You Can’t Just “Find” Influencers

In our line of business, we’re always motivated to build a list of influencers to match up with certain brands to help us create campaigns to go with those brands. But, every time we sit down to brainstorm, our Influencer manager always says the same thing to bring us back down to Earth:

“Guys, you can’t just FIND influencers.”

Hearing this several times a week can get frustrating, but she DOES make a point. And so, in order to find the right influencer, I asked her exactly what it entails to ensure you’re collaborating with someone right for your brand, objective and who will help bring you the best results.

Identify the brand, and choose a starting point

The first thing you have to do when you’re looking for an influencer is to understand who exactly you’re looking for. Are you promoting a pet service? Food? A lifestyle brand that caters itself to a unique item like glasses? A travel company? Whatever the brand is, remember that there’s an influencer available – they just have to make sense. In any of these cases, your influencer will have to have something in common with the brand: they wear glasses, they have a dog, they travel a lot, they’re young, they have pretty hair – but matching influencers’ personalities with a brand keeps it honest, and makes for better, more authentic content. Start off with details as simple as gender, age, profession and any special qualities they might have that would superficially go with your brand.

Define the objective

What do you need your influencers for? The obvious answer is that at the finish line, you want your brand to become a household name where people are buying from it consistently. But, how would one achieve this goal? Do you want to create brand awareness with an influencer? Would you like to build a community? Are you trying to generate leads and sales from what you’re doing, or would you like to increase followers and boost engagement? Every one of these details is at least minimally unique, but each difference MAKES a difference. No two objectives are in any way, shape or form the same thing and won’t bring you the same results.

What will be the physical deliverables of your campaign?

What is your influencer able to do for your campaign? You should first determine the amount of content you’ll want them to publish: two posts and an Instagram story, for example. But, this also is based on your budget and how much room you have for influencer advertising. Also, keep in mind what your influencers’ talents are. Are they comfortable with creating video content? Or are they better at product shots? Are they writers? Could they incorporate a blog post about your brand? Explore and find out to maximize your exposure!

Define the statistics

You need to know EXACTLY who you’re targeting when looking for your target market. How old are they? Where are they located? Which country? Gender? Age? Profession? Get as specific as possible to know who you want to reach and how you’re going to reach them.

After you’ve gathered all this necessary information, then from there, you can locate the proper influencers to match your brand’s needs. This is when you’ll be able to pitch and decide roles like brand ambassadorships, or if you’re going to be using micro or macro influencers. Remember that each type of influencer comes with their pros: Micro can offer a more intimate community to be a part of, whereas macros can get you the maximum recognition for your brand since they have more followers.

This “to do” list certainly helps us in our process, and we hope it does the same for you!

Truth Hurts: You Gotta Spend Money to Make Money

Alright, everyone – it’s time to air out some harsh realities. This is a completely honest post that doesn’t call anybody out in specific, but at the same time calls EVERYONE out.

Working in the industry, you see this a lot. Whether it’s working in print, digital marketing, social media, freelance… clients are always afraid to spend money but are still adamant on achieving optimal results for minimal funds.

It’s in your right to have such ambitions, and whoever handles your advertising, or supports the buildup of your brand should respect those ambitions and try to make them happen to exceed your vision! But the fact of the matter is – there’s no such thing as a free lunch, people.

To become a success story, you need to start out by INVESTING in something. Think of it this way: every single step you take to build your business is an investment. The graphic designer or web developer you hire? An investment. The copywriter to create your web content? Investment. The agency you hire to run your ads? An investment.

Don’t skimp for the sake of a budget, because you never know where spending your money can take you. Let’s say you go the cheaper option and settle for a web host that’s more economical for your budget, but the higher costing one could guarantee you more traffic. Why? Because the upkeep of the cheaper option could require more complicated coding, or it could also be more inclined to crash. Before you know it, you’re stuck in an already purchased domain on a host site that keeps people from visiting (and checking out) whereas if you had invested in the more expensive option in the first place, you would actually be making more money because your site’s logistics would be more user friendly to generate more traffic.

Apply this theory to everything you do when trying to establish yourself as a successful brand. We aren’t saying that you should go off and burn your money (because there is a difference!) but be mindful of how and where you spend it, and accept that sometimes, the higher price is in reality the better price. Follow this ethos and we know you’re going to rock it.

Keep Your “Close Friends” Closer

Instagram always introduces a new feature that pops up out of nowhere like tulips in the spring. Not too (TOO) long ago, they came up with another addition: the “Close friends” list. This list is intended to keep each Instagrammer’s content more exclusive, giving them more room for keeping privacy in what they share. It’s fully customizable so that they can choose who they’re sharing their content with, and when they’re sharing it simultaneously.

But what we want to know is if your business relies heavily on Instagram, how are you using this feature to your advantage? Do you know how to use it to your advantage? Because having a Close Friends list can be parlayed into many different opportunities for businesses and influencers (or your business AS an influencer.)

Promotions and Offers:

What many can do with their Close Friends list is use it as an opportunity to offer their followers a sense of exclusivity that will get them first dibs to new information, inventory and special deals and tips that not everyone has access to.

Polling and feedback

Close Friends can also be used to gather information on how the general public feels about your advertised brand. It could be an easy way to invite customers to take surveys, and all the while make them feel as though their opinion matters since you’re recognizing that they’re on your “Close Friends” list.

The other added advantage of this type of polling is that you can intimately collect data on your consumers, getting a feel for their demographic and who you’re targeting.

Insider management and collaborations

In key with the authenticity trend when it comes to hiring your influencers, the Close Friends List come in handy with brands, influencers and other collaborators keeping in contact.
The group can share key information for them to keep in mind as they’re presenting [the brand/product] in their stories for the public to see.

instagram close friends list
Taken from www.later.com

Just gettng started in the world of influencer marketing? Learn everything you need to know ithour free Instagram Influencer Marketing Strategy Guide!

Taken from www.later.com

Instagram Stories are a free,easy, and effective way to stay engaged with your Instagram followers – even if they don’t see your regular posts. Learn how you can grow your business using stories in our free 45-minute video course

Behind the Scenes

The Close Friends tool can be thought of as a VIP mailing list. By setting this up, you could have freedom to offer your followers, clients, et al exclusive information on projects you’ve been working on. When one of your followers joins your close friends list, they’ll get access to private content, including behind-the-scenes videos, special announcements, and more.  This is perfect if you are an influencer, and would give you a boost with gaining more loyal followers, while solidifying your fan base. It’s also a great way to get your followers to build an emotional connection to your brand.

instagram close friends list
Taken from www.later.com

Sharing Customer-Only Content

If you want to separate the content you share between paying customers and your generic followers, then the Close Friends list is your best tool. This is ideal for consultants, coaches, nutritionists and trainers. use it to share information, tips, or advice with your paying customers.  

For example: sharing daily workouts, video tips, product recommendations, and more would work great with this feature. The rest of your audience will still see your public content, but they won’t be getting the same value of content as your paying customers.

instagram close friends list
Taken from www.later.com

For more ideas, visit this great article we found on the topic! Click here to later.com

LIKES AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A NUMBER

So, you can’t see how many likes you have. What’s changed?

It’s old news by now that Instagram has altered the “like” feature from users’ posts, so that it isn’t obvious at first glance the engagement each post reached from the respective poster’s followers. 
It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve been living in a world without a visible number of likes. How are we feeling? How are YOU feeling? We personally have opinions on it! And after watching the reactions stirred up since the start of the controversy, we’ve decided to finally put in our two cents over the matter.


We’ve been reading on the subject everywhere, and are finding that many are agreeing with us, that this could be a blessing in disguise. 


So, the real question here is, what’s changed for influencers?
We’re an influencer management agency as well as a digital marketing agency. Of course, our influencers were the first people we thought of when we heard the news that Instagram would be implementing this change. 


But at the same time, we feel that our influencers are impactful enough that this change wouldn’t affect their brands negatively. Because at the end of the day, when they share their content, it should engage people enough to actually ingest it, take it in and appreciate it – not just glance at a number for validation, you get what we mean?


Many are agreeing with our theory, and Instagram users, be they influencers, marketers, or people who use Instagram for non-business or branding purposes are in fact, embracing the change.


“Businesses on Instagram will have to be more creative in analyzing data and get specific about what content is actually driving the business, and supporting your business goals,” explains Mel Brittner, social media strategist at Later. And it isn’t just our influencers who are embracing the change, but others are as well. In fact, according to Global News, Toronto-based influencer Jessica Lam is seeing this as a pleasant plot twist rather than a challenge.


“I create my work for my audience to relate to, be inspired by and engage with. I would hope my audience doesn’t take into consideration about how many ‘likes’ each post gets because it should be my work itself that drives them to ‘like’ or comment on something.”


Think of it as an opportunity to tell stories

Also, we’d like to point out that hidden likes could also prove to be a beneficial tool with exploring Instagram Stories and IGTV! IG stories have the potential to gain more traction than general posts do, and the public can never tell how many people your stories engage anyway (although YOU can always tell!) but also IGTV! 


IGTV is a great way to create more engaging content and gain more followers while promoting your brand. It’s known as the ideal way to get followers and fanbases to feel closer to the person creating content – and yes, there are no records of likes!


So really, what did we ever need likes for?


“Likes were always a false currency, but an easy number to give when asked how content is performing and an easy way to compare, so I think this shift forces businesses to look at what’s actually working.” 


Keep doing you, likes or not – it really doesn’t make a difference. As long as your content is engaging and creative enough, those numbers won’t need to be paraded around throughout your page. It’s all in your followers anyway.

Digital M(heart)keting

I can already tell you that as soon as she reads this, the first thing that’ll come out of my FROSS ([adj]: Friend Boss) Tracy’s mouth is “stop trying to make “M(heart)keting happen! It’s never going to happen!” a la Regina George from Mean Girls. But, I’m going to continue to contest that statement because since I traded in a career in print media for being a soldier at Media Burn, I’ve been learning a lot about the industry that contradicts any claims that marketing and mindfulness don’t mix.

Coming from an editorial background, I’ve personally worked with lots of different clients boasting different industries. Editorial advertising is tricky, because it’s kind of like a broken dream. Your staff is made up of writers coming in thinking that they’re actually allowed to express their opinions, but because freedom of speech isn’t always FREE (and we need to eat), you end up singing praises about clients you hate. Joining an agency, is on the other hand, the liberating opposite because you’re putting in all of your effort to represent someone else’s brand and know what you’re getting yourself into from the get go. No false promises here, especially if your agency knows what they’re doing – you know what you’re getting yourself into from the moment you join the team.

And that being said, joining this specific team has been nothing short of joyful. Perhaps its boutique agency puts a lot of heart into a world that I always used to feel would be ugly, for lack of a better term.

How does Media Burn’s heart differentiate from the rest? Traditional marketers are ruthless – they’ll do anything to screw a dollar out of you. But working here, I’ve noticed that as a young company, we’re pretty wholesome in how we practice.

Money
Take budget, for example. I’ve come to learn that most agencies out there won’t be mindful about using their client’s budget wisely. Despite the semantics of our company’s name, we don’t and never will, “burn” your budget. We can show you a ROI with every dollar spent, and you’ll ALWAYS know where your money is going.

Dedication
We put our hearts and souls into what we do around here. I remember working on an account overtime during Thanksgiving dinner, sneaking to and away from the dinner party to rectify an emergency while the rest of the team were logged on with me at their respective homes. We pour in a lot of effort to keep our clients happy by actively trying to problem solve and plan in a timely manner.

Exclusivity
Another way Media Burn proved me wrong about the marketing industry is choice. I used to think that all marketing agencies were vultures that would prey on any single client they could get their hands on, not unlike a feeding frenzy. But, as it turns out, quality agencies really consider who they’re taking on as clients, and while image is definitely a vital contributing factor the process (as FROSS says: “we don’t just take anyone, guys!”).

We have to take into account that companies we’re on-boarding are ethical, and that they’re also going to benefit from our services. We really don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money if they don’t have the margins for proper advertising on social media like Facebook and IG ads.

So, with all that being said, we continue to work our fingers off to give our global range of clientele great representation. But we follow the simple and effective ethos above to make it all human, while picking our clients wisely to deliver results in a way that is transparent, trackable, and responsible.