Ever thought that influencer marketing only works if you have connections into the A-list celebrity world?
Shane Barker is a genius when it comes to influencer marketing and he's here to bust some myths and give some tips about how you can apply it to your own marketing strategy…
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Who does influencer marketing apply to?
- I think when it comes to influencer marketing, the misunderstanding is once again like you said, I have to go work with celebrities or ask these big type influencers. The cool part about influencer marketing is it doesn’t. You don’t need to go have somebody that has a million followers, that’s a thing that people think about the more followers they have, obviously the more eyeballs I’m going to get and the more things I'm going to sell. That’s not always the truth.
- Influencer marketing is really this: the sale of your product or service through people that have influence and they have a social media following. So it doesn’t have to be, you can have, I use the example of a yoga instructor, you can find somebody that’s a yoga instructor that has 5,000 heavily engaged yogis that are following them that you can sell your product to assuming that it's in line with what that is.
- So I think what’s interesting about influencer marketing is that it, because there are millions of influencers out there, your product, whatever it is, it’s hypersensitive to the time you can, you can find the time where is that has an audience that would be willing to sell your product or service to and that takes a little bit of digging.
So when we talk about influencers, what size audience is that?
- That’s the thing is we always base it off of numbers, so I hate to say that if you have a thousand followers your an influencer but if you have 500 you’re not.
- So it comes down to me for engagement and whether it aligns with your product or service. So once again the yoga instructor being the example, they can even have 500 people, but it could be 500 people that love Johnny or Jennifer the yoga instructor and everything that they say about, hey I just tried this new yoga mat that floats or something, and they are like omg that’s what I need in my life, because I want to be like John or Jennifer when I grow up or when I’m doing yoga stuff.
- You don’t have to have millions of followers. The idea is, does your product work with this influencer and with their audience and do you think that you can create some content that will make it so these people will go buy your product or service.
Does this work for all types of businesses?
- Yeah, actually you can do both. I started off in the influencer space with, there was a digital product, it was a client by the name of Zoey Rodriguez, and her product was building a better booty. So I don’t know if I need to do a heavy explanation. With her product was, what’s interesting about her product was you have a fixed house of the creating ebooks. And then what you do, you go out and send to your audience. So the cool part about that is, let’s say it costs you $5000 to put that together. Every product or everything you got after that is going to be pretty much revenue because you have a fixed cost.
- So the digital products are really interesting because you have a fixed cost and then after anything over $5000 is all cash as that point. So the thing we get into with Zoey is because she has multiple programs, is what we realized was when she came to us, she was doing $20 an ebook. And what we realized was that people, we had there five other products, five in total, and then instead of by offering them for $20, so $100 in total. Because it’s a digital product, why don’t we offer all of them for $50? And we increased her cost from, her average cost of $20, which was the purchase price that people would buy it for, to $30, so we bundled them.
- You can’t do that with a physical product because I can’t say hey, look but one shirt for $20 or 5 shirts for $50, for the most part, because you're probably touching on what your cost is to produce those.
- So with a digital product, you can bundle them, those so that was something that’s really interesting because is that the product side of things can be interesting because you can give away free product. There’s a lot of different ways that you can kind of put that together in the package and work with an influencer.
- The key to the whole thing is really finding the influencer you think is going to fit and then also having a really good line of communication with them. Like, put in a brief together, explaining what hashtags you want to use, what kind of content has been successful in the past, at least giving them the rights to get to be able to be creative with the content that they are producing.
- You just want to make sure, there are certain things that you want to do and we see it now. You know some people have said influencer marketing doesn’t work, well it doesn’t work if you don’t find the right influencers, PPC doesn’t work if you don’t find the right audience, SEO doesn’t work if you don’t find the right keywords. So it all comes down to, just because you’ve done a campaign and you’ve worked with one influencer doesn’t mean that it didn’t work, it doesn’t mean influencer marketing doesn’t work, just because you work with one marketing company doesn’t mean that marketing doesn’t work.
- So it’s like this thing that you kind of got to test. It’s not a, hey go hire this celeb, then go out this up one time, then you go and hire someone to count all your money while you're on a Caribbean cruise. That’s the dream, that’s not reality. It’s still going to take some marketing.
So what does that funnel look like? So an influencer posts a thing, what next?
- It really depends on your product and service and what your KPI's are like your key performance indicators. So you say, hey I want to drive sales and I’m a watch company and what were going to do is we’re going to go find influencers or ambassadors for the program. Our plan is going to be, hey we’re going to give you 2 watches a month, they retail at $300, so that’s $600. We’re going to build the landing page for you and then on that landing page, we’re going to want to have your picture on there. We’re going to get all this fun stuff done.
- You sometimes, this happens a little later, so you want to see if they are loving the needle. But what you can do is start off with a coupon code, so we say hey let’s use shane25 and get the influencer and you go, hey $500 a post, whatever you agree upon, plus we will give you 10% of any sales on the watch, everything is negotiable.
- Now this guy goes and sells 20 watches and so they make $1000 bucks and I go wow this is awesome, maybe now we should actually develop a landing page for this individual because they’re really moving the needle and we really put some more time and effort into this and we should pay them more.
- And there we go, now we have a good funnel there. So that’s the thing about it is, you go you might have a good idea if your a watch company, like who buys your watch, maybe it’s a male watch company and it’s usually men between 24 and 38 because they have to be hip. Or maybe it’s 45 to 60 because they have to be successful and love diamonds, and they are going through the thing where they want to buy the corvette because they are 65 years old and don’t know what to do in life.
- Anyways they are going through that whole process, so that’s what you kind of have to figure out is once you find the influencer that can move the needle, you know again if you find 10 influencers, you do campaigns with them, it could be an open box situation, it could be somebody who does a video, it could be somebody who writes a blog post, it could be a high end, the influencer who gets free product from you, or free watches from you.
- There are so many different ways to structure. And you know the biggest question I get, what do you pay an influencer, and that’s hard to say because every influencer is different. Like if I was Walmart or a big retailer and I asked an influencer, the influencer is probably going to charge me more than if it was a local mom and pop shop.
- Once again, just kind of grinding this thing out and trying to bootstrap something, those are two totally different deals and so especially the influencer that is.
- I’ll give you guys some great information for your audience. One thing that people underestimate, they don’t think about in these situations is, if you have some followers on your social media, you're a brand why do I go find influencers. Go look in your current audience because you might find somebody who is an influencer in your audience that is following you, that already loves your product because that’s why they are following you. Then you talk to them and you say, hey I see you’ve been following us for a long time, you’ve really enjoyed our watches, would you be interested in some type of influencer relationship or maybe like an ambassador program. They’re like, I love your watches, I bought 5 of your watches already, I would love to do anything to get a watch a month, I would video, I would do this.
- Now what you do is say, hey for that watch or two a month, what would you be willing to do? I would be willing to do one video, I would be willing to do this. Now you're negotiating what your terms are for the price of 2 watches or $500 or $1000 or whatever that number is.
Let’s dig a little more into other methods of finding the right influencer.
- So there are a lot of ways to do it. I mean one a. you can look in your own audience which I think is the hanging crew. Another thing you can do is obviously you can do hashtag searches, so yoga as an example, you look up hashtag yoga or hashtag LosAngelesYoga or something like that. Then you can go down that list and look at an individual’s content.
- There’s always the software. Software is a great resource. When I started doing influencer marketing, I used those things called excel spreadsheets and your audience might not know what those are.
- Yeah so we use excel spreadsheets and I like highlighted like if you looked at them it looks like I have autism or something the way the had all the writing on like if anybody looked at my excel spreadsheet they would be like this is a whole different language here. Not sure what this says but I’m sure it’s profound. Yeah I was probably extremely smart back then, I was, a lot of things have changed, but anyways so we look at these excel spreadsheets and now we have software that you can and find the same thing and what I mean by that is we would use these excel spreadsheets, go on Instagram, go and find somebody that was a fitness influencer and look up certain hashtags and go and look at their stuff and I would go and look at their content and look at the following and kind of see what comments are being written, how many sponsorships they have.
- Or maybe with competitors of other brands, how often they put grossing proportional content, are the promotions good content or all it is is like oh I stayed at the best hotel last night and they said that 40 times in a row and so it’s like oh okay I get it how many times can you stay at the best hotel, like once a week for 10 years or something.
- You kind of have to look at that, the software will make it so that you can go in and put in hashtags, you can go in geographical area, you can do it by volume search of like how many users they have and then what you can actually do is pull that post or go look.
- And then I do an eyeball test, I go and look at the individual, so let’s say I want to get 25 influencers for a campaign. I’ll pull a list of 100 and then I go and look at their profile because at the end of the day I can look and say oh they have an engagement rate of 4%, so that’s super awesome. And then what I do is I go over to Jennifer’s page and I find out it’s because she’s in a g string all day long and it’s 500 guys saying inappropriate stuff. That is engagement but that’s not the engagement I want or am looking for unless I’m selling Jennifer’s g string calendar, or then great we probably would have some sales there.
- And then another thing I do is, once again, you can’t be lazy in any of these processes, is I interview the influencer. I will actually do a call with them to kind of find out where they’re at. We’re starting a relationship, so for me, I need to make sure that you know a little bit about the product, that you’ve looked into it, that you're excited about it, that you already thought about some content. It’s an interview kind of like a job, like if I went and you guys sent an email and I sent you my resume back and you guys just sent me an email back and you said, hey your hired let’s start Monday.
- You want to get to know me, is he funny, is he cool, is he on drugs, you there are some things we got to figure out and so that’s where the interview comes in and it’s easier to be able to explain as a brand also what our goals are, like hey I just want to let you know that we don’t have a huge budget this time but what our goals are is to do business, we’ve got these things going, we’re also going to take the content you produce and also want to promote you on our Instagram. We’re also going to or you in a flyer, we’re going to put you on our website, we’re looking to make this a win-win situation for both sides, so here’s what we call value trade.
- So this influencer might be getting $5000 or whatever it is, but you can get them a $1000, but explain to them how you have a value trade there, how your willing to them 59 grow their business as well, how you're going to build that relationship, that deep a relationship.
How do you feel when you get in touch with influencers and they are like hey you need to speak with my management? What do we do when we get up against that?
- It really depends on who you're going after, some of them are going to have management. It just means that the manager is there to negotiate deals and that kind of stuff, and so you’re not going to be able to get to the influencer directly most of the time, unless your Nike or Adidas or those brands that say I absolutely need to speak with you, because we need to be on the same page.
- Usually what I would recommend is if you are beginning in this and spending five, ten, fifteen, twenty thousand dollars, if your spending $100,000, maybe even $250,00, or whatever your number is, then your going to have some people that are going to have management, but you need to put in your agreement, make sure that John Smith is on the call with us.
- You need to figure that out, I mean if your a serious brand and that makes sense your probably going to have the influencer on the call because you want to make sure everybody is on the same page. That’s why you put a brief together, and the influencer signs the brief. You're making sure your complaint with FTC and there’s a lot of regulations and stuff that you want to make sure you're in compliance with.
- But if they have a manager it just means they’re busy, they have a lot going on, it means they take this business seriously but don’t expect if you're a small brand, and you're reaching out to them and they have that.
- Unless you have a big budget it’s going to be a little more difficult, unless you have a tie in. Let me give an example, say I was coming out with a shirt that 50% of the profits, because of my aunt that passed away, and this shirt came out with and really what I’m doing is trying to build this up to make it a million dollars, so half a million dollars can go to cancer awareness, and we can educate people. Because if my aunt was to know about this one year before she hen she wouldn’t have died of cancer and then what we do is we go after influencers that have survived cancer, that have talked about cancer on any kind of Instagram or something like that and in those situations you can kind of tug on heartstrings, like hey this really isn’t for me to to and make a million dollars and to go and get to my island, my fried festival island, the idea of this is for a bigger cause, this is not for me to make money. Once again this is an education thing and now you can have influencers that would say you know what I also had an aunt or an uncle who died of cancer, I just beat, and that’s absolutely something I would be interested in doing and then maybe you can go and get around the gatekeeper.
- But the gatekeeper is there to filter through what they think is going to be good and what’s not good and they only get paid on the stuff that’s good, right?
What sort of red flag should people be looking for when they're trying to find an influencer to kind of promote their stuff?
- If you have an audience there, you have the content that didn’t work or how it was pictured, how you presented it to your audience didn’t make sense. So the thing is with that is not that people shouldn’t do affiliate programs, we do a lot of affiliate stuff and those can go extremely well.
- What I would tell an influencer is understand what they did with that affiliate program, like what happened there, they have us a keyword, I wrote the article and there you go and what I would tell them is would you be interested in doing an affiliate, well pay you, but it’s going to be a lower payment and what we’re going to do as the affiliate thing is usually 20%, well give 25%, but we’re going to show you what’s worked in the past and we’re going to have our team, you put together the general content, my team will put together the final blog post. We’re going to promote it on our site and then the goal of this is we think that we can get number one for this specific keyword because I guarantee that there was no strategy behind that.
- What it was was here goes your affiliate link, just go use your affiliate link and everything should be good and then the affiliate doesn’t care because they have 1,000 affiliates.
- What you really should be doing is fostering them and educating them on how to be able to get that higher rankings and if your able to get them number one, that things producing 500 bucks, 1,000 bucks a month for them then your excited and the affiliate is and now you can use that as an example to show other affiliates.
- So the affiliate thing doesn’t work because most the there’s no support behind it. There’s a next here goes your link go see what you can do and most 99% of the affiliates don’t know what to do with that. Not really 99% maybe 95%. And then there is the 5% that goes hey I know how to do this it’s not a problem, but you should really educate them a little bit on why you think this can be successful and hey Jennifer has the same audience as you and she was also a little skeptical of going the affiliate program with us but let me show you how in three months we were able to get her up to $500 a month and now look at certain keywords and stuff like that. So if you're interested in something like that because now actually there going to learn something and have other eyeballs on there that are going to be able to tweak that content and be able to make it better for them and so that it can produce some money for them.
- So it’s that support behind it that I think people miss because they had a bad experience with an affiliate that just sent a link which most of the affiliates, that’s what they do and it’s kind of link sink or swim, your either going to figure out how to drive traffic or you know how to do it or whatever but so I would frame that a little differently, like hey I don’t have a problem with paying you some money because I understand to produce content is going to take time.
- You have a video team, you have this, I understand that I’ll cover their costs I don’t have a problem with that, but on the affiliate side, you have to be willing to spend some time. I’ll show you what’s worked in the past and we’ll work on this together; is that something your willing to do. Some affiliates will say that’s awesome or some influencers will say yeah let’s do that because I want to learn how to do that better.
- Other ones will say hey it’s not worth my time, I’ve done it before it doesn’t work. The cool part about influencer marketing is there’s thousands if not millions of influencers. So if an influencer says that’s not for them, screw you, let’s move on to the next one, that’s not a problem at all. Like you said just find the person that says they get it, they’ve done the affiliate thing, haven’t had the results, but I’m like what happens if we have Shane barker, who’s a professional at influencer marketing and affiliate stuff help you develop a campaign, so you can learn how to better optimize for not only this campaign but future campaigns. That’s a value trade.
- There going to go wow that’s awesome I would love to learn that even if this one isn’t highly successful now, I have a better idea of how to be able to accept these types of programs. At least get some money to cover my overhead and be able to get these articles or these videos to be able to optimize and to get number one for certain keywords.
A book that you would recommend…
Conspiracy by Ryan Holiday
What is your top success habit?
I walk 10 miles every morning.
Who do you look up to?
Here’s the big one… who do you like more, Rob or Kennedy?
Finally, where can folks go to find out more about you?
My website is shanebarker.com or you can shoot me an email to email@example.com