Interview With an Influencer

Interview With an Influencer

It’s time for another Interview With an Influencer. We love getting insights from many of the influencers we work with by asking them the questions brands want to know. And also asking them what they want to know most about brands. Our jobs at Mattr are to be that liaison between the influencers and the brands and that doesn’t just mean during the campaigns. We also want to be able to go to our clients and to our influencer community and help them better connect with one another for successful campaigns.

This month we were able to chat with one of our favorite foodie influencers who we’ve been lucky enough to work with in the past. Philly-based, Sarah Schutz runs the very popular TheCuttingVeg, and has a huge growing audience of nearly 140k followers. We wanted insight from her on growing into a bigger influencer and how she is dealing with all of the recent Instagram changes.

Mattr: Do you find it easier to get sponsorships as a larger influencer? Or easier when you had a smaller, more mid-level audience (since so many brands are moving towards micro)?

Sarah: I have a mixed answer on this. On the one hand, micro influencers are definitely making a name for themselves in the social media spaces. When I just started out in 2016, there was no concept of influencer marketing for smaller accounts. I personally did not have partnerships with brands until I reached 35,000 followers. I do see the value in having micro-influencers as part of a marketing strategy and feel the effects of more brands moving this way. However, I also find brands appreciate influencers like myself who have existed in the space for a long time. Many of my followers have been with me since the beginning and, as a result, know me and trust my opinions about certain brands. This is especially true because I entered and grew on IG before the advent of influencer marketing. I would promote products on my site not because a brand was paying for me, but because I was genuinely excited about the product. Especially for micro-influencers, there are different expectations of compensation now versus in 2016. Therefore, I find brands appreciate the levels of trust larger influencers have built with their audiences over the years.

Mattr: Have you noticed any positive or negative changes since Instagram has rolled out testing the hiding of likes?

Sarah: Personally, I think hiding likes is a great step forward for society at large as well as content creators. While my likes have not gone away personally, I find myself less anxious about producing content that will get likes versus producing content that is true to my brand. My followers are a lot happier as well, as I am not focusing on creating content for an algorithm. However, it can be frustrating to see likes decrease sometimes, especially if a brand is hyper focused on post statistics. However, a lot of those quantifying measures can and are bought by fellow influencers. Therefore, I hope hiding likes forces brands to focus on how engaged an influencers’ audience is versus how many likes a post receives.

Mattr: Have you seen a change in your engagement with new algorithm changes on Instagram?

Sarah: I have seen both a decrease in likes as well as an increase in comments and story views. I think what is most important for brands is not just focusing on likes per post when determining if an influencer is a good fit. People want to see a genuine person behind the lens and, thus, will develop stronger ties with a person and, thus, their recommendations for products. I think the algorithm change forces influencers to show off their unique personalities versus just posting pretty photos. I think this will be beneficial in the long run for brands, creators, and their followers.

Mattr: What platform, besides Instagram, do you think will be big in influencer marketing for 2020?

Sarah: Youtube and Pinterest are 100% the best places besides Instagram for content creation and influencer marketing. Both platforms are internet based and not primarily through an app. This makes their staying power much more certain than other platforms. I have also explored Tik Tok as a potential. However, since most of Tik Tok’s users are 18-24 and from China, it is uncertain how advertising on Tik Tok might be beneficial to brands.

Mattr: Do you have any big goals as an influencer for the 2020 year?

Sarah: Like every year, I want to connect with my followers more in person. I have a couple of brand sponsored meetups planned in 2020 but want to do more throughout the year. Honestly, the best part of being someone on social media is having the opportunity to connect with my followers outside of the apps. 

I also would love to do more travel-focused collaborations this year. My followers love when I take them along to different places that I travel to, along with when I share guides about what I am doing and, more specifically, where I am eating. Travel is actually where I get most of my food inspiration from! One of my goats is to navigate that space and figure out how to pitch brands from that community.

Mattr: How could brands or agencies make your work easier?

Sarah: Brands could make my work easier and my content better suited for them by being incredibly upfront about all expectations. Too often, brands will realize mid campaign that the content I created for them based on the creative is not exactly what they wanted. As a result, we run into time delays and I am requested to reshoot content. This creates unnecessary stress for both influencers and agencies that could be better addressed by clear, solidified expectations about campaigns.

Also, if a brand wants a photo to have a certain “look” please allow the influencer to do the editing themselves with your requests. Sometimes, a brand will edit a photo or place a filter on it so it will not fit in well to the person’s feed. As a result, it does not look natural to the influencer’s followers. Giving the person behind the camera a bit more agency over their content for a brand collaboration will probably mean better engagement and return for brands in the long run. Remember, a blogger will probably know how to best tailor the content to fit in with their feed and, therefore, win the trust of their followers.

Mattr: Finally, what is something you want to know from brands? Any burning questions that you have for brands and agencies getting into influencer marketing?

Sarah: Something I want to know is the thought process brands go through to choose influencers to promote products. I know not all influencers are good fits for certain campaigns vs others. However, I am sometimes confused about how a brand settled on particular content creators whose personality and mission do not align. Do brands look at an influencer’s stories or comments to see the connections they make? Do they see how they are engaged on other platforms? Deciding on a particular content creator, in my opinion, is more than counting statistics. 

You’re Paying Too Much for Influencers

You’re Paying Too Much for Influencers

We’ve said this before but can now, with data: influencer marketing is here to stay. According to recent research, budgets for influencer marketing will grow by over 30% in the next 5 years. And most of that budget will come at the expense of television and digital.

As influencer marketing matures, so should your strategy. Influencer Marketing is markedly different from digital or social because it’s so human and utterly reliant on the whims and business plans of the big social platforms.

So time to get smart and learn how to maximize your budget.

Do the Math: Qualified Engagement

Tech has come a long way for IM but slammed into a brick wall with programmatic offerings. Brand teams just aren’t going to relinquish content control to programmatic platforms, no matter how good the automatic safeguards.

Instead, tech has given us insight into the influencer audience, which offers our most meaningful area for cost savings. 

Let’s take a high level look at an example. A brand is trying to reach 18 – 24 year old females. Which should you go for? A macro with over a million followers or a mid-level influencer with 33,000 followers?

Yes, we’re focused on engagement and not impressions because that’s where the market is going. While we’re at it, ensure you’re paying by the engagement, too, so you further maximize your budget.

READ MORE: HOW TO GET MORE ENGAGEMENT FOR YOUR MONEY

This smart tactic really shines on campaigns with conversion tracking, for coupon downloads, for example. We have seen engagement/conversion rates of over 5% for our campaigns with audience targeting.

There are other ways to save money, but this time it’s on you, the client.

Reduce the Biggest Cost of Influencer Campaigns

The most expensive aspect of influencer marketing is not their fees, or technology. It’s the resource time needed to find influencers. And yes, platforms help but won’t get you all the way there, especially if the campaign is tightly targeted.

READ MORE: IT’S A WRAP (ON 2019 METRICS)

Modify influencer constraints like prior competitive posts, gender, parents, etc. Remember that you have access to influencer audiences; you should therefore be looking at that data for geography and brand affiliation, both of which are available in detail. Finding a group of highly specialized influencers whose audience is located primarily in Utah is considerably faster than finding very specific and rare influencers based in Utah.

Going this strategy can mean a resource savings of several person-days to find influencers. Pricing will reflect your requirements so you’re bound to save considerable budget.

Adding it All Up

When you focus on Qualified Engagement and ease up on your influencer requirements, leveraging audience data, you could be saving 10-25% on your budget. And even more if you insist on cost per engagement pricing.

New Year, New Me: Revamping Your Influencer Marketing Strategy for 2020

New Year, New Me: Revamping Your Influencer Marketing Strategy for 2020

Seems like only yesterday we were predicting trends for the 2019 year. From micro-influencers to IGTV, to all the Instagram changes, a lot happened this year in the world of influencer marketing. It’s hard to believe 2020 is soon approaching, but not hard to believe that influencer marketing has no plans of slowing down. We want you to be fully prepared for the new year when it comes to your influencer campaigns. In such a quick moving industry, it can be easy to fall behind or get lost in the clutter. The New Year is the perfect time to revamp your marketing strategies, get creative, and test new ideas. Here are some ways to do that: 

Go Long Term With Your Influencers

You’ve heard it time and time again, but it’s time to go long term with your influencers. It’s a strategy that benefits you and your influencers. Audiences have shown to engage more with sponsored posts when they find it to be authentic to the influencer, when an influencer promotes products several times throughout the year their audience trusts that it is something they truly love and believe in. On top of that, it can be harder than you think to find influencers who are easy and fun to work with and that create engaging and high quality content. So when you find them you should really take advantage of the opportunity.


Try an Always On Approach

It can be difficult to start and restart new influencer campaigns. Especially because things are always changing and sometimes brands need campaigns to start quickly whether it’s for a new coupon or promotion going on. It can be beneficial to work with an agency on an on-demand basis. With this strategy,  you can activate a campaign in a matter of days. An agency or a provider, like Mattr takes care of the heavy lifting and can have your creative brief and influencers ready to go at a moments notice. Your campaign can be live far more quickly than you were expecting.  


Try Something Other Than Instagram

We’ve discussed this before, but Instagram and influencers are not synonymous with one another. This can be the time to start something else for your brand. YouTube, Pinterest, or even Twitter can all be great social media platforms to try out. TikTok is a fast growing platform for influencers, especially GenZ. If you’re looking to get even more creative, you can try having influencers at live events or hosting house parties for your brand. Influencers just mean a person with impact and influence, they don’t need to be on social to share your brand with the world. 

Try Stories Only

Especially with the new algorithm and Instagram threatening to take away likes, in-feed posts and can hard to determine and predict when it comes to engagement. Stories are becoming a more reliable way to get your brand in front of audiences. Some influencers with only a few thousand followers can still get around 25%-50% of their audiences viewing their stories. Stories are also great when it comes to conversions, since it is easier to simply swipe up rather than read a static post caption, click the user’s profile, then click the link in bio. We are at a great time right now where story views and engagement are on the rise, but because of their simplicity can be half the cost. 


Try Different Sized Influencers

Micro-influencers may be all the talk right now, but there are benefits to all sized influencers depending on your brand and the goal of your campaign. Use macro for more awareness or to jumpstart a campaign, micro for more hyperlocal based campaigns, mid level can be great for awareness and for strong engagement. The more global you want to be, the more macro you should go. If your audience is a huge range, why not leverage a big influencer with a strongly connected audience? However, if your brand is niche or your target is specific to certain locations, there is nothing more powerful than a micro-influencer. 

Conclusion

Influencer marketing is a great industry to experiment in and sometimes you never know what exactly is going to work for your brand; which influencers connect the best, and what type of posts reach your audience. The new year is the perfect time to test out some new ideas for your campaigns to set up for a successful 2020.

About MATTR: MATTR, leaders in influencer campaigns for highly regulated industries, is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

It’s a Wrap! (On 2019 Metrics)

It’s a Wrap! (On 2019 Metrics)

Has your dog ever jumped into a muddy puddle at the park, burying its face, rolling on its back? Sure it will take a bit of time to clean up and yet…you still smile. Influencer campaigns can be like that; messy, fun experiences – and yet you almost always end up smiling.

But you’ll want to minimize those rolls in the mud puddle. So at Mattr, we like keeping track of things. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it, right? This year we thought we’d pass on to you how long it takes to find and activate influencers, among a few other process-type metrics.

Of course how long everything takes is dependent on so many uncontrollable things; after all, we’re dealing with humans instead of machines. And humans get sick. Or they grow lazy or annoyed. But it’s a package deal: you get authentic engagement for your brand in exchange for dealing with some unexpected jumps in the mud. 

We measure from kickoff to payment of the influencers. This little chart shows just the management part of a campaign, which tends to be the least scalable. Discovery is always the big unknown and relies heavily on how complicated the campaign is, time of year, where the campaign is located, etc. 

As usual, if you have any needs, reach out – we’re always happy to engage!

About Mattr

MATTR, leaders in influencer campaigns for highly regulated industries, is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.

Interview with an Influencer

Interview with an Influencer

Working as an influencer marketing provider, we act as the liaison between the influencers and the brand or agencies. Because most brands and agencies go through an influencer platform, like us, there is often a disconnect between these influencers and the brands they are working with. Most campaigns they never even communicate with one another. For this reason, we wanted to start a new series of articles, “Interview With an Influencer” to show brands how influencers feel about different changes happening in influencer marketing. Each article we’ll ask different questions pertaining to any pressing issues in the industry and, of course, get their burning questions of what they’ve always wanted to ask the brands they are working with. 


This month we were lucky enough to talk with two influencers we have worked with in the past to get their insight into all that is going on with Instagram and where they see influencers going in the future. 

Starting out we have Marquis Clarke, a Houson based family and lifestyle influencer who runs the successful blog SimplyClarke.

Mattr: “How do you determine your rate? Do you base your rate more on your reach or engagement percentage?”

Marquis: “My rate is determined by a combination of my follower count, reach/engagement percentage, time required for posts, and any other fees associated with the project (for example photography fees or exclusivity fees). My rate also fluctuates based on demand at the time, for example – during the holidays, I receive a lot more requests for coverage and only have a certain number of spots to fill.”

Mattr: “How do you think Instagram hiding likes will affect influencers? Do you see this as a good or bad move?”

Marquis: “ I am honestly really interested to see how it affects brand collaborations. I feel like it won’t have too big of an impact because most brands focus on follower count, engagement rate and reach already vs likes. There has just been a steady decline in people liking anyways so I don’t see it as a big issue moving forward. I think it’s more about consistency. My readers connect with brands they see multiple times throughout a month or over the span of three months. The consistency of posting the same brand gives them more trust in the product and creates more brand recognition.”

Mattr: “Seeing all that is going on with Instagram, what do you think your future is with the platform? Do you see yourself on other platforms in 5+ years? If yes, which ones?”

Marquis: “I honestly I have no idea and my plan is to go with the flow. When I first started blogging eight years ago, Instagram wasn’t even around. Now, Instagram makes up a majority of what I do to reach my audience. I think it’s all about adaptability and going where your audience is.”

Mattr: “How closely do you pay attention to FTC guidelines? Are you up to date on all FTC rules or do you lean more on the brand or agency to tell you?”

Marquis: “I pay extremely close attention to this – it is very important for your authenticity and the brand authenticity to do things the right way and follow all laws.”

Mattr: “Finally, what is something you want to know from brands? Any burning questions that you have for brands and agencies getting into influencer marketing?”

Marquis: “I would love to know their goals for their influencer marketing campaign and why they are choosing influencer marketing. I feel a lot of times there is a disconnect between what influencers believe they do and what agencies believe they do. I think by sharing each others goals and collaborating together on how to reach them would have a greater impact.”

Next we got to get some insight from Aubrey Williamson, an Austin based influencer focusing on lifestyle and motherhood and all things Austin!

Mattr: “How do you determine your rate? Do you base your rate more on your reach or engagement percentage?”

Aubrey: “I calculate my rate based on reach, market, and the number of sponsored posts I do.  For example, I typically only take on 1-3 sponsored posts a month, which keeps my sponsored content below 10%. This allows me to keep a higher trust with my audience vs bombarding them with sponsored posts and allows me to be more selective and genuine with brands.”

Mattr: “How do you think Instagram hiding likes will affect influencers? Do you see this as a good or bad move?”

Aubrey: “I think it definitely will affect Influencers, whether good or bad, I’m not quite sure yet.  I think the most important thing will still be a combination of reach and comments.”

Mattr: “Seeing all that is going on with Instagram, what do you think your future is with the platform? Do you see yourself on other platforms in 5+ years? If yes, which ones?”

Aubrey: “I’m not planning to leave Instagram anytime soon.  I am keeping an eye out for new platforms but none have really caught my eye yet.

Mattr: “How closely do you pay attention to FTC guidelines? Are you up to date on all FTC rules or do you lean more on the brand or agency to tell you?”

Aubrey: “I know the basics, but when there are updates, I usually hear them first from the brands.”

Mattr: “Finally, what is something you want to know from brands? Any burning questions that you have for brands and agencies getting into influencer marketing?”

Aubrey: “What’s the most important thing you look for in an influencer when you are preparing for a campaign?”

About Mattr 

MATTR, leaders in influencer campaigns for highly regulated industries, is the only full-service influencer marketing provider with detailed audience insights from PersonaMesh™. We go beyond demographics into psychographics such as values and interests so that your influencer campaigns align with your campaign targets.