Mazal tov to me! I just connected with a Fiver freelancer who promised to get me 100,000 Instagram followers in ten days. Sweet deal! I’m officially a brand influencer now. I’ll now have a huge Instagram follower base (mostly from Ukraine, I think?) and can hawk brands to my loyal followers, reaping millions in profits from brands looking for social eyeballs! What a windfall! Or is it?
Yeah, that’s not really happening (if only it was that easy!). See, we’re a team of Jewish marketing experts and we know all the marketing, branding and social media tricks of the trade. Buying a follower base does not make me a Jewish, Kosher or Israel brand influencer in the least. In fact, I’m probably even less influential now because there’s a major crackdown on “fake followers”across Facebook, Twitter and other social mediums. So then what does that mean for every other brand influencer out there with thousands of followers? Who’s real, who’s fake, who’s influencing and who’s not?
It goes deeper than just my $5 purchase on Fiverr. Remember the “Can You Hear Me Now?” guy, Paul Marcarelli, from Verizon? He recently switched to Sprint, bringing his unique brand image to a fast growing competitor. Perhaps you recall the wildly popular Dos Equis spokesperson, Jonathan Goldsmith, who, as the new voice for Astral Tequila, clearly “doesn’t always drink beer.” Jonathan switched brands, bringing his unique influence to an entirely new spirits drinker.
So in the 2018 digital marketing and social media age, where any individual with a few thousand followers (paid or unpaid) can be deemed an “influencer” and in an industry where brand spokespeople’s loyalty fades fast, how do you strategically and methodically build your brand using brand influencers? Here’s three methods we use to help Jewish, Kosher and Israel-based brands think strategically about Jewish brand influencers.
Brand Influencer Requires a Strong Brand
My mother always used to tell m “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” Sage advice and certainly relevant here; if you are a brand that doesn’t have anything worth influencing, then don’t engage in influencer marketing. (Thanks for the advice, Mom…here’s a shout out to you!)
To leverage influencer marketing successfully, you should have a strong brand strategy, clear mission & vision and distinct voice in the marketplace. If your brand is lacking in any of those areas, you risk having an influencer act as a misguided ambassador, highlighting negative, non-influencing areas to their entire follower base. In fact, the optimal influencer would be someone who truly believes in your brand, not just a hired gun who needs to pay the bills. Focus on creating a strong brand strategy before you attempt to hire someone to influence for it.
In fact, a key focus of 2018 influencer marketing strategies will be on authenticity. Consumers are not fools; they can easily detect influencers that seem forced and cheesy (as shown, most memorably, in this Scott Disick Instagram oops), turning them off from the influencer AND the brand. And authenticity in your marketing starts with authenticity in your branding.
And a strong brand maintains loyalty. So even if your spokesperson pulls a Paul and leaves the company or a brand influencer ditches you because your competitor pays more, you’ll still be on your feet because your brand is a rockstar. Take a step back and ensure your brand is as rock-solid as it can be before engaging in influencer marketing.
Separate the Social Butterflies from the Influencers.
We knew a brand influencer in the Kosher market that was dynamic, vivacious and loud, the type of influencer that attracts notice. We looked the other way for our clients, though. Combining our brand knowledge with research on the influencer’s methodologies, tactics and base, we saw that this influencer was simply not a good representation nor prudent investment for our client. We summarized to the client as follows: those influencers were simply “digital ad salesmen” with little experience in their field, hawking a non-loyal list of followers, instead of the niche-market influencers with a uniquely engaged segmentation of on-target customers. Pretty thorough, right? We think so.
Seems simple, though, right? Just see the engagement they get on their video’s, right? How many likes, how many followers, how many eyeballs, right? Nope, not that simple. Ask yourself this: what’s more valuable – 10,000 people from your area or 1,000 people with a genuine interest and need for your product? Seems like the 1,000 people are more valuable. You can have a million views of your video; how do you know if it’s your audience or simply just a bunch of bots from India? You can have 4,000 click throughs to your website; how do you know if they’re your core customer? And after you actually go through that checklist, do you have a strategy in place to turn those likes/follows/visitors into customers?
In many cases, hiring a brand influencer is a lot like placing print ads in newspapers; they may claim to have a high loyal readership but you’ll never truly know if you’re reaching valuable people. Any individual can deem themselves an “influencer” when, in reality, they simply have a bunch of friends. Knowing the difference between an influencer and a social butterfly is what will turn your influencer marketing into a marketing investment.
Establish clear KPI’s from the start.
Brand influencers, for the most part, are not marketers. Driving revenue for your company using modern influencer-marketing strategies means less to them than growing their base of follower to influence. Think about: they have a follower base that they want to maintain and not alienate, so they’re focused on engaging, maintaining and growing their base. If their goal is to grow their base and your goal is to grow your business, well, you can already see how the two goals don’t align.
Large companies hire niche ad agencies to oversee the brand influencers they engage with for two main reasons – to oversee the brand-influencer messaging and ensure clear, unbiased metrics of success. As a business owner, it’s very easy to get caught up in a world of social media popularity and easily blow through your marketing budget on video’s, photo’s and other influencer-marketing strategies that yield low ROI. An ad agency and marketing strategist will ensure your brand stays focused on the end goal: results for your business, not just growth for your influencer.
In fact, 67% of marketers actually don’t use influencers for their voice, look and messaging; they actually use them for their segmented audience. Through segmentation, you can spend less yet gain higher ROI… but only if you’re tracking your investment correctly. Take the time to establish clear KPI’s (key performance indicators) for what you expect from influencer-marketing (be it views, engagement, conversions, or other) and determine if it’s worth the investment or not. Establishing a clear marketing strategy and attribution method for achieving those KPI’s will make all the difference.
Long story short: Being in the Jewish market, you’ve probably already narrowed down the micro-segments you want to target. So before you go out and throw your Jewish marketing budget into a brand influencer, make sure you have a brand worth influencing, an influencer who truly believes in and complements your brand and clear KPI’s to measure influencer performance. Not as easy as you thought? We’re here to help.
Published & Shared with permission. Original Post: http://www.henryisaacs.net/blog/jewish-brand-influencer/