WPblab EP130 – Influencer Marketing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

In this episode, Bridget and Jason riff on marketing with influencers, affiliate links, and guest bloggers.

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Inspiration for This Week’s Episode

Jason totally loves Buffer’s “Science of Social Media” podcast. He recommends this episode in particular.

“You can’t talk about social media without talking about social science.” Bridget Willard

What is an influencer?

There is always someone that everyone looks to whether it’s in a WordPress Meetup or the gorillas in the mountains. Every social group has an influencer. Dynamics change as the groups change and that’s why your marketing budget can be spent more effectively with micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers, quotes Jason from Buffer’s episode, those with smaller numbers, have a 8.8% engagement rate. They have quality followers and they have the time to engage. This is the reason why so many WordPress agencies use affiliate marketing.

“Influencer marketing is just referral marketing.” Bridget Willard

Make Your Own Influencers

The best way to engage in influencer marketing is to make your own influencers. We all have a sphere of influence of about twelve people. You have super fans who are always sharing your product.

Reward and dopamine are totally connected. After you’ve continually trained them by recognizing or rewarding them, they will engage in this behavior more often. The dopamine rush can come before the reward.

“Reward and recognize those people who are taking the time to talk about your brand. Those are your influencers.” Bridget Willard

Influencer Marketing in WordPress

Your influencers should resonate with your brand and vice versa. The best practice should be to find someone in your target market. Protect your brand. Ensure that person resonates with your core values, in their whole life, not just online.

This applies to sponsoring blog posts, speakers at WordCamps, or even volunteers for Make WordPress.

“Make sure they are good stewards of your product.” Jason Tucker

Use micro-influencers with your content marketing. Instead of paying $2000 for one blog post, pay 20 people $100. You get 20 articles instead of one and that’s almost one every week for six months. Hire your super fans to write guest blog posts on your site. They get the byline, $100, and are happy. You get content to help your SEO efforts. It’s a win-win-win.

How do you find your influencers?

Find them with how they communicate with you. Are they tweeting about your brand a lot? They may come up to your booth at a WordCamp or talk to you after you speak.

Ask them about how they use your product. Allow the conversation to be naturally unfold. Then ask if they would like to participate.

“That’s the best person to talk about that subject matter anyhow.” Jason Tucker

What shouldn’t you do?

Avoid Cognitive Dissonance.

You shouldn’t go outside of your market domain. Bridget shouldn’t be an influencer for solar panels or HVAC companies, for example. She’s influential in other areas, but not in construction. Chris Lema is a cigar influencer, but not in cannabis.

You shouldn’t go after people who just have big numbers. A lot of their followers could be bought. Are their followers your potential customers?

Make sure there is no conflict of interest. You don’t want the influencer to degrade your brand.

You shouldn’t pay for ghost written reviews. That is disingenuous at best and unethical not to mention against FTC rules.

Isn’t it common knowledge that bloggers are paid to tout products or that if you click a link on a blogger’s site to buy a product, the blogger will get a commission?

No. Some bloggers who mention products in their posts have no connection to the marketers of those products – they don’t receive anything for their reviews or get a commission. They simply recommend those products to their readers because they believe in them.

Moreover, the financial arrangements between some bloggers and advertisers may be apparent to industry insiders, but not to everyone else who reads a particular blog. Under the law, an act or practice is deceptive if it misleads “a significant minority” of consumers. Even if some readers are aware of these deals, many readers aren’t. That’s why disclosure is important. FTC

A Note on Affiliate Links

“If you’re the one spending hours and hours looking for a product, you can use a link.” Jason Tucker


Tool or Tip of the Week

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Bridget likes Twine. It’s a neat app that helps you save money with a custom plan.

Jason recommends Shift to keep all of your notifications (Gmail, et al) in one dashboard.

Do you have any tools or tips we should know about?

We’d love to hear from you. What are your experiences with this subject?

Tell us in the comments below.

Weekly Watercooler Discussions about WordPress and it’s community.

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