From the blog

How To Use Influencer Marketing As A Local B2C Business: Part 1 - Ep 46

  • Ask Alyka

19 Jun 2018

This week, local Perth Influencer Jason Steel is back!

We chat to him about his influencer story and how he uses influencer marketing to earn money. This is a two part podcast where part 1 covers the B2C market. In part 2, we will cover the B2B market, so stay tuned!

How To Use Influencer Marketing As A Local B2C Business: Part 1 - Ep 46 - Transcript

Zion: Hello hello, welcome to episode 46 of AskAlyka. Jason!

Jason: Hey, back again.

Zion:Back! Alright so Beth is still away, and in her place I have with me a worthy companion, Jason Steel, who has been on the podcast before, so welcome back!

Jason:Thanks!

Zion: Okay mate, by the way I have a croaky voice today so you’re going to have to put up with that. I actually like this voice.

Jason:On the mend.

Zion: I wish this was my actual voice. What are we talking about today mate?

Jason: Influencer marketing, picking up from where we touched on it a couple of weeks ago.

Zion:Yeah, we spoke about this a couple of weeks ago. It’s a topic close to our hearts, because Jason is a pretty big local influencer in the B2C space.

Jason: Some may say.

Zion: 20,000 plus Instagram followers, and brands reach out to Jason to promote their products. I really want to talk to Jason about his story, his tips on how to be an influencer, and if you’re a business how to use influencers to promote your products. So I really want to talk to Jason about that, and I think that will really help you guys out there who are interested. We want to talk about B2B influencer marketing as well, which is a space that I personally am in. I do a lot on LinkedIn, and have heaps of success with B2B Influencer marketing. So you’ve got a bit of best of both worlds today. So Jason, who would, or why would, a brand use influencer marketing?
  
Jason: It’s like a new, but not so new at the same time, way to extend your reach and awareness. So, my favourite thing about influencer marketing is that you get a different view of a product or a service, as opposed to remarketing ads are always the same old stale content, where influencer marketing is a lot more unique and targeted to the influencers audience.

Zion:So tell us, before we go further actually, I want everyone to hear your story. How did you get started with your Instagram posting? How did you get so big? Especially since Perth influencers, if you’re over 20,000 for a Perth influencer, you’re big.

Jason: You think so?  

Zion: I think so. Perth is a small market. In Sydney and that, they can get big numbers because the volume is so big over there.

Jason: Yeah.

Zion:Correct me if I’m wrong. Debate me!

Jason:I don’t know if I value it as much as everyone else does as a numbers side, I just look at it as a “oh cool, that’s nice”

Zion:Well you get a good engagement as well.

Jason: Yeah, that’s one thing people tell me all the time, that I get really good engagement. Then when I compare it to other accounts, I definitely agree.

Zion: Yeah, and you reply to people. You take the time to like and reply to comments.

Jason: I think that’s a nicer touch, if people want to spend the time paying attention to me, then I will do the same.  

Zion: Yeah it’s nice, and it helps. When brands see that, it’s more effective.

Jason: I think it's more valuable as well. It’s not a stale connection, it’s more friendly, and people can ask for advice. I had one girl over the weekend ask if I could look at her Instagram and give her tips, which I will do, I haven’t done it yet, but by the time this goes live I will have done it!

Zion: You’ll do it in September. (laughs) So, tell us your story. When did it start? What year did it start?

Jason: I think the first post I ever did, the more I’m on this podcast the more you’ll realise that I’m obsessively aware of dates. The first post I did was Boxing Day 2011, and it was with an espresso machine.

Zion: So seven years ago.

Jason:It was always just fun. It didn’t take off over night or anything. It’s was probably the last 12-18 months, that things started getting more interesting and consistent. From there it just started like wildfire.

Zion: That’s cool. That’s cool.

Jason: From starting from fun, I would get excited when liked get 11 likes, and it would change from a list of people liking your posts, to the numbers, and that’s when you’re like “I made it!”.

Zion: Wow, was there like a tipping point where something accelerated?

Jason:I noticed a few years ago when I put up a picture of some Christmas presents I wrapped, and it got 100 likes and I was like “that’s so weird!” Then I wanted to do that again and again and again. I just tried and tried to figure out what content was working and what content wasn’t working. It was good wrapping! I’m a really good Christmas present wrapper.

Zion:So Christmas present wrapping. Wow there’s a tip for you. Take some pictures of your Christmas wrapping. So how do brands approach you? When did this start happening?

Jason: I think my first collaboration was probably about a year ago. My first proper collaboration, because to get to a point where I was able to collaborate with brands I had to collaborate with people, rather than companies. Then a men’s skin care brand reached out, through DM. Pretty much everything is through DM, or starts from a comment, and from there it opens a door. Especially because I don’t always look through my DM’s, and if I’m not following someone and they message me, it goes to an other or junk folder.

Zion: For those of you who don’t know, a DM is a direct message on Instagram.

Jason:So yeah, people send a message and maybe leave a comment saying “I sent you a message” and that will prompt me to go look, other than that I don’t really check them. Instagram isn’t really the place to message people, that’s what Facebook and texting is for, and if I’m close enough to that person I would have heard from them. So I’m not really a DM checker.

Zion:Do they pay for your promotion?

Jason: Generally yes, if I’m being bluntly honest, which we always are, I won’t really do anything at no cost.

Zion: Of course, why would you?

Jason:Just because it takes a lot of time and if they are making sales out of it, it’s only fair. Unless, I’ve reached out to a brand because I really liked their products, I have to like their product anyway because that’s like a moral thing, but for me to do a collaboration for free, I would happily do it if I’m in love with their product. Like if Apple was like “hey, we will give you a free iPhone” then yeah I’ll do that one for free.

Zion: Yeah I would too. Well that’s good, how do you price it? Do you look around, talk to people?

Jason: Just from experience. Before I worked here I worked in imports in marketing for another brand so I was exposed to a lot of the costing, and from that I just go by what is fair. I don't really like influencers that say “I have a fixed rate of this”. For me anyway, Instagram is just a side hustle, my main job is a lot steadier, so I know I'm always going to get a paycheck. Whereas on Instagram, and I’m desperate for cash I’d probably get it a bit cheaper. But it also depends on the brand. If they are just starting out and they are cool, I'll just be like “hey, I’ll just give you a shot and you can just give me whatever”. Whereas if it’s a well-established brand that I’ve just worked with, that’s when I’m a bit more firm because what they are asking for is a bit more curated and specific, it’s going to take a lot more time, so then it would cost more of what you’d call  an industry standard rate.

Zion:Give us some of the names you’ve worked with before, if it’s okay?

Jason: It’s pretty easy, just look at my Instagram. I’ve worked with John Hughes, doing the car collaboration.

Zion: You sold him a car!

Jason:Uh huh! They sold a car, which was cool. Who else was there? I can’t even think, I’ve gone blank.

Zion:The food one?

Jason: Oh yes, You Foods. I worked for Subway.

Zion:Oh cool.

Jason:Skin Care Brand. I think it was called Parker for Men. Another one called Bio Skin. Just in the last couple of months, there has been a lot. A lot of them just do stories, not necessarily posts, so it’s hard to remember them because you can’t see them in my feed.

Zion:What have been your biggest success stories?

Jason: Definitely the selling a car for John Hughes. That was so unexpected.

Zion:That would have made a whole lot more than they would have paid you, a whole car!

Jason:Safe to say yeah.

Zion: You sold at least one, that we know about.

Jason:So the story there is, when John Hughes came to pick the car up from me after I had it, is somebody called up. So I took it from Thursday through Tuesday, or Monday, and someone called on the Saturday and was like “hey I want to buy the car that Jason is driving”.

Zion:That’s unreal.

Jason: So they came and picked it up that week. I was crossing my fingers hoping they’d at least get some leads, but never in my wildest dreams thought they’d sell a whole car.

Zion:Okay that is so cool. So for those businesses out there I really believe that Influencer Marketing is an under-priced digital marketing channel.

Jason:Undervalued.

Zion:Yes, not under-priced, undervalued. Also, we pay for SEO, people pay for SEO, people pay for AdWords, people pay for Pay-Per-Click, but not many people are really paying for influencer marketing.

Jason: Yeah, I think it’s an awareness thing though, because it's hard for any business that hasn't done it before to measure the results, or know what's a fair price or what am I actually getting out of this or am I just paying someone $100, or $200, or $300 or more to pose a picture with my product. Where is the value from that? At least with remarketing ads you can track it. It’s harder to track influencer marketing, but if it works you know about it.

Zion:Yeah I guess so. They wouldn’t necessarily click on a link from your Instagram and then go to the product?

Jason: Can do.   

Zion: Well that you can track.

Jason:Well with story posts for example, if I’m selling a direct product, I’ll always put a link behind the story so people can swipe up. I don’t create those links they are all given to me by the brand. So if they tag that link they will be able to track that in their analytics. But if you also have a proactive influencer working for you, like myself, after every collaboration I always put a little report together from all the stats and stuff. Because I can also see in the back end of my Instagram how many people, what your impressions were, what your reach was, the engagement was, what the link clicks were. So I can, and do send that through to the brand anyway, just to show them what the value was, so then they will come back to me.

Zion:Now, so what’s the key to your collaborations? Link you’ve done successful collaborations, but how?

Jason:Well for me, I guess it's kind of like a business having its values, like my values on Instagram are; I have to like the product and give it a try. Like I won’t just take your teeth whitening and be like “Oh best thing ever” and then two weeks later take another one and be like “this ones even better”. I’ll give it a go, make sure I like it first, before I actually agree to it.

Zion: You just aren't going to push things that you don't really like?

Jason: No, and I think that people who want to go and do that, go for it! But it's not going to be as sustainable as actually valuing a product. Then once I’ve tried it or once I know about it and like “yep! This a match” then I will produce quality content, not just a picture of it sitting here like “this Woolworths water is the most hydrating water I’ve had in my life”, I'll actually talk about it properly and represent it in a way that suits my style, so it doesn't look out of place, but also hits the requirements of what the brand gives me.

Zion: That's good. Do you often have much control over your creative?

Jason: 50/50. I find smaller brands want more control, whereas bigger brands are a little more flexible, because they obviously would have davveled in influencer marketing before, so they can appreciate that the more authentic the content is, the better reward or return they are going to get. Smaller brands, because they are paying the money, want to get the most out of it and try to control it. Like I worked with a company before and they wanted me to take a picture with their product wearing a suit and I was like “yeah look, it's just not going to be authentic’.

Zion: I’m not a suit guy.

Jason: First of all, no one is going to whiten their teeth wearing a suit, and second of all, I don’t have a suit. So like street wear, something cool I’ll wear, but realistically if someone is whitening their teeth, they aren't going to be wearing anything expensive, because you may potentially damage it. So that's where you have to negotiate, and sometimes they won't move, and you'll lose it, which for me is fine, because if it's not authentic I don't want to post it, or if they are happy to negotiate some kind of middle ground then we will just work with it.

Zion:Yeah, and do you reach out for brands much?

Jason: Yeah, sometimes. If I really like what they are doing I'll reach out. But that's not like I reach out to be like “Hey Zion, Alyka looks amazing, I’d love to collab with you” just to make some fast cash. Like I’d have to really appreciate what you're doing, and see a value behind it to sort of enrich my life to pass it on to other people. So this goes back to product pushing and I want this to be a sustainable platform, not just a one hit wonder.

Zion: For the long term as well.

Jason: Yeah.

Zion: Not just a quick money grab. Okay so let's talk about some tips. So let's talk about if someone wants to become an influencer. So what are your tips? Where do they start? What do they do?

Jason:Post good quality content. Figure out what you want to post about. If you're a chef, don't post about clothes. If you're a stylist, don't post about food. Find your trend that you are going to follow, what story people want to listen that you're going to tell them. Which is easier said than done. Sometimes I look at my Instagram and I’m like “holy moly I'm not sure what I'm posting is actually telling a story”. It's kind of just a lifestyle page, but just try not to stray from it. Like I know if I post a picture of food, it's not going to go too well, but at the end of the day it’s my Instagram and it's about my life, so it's still relevant. But yeah, find a trend, or find a theme, and try stick to it and post imagery that is really clear. So Instagram's algorithm hates images that are too dark or under exposed blurry or low quality. Instagram isn't like Facebook where Facebook will actually compress every image to be a little bit less quality, Instagram still does this but not as much. So you can still zoom in on an Instagram picture and see the wrinkles under someone's eyes, whereas Facebook is too blurry. So the better quality image you've got, the better it's going to be. Experiment with posting times, see what time of day will be better for you. Weekends are sometimes not as good as week nights. All that sort of stuff. So if you really want your Instagram to take off; high quality images, high posting at strong times and give people a call to action. So if you're a chef who just made this amazing cake, talk about it like “oh I just made this amazing cake, what flavour do you think it is?”. Ask people a question, get them to comment because the more comments and likes you get boosts your engagement, so Instagram recognises that as better quality content and pushes it up the feed.

Zion:So then you’ll go up the feed and be easier to find. That's why engagement is so important. How often should someone post if they are in the B2C space?

Jason:Tough one. I’ve gone through phases of posting every day for a couple of weeks, to then once a week, then once every fortnight, to then once a week. It's a tough rollercoaster, you have to find something that is sustainable. At the moment I’m in the realm of posting two, 1-3 times a week, two is safe, sometimes its three, sometimes it’s one. But that seems to be more sustainable for me, for what I want to be pushing out there, and also the more you fluctuate your times, the more your engagement is going to fluctuate. When I was posting 7 days a week, my engagement was steadily high, but once that dropped off, because it dropped off all of a sudden, it didn't just gradually die, to say once or twice a week, the posts once or twice a week were initially really high engagement, but they eventually went down. Then posting more frequently was harder to get more engagement, so those posts looks really low. So you got to find something sustainable.

Zion: So being consistent is important?

Jason: Yeah.

Zion:So is it because of the user that they get used to a certain amount of posting, or is it Instagram.

Jason:I think both. Users get used to seeing you once a day for example, and then once you stop posting they might be actively searching for you and you have no content to engage with. SO therefore your account isn't being engaged with as much as it was a week ago, so Instagram is like “oh this person is boring” and pushes them down the feed. Then when you try and get back up there again and you push and push and push, people start seeing you again, but you aren't in front of as many eyes, because Instagram ranked you lower, you have to post so much content to get yourself back up there. Then once you’re up there, wild marathon that was, you have to sustain it.

Zion:Wow, so really consistency is key. So what about hashtags? What is your hashtag strategy?

Jason: Well for me, I'm trying to be less generic. Over the last six months or so, I’ve been speaking to other influencers and people in Perth who know a lot more than me, well not a lot more than me but a lot more in different areas and trying to diversify. So at the moment I’m trying to focus on more Perth things, because I want to start trying to get into Perth events and get in front of Perth people a lot more. Then also relevance, so if I’m posting something about what I’m wearing, rather than just tagging the brand and tagging outfit of the day, tagging some smaller time Perth agencies or Perth fashion houses, things like that, to get in front of them and interest them. So in my past my strategy was, the bigger the better, with accounts and hashtags I would mention. Whereas now is smaller the better, which I never thought would be that interesting.

Zion: So niche hashtags. And how many hashtags would you use?

Jason: As many as I can. I generally, this is embarrassing, in my phone I text myself my hashtags every time I post, so then I can go back next time when I'm posting a picture similar, I’ll go find that last post back in my feed and be like “oh cool that was the 21st of April” and bring up the text in my phone from the 21st of April to find that bunch of hashtags I used, copy them, use them again, edit them a little bit, send them to myself in a text so I've got them, save, post them again, repeat.

Zion: I agree. A lot of hashtags, 15-20 even if you can, but local ones, because if you're targeting local people, Perth XYZ, using the word Perth WA. Like it, love it.

Jason: Yep. And you can you use up to 30 hashtags, so I try to use as many as I can.

Zion: Yeah I agree with that strategy, because that's how Instagram finds people, that's how you find people, through hashtags.

Jason: And if you're using an influencer and their account is set to a business account, you can ask for their insights. So you can actually see what percentage is where, what percentage is English speaking…

Zion: Mind blank?

Jason: Yep gone! Insights. Oh and that's what I was going to say, on each post you can see how many people saw your post from their feed or your homepage or their explore page or from hashtags. People that were following you, people that were not following you, all that stuff. So you can break it down really clearly to see what hashtags worked, what didn't. You can also see on each post how many people followed you, so because I post 2-3 times a week I’m averaging about 1000 followers a month in growth, give or take. So each post I post is about 20 or so follows. The more targeted my hashtags are, it’s a bit less, but the people that follow me then are a bit more targeted so more valuable.

Zion:Yeah that's awesome! There's no point having all these Spanish people follow you if you are working with brands in Perth. Okay so now let's talk about businesses. Now if they want to use influencers, what industries are the best for influencers?

Jason: We’re on a roll today! I would say Ecom, things you can measure. I like doing it with E-com companies because they will see the value in me. I can direct “hey go buy this” and link them directly to the website to make a sale and you can measure that instantly.

Zion: Got ya.

Jason: Other than that, local businesses are good because you can drive traffic there, so it’s measurable. Essentially, any business can do it, it just depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to get 20 leads from one influencer marketing campaign, it's probably not realistic. But if you want to change that to 20 extra followers, or something like that, and the influencer has a targeted audience that aligns with your goal, like a Perth business and Perth followers, then it’s perfect! So there's no business that it's not suited tom, you just have to find the right message that is suited to your business goal. Which is why it's good if you have a good influencer, who is also a content creator, like myself, they are going to be able to put it together and make a strategy happen.

Zion: Yep and how do they get started? Like how do they get started? What's the best way for a business to reach out to an influencer?

Jason:Just find me and I'll make it happen. Nah, I would figure out what you want to achieve. Is it sales, followers, exposure, reach? And then just search Perth, generally the best hashtag that everyone uses is #perthisok, so if you're an influencer looking for brands, or a brand looking for influencers, I would use that hashtag. There is also an account, Perthisok, that does a little bit of B2B or they shout out businesses, you have to pay for that, but that again is just influencer marketing. But yeah if you are trying to find Perth people, #perthisok, look there, and if you are engaging with someone with 5,000 followers or less, actually 10,000 followers or less, I personally wouldn't pay for them. Because they will be so excited to have a collaboration going, they will probably be willing to do it for free. And if they have 10,000 followers and 40 likes, there's a problem.

Zion: Yeah, again engagement. Ok so look for engagement, look for numbers, but also look for engagement.

Jason: Yeah, you don't want just emoji’s, you want people saying “hey that's a cool jumper”, “wow you got a great smile”, “cool haircut”, those sorts of things where people are trying to actually give something valuable back to you, not just an emoji with love hearts. Because you can also pay for that, people can buy like and comments. You can't buy personalised comments, but you can buy emoji’s and spam comments.

Zion:Yeah wow. So those wanting to find influences, #perthisok, search and search for hashtags. Like if you are a gym or whatever, searching for complementary health businesses in your area, then search for Subiaco health businesses in Instagram itself.

Jason:Even check out, let’s say Revo Fitness or Laws Gym, generally influencers will tag similar businesses in their pictures if they are trying to get the interest. So if you're looking at tagged photos of businesses, generally find sometimes it doesn't work, but most of the time it does, find some influencers who have tagged these businesses to get exposure, and that's how you can find them.

Zion:Well Jason we've run out of time, I could have gone for another half an hour. That was fantastic. We don't have time to talk about my B2B Influencer marketing stuff today, but you know what, we are going to make it a two part podcast.

Jason:Yeah? Done!

Zion: We will do that another time.

Jason:Next week maybe?

Zion: So today, B2C Influencer marketing tips, some gold nuggets in there from a guy that's done it, and is actually doing it. Not just some guru who doesn't know what he's talking about, just trying to impress people. Jason has done it, he's doing it, he knows it, does it for us as well. And look, stay tuned for the next episode where I’m going to talk about B2B Marketing. And yeah, have a great week. Thanks for that Jason.  

Jason:Anytime!

Zion:Bye!

 

You can follow Jason here - www.instagram.com/jason.steel91

If you have any questions for me (Zion) get in touch below

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www.linkedin.com/in/zion-ong-40942817/
perth@alyka.com.au