“[Influence marketing] is no longer about ‘Hi, I’m a creator, I like this brand, go buy it.’ That doesn’t work anymore. It has to be much more involved, creative, strategic, and authentic for it to actually work.” – Jason Falls
It’s understandable why some brand marketing teams shy away from influencer marketing, especially if they equate “influencer” with “millions of followers.” But there are plenty of amazing content creators with engaged followings that you can partner with to extend your reach and drive meaningful results—without needing to pay thousands of dollars.
In this #ContentChat recap, Erika joins Jason Falls, influence marketing thought leader and host of Winfluence—The Influence Marketing Podcast, to discuss why influence(r) marketing is still a smart content marketing strategy and how to make the most from your investment.
Watch the full conversation on YouTube or read through the highlights below:
Q1: What is influencer marketing, and how does it fit into a content marketing strategy?
Influencer marketing is about collaborating with content creators who have engaged audiences that trust the creator and their recommendations or opinions. Yes, some influencers buy followers or engagement, but Jason says that’s maybe only 5-15% of creators out there.
“It’s really important for brands to focus on influence marketing because that is the pathway to the trusted third-party recommendation. When you are a brand, you can take out all the ads you want. You can put out all your own content you want. And a certain amount of that will be successful. But it’s when the media, or it’s when an influential person on some social network, or a friend or a family [member] of the target consumer you’re trying to reach actually talks about you to them in a very genuine and authentic way, that’s when you have a much higher chance of converting a new customer.” – Jason Falls
“Every time you heard a story about an influencer, it was a negative story. It was that someone bought followers or Photoshopped clouds into their Instagram pictures, or whatever. I have been working with online influencers, bloggers, Instagrammers, etc., for many years, and I happen to know that there is a superficial line of influential people out there—or social media stars—that aren’t real cost effective for you because they may buy their followers, buy engagement, or even mislead people when representing how big and how influential they are. That superficial layer of lack of substance [and] lack of true influence does exist. But it’s maybe 5-15% of everything that is there. All of the other people in the influencer content creator space are people who have outstanding content. They’re very engaged with their audience and their audience is very engaged with them. And when they recommend products and services, their audience goes and tries it.” – Jason Falls
Jason advocates for ‘influence marketing.’ Here’s why:
“What I started to think about was: Here’s the problem. We’re talking about the influencers too much. What we need to focus on is what we’re trying to do, which is influence our audience to take action. If you take that ‘r’ off, it’s a subtle change. But if you say ‘I’m focused on influence marketing and not influencer marketing,’ your mindset shifts. It’s all about persuading the audience to take action. Someone who has half a million followers or subscribers on YouTube is a potentially viable path to that audience, but so is the president of the local PTA if you are the local franchisee of the Parent-Teacher Store.” – Jason Falls