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Campaigns. Assets. Tracking links. Reach. These are important concepts when it comes to influencer marketing… but are they missing the point? Is it possible that we’ve gotten so caught up in the output and tactics of influencer marketing that we’ve lost sight of the purpose of the strategy, and the actual outcomes we hoped to achieve?

Where should we shift our focus, and how can we make influence marketing a more impactful component of our marketing strategy?

That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

Welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building… oh, and you get to learn too! Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy – with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.

A century ago, influencers were nothing more than celebrities who were paid to endorse brands. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with sponsorships and paid endorsements, the question is, is that true influence?

Isn’t there arguably more influence in the friend, family member, or neighbor, who gives us a personal recommendation upon which we immediately act and make a purchase? Can that same level of trust be transferred to an online personality, and can a brand really tap into that?

That’s exactly what our guest today, Jason Falls, is going to talk to us about.

He’s the author of three books, including “Winfluence: Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand” from our friends at Entrepreneur Press, and the widely-downloaded Winfluence podcast. He’s the Executive Vice President of Marketing at CIPIO.ai, a community influencer marketing platform, and he’s graced countless stages to help others understand his distinctive approach to influencer… or influence… marketing.

Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to Jason about:

♉️ The key mistakes brands make today with influencer marketing.

♉️ Why a different approach to influencer marketing is essential.

♉️ How to measure success and ROI using this approach.

Learn more about Jason Falls

Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode

Full Notes & Transcript:

(Lightly edited)

How To Think Differently About Influencer Marketing with Jason Falls

[00:00:00] Mike Allton: Campaign assets, tracking links, reach. These are important concepts when it comes to influencer marketing, but are they missing the point? Is it possible that we’ve gotten so caught up in the output and tactics of influencer marketing that we’ve lost sight, the purpose of the strategy and the actual outcomes we hope to achieve.

Where should we shift our focus and how can we make influence marketing a more impactful component of our marketing strategy? That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

This is Partnership unpacked your Go-to Guide to Growing Your Business through partnerships quickly. I’m your host, Mike Alton, that each episode unpacks the winning strategies and latest trends from influencer marketing to brand partnerships and ideas that you can apply your own this as to grow.

Exponentially. And now the rest of today’s episode, welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing and relationship building. Oh, and you get to learn, too. Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway.

Every episode from partnership experts. In the industry now a century ago, influencers were nothing more than celebrities who were paid to endorse brands. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with sponsorships and paid endorsements, the question is, is that true influence? Isn’t there arguably more influence in the friend, family member or neighbor who gives us a personal recommendation upon which we immediately act and make a purchase?

Can that same level of trust be transferred to an online personality and can a brand really tap into that? That’s exactly what our guest today, Jason Fol is gonna talk to us about. He’s the author of three books, including Influence Reframing Influencer Marketing, to Ignite Your Brand. From our friends at Entrepreneur Press and the widely downloaded Influence podcast, he’s executive Vice President of Marketing at C PIO ai, a community influencer marketing platform, and he’s graced.

Countless stages to help others understand his distinctive approach to influencer or influence marketing. Jason, welcome to the show. How are you doing?

[00:02:20] Jason Falls: I’m great, Mike. Thanks for having me, man. Absolutely. [00:02:23] Mike Allton: I wanna start just setting the table. How did you get started in influencer marketing? [00:02:29] Jason Falls: Oh wow. Well, yeah.

I’m gonna have to ask everybody to squint a little bit and, and stretch your imagination with me a bit because I’m a, I’m technically a PR guy, public relations guy by trade, and so I’ve been doing PR for in, in one, you know, frame of reference or another since I was in college in the, uh, mid 1990s, early to mid 1990s.

And in my. Estimation public relations, specifically media relations, so you know, working through television and magazine and newspapers and, and radio reporters to get your message to their audiences. That is basically by a textbook definition of what influence marketing is or influencer marketing is.

In that context, the media member, the traditional journalist is the influencer. So I’ve been doing influencer marketing in, in some, you know, vague definition or broad definition of that my entire career. The influencer marketing space, as a lot of people think about it these days, is social media influencers.

And that even evolved from what we used to call blogger relations. You know, back when social media marketing really first started to hit in the mid two thousands for brands. Mom bloggers were kind of the big, you know, sort of audience segment out there that had audience members and that brands were noticing as they started to study what’s going on in the blogosphere and social networks.

It was less about MySpace and Friendster and, you know, early iterations of Twitter and more about who had a blog, who had a widely read blog. And that evolved into the social networks taking off because Facebook and. You know, other networks like that sort of basically delivered a better feature set, made their websites stickier, and people started to migrate their attentions away from blogs and onto social networking content.

And somewhere in the, probably late two thousands, early 2000 teens is when the term influencer marketing started to pop up. But it’s no different than blogger relations, which is no different than media relations. It’s the same mechanism. The context is a little bit different. You know, the social media world.

In the online publisher in today’s vernacular is very different than someone who went to journalism school and is a trained, you know, journalist. But it’s the same mechanism. It’s finding someone who has an audience and working with them to collaborate or partner so that they will tell their audience about what you’re doing.

And so I think that’s why I’ve always had sort of a, I guess a second nature knack for doing influencer marketing because I’ve been trained and have been doing it professionally for a long time.

[00:05:11] Mike Allton: And lucky you, cuz most of us, kinda like we were talking about in the green room before, aren’t coming from that background.

We don’t have that kind of professional training, which of course is why I’m creating all of this content to help others learn from experts just like you. So tell me about the work that you’re doing today when it comes to influencer marketing. How is that part of your day-to-day job?

[00:05:29] Jason Falls: It’s interesting because I’ve been at CIPIO.ai for almost six months and I have two jobs primarily with, with CIPIO.ai I am the EVP for marketing, so it’s marketing, c o, and it’s products and services.

It’s a software as a service platform. We have a community influence marketing platform, a user generated content, sort of scalable U G C platform. We’ve got a couple of other, you know, sort of solutions for brands trying to grow, and so marketing that is one part of our job. The other part of my job is taking my experience as an influence marketing strategist and applying it to our strategy clients.

So we have people who subscribe to the software and they just use the software and go, we have a managed services level where people can, you know, Subscribe to the software, but CPO’s team actually runs it for them. And then we have clients kind of at our top tier, which are like, we don’t just want you to, you know, deploy these influence marketing strategies with community influence marketing on your software.

We want you to build a strategy for us and you know, plug in some bigger thinking and bigger creative concepts into what you’re doing. And so that’s really where I’m still a practitioner of building influence marketing strategies. And I think it’s important to kind of understand my perspective on influence marketing, and I use that without the R as you’ve alluded to a couple times already.

But Influence marketing to me is different than influence R Marketing. And I’ll give you a quick distinction, and that’s where my, you know, focus on strategy comes from. So influence error marketing is the, let’s reach out and find celebrities on social media. People who have a lot of followers, let’s say 50,000, a hundred thousand, 500,000, whatever, 5 million.

It doesn’t matter what the number is, but people who have a large audience on social media and they are influencers and we’re going to collaborate with them so that they will tell their audiences about our product and services. That is, has developed over the course of the last, you know, probably decade or so into, it’s much better described these days as kind of a pay to play, you know, sort of thing.

We’re gonna pay this creator a certain amount of money and they’re going to, you know, post. Or create certain amounts of content. And over the course of the last probably five or six years, the managed services, the big influencer marketing software companies and even the big influencer marketing agencies out there are looking at that, finding those social media, you know, big follower, big account follower people and, and having their clients partner with them.

They’re looking at it almost like programmatic media. It’s all about impressions. It’s all about, Hey, we’re gonna find somebody with the biggest audience possible and we’re gonna collaborate with them and we’re gonna drive a ton of impressions and we’re gonna deliver you a CPM on those impressions. And you’ll be able to sort of factor that into all of the other marketing metrics that you have so that you can see what you’re getting out of influence marketing.

And I actually lean on occasionally some of these software companies that are out there, some of these agencies and whatnot. And about a year and a half ago or so, I reached out to one and I said, okay, I’ve got this client and I have a general idea of the direction I want to go with this client, but I don’t have the time to kind of build out the full strategy, make the connections with the creators.

I I need your help. So I reached out to them and asked them to come back to me with a proposal. And I asked them for an influencer marketing strategy and you know, creative concept on how we’re going to engage these creators and their audiences around this brand. And they came back to me with, we’re gonna use five creators and we’re gonna have ’em post five times each and we’re gonna guarantee this many impressions.

And I said, well, that’s not a strategy, that’s a checklist. Right, that there’s no thinking behind that. It’s just identifying people with big followers and getting a bunch of impressions. And that’s what a lot of companies, a lot of agencies, a lot of software companies think of as influencer marketing.

It’s all a a programmatic way to get a bunch of impressions. My thinking is, There has to be a layer of creative concept that not just identifies the creators you’re gonna use, but finds interesting ways to engage them and encourage them to create the type of content that their audience is gonna wanna engage with that makes the best use of your dollar.

So from a strategy point of view, what I went back to this particular brand, Or a company that I was working with and said was, I don’t want a checklist drive impressions. What I wanted you to do is come back to me and say, we’re gonna use these five creators and we’re going to, I’m just gonna use an example here.

We’re going to use these five people who have big followings on Twitter, and they talk about this particular topic that’s aligns with what the brand wants to, to gauge interest around, and we’re gonna make sure all of them also have podcasts and they also have an Instagram account. And we’re going to have them talk about the product in and, and hit the, the messaging points and the unique selling proposition and all that kinda stuff.

But then we’re gonna have them engage in conversations with each other on Twitter, and we’re gonna have them tag each other on Instagram and we’re gonna have a couple of them be guests on another one’s podcast, so that we’re creating conversations and interactions around the brand and the messaging.

From multiple angles and multiple creators. That’s a creative concept that I can get excited about because instead of paying five people in isolation, five different fees to do five different things, I’m grouping five creators together and creating kind of a campaign, kind of a movement, kind of a conversation that is going to have exponentially more traction than a one-off sponsored post here or there.

And so, What that is to me is influence marketing because it’s not about the person and their impressions, it’s about actually impacting the audience’s thought, process, buying decisions, choices. Cause you are delivering an experience in their online interactions with these creators rather than just saying, Hey, go buy this product next post.

So the strategic services that I, you know, lead at C P O with, with my team, there are really all about finding those creative concepts and a strategic approach to using content creators and influencers of all different kinds in an orchestrated fashion strategically to produce an outcome for the client, which is ultimately to influence the audience to take action.

[00:12:03] Mike Allton: I love that combination of campaign and conversation. I’m gonna steal that. That’s fantastic. And I love that you’re actually, you know, still in the mix building strategic plans for other businesses. You know, so many people, you know, they, they write a book and they’re speaking and, and now they’re no longer engaged with the actual work.

So that’s a perfect segue to my next question that I know you’re gonna have a great answer to, which is, where are brands making mistakes today in influencer or influence marketing?

[00:12:31] Jason Falls: I think there’s a couple of areas, and one of ’em I’ve kind of alluded to already, and it’s that, you know, looking at influencer marketing as a media buy, and strictly as a media buy, let’s just go pay these people to hold our products and say, go buy it.

And, and we’ll get a certain number of impressions and that will align with our advertising impressions and that will align with the PR that we’ve got on and that will align with our organic social. And it’ll just be another touchpoint where someone is saying, go buy this thing. And I think in the influencer marketing space, if you have that approach of that sort of programmatic paid media approach and you’re just looking for CPMs and just looking for impressions, you’re missing the point of influencer marketing.

The reason influencer marketing or influencer marketing, if you want to be like me and drop the R, the reason that it is successful is cause it. Is a version of word of mouth marketing, which is far more powerful than any other type of advertising or marketing. And there are research papers and statistics that’ll tell you that I’m not making that stuff up.

Word of mouth marketing. So someone that you trust, a family, a friend, a community member, a colleague, someone who thinks like you, acts like you, someone who produces content that you like, and you think a lot like on the internet when that person says. I am using this product, or I’m testing or trying this product, and I really like it because it’s doing A, B, C, X, Y, Z.

RELATED: The Science Behind The Effectiveness of Word of Mouth

If it’s that authentic, genuine, honest, you know, sort of portrayal of what this product or service is, then consumers who like that person, whether it’s your, you know, Your mother, your sister, or your spouse, or your next door neighbor, or somebody you follow online. If it’s someone you trust, then you’re a captive audience and you pay attention and you go, huh, well, if I have the same type of need or the same type of problem, then I’m gonna go check that product out because someone I trust made that recommendation.

And so all the research on what’s the most effective, you know, means of marketing and communication and persuasion and all that stuff. Word of mouth, marketing recommendations from friends and family is almost always number one. In fact, I remember, and I used this a lot, our mutual friend, Jay Bearer, in his, the research that went into his book Talk Triggers was a research report called Chatter Matters.

And in that they asked, uh, consumers a, a survey panel of consumers. What are the most important factors that impact your purchase decision for a larger scale purchase? So you’re buying, you know, something, you know, an appliance that’s two or $3,000 or whatever. So not, you know, buying a pack of gum, but buying something of significant, uh, value and the number one and number two, or their own personal experience and, and the re maybe the reputation of the brand or something like that were number one and number two, which makes sense, but like 3, 4, 5, and six were.

Recommendations from family and friend, online reviews, expert reviews, all of these third party qualified resources. And that’s where influence Marketing has its power. And if you are looking at it from a perspective of, I’m just gonna drive impressions from this channel. Then you’re missing the point of, no, no, no, I’m going to drive genuine, authentic recommendations and experiences with the product and service through a trusted third party to talk to their audience.

And so that’s the biggest mistake is people try to lump it into a, a programmatic advertising buy, and they miss the opportunity for that referral recommendation review that comes from a place of being genuine and authentic and honest. And having a real lasting influential impact on the audience. I think some of the other mistakes are falling victim to the numbers.

So, you know, people get all excited about, ooh, this influencer’s got 3.5 million followers on TikTok. Mm-hmm. And I use this example because I’ve honestly had this happen a lot. In fact, once upon a time, this was several years ago, which is kinda what inspired my use of this sort of example in, in, when I talk about influence marketing.

I had a, a, a local small business owner say, I really love this particular Instagrammer and I want to get them to, you know, endorse my product, tell people to come by my store, that kind of thing. And I said, and this particular Instagrammer that they were talking about had 450,000 followers or something like that.

And I said, well, let me ask you a couple questions. Do you know anything about that, that that particular Instagrammers audience? And they said, what do you mean? And I said, well, you know, If you want them to talk about you because you like them, but as a business owner, you to a rational thinker, no offense would be, I want them to talk about me because their audience is who I want to sell to.

And I said, if you looked at their audience, and I actually brought, this was at a conference. I actually brought up the, uh, an influencer marketing tool that I was using at the time. And I said, let’s look at their audience, demographics, where are you located? And I think this person said they were located in, uh, Scottsdale, Arizona.

And so we looked at this creator. This creator lived in New York City and this creator had 450,000 followers and less than I think it was, half a percent of their followers were even in the state of Arizona. Right. So they had 450,000 followers. But if you do the math, and I don’t do math very well, but if I did math real quickly, I’m thinking of those 450,000 followers, maybe 2000 of them.

Or less are in the state of Arizona, not Scottsdale, not you know, the valley, but in the entire state of Arizona. So if so, what you’re telling me is you want to go engage someone with 450,000 followers, very few of whom are in your audience, can physically come into your retail location and buy things, and that person’s probably gonna charge you $5,000 for a single post.

Does that make any sense at all? And it doesn’t. And it’s because this person got fascinated with this content creator, and they’re a fan, and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. But you’ve got to look at the audience and the impact to know this is a viable avenue or channel for us to play in.

Because if this influencer does influence their audience, We wanna make sure that whatever our investment is, we get the maximum impact of that audience actually following through and either buying our product or considering our product, or voting for our thing or whatever your, your strategic goal is.

So the, the other big thing that I think brands make the mistake of is, They get obsessed with the celebrity. They get obsessed with the the follower counts, and they don’t realize that it’s far more cost effective and far more productive for your business to find someone who has 5,000 followers, but 78% of them are within 25 miles of your retail location than it is to have somebody with 450,000 followers with nobody near you.

[00:19:25] Mike Allton: Couldn’t agree more, and by the way, our producer will find or invent a statistic to back up everything Jason just said about word of mouth marketing. I love this approach to influence marketing. It’s, it’s one that I a hundred percent embrace at Agorapulse, but if we’re approaching influence marketing this way, does it change how we measure success and roi? [00:19:47] Jason Falls: Wow, that’s a great question. I want to say it does, but it shouldn’t. Right, because ultimately your strategy is gonna ladder up to whatever your marketing and business goals are. And so your marketing and business goals are typically, well, we, we gotta sell more stuff, right? So your strategy needs to be pointed at how can we develop, uh, strategy and creative concepts with this audience of creators who are going to then talk to their audience that is going to optimally motivate their audience to go buy our thing.

And if you do that well and the communication works and the messaging is good, and the promises that are delivered are delivered and the product can back up what it’s claiming and what the creators are claiming on its behalf, then you should see success. You should see their audiences. Go try or buy your product or use the coupon code or whatever.

And if you plan to measure up upfront and say, okay, we’re trying to drive sales, and therefore we have to make sure that the creators give their audience a coupon code or a unique u r URL or U T M parametered up links so that we can track this particular influencer’s, you know, conversion rates and all that good stuff.

So if you plan to measure upfront, you shouldn’t have to change anything about your expectations of measurement, performance, and ROI because you’re building a strategy to accomplish that goal. Now where we get into muddy water and where it might change, if you’re thinking of this, you know, sort of influence strategy versus influencers, which is much more programmatic and much more predictable and much more, I can guarantee this many impressions and all that good stuff.

If your goal, and this is just like good, good old fashioned public relations and communication strategy, if your goal, let’s say, is to. If you are in the sports gaming world and your goal is to impact the public opinion of sports gambling legalities in the state of Kentucky, let’s say. And ultimately because you want people to contact their legislators and say, vote for Senate bill, whatever, which will pass sports gambling laws and allow me to go make wagers on the N F L down the street, as opposed to having to, you know, do it illegally through IP addresses or go across the border to Indiana or wherever.

Right? So if that’s your goal, And influencers are a great way to impact that type of public opinion and whatnot, because they are opinion leaders and thought leaders. And when they say, Hey, I think this should be legal in the state of Kentucky, by golly, we should all contact our legislatures. And if you’ve got enough people doing that, that impact the state of Kentucky, the public here, it can absolutely be very effective at doing that.

Are you going to measure sales for that? No, because that’s not the goal. So where we get in the muddy water is, is we think, okay, the goal is awareness, or the goal is, you know, public action around an issue. Or the goal is we want people to really repeat our talking points and be more familiar with us, but then we ask the question, what’s the r o roi?

Which is a financial metric. Doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not they’re saying, our messaging back to us doesn’t have anything to do if they’re calling the legislators. Doesn’t have anything to do with how many more people are aware of our product now versus when we started. So the C-Suite and the CFOs and the CEOs are asking, what’s the roi?

But we are not educating them or pushing back and saying, the goal of this particular campaign wasn’t r o i. It wasn’t dollars and cents, it wasn’t sales, it wasn’t financially based. Our goal was to lay a foundation for future R ROI by having the public help us change the law. And so you have to think about your strategy and the goal of what you’re trying to accomplish so that you can build the campaign to accomplish that.

And then you’ve gotta have some reasonable way of measuring that in the end.

[00:23:43] Mike Allton: Couldn’t agree more with that, and it applies whether it’s a matter of public opinion or if it’s selling a product. I often work with influencers and ambassadors who speak on stages. Mm-hmm. They’re not sharing a tracking link from a stage at Social Media Marketing World or someplace else like that.

But if they happen to mention a gore pulse in the mm-hmm. Text in the context of what they’re sharing up there. That’s great brand awareness for us. They’re talking in front of hundreds of marketers, and I can’t measure that. There’s no ROI from that. And fortunately, our cmo, he understands that. And in fact, I, I wanna share a message from him.

For those of you who are kind of struggling with how to measure ROI from some of your other channels,

it’s the arc de triumph. Can you imagine if you’re in charge, if you’re the cmo? Of marketing Paris, what are your main channels? Wow, there’s. The arc de Triumph. There’s the Eiffel Tower, there’s the Louvre.

Those are your channels you’re gonna use to drive tourism dollars in. Okay, now, but you’re not the CMO of Paris. In fact, you’re the CMO of your company product service. So what are your main channels? So I’m gonna guess there are things like pay per click, maybe trade shows, events. Maybe content. Those are all pretty predictable, right?

Let me ask you this question. Are you treating social media as a main channel? By the way, only 1.8% of you today measure social media and can prove an ROI in that investment. HubSpot and Gartner say, social media is the number one channel to invest in this year. Are you doing it? If not, I can tell you why.

You’re not doing it because you don’t have the tools, you don’t have the mentality, and that’s okay. We’ve got you covered. You changed the mentality. We’ll give you the tool of four pulse tracks, all the ROI for you. One place to manage all your social media activity, your number one channel, change your success.

Treat social media as a channel one CMO to another. My name is Darryl. I’m with Agorapulse. I’ll talk to you soon.

All right. Let’s bring this back to influencer marketing. Jason, you were sharing. What brands are doing incorrectly, the mistakes that they’re making. Let’s talk about what they’re doing. Well, maybe you could share just a couple examples of brands that are going about influence marketing the right way and what kind of makes them stand out.

[00:26:01] Jason Falls: Wow, that’s a really good question. You know, I have the advantage and the, the luck, I guess, to be involved with the Influencer Marketing Awards. As a judge, I’ve judged the last couple of years and. And the influencer marketing show, which I’m involved in with as well, and. I’ve seen a lot of great case studies and there’s a lot of brands that are doing some really cool things.

The common thing that ties them all together though, is that they are literally just thinking strategically. It’s not rocket science. It’s literally sitting down and saying, what do we want to accomplish with this particular campaign? The one that I remember kind of off the top of my head that stood out to me last year from the award show was, I think it was Madam Toads in London.

They did, uh, Kind of a post pandemic, you know, renewal of, Hey, you can come back out to the wax museum and wax museums in the United States. Probably, if you’ve not not been to a Madame Toussouds, you probably think of them as a little, you know, chinsy compared to what Madame Toussouds is. It’s a, you know, pretty classy place.

But at any rate, if I’m, I’m not gonna remember all the details exactly, but they found different creators from different verticals. So it wasn’t just travel and tourism, there were people from, you know, lifestyle, fashion. There were people from, you know, gaming and comedy, and there were people from travel and tourism and maybe even food and beverage.

And so they had a lot of, Different verticals, which I liked because it means you’re reaching different audiences, you’re reaching new consumers. You know, in the bourbon industry, which I’m, you know, close to here in Kentucky, a lot of the strategies that I see the bourbon brands executing are talking to bourbon aficionados.

Well, those people already know who you are. What you need to be talking to is like the cooking influencers who are using spirits in, in recipes because now you’ve got an avenue to get your brand in front of a new group of consumers. But nonetheless, they were using creators from multiple different places and they were outside of London, so they were people who were traveling into London to the museum.

And I can’t remember exactly the, in the, you know, the gimmicks or the ideas, the creative concepts that, that they put together. But what I loved about that particular campaign was, Is that they brought all these sort of disparate content creators together and thus brought their audiences together to sort of reinforce the message that it’s safe to go out.

Now. Uh, it’s post pandemic. If you’re vaccinated, if you’re masked at the time, you know you’re welcome here and we’ve got safety precautions in, in play and all this kind of stuff. And so it’s. Bringing a bunch of different audiences and different types of creators together and having them collaborate.

Because what ended up happening was they went through the museum together and now they’re taking Instagram reels and tos of each other, and they’re tagging each other in those posts, and they’re creating this event, this experience that’s not just limited to their channel and their audience. It’s mixing in a bunch of others.

And when I see that, In action for brands. I get really excited because I think that the r o roi, if you will, if the goal is sales, of course, or the return, whatever the return might be, maybe it’s messaging, maybe it’s the, the example we used earlier of sports gaming, trying to train change the legislation.

Whatever your return is, is gonna be much bigger and much better when you stop thinking one-to-one relationships with creators and start thinking. Here’s my cast of characters. Now what kind of story can I tell with them and what kind of, you know, experience can happen in the online worlds? Crossing from YouTube to Instagram, to TikTok, to Twitter, to podcasts, to blogs.

What can we create that’s gonna have this consistent flow of excitement going on around this event? This. Location, this product, this service. That’s when I get really excited. When I see brands doing that, I perk up and pay attention because they’re doing something right.

[00:30:04] Mike Allton: That is a fantastic example from Madam Toussouds and I’ll, I’ll throw another one out.

For all of you listening from the B2B space would be Adobe in their Adobe Summit. That was in March of this year, where they flew a bunch of influencers out, friends of, of, you know, mutual friends, Lee Odden, Goldie Chan, Miri Rodriguez, and a bunch of others, and they had them participate in that summit. In that event, in that live event, just like you were saying, those.

Influencers at Madam Toussouds did. They were posting pictures of each other. They were posting pictures of the announcements from the stage. They helped amplify Adobe’s announcement of a new AI-driven product, Firefly, and they were sharing and re-sharing each other’s conversations online. Mm-hmm. Fantastic.

Love that. Now, what about the influencers themselves? What advice do you have for influencers who wanna work? Particularly in the B2B space, but b2b c B2C is okay too. But how would you advise that they work better with brands? How can they work differently? Maybe they’ve been approached by a brand who’s still thinking programmatically.

[00:31:06] Jason Falls: Yeah, so I think I. The impetus for content creators, regardless of b2b, B2C in the next few years in order to really be successful and shine and stand out as someone who brands want to keep coming back to. I mean, you, it’s not, again, having the mentality of it’s not a one. Off one-to-one thing. If you’re thinking strategically on behalf of the brand and you’re thinking about creative concepts that maybe the brand isn’t thinking about, uh, because a lot of brands now are starting to get into the habit of, okay, we wanna partner with this creator, but let’s reach out to them and say, Hey, what ideas do you have?

If you as a creator come back with something they’ve never thought of before, which means something that’s not just pay me a certain amount of money, and I’ll talk about your product on TikTok for 15 seconds. Right. If you come back to them and say, you know what? If you want to do something really cool here, why don’t we do this?

Why don’t we have me host a live stream at your store and do a trunk show, and I’ll invite five of my other influencer friends to come. We may have to pay them a little bit of money to get them to come because they’ve got audiences and they’re trying to make a living doing this too. But why don’t we get a bunch of different creators in.

Evolve so that we amplify and magnify what we’re doing. You go back to a brand with that kind of creative thinking and underline and illustrate, look, I can post about your brand all day and it’s gonna reach my 200,000 followers, and that’s great. But if we get three or four other people involved who are interested in the same topics, who are kinda like me, and I know a few of them, but maybe you can identify some too.

Now all of a sudden we’re taking that one and we’re making it six and one. Six is better than one almost every time, right. So if you’re taking that kind of creative and strategic thinking back to the client or back to the brand, those are the creators that when I reach out and start saying to someone, like, I’m getting ready to reach out to a group of, I’ve got a specific sort of creative execution in mind for couples, creators, so, you know, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, who are creating either TikTok and you know, funny challenges or or whatever, or YouTube videos.

And I’ve got this sort of concept in my mind of. I want them to do this with this particular client’s product. So what I’m intending to do as a strategist is I’m gonna go to the 10 or 15 or 20 that we identify as the best possible folks to work with. And I’m gonna say, here’s the product, here’s what we ultimately want your audience to know about the product and do, here’s our idea.

What’s your idea? How would you do this and really make that blow up? There’s usually two or three types of responses that come back. One is, I’ll post this many times for this much money. I immediately dismiss those. They don’t get it. Yeah. The next is, well, I really like your idea, and if we did that, I think it would really work.

And you know, maybe we add this little, you know, spice on top and I’ll do really good with, you know, wording this the right way to really motivate people to do it. Those are the, okay, maybe they get it, they like the idea, they’ll follow kind of our lead a little bit. And so I put ’em on the maybe list, and then the third option is, you know what?

Your idea is really good, but what if we turned it sideways and added six more things to it and painted it green? And then I’m like, yep, that’s what I want. That’s exactly what I want. And the reason I say that is because that particular couple, whoever comes back to me with that, let’s take your idea here and make it here.

Those are the ones who are thinking bigger. Those are the ones who are thinking we can accomplish a lot more if we do things bigger. And those are the ones that are thinking influencer marketing works better if you add creative thinking to it. If you add strategic thinking to it, and it can’t just be limited to us.

So, The couple that comes back with, Hey, we know two other couple creators, and if you’ll include them, we’ll do a challenge and then we’ll challenge them to the same challenge, and then they’ll challenge a third one to the same challenge. Now we’ve got six or seven challenges going on, and now I’m sitting back looking at the client saying, Hey, you’re paying for three couples.

You’re getting basically the impressions in the volume of 30 because they’re triangulating off each other and reinforcing that message over and over again.

[00:35:30] Mike Allton: That demonstrates such a understanding of social media and algorithms that I know a lot of businesses don’t. So let me kind of unpack this truth that you’re unpinning is, which is that I have 50,000 followers on Twitter, but when I tweet, I.

I am not in front of all 50,000 Twitters. In fact, I’m in front of mere hundreds most of the time, maybe a thousand or 2000 if it’s a really good tweet and it’s resonating so you can pay me however much you want to pay me, but I’m still only gonna reach a fraction. Of my audience each time I tweet. What changes the game is when Jason decides, you know what, I’m gonna participate in Mike’s conversation and I’m going to not just like or retweet, but I’m going to leave a comment and ask a question that Mike has to respond to.

And now we’re having that conversation that Jason talked about. Mm-hmm. On that tweets. Replies. Mm-hmm. And that explodes the reach of that particular tweet, because now other people are reading, each one of those replies, they’re scrolling back up to the top, wait a minute, what is Jason talking about?

Who’s he talking about? I wanna see that original tweet. And then they get sucked in and they start participating in that. So just like you were saying, having multiple couples challenge each other and it grows exponentially. That’s true with every single social network. The algorithms make sure that Twitter just released.

Yeah. They’re open source api. So we know exactly what happens when people start to participate in conversations on Twitter. Yeah.

[00:36:58] Jason Falls: When you do that, I’ll make up an analogy on the spot here. Let’s see if this will work. So when you do that, when you’re engaging Mike to, you know, tweet about your thing, you’re basically saying, okay, here’s my bottle of Coke.

That I’m putting on the internet. When you engage Mike to do that, but then you engage me or several other people, or Mike just reaches out and says, Hey, I’m doing this thing with a client. Would you help me out And, you know, come participate in this conversation for a few minutes. Then what you’re doing is you’re opening up the Coke bottle and you’re dropping in a Minto.

Right, and, and you’re, you’re exploding stuff, as we like to say in Kentucky. And when you explode stuff in that context, you go from Mike’s, you know, a fraction of his 50,000 followers to a fraction of 3 million followers because of all the different people that are participating in the conversation. And in most cases, when you do that, if the topic and the question and the inspiration is right.

Mike is the only influencer you’re engaging with. The rest of them are just his friends or followers or people that think it’s a great topic and maybe you seed a few of them. Maybe you pay more than just Mike or engage more than just Mike to seed the conversation. But once people who follow those three or four people start seeing the conversation, they’re at least consuming all that content and hearing the message, or they’re also jumping in and participating, which again amplifies what you’re doing to their followers.

[00:38:25] Mike Allton: Love it. Love this approach. Last question for you, Jason, and this is my favorite question. I ask every single guest this question, so if you’re, as you’re watching this show, you’ll know what I’m asking me about. How important are relationships to influencer marketing and to you and your career in particular? [00:38:40] Jason Falls: I. Everything. I mean, that’s my entire career is based on relationships. Every job that I’ve had since, you know, walking into the radio station when I was 14 years old and saying, I wanna be a dj, put me on the radio. Every single job that I’ve had has been backed up by relationships. Whether it’s someone who knows me, recommended me for the job, or introduced me to someone and I got to know them over time and later there was an opportunity to work with them.

Or it’s all based on relationships and influencers are the same way. Yeah. You can go to marketplaces and you can say, Hey, I’m, I’m doing a hundred dollars for anybody that will post about this in the next 14 days. And you can have that. And that’s a, you know, not really a. Relationship. It’s more of a transaction, but the influencer marketing strategies and the influencer marketing programs and the influencer marketing reputations that are out there that are really good, are built based on people building relationships.

I’ll give you a great example. I was doing some work for. An appliance company, home appliance company a few years ago, and they wanted to get the word out to basically tech heads that their appliances are now shifting and becoming smart appliances. And so now you can plug them into the internet of things and you can have an app that controls them and that makes ’em a lot.

You know, better buy than their competition because now it’s all smart. And so I did my, you know, research and tried to find the people who, you know, talk about smart technology and whatnot. And I landed on a gentleman by the name of David Kogan, who is the Unlocker on YouTube. And David and I started having a conversation and he really liked what the brand was doing.

And so we, you know, had an initial engagement where we, we wanna bring you to the headquarters, to the plant, show you how everything’s made, just give you a really good indoctrination. And then we want to engage you to create some content that supports these product line for the next couple of months.

Well, David’s work was so good and the brand was so happy with it that I just kept in touch with him, kept talking to him, and then when the next product launch came around, we engaged David to do something else, and when the next one came around, we engaged him to do something else. And fast forward two years later.

And the brand is like, we don’t even know what product launches we’re necessarily gonna map out for next year, but let’s go ahead and lock David in and make sure that we’ve got him under contract because we love working with him. We love this stuff. I have a relationship with him. He has a relationship with the brand.

And that’s how really good influencer marketing collaborations work over the long haul because it is based on that relationship. It’s not based on how much money they pay him. And in fact, probably if I called David tomorrow and said, Hey man, we’re doing an event at c e s and I know you’re out there. Do you mind just, you know, Popping a tweet for us.

I’m sure he would probably do that and he wouldn’t charge us for it because it’s a relationship thing, right? He knows the brand, he supports the brand. The brand supports him. It’s a very symbiotic thing. And so the more you can do that over time and again with the thought process in mind, all right, I need three more Davids, and then I need to know how all four of the Davids can interact together for this campaign.

Now all of a sudden, you’re thinking pretty smart.

[00:41:57] Mike Allton: Love it. Thank you so much for sharing that. And Jason, this has been amazing and it’s such an important and informative interview. I love the way that you are approaching influence marketing, and I really hope those of you listening really think about how you too can go back in your businesses, go back in your marketing departments and change how you’re approaching the influencers in your industry and create this.

Collaborative conversation for your next campaign. So, Jason, tell folks where they can learn more about you.

[00:42:28] Jason Falls: So I’m very easy to find, um, Jason Falls everywhere. There’s a politician in North Carolina with the same name who does not like me at all. And he offered to buy my, he, he offered to pay me for jason falls.com once, and I just laughed at him, said, no, you don’t get it, dude.

So I’m Jason Falls everywhere, but I’m also at CIPIO.ai. So if you’re interested in influencer marketing from a community standpoint, plugging into your own customers and fans and followers to map the influencers you already know, jump over there to CIPIO.ai and come see me.

[00:42:58] Mike Allton: Fantastic. And friends, we will have all of Jason’s links.

All of Sipos links. We’ll make up a statistic or two, and we’ll put all that in the show notes. So thank you very much for listening. If you wanna go back and listen to some old episodes, by all means, subscribe on your favorite podcast player. You could also go to a grow pulse.com/partnership. Unpacked.

Until next time, keep on partner.


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