, and the other thing, or you just don’t do it because I mean, think about where that, that influencer is adds up. It’s in the awareness stage, influencer marketing is in the awareness stage of the marketing funnel. So anybody who knows the marketing funnel, the awareness stage is really far out there. So if you’re putting all your advertising dollars into having a celebrity or whoever it is, do your ad in an authentic way, then you’re just wasting your money. And you have to think about how you’re going to bring those viewers further down the sales cycle. And you’re just not really going to get there.
Matt: It was very similar to, you know, so I grew up with television as the primary medium, and you always saw actors, athletes, personalities. They were the ones driving the majority of the advertising, but you had to have a celebrity. And you know that. So that’s kind of what I grew up with was you, you had that professional celebrity, that professional person, and now that, and of course they’re coached, they’re coached everything’s pre-written an agency would put it all together. And now we have agencies connecting influencers with brands, but you have the influencers not trained in any of this. Now, as far as the campaign that I think worked well, I think the Gap a couple of years ago got a female blogger Megan, Megan Rinky, or something, and she built videos on how to build, or she made videos on how to build a wardrobe using, you know, some Gap items or something like that,
Ashley: Well that make sense.
Matt: Or Old Navy, one of the two, I can’t remember, but it was how to build a wardrobe and different things like that. So they were more instructional videos helped her because she’s got a sort of a fashion channel and it helps them because she’s using their things. I think that was a good application. She’s got followers already. It’s kind of like it, I looked at it is to, they could do that type of an ad anyway, and it’d be good, but so she has 3 million followers. You now have an audience. If you use her to do your ad now as me who does not know who she is, if I’m searching for something. And I see that ad, I don’t know who she is, but I could still be influenced because she’s teaching how to do something.
Ashley: Well. And I think this gets into like, is it B2B or B to C? And I think that’s an excellent example of B2C done, right? Yeah. I think B2B can actually use influencer marketing much easier. I’m thinking of an example that I did a couple of years ago with influencer marketing, there was a company I was working with and it was in the education space and they, for women’s history month, they wanted to really make a splash with a particular program. So what we did is we found some authors and that were in that age group and that had different books and that were promoting their books that were already doing things that had followers. It actually made sense for them to talk about their program within what they were talking about of, of their book. And we also partnered with some different organizations or associations that were also in that space. So it just made sense. And they were doing other things like press releases and it just, there were more channels. So to spend those dollars towards that influencer, you’re, you’re going to get more bang for your buck.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and, okay, so Google has an article about influencers and influencer marketing and specifically the Hershey’s hot cocoa kisses, and they partnered with YouTube bakers. Now, I thought this was interesting, cause this is, this is Google’s press release or Google’s article that after partnering with three YouTube bakers or top YouTube bakers, it generated a 22% lift in purchase intent. Now, first of all, well, and then I’ll okay. I’ll come back to that together with a paid ad strategy, the campaign was key to driving more than 9 million in retail sales.
Okay. Now this is Google’s own article about how to use influencers and YouTube and all that. And this is what I can’t stand about. Articles about influencer marketing. The whole article is about influencer marketing. And yet this one sentence together with a paid ad strategy. Now we have numbers, 9 million in retail sales, but it’s almost an aside, especially when it says together with a paid ad strategy.
Matt: Wait a minute. Now the whole article is about influencer marketing and the value of it. And offhandedly, you say, well, there was a paid ad strategy and it drove more than nine. Wait a minute. Now let’s come back to the lift and purchase intent, how YouTube measures purchase intent. If you are watching videos. And once in a while, instead of an ad, you’ll get a questionnaire. And it will ask you, have you seen videos from this advertiser? And would you consider buying this product? It’s a real simple questionnaire. And it is given to people who have seen that brands, videos, and people who have not. And they determined purchase intent by measuring. Will the people who saw that brand are more likely to purchase it than the people who didn’t see those videos. Well, yeah, that’s how you come up with lift and purchase intent.
Matt: It is a crazy unscientific measurement. It is all based. I mean, when I started digging into the metrics of some of this stuff, lift intent is probably one of the biggest ones. You could drive a truck through it. And so the, the main number we get associated with the influencer marketing is a lift in purchase intent, which is a survey given to people who have seen the video and, and compared to those who haven’t. And then when they give you a hard number, Oh, by the way, it was with a paid search campaign, which by the way, if you’re going to do influencer, don’t use that bucket alone.
Ashley: Well, yeah, you just, you can.
Matt: I got to be doing other things.
Ashley: So many business owners. This is why I get so it may come off like really passionate, but it’s just like, there’s so many business owners that will approach me about influencer marketing and that’s where they want to start. And they think that that’s where they need to really put, like, that’s their bucket. That’s where they’re putting all of their dollars. And that to me just does not make sense. You cannot do that. And that’s how you have to think about that. That’s funnel the cycle. What does that user experience look like once they see that social posts? Where are you then taking them? What are your other channels? You have to think about omni-channel marketing. What is that experience?
Matt: What also comes down to, what do you want, what do you want as a brand? I remember one of the early days of the internet, a mole skin, notebooks bought a blogger. They bought his site and then paid him to continue to blog. Because what he blogged about were mole, skin notebooks. He loved it. He was an artist. He carried it around. He had, you know, and he would show the dozens that were around and hundreds from that he had just used over the decades. And that was one thing he consistently blogged about. Well, mole skin for them, this is early days. Do we start our own blog? Or do we buy something that’s already established with someone who already loves the product so much that he’s been doing it for free. And they had an instant blog, instant readership, and a writer by buying his site and paying him to continue writing for,
Ashley: I mean, I think that’s a great idea, but you know what I’m thinking about when it comes to SEO, like let’s, let’s maybe like buy it, but then have your own to think about, how does the work together?
Matt: Yeah, there’s a couple of ways of doing it, but there was a lot of that that went on. And I mean, that’s some of the earlier more social media influencer marketing is finding the people that would do it for free.
Ashley: Oh yeah.
Matt: That loved your brand and loved your products so much. They use it for free. And that I think is one of the keys that if you want to find an influencer, that’s.
Ashley: Going for the bloggers and stuff.
Matt: Anyone, because now it’s a little bit more authentic.
Ashley: Well, and you know, I think you have a really good, okay. So that’s a topic I love talking about because when you find somebody that is a good blogger and you know, not everybody, all these bloggers that are blogging about your topic are going to be good influencers for you. Cause you have to think about their website. So there’s other things that go into that. Do they have good domain authority? Cause they’re going to link back to your site.
So you have to think about the bigger picture and is this going to hurt my SEO? And like I just think that’s such a big topic. Cause I, I know when I worked at an agency, we would always go after bloggers, but then you would start doing the research and I’m like, these really aren’t good bloggers and they’re really not. They may be talking about this. They had me have like a decent social following, but their site is horrible. Like I don’t want them linking to this website. It’s going to hurt me.
Matt: Yeah. so I think that goes, that goes into your research ahead of time knowing what you’re getting into, if you were to acquire or use or anything like that,
Ashley: You have to just look at that big picture,
Matt: Homework with that. But, and I think that’s what a lot of this revolves around is the bandwagon now for influencers is so big. Nobody’s doing their homework. Okay. Are you ready for this? In 2018, $744 million was spent on influencer marketing $102 million was lost on fake followers.
Ashley: Oh, my gosh. Yes. I could totally see that.
Matt: Yeah. So a little more, well, no more than 15% of all that was spent. So here we go. Clarence, a skincare company estimates that 45% of their budget, 45% of their marketing budget, not just their influencer, their marketing budget was lost on fake accounts. There was a couple others in there. A Procter and gamble came out and said they will drop any influencer that they find using fake followers or fake engagement. And that’s the thing we get back to the authenticity of it. It’s not too hard. Just do a quick search. I can buy followers. I can buy likes. I can buy any type of engagement I want. And I think it was cheap. It was like $20 for a thousand followers. Now they’re coming out in a lot of these agencies say they have proprietary software that helps them distinguish between humans and bots. Yeah, no, I, you only have to look at a couple and this is, this gets into some really bad stuff because if you look at some of the link or the click farms that they have found in China, in India and some of the Indonesia where they have almost 10,000 phones on a wall and people, children are there, they’re following pressing buttons liking and they swap out SIM cards so that they can double the amount of phones they have.
Matt: I mean, this is third world stuff, developing these click farms with an most of them have child labor. And so you, on one side, you’ve got all these Western personalities, you know, they’re buying fake accounts, but what they’re and I, it gets me because the vast majority of them are so concerned about environmental and human rights issues. But as soon as you buy fake followers, you’re supporting these third world click farms, which in, you know, it blows my mind. Do you even realize what this is doing? And the economy it produces in these countries? It, that’s the dark side of these buying followers and buying engagement that yes, these brands say they’ve lost millions of dollars, but yeah, there’s a human cost to this as well that I don’t think people realize what goes into these fake followers.
Ashley: Yeah. And that’s why it’s just, you don’t want to just pick anybody to be your influencer. I mean, you don’t like, I, I actually get contacted on my personal accounts that would be asked to influence on, you know, like say workouts or something. And I’m just thinking, I talk about like a lot of different things. Like, it really makes no sense for you to reach out to me. It’s just like, you don’t want to just go after anybody. You have to really sit here and think about who you’re using.
Matt: Yeah. Now there’ve been a couple of times where I was given free access to software because I was very active on the speaking circuit, very active in training and they would allow me a free access. And I would say, this is what I use. No. I’m I have a free account, but I will say I would still pay for it, even if I didn’t have a free account because I’m not going to pitch something I don’t believe in.
Ashley: Well, and then reaching out to you, it made total sense to reach out to me my personal account when I’m not, not like a trainer, I go to the gym every once in a while. I mean, you see what I mean? Like it’s like, it doesn’t even make any sense. You’re just reaching out to anybody. And I think a lot of these, these like maybe smaller to mid-sized businesses are trying to get an influencer marketing.
So they’re reaching out to just anybody to try to get those followers. And that doesn’t make any sense.
Matt: No, Not at all. You’ve got to find the right person. And I think, you know, so for some of that software, you know, some of it was SEO software, which I had an agency, I had a platform. Now the thing was, I was a lot closer to my audience than social media. Right. I was at conferences. I was doing in-house training, you know, so I’m based a face with people, with agencies, with companies. And so it was just a natural fit. And you know, I think at that point I was probably using 20 different SEO packages. Just, I want to see what this one does and what does this one do and how does this work? And yeah. So when a few of them start giving it to you for free. Yeah, sure. Yeah. You go to the top of my recommendation list, especially if I like you and it works really well. And so that’s just a way of doing business. So you’ve always done that, you know, if someone.
Ashley: You would think,
Matt: I mean, it looks bad. I’m like that was influencer marketing. Yeah. I mean, it was a good way of doing it. But I liked the component that it wasn’t just limited to the social sphere, the social networking sphere. It was also personal that there was more of a, I had more of a connection with my audience because I did a lot of live events rather than just throwing things out there.
Ashley: Well, see that makes sense. Cause then they’re looking at the network, like they’re looking at networking and they’re being smart about networking. Overall networking is a lot more today than just online. People still depend on friends and family or like they’re getting education in your case and they know that instructor like that, that is valuable. So you have to really think about that. That’s why I think B2B actually has a very good opportunity with influencer marketing. You don’t see it being leveraged a lot in that space.
Matt: Yeah. It’s a little difficult. Depending upon where you’re at and everything, snow Avinash Kaushik, he’s analyst, Google Google’s analytics, evangelist. I’ve known him for years. And he wrote an article a couple months ago, do anything, but spend money on influencers, basically the whole article. And he did like the Jeff Foxworthy. You know, if you’ve got $10,000 of spend, don’t spend it on influencers. If you’re trying to increase your ROI, don’t spend it on. And he goes down the list, basically what his message is, if you’re accountable for any ad spend at all, never spend it on an influencer.
Ashley: I just look at influencer. It’s not even ad it’s like PR.
Matt: Yeah. That’s a good way of looking at it. There’s a very,
Ashley: I mean, I just, you can’t look at it that way because there’s no way to truly measure it.
Ashley: You can get creative. I take that back so you can get creative with a couple of things. Maybe slap her promo code in there, or, you know you know, that’s why B to C you have to be careful selective. But I think, you know, B to B looking at it from more of a campaign,
Matt: I think that was one of the things is like Instagram is probably one of the hardest to monetize. And I think one ad executive even said that tracking revenue off Instagram is near impossible
Ashley: Yeah. I can see that.
Matt: And, but yeah, a lot of it, your companies don’t even know what you can do. So tracking codes, landing pages, discount codes, companies, they go into the influencer marketing, not even realizing, well, how do I track this?
Ashley: Well that gets into the funnel, right? So when you’re creating those landing pages. So if you think that this person is in the awareness stage, a landing page is essentially for somebody in the bottom of the funnel. And so you’re skipping all those steps. So if you’re going to utilize influencer marketing, you have to think what the next step is for somebody who’s just learning about your product.
Matt: Yeah. So there’s a company they contracted with a photographer. They gave the photographer use of the product, photographer’s making this long cross-country journey. And the company does not have the right to any of the photos during this trip.
Ashley: Oh my gosh.
Matt: They had no plan when they, they went through an agency, they secured her as an influencer, but they had zero plan on how they would use her, no plan to integrate what she was doing with their marketing. It was essentially, we’re getting our product in your photos. And it’s like, well, wait a minute,
Ashley: No partnership,
Matt: No partnership at all. All she did was tag, tag, tag the photo. And they’re telling me about this and I’m, and I’m like, who advised you?
Ashley: Oh, my gosh. Was this recent?
Matt: This past year, yeah.
Ashley: I think by now, like, you’d know better.,
Matt: I had no better questions for them, you know, who made these decisions? Why didn’t, why don’t you have a plan of before you even went into it? How would you use this? And what is,
Ashley: It’s a really good example of making sure the people that are making these decisions have a marketing background that are trained in these areas that know these things. Because if it’s say, if it’s the business owner, they may not know that they have to get rights.
Matt: Yeah. I mean, this is, this was, I will say it was a great match, great match with an influencer, with a product, bad plan, bad execution. I,
Ashley: Well think of the campaign that they could have done if they had partnered too, gosh, you could have had a content marketing campaign, blogged about where the photographer is traveling and that would’ve made more sense to further up in the cycle,
Matt: Everything she did, the photographer did, went on her site. Nothing went on theirs.
Ashley: Oh my God,
Matt: There’s according. You know, I’m like, you guys negotiated away any strength you had, anything it’s who thought, you know, and, and I think some of them just thought, well, maybe this is the way it works.
Ashley: No. It’s not.
Matt: Know this is to benefit everybody. This is a part,
Ashley: What a lost opportunity? Oh
Matt: Yeah. So, I mean, on both sides, you’ve got, you’ve got influencers who don’t know what they’re doing. You have businesses who are trying to jump into this influencer market. The problem is so when I did a search to see influencer marketing, you know, okay, so who do I find? Number one, three, three kinds of sites show up in the top 50 results. Number one, influencer marketing agencies. And what articles are they writing? Five reasons to use an influencer, 10 reasons influencer, why influencer marketing works? So your influencer marketing agencies who pair businesses with influencers, they have probably 20 of the top 30 rankings, influencer marketing. And it’s all articles. The second is the media. The media is writing about, Oh, influencer marketing. And of course the media is 10 years behind. They don’t know what’s going on. They just, it’s the hottest thing for them.
Ashley: I actually feel like they can play. They can have a piece of that pie.
Matt: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Third group of people writing about it, influencers themselves.
Ashley: Of course.
Matt: So you look at the results. Of course the results are telling you how much influence marketing is.
Ashley: He’s so smart. Like whenever you’re doing research, you have to be smart. Look at the source of the research. Look at, I mean, come on people common sense. Yeah. Everybody has an end game.
Matt: Yes. So that blew me away was just how much the influencer in the rankings on Google it’s influencer companies, influencers, and the media, and you have to really dig to find something critical, Its critical, realistic.
Ashley: Well, yeah. And that’s why you know, people are looking at, what’s showing up on the top page of Google, right. They won’t go through those older, you know, postings and or, you know, what’s not ranking. And I think, you know, I personally will I’ll I go back because I know that, you know, sometimes there are people who do SEO and know how to get, get that article to rank up higher and it may not be a high quality article.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s very interesting. So I talked about like Procter and gamble said, they’re going to drop any influencer across any brand that’s caught using fake accounts. I also, right now I work with two brands and it is their policy not to work with influencers. It is company top-down policy do not work with influencers. Now I found it interesting that one’s a very well-known worldwide brand. They will feature people who use their products, small business, something like that. But they are not the spokesperson. They are featured as like a customer testimonial, still very tightly controlled. And the reasoning is we’re not giving up our, our brand identity. We are not because everyone who does influencer marketing says, you need to, you need to let go of your brand control and let the influencer give their message in their way. And these companies like, yeah, that’s going, no, that’s never going to happen.
Matt: And one of the reasons they give is a Pewdie pie, you know who that is? Okay. He was contracted by Disney. Okay. Pewdie pie right now I checked this morning is 98 million subscribers on YouTube. He got started streaming games like that. I know it’s strange. He got started just streaming games and doing game walk-throughs. Got in with Disney, then all of a sudden it comes out and he does a couple things seen as very anti-Semitic.
He is also very anti-immigration and Disney dropped him like anything [do your research people!] Well that’s, I think they had, but it came out after the deal was signed. So it didn’t take long that they dropped him now because of that. And that kind of plays into this now that if we tie ourselves to an influencer, what’s going happen if they go off the deep end, because they’re not an employee, they’re not under any authority zero accountability.
Ashley: So you need a really, you should have a PR person looking at that cause that’s a PR person’s role. Yeah. Yeah. That’s how I really think influencer marketing is in the PR realm. And so I think whenever you’re thinking about using that look at what is your ultimate goal? So a lot of the examples that we spoke about it was to sell a product, but does that make sense to look at selling at that stage? No, absolutely. Doesn’t so if you’re taking it from a PR approach, like how are you going to tell a story? Because influencer marketing at the end of the day is about humanizing a brand and humanizing a brand goes into I’m sure we’ve all heard it. Content marketing is nothing new now, but brand journalism telling a story, all of that really does connect. So if you’re thinking about how you’re going to humanize the brand and use that influencer, you have to really think about what’s the story that you’re really looking to tell to get that that user or that person that is looking at that post more involved with what you have to represent. Like I actually think Coca-Cola does a pretty good job at this cause they do, they’re known for their content marketing, but if you look at what they do with it, they do some influencer type outreach. And I think that how they do it, it’s pretty good.
Matt: I, that was really good. What you said, because it’s all about finding the one that fits with you.
Ashley: Yeah. What’s the story?
Matt: And something I wrote down on my notes, it is finding the influence beyond just the engagement.
Ashley: Yes. Yes. Just think about like, it’s going to take a while to like, if we want to get back into an ad, like having that ad discussion and how many times with all the media that is out there, does it take, I mean, there’s plenty of studies and they all say different things about how many touch points it takes for somebody to really start getting it. And as more and more you know, channels evolve and there’s more touch points, obviously that number is going to grow. So that’s why I don’t think that you need to get into thinking, okay, well this is an ad. I just need to get seen. I think you really need to think about the experience of the user. That’s why it’s getting into that 21st century marketing discussion and really like what this, I think that if you’re a business owner and you’re looking at influencer marketing that you really need to step back and look to see who you have on staff and that is making this decision and how they look at it. Are they looking at it from a very tactical like this is one segment of your marketing budget or are they looking at it as a whole? And do they really understand the goal and how are they going to create that experience? And what does that look like?
Matt: That’s a partnership.
Matt: Really what it comes back to, it’s a partnership and it has to be a partnership with someone who cares about your brand. Who’s not there for the money, which let’s leverage into some bash.
Ashley: I know, right? Yeah. Let’s go ahead. I’m ready.
Matt: What has given, I think influencer marketing, such a black eye is people who want something for nothing. They don’t care about your brand. They don’t care about your long-term success. They just want something for nothing.
Ashley: You know what that reminds me? Are you going to get into the blogger, but the hotel?
Matt: Oh, absolutely.
Ashley: That’s my favorite one. I haven’t heard that this last year. Yeah. Go for it. Let’s start talking about it.
Matt: So many examples this, so this blogger contacts, a hotel, I believe it’s an Ireland and basically invited herself to stay for free. And in exchange I’ll, you know, I’ll put this on Instagram, I’ll give you free exposure to my 30,000 followers. And the hotel of course came back and is like, absolutely not.
Ashley: I loved it. That the hotel stood up. I’m like good for you.
Matt: Then they sent her a bill. They had more followers than she did. They had more than she did.
Ashley: And that was smarter than they were looking at it. And they were thinking, that’s why I, that’s why I said at the beginning of this, like, why am I being contacted to be an influencer for workouts whenever I barely go to the gym.
Matt: So I think she did, she posted something about the situation.
Ashley: He knows that these are what business owners are doing. So she was smart. So she knows I’m just going to go out and reach out to this person because this is what they’re doing. They’re falling for it. Don’t fall for it. Yeah.
Matt: Yeah. So I guess she tweeted, she puts something out to her followers that, Oh, you know, this hotel didn’t like this. So then he sent her a bill For Uh for influence. And it was like a $50,000 bill that you got free advertising using my name. Here’s the bill for it.
Ashley: I loved it.
Matt: I mean, she was in tears doing this and I found a picture of him and he’s got like a bowl that says bloggers, tears of bloggers.
Ashley: He was getting bashed quite a bit.
Matt: He was, but I, there is a survey at the end of it. And it was like 80% of the people were like, yeah, he’s in the right. She wanted something for nothing. And he stood, he stood up and why should I? And then he put down a policy, no more bloggers. If you’re a travel, as you call yourself a blogger, you do not stay here for free. You know, no bloggers allowed. I, and, but I’ve seen this everywhere. There’s a someone posted the other day. There’s an ice cream truck in LA big sign out there, no free ice cream for influencers because everyone is an influencer, now. Another example. So in California, this spring, because of all the rain they had, they had a bloom, which they hadn’t seen for a decade or two. And these wild flowers grown up all over the Hills of California. All these influencers are going out there and laying in the flowers and their signs, all around, stay out of the flowers. And all they’re getting is like a hundred pictures and then they’re out. So their not even appreciating it, they just want that picture. And they’re all in their white dresses. Someone took a picture and there were dozens of girls in white dresses in the flowers with people taking pictures of them. And
Ashley: It’s kind of scary where society’s going.
Matt: And so in a way it’s like this influencer phenomenon has brought out the worst in people. Someone wrote an article about their cousin who was a known Instagram influencer, and they went on vacation and he has to stay. And he’s, he’s like, it was the worst vacation of our lives. She took pictures next to luggage that wasn’t hers, tagged it. It took pictures next to cars that she didn’t drive that weren’t hers. We stayed in one hotel. She went to another hotel across the street, which had this look and took pictures of herself there. It, it was just, we had to wait on her. She was always taking pictures of herself. She’s, you know, going through 20 pictures, trying to find the right one and editing. And he says, basically it ruined the vacation for everybody else because it was all about the right picture. And he’s like in half the thing, he’s more than half the things in the photos she doesn’t own. And
Ashley: Oh yeah. What kind of life do you want? I’ll make that for ya.
Matt: It’s creating this fakeness, this fraudulent view of what people really are. Yeah. And then they want something for free.
Ashley: It’s almost like whenever you’re you meet somebody on social media, so you see them in person and you’re like, this person looks nothing like their photos.
Matt: So I don’t, I go to Reddit. There is a sub called Instagram reality and it’s versus posts. And then we’ll show, this is where they were tagged. This is their post. And, Oh my goodness. The amount of editing that goes on for any of these things, it’s just, what do you believe anymore? And yet, somehow this is called an influencer.
Ashley: Oh yeah. So many people. I know they’re saying, Oh, well I want to be an influencer. Well, why, like what? Like, I don’t understand, like, why do you want to be an influencer? What’s your, you know, your target audience? Like, what are you really trying to promote here? And I just think he gets along like, well, I want to, I want to stay at a hotel for free. They’re not really thinking about what they’re really trying to influence. I think it’s just like, I want to be the center of attention.
Matt: I think that’s part of it and getting free stuff, you know, if I can get free stuff and have people love me, cause that’s one of the other sides they’re seeing.
And I, it was interesting cause I got a cyber psychology report on Instagram users and their self-esteem and how it’s tied into this. And if this doesn’t get the appropriate number of likes, then it throws off their day. And it’s amazing.
Ashley: I mean, this is going to get me in, in a tangent because you know, I have a friend that I’m sure we all have friends that don’t always, you know, return your phone calls or return your texts. But one day I thought it was really odd because she was calling me nonstop and I think what’s going on, there must be something that’s going on. So I answered it. Right. And I was busy, so I wasn’t answering it, that day, but I decided to do that because it just seemed like something was maybe off with her because it wasn’t her normal behavior. Well, here I find out that this was the day that Instagram and Facebook were, something was going on. They were down. I don’t, and she wanted to know if I was having issues, like she was panicking and this is the friend that like, while she’s not answering your text or returning your phone calls, she’s posting at the same time about how she’s bored and taking selfies. Yep. Do you see a problem with this picture? And I think a lot of people do it.
Matt: Oh, it’s called it’s it’s created a very self-absorbed culture.
Ashley: Yeah. They need the likes to feel valued.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. And I, unfortunately, when they get a little bit of something for free, it feeds that, that I am, and that’s the thing they want to make a living doing that. I saw a survey. It was just a few weeks ago that they were saying right now that the majority of school children in China want to be an astronaut. The majority of seventh graders in the US want to be YouTube personalities.
Ashley: Oh, my gosh. See, I don’t have kids. So I hear this. And I think what?
Matt: I was talking to a teacher at my kid’s school and they said, what has happened in just four years, four years ago, it was like, you know, I want to be, you know, the typical seventh grade, you know, want to be a lawyer, fireman.
Ashley: Right. I want to be an engineer. Right? Yeah.
Matt: Now, no, it’s YouTube personality. That’s taken over that. And everyone thinks that they can do it. Right.
Ashley: It’s like, is that better than hearing? I want to be like a certain celeb that is, I don’t want to bash any celebs. I mean, I feel like already started with a little bit of it, like being a certain celeb that maybe isn’t no for their brains. Know, for like something else. Versus like say somebody who’s a real role model. Is that worse?
Matt: Well, and here’s so one of the latest influencer things that happened just a few months ago, Belle define, you heard of her. Okay. Oh, okay.
Ashley: And see, now I’m falling out of touch.
Matt: She sold jars of her bath water for $30 apiece.
Ashley: I am in the wrong line of work. I am becoming an influencer. I changing it. I am done with marketing people. I am becoming an influencer.
Matt: She wears a pink wig. She streams her games. And I think she wears a bikini while she’s doing it. Oh, wow. So think of the average audience, and this is the audience that would buy jars of her bath water. And, and I was telling my kids the other day, I’m like, this girl knows how to play her audience.
Ashley: I mean, you gotta give her some credit
Matt: She then, and there’s just a successive number of moves. She then, because there was like some lash backlash against selling bath water, you know, imagine that. Yeah. Yeah. And other people are like, Hmm, she got away with it. I guess someone had it tested. There was no DNA in it. So it was basically right out of the faucet, but she sold it and sold it and something else came up. She got in the news for saying something outrageous. So that got her more attention. Then she announced to her followers that she was going to start a porn hub channel. Oh. So that hits the news beyond hitting her followers. It hits the news now. And then she gets dropped from one channel because someone reported her for nudity, which apparently they’ll take it down. Just based on that. Then I noticed it hits the front page of one of the new services just a week or two ago that she announced that she was pansexual And I’m like who cares, who cares. She, She streams games in our underwear.
Ashley: Yeah. I was just trying to, like, as you’re talking, I’m trying to figure out what is it that she does?
Matt: Influencer? Who knows her audience?
Ashley: This is a great example of somebody. Remember how I said, how I have these friends that say they want to be an influencer, but they really don’t know like what they’re targeting, who they’re talking to target audiences and what they’re really trying to influence. There’s a good example. Like what is she trying to influence?
Matt: She knows her target audience
Ashley: Well, yeah, right, right. I know I stand corrected.
Matt: And she’s doing everything she needs to do, to get their attention. And I’m like, how does she get herself into the front page of the news? You know? It just, it has been like the succession of every month. It’s like been one. And, and that’s the thing this gets back to, you know, like the Logan brothers, Logan Paul, and those guys, anything for views right, any thing, because more views equals more money and what’s the end? Where does it stop? And I think it was, it was Logan Paul got devalued for showing when he was in Japan, he went to the suicide forest while they were there. Someone was had committed suicide.
Ashley: Oh my God,
Matt: Now, any normal sane person would turn off the camera, report it to the authorities. That’s not what he did published it. Then unpublished it. Then apologized, then got demonetized. They let him come back in and then he did something stupid, but it’s all about how do I get more views and how do I keep you to keep watching my video?
Ashley: I mean, it’s, I just think it’s so sick. I mean, what is going on? I just don’t understand. I mean, believe me, I have social channels. I love to get a like here and there, but I mean, I don’t need that to feel good about myself.
Matt: Yeah. So, that’s the downside. I think, of the, the whole influencer stuff. Is it has created like this vacuous, morally vacuous, you know, approach of anything for likes, anything for attention. You know, where does it end?
Ashley: Well, you almost get into too, like I mean, I don’t feel like this is anything new, but the ranting on social media, I can’t handle it. That’s, that’s one of the reasons why I don’t use Facebook a lot anymore. You know, I, I prefer my Twitter and I know not a lot of people use it, but Hey, you got so many characters and you’re not going to complain too long. Right. So I just feel like the ranting, anything for attention. And it’s like, I don’t really care that you’re not getting along with your husband tonight.
Matt: There’s a lot of Intimate details. I just really don’t feel comfortable.
Ashley: It’s weird. It’s weird to me. So that’s what I’m thinking. What is going on that there’s this drastic shift in social media, because I do think that there’s a tie with the influencer audience with all this like there’s almost too much sharing.
Matt: Overshare. Yeah. Oversharing. Yeah. That’s one of the reasons I never felt comfortable on Facebook because I felt like half of it I don’t want to know. And the other half, I shouldn’t know, it, it was just, it was always kind of creepy. Yeah. And I said something to someone one time, I’m like, don’t you worry that people go and look at pictures of your vacation, that you just posted up there for anyone to see you’re on the beach in your swimsuit and the whole world could see it, you know,
Ashley: If See that, that part doesn’t bother me because I’m one of those. I don’t care about that. But what I care about is if you’re like maybe it’s inappropriate. Yeah. It’s an inappropriate picture. You’re not, you know, it doesn’t look like you’re not sitting there having fine. You’re clearly posing in a provocative way.
Matt: Well. And of course that one thing I, I would tell people is as an employer, there are legal restrictions on what I can ask you in an interview. You know, I can’t get into your personal life on an interview. It has to be professional only. However I could go to your Facebook page and find out everything I need to know or want to know that I’m not allowed to ask in an interview.
Ashley: And people think that just because their profiles private that, Oh, it can’t be found. That is completely false. Oh, well, there’s plenty of software out there. I mean, I can, I can get into it. All right. Just call me the hacker. Yeah. Right.
Matt: So the big thing, here’s the thing I looked up these numbers, why influencer marketing is, is for a large company, for an enterprise level company. Influencer marketing makes sense. I believe from financial standpoint. So like I told you that earlier Pewdie pie has 98 million subscribers.
Okay. The last super bowl had 100 and an estimated 114 million viewers. Now 30 second ad during the super bowl, $5.25 million, whereas a 32 second video made by Pewdie pie. It’s probably around a hundred to $200,000, maybe a little more,
Ashley: Oh my gosh,
Matt: You can get an influencer. Let’s say a YouTuber with more than 50 million subscribers. And it’ll cost you about a hundred thousand dollars for a 30 second video may just about you with a built-in audience as opposed. So when you’re looking at CPM cost per mil impressions as a big brand advertiser, and this is where I like to, when we’re talking to small business, medium sized business, and enterprise. From an enterprise business standpoint, from a purely impression, cost per impression, I have a built in audience if I go to an influencer, whereas a Superbowl ad is $5 million for 30 seconds, a quarter million, you know, 250,000 for a 30 second video to someone who has 40 million viewers. It’s a no brained.
Ashley: Exactly. Unless like you’re thinking that well, these aren’t real. So it depends on where that person who’s making the decision stands. Like I am personally, I don’t know where you stand on this. I am not a commercial person. I just don’t think that they are worth it. I just really, I really don’t. I have very strong feelings about it. I just, I don’t. But because there there’s, I think about the ones that stand out to you, like you can’t just have a commercial to have a commercial. You have to, I mean, we’re getting into something else, but you have to really, I mean, but I think it’s the same thing. Like any ad, like you have to really think about how you’re going to stick out. It’s like that to me is way too much money, way too much money for an ad. Campaigns people.
Matt: Well, it’s, It’s back to the days of when the ad was part of the show. Yes. You know that, you know, and this is old black and white TV. I, you know, during the Ed Sullivan show days, the ad was part of the show and that’s what influencer marketing has become. The ad is now part of their show and their show is their life and it works in somehow. So yeah, it’s yeah.
Ashley: When done right when done. Right. And with the right influencer. But those commercials, I just have a big opinion about that.
Matt: So for a big brand it’s cheaper to use a built-in influencer. It hits the demographic that you want then to go conventional route. Now the problem is, is when I see those examples use to leverage, okay, now, small, medium business. You need to use influencer marketing because look with these big guys are, look with the big guys are doing.
Ashley: Yeah, no, I thought the same. Yeah. You know, I mean, that’s why, I mean, I’ve actually seen something very, very similar where somebody was putting all their money and to I mean, it wasn’t influencer marketing, but it wasn’t a big company and it was a commercial. Yeah. Yeah. It just, it’s almost like they are kind of similar if like you’re not a large company, these are not things that you should really be looking at. You should be looking at other things.
Matt: Yeah. Cost per mil cost per impression. That is not something a small, medium business needs to concern. Yeah.
Ashley: Oh no, you really shouldn’t. I mean I mean, what, in your opinion, what are the top metrics that they should be looking at.
Matt: Top metrics? You know, Oh boy. I mean, I’ll go with, to the, to the SEO software that I was getting free access to. I gave out codes. Yeah. I give what access codes, that way they were able to track how many people and it got to the point where when I would go to a different event, they would give me a different code so that they would know which events were producing the most amount of leads and referrals. So it was a very direct and from a small, medium sized business, there, there you go. Something that you can track directly rather than just saying, yeah, let’s do this and throw them money out.
Ashley: Yeah. I completely agree with you completely agree with you.
Matt: Yeah. And what I was, what I was doing is pitching free trials. And if you put this code in, you get a free trial and
Ashley: I mean, that’s really, yeah. You have to, it’s tracking is so important.
Matt: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I looked up, this came out in a survey or a survey that for this year, the average engagement rate across channels,
That Facebook has a 0.013% median engagement rate. So that’s 13 out of a hundred thousand. Something like that. If I’m doing my math. Right. Which I rarely am, but Twitter is a 0.009. So that’s nine one-thousandths and thousandths medium engagement rate Instagram is almost at a 1% median engagement rate, one out of a hundred. So those are your median engagement rates. I don’t have a YouTube. But I think YouTube has less engagement. Simply because it’s more watching the people aren’t sharing, liking as much. And you never want to get into the comments on a YouTube video.
Ashley: No, you don’t like I I’m on YouTube actually quite a bit. My form of television. I, yeah, I stay out from the comments.
Matt: I saw it, interesting on that. I saw something the other day that they were saying the largest increase in YouTube viewership is big screen. And we, we do it all the time. We watch YouTube on our TV with shows we can’t get here in the US or we’ll watch some YouTube stuff. I mean, it’s just, wow. I was like, that’s pretty amazing that YouTube has made its way into the living room. Not just the phone. Oh yeah. Yeah. So it is crazy stuff.
Ashley: Well, I just feel like it’s hard for me to just watch TV. It’s like, it’s a miss too long. I want something that’s short. I want something short to the point that I can go to the next thing.
Matt: Well, Actually I think we’ve covered a bit of influencer marketing.
Ashley: Yeah, we have. We have. Yeah.
Matt: And everything is still relatively under control. We’ve not lost, lost our minds on that yet. But the good, bad, the ugly of influencer marketing and anything else to throw in there before we wrap up?
Ashley: No, I think that you pretty much covered it. I think it’s just making sure that your targeting is precise, you’re being smart. And you’re thinking about really what it’s for that goal if it’s to humanize your brand. Then you have to really think about where that fits in your sales cycle.
Matt: I like that. And I would add if they would pitch you for free, then they’re a good influencer with.
Ashley: Yes they are. Yeah.
Matt: And it is a partnership. So Ashley, thanks again for coming in.
Ashley: Oh yeah. Thank you. Thank you.
Matt: All right, listeners, Thanks again for tuning into another episode of the endless coffee cup. And so please subscribe, tell your friends, pass it along, appreciate anything you can do to help us along and we’ll see you next time.
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Marketing Communications Consultant
LinkedIn profile: Ashley G. Schweigert | LinkedIn
Website: Marcom Content by Ashley