Spike Jones Interview: Breaking All the Social Media RulesSeptember 19, 2017
MIMA Summit Press ReleaseOctober 10, 2017
MIMA Meetup: The State of Influencer Marketing was held August 9, 2017, at Fast Horse . The interactive discussion with Cydney Strommen, Account Director and Kate Arends, a blogger, product developer, branding consultant and designer whose blog Wit & Delight garners a tight-knit following, provided real-life examples of how brands can improve their influencer partnerships, learn from influencers, and build inspired relationships with their consumers.
Cydney started the discussion by asking us to imagine all the creative ways of producing content using influencers. She then went on to describe some of the concepts Fast Horse uses to build positive and productive influencer relationships through a series of case studies.
Fast Horse worked with the brand to improve Diet Coke’s Pinterest profile and content. How could the Diet Coke brand extend its creative team by leveraging influencers?
They enlisted nine people – the team found Diet Coke enthusiasts who were known “power pinners” and invited them to create content for the Pinterest board. A full day emersion event took place in which influencers learned how to showcase Diet Coke using brand guidelines – photography of bottles, color schemes, style etc. The influencers created branded content on their own sites which Fast Horse repurposed throughout Coca Cola’s social channels including all partner and owned channels.
In another campaign, 21 Diet Coke obsessed influencers were provided one-of-a-kind surprise artist created gifts based on their Tweets. In one example, the influencer was sent a pillow emblazoned with their Tweet,”Never let anyone tell you it is too early to drink Diet Coke, you don’t need that negativity in your life.”
Oui (by Yoplait)
Launching a new brand for Yoplait – French style yogurt – the Fast Horse team wanted to get the concepts in front of as many people as possible. Having identified and built relationships with key lifestyle influencers, they created an invite-only event. A-List celebrities as well as lifestyle and foodie influencers were invited to a brunch. Pre-brunch events were held to raise awareness for the brand and the brunch events, and post event push of content extended the reach.
The team paid attention to every detail, designing a memorable brunch showcasing the Oui brand. The gift bags even included items produced by the influencers themselves. Fast Horse created shareable moments, displays for picture opportunities and included details which would look amazing in influencer produced content.
Yoplait (Always On)
Cydney and the team develop partnerships throughout the year and leverage them as needed. Some influencers work with a brand for several activations and others are changed depending on the brand’s goals. The team ensures that influencers are well-informed with product and creative briefs.
Influencer partners express a level of authenticity not found with solely agency produced content. Fast Horse has found these deep and lasting relationships produce quality content and quantifiable results.
For an example from the Yoplait campaign: You’ve Got This, Mom On!
In this campaign, Fast Horse targeted the online “Sneaker Head” community. Providing sixty-five key influencers access to newly released shoes, this group of “game changers” unboxed their gifts and discussed them in their online communities. Excitement was high and the campaign generated 300-350 earned media social posts. Professional athletes contacted the team directly to ask if they too could participate.
What does it take for successful influencer campaigns?
To begin, understand what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) your brand is looking for. In a good partnership, Influencers can help with tracking – online sales, CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) impressions, sentiment, lift – such as positive conversations, coupon codes, or Bitly. Good influencers know what works best for their audiences and can provide insight about their customer and how best to reach them.
Make sure you watch where your reach is extending, for example Instagram Stories are sometimes screen-grabbed by fans. Influencer partners seek to understand your brand and create content that best captures the look and feel you want to express.
How do you locate and foster positive influencer relationships?
There is no “one size fits all” with influencer marketing. You might begin with influencer searches using tools like Enthusio. Continue to research influencers for tone, competitors, look and feel, audience type etc. Use of “sarcasm,” for example, isn’t obvious with simple searches. Building productive partnerships takes time. You’ll want to work with agencies that understand the approach your brand is taking with influencers.
Providing customized gifts to generate content via an unpaid influencer is a risk. Not all recipients will respond positively and work with you to generate content. Nevertheless, the risk can bring with it a great reward including long-term relationships generating earned media coverage.
Always ensure you are disclosing your relationships and follow FCC rules. Make sure that influencers are a good fit or your consumers will see through your marketing efforts.
How did Kate Arends get into the influencer marketing business?
Kate didn’t originally start her blog with the idea of working with brands. However, as her company Wit & Delight grew, so did the costs. She had to make a strategic business decision to generate more revenue. Kate didn’t want to dilute her own brand, though. Kate’s customers had grown to trust her and the recommendations she made. For her, it is important that the brands she works with reflect her company’s core values.
As Kate took on more sponsored content, she was very transparent with her customers and hoped they understood that good creative costs money to produce. Wit & Delight vets their sponsors to make sure the potential partnership will be a success. They appreciate working with sponsors that know what they want.
Brands who wish to work with influencers need to understand that the cost of sponsorship includes the production of great content, the access to the influencer’s customers and additional revenue streams and be willing to invest appropriately. Ultimately, Kate sees herself as a content producer who adds value to the consumer and the brands.
For more information on the state of influencer marketing via social channels attend MIMA’s Monthly Event, “Breaking All the Social Media Rules,” September 20 with Spike Jones, VP Strategy at Spredfast.
Written by Marketing Committee Volunteer Gina Micek