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The Marketing Unleashed Podcast – Should you promote your business and brand through social media influencers?

Joel: Hello everybody and thank you very much for downloading and listening to another episode of the show. So today we’re talking about the use of influencers to promote your business and brand. And I want to hit this in a few different angles. Number one, do influencers generate sales or do they really just generate content and brand awareness? Number two, are influencers the new brand spokespeople? And number three, do you have to have the top level influencers like celebrities or is anybody with an audience a good influencer to work with? And I have Jamie and Rachel joining me. So let’s, let’s open it up. What do you guys think about influencers?

Jamie: Well, I think that, I mean as you were saying in the beginning, all of the above. They generate sales, they do generate content, they generate brand awareness. I mean it’s all of the above. And in 2019, people kind of thought it was going to die off with the whole influencer thing. But it’s actually started to pick up steam. I mean, I think I read that on Instagram, close to 40% of all the users on there are influencers. So I mean we’re talking huge, huge numbers and it’s just, it’s going.

Joel: But I guess here’s where I would question. Okay, so on Instagram, I get it. On Twitter, I could see that on Facebook, just any of the social media. But if you were to hire an influencer that doesn’t have a following on a specific platform-

Jamie: Than that’s not an influencer.

Joel: Well, but I guess what I’m trying to get at is that, do you have to just pick a platform and choose one influencer? I mean, because you couldn’t take that same influencer and take them to another channel and they’d have the same impact. You understand what I mean?

Jamie: Well, I think you have to … That’s kind of where you need to be very specific on picking the right influencer for your product and your brand. And that kind of goes with the whole micro influencer thing, that’s getting really big. You don’t have to have a macro influencer with a huge, huge following. You can have a micro influencer that’s only a couple, like your 5,000 followers and really do a niche marketing. They might have a really good engagement with their followers and you can just pick. Because you know that whatever they do, they’re going to have good engagement with all of their followers and go that route. You know what I mean?

Rachel: It’s still going to be getting out there for people to see, even if it’s not the huge masses, but right? It’ll be like more specific,.

Jamie: Right.

Rachel: To what you’re trying to sell.

Jamie: Yeah. So it, and chances are if they’re on one platform, they’re going to be on multiple platforms. So if you’re going to pick … You found them because they’re really big on a blog. So chances are they’re going to be channeling all of their reach to Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter and utilize all of those channels because that’s going to broaden your reach.

Joel: Okay. Now do either of you follow an influencer, quote unquote, basically somebody who’s famous for being famous?

Rachel: I mean like personally I follow more like bloggers who become famous, but I don’t really follow the-

Jamie: Like just a celebrity.

Rachel: Yeah, like the famous for being famous people.

Joel: See and it’s tough because … So you have somebody like a Kim Kardashian. Which I mean, as far as we know, she’s kind of gone into different avenues. But she kind of started as somebody who was famous for being famous.

Rachel: And all of them have used that influence to create cosmetic lines.

Joel: Right. They spin it off.

Rachel: Yeah. I think they really … Hate to really talk about them all the time. But I think they kind of started this whole like-

Jamie: Oh, yeah.

Joel: Oh, they did.

Rachel: Thing of not having to do anything to be famous and becoming an influencer.

Jamie: Yeah, because they peddle tons of products. I mean, as I don’t follow any of them on Instagram-

Rachel: Me neither.

Jamie: Or anything.

Joel: Oh, I’m there biggest fan obviously.

Rachel: But I have seen how they kind of peddled diet products and stuff like that. And they have a huge influence over anything, anything.

Jamie: And now that’s what people like aspire to do is they just want to become famous. They’re taking like … Any reality show person now can sell anything and get millions of dollars for-

Rachel: Yeah, you know it was like the first thing I really noticed was when I started following fashion blogs. I would just notice it on the blog at the very end you would see, “I actually got paid to wear such and such brand.” And I was like, “Oh, okay. Well, yeah.”

Joel: So did that happen as a negative effect on you?

Rachel: Not really. It really didn’t because that’s another thing. They’re being upfront and transparent about it. So they’re letting you know. And then a lot of times they give you a shoppable link. So they’ll let you know right away, this is where you can buy this fabulous outfit. And a lot of times they’ll give you a discount code to the store. So, I mean that’s bonus.

Joel: But have either of you bought products? So Rachel, you said you follow bloggers that have become famous. Is there one in particular?

Rachel: Ah, I don’t know. I mean I follow a lot of different … I follow food blogs, fashion, just general lifestyle. And I mean I do admit I’ve bought stuff that I’ve seen them like wearing, but usually I don’t buy right from their link. I might click on it and look at it and then like-

Joel: That’s fine because it’s still generating a sale.

Rachel: But still yeah, I do admit I’ve bought things that I’ve seen.

Joel: How about you?

Jamie: Oh yeah, definitely.

Joel: Alright. I mean I have too. I just did. I mean, I listen to a lot of business podcasts. I read a lot of business stuff and I follow business people. And if somebody like, I mean just to throw a name out there like Mark Cuban. If he recommends something, I’m more likely to buy it than if one of my friends that doesn’t know Jack about business, recommends it to me. So, in that aspect, yes. I I do fall victim to the influencer trap, I guess.

Jamie: I wouldn’t say you’re falling victim. I mean that’s the goal. That’s what they’re supposed to do.

Joel: Well, yeah.

Rachel: They’re doing their job and they’re doing a good job.

Joel: They are influencing me.

Jamie: Yes. And you’re going to be more influenced by your peers then the brand themselves.

Joel: Okay. So we do know that they do-

Jamie: They’re instilling trust.

Joel: Right, yes. So we do know that they generate sales. Okay. What about the content? Is it usually good content? Is it just kind of eh?

Jamie: I mean they create … They’re content creators. That’s why a brand would hire them because they are going to create the content for you.

Joel: But how good a quality content has it-

Jamie: It has to be good.

Joel: I know, but what I’m saying is that how good can the quality be if it’s just an image on Instagram and a link. I mean, would you consider-

Rachel: There’s got to be more to go with it. Probably there’s going to be like now you have to do stories with it-

Jamie: Yeah, exactly. The stories-

Rachel: And a really lengthy description or in like after the picture telling what it is, how they use it, how much they love it.

Jamie: Yeah. Yeah. There has to be like a good, a good story, a good caption to go along with it. It can’t just be … I mean you could go on and on and on about it.

Rachel: Or a lot of times they’ll have like a giveaway or like a discount code or something that goes along with it.

Joel: Right.

Jamie: Because you know how we were talking about a couple of days ago about the visual storytelling. How quickly these people just scroll through that feed and something has to catch the eye. So I think these people are really good at knowing their personal brand and it has to go along with that. So it’s got to stand out. It’s got to be good. So I think all of these influencers have gotten pretty good at creating quality content.

Joel: Right, yeah. I mean I’ll agree. I think probably five years ago or, whenever influencers really kind of hit, started being a big thing. It was more simple, you know, “Hey, here’s a product.” I’ve used it or I’ve tried it or they paid me to try it, whatever, go buy it. You know? And that was simple. Now I think you have to engage more. You know, you have to create the story.

Jamie: It’s got to incite engagement, too.

Joel: Right, okay. So are influencers the new brand spokespeople? I mean, when we were growing up, we’re all the same age basically. When we were growing up, you had celebrities. I mean for me, it was like I saw Michael Jordan on everything. Everything sports and a lot of sports drinks and all that kind of stuff. You don’t … You still see that. I mean, LeBron James, he does Sprite, I think and some other things. But are you going to start seeing these influencers become the new spokespeople? And do you think that if the answer is yes, do you think it’s because they’re actually gonna be a little bit cheaper than athletes, musicians or actors or actresses?

Jamie: Yeah, yeah. I think you’re right.

Rachel: Well, I don’t think I would see influencers in a major TV ad campaign because people are going to be like … I feel like most people would be like, who is this?

Joel: Right.

Rachel: But like I do see just regular bloggers working with really big brands like Nike, Adidas and stuff like that. But I mean probably-

Jamie: But they’re doing that target marketing where they’re just reaching a very the targeted number of people. Where they’re not trying to reach a broad, broad audience.

Rachel: Right.

Jamie: Because like you said, it’s cheaper and they’re going more for engagement, not just a blanket with to see how many … Just cast a wide net and see how many people we can get.

Joel: So maybe spokespeople is the wrong word. Maybe it’s just the new-

Jamie: I think the word they use is brand ambassadors.

Joel: That’s what I was going to say. Brand ambassadors.

Rachel: But I also think it only works for our age group or like 20s, 30s, maybe teenagers. But like-

Jamie: I agree.

Rachel: People older probably don’t, aren’t really-

Jamie: Oh yeah, because they’re like, “Who’s that?”.

Rachel: Yeah.

Joel: The old curmudgeons.

Jamie: Yeah.

Rachel: I mean people might still know. I don’t know, I’m probably just generalizing here.

Joel: Yeah, why should I give a damn about what they say?

Rachel: Yeah.

Jamie: Right. Because they’re not reading the blogs. They’re not scrolling on Instagram daily. I mean-

Joel: I’m also not scrolling on Instagram daily, but you know?

Jamie: Well Joel, maybe you should.

Joel: Yeah, I just can’t get into it.

Rachel: I guess if you had-

Jamie: If I could get my husband on Instagram, you can too.

Joel: I mean-

Jamie: He was so anti Instagram and now he-

Rachel: Is he addicted?

Joel: I’m not anti Instagram. I’m just more or less like, do I want something else that’s going to take time away from my day? Because Facebook does a good job of it already. I mean, cable does a pretty good job of it.

Jamie: Okay. So he says he likes Instagram because he kind of views it as a magazine and he doesn’t get bombarded with all of the political crap and all the stuff he doesn’t really care about. He can just pick and choose what he wants to see and follow and it’s just all pictures anyway.

Joel: See but the political crap makes it fun. Because I know but it’s fun to see how the other half lives. But we won’t get any deeper into that. Do you have to have the top level influencers? We mentioned Kim Kardashian. Although she’s … I mean, now she’s more of a business mogul or personality.

Jamie: No.

Joel: Well she is. I mean, she’s turned it into many different things. I mean, now she’s going to law school.

Jamie: Good for her.

Joel: Yeah.

Jamie: Or at least she’s doing something-

Joel: Or no, no. I’m sorry. She’s not, I don’t think she’s going to law school. She’s going to take the California Bar because you don’t have to graduate law school. But either way. You know, I’m trying to think of somebody else who is an influencer that wasn’t previously famous for anything. Because obviously Kim Kardashians the go to but-

Rachel: So I watched the Bachelor and Bachelorette. And nowadays it seems like everyone that goes on there just goes on there to become Instagram famous. So it’s like they don’t even care. They go on there and then all of a sudden they have millions of followers on Instagram and they have all these sponsorships and-

Joel: Wait, they’re not there for love?

Rachel: No. Crazy, right?

Joel: Oh wow, okay.

Jamie: Another one. Kat Von D Beauty. She’s the tattoo artist.

Joel: Oh yeah, okay.

Jamie: And she was just a tattoo artist and had a reality show. And now of course, after that she created her cosmetics line and is doing very successful with that. And so she’s another good one.

Joel: Yeah, yeah. So-

Jamie: And then dated Jesse James and all these famous dudes.

Joel: That’s the West Coast Choppers guy, right?

Jamie: Yeah.

Joel: Okay. But those people would be in the upper echelon of influencers, correct? Now you mentioned earlier somebody with 5,000 followers. I wouldn’t put them in the upper echelon. They’re-

Jamie: Right? They would be the the micro-

Joel: Right.

Jamie: Influencers.

Joel: Right. But they may have the most impact because they create the most trust with their audience. So I mean do you need to use the top level? I don’t think you do.

Jamie: No. Because I was reading the micro influencers and even the nano influencers, those are ones that have even fewer followers like a thousand, and that-

Joel: Like their family?

Jamie: You know, because like I said, those are the ones that have a lot of engagement. They may not have the big, big numbers. But they have a lot of engagement and they might be right in your target audience. So that can be right in your warehouse and you could get a lot of bang for your buck. Because they’re not going to be super expensive either.

Joel: Well with that mentality, I’ll tell you what? I’ll give any brand a hell of a deal. I will text everybody in my cell phone a message for you. For the low cost of five grand-

Jamie: Yeah, there you go.

Joel: That is nano influencer marketing right there. Because I guarantee you I’ll be able to reach them and they will at least look at it.

Jamie: Yeah, there you go.

Joel: You know, hopefully they trust me enough. So, all right. Now what happens whenever these influencers do bad things. Okay. And when I say bad things, I mean everybody makes mistakes in life.

Jamie: Oh yeah. Everybody knows you say the wrong thing. I mean that could be the end of you.

Joel: You say the wrong thing, you do the wrong thing. I mean, how do brands deal that type of thing? Do you separate yourself?

Jamie: So, all of a sudden you’re associated with them.

Joel: The deed is already done.

Rachel: So, if there’s been a lot of there’s blogger controversies and stuff on ones that I read. It seems like there’s always something and then people are like, “Oh how, can that brand still work with them?”.

Jamie: Isn’t there a big feud going on between like two beauty bloggers right now?

Rachel: I don’t know, but-

Jamie: I don’t remember their names. But there’s like a huge feud going on right now. I have to remember who it is.

Rachel: I don’t know.

Jamie: But the main one represents like a big brand. And I think it’s like Chanel or something. It’s not Chanel. Oh, I should’ve looked this up. But yeah, there’s like a big feud going on and I don’t know, I’ve seen it all over-

Rachel: So than that makes … Then the brand gets dragged into this.

Jamie: Right? So of course when that happens, I think pretty much brands just drop out. We’ve seen that with like Tiger Woods and Colin Kaepernick and brands to start. All right, we’re out. That’s it.

Joel: Yeah, yeah. So, okay. But now, and I mean Tiger Woods is different than the Colin Kaepernick because Tiger Woods actually did something … I mean-

Jamie: I know. But like when they don’t want to be associated with an issue or a cause, they just drop out.

Joel: But what I’m saying is that it’s already out there. I mean, yeah, you can fire them. But I mean, if you’re an Instagram personality or model, whoever you want to … Whatever you want to call yourself. And you’re representing a brand and then you go and do something stupid. You either say something stupid or you get into a drunk driving accident or something. Something like that where it causes a lot of controversy. How does the brand handle what’s already happened? I mean, do you … I mean, it’s hard.

Jamie: Well, yeah.

Joel: Because there’s always going to be that stigma. Your name’s always going to be attached to them, but I mean, I guess you just have to-

Rachel: Hope people forget?

Jamie: You put out a press release.

Rachel: Yeah.

Joel: I mean, I guess the best thing-

Rachel: We do not agree with the behaviors of this person.

Jamie: The swimmer.

Rachel: Oh Michael Phelps? Oh no.

Jamie: No, the other one.

Joel: Ryan Lochte. Yeah, yeah him.

Jamie: Yeah, because a lot of brands started trying to disassociate with him.

Joel: What did he do?

Jamie: He said that he got attacked down in Rio and it turned out to be not true or something.

Joel: That’s right. Yeah, yeah. He was being bullied by the security or something. Yeah.

Jamie: The brain started to do that same thing.

Joel: Yeah, you’re right. Okay, all right. So that’s what you do.

Jamie: Yeah.

Joel: You just disassociate yourself and get rid of them. All right.

Jamie: That’s all you can do.

Joel: Anything else?

Rachel: It’s usually a good idea to use a social media influencer to … Well not even-

Joel: To influence?

Rachel: Yes.

Jamie: Well, yeah, I mean there’s a lot of benefits. I mean, they can grow your SCO. I mean, they’re going to grow your social following. I mean, there’s a lot of benefits to using them.

Joel: All right. And did we say that they are becoming the new spokespeople or are we just going to call them brand ambassadors right now?

Jamie: I would call them more of a brand ambassador.

Joel: Okay, all right. Yeah, because I mean I don’t think … When I think of a spokesperson, I think somebody who you can use in multiple channels and they’re almost world widely recognized.

Rachel: Yeah. More of a big time celebrity.

Joel: Yeah, yeah. Like a LeBron James or a … I don’t know. I mean even Colin Kaepernick is well recognized.

Jamie: Yeah. And they do not need to be big like that. You don’t have to think celebrity when you think influencer because there are a lot of them out there.

Joel: Yeah. And you know, there’s actually some networks which we can talk about in another discussion that help pool. It’s like a … I don’t know. You know, the influencers are almost like freelancers. And these websites kind of pool them all together and you can choose based on whatever niche you’re looking for.

Jamie: Right. To help you find them. Because otherwise you’re just searching hashtags for your industry and then you’re just going to get tons and tons of stuff and you’re going to have to sift through them. So that’s a way to do it on your own. But like you said, “There are tools to help you find influencers.”

Joel: Right, all right. All right, cool. All right, well thank you both for jumping in on this discussion.

Jamie: Thanks.

Rachel: All right, thanks.

Joel: And when we come back, we’ll have, can’t let it go, for this week-