While you’ve probably heard about influencer marketing, paid and organic social – you’re probably wondering how to merge them all together, maximizing the impact of your marketing dollars going towards these top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel tactics. In this article, we’ll cover the basics – from the fundamentals of influencer marketing, paid social, and organic social to integrating them into a full funnel cross-channel marketing strategy. Want to support an event launch, product launch, or exclusive collection? Keep reading to find out how to make it happen. And most importantly how it will impact your business.
So let’s get started with the basics.
Influencer Marketing in a Nutshell
To keep it brief, Influencer marketing is marketing in which brands partner with social media users who have acquired a large following and, thus, have the ability to ‘influence.’ Back in the humble beginnings of influencer marketing, in 2010 or so, influencers were mostly real-life celebrities who had a huge following ranging from around 500,000 followers up to the millions. However, as time has moved forward and platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook have grown, influencers come in all shapes and sizes. See below for a quick breakdown of the influencer tiers.
- Nano-Influencers: By industry definition, a ‘nano-influencer’ is an influencer whose following is below 10,000. Nano-influencers can also be considered the influencer on the rise– meaning if they continue to grow their social media and use best social media practices, they are on their way to being an influencer of a higher tier. A lot of brands are now shifting efforts towards working with this tier of influencer due to budget and the authenticity they offer. Nano-influencers can also offer great opportunities for content creation at a lower cost.
- Micro-Influencers: Micro-influencers are social media influencers who have following ranges from upward of 10,000 to 80,000. This tier is also a huge brand favorite due to budget, but also reach. Micro-influencers do not cost near as much as macro-influencers but have the ability to offer more in the way of conversions since they can utilize the swipe-up link for Instagram stories.
- Macro-Influencers: Influencers with a larger reach than 100,000 are categorized as Macro-influencers. Brands with larger budgets tend to veer towards macro-influencers for maximum reach and engagement, however, it pays to play in this realm. Although studies have found that macro-influencers can offer a lower cost per engagement, they usually range from a price tag of $1,000 and up.
Influencer marketing is best used for its brand awareness capabilities, almost as a public relations tactic, pending the campaign. Seeing that the KPI’s for influencer marketing campaigns can be a tad limited, it can be extremely beneficial to strategize campaigns alongside organic and paid social efforts for maximum effect. This being said, let’s now shift gears to the basics of organic and paid social.
What is Organic Social?
Organic Social Media refers to social media marketing that is done through natural growth, without any additional budget or ad-spend. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest tend to be the most common platforms businesses utilize to grow their social media presence. In order to grow your social media presence, brands follow best practices and strategic planning as illustrated below:
- Creating universal brand hashtags, tags, and so on that can be used on all platforms
- Schedule posts in advance using different tools
- Post twice a day when ramping up
- Create unique (evergreen) content
- Use Facebook and Twitter to target specific audiences
- Leverage Instagram stories to create engaging content in real time
Speaking of ‘targeting a specific audience’, let’s dive into paid social media.
What is Paid Social?
For starters, there is an obvious differentiation between organic social and paid social, all beginning within the name. By simple definition, paid social media is social media marketing using ad-spend to ultimately strategize social media posts and reach different audiences based on their interests, region, demographic information, and so on. The most common platforms for paid social media strategists to work out of is Facebook (Facebook Ads Manager works for both Instagram and Facebook) and Pinterest. For all platforms, the goal is to move a potential consumer down the marketing funnel, ultimately resulting in a conversion, lead, action, or sale. To further elaborate on this, see below for the types of audiences paid social ads target in order to move consumers down the sales funnel, this understanding is also crucial to seeing how influencer marketing can assist in paid social efforts.
- Cold Traffic – Cold traffic, also known as our prospecting efforts, is the very first pool of consumers that paid social advertisements are trying to reach. Furthermore, these ads are meant to strategically introduce the brand or product to the consumer, so the messaging is very introductory – showing benefits or solutions to consumer’s problems. When beginning cold traffic campaigns, paid social media marketers tend to create audiences based on the below categories:
- Demographic Information
- Shared Interests
- Look-Alike Audiences
- PRO TIP: Lookalike audiences are the highest converting audiences for cold traffic since they are either an audience that looks exactly like a previous email list from your brand or client OR they follow the same purchase behaviors.
For cold traffic, the goal is to narrow down the prospecting traffic to create a retargeting pool, this retargeting pool is then labeled under warm traffic. Furthermore, another important element to keep in mind when prospecting is the type of ads used. See below for the most common types you will see in this stage.
- Short explainer video
- Blog post
- Carousel ads with product images OR influencer images
- Whitelisting (don’t worry, we will get into this!)
Seeing that the audience targeted in prospecting is not always likely to convert. The job of the paid social media strategists looks at other important KPIs to determine whether they were successful in building a qualified retargeting pool. These KPIs include click-through rate (CTR, are people clicking on the ad and going to the site), Cost Per 1000 Impressions (CPM), Landing Page Views, Conversion Rate (CVR) and even, Add to Carts. Based on the numbers for each audience, then we’re able to understand user behavior for our prospecting audiences, while building a very qualified warm traffic pool. The key takeaway from cold traffic and top of funnel strategy is that this is the FIRST IMPRESSION from the brand to the consumer. Like dating, you don’t want to come off too strong, so keep it value driven – and not pushy messaging like,” buy, buy, buy.” This is your brand introduction to the public, make sure it’s a good one! Once we’ve captured these users and brought them to the website, let’s take a deeper dive into Warm Traffic.
- Warm Traffic – As mentioned above, warm traffic is a higher-intent audience funneled down to the website from the prospecting pool. Warm traffic audiences are typically where brands want to see their KPIs start to include actual conversions, sales, and return on your ad spend. *Note, that’s not to say that you can’t see purchases and high returns from cold traffic, but typically when new brands are being launched – this is when we’ll need to nurture them a little more within our Facebook efforts. This will more times than not mean that your warm traffic campaigns will yield higher returns as the users are higher intent and typically will have less budget allocated to those campaigns. Warm traffic offers marketers an opportunity to get more creative with ad type in particular since there is already a high level of brand awareness and, ideally, a higher intent to purchase. Although most of warm traffic is comprised of your retargeting, these audiences can be from previous email lists as well who have not converted yet. Furthermore, in order to really bait these audiences and get them to purchase, the below paid social media ads are often implemented:
- Videos (then can create an even narrower target audience)
- DPA ads (those ads that follow you around with the product you clicked on)
- Influencer content and testimonials
- User generated reviews and testimonials
As previously stated, the messaging and targeting for warm traffic is strategically meant to convert those who have previously interacted with the brand and turn them into customers. Once this traffic flow has converted they fall into the bottom of the funnel, also known as ‘hot traffic.’
- Hot Traffic – At the bottom of the funnel, is the HIGHEST intent purchasers as they’ve already purchased from you! This essentially another arm of your retargeting pool, focused exclusively on your existing purchaser lists. Hot traffic can be segmented by product type (if the client has this data available) allowing you to cross-sell and upsell products. Have a product that needs to be replenished? No problem! This is the perfect tactic (supplemented with email marketing) in order to get users to buy AGAIN.
Now, I am sure you are wondering, how does the above tie into influencer marketing? I’ll give you the rundown. Let’s move forward into merging these two powerhouse digital marketing channels.
How Can we Merge Paid and Organic Social with Influencer Marketing to Create a Full Campaign?
Seeing that influencer marketing is a top of funnel strategy and often a brand awareness play, it is best to take full advantage in the early stages of a campaign whether it is introducing a brand, supporting a new product launch, and or doing a seasonal promotion. Influencer marketing support offers the most benefit to organic and paid social media through content creation, the ability to whitelist, and generating buzz and social conversations. See below for a deep dive into each of these strategies to maximize your campaign efforts.
- Whitelisting – First and foremost, what the heck is whitelisting? Well, whitelisting is essentially putting ad-spend behind an influencers’ post with a popup CTA or CTA button (this is a tactic that can be executed on the Facebook and Instagram side). This is a strategy a lot of brands are starting to adopt in order to give users a more authentic ad experience. Essentially, brands will partner with an influencer on the organic side first. Partnering with them in order to build curated content for them to share on the influencer’s feed, advocating for the product. Based on performance and contract details, brands will then partner with the influencer in the paid social capacity. How we do this – is essentially influencers will grant partnership access to their business manager to the brand page. From there, the brand is able to leverage that existing organic post – adding a CTA button or pop up to the brand site. This is DIFFERENT than boosting a post. You can duplicate that ad into all your top performing ad sets in order to maximize results. You can then advertise that post or even a new post you create from the brand’s ads manager to both prospecting and retargeting audiences.
In order to make the biggest impact on your influencer focused digital marketing strategy, whether the goal is ROI or brand awareness driven – influencer, organic and paid social campaigns work best when they’re crafted together. In an ideal world, a powerhouse partnership looks like a high volume of micro-influencers supported by 1 or 2 macro influencers. The whole idea here is to create a thoughtful content with clear CTAs and clear messaging on the influencer and organic side that we can then leverage on paid social (creating one big splash over a month or two month time period).
Working with these macro influencers will allow you to REACH the right audience, likely the biggest audience. From there, you’re touching more qualified audiences/influenced audiences through your micro-influencers. Micro-influencers typically can drive the most traffic and conversions to the site as their audiences have a more personal 1:1 relationship with them, and usually trust them the most in the marketplace. Then, looking at which influencers made the biggest impact on your business (and depending on your goals) – you’ll choose what influencers you’ll want to use (leveraging organic and paid social whitelisting tactics in order to share those posts to your target demographic). The more you can control the timeline of these posts, the more concise you can make the campaign (around a specific theme or product launch), the bigger the impact these efforts will have on your business.
When you’re putting together your cross-channel digital marketing strategy, especially on the influencer and social media side – make sure to incorporate all of these pieces in order to make the biggest splash on your new product launch or seasonal campaign. The campaigns that people remember and the campaigns that drive the most sales – are the ones that last for a month to three months, typically focusing on one product, a singular product line, or a seasonal launch. Success is having all the pieces there – organic social support, micro-influencer support, macro-influencer support, and paid social media support to actually close the deal (bringing the Direct Response) piece into the equation.
The Campaign is Done, Now What?
The beauty of merging these three channels is that you hit all levels of the funnel, allowing for a larger report, more KPIs, and an overall happier brand. The easiest way to report on your well-thought-out cross channel campaign is to break it down into the marketing funnel, which you should be extremely well versed in now. See below for the bulleted KPIs based on each stage.
- Top of Funnel – Brand Awareness Tactics and KPIs:
- Influencer Marketing:
- Number of Pieces of Coverage
- Static Post Impressions
- Static Post Engagements
- Instagram Story Views
- Instagram Story Actions
- Instagram Story Impressions
- Users to website (and new)
- Conversions + Revenue
- Cold Traffic Paid Social Campaigns:
- Click Through Rate
- Landing Page Views
- Cost Per Landing Page View
- Cost per Add-to-Cart
- Relevance Score
- Organic Social:
- Channel/ follower growth
- Engagement increases
- Social conversations
- Influencer Marketing:
- Middle And Bottom of the Funnel
- Warm Traffic Paid Social Campaigns:
- Conversion Volume
- Cost per Conversion
- Warm Traffic Paid Social Campaigns:
In conclusion, by creating a cross channel campaign utilizing influencer marketing, paid social, and organic social, you have the opportunity to reach a larger audience and further promote a brand, product launch, etc. If you ask us, marrying these three channels sounds like a match made in marketing heaven.