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Brad Hoos' Do’s & Don'ts Of Influencer Marketing

Posted by Lucas Walker on
Brad Hoos' Do’s & Don'ts Of Influencer Marketing

Chief Growth Officer for The Outloud Group, a full-service influencer marketing agency that creates and executes strategic campaigns at scale, Brad Hoos joins Lucas in the Pitstop garage to talk about the do's and don't of including influencers in your marketing campaign

Influencers can mean the difference between a humdrum, typical promotion and something that really catches and keeps the consumer's attention.

All too often though, businesses don't know how to make the most of their influencer partners, and end up wasting the potential through misunderstanding and misusing the talent they've hired.

Here are strategy-expert Brad Hoos’ Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing

  • 1:50 DO Let Creators Be Themselves - Trying to micromanage your influencers or use them to try to recreate your brand's voice will be a waste of your money and their time. You hired them for their presence and personality, not to just repeat the same copy you produce everywhere else.  Let them handle the message, you don't want a second rate brand conduit, you want a first rate messenger for your brand in their own voice
  • 4:25 DON'T Mistake The Scope Of Your Campaign. Influencer marketing is a full funnel marketing program that doesn't fit cleaning into any branding or acquisition buckets. This can mean many businesses will have misaligned expectations for their campaigns, resulting in promotions that fail in their eyes because they were mishandled from the start
  • 5:50 DO Understand Where influencer marketing exists in your marketing organization.  While influencer marketing is certainly no longer the new kid on the block, they're still pretty fresh, and few brands really understand yet where they fit in their strategy and company, resulting in misuse and mismanagement. Take the lesson of scope from earlier, and  approach influencer marketing as an umbrella that reaches into every aspect of your business, rather than trying to restrict it and reshape it into something your brand already understands.
  • 7:28 DON'T Underestimate The Importance Of A Landing Page. The entire point of partnering with an influencer is to gain the access and trust of their already interested audience, and a landing page that clearly and unquestionably links the influencer to your brand is absolutely necessary.
  • 8:17 DO Get Involved With Influencers Even If You're A Legacy Brand.  No one is too big or too well known not to enjoy the benefits of influencer marketing. Often  big-named brands can come off stale and detached from their consumers, consistently providing a reliable service without much fanfare, often to the same customer base. Influencers can break your brand out of that rut, find you a fresh voice and approach, and help you reach audiences you never even considered.

There is no company too big or small and no product too common or unique to not take full advantage of influencer marketing  today, and turn their novelty & familiarity craving audiences into your new customers.

Free Money & Fast Fixes 

Brad Hoos, Chief Growth Officer for The Outloud Group, a full-service influencer marketing agency that creates and executes strategic campaigns at scale, returns to Pitstop to explain how to really measure the success of your promotional campaign, and avoid making costly mistakes

Influencer marketing can breath new life into your brand's image and dramatically boost traffic, but that doesn't mean it isn't without its potential pitfalls.

If you don't know how to accurately measure success and failure, or outright make some common mistakes, it can quickly spiral into an expensive and disappointing endeavour.

Here's how you can measure the success of your influencer marketing campaign, and avoid making costly mistakes while working with your  influencers

  • 1:16 KPIs & Influencer Metrics. Unlike typical ad-buys, influencers and content on platforms such as YouTube last months and even years after a campaign's conclusion, and has to be measured by totally different values. Think of them less as a single buy, more as a full funnel marketing channel itself, covering the three stages of Awareness, Consideration and Conversion all without further involvement or investment from your brand.
    • Consider both the Number Of Views and Efficiency Of Views to measure success or failure. How much did you pay per view during your campaign? How much have you gotten in coverage since the end of the campaign? Over time, a typically successful YouTube video will continue to get  hits long after the promotion that paid for the content has finished, meaning the efficiency just grows.
    • Avoid indexing success to engagement with the content. People watch content from providers like YouTube differently than how they absorb content from an email or a brand site. Allow the audience to behave naturally, and the traffic will come to you.
  • 2:55 Middle Funnel Consideration. This is where things really get interesting and start giving you real metrics you can rely on, rather than just watching the views and likes on a video climb with anticipation.
    • Once the campaign has been up and running, start looking at the clickthrough rate from YouTube or the host site, to your brand. Since it's unlikely anyone else would coincidentally  follow from A (content) to B (your store) the figure this gives you should be very accurate for assessing how well the promotion is doing. You'll be able to start segmenting the audience and customers, and plan for ways to reach others while taking advantage of those who do click through.
    • Understand that not everyone will click the link in the video to visit your site, but still count as a mid-funnel success due to exposure. They may not be buying from you directly from the content (Attributable Traffic), but they will begin to grow a sense of familiarity with your brand that chances are will lead them to your store in time (Unattributable Traffic) through Google or your main url
  • 4:15 Three Factors For Measuring Consideration-Success. Rather than trying to view a mid-funnel promotion the same way as you would an email or ad-space buy, look for and consider these factors:
    1. How efficiently have we done this?  
    2. What is the cost per session/view/visit? 
    3. What's the quality of the traffic?
  • 4:45 End Funnel Conversion Rate. The bread and butter of a promotion, turning the audience you've spent so much money, time and attention on into paying customers. When measuring the conversion rate for YouTube and other influencer buys, consider;
    • How many viewers ultimately are visiting your site and buying products,? Combine the two previous metrics, views and site conversions with the final goal, how many sales are driven directly through influencer traffic. You won't get all those swayed by the content, but you'll have enough to  gauge a success or a failure, and how to correct next time.
    • What are the quality of these visitors? Are these viewers valuable customers, or are they unreliable as return customers, buying at most once and then never returning or engaging with your brand  through memberships, emails or further purchases.
  • 6:00 Stop Burning Good Money Chasing Bad Content. Regardless of how much money you spend on influencers and sites like YouTube, there are some good and bad decisions you can make about what gets published, and more importantly how it gets published.
    • 6:25 Invest in ever-green content that will far outlive your promotion. Don't worry if the subject is entirely unrelated, what matters is the longevity of the promotion. There are many types of videos that have extra long shelf lives due to their content, like science and history videos, that will reach millions of viewers over the many years it's published. That will reduce your cost per view to cents and fractions of a cent, given enough time and a popular enough influencer.
    • 10:35 Don’t force the ad at the start. YouTube and podcast audiences are used to having to skip over ads at the top of the content they watch, and will do so by habit regardless of the ad. Likewise, few viewers stay until the end of a video for any ads there, so make sure your ad is read in the content itself. Most influencers will take a moment after the show's intro to run any promotional copy, forcing the audience to engage with the content and wait through the ad to reach the rest of the video on the other side.
    • 11:25 Give your influencer a landing page on your site. If a viewer follows through from video content to your site, landing on a specific page that continues their engagement with both you and the influencer, chances are a bridging page will keep them moving forward into your store, and allow you even greater access to useable metrics.

Don't focus on traditional metrics, like traffic within the first day, or week, or even month. Learn to play the long game, and look for the building momentum over a long-term investment.

Time Waits For No Brand

Brad Hoos, Chief Growth Officer for The Outloud Group, a full-service influencer marketing agency that creates and executes strategic campaigns at scale, returns to Pitstop to detail when the time is right for your brand to start directly paying influencers for promotional content

You've reached out, connected and grown a reliable and positive relationship with an influencer or two, you've learned the in's and out's of content sites like YouTube and Spotify, and you're confidently satisfied with the returns you're getting from the campaign.

The time is finally right for you to take your influencers to the next level, start paying them directly for their work, and make them a bigger part of your marketing team.

Here's how to transition to a paid influencer program, and when to take the relationship to the next level.

Which type of influencer program is right for you?

  • 1:30 Different Types Of Influencer Programs. While many brands will simply put a creator on the payroll and call it a day, that's only one type of influencer program you could take advantage of. Consider what would work best for your brand/creator relationship.
    • 2:15 Many Creators On Many Levels. Just because you've started paying one or two big creators doesn't mean you have to stop reaching out for free content from the little guys or the up and comers. Consider a healthy mix of the two, and keep sending out those freebies and generating those positive responses, and your brand's cache will continue to grow along with these newer influencers.
    • 2:40 Organic Reach.  A hands off approach where you routinely send your influencers products instead of money, while letting them decide what kind of content best speaks to their audience. Simple, cost effective and low effort on your part.
    • 2:53 Paid Programs. More expensive certainly, but  typically with greater control and say over the content. If you have some clear messages in mind you want to get out there about your brand, and a solid relationship with an influencer who is willing to work with you more or less exclusively, this is the choice for you

Remember, 4:00 creators are creative people, and reached a level of success and recognition themselves before even partnering with your brand. Trust them to know their audience, and listen to their needs for that content. You may never have to transition them to a paid program, allowing you to save money while reaping the benefits.

If however you both agree it's time to take it to the next level, there are two (and a half) ways to include your brand in their content.

  • 4:35 Integrated Content. These are the most familiar to anyone whose listened to podcasts or watched YouTube. integrated Content often takes the forms of mid-show shout outs, host-read ad breaks and on-air testimonials from the influencer themselves. This is the most authentic form of content, and viewers can instinctively tell the difference, but it also affords you less control over what topics your brand is associated with.
  • 5:12 Dedicated Content. A much more time consuming and hands-on approach, dedicated content sees you working closely with the influencer on specific content, such as topics related to your brand or product. While this affords you much more editorial control, it also demands a lot of your time, or that of your marketing team, and can prove very expensive if the production budget gets out of control.
  • 5:50 Paid Social. This is less about how involved you are in the production, and where it gets release. Known also as white listing  and boosted content, this is putting out content you and the influencer both had a hand in developing, but is put out on their channel as if it were their own organic content. This allows both control, and a priceless sense of authenticity.

7:00 If you do decide to step up to a paid social program, make sure your company can handle it. Does this go under your influencer team, or your social team? Don't leave these decisions for the last minute, create a spirit of collaboration between your departments so they can work together, not against or in competition with each other.

I've had some success with influencers and want to move forward into a more formal paid influencer program. What are my next steps?

There are two roads forward for your brand marked by two signs, the Practical Way, and the Strategic Way.

  • 7:45 The Practical Way. Do as much as you can for free, test the limits of what you can get away with, and soon enough you'l find the limits of what you can accomplish. It is very tough to scale influencer marketing, and you may find  that some creators simply have a niche market, and some simply won't work dozens of hours on a post for some free content.
  • 8:30 The Strategic Way. A straight line from sales to brand exposure, this tactic seeks to first push the product, then once its seeing healthy sales, transition the influencer content over to covering and promoting your general brand, avoiding any possible stagnation. Once you've established both a profitable line of products and a positive brand association, consider formalizing the most successful creators who helped get you there.

An effective paid influencer can be worth many times more than you may ever invest in them, allowing you access and exposure to markets you had never before considered, so don't be shy or afraid to reach out and build those relationships. 

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