Top 8 Insights for Influencer Marketing Heading into 2018

By Brett Garfinkel and Erick Schwab, Co-founders of SYLO

With 2017 coming to a close, the SYLO team pulled together all of the trends we’ve analyzed, and now present to you in the form of these top eight insights for your influencer marketing efforts heading into 2018.

1. No one likes to be interrupted

Disruptive ads aren’t something that people look forward to. Platforms have been getting brands excited by trying to make ads less “disruptive” i.e. six-second bumper ads. But what it comes down to is that people really don’t care about what brands have to say about themselves in their ads. That’s why the rise of ad blocking software (600 million devices now block ads) and more than 85% of people skip TV and pre-roll ads.

Brands need to add to the story instead of interrupting it—and influencer marketing is an excellent solution. The key to developing great influencer campaigns is finding what already works for the creator and blending seamlessly into that narrative. 6-second ads and intrusive, sale-sy content just don’t qualify—they are as far from storytelling as you can possibly be.

Related: Stop Interrupting And Start Being A Part Of The Story


2. Influencer Marketing needs to be part of your core marketing mix

Influencer marketing campaigns are generally found on social media, but brands often neglect to connect it to their overarching marketing goal to see how it’s performing in relation to their other media investments. Instead of just using social media influencer campaigns to get exposure and engagement, think of ways to extend them to reap more benefits. For example, you could get creators to work behind the scenes to foster new relationships for your brand. Or, you could connect your influencer campaigns with TV ads and radio and billboard campaigns to increase impact and put out a coherent, uniform message across a variety of different channels.

Another point of consideration is SEO. While it is considered ‘below the line’ marketing, it can still benefit from the ‘above the line’ activities. Partnering up with ‘micro’ influencers (bloggers, reviewers) can expose your content to different audiences, plus your link diversity gets a significant boost, which will eventually affect your SERP rankings.

Related: Influencer Marketing In The Core Marketing Mix


3. No more one-off campaigns or fake influencers

Technology is enabling anyone and everyone to declare herself or himself an “influencer.” In the realm of influencer marketing, brand marketers should be focusing on “creators” rather than just “influencers”. Not only do the “influencers” need to be authentic creators, but brands looking to partner with them should focus on authentic relationships with these creators. Authenticity, both of a creator and a brand integration, is important to a successful partnership, and brands should strive to build lasting relationships with creators rather than one-off campaigns that hurt the authenticity of both the brand and the creator.

We wrote a whole blog post on tips for developing long-term creator relationships, which you can view by clicking here.

Consistently engaging in one-off campaigns without exploring longer-term partnerships can put both brands and creators in jeopardy. Influencer marketing campaigns will feel like advertisements, the possibility of sending a wrong message increases, and there is no access to any substantial data monitoring campaign performance over time.

Related: Can Anyone be a Social Influencer? | Is Influencer Marketing Still Experimental?


4. Utilize content and platform benchmarks

Harnessing content benchmarks to understand which topics resonate with audiences on various social media platforms will ensure that you’re reaching any and all engaged audiences for your creators. It’s rare that a creator only has “influence” on one topic or theme. Though the creator may be regarded as a “beauty influencer,” the creator may also see high performance in other areas such as parenting and pets – which could open up new opportunities to pitch relevant brands with the data showing this “influence.” This can also vary by social media platform. It’s important for both the brand and creator to understand the combination of topics and social media platforms that drive the highest performance and authenticity.

One thing that often holds back influencer marketing strategies is that they only focus on the category or theme that the creator is known for i.e. Beauty. In a beauty creator case study that SYLO compiled, we saw that beauty wasn’t the only theme she utilizes (or that resonates with her audience). For example, across Twitter and YouTube, this beauty creator’s content performed well when it featured product reviews or advice/recommendations, but not so much on Instagram.

Related: Storytelling Insights You Need to Know


5. Cross-promote your social influencer marketing content!

Last summer, SYLO conducted a study analyzing nearly 500 pieces of influencer marketing content produced by creators to see if cross-promoting their YouTube videos led to better performance (measured by the SYLO Score,) We found that YouTube videos that were cross-promoted scored 47% higher than those that weren’t cross-promoted, and creators who had cross-promotions accounting for more than 10% of their branded content saw a 58% higher score on average for that content.

The content study also showed that cross-promotion needs to be a consistent strategy, and one that is tailored to each platform. For example, one creator in the study used the same caption across all of the social media platforms where she cross-promoted her YouTube video. These posts may have performed much better if she had tailored her caption to a content/caption style that typically resonates with her audience on that platform.

Related: Three Tips for Social Influencer Cross-Promotions


6. Show actual performance with clean data and third-party measurement

Digital marketing is under major scrutiny these days. CEOs of major international corporations (P&G, Unilever, Bank of America) are threatening to pull their marketing dollars if companies and platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and, to an extent, Google) don’t solve their reporting and measurement problems. In effect, marketers are tired of spending their budget dollars without the safety net that is independent third-party verification and measurement, which builds trust and establishes credibility.

This carries over into influencer marketing, which has massive potential but is sorely lacking when it comes to verification and measurement. If the influencer marketing industry doesn’t start providing marketers with quality data and intelligence, CMOs will pull the plug on influencer marketing media to focus resources and budget on what is actually proving ROI.

Marketers should be also informed when preparing the content and creator strategies for their influencer campaigns. As stated in a recent MarTech Today article, “If you want to be a better marketer, you need to start with clean data.” By utilizing third-party, independent data sources that provide creator, platform, and campaign performance, and content benchmarks, you can truly have a data-driven influencer marketing strategy.

Related: Standardized Measurement Will Help Creators Win Long-Term Brand Partnerships


7. The “bubble” will burst…unless this happens

Several articles have described influencer marketing as a bubble that’s going to burst. Yes, it will burst—as long as brand marketers and CMOs are unsure of the value or metrics being reported.

Third-party measurement in the influencer marketing space can validate the results and truly justify the spend. But, what we need to prevent the influencer marketing bubble from bursting is: Participation! MCNs, vendors, talent managers, creators, agencies, PR firms, and brands all need to get behind a solution, that is third-party standardized measurement. You need a village to make this a reality, with all of the key players in the influencer marketing universe coming together for the betterment of the space.

Related: How the Influencer Marketing Bubble Won’t Burst


8. It’s time to take influencer marketing to the next level

It’s been years since influencer marketing started making a difference on the digital scene (at least in the format we’re familiar with now – first YouTube, and now Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms). We have a growing number of creators (and brands willing to work with them), agencies connecting them to each other, and startups offering all kinds of services to both sides. It’s definitely high time to solve the pressing issue of standardized measurement in influencer marketing so that the industry can continue to develop. SYLO’s innovative approach to this problem enables the influencer marketing community to move the industry forward – learn more at meetsylo.com.

Related: Influencer Marketing in Desperate Need of Verification and Transparency

 

Image source: Pixabay

Part Four: Three Tips for Social Influencer Cross-Promotions

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

We’ve reached the final post in our four-part blog series that will present tips to recap what we’ve covered so far. This series was based off of SYLO’s research study that was featured in a recent presentation that I gave at Buffer Festival in Toronto. Here are posts 1-3 of the series in case you need to catch up:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study
  3. Storytelling Insights You Need to Know

Utilizing the data, insights, and strategies that we’ve explored in this series, here are three tips on how you can create a comprehensive cross-promotion influencer marketing strategy.

  1. Data, Data, Data!

Marketers should be informed when preparing the content and creator strategies for their influencer campaigns. As stated in a recent MarTech Today article, “If you want to be a better marketer, you need to start with clean data.” By utilizing third-party, independent data sources that provide influencer, platform, and campaign performance, and content benchmarks (see: SYLO), you can truly have a data-driven influencer marketing strategy.

  1. Play to the Creator’s Strengths

Utilizing content benchmarks (see Part Three) to understand which topics resonate with audiences on various social media platforms will ensure that you’re reaching any and all engaged audiences for that creator. It’s rare that a creator only has “influence” on one topic or theme. Though the creator may be regarded as a “beauty influencer,” the creator may also see high performance in other areas such as parenting and pets – which could open up new opportunities to pitch relevant brands with the data showing this “influence.” This can also vary by social media platform. It’s important for both the brand and creator to understand the combination of topics and social media platforms that drive the highest performance and authenticity.

  1. Tailored Cross-Platform Strategies

Our study (see Part Two) found that YouTube videos that were cross-promoted scored 47% higher than those that weren’t cross-promoted. However, this needs to be a consistent strategy, and one that is tailored to each platform. In post three of this series, we explored how one creator used the same caption across all of the social media platforms where she cross-promoted her YouTube video – these posts may have performed much better if she had tailored her caption to a style that typically resonates with her audience on that platform.

Thank you for joining us for this deep-dive into the world of cross-promoting social influencer content. The three other posts in this series can be found below. If you want to find out if you’re forming the right partnerships, and utilizing the right content on the right social media platforms, check out www.meetsylo.com or email us directly at contact@meetsylo.com to access third-party unbiased measurement and reporting!

 

More posts from this series:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study
  3. Part Three: Storytelling Insights You Need to Know

 

Image source: Pixabay

Part Three: Storytelling Insights You Need to Know

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

This is part three of our four-part blog series based off of SYLO’s research study that was featured in a recent presentation that I gave at Buffer Festival in Toronto. In case you missed posts one and two, you can view them here:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study

This series’ third post dives into the storytelling insights that marketers and creators alike need to know!

As a quick recap of the study that produced these insights: using the SYLO Score, we analyzed nearly 500 pieces of influencer marketing content produced by creators to see if cross-promotion of their YouTube videos led to better performance. We found that YouTube videos that were cross-promoted scored 47% higher than those that weren’t cross-promoted, and creators with cross-promotions accounting for more than 10% of their branded content saw a 58% higher score on average for that content.

To illustrate the best practices that drove these performance rates, we compiled the case study featured below.

Keep in mind that a SYLO Score of 50 is good, as these are content benchmarks. Here we can see that YouTube and Twitter outperform Facebook and Instagram, when analyzing this beauty creator’s social media platform performance.

Tailoring the Messaging

Taking a look at the cross-promotion content produced for a brand partnership, we see that her Twitter content scored highest, followed by Facebook, but Instagram is not resonating well. Note that all of her content used had the same exact caption. As cross-promotion content typically drives up a creator’s YouTube video performance, perhaps varying the caption, particularly on Instagram, to a style that typically resonates with her audience would further boost both the Instagram and YouTube contents’ performances.

Know the Content Themes

One thing that often holds back influencer marketing strategies is that they only focus on the category or theme that the creator is known for, in this case: Beauty. However, beauty isn’t the only theme she utilizes (or that resonates with her audience). For example, across Twitter and YouTube, this beauty creator’s content performs well when it features product reviews or advice/recommendations, but not so much on Instagram.


And you can see this reflected in another brand campaign that she produced content which she cross-promoted:

The key takeaway here is to know what content themes resonate with your audiences across each and every social platform!

The final post in this series will zero in on how you can create a comprehensive cross-promotion influencer marketing strategy. In the meantime, you can read the other posts in this series by clicking the links below, or check out www.meetsylo.com to get insights into your content, storytelling, influencer, and social media platform strategies using our third-party measurement and reporting dashboard. You can also email us at contact@meetsylo.com!

More posts from this series:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study
  3. You’re reading it!
  4. Part Four: Three Tips for Social Influencer Cross-Promotions

Image source: Pixabay

Part Two: Social Influencer Cross-Promotion Study

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

This is the second post in our four-part blog series based off of SYLO’s research study that was featured in a recent presentation that I gave at Buffer Festival in Toronto. The first post is filled with stats and insights into the digital, social media, content marketing, and influencer marketing landscapes, and can be read here.

This second post now dives research study that SYLO conducted on several influencers and their content to analyze storytelling and cross-promotion trends.

The main question SYLO set out to answer with this study was: “How can brands activate influencers’ audiences and support their storytelling initiatives across every social channel?”

To answer this, SYLO conducted a study on nearly 489 pieces of branded content produced by creators on our platform who have cross-promoted their YouTube videos on other social media platforms. We measured the performance of these posts with the SYLO Score, the standardized metric for influencer marketing. Here is a quick overview of the SYLO Score:

The performance data on the content in this study is verified, accurate, transparent, and independently reported.

127 of the 489 pieces of branded content we analyzed were YouTube videos. 37% of those videos were cross-promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. 63% were standalone videos i.e. not cross-promoted.

Findings:

  1. We found that YouTube videos that were cross-promoted scored 47% higher than those that weren’t cross-promoted.
  2. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram content that cross-promoted the YouTube videos had an average 9% higher SYLO Score than any other type of content on those platforms.
  3. Creators with cross-promotions accounting for more than 10% of their branded content saw a 58% higher score on average for that content…proving that Consistency is Key!

So how can we use these findings to tell better stories? The next post in this series dives into the storytelling insights that marketers need to know! If you haven’t already, be sure to read the first post in the series on the landscape in which influencer marketing is quickly claiming a larger and larger stake.

More posts from this series:

  1. Part One: Cross-Promoting Content On Social Media
  2. You’re reading it!
  3. Part Three: Storytelling Insights You Need to Know
  4. Part Four: Three Tips for Social Influencer Cross-Promotions

Image source: Pixabay