Webinar: Influencer marketing strategy & implementation with Tiege Hanley

On 22nd September Joshua Weilding from men’s skincare brand Tiege Hanley joined us for a session at our virtual event Connect:Collab:Create to discuss influencer marketing strategy and implementation. 

We covered a lot of ground during the webinar, including the best way to recruit and nurture partnerships with creators, how to choose KPIs and so much more. You can find all the insights shared during our conversation in the lightly edited transcript below. You can also watch the full webinar session on replay

Meet the speakers:

Joshua Weidling Paul Kahn Adam Shapiro
Joshua Weidling

Influencer and Social Media Manager at Tiege Hanley

Paul Kahn

Senior VP Sales at Upfluence

Adam Shapiro

Head of Strategic Partnerships at Upfluence

 

Introduction

Paul Kahn: Welcome to our webinar on influencer marketing strategy and implementation. Today, we are talking about all of the steps to get your influencer marketing campaign off the ground in a really smart way. We’re talking about this partially from a data perspective, but also from a creative perspective.

We’re going to talk about how you go about setting the stage and planning out your influencer marketing goals and ideas. What are the steps to find the right influencers? When it comes time to do the outreach, what are your best practices? And if you need contracts and things like that, what do you need to be thinking about? Then how do you really go about executing this campaign, in the best possible way? 

I want to ask Josh to introduce Tiege Hanley to us a little bit?

Joshua Weidling: Yeah. So we have been a company for, I believe we just had our five-year anniversary this summer and I’ve been with the company for four and a half years. At Tiege Hanley we make it easy for guys to start and maintain a skincare routine, that’s our whole goal. We make it really, really easy. We make it easy to choose, make it easy to start and to stick to. And also the company was co-founded by Alpha M. He is a big influencer on YouTube. He’s got just shy of 7 million subscribers. And so, you know, influencer marketing is in the DNA of Tiege Hanley. It was a part of the initial go live strategy from the get-go when the company launched five years ago. 

Influencer marketing strategy and KPIs

Paul Kahn: Yeah. And, we’re going to show a little bit about what Tiege Hanley does to get this content out. So the first step is planning. I know everybody wants to just be like, let me go talk to the influencer. 

But what are your actual goals? What are the actual KPIs that you’re hoping to achieve with your influencer marketing campaign? If you don’t know what those are, you’re just going to be shooting in the dark. Who’s the audience? Who are the people who, if they got the message will actually go and purchase your products? What’s the budget you’re looking to spend?

Influencers have lots of people competing for their time and their energy. They want to understand what’s in it for them. That sounds selfish but it’s not at all. They have lots of people, they are in demand and they want to understand, you know, if I work with you, how does that help me grow my brand? How does that help me make money? How does that help me do all sorts of things? So you want to be able to answer those questions before you start before you even get into the next piece. 

So Adam, we like to talk about KPIs and we’d like to talk about campaign goals. There are different ways that you want to have people thinking about your influencer campaign, whether it’s awareness, engagement etc. Can you talk a little bit about why someone would be focused in one direction or another?

Adam Shapiro: So there are a couple of different ways to define what success means for your brand when they’re working with influencers. So of course, one of the goals is, especially in the e-commerce space, could simply be sales or what we call conversion. But you also might be in a place where instead of just trying to sell more products, you’re really just trying to get brand awareness out there. You want people to know who you are, where you fit into the marketplace, and that could just be something that is the overall goal of working with influencers. If that’s the case, you might choose different influencers based on just wanting to get the maximum audience or impressions or views. 

In terms of engagement, if you want to have people interacting with the content, then that’s going to be a measure of success. For this goal, you’ll want to focus on engagement rate, shares, and comments.

In the case of brand loyalty, the way you might work with influencers is by sending them an affiliate or referral link for them to share with their audiences. Yes, that drives sales, but it also builds loyalty among the audience of the influencers. You can build longer lasting relationships with them. 

Paul Kahn: Josh, Tiege Hanley is driving a lot of sales through your influencer world, but has that goal, have those KPIs changed since the launch of the company? How does Tiege Hanley define the KPIs for success in their working with influencers? 

Joshua Weidling: In general, it’s conversion-based so sales.  If you look at the possible KPIs you’ve got awareness and direct response. We’re definitely on the direct response side. We are looking for people to visit our website and buy products. If they don’t buy directly from the influencer we want them to buy somewhere else in our marketing mix, whether it’s on a Facebook ad, an email, Google search, whatever it may be.

The awareness KPIs can help inform what potential the influencer has on the direct response. So their engagement rate means they have a very highly engaged audience that can mean that they’re more optimized. And so you could use one side to inform the other.

Paul Kahn: Yeah. And the other thing to always remember for people who are just getting started is that it’s hard to drive conversion right at the beginning. You need to wait until people have a sense of your brand, until the social proof exists and all of that. So, that awareness piece is good for launches and things of that nature. But really getting towards social commerce, really driving conversions and eventually loyalty, that should be how you’re thinking about influencer marketing as we’re moving forward. 

Joshua Weidling: A conversion doesn’t always mean a sale, for instance, you know, you see downloads on there. A brand like, like Raid Shadow Legends, they’re a huge sponsor on a lot of YouTube content they’re looking for downloads. Now those downloads may lead to either advertising revenue or in-game expense purchases. So a sale or a conversion doesn’t always mean a money transaction right out of the gate. 

Knowing your audience

Paul Kahn: One other thing to remember with those conversions is that setting up your tracking ahead of time matters tremendously, because otherwise it’s all brand awareness. If you don’t have tracking, it’s all brand awareness, right? Josh, I love having you here because Tiege Hanley has a very specific target audience, right. In fact, when we asked you when you’re going to launch women’s skincare products your response made us all laugh. Can you repeat what you said?

Joshua Weidling: We’re never going to do that! We’re a men’s brand through and through. We want to help men look and feel amazing. There are a lot of female brands out there that are serving that market very well, we think that we’re doing a great job to serve the men’s market. It’s important to know who you’re targeting. it doesn’t matter how big the influencer’s reach is, if it’s not the right reach… It can help with awareness and you might get some people through word of mouth, but that’s a tougher thing to track, especially knowing where it came from. Knowing your audience is huge.

Data-driven influencer selection

Paul Kahn: Yeah and as you’re starting to think about the influencers you’d like to work with you need to look at the data. Let’s say you’re a brand that’s looking to sell in the US and Canada, and all of the followers live in Russia, there’s nothing wrong with having followers that live in Russia. But if the brand doesn’t ship to Russia, those followers don’t help. Adam, can you talk a little bit about the influencer data that’s available on Upfluence’s platform? 

Adam Shapiro: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll never get tired of talking about data. It’s so important these days, in a lot of various different ways, and of course, one of them is just having the ability to understand once you choose an audience, which influencers are going to get you in front of that audience. A lot of times, if you just go to someone’s Instagram page, you see how many followers they have. And that’s really it. You don’t have insights into where those followers are located. 

The more information, the more data points that you can get about your target audience the better. You should understand who they are, where they live, how they interact with your brand, what’s their buying path? What are the roadblocks? Once you understand that, then you can find the right influencers to get you in front of those people.

Of course you have to have a system to do that. Understanding their age, their gender, their location, which social media channels they tend to prefer. These are all important parts of your plan when you’re going into developing your influencer strategy.

Paul Kahn: Then there’s the interest piece, right? If you have somebody, you could have the greatest influence in the world, if you’re trying to sell them skincare and they are only talking about World of Warcraft then it’s not going to work.  So you need to make sure that they have an interest in talking about the product that you’re going to be putting in front of them. Because if they don’t, their audience probably won’t be interested in them talking about it.They’ll be like, wait, I come to you for my gaming stuff, not for skincare or something like that. Although that kind of partnership can work as well. So it’s sort of a case by case basis. 

Joshua Weidling: Yeah you just want to make sure that if the interest isn’t there, that the influencer has some sort of connection to the product that is natural to them. So with skincare, it could be acne. If the person grew up with acne, they probably have dealt with other skincare brands or other skincare products before. And then when they use Tiege Hanley, and they’ve had great results, then they can speak to that and just say, I’ve suffered from X, Y, and Z in the past and this product helped me overcome that. 

Defining your influencer marketing budget

Paul Kahn: All right, then have to figure out your budget.What’s your budget? What are you hoping to accomplish? What are you going to use and how are you going to compensate your influencers? So there are different options that different people use, whether it’s free products, giving VIP benefits, some sort of performance-based fee or some type of revenue sharing.

This is very personal to the brand. How much you’re budgeting for influencer marketing is going to really help you put together your value proposition, your goals and all of that. Your budget is very dependent on your brand, your goals, and your budgeting for the year. 

Adam Shapiro: It’s worth mentioning also that if you can build that alignment and you find the influencers who are going to have a vested interest in your brand and get excited about the product and the campaign, then in some cases you’ll actually see a discounted rate versus influencers who aren’t a good fit. The more you can align your product and campaign needs with the influencer and with that influencer’s audience, it can actually help on the budgeting side and what you end up spending.

Joshua Weidling: Yeah, every influencer has their, (I’ll be PG here) their ‘F*** You’ price. They’re willing to make concessions for brands that they truly believe in. So you know, it’s important to make that connection with them out of the gate, and understand how your product aligns with what they’re doing.

Nurturing influencer partnerships

Paul Kahn: Now we want to talk about how you do that at Tiege Hanley. How do you make somebody feel like you can align with what they’re doing? I mean, that personal connection is what you’re starting to talk about. 

Joshua Weidling: Yeah, so it’s about understanding who they are as a creator. What kind of content they’ve created in the past, how they’ve talked about other brands in the past can really inform how you speak with them.

Finding a piece of content that you latch onto in terms of like, ‘Hey, I could see my brand sponsoring this’ mention that to them, because that just lets them know you’ve checked out their channel. It gives them a frame of reference to start working from.

And there are ways with Upfluence with some of the automated features to make that happen. You obviously can do it manually as well. Develop that personal connection out of the gate. Let them know that you’re reaching out because you find their content interesting.

Paul Kahn: First off it has the benefit of being true, right? There’s a reason why you’re reaching out to them and people like positive reinforcement and they also, you know, if it’s not all transactional, that’s a good thing too. Setting up these scenarios where everybody wins from a collaboration is really a key piece.

Now in terms of the different types of partnership, Adam, do you have any, any thoughts on, some of the different ways that we believe in compensating influencers? 

Adam Shapiro: The better that you can get a sense of the alignment between your product or service, the audience and the influencer – the more you can determine what’s going to be the best opportunity for the relationship. 

Now, in some cases, if you find that alignment, maybe your product or service is something that the influencers are super excited about, and would be willing to just simply do a campaign in exchange for the product.  It really depends on the campaign and what you’re looking to do. There are other ways that you can build a partnership with an influencer instead of just a one-time ‘Okay, I’m going to give you $500, you do a video and like, all right, I’ll see you later’. 

If you can also entice them with future campaigns or potentially inviting them into a VIP program for your top creators and top performing influencers, maybe there’s like an event or a meetup that you host for them at some point every year, when, meeting people in person is a thing we all do again in business.

There are a lot of different ways that you can differentiate your offering because again, they are getting a lot of offers, and if you can let them know what’s on the table for future collaborations and future incentives, and that you’re looking to build a real relationship with them. A lot of times they will appreciate that, and that will reflect in their negotiations with you.

Choosing the right channel for your influencer campaign

Paul Kahn: Okay. So as we go through this, right, we want to give a little sense of a timeline. We’ve talked about how you can go about defining your goals, doing your selection, negotiation, creating that content and launching that campaign.  Four to six weeks is about the timeframe that we tend to recommend for that. Obviously you can push it faster, but then you have to be really on it.

Now, how do you go about finding the right people? Right. So we talked about alignment. Everyone’s talking about alignment. You want the influencers to love the brand. That’s the goal! So, the first thing we have to ask is what platforms are you going to use? So, Josh, I know Tiege Hanley are big believers in YouTube. Is that correct?

Joshua Weidling: Yeah. Skincare is a very visual product that needs to be explained. And so YouTube videos tend to work better for us, but, you know, if you’re a fashion brand, Instagram is probably gonna be your go-to. Fashion can be conveyed very effectively in a still image.

But if you have a product that needs explanation, you’re going to need more than a picture and a caption to explain it, or 15 second story with a swipe up. YouTube is great for brands that need an explanation. I always say another great one for YouTube is VPN services, express VPN, Nord VPN, Surf Shark. I mean, they’re all on YouTube. They’re all over the place on YouTube. They’re also in podcasts a lot as well. And so it’s because a lot of people don’t know what a VPN is and why they need it. It’s a great place to start, it’s just starting with a 60 to 90 second ad in a YouTube video.

Paul Kahn: This actually speaks to a concept that we talk with our clients an awful lot about, which is information density. How much does someone need to understand before they’re ready to say “yeah, I want that!” Fashion is the perfect example on an Instagram page. You see a shirt and it looks good, you’re like, I want that shirt. You can click ‘buy now’ and get the shirt. Right, a VPN does not work that way. A skincare regimen does not work that way. I feel like I’m contractually obligated at this point to bring up the fact that in the future and soon, especially when men of Gen Z start aging into wrinkle-hood, I would imagine, some of that is also going to go on to TikTok as well.

You want to find the right platform. You need to leverage your insights, right? So this is where we’re talking about data and experiment, because if you have the information that you need, you’re going to know, okay, I put some money toward YouTube, I put some influencers toward Instagram, I put some influencers toward Tik Tok.

If you set it all up correctly, with the right CMS integrations, with the right discount codes, you’re going to start to learn and you might be surprised. Different brands have come to us and said, ‘You know what? I was shocked. I thought it was going to be all about Instagram, but it turned out that I was getting a lot of my sales from YouTube or from some people on Tik Tok’. Try to learn,  A/B test, put as much information in front of your decision-making process as you can.

Okay. So now, you know, we talked about different types of compensation. You need to get your compensation right so that you activate the right influencers and you get them to act in the way that you want them to act and put the content out that you’re looking for them to put out. 

Creating authentic influencer partnerships

Paul Kahn: So Josh, how do you go about empowering the people that work with Tiege Hanley to really put their content forward? 

Joshua Weidling: So it’s all about understanding what they’re already doing. You don’t want to be caught fitting a square peg in a circle hole. If you are reaching out to someone who creates lifestyle content like Alex Costa and Alpha M, let them create lifestyle content, let them create men’s advice content, cause that’s what they do. If you’re working with Kevin O’Leary, which we do and, if he goes out and creates a fashion video, that’d be really out of left field. He creates financial advice content. Find a way to connect your product to financial advice content.

At the end of the day, you have to let creators create. They are creators. They do this because they find it fulfilling. They do this because they’re good at it. That’s how they’ve built an audience. You can help guide them through the process, but you can’t force it. Every influencer is different.

If they are very open to your ideas and working together in a more collaborative way, then you can have that collaborative relationship with them. But if they express that their content is sacred to them, don’t be caught making suggestions because it will turn them off and they might be a great influencer, and you might’ve just turned off that influencer. 

Paul Kahn: We’re always talking about authenticity, authenticity, authenticity, right? So this goes right into that conversation. How do you let the people talk to their audience the way that their audience is used to and how do you make that happen with the brand as well?

Adam Shapiro:. You need to understand what is making your customers come through the door? What’s setting you apart? How are you winning business compared to your competitors? What are your main value propositions? 

You can send this to influencers as part of the campaign brief and say, ‘here’s what works for us, here’s how we describe our product in a way that we know leads to conversions, take this high level, do with it what you will and create content that you know your audience is going to engage with.’

When you find that hybrid and you give them that autonomy, they’re going to be excited to work with you. They’re going to hit those high level points that you’ve mentioned, and they’re going to do it in a way that is typically highly effective. They know best what their followers like.

The more that you can give them these high-level tips to help make them successful, but then give them the creative authority to do it, the better it can be. That being said, you should also build in a system to review that content and protect your own brand safety by having a kind of approval process as well,to make sure that everything aligns with what you want to be projecting with your brand.

Paul Kahn: Yeah, approvals are always interesting. The best brands always managed to walk that line in a smart way and give the creators the space. In terms of brand safety, one of the big things here is selecting the right people, right? You want people who are speaking the same language that you want to speak, putting up content that’s not on the wrong side of very hot button issues that you don’t want to touch as a brand or anything like that.  You want to find those right people and you want to get in the position where you can utilize their content to the best of your capability. We spoke earlier today about the value of white-listing influencers, amplifying content, things of that nature.

Best practices for influencer outreach

Paul Kahn: Now let’s talk about how we actually should do outreach and what our best practices are. One of the things that is sort of interesting is that influencers don’t hide. Josh, I think you could agree with that. 

Joshua Weidling: I’ve considered shipping product to someone that just had an address available, and they didn’t have an email, or they weren’t responding to their email. I’ve considered shipping a box, just putting product in their hand.

Paul Kahn: But most of the time influencers who are open to collaboration, do make it easy to find them. Now, we have the tools at Upfluence to contact them at scale, depending on how many different relationships you’re looking to create. I know Josh from time to time, you’re doing a much more targeted outreach. Both strategies can work. It really just depends on what your goals are.

Depending on how many influencers you’re looking to work with, manual outreach can be very time consuming and resource heavy. At Upfluence, we can allow you to contact hundreds of people, pretty quickly, who all could work for you. 

Josh can you tell us a bit about how you go about onboarding your influencers?

Joshua Weidling: Yeah, we do use a manual approach for quite a few of our reach outs. We find, especially for people that can be very high value to the brand, and potentially be our largest influencers that we work with and have the longest lasting relationships, it’s worth that manual outreach. My goal isn’t to reach out to 10,000 people at a time, at times it’s just to get one person that I can then hopefully be paying to sponsor videos for the next few years if it works out. We know that those relationships are worth the manual outreach at times, but we have done scaled outreach as well.

In our outreach we instantly try to communicate what our goals are. We’re trying to build trust. You have to establish your brand. If you’re experienced in influencer marketing, it’s pretty easy to do that because you can reference people that you’re sponsoring already, and you can reference how much content you’ve sponsored and say that you feel that they would be a great fit for your influencer program.

But if you’re new to this, it’s about communicating what you’re doing as a company.  What you’re doing differently.  What your goals are as a company. You should make sure that the influencer understands that in that first reach-out. 

There are so many influences out there, and there are ones that you should be willing to change up your strategy and make accommodations for, and really go the extra mile for. But most of the time that’s not the case. With new influencers, if it doesn’t sound like it’s going to work, if communication is difficult, if you guys are having disagreements on a lot of things pertaining to the campaign, remember that they’re just one of many fish in the sea.

You should look at it that way, because otherwise you’re going to end up in a contract, in a deal, that isn’t going to be advantageous for your brand. It’s just going to be a humongous drain on resources. It’s going to take so much of your time and you’re not going to get that benefit. 

You need to know how to spot red flags. Know when someone’s going to be easy or hard to work with. Another red flag obviously is spotting fake followers. Does the influencer break your brand’s guidelines? You can see that in their content before you even reach out to them. If they’re bridging topics that you don’t want them to bridge, it sounds like you shouldn’t partner with them for any sponsored content. It’s important to make sure that you’re aligned with them before going to that next step and doing the deal.

Paul Kahn: When we talk about this from the Upfluence perspective, it’s very similar. This is more on the scale of outreach. We recommend reaching out to 10 times the number of influencers that you want to work with. You’ve got to do your research, know the red flags, know what their content looks like and be very clear on what your expectations are. 

Influencer contracts

Paul Kahn: One other thing that we wanted to go over here is contracts. With smaller influencers sometimes you can get away without a contract, but I’m going to say the industry as a whole is moving towards more and more contracts for influencers.

There are some really good reasons to have contracts in place. The number one reason is expectations: making sure that the expectations are clear, in writing and signed off on by both parties. Then you want to make sure that people know that they’re in a safe space, that the communication that you’re going to have is confidential between the two of you.  If you want to have exclusivity within your industry, that’s really important to put into a contract. Also laying out compliance is key. When we’re working with influencers, we want to make sure that they are holding themselves to the standards that we would hold ourselves to. In terms of being upfront about this is a sponsored post, additionally, if you can include outlines, timelines, approval cases, what this is going to do is just protect you, protect the influencer, everyone’s going to be in a better position as they move forward.

Now, let’s talk about executing the campaign and managing it. It’s up to the brand to make sure that the influencer is an expert in what it is that they do. You can’t outsource that, it’s really important.You need to make sure that you’re giving the influencers what they need to say and do so that they feel like an expert on what they’re trying to sell. 

How do you push that information to your influencers at Tiege Hanley? 

Joshua Weidling: We provide our influencers with talking points that are meant to be very flexible. So if someone does want to read word for word there is an option for that, but if they are a person that likes to build their own ad reads, then we give them talking points that just guide them through that process. In that same document share do’s and don’ts, mainly the do’s are the talking points, the don’ts are the things that I don’t want mentioned. If you have a certain value proposition to your brand and someone shares the wrong word, that completely nullifies your value proposition, that should be in your talking points, that should be a line that you won’t cross. 

Here’s an example of what I mean. Tiege Hanley provides affordable skincare products. We don’t like the word ‘cheap’ associated with our products because they aren’t cheap. But we are affordable compared to other luxury skincare brands.

You have to know what lines you can, and can’t cross with people too, understand the influencers process, if they’re editing their own videos, understand the basics around how to edit a video, because you can make better suggestions for how they can make the content compliant. Being able to get on the same playing field as the influencer in the content creation process can really helps you create that relationship and guide these deals through to fruition. 

Measuring the success of your campaign

Paul Kahn: That makes perfect sense. So now, what I want to really talk about is how do we measure that success? Josh, when we talk aboutTiege Hanley, you’re working with people not for days, not for weeks, not for months, but really for years at a time. So how do you decide who are the people who make it to that level?

Joshua Weidling: Yeah, we track the conversions, we track the clicks, we track, you know, even how those new customers perform for us once they are a customer. It’s not just about that first purchase all the time. We do not use the personalized promo codes. The one big issue with promo codes that I suggest everyone keeps in mind is that things like Honey exist, and so all they have to do is take that custom influencer code, that’s very publicly broadcasted and add it to their service. And now you’ve got a false flag in your system. It can become hard to manage when your brand gets to scale, at the beginning there’s not a lot of risk, but once your brand scales, there’s definitely some opportunities for you to have the wrong data. 

Paul Kahn: Yeah, if you can have a more sophisticated system with UTM links that can be also beneficial, but the key is that you have it and you can track it, that’s the big key.

Joshua Weidling: Keep in mind, when I say we don’t use promo codes, that doesn’t mean we don’t have an offer. We definitely have an offer, our current one is a free gift with your first box. We let the customer select it once they hit the landing page. 

Paul Kahn: We have all of these different ways to measure success. Sometimes I like to just measure sales, but obviously some of these other KPIs are good leading indicators. And as you mentioned, Josh, there can be some times where one action that happens then has downstream effects somewhere else in the funnel. 

Adam Shapiro: You want a system in place to be able to measure the effectiveness, however you define that, that you’re getting from each of these influencers, but sometimes there are issues even with UTM.  If we look at other types of metrics you know, the influencer’s posts could just be the first time that someone is exposed to your brand. They may then go to your websites, maybe not through the link that the influencer provides, they may then get re-targeted by a paid campaign on Facebook and come in through that. So the more that you can measure and try to understand the customer’s journey and relate these different buying strategies to, you know, your overall marketing strategy, the better that you’ll do.

But yes, obviously sales is a big one that you want to look at. Other metrics can be very valuable too because they’re helping your brand stay top of mind for these potential customers. 

Paul Kahn: Was your influencer campaign successful? Did these influencers meet the goals? Like this is how you have to think about it in terms of building it out longer term, right? Like if you set a bar for people and they cleared it, that’s great. So what do you do next? Do you have a strong and positive ROI?

The reason I work with influencers is that the money goes further with influencer marketing and social commerce in general, than it does with simple ads on Google or Facebook. With influencer marketing you have these long-term partners. They’re the people that three years from now are still going to be posting on your behalf. It almost becomes set it and forget it. You send them the same instructions. They just make new videos or new content for you. Everybody’s winning, that’s the goal.

Turning customers into influencers

Paul Kahn: I do want to bring up one last thing, which is as you’re trying to find the right influencers, make sure that you’re really looking into all of the different integrations at Upfluence too. Josh uses the Klaviyo integration and you’ve used the influencer match tool to find some people in the past, right?

Joshua Weidling: Yes. Customers can be your best influencers, and especially if they already have an audience they’ll be able to amplify their trust in the brand. The influencer matching tool is very, very crucial. It’s something that Upfluence does provide that many, many others do not. It’s a great tool. 

Q&A: Influencer marketing strategy and implementation

What’s the best outreach approach to get influencers to want to work with your brand as you’re getting started?

Paul Kahn: My first thought is if you’re a new brand, make sure that you’re aiming for the right influencers. Our tool actually can give you a good sense of how much an influencer would tend to ask for, for a paid collaboration. If you’re brand new and want to work with Kim Kardashian and you want to offer her $50 she’s not going to do it. It doesn’t matter how well you set up your engagement strategy. So make sure you’re focusing on the influencers that are where you are that can grow with you. Never forget the power of people with smaller followings to help you get things moving. Josh, do you have any recommendations for people as they’re just getting started with new brands?

Joshua Weidling: Yes, if you can afford it, put the product in their hands. That is one of the most compelling ways to get someone on board with what you’re doing, especially if your product is interesting, new, and different from your competitors. If you can afford to, send it to them. Let them know in that initial reach out that you’re willing to send them a product before there’s even any sign of a deal, because that can help create it. That would be one of my go-to strategies for a new brand.

For a startup without a large marketing budget, is influencer marketing a good investment versus just doing Facebook ads?

Paul Kahn: Everything always depends on the product. Everything depends on how you find people. I do think one of the really strong things about, uh, what Josh is talking about in terms of sending products is that there’s a gap between the value of the product perceived by the influencer and the real cost to your brand.

Right, so let’s say you’re selling Airpods. Right now, AirPods cost $250 to the retailer, but Apple does not spend that much on them. So when they send people AirPods their cost is maybe $2. But to the influencer, it feels like they just got something worth $250. 

Use that same math to your benefit! If you have a high value product, send it to someone, they don’t know that it costs you $25 to make. I’m not trying to minimize the costs that are associated with building those products and making those products, you do have real costs there. But it’s a good way to make your budget go a little bit further. Upfluence’s CEOs used to be in e-commerce and what they found out was that when they were spending money on influencer marketing, they had so much more traffic coming from that than from Facebook Ads.  That is still true to this day. As long as you find the right influencers and they have the right content that aligns with your brand and all of the different things that we’ve been taught. 

Adam Shapiro: It’s worth mentioning that if repurposing influencer content is in your contract then their content can make fantastic Facebook ads. These ads can be highly converting and probably some of your top performers versus what you might be seeing with your traditional Facebook ads. It’s definitely worth testing if you can find the right influencers. When you do find the right influencers, then make sure their content is repurposable as an added bonus to continue that Facebook advertising strategy. 

Learn more

You can catch up on all four of the Connect:Collab:Create sessions on our webinars page. If you’re feeling inspired by Tiege Hanley’s story with influencer marketing, you can see for yourself exactly how they’re driving results with influencers in this case study

 

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