The Art of Social Media Influencer Marketing- Justin Blaney Ep70

Quotes:

“Social media is still about authentic relationships, including the relationship between influencers and the brand- that needs to be authentic too.”– Justin [28:50]

“At least start somewhere, have a really good metric that you’re tracking, and then just start working on improving it over time.”– Justin [17:11]

“A business who wants to get involved with influencer marketing, the first thing they’re going to want to do is to find someone that gets social media and work through that person.”– Justin [12:23]

Perfecting the Art of Influencer Marketing- Justin Blaney

Thinking of using social media to market your brand, how about influencer marketing? Influencer marketing is a fairly new industry yet ever-changing and important for getting your brand out there in front of thousands of potential customers.

In this episode of the Page One Podcast, Luke Peters speaks with Justin Blaney about how businesses can approach and utilize influencer marketing as a form of advertising their products. Justin is a speaker, entrepreneur, and bestselling author of 15 books.  He’s also a professor at the University of Washington and is followed by a million people on Facebook/ Instagram.

Listen in to learn how to approach influencers on social media to market your product. You will also learn the ways you can track your progress and why your marketing campaign will only be successful if you delegate it to people who get social media.

Key Takeaways:

  • The power of delegating tasks in helping you keep track of things and details.
  • How to track metrics when using influencer marketing to understand your progress and improve where you can.
  • The magic of creating viral content that happens through online sharing.
  • The importance of creating authentic long-term relationships with influencers on social media.

Episode Timeline:

  • [2:07] Justin talks about the course he created at the University of Washington called ‘influencer marketing’ and other phases of his career which include being an author.
  • [4:22] The integrated parts of Justin’s life and how he found a system of hiring good people that help him keep a system.
  • [6:26] How COVID-19 has unpredictably changed his life both positively and negatively.
  • [9:25] How to get started in influencer marketing as a business by learning how to delegate it to someone who already knows about social media.
  • [14:49] How to have a tracking metric when using influencer marketing for your business to know whether it’s working or not.
  • [19:05] He explains how sharing is everything- the science behind it and how content can become viral.
  • [25:40] How to approach influencer marketing and develop authentic long-term relationships as a brand with influencers.
  • [31:03] Justin mentions the best social media platforms to advertise on for B2C and B2B businesses.
  • [32:40] The tools to use to find influencers online and how to approach them.
  • [37:12] YouTube versus Instagram- why none is better than the other and it all depends on the product and the approach.

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Page 1 Podcast, a podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from digital marketing, sales channel strategies, influencer marketing, best-in-class product launches, and all the details about how to accelerate sales. Now, here’s your host, Luke Peters.

Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on the Page 1 Podcast. I’m your host, Luke Peters, CEO of Newair Appliances and Retail Band Digital Strategy Agency. We’re now in a coronavirus world. I know that’s on everyone’s mind, so we’re going to adapt these interviews, and ask a few questions around how businesses are winning with the coronavirus. This episode is sponsored by Retail Band, where we can give business owners a blueprint on how to grow their digital sales, either direct to consumer or via channels like Home Depot, Wayfair or Walmart. To learn more, take a look at retailband.com or email me at luke@retailband.com.

Luke Peters: In this episode, you’re going to learn from best-selling author Justin Blaney, on the value of influencers, influencer marketing strategies. And we’ll talk about his new book, Will Post For Profit. So you’re going to learn how to create profitable influencer marketing campaigns in the next 40 minutes or so. Justin Blaney is a best-selling author of 15 books. He’s followed by more than a million people on Facebook, Instagram, @justinblaney. He also publishes an app that features his writing, which can be found at justinblaney.com/app. Justin has been using writing and speaking about social media since 2006. His course on influencer marketing at the University of Washington, Foster School of Business, is believed to be one of the first on this topic. Justin, welcome to the Page 1 Podcast.

Justin Blaney: Hey, thanks so much for having me.

Luke Peters: Cool. So you’re an author, a chief innovation officer at your business, and a professor at the University of Washington. So if you don’t mind, if you can just give the audience a little bit more on your background and just describe what you do.

Justin Blaney: Yeah, thank you. I teach at the University of Washington. I created a class on influencer marketing. We looked around, I was talking with the dean of Foster Business School, and it didn’t appear that there was any classes on the topic at any major university. So we were pretty excited to put something together, put all of this together, and that class has been doing very well. And I teach at the University of Maryland at a doctoral level. That’s where I earned my doctorate about five years ago, so I have a connect there. The power of networking, that’s how you get in the door at universities, is if you know somebody. So that’s about one third of my professional life.

Justin Blaney: The second third is I’m a chief innovation officer, as you mentioned, of a marketing agency. We do a lot of work with social media. We’re generating interest in companies through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and influencers. That’s where I kind of practice the influencer marketing stuff that I’m teaching at the university. And then the third aspect of my career is I’m a writer, as you also mentioned. I’ve written a lot of business books, written a few novels. I have this book, Will Post For Profit that you mentioned, which is the book that I wrote in conjunction with my work at the University of Washington on the topic. And that’s going to be out on October 13th, and we’re doing a little pre-order special that’s pretty exciting.

Justin Blaney: And then I have another book coming out in April. I don’t advice trying to write and release two books in the same six month period. It’s pretty hectic, but it’s exciting. So that book is coming out in April, it’s called Relationships. Actually, it’s a lot about networking and the power of relationships, how you can become more of the person you want to be, change your career, change your life by getting to know and hanging out with the right kinds of people. So that’s a little bit about me.

Luke Peters: Wow, thanks for that. I love that topic too. So you’re doing all these different things, Justin. I want to ask this, is there a business system, an ERP, or maybe even just a planning process that keeps you glued together, whether in the business or even all three aspects of your professional life here?

Justin Blaney: Like a productivity tool?

Luke Peters: Maybe bigger. Is there a system, maybe an ERP or a business system you use at work, or maybe it is a productivity tool for… Everybody has a different way of keeping themselves organized and on task, or even their businesses on task.

Justin Blaney: Yeah, that’s an interesting question. I approach life and business and work maybe a little differently than a lot of people. Even though I described it as three different parts of my life, I don’t really see it that way. I see my whole life integrated, whether I’m hanging out with my girlfriend, or whether I’m teaching a class, or talking to you on a podcast. It all just feels like life to me. And so I have this kind of people who say that I’m kind of a crazy multitasker, and I can switch from one thing to the next, to the next, to the next.

Justin Blaney: I don’t know that I really think about it in terms of having a system, but I do believe very strongly in the power of delegating in every aspect of my life. I delegate everything I possibly can, including keeping track of things and details because that’s something that I can do but I don’t really enjoy it. So I have a lot of assistance and various people in my life that help me keep track. So I just have a system of hiring good people who have a system.

Luke Peters: No, that’s it. So it sounds like you found successfully how to integrate an assistant into your life, and into your business. So I guess that is the right answer.

Justin Blaney: Yeah, I have a personal assistant. I have assistants in each of my positions and it all kind of works together, but yeah absolutely.

Luke Peters: Okay. That’s awesome. That’s a great nugget there because I think people are always looking at how to simplify their lives, and I’ve just listened to a podcast about a really successful business person, who then went on to create a consulting business where he helps CEOs grow their companies actually. But he said, “Hey, I hate doing a lot of things. I don’t want to make reports. I don’t want to have… I don’t want to even come into a meeting with proposals or any of that.” So he really kind of defined what his practice was going to look like. And he does it great, but he doesn’t have to do any of the things he doesn’t want to do. And I think that’s important, once people find some level of success. Cool.

Justin Blaney: Yeah, delegation is like magic. It’s amazing. You can get something done without having to do it.

Luke Peters: There you go.

Justin Blaney: Sounds like magic to me.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Love that. Okay, and so how has Covid impacted you professionally?

Justin Blaney: Covid has changed a lot of the course in terms of teaching. I did have a term that was going to be in person, and we had to move it online. And that was very difficult for the students, and frankly for myself. I’ve done a lot of online work but it was… Just being forced to do it, especially when you were expecting to have that in-person experience. And I think that the students… it was really difficult to keep them engaged and interested. And in class I can say “Everybody put your laptop down we’re going to have a conversation,” and I can make sure I have eye contact with them. And when I do that, we tend to have really rich conversations but on Zoom we just couldn’t ever get there.

Justin Blaney: And I think in part, it could be that people weren’t paying attention, because as far as I know they’re reading the news instead of listening to the conversation and participating. So that was difficult. But I think this coming term, I’ve been talking with some of the other faculty members, I think that we’re going to be able to try to turn a corner on that. With the business online, the social media business, that’s been booming during COVID. We help a company do a lot of hiring, and a lot of people lost their jobs.

Justin Blaney: And a lot of people now can work from anywhere, geographic boundaries have been eliminated at least with one of our key clients. And so we’ve been able to just open the floodgates and recruit nationwide, when it used to be they had to be within 30 miles of an office. And so that has been a really big bonus. I mean, the company is up like 30%. So it’s kind of a weird situation because you have… Covid has created winners and losers, and nobody could have predicted ahead of time who was going to be in what group, because we just didn’t see this coming. In some ways, some of my aspects in my life are on the winning side from Covid, and some are on the losing side. But yes, absolutely. It’s really changed a lot in my business life.

Luke Peters: Yeah. Well I can go off on a lot of tangents there, because now you’re talking about that you actually help with recruiting not just digital marketing, but maybe we’ll save that for conversation number two because I’m so curious about all these things. But I want to focus in on influencers, so let’s jump into that. Because for the audience here, influencer marketing is something that people have been talking about. I mean, it’s new, but it’s been talked about for years here. And I think a lot of business owners haven’t jumped on the wagon just because they don’t know where to start. There are agencies and you can hire A-level influencers, and they’re expensive.

Luke Peters: And I think that can turn people off, and then they can’t always count on that ROI like they might with their other digital spending, or their trackability often because it’s kind of quasi branding as well. And there’s many other reasons, right? Why they haven’t jumped into influencer marketing, but hey listen, you’ve quote unquote written the book on it. And by the way for the audience, the book kind of covers, if you want to become an influencer, and then also how businesses can work with influencers. So you get it from both sides, which is pretty interesting. So why don’t we just start in simple terms, how would you kind of describe the ROI of working with influencers?

Justin Blaney: Yeah. And before I answer that real quick, one of the interesting things you mentioned in the book is actually for businesses and how to create profitable campaigns which is, again, something that you mentioned how new this market is. It’s new and it’s also been around for five, six, seven years or more. And yet there still are very few resources out there for business on how to do successful influencer marketing. The vast majority of the attention is on how to be an influencer. And so I could understand why maybe your audience might be interested in this, but struggle to know where to begin. Because there’s… Well, for one, there’s just not a lot of information out there. And two, it’s changing so quickly, as soon as something is working sometimes people need to change and adapt, and the new network comes out. Hardly anybody was talking about TikTok this time last year, and now it’s one of the biggest networks in the world. That’s what can happen with social media. You blink your eye and everything changes.

Justin Blaney: So in terms of getting some practical tips on how do you get into influencer marketing, what would be the first step that a business owner might take? And one of the things that is important, is to work with people who really live and breathe this stuff. And I get a lot of questions from people who, let’s say they’re 40 years old and they own a clam farm, and they want to get more business with restaurants and they don’t really have social media presence. Maybe they have with friends and family, and they’re thinking of, “I’d like to get on here and be an influencer. Maybe that’ll help me get some business.”

Justin Blaney: And the whole setup of that question tells me that that’s probably not going to be a very successful path. Because if that person isn’t already living and breathing and loving social media, then the chances that they’re going to be able to generate the amount of energy necessary to be successful, is very unlikely. Because if they already have the energy for it, they would have been doing it already.

Justin Blaney: And so the same thing is true with businesses. I remember a long time ago when Facebook pages were first coming out, and there were gas stations that created a Facebook page. And then they had on their… when you’re pumping your gas it says follow us on Facebook or like us on… And I’m thinking why would anybody do that? Why would I follow this gas station? And the thing that I like about it is it was obviously an idea, somebody thought, “Hey, the social media thing is taking off, we’ve got to get on this bandwagon, let’s create a page, and let’s try to get some likes.” But that decision was made with a lot of ignorance, it’s made like there’s no planning around it. There’s people who are executing and don’t really know how to use social media.

Justin Blaney: And so the number one thing that I’ve found that makes people successful in either being an influencer or working with influencers, is that they just live and eat and breathe and just love social media. Either from the business side or from the influencer side. And so a business who wants to get involved with influencer marketing, the first thing that they’re going to want to do is find someone that really gets social media, and work through that person and enable that person like we already talked about delegating.

Justin Blaney: So it’s about finding those people who are already having that momentum, and jumping on with them. Because creating it from scratch and by people who have never really done anything in it, that’s kind of like me saying, “Hey, I want to be a doctor.” And I just show up at the hospital in my scrubs and I’m saying, “Where’s the ER room, I’ll learn as I go.” It’s just, not to try to overinflate that it’s that difficult, or that it requires the training of a doctor and eight years. It’s not so much that. It’s more about the language, and are you fluent in this kind of medium? And are you like a fish swimming in water? Is it home to you? Or are you flapping around on a dry piece of pavement? Because you’re in an environment that you’re not very comfortable in.

Luke Peters: Yeah, it’s a great way to say it. And not everybody… All of our strengths, we’re not all going to have the same strengths. So I think it’s kind of trying to fit something round into a square peg type of comment, is what you’re saying. And if you’re not super passionate about influencers, maybe your strengths are elsewhere, and maybe they’re in delegation. So you can hire that person. But not everybody needs to be an influencer. It doesn’t mean your business still can’t take advantage of it. And the one other thing Justin, that I would add to it is that when you do this, just like you would anywhere else in your business, when you’re building out things, is you got to build out long-term planning. I’ve seen a lot of people just want to dip their toe in, they want to go… They have 10 separate influencer engagements and that’s it.

Luke Peters: But I always think about the flywheel and that you’re building a machine. And so, because you’re going to improve, you’ll make that higher. But then over time, you’re going to improve your processes, maybe even over a couple of years. And it’s just going to get better and better and better if you stay engaged. And so that’s the one additional thing I would give folks to listen.

Justin Blaney: Absolutely.

Luke Peters: Yeah, so give them something to think about there. So when looking at influencers, right? And people are, again, this is still… I would advocate for, “Hey, have a plan and have this as an ongoing effort.” But people are always… they’re getting hit up by an influencer, or just one-off opportunities. What are the most important metrics that you look at to understand the value that that influencer could bring to a company?

Justin Blaney: Yeah, to me metrics are everything. And if you can’t measure it, you can’t know if you’re winning, you can’t improve it. You’re really inhibited in a way that’s catastrophic, without proper measurement and analysis of results. So this is one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make with influencer marketing. It’s just very loosey-goosey, they pay someone to do something and they just sort of hope that they got something from it. And to me that is basically just throwing your money away. So I absolutely want to look at an ROI on my investment, and where I usually start when I’m thinking about ROI, and it depends on the product or service. I understand a lot of your audience is into, you mentioned hardware and home products. And so with a product, you have a profit in the sale of the product. You also have maybe a lifetime customer value. You might be able to sell some services along with the product.

Justin Blaney: So the first thing I like to try to understand with a lot of customers that I might consult with is, what is the acceptable cost of acquisition that you can pay to have a profitable experience with a customer? And I usually like to look at that based on lifetime value. And so you look at the lifetime profit on average that you get from a customer, and you know that your advertising has to come in below that, or you’ve failed and probably a lot below it. Depends on where you’re at with your growth plans. Are you funded with venture capitalists funds and it’s just all about purchasing growth? But for the most part, you want to be well under that prime profitability. And then I want to build a campaign out with the ability to track results.

Justin Blaney: So if I hire an influencer to promote something, I’m going to make sure that we use some way to track like a discount code, or a link that can tag someone with a cookie. And we want to be able to track every purchase back to that campaign. And then it’s about doing some simple math at the end to see how it went. And one of the things I really like to do, usually when you first starting something out it’s not going to be enormously profitable the first time you try it. But I like to at least set a benchmark and maybe the first couple of campaigns it’s not profitable, maybe we have a $100 lifetime profit value and we’re spending 200 bucks to bring in a customer in the first couple of campaigns. Well, if I can measure that and I know that accurately, then I can work that 200 down to 150, and I can work the 150 down to a 100, and the 100 down to 50.

Justin Blaney: So I like to at least start somewhere, have really good metrics that you’re tracking and then just start working on improving that over time. And sometimes you find that it works, and sometimes you find that it doesn’t. Influencer marketing isn’t for every kind of business. It’s really well suited to the kinds of things that you… If you’re browsing through Instagram, look at the products and services that you see advertised there. And those are the kinds of things that it’s probably, well suited to. You can’t always assume that everybody is advertising continuous, but at least gives you an idea. One thing to keep in mind though with that, is that the algorithms give you ads that they think that you’re going to be interested in. So there could be a lot of products and services on social media that you’re not seeing, simply because you’re not looking at that kind of stuff on the internet.

Luke Peters: Yeah, absolutely. And also that the tough thing here is that… What I really like about influencer marketing is you’re getting other people to talk about you, and that’s the number one way to think about branding. People trust other people. They trust people they like and know, and probably more than they trust the brand initially. So you’re getting that value. I mean, even if you get this down to break even you got to know that there’s other value on the branding side. Some of it you can quantify by looking at your rankings on… Let’s say you’re doing YouTube videos and things like that. So there’s some quantifiable things and looking at traffic generation from those, and some of them maybe not really quantifiable, but maybe you’re getting digital assets that’s helping you on your Instagram page, and you’d have to pay for those digital assets. So there’s so many things when you think about the value of a influencer, it’s not just them purchasing a product. That’s obviously… If you’re in business you got to make a profit, so you gotta start there. And just like Justin said, the main question is what’s your cost of acquisition. So that’s your starting point. And then when you’re looking at an influencer, what are the key metrics? Obviously it’s going to be followers and all of that, but is it mainly based around engagement? Or is there something else you look at?

Justin Blaney: Yeah, influencer marketing is great for branding, And you’re absolutely right. There are times when you want to invest in a brand and you’re not going to see that immediate sales correlation. And like you said, you start with long-term planning and you think about what are these objectives that we want to accomplish. If it’s increasing your brand, then you could start to look at that. And sometimes you have to make some subjective decisions, like what is the like on a post worth in terms of brand engagement or brand education. And how can you compare that to say sponsoring a booth at the fair, and having somebody walk up and talk to you. So there needs to be some kind of a subjective analysis done, that assigns the value to the experience, right? But yeah, I mean then once you’re getting into it and you’re looking at those metrics. Yeah, there’s a ton of things that you can look at shares. You can look at likes, you can look at views.

Justin Blaney: And each of those has some kind of monetary value as well as monetary cost. And as long as you’re keeping really good track of everything, I mean, sometimes it’s like, you don’t really know exactly what those things are worth, but you can if you track it well, you can work to improve it. And so if you start with a benchmark of, “Hey, we’re doing this kind of post, it’s costing this much to promote this through this influencer, and we’re getting X amount of engagement.” Then you set that benchmark up, just like we talked about with cost of acquisition. And if that’s your primary thing, is engagement to improve brand recognition, then you’re just going to start working on reducing the cost of a like or cost of a share. In terms of virality shares is everything, right?

Justin Blaney: We’re all in this COVID world now. And we understand that we can pass something to someone and get them sick, or they can pass something to us and get us sick. But ideas transfer like viruses too, ideas are transferred between one person and another person. Every single idea is shared from one person to another person. And so when a product is going viral, it means… I don’t know, maybe your audience, if you have studied this. I think it’s called the R0 of a virus and it’s telling people-

Luke Peters: We actually had a virologist on, so…

Justin Blaney: Okay, cool. So the R0 of Covid right now I think is 1.1, lets say. I don’t know that don’t quote me on it.

Luke Peters: Yeah, it’s a lot higher.

Justin Blaney: It then means that one person is passing on an average to 1.1 people. If you get a positive R0, you have a virus that’s expanding. And that’s what you want with products, or social media posts. For every person that sees it you want them to share it in such a way that more than one person sees it as a result of that share. When that happens you have a viral post, and it’s going to continue to expand an audience until it sort of peters out, and people are sharing it less often than people are getting to see it. So to me that one is a real magic one that I like to look at, because it’s the golden rule when it comes to creating viral content, which is of course one of the best things, it’s like winning the lottery online. You post something and you can get millions upon millions of views, because you created something that people want to share.

Luke Peters: Yeah. And that’s a great explanation. You had a couple of great quotes in there too. And the one I wrote down was, “Shares are everything.” And then you kind of went into, the relationship of why that actually matters and which is… I mean, it all makes sense and it’s all common sense, but I guess we don’t think about that. When everybody makes their campaigns, not everybody thinks about that. And I guess it goes back to your point of why you have to have somebody that’s really passionate about this, because they have to… It’s a very kind of artful process, but they also have to be so analytical and follow all the numbers. And it really takes that passionate person who is artful, but also is going to be diligent about tracking the numbers and making sure that these things have an ROI. And I guess the next thing is-

Justin Blaney: Yeah, you really kind of need two people in that role. Because the person who’s really good at social media, isn’t usually the person that’s really good at tracking everything. To me the person that understands social media the best, is somebody that… It’s like a social butterfly online. They love sharing their life. They love checking in with people. And they’re going to understand the language and how to speak fluently online. And they’re going to understand authenticity. So the biggest mistake a lot of people make, is it’s not authentic. And authenticity is what separates social media from advertising. With advertising we have famous people telling us to buy product, but there’s no authenticity because we know that they just got paid to do it. Whereas on social media, we follow these people. We think they’re our friends.

Justin Blaney: Psychologically speaking, our brain considers these people that we follow in a similar way as we consider our close personal friends. And our brain gets tricked into thinking that they are our friends. And so when they say I love buying this product and we trust that they’re actually saying what they do, and not just doing it to get paid. That’s why it’s like a friend’s recommendation. So again, maybe I’m getting into too many details here but the idea is this, people authentically either get this all or they don’t. And then you have another kind of person who understands how important it is to track numbers. If you can find that other one person, pay that person whatever they need.

Luke Peters: There you go, but I actually like talking about that stuff because, listen business owners, we all think in about in terms of org charts and putting departments together. So I think that that is important to go over right there, is you’re going to need two people. And for those of you that have an ecom department, you probably already have that technical person hopefully, because if you’re running a website, you’re already going to be using Google analytics, and other tracking features that are needed to be successful. But you know what I liked about what you just said right there, just to quickly repeat another good quote is, authenticity separates social media from advertising. So I thought that’s great. It just paints that picture of why, what we’re talking about today is so important, and business owners always think about deals, how’s the deal set up?

Luke Peters: So Justin let’s break this down because something for you that just may be second nature. I think it is… for me when I want to understand something, I’ve got to write it down, okay, this is this side of the equation. And this is the other side of the equation. What is each party getting? So let’s talk about this deal on social media. I have some experience doing this. So when we’re looking at it and you’re looking okay, how big of an influencer or not big of an influencer. And then you’re looking at the value of maybe the product you’re giving or the payment. And there’s a lot of things they could do for you. You could run giveaways, they could do a post just maybe on Instagram. Maybe they have other channels they can post on, and they can make a story. Can you kind of walk us through what a deal structure might look like? And maybe some options that the listeners can think about?

Justin Blaney: Yeah, you’re right. There are a lot of ways to structure a deal. And one way is that you don’t have to pay anything necessarily. Sometimes you can just offer free product to an influencer. And this is becoming more and more common as influencers become smaller and smaller, in terms of the ones that brands are willing to go after. They have different categories that we call under 3000 followers, a Nano-influencer. If you have 2,500 followers on Instagram, you can be considered a Nano-influencer. And obviously at that small level of followership, it’s unlikely that somebody is going to offer you a thousand bucks to post a story on your Instagram feed. But they will give you something like, go into Warby Parker and pick out any glasses you want. And then all we ask is that you do three stories about it.

Justin Blaney: And maybe you film your shopping experience. Maybe you ask your… Like in that case you could post photos of you with two or three different Warby Parker glasses on and ask your audience which one they like best. And you’re just at it you just mention… And you can kind of work in, “By the way I met Warby Parker and they’re having a sale.” Just always remember that you have to disclose that it’s an ad when there’s any kind of financial interchange happening, even if you’re offering free product, you need to note that it’s an ad. That’s the FTC compliance. So from everything from… Or even just asking people to help you. I have got this book coming out, and I’m hitting up everybody to help me with the book. I’m hitting up my friends and I’m trying to make it as easy as possible. I send them pictures, I say “Hey, if you’re up for posting this. I’d love that.” And so you just ask.

Justin Blaney: So sometimes it’s just that, sometimes it’s offering free product. And then of course you can pay for just about anything. One of the cool things about influencer marketing, it’s very open ended. It can be anything that you can imagine. All of this is it’s people on social media talking about stuff. You could have somebody come in and do a little tour of your shop, or you can send your products and people can do unboxing videos and talk about it. Of course it gets really widely varied as you start thinking about, how each different product or service would be marketed through social media. But it helps if you just kind of think about it as, people talking about stuff. And so how can you authentically get someone talking about your stuff? And then you approach the person, and you talk about what are they looking for?

Justin Blaney: Sometimes it’s not money. Sometimes they’d love to get a free trip, or maybe there’s something that you can give them that costs you less money than it’s worth to them. All of these things are on the table. Maybe you have some free flight vouchers from a flight you had to cancel, and you can’t use them so you can offer those to somebody. And so you just kind of… It is widely varied as you can imagine. But I do think one thing that’s important there, is it’s not so much about blasting out to hundreds of different influencers and trying to get one of them to take your deal. It’s more like building a relationship with a single influencer, and working with that person over time. Because just like authenticity is important on social media, in terms of what messaging you put out there. Social media is still about authentic relationships, including the relationship between the influencer and the brand, that needs to be authentic too. It doesn’t have to be, it’s just a lot more successful if it is authentic.

Justin Blaney: And you can begin to build a relationship with an influencer. If you pick the right people who are really noble, well after two years they might be 100 times bigger than when you met them, but they’re going to be willing to work with you in a lot more ways. Because you were helping them, and you were there with them as they were growing. So I think that that’s a really important thing to remember, is it’s not so much about a single deal. I never try to think about influencer marketing as a single exchange. I’m trying to find people that I want to work with for a long period of time. And so then it kind of changes the equation, and there’s more flexibility depending on the size of your organization to give a little bit more in the beginning. And really try to secure some trust, and a relationship with someone that you’re gonna be able to lean on that relationship over time as that develops.

Luke Peters: Yeah, I think that’s such an important point. And everybody running a sales department is going to understand this, customer acquisition is expensive and selling again to that same customer is a lot cheaper, right? In so many different levels. So this is the same thing, and it’s great that you brought that up Justin. We do the same thing here and we created a metric internally that we have to hit a certain percentage of repeat engagements, for all the reasons. Because it’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to track it, just like all the other items you mentioned to track. And now we’re starting to track that as one of our key metrics of which percentage of total engagements, are repeat engagements. And you laid out all the reasons, so I think that’s a great point. Moving on to… So we talked about kind of like the deal structure and all the reasons.

Luke Peters: Do you have any preferred platforms that you’ve worked with? So say businesses… Now, okay, they get why it’s valuable. They understand how to set up a deal. And now they got to go find influencers. Obviously they can just go on social media themselves, or have somebody on the team do it. But then there is an advantage to platforms because they can create the communication back and forth, the CRM part of it. And they can also kind of give you scorecards on how valuable an influencer might be, any thoughts or comments on that side.

Justin Blaney: In terms of the most popular networks for influencer marketing, Instagram and YouTube are clear favorites. Pinterest drives a ton of traffic, so it’s in the mix. Even if people don’t have a lot of followers, it’s one of the best for driving clicks. And LinkedIn is emerging as a really successful network for B2B transactions and recruiting. And you can find people that have large groups that they administer, or some people just have a lot of followers there, and so they have some influence there. But some of it depends on the product and service. Instagram is great for visually oriented products, but these things also change fairly rapidly.

Justin Blaney: We mentioned TikTok, that is emerging really quickly as a huge influencer marketplace. A lot of people are advertising clothes, and it’s kind of the same thing that you’re seeing on Instagram, but it’s moving over to TikTok. And so these things are constantly morphing and changing which is why, again, you want to have someone that really understands, and lives and breathes it. Because to them, it’s second nature they’ll say, “Oh, no don’t post that there we got to put that on Instagram, not on Twitter,” or just something as simple as the frequency of posting. You can post a lot more on some networks than others, and you might annoy your customers in one place and they might enjoy it in another, the same exact behavior.

Luke Peters: Yeah. But what about, and I definitely want to get back to Instagram versus YouTube on the next question, but what about any platforms like software platforms that help businesses aggregate the influencers? They kind of do the work of finding the influencers. Do you have any experience or thoughts on that end of-

Justin Blaney: Oh, in terms of finding the influencers.

Luke Peters: Exactly. Yeah.

Justin Blaney: Yeah. There’s definitely, I mean, there’s agencies, there’s tools that you can use online. There’s hundreds of tools. You can do a quick Google search for verifying whether an influencer’s following is legitimate or not. People can scan for Scanbot. These things often change quickly too because the networks themselves are often changing their policies. And sometimes they allow other databases, a lot more access to their data that they can analyze. And then sometimes they’ll turn it off and you can no longer use that service anymore. But I think that the best way to find people to work with is the slow way, which is just talking to people, engaging with people, again, not to keep harping on this, but if you have someone that is doing this every day because they enjoy it, they’re going to know some people probably off the top of their head that they’ve been following.

Justin Blaney: And they’re going to have some real famous people that they follow. They’re going to have some smaller people and they might be like, “Oh yeah, I know three or four people that have under a 100,000 followers that I’ve shared a few comments back and forth.” And when you’re reaching out to that person and they kind of recognize your name, because you’ve been commenting on their posts for the last six months, then that’s a much easier in with that influencer because, again, it’s about community. A lot of people forget that humans are still human. We want to have interpersonal connections with other human beings, the same that we’ve been wanting for the last 100,000 years. Just now we have a different technology to do it through. Like the invention of the telephone. The invention of the telephone didn’t change the way that humans want to create interaction with each other. It just changed the medium through which we interact.

Justin Blaney: And so when people try to approach social media like a computer would, then they’re going to get that result. That’s why spamming, you send the same message to 5,000 influencers, is never going to work. Because they can sniff it out, and they don’t have any part of that. And so it’s much better to have organic relationships that are built. Trust takes some time, which is why having a little bit of longevity with some people is good. And then if nothing else, there’s hashtags. So hashtag searching is by far one of the most popular ways of finding people. So check out the hashtags that are, that would be in posts related to your products. See is there anybody promoting your competitors products, or is anybody… If you’re lucky enough to have people talking about your products already, that should be something that you’re definitely looking into and tracking.

Justin Blaney: And one of the best ways to find influencers, if somebody posts about your product… Maybe let’s use me as an example, I’m an author. And let’s say somebody on Instagram posts about my book and promotes it and says, “I just read this book. Really love it. You guys should check it out.” And I see that come up because I’m tracking that content, and then I might reach out to that person and be like, “Hey, thank you so much. That’s wonderful. How would you feel about doing a few more of these posts, and I’ll pay you 250 bucks.”

Justin Blaney: That can be really one of the best ways, because then that influencer can even tell that story and say, “I love this book. I was talking about it. And then the author saw that and reached out to me and then we created a partnership, and now I’m a brand ambassador for this author.” And that sounds authentic. And it sounds exciting and the audience gets it. They don’t distrust it because it makes sense. And so all of those things add up to make a much more successful campaign, than this more computerized, sterile approach that people are tempted to use because it’s on a computer, so it makes sense. We kind of think it’s a sterile thing but it’s not, it’s just people talking to people.

Luke Peters: Yeah. That’s super helpful and I think the key thing there was, slow, find the right influencers, build actual real human engagements there with these people, because really that’s how the process works. Like I said we do it here at NewAir, and they are always looking for things to speed it up and software to help. But at the end of the day, you’re still communicating with an individual and there has to be an agreement, you have to come to terms on certain things, and hopefully have fun with it and reengage with that person. And so I think that’s great advice, and quickly before we finish up here do you have a… I’d love to hear your take on YouTube versus Instagram. What you see each one better for. Personally, I do like YouTube because I’m old school and I like SEO, and I’m like, “Okay, these videos stay around forever versus Instagram just disappears in a couple of days.” But I could be shortsighted on something. So I’d love to hear if you have a different opinion on that.

Justin Blaney: I think that they’re just different for different things. And a lot of bloggers have some of the greatest strength of relationship with their audience. They just shoot videos, for those in the audience that don’t know a blogger is just someone who does frequent posts, video posts. And it’s usually just about their daily life. And many of these people they’re like, they started when they were 13 years old and they just had a camera phone and they were just in their bedroom, and they were just charismatic young people and they gained a following. They would just talk about stuff, it could be anything. So they have a very high level of trust and engagement because of the psychological principle we talked about earlier, people actually think that subconsciously, they feel that these people are their friends. So when they recommend the product, they don’t have to try hard.

Justin Blaney: It’s like your best friend saying, you should try this makeup brand. Or I started buying this makeup brand. You want to buy it because your best friend bought. So I think that you’re right, YouTube is a fantastic place. They also have by far the best metric because they are owned by YouTube and YouTube develops, excuse me, they’re owned by Google. And Google has Google Analytics, which is really nicely tied in with YouTube.

Justin Blaney: Instagram gives you almost nothing. It’s like this very polished up consumer level information. Instagram can give you a lot better metrics if you go into Facebook, and create an ad manager account and you can look at a lot more in there, but you have to do that through a computer, not accessible through the app. But Instagram in its own right has launched a billion dollar brand. And Instagram is about the look, and so if it’s a beautiful picture like when you see… A lot of consumer products they’re made for good design do very well on Instagram, and that’s harder thing to do on YouTube.

Justin Blaney: Business-to-Business, or if you’re a coach, there’s a lot of reasons to do videos on YouTube. And so I would just say, I don’t think that one or the other is better. I think it comes down to what you’re trying to do based on either what the product or service is, or what is the kind of method of delivery. Do you want to do a video, or does pictures work better. That’s kind of what it comes down to.

Luke Peters: Yeah, that’s great. And then brands can try both, and you laid out some great reasons to work on both sides. And of course, you’re going to cover a big audience that way. So wow, listen, I think we got through all the topics here, start to finish on influencer marketing. And really hope that the audience that you all got some good tips, and that you give it a shot and try this. And turn some of your branding budget and marketing budget into an influencer marketing budget, if you’re not doing that already. And listen Justin, I really appreciate, you’re super thoughtful and I can hear the professor in you. So thanks so much for being a guest, and yeah. How can listeners find more about you and learn more from you?

Justin Blaney: Oh, thanks for asking. Yeah, well, my name is Justin Blaney, I’m sure you’ll have the link somewhere in the show, or at least you can just Google me and I’m on most of the social network. I share a lot of motivational content on Instagram and I have an app as well that contains a lot of motivational content, which is basically what I call 2,500 years of wisdom that I’ve tried to distill down for the modern age. So that’s a special project to me. I don’t make any money on any of that stuff, which is kind of something I like to do as a way to kind of give to the universe more than I’m taking, I hope. And so this book that’s coming out is real top of mind, I’ve been on some other podcasts talking about it. And I saw this hole in the marketplace where businesses didn’t really have any tools to get started.

Justin Blaney: Something that’s really simple and accessible. A short book, 200 pages. And I have a co-author that helped put it together. She’s a really great Instagrammer with skincare information, and we put a whole marketing plan in there. We have templates, contracts, ideas. Really what we try to do is start to finish this is everything you need to know, to create a successful influencer marketing campaign. So that’s coming out, like I said, and that can be ordered on Amazon, or you can go to willpostforprofit.com/amazon and that will take you straight to the pre-order page. And actually we’re doing a little limited time special for anybody that pre-orders it, we’re creating a workbook and a few other companion materials that we’re going to give away for free. So if anybody wants to take advantage of that, you can learn more at willpostforprofit.com.

Luke Peters: That’s great. And we’ll also have all these links in the notes on the podcast page on retailband.com. So we’ll make sure all the links are in there. And again, Justin just want to thank you for being an outstanding guest. I learnt a lot and really enjoyed the conversation, and also want to thank everybody for listening to this episode of the Page 1 Podcast, sponsored by Retail Band, check us out@retailband.com. If your business needs a blueprint on how to succeed digitally. And also appreciate all the reviews on iTunes and hope you all join us for the next interview.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Page 1 Podcast with Luke Peters. If you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes. Want to double your online sales, check out www.retailband.com. And don’t forget to join us next week with our next amazing guests.

Relevant Links:

Website: https://willpostforprofit.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justinblaney/


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