24 min read

Getting Started With Influencer Marketing

Getting Started With Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing, as a category, has grown exponentially over the past few years and is projected to exceed $10 Billion in 2020. However, while influencers and their role in a brand's marketing, whether it's B2C or B2B, has become a more frequent discussion, there remains a great deal of uncertainty among marketers regarding how to get started and how to get the most out of it.

In this episode of the Mighty Roar Marketing Podcast, we discuss how influencer marketing has evolved over the past decade, how to get started with influencer marketing, and some influencer marketing best practices for brands to consider before, during, and after your influencer campaign.

Our expert guest on this episode is Susana Yee of Digital Everything Consulting. Susana was an early pioneer in the field of Influencer Marketing and has worked with startups, SAAS companies, health and wellness brands, celebrities, fashion, and home electronics brands. Some of the clients she's worked with include Guess Jeans, Clutter Storage, ECO-VACS Robotics, Tru Niagen, My Fox Home Alarm, Brighter.com, O.N.E. Coconut Water, and more.

Her "Color Me Inspired" campaign for GUESS Jeans – one of their first influencer/social driven campaigns – went viral and was named as one of "5 Interesting Pinterest Marketing Campaigns" by Mashable.

Contact Susana at Susana@LearnInfluencerMarketing.com, and her online course, The Influencer Marketing Roadmap, can be found at https://influencermarketing.thinkific.com/courses/the-influencer-marketing-roadmap.

Please subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts.

If you'd like to be a guest on a future show, contact us at podcast@mightyroar.com


The Full Transcript


Kevin Smith: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Mighty Roar Marketing podcast. I'm Kevin Smith. The topic for this episode is influencer marketing, a category of marketing that's expected to exceed $10 billion by 2020. For context in terms of growth, the projection for 2019 is 6.5 billion. And even if you've never used an influencer in your marketing, I guarantee you follow some on social media. If they're good at what they do, you may not even realize it.

Kevin Smith: Our guest expert on this episode is Susana Yee from Digital Everything Consulting. Susana is a pioneer in the field of social media and influencer marketing, having worked with startups, SaaS companies, health and wellness brands, celebrities, fashion brands, and home electronics. Some of the brands she's worked with include GUESS Jeans, Clutter Storage, Tru Niagen, Myfox Home Alarm, and ONE Coconut Water. In fact, her Color Me Inspired campaign for GUESS Jeans, one of their first influencer social-driven campaigns, went viral and was named one of the five most interesting Pinterest marketing campaigns by Mashable.

Kevin Smith: I was excited to speak to Susana because while influencer marketing has been around for a while now, it's still a gray area in a lot of brand and client conversations. I was glad Susana could share her expertise with us and help demystify this area of marketing. We're going to jump into the conversation now, but before we do, we just want to quickly remind you to subscribe to the podcast. And if you like what you hear, we'd love for you to give us a five-star rating and let us know what you think. And now, here's my conversation with Susana Yee.

Kevin Smith: All right, Susana. Well, I'm excited for the conversation. But before we get started, let's have you tell us a little bit about your background, how you got started in influencer marketing, and then what you offer at your company, Digital Everything Consulting.

Susana Yee: Sure. Thanks for having me. And I started out in influencer marketing way early in, I guess, 2010 when it wasn't even really called influencer marketing. It was really just PR and, can you bring some bloggers to an event for us? We're doing an event ... Let's back up a little bit. Actually, it was around 2008 I would say I was blogging and I did a lot of blogging for different brands and different types of companies, and then I started really getting into the niche of luxury items and fashion items. And then a lot of different companies found me.

Susana Yee: One of them was Kate Spade, and their PR person emailed me and said, "We're going to be in Los Angeles and we're putting together a dinner, and we want to invite some tastemakers and influential people like bloggers who are writing about fashion and accessories. Do you know any of them?" And I said, "Sure, I can put together that event for you and cover it for you and ask them to cover it as well." Then I invited people that I knew that we were working with, and that's how it started. That was one of the first things I did.

Susana Yee: And then, on top of that, on my regular job, I was working in digital, working in business development and then in digital marketing doing social media marketing when it first started just on Facebook, and then on Twitter, and then later on incorporating these tactics. And then I ended up in a partnership with a group of people that were doing graphic design and web development for fashion companies such as True Religion and [inaudible] and GUESS, and then we did the GUESS campaign for Color Denim. And that campaign actually went viral and it was one of the first campaigns with influencers where we did five different types of colored denim and featured them and had the influencers pin their boards and create a color denim board on Pinterest, and then ask their fans to do the same.

Susana Yee: And on top of that, the idea was to bring a lot of interest to their website and to their stores by asking their fans to do the same by creating their own pinboards, either by going into the store and finding out what they like, and then going onto Pinterest and pinning those same items onto a pinboard and creating a colored denim theme for themselves. And then, each of our influencers picked a winner and they won a $500 gift card to shop online with GUESS or in the store with GUESS. And so, that campaign was actually written up by Mashable and picked up by Yahoo, and it was written up as one of the best five Pinterest campaigns for that year.

Kevin Smith: Yeah. I remember that campaign. And I think one of the things that's most impressive is not only the success of the campaign but the success using Pinterest. We think Pinterest is a great channel obviously, but it is probably still one of the more mysterious or difficult channels for brands to really get ahold of and understand the users because you can argue that Instagram works like Facebook in a sense. You can argue Twitter works similarly. There are nuances, but Pinterest is really different in terms of how people use it and how it's transitioned. Because I remember back 2012, it was pretty much dominated by ... It was a lot of females. It was that aspirational wishlist. But actually, getting different influencers and different boards working together was a pretty novel idea.

Susana Yee: Yeah. It was actually a really fun idea, and we put it together thinking, what's new? And, what's fresh? And, what does GUESS need right now to really make a splash? And so, we actually chose Pinterest as the platform because it was so new, but because it was so interesting and it was so highly visual, and that's how we decided on using that platform and also just the ability to use all those different visuals to tell a story. That's how we decided on it, but it really drove a lot of interest because it's so easy to use and it's so shareable.

Kevin Smith: Right. For such a large brand like GUESS, because this was ... Not too early, but it was pretty new. It was definitely new enough for it to be written up in Mashable and to make some noise that way. Did they have any hesitancy? Did you need to convince them, "No, don't worry. It's okay. Let the audience pick." What was that conversation like?

Susana Yee: The conversation was us sitting in a room with, I think, 10 people from all different departments, and we just said, "This is one of the newest platforms and it's super interesting. Let us run with that and let us give you a mock-up of what we're thinking and put it together, and then you let us know what you think." It was us working in InDesign and putting together something interesting for them to look at. The new version of, I guess, a chalkboard pin-up. Whatever you want to call it. But we had to show it to them as a storyboard mock-up, and then they got the idea and then we ran with it.

Kevin Smith: Had to set expectations as to, "This is what it's going to end up looking like," or, "This is what we're going to guide it towards."

Susana Yee: Yeah. And I think, for them it was a ... The interesting thing is, I don't think they thought that it was going to ... To them it's like, "Pinterest? What's that? Is that new? Okay. Well, let's try it." But I think it wasn't that dangerous then because they didn't think it was going to be that big, but luckily it was ... It got big, but it was a really good campaign. It was win-win.

Kevin Smith: Yeah. And especially, I would imagine ... Working with someone in the fashion space, that is where there's a whole other level of, I guess ... I wouldn't call it neuroses necessarily, but there's a whole other level of, "Oh, my God. How's this gonna look? How's it going to be perceived from a style standpoint? Are we going to be embarrassed by how this comes across?" And it sounds like you navigated that really well.

Susana Yee: Yeah. That's the funny thing about this business, I guess. I was watching an old episode of Mad Men the other day and I was thinking to myself, "Not much has changed." It's really the psychology of it and it's a romance. It's a science and an art, what we do. You're navigating both sides. The brand side expectations, and you're dealing with the consumer on the outside. And when something is so outside brand focused like a fashion brand, you definitely have to make sure you get all your I's dotted and T's crossed.

Kevin Smith: Right, right. No, I definitely agree. It's funny watching things like that or reading old case studies or old campaigns. It's going to evolve, but that's one thing ... Now, this is going to be in the time capsule to prove us wrong, but I don't think it's ever really going to go away. How you do it may change, but the influencers today are the newsman and billboards of yesterday, where 7 out of 10 doctors agree you should smoke Camel Cigarettes. Okay. Well, now there's a dual influencer. I think the aesthetic changes, the message changes, but the tactics somehow just evolve a little bit.

Kevin Smith: I mentioned I'm excited to talk to you about this. It comes up a lot in conversations with our existing clients in new business conversations. And it's not really surprising considering ... I think Ad Week or Ad Age ... One of the ads has influencer marketing. They projected that to be a $10 billion industry or more by 2020, and it's really shifted from being a one-off tactic like we talked about with the blogs to really ongoing activity and relationship. I do remember 2007-2008 when our campaign focus for a certain tactic was, "It would be great if we can just get such and such blogger to write an article about it," and then when that happened we all high-fived each other and moved on to the next thing because that blog was out there and mission accomplished. But now, it's really changed. Tell me a little bit about the evolution that you've seen, and what are some of those shifts that you've noticed over the years, and where do you see it going?

Susana Yee: I think the main change I'm seeing is that it has to be a more holistic, cohesive approach. It can't be a one-off. I think people thought, "If I hired Kim Kardashian and she did a tweet for me way back when, or we paid her to do an Instagram post recently, that's it. It's gonna blow up." That's not how it works, and especially now it doesn't work that way anymore. This new generation, Gen Z, is really interested in authenticity and they trust and engage with a very small group of Nano Influencers.

Susana Yee: I think a rise of the Nano Influencer coming along, which is a good thing. These people have under 5,000 followers and they are really followed by people that trust them because they're super passionate about what they do and they're so niche that they could literally be talking about fountain pens. And so, these are a group of people that understand every single thing about fountain pens or care very much about fountain pens. Whatever it is. And so, when you approach this group, you can really incorporate them into a cohesive campaign where if you're running something on media ads, Google ads, retargeting, what have you, Facebook ads, and then you also work with a bunch of Micro-Influencers and Nano Influencers, you're getting a bunch of different results. You're getting engagement from the Micro-Influencers and you're getting awareness.

Susana Yee: But then, through the Nano Influencers, you're really getting to get your call to actions to work. These people drive sales. They drive signups. They drive whatever action you're looking for. They have a very passionate crowd that followed them for reason as opposed to somebody who's following Kim Kardashian. Everybody and their mother is following Kim Kardashian. It doesn't mean that her 20 million followers or whatever it is, is actually always checking in to see what she's doing. They're just following her to follow her. But if they're following a Nano Influencer, they're following them because this person has a point of view that they agree with because otherwise, why would you follow someone who has under 5,000 followers?

Susana Yee: There are nuanced differences for all these different types and numbers of Micro-Influencers, Nano-Influencers, Macro-Influencers. And that's the shift I'm seeing today, and I think it's a good thing. Also, what I'm seeing is there are influencers in every space. There's holistic doctor influencers. There's Paleo influencers. There's athlete influencers. There's even chiropractor influencers for sports teams. It gets really nitty-gritty like that, and it's great because then ... Because there's so much noise out there, I don't want to follow somebody who's talking about everything. You can't be an expert in everything. And when you follow an influencer, you expect them to know what they're talking about. If they're an expert, they should be an expert in their specific field.

Kevin Smith: Well, that actually brings up a really good point because you mentioned the Nano Influencers and added a little bit of a definition around there. I mean, some of the other categories ... And like you mentioned, there's probably more than these categories. But in general, the Mega Influencers where you've got your Kim Kardashians. The Macro, Micro, and Nano, and going ... Not necessarily lesser. Definitely lesser in audience probably because of their focus, but really lower in focus.

Kevin Smith: And I think, when you talk to the authenticity, that actually comes into play because if you're a Micro-Influencer or a Nano influencer and you're talking about fountain pens, you're probably always going to be talking about fountain pens or at least in that same ballpark. Whereas, Kim Kardashian may be talking about a hotel and then she and 70,000 other influencers at her level or near are going to be hawking the same weight loss tea around the same time. And so, when you see those mass-produced campaigns, like the weight loss tea, that was something that was happening for a while, or teeth whitening. Does that start to either ... From the audience's view, do you look at that and say, "Well, they're just selling stuff. I don't think she actually uses that." Or, do they forgive it and say, "She's vouched for it. I know she's getting paid. I know it says #ad, but I love her and I'm going to ... I appreciate her bringing this product to my attention." When does it start to get meaningless?

Susana Yee: I think there's a fine line. You have to be careful who you work with. Two sides. If you're an influencer, warning. Don't accept every campaign because you need the money. Really accept the campaign because you like the item and or piece and you actually will use it. I've seen a lot of influencers who are very specific about what they'll do because if I approached them for brands ... I've done a lot of different campaigns and some campaigns are for very specific items, like nutraceutical or something, and I might approach a fashion influencer because I just like her style and think that it could be incorporated into her lifestyle. She's one that's very well known that I really like. She said, "No, you know what? That's just not part of my thing." She's like, "I only do fashion and I only do high fashion. And if I was to do anything, I would do a skincare line, but I would never do a nutraceutical. That's not for me."

Susana Yee: She actually said that and I respect that because that means that she's turned down money and she's turned down opportunities because it needs to fit her ethos, and I think influencers have to be careful about that kind of stuff. And a lot of people who are really just trying to get started and are not making traction, they might accept more than they should, and they should be careful about that because everybody can see through that.

Susana Yee: And then on the other side of it, the audience. When they see that every other week you have a different skincare line that's your favorite and it's the moisturizer, that's no good. But if one week you have a CC cream that you like from one brand, but then the next week you like a body cream from another brand, that's okay. Obviously everybody has brands that they mix up. People just have to be careful. People do see that.

Kevin Smith: Right. Well, and I think one of the things too that's really interesting is that, they may have started their influencer persona or lifestyle because they were really focused on one thing or they had tips or advice to share. But then it's evolved where they almost ... Not almost. They are a brand in themselves. And just like the corporate brands that we would work with, they have to have a style guide. They to have a content calendar. They really have to be focused and everything that they're doing has to result in something, and I think you're absolutely right. You can start to sniff out who's just doing it for either free stuff or for some cash, versus who's trying to build a business around it?

Susana Yee: Yeah. And definitely it's all they got, it's their brand and they need to protect it. Just like running any other business, if you don't take on clients that aren't going to work for you or take up all your time or make you miserable or ... I mean, you have to protect your brand. And I think that's one thing that a lot of them are slowly learning.

Kevin Smith: Yeah. Well, one of the things, as I mentioned it comes up in conversations a lot in terms of influencer marketing, but after someone has said, "We're interested in influencer marketing," or, "I really want to earmark some budget for influencer marketing," there's not a lot there underneath the surface. And it's of no fault of theirs. Either it's new to them or they just don't know what to anticipate. I guess, first, why does influencer marketing ... Why is it a great fit for brands? And then, two, what are some of the expectations around starting relationships or getting a foot into influencer marketing?

Susana Yee: Okay. Number one, why did it a great fit for brands? It's a great fit for brands because these people are like a one-stop-shop. When you make an ad you have to hire a copywriter, you have to hire a photographer, you have to hire a videographer, you have to hire a blogger. Think about all the things you have to do, and on top of that, you have to pay for the ads. You have to pay Facebook. You have to pay Google. Think about how much it would cost for you to create that as opposed to just hiring an influencer who already has a ready made audience, who already has a point of view that fits your niche, and on top of that, will shoot it, will write it, will edit it, and put it all together and just hand it to you. And then, also will put it on their platform and drive traffic to it. I mean, that's like a one-stop-shop. That's why I think influencers are so great for a brand as long as they pick the right influencer that fits their niche.

Susana Yee: And then, how do they get started? I think they have to look at their budget and decide where to get started, and one of the things that I've noticed with brands is they actually don't know what they don't know. If that makes any sense. They don't really know how much it's gonna cost. They think it's gonna cost not that much or they think-

Kevin Smith: Or that it's send a free product.

Susana Yee: Yeah. Or send a free product where you get them to do stuff. And that's the other thing that brands don't know is that it takes a lot of time for these people to produce this content for you, to look good and be cohesive to their brand and also make sense for you. And if you're going to go back and forth with them to edit stuff, and then ask them to do 5 million things like share it on all their social things and write a 2000 word blog post or 1000 word blog post, and then also drive it to your site. And then you expect them to do all that for a free product? That's not gonna happen. That's one thing I think that brands don't understand. "We already sent them a $50 product. They should be doing X, Y, and Z for me." Well, no, they don't have to do anything. Do you know what I mean?

Kevin Smith: Well, I would say it's also probably what you're trying to get out of it, because a lot of times brands, because of how they normally think with vendors or publications, it's you're reaching out or you're leveraging an influencer because you want to get in front of their audience. You need them and their style, their aesthetic, their method of speaking to that audience more than they need you in that instance. It is one of those things that I think for brands it's tough for them to release control of ... Well, we don't take our photos that way or we don't call it that in , our stuff or make sure you add a trademark when you do that. That's not conversational. That's not how people talk. And so, I think it does take a little bit of guidance in terms of understanding that you're not paying for a placement and get to nitpick every signal area. Now, you can definitely keep people away from things that are bad for the brand, but you do have to let it roll a little bit and trust in the fact that this person knows how to talk about that product.

Susana Yee: And it's time-consuming. It's time-consuming for everyone. It's time-consuming for the blogger, influencer. It's time-consuming for the agency that's managing the project. And for the brand then to come in and ... The best thing to do is to set the guidelines upfront, give the budget, decide what the parameters are, and then everybody's ready to go and you get one back and forth. I've had brands where we go back and forth six or seven times with an influencer, and then after a while the influencer's like, "You know what? Don't worry about it. I'm not going to do it anymore." You know what I mean? It's crazy. It's a waste of their time. They've lost money on it. I mean, the agency's losing money on it and then the brand is paying somebody to go back and forth on little tiny details. I think if you set your parameters upfront, that's the best thing to do. And again, with the budget. It's really good to understand that it does cost money. It's not just sending free product, and at the very least it'll cost a couple of hundred dollars or $100 for a post or $50 for a post-

Kevin Smith: Depending on the size of that audience. You mentioned time-consuming and totally agree with that. I think one of the other things that may not be either known or discussed a lot about is that it isn't ... We mentioned earlier how it might be in 2007, "Let's try and get this written up in a blog post. Great. We did our job. Let's move on to the next thing." This is really not a set it and forget it type thing. What do you see or what do you consult people on in terms of, what is the role of the brand or the brand marketers before, during, and after an influencer campaign is underway?

Susana Yee: They need to know what their ROI markers are, what their KPIs are, and decide that upfront. What are their goals for this whole campaign? If you have a goal, make sure you tell the agency, or the influencer if you're not working with an agency upfront, what your goal is. If your goal is to drive sales, tell them that and make sure day one that everything they're doing is driving towards either a coupon or a website URL. Track everything and make sure that everybody understands the goal. If it's a brand awareness campaign, then it's a different story. But if it's not a brand awareness campaign, you're going to be mad afterward. Let's tell them upfront. Now I'm mad I didn't get any sales. Well, you didn't tell me it was that.

Kevin Smith: Right. Yeah. It's hard to go back in time and ask people to do something different once that post is already live, or you've already made that video.

Susana Yee: Yeah. And I think tracking is very important so everybody's on the same page. And then, once they know you're tracking, they'll do everything they can. But it's time-consuming and it's not ... You're right. It's not set it and forget it. They post something, they're going to share it. They'll probably share it again. They'll probably remind their audience, and especially if they're getting paid. They want to make sure it works too. They'll add it into a newsletter. Depending on what you've negotiated with them, but every possible angle they have to talk to their audience and to sell it to them, they will make sure that they get it right because they don't want to look bad either. But you have to tell them what your expectations are because that's the whole thing. What's the goal of this campaign?

Kevin Smith: And what are some of the watch-outs that brands or marketers should look at? In terms of exclusivity or ... How long should a campaign be? What type of assets, if any, should you expect or request out of it? What are some of those things that people may not realize as they go into their first influencer marketing campaign that you would make sure they remember XYZ?

Susana Yee: I think the campaign usage of the images is really important. Sometimes new brands don't understand that the usage of the content might only be exclusive to that campaign. They can't then go ahead and use it forever and ever and ever in perpetuity because that person, they paid them $2,000 to do a campaign with them and then suddenly they're using it in Google ads and Facebook ads and on the side of a bus for the next 10 years. I mean, not that that's going to happen, but make sure you understand what the rules are.

Susana Yee: If you have a startup blogger, a blogger who's just starting out who's not really super established, they might say ... They might not even know or they might not say anything. But you should on your side negotiate upfront and say, "Look, we're going to use your image in ads and in videos and in-video ads and all of this stuff. We're going to put ads behind it, so just FYI." And sometimes there's a usage fee involved if they've been around for a while. But if they haven't been around for a while, they might say, "Well, fine, because I might want my face on a bus because then it'll get me a bigger campaign later on." But the understanding needs to be clear and written out, and you definitely need an agreement and ... You pay for the work when the work is done, and you have an agreement in place and everybody understands when they're going to get paid.

Susana Yee: That's one thing that I think needs to be ... I've seen this too many times where people are like, "Well, it was $500 so I just gave them $500 and then they didn't do it the way I wanted to, and then they didn't reply to any of my emails." Okay, well that's because you didn't put it in writing and you paid them all upfront and then you can't find them anymore. Just simple things that you would normally do with the normal business transaction. This is a business transaction.

Kevin Smith: When it comes to things like exclusivity or, again, going back to the idea of the fountain pen, or if we were to say a fashion blogger, and I come out and say, "GUESS Jeans, these are so comfortable. These new styles are the best." And then, next week there's Lucky Jeans or Diesel Jeans. How concerning is that or should that be to a brand? Is that just they like them both and this is fine for their audience? What are your thoughts around that?

Susana Yee: I mean, usually with fashion brands, they're different enough that it's not a big deal. But there are some clauses in there for certain companies. If it's a skincare line or a nutraceutical line and they're selling something similar, they might sell an energy supplement or a supplement for ... Or a skincare cream that's for anti-aging, or it takes away wrinkles or something like that or covers up wrinkles really well or has a similar ingredient or does the same thing, they might put a clause in there or they should put a clause in there that says that they can't do another campaign like this for six months or a year.

Susana Yee: But it also depends on what you paid them. If you only paid them $100, you probably can't put that clause in there. But if it's a big enough campaign where you paid them like $1000 or $1500, it's perfectly reasonable to put in a clause in there that says, "You can't do this exact same ingredient in the next 6 months or 8 months."

Kevin Smith: Right. And then, I guess, when you're also looking at influencers and realizing just like every industry, someone is going to either call themselves an influencer because that's how ... They think it's their way of getting started or because they just like how that sounds and they like taking pictures of them with products. There's also been articles of ... I think it was in the Atlantic, I probably have that wrong, but there was articles about the rise of people having fake sponsorships to make it seem like they're sponsoring a product, but not really sponsoring a product to give themselves some additional credibility. How do you go about looking at influencers and deciding who the good ones are, who the bad ones are, or just the ones to stay away from? What are some of the metrics or telltale signs that show that this person's legit?

Susana Yee: There's actually some platforms out there now that can tell you if the person is being followed by bots or if the person is fake or if the sponsorship is fake. For brands that are new that aren't familiar with this, a good way to look at it is by picking up something like ... I don't know. Use a platform like Hype Auditor or some other platform like that and plug them in, and you'll get to see really what the trend is. A lot of the markers are if they always have the same amount of likes on every single post, that's weird. Usually there should be variances between 30 and 40% on any given day depending on what the type of post they have. Also, if they have a lot of followers but their engagement is very, very low, no comments or no likes, that's a big telltale marker.

Susana Yee: And you should look at all their previous other sponsorships. I mean, it's weird. If you're going to say ... Let's just say Lucky brand jeans or J Crew sponsored you, and you're ... I mean, people can tell. You know what I mean? I think J Crew's only working with certain types of influencers. We know who they are. You can do a little search on Instagram or online and see who they're picking up and who's in the paid ads with them, and you can see ... And also, you know in that top part where it says, "Paid sponsored by?" That part right there? You can't actually fake that because if you put that in, the brand has to accept it or they'll reject it. That area where it says, "Paid sponsored by Lamera," "Paid sponsored by Lucky brand," or, "Paid sponsored by GUESS" ... That little part up there where usually the location goes. That part of it, if it's not there and then they just put #ad sponsored by J Crew or whatever, then that's the easiest tell, I think.

Kevin Smith: Yeah. I think once the FTC got involved not too long ago, it started to get a little bit more transparent in that. One of the things as an agency for both you and I, when people come to us or issue in RFP or what have you, often they'll say, "Give us three references." Is that something that is unheard of within influencer marketing? Or can you actually ask the influencer, "Hey, I want contact information of some of the other brands you've done this with. I'd love to just see what their experience was."

Susana Yee: That's not uncommon. And if you're paying enough money, you should. I'm not going to say, "Please go ask for a reference from a $100 post for a Nano Influencer." That's a waste of your time and my time. You just take the chance by looking at their posts and seeing what they've done. But if it's a $10,000 campaign, a $5,000 campaign, $5,000 one-off with them or a $10,000 3-month campaign, whatever you want to call it. Yes, it's absolutely reasonable and they probably have it ready to go.

Kevin Smith: What brands out there that you're seeing are ones that you think are currently leveraging influencers well? Whether it's on the Mega Influencer level or the Micro-Influencer level, and why or how do you think that they're doing that?

Susana Yee: Let me think about this. I would say brands like J Crew really know what they're doing. They're just pros. They're really great. I mean, they're good at everything they do and the look and feel of their brand is great. And then, just whoever they're leveraging has a really nice feel. Who else? Either this company called Bio Beauty. It was started by a woman Jamie O'Bannon, I think. She's fabulous. What she's done with this whole ... I mean, I think she's an influencer in and of herself, but just her leveraging the influencers and then leveraging user-generated content as well and just a high-low mix of Micro and Nano and Macro ... Just the usage of that and then also the experiential combined all together has given such a cohesive nice field to her brand.

Kevin Smith: Great.

Susana Yee: I really like that. I really like what they've done there. Who else do I like? I don't know. I'm just trying to think. I would say those are the two that come off the top of my head, just thinking about what I've been looking at recently. They've done a good job. Of course, this just all takes time and budget.

Kevin Smith: Yeah. And a lot of the influencer campaigns, the good ones are ones that somehow or in some way, shape, or form fly a little bit under the radar. They should seem, I would imagine, pretty natural where they get stuck in your head but you don't see it scream, "Ad!" necessarily.

Susana Yee: It's just constant. I just feel like it's constant. People are constantly talking about them or constantly using their product and talking about them, or constantly they're getting mentioned. And the thing that brands have to remember is just, it's time, it's work. It's a cohesive campaign. You're firing on all engines, I guess is what I'm saying. We can't just say, "Well, I'm gonna do an influencer campaign and then it's going to be the end all, be all." It's like, what are you doing on media buys? What are you doing on retargeting? And what are you doing on social media content organic? And are you doing anything in PR? And are you doing anything on your side on blog posts?

Kevin Smith: Right. Is it truly part of the overall marketing campaign or marketing mix that you've had? Or is it just a one-off thing where you're doing influencer just to check the box?

Susana Yee: Yeah. And you can't just do that. I mean, and you can't expect them to give you the lift that you're looking for and that's it. It has to be part of everything else you're doing.

Kevin Smith: Awesome. Well, I've really enjoyed this conversation. I've learned a lot. Hopefully, anyone listening has learned a lot as well. What would you say the best way for people to either follow you online or get in touch with you to learn anything more about either influencer marketing or your business?

Susana Yee: I guess my email is Susana@LearnInfluencerMarketing.com. Is that easy enough to remember? S-U-S-A-N-A @LearnInfluencerMarketing.com

Kevin Smith: Okay. And we'll put that in the show notes as well so that people can reach out to you. And if things come up down the road, love to talk to you again. I really enjoyed this conversation and I thought it was really useful.

Susana Yee: Thank you. Thank you for having me. It's always fun.

Kevin Smith: Okay. That does it for this episode. I hope you got value from it and learned a lot from Susana. Again, for anyone who's interested, we'll put her contact info and a link to her course in the show notes. But before we go, one last reminder. A plead, really, to subscribe to this podcast and make sure you get the next episode automatically. And if you liked it, we'd be very grateful for a kind rating and review. Until next time, thanks for listening.


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