Influencer Marketing

Cody Wittick, Paul Benigeri

Growth Summit 2022

How to leverage influencers of all sizes to grow your sales.



[00:00:00] Aadil Razvi: Welcome. We have the Co-founder and CEO of Archive, a Stripe-backed software company that automates community and digital marketing operations for brands, retailers, and e-commerce. He's a founder and operator who's done everything from building custom ecommerce platforms to deploying millions in ad spend.

Please give a warm welcome to Paul Benigeri. Say what's up in the chat everyone.That's right. That's right. I like that Cody. Oh, spoiler alert that Cody is also with us. We've got the Co-founder and Co-CEO at Kynship, an influencer marketing agency located in Orange County, California. He's worked with thousands of micro influencers and household names such as LeBron James, Jason Aldean and Mike Trout.

Warm welcome for Cody Wittick. Let's go. Love it. For the purpose of this chat today, I'm gonna start with some high level questions on the state of influencer marketing and then we'll have some more tactical questions towards the middle. And then we'll have some time for audience questions towards the end.

But yeah, I'd love to kick things off, the current state of influencer marketing, right? In the last year or two we've been hearing, oh, influencer marketing's the channel, you've gotta do it. It's super easy, super under saturated, but that's becoming less and less true based on many of the conversations that we've been having over the last two days.

Would love to just hear your take on what is the state of influencer marketing now at the end of 2022 going into 2023, and what are the trends that you're most paying attention to around influencer marketing? Let's start with you, Paul.

[00:01:39] Paul Benigeri: Yeah. So the first thing I think everyone knows that there's been a huge shift of budgets because of Facebook ad challenges, right?

And so everyone's looking for other channels and a lot of people are excited about influencer and communities. So there's a lot of people trying to do this stuff, and I think that's super exciting. The other really big shift that we've seen is these new short form video algorithms that have completely changed the game.

Initially it was just TikTok, but now it's the same thing with reels and shorts. And so the big difference is that before you needed a big audience to get distribution, right? Instagram would show your content to your followers and a bunch of their followers. Now that's completely changed the equation, right?

Where it's not about the audience that you know, your brand or your company owns, or necessarily like the audience of your influencers. It's about the distribution you could unlock with these algorithms. And I think that's just completely like flipping things. You're seeing people with larger communities and people thinking about communities do much better because if you can get a lot of these smaller people work with you or find like different ways to work with these bigger people you're gonna get a real distribution advantage, right?

If you think about a viral TikTok, it might not be from the biggest TikTok account. It might be from one of your customers, one of your smaller influencers. And so given that the algorithm is completely changing and favoring this more authentic, interesting, exciting content, I think that just completely resets the playing field.

[00:03:02] Aadil Razvi: Super interest. Yeah. There's a lot to unpack there. We'll do more of that throughout this session. Cody, what do you have to add to that?

[00:03:10] Cody Wittick: Yeah much that I agree with, I would say the only little slice that I would add is it's much more of a focus on content versus distribution in terms of following and having a even on an organic following basis.

So I think people are in rightfully. People are much more focused on the content creation side of things through influencers and viewing them as like professional creators of content primarily much more than maybe 10 years ago as they viewed them as a distribution channel. And they're hawking over new audience access.

But as far as like the state of influencer marketing, I would say it's growing still, mightily. So one of the things that I've feel like I'm seeing is in noticing is that brands are putting more resources towards it. There's still probably continued added resource that needs to be added. As far as hiring actually against it, I still feel like influence marketing has viewed this as like this sexy one off channel that people look at, but they don't allocate the resources necessary to actually make it a viable channel as part of your marketing mix.

So I'd say that's growing though slowly. Which is good.

[00:04:26] Aadil Razvi: Now one thing that you said you, it was a different way of even thinking about influencer marketing that I haven't even really put much thought into is actually stop thinking about influencer marketing as a distribution channel.

Really, it's a way of creating content professionally? Is that really how you relate to it?

I think it's their number one value asset as their content creation ability. And they, especially what, like what Paul was mentioning, these micro influencers, they've built their following on their, that alone, not their clout or because they are a professional athlete necessarily, or they run a reality TV show.

But they built it by just the Gary Vee, methodology of content, constantly posting content. To Paul's point, like the potential for virality through TikTok today is because of the content first. Not because you have thousands of followers. So yeah, I would say it's their number one asset that they have to offer to brands.

Yeah. Paul, is that similar to the way that you think about it, or do you have some nuance to that?

[00:05:34] Paul Benigeri: Content is definitely a big part of it. For a lot of brands, I think a lot of people's paid social secret weapon is an influencer or creator driven content machine. And so that can be a really big important part of a successful strategy.

There is still a ton of value leveraging the distribution that influencers have and to me, influencers could be I could think of a celebrity, for example. And so there's amazing strategies that still work there. There's amazing strategies that work with people that have influence across podcasts, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok.

I think that's also a very viable strategy. And there's also different strategies for working and scaling these smaller creators. You can either leverage purely for content. In some cases people work with creators or influencers and just transact just to get the content and don't even ask them to post.

Sometimes it's a mix. Sometimes you really are counting on their distribution. There's definitely a whole lot of things going on, right? And depending on your business, the type of products you have, the types of product you sell, your goals and how you like to operate your business, you're gonna have to find the right tactic for your brand.

It's super nuanced.

[00:06:52] Aadil Razvi: Yeah. That was a interesting nugget. It's like a paid social secret weapon where effectively they're leveraging the content created by these influencers in other channels in order to make those efforts more effective. So given that, I'm curious, and it sounds like you both have different approaches to how you take on influencer marketing campaigns.

But I'm curious Cody, like what does an effective influencer marketing campaign look like today for you? What are the things that really matter to you whenever you're structuring these?

[00:07:28] Cody Wittick: Yeah, I would actually agree with Paul in the ways that I think there is different tiers based on your revenue and how big of a brand you are.

I don't think every brand in the world needs to be working with a macro. I think that's people waste and spend a lot of money because they think that's what they should be doing. So I think there's foundational pieces that are part of an influence of marketing program. I think. there is levels that you make as you grow and build.

I would say the foundations are seating, get the product out there, but leveraging that content within paid social, assessing performance from there, getting them on their affiliate program monthly UGC, having ambassadors on your website and then working with a macro, like a Tim Ferris like Paul mentioned on a podcast or having that face of your brand like on a year contract basis.

But I think that's less than 1% of brands that can actually afford that one. And two, it actually makes sense for them. As far as like our agency we're doing the foundations we're like top of funnel doing seating campaigns and stuff like that and really just trying to build out that community for them.

But there's so many layers to it, like Paul brought up previously and I think it depends on where you're at as a brand. I just think a lot of people get lost in all the noise from influence marketing that people waste a lot of money or get burned because they think this one influencer one time is gonna bring in all this revenue.

I just think there's levels to get to that point.

[00:09:00] Aadil Razvi: That makes a lot of sense. Paul, is that similar to the way that you think about it?

[00:09:04] Paul Benigeri: Yeah, I think Cody's got some good points. I think it's impossible to answer what is an effective influence of marketing campaign look like caus again it's like what does good paid advertising look like?

Yeah. Are you talking about billboards? Are we talking about a car company? Are we talking about a startup that's got a budget? And so maybe to look at two, I think awesome examples. I think one amazing influencer. I would say campaign, but even like businesses, look at Skims it's a celebrity driven brand and they crushed the incentives between Kim Kardashian and the core group that helps run the business.

And so I think that's like a very integrated just business driven by that. I consider that, community marketing, influencer marketing, celebrity marketing. On the polar end of the spectrum, we work with some brands that are automating payouts to thousands of community members every month.

These are tiny creators and every time they post a story, they get five bucks, 10 bucks, and they've grown like crazy. Even despite, some of these like harder times. And that's a completely different strategy, right? So it's, to me, it's really impossible to say what's effective. Again, it just depends on the brand, how you wanna approach it.

The one takeaway that is critical, and I think always has been and just evolves, is getting the incentives right. Whoever you work with. Whether it's a celebrity, a bunch of small influencers, a medium influencer, you really have to nail the incentives to make that partnership work.

[00:10:32] Aadil Razvi: Tell me about that. Yeah. I think back in the day, I chatted with you maybe like a year or two ago, and it seemed like the ways that influencer marketing engagements were structure. There wasn't like a standard yet at that time. And so there was a lot more leeway. Okay. You could do like free gifts and you could get, you could do different things to get creative.

Do you think that now the incentives are or at least the way that these engagements are structured, there's. The way that everybody does this? Or do you still feel like..

[00:11:08] Paul Benigeri: Absolutely not. I know we have a mixed audience, right? I'm sure we have some brands in the audience that have that sell

maybe like really cool sweaters or hats. Okay. You can gift your $30 hat to an influencer and they might be excited to post it if they are passionate about your community, what your brand means to them, your mission or even the product, right? So that's potentially a great incentive. I'm sure there are people selling digital products or apps, try to give away free app to an influencer.

How does gifting even possibly work? It's just not possible, right? So again, there's just completely different models. For different types of businesses in the past time we actually tried gifting digital products to people. And man, that just does not work. It is painful. But again, there are many different ways to leverage community or influencer marketing for those types of businesses.

But we can't just put everyone on the same bucket. And again, there's really no standard, and the companies that consistently do really well and push the boundaries with influencer marketing or community marketing are the ones that are not looking for those repeatable, like patterns or established way of doing things.

They're the ones that are being actually creative from a campaign perspective, creative from an incentive perspective, right? There's so many different ways to push the boundary, and I think that's what's needed to really truly succeed here. There's still things that a lot of brands can do, but again , there is unfortunately no one size fits all.

Can you tell me specifically maybe about a time where the incentives were aligned? Correct. Like how do you, what does that actually look like in practice? Like aligned incentives with these influencers?

Yeah. So if you're working with a really big influencer for example you to your brand, like 50K might be a lot of money.

To them it might be just another check, right? And so giving them equity or an upside as part of the business could be a really way to do that, right? I think another awesome example of a company this is a really large company. They work with over 500,000 influencers. They sell healthcare products and the reason why they've been able to grow such a large community, which seems like

in insane, like 500,000 influencers. Like you can't even have that many records in Airtable or Google Sheets, right? It's crazy . So how do they do it? And the key is that they have 90% retention year over year with the influencers they work on. And why is that? They did something really clever.

And they were like, Hey, for our affiliate program, right? Instead of letting people get 30% of the first sale and that's it, they get 30% of a lifetime, right? And so now, . If you have a product that has pretty good like LTVs and repeat purchase, you now have an army of 500,000 influencers that are constantly on payroll and courage to push your products in different ways.

And, pushing your product might be a negative way of saying it, but promote your products in specific ways when you think about their traditional affiliate model. If I've got 50,000 followers and I'm trying to advertise my favorite protein powder I'm gonna do that for a month and drive 10, 20 sales next month,

same company, I'll drive maybe half as many sales and it goes down over time. But if I switch brands, I can get that spike again. So if you just do traditional affiliate marketing with your standard 30% or 20% fee or cut off your first purchase, the incentives are not good for the influencer long term.

And so you're struggling, right? So I think that's like a good example where a company's been able to prove out and figure out, and you can see how much further they are ahead of the pack. Talk to any company, 90% influencer retention year over year is just insane and it's purely an incentive thing.

[00:14:55] Aadil Razvi: That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I got giving equity, giving lifetime percentage, like getting the incentives to not just be about a one off campaign, but really buying into a larger vision. Cody...

[00:15:07] Paul Benigeri: and real quick, not to scare away some smaller brands too, if you're a smaller brand a great way to incentivize people is being their friends or being nice to them or hooking them up.

Be having them be part of your community, right? So if you've got 10 influencers and you just push them product, and that's it. Whatever. But if you're calling them, showing them you care, asking them feedback on the product, that's gonna create this kind of like human connection incentive as well.

So again, there's so many different ways to do this.

[00:15:36] Aadil Razvi: Cool. Yeah that's super helpful, Cody.

[00:15:41] Cody Wittick: Yeah, I don't have too much to comment on. I think what you're, what Paul's getting at is it folds marketing is more human than every other marketing channel. You're not going into a Facebook dashboard, you're not going into your email campaigns on Klaviyo.

Like these are human to human relationships. So it needs to be treated as so it's not just like a throw them in a bucket and you forget about it, it needs to be, you constantly need to be iterating because they're human at the end of the day, because how you start that relationship is super important.

How you massage and maintain and hold hands with that relationship is super important. . And it's all based on your goals on what you're trying to do. I think what you hear a lot of time from brand owners is, and 99% of them say the same thing. They want a genuine community of consistent people talking about their brand to their audiences.

They just go about it in a completely different way cause they expect it not to be human or they don't have to put in the effort on a human relationship side of things, or they don't have the resources to do it. So it's they're fractionally doing it and the influencers feel it.

[00:16:48] Aadil Razvi: It's sounds like though, if we were to use that type of incentive, that's more of a distribution play, right?

One of the incentives are aligned in that way. Or do you feel like if you still looking at it from the perspective of influencer marketing is actually a way of doing professional content creation. Are the incentives the same if it's not about distribution, but more about the content creation itself?

[00:17:14] Cody Wittick: I think that it can be the same. Again, I think it's their number one value asset. Not to say that they don't have other values or things that they contribute. I just think it's lower on the totem pole. I think most people think influencers, their number one thing is because they have sexy number of followers.

And I'm saying that's not the case. Not to say that it's not important. So it's not on the list. Yeah, I just think it's lower than what most people think and people get caught up in follower account and what this audience is gonna do and it's just really hard to win when you're just focusing on that alone.

Not to say again that it's not important. Cause I think pay for post eventually does make sense, not on a one off basis but like with 500,000 followers them posting, that's incredibly effective. And they're incentivized to do for sure. Like I'd be running that all day. So yeah.

[00:18:10] Aadil Razvi: It sounds like you're speaking to like the algorithmic changes that have happened where maybe at one point it was about well just they have the distribution, they have the audience, and so you're just paying to get in front of those folks. But now when that doesn't necessarily like to Paul's point the way that people are consuming content via the social graph it's the incentives have changed a bit.

[00:18:36] Paul Benigeri: Yeah. The incentives part is really important, right? Because if you've got a YouTuber with a million followers or views per month and you're a brand that sells again, like maybe protein powder. You can be like, Hey, influencer, for every a hundred protein powders I'll give you 20%. And then the influencer gonna be like what if I partner with someone, or I start my own protein brand and I get, XYZ margin on that, and so I think that's like the trade off, that the incentive you have to compete with. And I think that's important to recognize, right? That's why like flat fees by themselves can be hard to do because it's hey, over a long term, like you're not competing necessarily with only another brand trying to pay them.

You're competing with how else they could monetize their audience, right? And so if you're like okay, cool. So let me flip that on you. You think you can get, 50% margins by doing your own brand, but I'm a really good operator. We have distribution, we have other partnerships. Let's do a combo skew.

You're gonna get 50% of that combo skew or 30% of that combo skew. And then we get distribution. Boom. You maybe have a little bit of a more of a magic sweet spot combo. Where you can leverage them for that, so again, there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Like a lot of these bigger creators are business people.

They have teams helping them think through how to monetize their audience. And understanding what goes on behind the scenes and how else they can leverage their audience is important when you're factoring that in.

[00:20:02] Aadil Razvi: That's helpful to know. And I'm curious, does all of the stuff that we're talking about here it seems like it has a little bit more of a consumer focus.

Is there a world, like in the B2B context maybe like B2B SaaS for example, do the same principles apply? Is there like a change in the way that people ought to be thinking about this in the context of B2B? Yeah, Paul I'm curious if you have a take on that.

[00:20:32] Paul Benigeri: I think we're starting to see more like apps and B2B companies have influenced strategies.

Our number one marketing channel at Archive, we're B2B company is TikTok, is influencer on TikTok, so it works. We see a ton of companies doing amazing work. Especially with FinTech, mobile apps, leveraging influencers. A lot of times it's a combination strategy where you get the content, you get the distribution, you repurpose their ads and etc.

But I think that influencer totally makes a lot of sense for B2B and again, like to me, someone that's got a podcast as an influencer, right? And so doing like podcast partnership or newsletters, I think that's like also one way to look at this idea of influencer marketing, like leveraging people with an audience with influence.

And so just being super thoughtful and nuanced about it is the key to success.

[00:21:28] Aadil Razvi: Makes sense. Cody, anything to add on B2B?

[00:21:32] Cody Wittick: I'd just be investing on YouTube if I was B2B. And you're not gonna get like free posts out of gifting product like we already touched on. So yeah, you're gonna have to think of a way to incentivize and introduce the brand besides here's a free trial on seven days cause

no one's gonna respond to that email on a cold outreach basis, or if you send a t-shirt and a coffee cup, it's gonna go in the trash. So I would just try to think creatively on how to introduce your product and put it into their hands. That represents your brand in some way that provides value to them in terms of starting that relationship.

But in terms of on a platform, I'd be looking at YouTube.

[00:22:08] Aadil Razvi: Can you tell me as a particular example maybe of a B2B influencer marketing campaign that maybe on YouTube that didn't involve free gift of their application, but they actually, like cleverly made it happen.

[00:22:23] Cody Wittick: I just think YouTube is the number one platform where pay for post makes sense on a cold outreach basis.

Just cause those are like TV networks to the creators. They're not gonna just throw up random content. They're gonna maybe with shorts. It's probably changing that a little bit. But in terms of like longer video, longer tail video. I think that's where B2B is searched a lot. So that's where you're just tapping into like on a SEO basis as well.

[00:22:50] Aadil Razvi: Cool. No.That's helpful. B2B look to, Yeah, go ahead.

[00:22:58] Paul Benigeri: I think the other thing that's super important for B2B is just understanding your finance like really well. If you've got like X, Y, Z payback periods, like free trials, right? You just cannot run a good influencer program.

If you don't have all that buttoned up, right? Cause again, for a lot of brands on the B2B side. You might be okay acquiring customers for a $100, $200, $300, if you have like really good subscriptions and whatnot, right? So I think just and this applies to every channel I think it's a little bit easier with consumer to just think about okay, what your AOV is.

But I think when you're driving like installs, free installs, that obviously becomes a little bit trickier. And if anyone like ramping that up onthe B2B side needs to be super careful with that. And then also just tracking the lifetime value of the influencer channel versus maybe your other paid or other channels.

Cause we've seen that very a ton. Sometimes higher. Sometimes lower.

[00:23:52] Aadil Razvi: Yeah. That actually brings me to the next question I was gonna ask you. Paul, on that is what are those, mentioned AOV, message LTV. So that's average order value. Lifetime value. What are the most important metrics or the ones that you pay a lot of attention to when you're running influencer marketing campaigns?

[00:24:15] Paul Benigeri: We don't necessarily run influencer campaigns for brands. We have a software that powers that. So I would rather I can say what we do personally at Archive, I might not be as helpful as an answer. Maybe Cody would be a better person to answer that.

[00:24:36] Cody Wittick: Sorry, I keep going on mute and then it takes it a little bit. A lot of our strategy and the way that we're servicing clients is just looking on a price per asset basis cause it is that paid campaigns and then we're just looking at how much it reduces CPA within that account. So it's completely judged on sales, on content, price per asset, lowering that as much as possible.

And then leveraging it within paid social. So those are the two metrics that we're looking at as far as like how influencer campaigns are judged on behalf of our clients. How much can it reduce CPA? And first, what's the price per asset that we're getting?

[00:25:16] Aadil Razvi: You're saying reduce CPA, you're literally just comparing one ad asset to another with leveraging the, just what did that look like?

[00:25:25] Cody Wittick: Total? All aggregate, Like how is it, how are the campaigns reducing CPA compared to what previously, before all the content was launch.

[00:25:34] Aadil Razvi: Interesting. Yeah. Okay. So you said price per asset basis meaning the asset produced from the influencer. And then, how much does that impact, the other campaigns got a little one two punch going there.

Yeah. Paul, I actually, I'm curious to know what you're doing internally around Archive.

[00:25:53] Paul Benigeri: We look at when we look at the so first of all, how to choose who we wanna work with. And I think this applies across all channels. And I think it also applies like big or not. There's some metrics that depending on the channel are important.

I think for TikTok, for example we look at obviously engagement and comments, and we look at the rate of change of likes over time, and views over time versus their followers, right? Cody had some good comments around, Hey, it's not all about the followers, but I do think that looking at engagement is still super, super relevant.

And you can find some really good underpriced influencers that are just starting to ramp up their view. And just don't have a ton of followers into other deals. But they're getting like way more views than someone with 10 times than many followers. So I think looking at engagement in different ways is super important.

The other thing that's just generally important with influencer marketing is making sure there's a really good fit between who you're working with and and your brand, right? Whether it's a celebrity or a smaller person depending on your ideals, your brand, etc. There's just gonna be, an important thing to look at

relevance. We, one brand that uses Archive was telling me that it's a CPG company. They make drinks and they were telling me that they use, it was healthy drinks, so they're working with only healthy influencers, like all the fitness people, et cetera. And that worked okay, but when they started working with unhealthy, but like food junky influencers that crushed for them.

These people are creating recipes and random meals. Why? And the reason is like, why do people watch people eating and making recipes? Because they care about the food. And so when you have a beverage there, it just, people are like, What is that drink? What does that drink? What are you drinking?

Cause I care about your food and drink. So I think that's an example where just really nailing like the type of influencers that you're gonna work with and why can really move the needle.

[00:27:58] Aadil Razvi: Yeah, that's a great transition to how do you find the right influencers to work with?

Who, like, how do you actually choose who are, how do you establish that influencer brand fit that you were talking about? Cody, do you have a way that you think about that?

[00:28:13] Cody Wittick: Yeah, and I would just say this is the number one area, and it's usually it's the first step.

If you're gonna do influence marketing, you're gonna, how do I find these people and how do I choose when I get there? And it's the thing that most people screw up. It's the people that, it's the thing that people misstep all the time. We have like an influencer scorecard. So we're looking at content creation ability number one.

We're looking at content frequency. How much, like what Paul is saying, are they growing their account consistently? Are their views going up? Are they posting frequently, like their last post wasn't 2018 or even six months ago. So when you outreach them, they're active on the platform. We're looking at quantitative analytics, so like engagement rate or fake followers, all these different things.

We're looking at all these different things that involve with just on a qualitative basis. I use the example, when I was at QALO, we had the opportunity to work with Conor McGregor. QALO is a marriage and family brand. They made silicon wedding rings, at the time Conor McGregor was single and dropping mother f bombs on every video that he was on.

So not exactly the fit for a marriage and family brand. It's an extreme example, but it's just, it comes to show you like, that's obviously a huge macro but not a fit for the brand. And you the brand are gonna know that best compared to. Me, Paul, on behalf of you. You're living and breathing the brand every single day.

So those are like qualitative things like, hey, would I be proud that they represent my brand, even from small to big and everything in between. So those are some of the areas that we're looking at as far as like on ID scorecard, as far as like where to find them, my role of thumb is like, unless you're working with hundred plus influencers, I wouldn't pay for a lot of these tools.

There's a lot of free tools, such as like TikTok, Creator Marketplace on TikTok. There's Instagram for, or Meta for Creators, or I think that's what it's called Instagram for creators now that's been launched. There's Shopify colab, which unfortunately has been negative reviews since Shopify bought Dovetale.

But again, those are free tools. If you're working with 10 20, you're just getting started. , I wanna get lost in trying to pay all this money for an influencer CRM that's just gonna, it's not doing anything for you. It's just a tool at the end of the day. It doesn't give you the how to's but as you advance and as you invest in the channel, that's where I think tools and platforms and CRMs make sense.

[00:30:46] Aadil Razvi: Are those influencers aggregated on those platforms in a way where does it make sense to, I don't know, you find an influencer on YouTube, for example. Yeah. And is it, are you just trying to then find a way to direct DM that person and just do these one off relationships? Or are those folks like, Oh, you know what, we only manage these sorts of things using xx platform

[00:31:12] Cody Wittick: I think I understand what you're saying. Paul, maybe help me out if you're

[00:31:17] Aadil Razvi: Yeah, I, Yeah, go ahead. Sorry, that was probably worded question, go ahead.

[00:31:20] Paul Benigeri: Yeah, no I think most of the influencers just want the deal, and so they're not gonna be like, We wanna go on this platform, that platform a lot of time it actually goes off platform onto email.

If you're in the UK, WhatsApp, text message, etc. or IGdm.

[00:31:36] Aadil Razvi: So pulled Outreach is the name of the game really for when you're starting out and you're not doing a hundred plus influencers, it's like, just reach out to the ones that make the most sense.

[00:31:47] Cody Wittick: Unless you have a, like on TikTok creator marketplace, it's more of a hand raise model.

So you're like inviting influencers to a campaign they can accept or deny, So that's a little bit less. But even I think majority, you're gonna have to do cold outreach just because these influencers, mostly these influencers don't need to do outreach themselves, so they're getting inbound all the time.

And you're gonna run into privacy restrictions on social unless you're using email. Which is I would just say go with what is, you're gonna have less restriction.

[00:32:22] Aadil Razvi: Got that. Yeah. Paul, you were gonna add something?

[00:32:24] Paul Benigeri: Yeah, I think it again, unfortunately the answer depends. I think in order to find influencers, if you're looking at small, if you decide to work with smaller creators, a lot of smaller creators, The first thing I would do is do you have an audience?

Do you have customers? Are any of those gonna be like good fits? That could be an easy way to do it. Send an email to your list. There's many different ways you can do to try to activate your current customers. If you're starting from scratch and you're looking to find influencers depending on the channel, it's again gonna be a little bit different, right?

Again, some people might be looking at LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, etc. Typically like the easiest way to do it just find your hashtags, see competitors that are posting a value, spend some time on those platforms and over time, just by clicking through you'll see some good people.

The interesting thing is it used to be quite easy to do cold outreach, especially on Instagram. It's harder on TikTok cause there's like DM restrictions. It's way harder to get emails. So things have gotten a little bit complicated and so that's where sometimes these platforms can be helpful. A lot of the problem with platforms that it's like a self selection problem.

A lot of the people that opt into those platforms are gonna be the worst kinds of influencers, so it's a little bit challenging there. I think, so it's a it's not a fun.

[00:33:39] Cody Wittick: Don't work with platforms like that. I would just say that strongly to. It's just a conflict of interest, right?

Whether it's a gifting platform, like they're only part of it, they're part of the deal because they're required to be part of the platform. If you get a product, you're gonna have to post about it, or it's just a roster model where there's motivation on behalf of the platform to put this set of influencers in front of you.

It's not necessarily the best fit for your brand, it's just a financial motivation at the end of the day

[00:34:09] Aadil Razvi: How do you think about yeah, go ahead, Paul.

[00:34:12] Paul Benigeri: I would say, again, the incentives are super important, right? Like you got a Black Friday coming up, you got $5,000 to spend $50,000 spend, you need a bunch of content, then some of these platforms are gonna really come in to save the day.

But again, you need, that's when you need to deploy a lot of cash quickly. It might not be the most efficient output but again, like all these things are important factors to just have to look at.

[00:34:35] Aadil Razvi: When is it appropriate to, it sounds like a lot of the advice that we've been talking about cover the micro influencer, nano influencer maybe like medium influencer category of of influencers.

But how do you think about the difference between engaging like micro influencers versus mainstream celebrities are Conor McGregor or LeBron James? Like how do you make a distinction between those? And I feel like Cody, you've talked a lot about it seems like the more famous you get on that scale, the more important, like distribution is part of that deal

versus just purely content creation. But yeah. I'm curious to know like when is it most appropriate to engage with each of those different categories of influencers?

[00:35:28] Cody Wittick: I wouldn't even entertain a macro unless I'm 20 million top line revenue or more.

[00:35:33] Aadil Razvi: Okay.

[00:35:35] Cody Wittick: That's just a straightforward answer.

[00:35:36] Aadil Razvi: Yeah, no, that's an easy heuristic.

[00:35:37] Cody Wittick: I thought what you were saying earlier is like how do you outreach to these influencers based on tier? Cause like obviously the higher that you move up, the more that you're just getting involved in agent, like you might as like you're wasting your time if you DM Lebron James, like first of all, yeah, he had 12 people on his Instagram, It's not him.

So I would just be working like an agent network at that point if you're interested in working with a macro. But even I mean you start getting into 200,000 followers plus. You got agents that are in the dms or in the emails or like when you hit the contacts bio on their profile? It's gonna be some agency, not necessarily their personal email.

Yeah, those are my thoughts.

[00:36:25] Aadil Razvi: Let's pretend like I asked the question about reaching out to them. Cause that's a great question.

[00:36:32] Cody Wittick: Ok yeah.

[00:36:32] Aadil Razvi: I'm sure a lot of people actually wanna know that. Yeah. Paul, what about you? How do you think about the distinction between the different types of influencers?

[00:36:41] Paul Benigeri: I think there it's like just different marketing strategies. How do you think about advertising on a billboard or doing a Super Bowl ad? If you're a small company, whether you have the budget or not, you probably just couldn't even get that Super Bowl ad, unless you just overbid like crazy and had a way to just talk the right person to present that. And so if you're serious about doing influencer with larger influencers or celebrities, then you're gonna need to do some business development. And so the scrappy way is to

call, DM or outreach a number of people and get your first one. And then a lot of them, if you treat them well, can help introduce you to friends and you go to events and all that kind of stuff and can ramp that up. You can have a business partner for example, that is like super well connected that brings a lot of value and can be like, Hey I've worked a lot of these people.

And so that could be like a good way to do it. There's no silver bullet. Like obviously you can't DM Kim Kardashian, Cardi B or etc. I think working with agents can work out. But again, it's really hard to get the right incentives. Agents will get like 10% commission or whatever it is trying to do something quick.

And I think in order to make a relationship with a celebrity really work. They need to be really invested in your brand. They need to be willing to like, work with you on it and actually try to build this together versus just like a kind of one off thing where you're maybe just using their name or likeness and things like that.

So again, there's like the scale, right? Like I think that, if you're starting with no network or no experience, then just be reasonable, right? Either find a co-founder or a business partner that can help out there. A middle ground is to leverage your influencers to get more of those, so I think once you've worked with one celebrity or one medium influencer, usually they'll know like a lot of other people in the space. But a lot of brands that have succeeded with big podcast like getting on Joe Rogan, getting on Tim Ferriss. Like they've been hustling, hustling, hustling to get those deals.

It's not hard, it's bd, calling them, nurturing them, having to try the product, getting intros. And that is just how to, make that work. Because again, like Cody said you just can't go to these people through just a cheap, easy way cause you're gonna get a really bad deal.

[00:39:09] Aadil Razvi: That makes sense. Yeah. Switching gears a little bit, the last nine minutes will hit on some audience questions. What should companies not do when they're starting influencer marketing? What are like the most common mistake, or not most common, but like things that you see common time and time again?

Yeah. Like what do most folks get wrong about influencer marketing ,Paul?

[00:39:38] Paul Benigeri: Oh there's a whole lot of things. I think again, it comes down to just not being thoughtful about your incentives. And what you're trying to set up, like you can't just go out and say, I wanna do influencer marketing.

You need to have something more nuanced, more specific, a clearer strategy. Hey, I wanna drive installs using paid TikTok influencers and then do spark ads. And honestly, if you're not able to, think about these things yet. Then, try to get some friends to help you to think through it a little bit more and form like a really good hypothesis and test it out, right?

It's again, if you just go on Facebook ads and just run an ad, like without knowing what you're doing, like it's just probably gonna go wrong unless you get super lucky. So I think just, you got to be strategic and thoughtful. It's all in the execution. And if you're not measuring what you're doing, if you're not thoughtful what you're doing, it's gonna be, really easy to go wrong.

So I think that's probably what I wanna say here. Cause again, there's so many different ways you could do things wrong and people do wrong but a lot of them, it comes down to not actually being thoughtful. If I was starting from scratch and I wanted to be good at influencer marketing, what I would do is I would look at

few competitors are similar companies. I would cold email the people running those programs and be like, Hey, I'm new to this. Would love to buy you lunch or drinks. What are you doing? How's it working? I would love to learn from you. I'll trade learnings. Understand like three people's strategies, get like believable people.

And then use that to draft your version one of your strategy and then you're not flying completely blind and doing some of the, things that, you know, I should be like talking about answering this question. So just shortcut that. Cause again a app that sells like a banking app, could be doing things that would be completely useless for an ecom brand, but that would just crush for them.

So again, there's no one size fits all and you just have to get informed.

[00:41:31] Cody Wittick: I'm gonna give you the one size fits all answer just cause but I would say, honestly, I would say the mistake to avoid would be to pay for posts on an initial basis, on a cold outreach basis, I would not do that. I think you could waste a lot of money, causeI just think it's really hard to win on a one off basis over time.

I think if you can seed your product to a vast number of influencers. Again, this is DTC, e-Commerce, like you have a physical product. So I'm not necessarily talking to B2B people. I'm sorry. Hate to discriminate . But I would say that I would, if I'm just starting out, I want to get product feedback.

I want to get content, I wanna get my product into their hands, and I wanna work with people that are genuine fans of the product. And that doesn't happen if you're immediately asking for them to post, cause you're just not gonna know if they're posting because you pay them enough money or there's a contractual obligation or they truly did love the product.

Again, like Paul's saying, do that, does that sometimes work for people? Sure. There's still obviously people posting case studies that I find hard believing, but if it's working, I'm sure. But just from a generic to give you the one size fits all or try to, that's what I would do. If, and no, I'm not talking about a if I have a sauna brand, cause obviously you can't mass seed that product.

So there's a bunch of nuance to this. There's obviously like a bunch of follow up questions, but if I'm just starting out, that's what I'm doing.

[00:43:06] Aadil Razvi: I think the point behind that is to derisk, right? Effectively if you're paying for a post, right off the bat, you've just left yourself completely exposed, like you're at the kind of whim of that.

[00:43:22] Paul Benigeri: I think if you look at more broadly, like again, DTC has like pretty tight margins. It can be like challenging. So maybe that answer holds true there, but I think that, for a lot of B2B and like SaaS companies and B2C SaaS companies, paying influencers can be an outstanding strategy. Like literally it is our current, best channel at Archive or app,

it works. We don't, of course it's important to pick the right people. We have them try our product and make sure they like it as part of it, but we're like, Yeah, we wanna pay you to chill our stuff and talk about it, but you gotta like it, as well. And that works really well.

And again, in some cases if you're an e-com company and you don't have the same margins, it can be difficult. It can be saturated. There's some good arguments there, but again, I know that the audience is varied and diverse. We've got some DTC people, we've got some SaaS people, we've got some consumer apps.

And so again, if you got a consumer app, like you're just gonna have to pay people to do some of this stuff, and it might be a really good thing.

[00:44:26] Aadil Razvi: Paul, how do you actually calculate how much to pay these influencers?

[00:44:31] Cody Wittick: Oh, God. Good luck on that one.

[00:44:35] Paul Benigeri: I think every brand has to figure that out for themselves.

There's no calculator. And so yeah, the way to do it is to have a testing budget and negotiate as much as you can. Try to negotiate, have someone on your team try to get a good deal just like anything, negotiating your suppliers, you're negotiating, etc. So negotiate do it a couple of times, measure it, and then calculate your metrics and optimize based on that.

I think another way to think about it is not just how do you decide how much to pay but know that the first month you work with an influencer is gonna be a paid test, and you can tell them. Be like, Hey, so if we're paying you 500 bucks, we expect this. If we're paying you 200 bucks, we expect this. If you can drive these results, we'll put you in a 12 month contract, and then, and let's go.

If you can't get those results, it's all good. So I think if you're serious about influencer marketing, you will have to develop your own heuristics for how to measure influencers, and you can validate that on the back end, and then you can like maybe predict things a little bit. But it's always hard.

But that's how I would think about it. It's Hey, you have to actually build your own calculator for your brand. Depends on your margins, depends on the type of product, your audience, the platform, and etc.

[00:45:51] Aadil Razvi: The weeds and just start going to work and see I guess what you can get.

There's not really, it's kinda the..

[00:46:00] Paul Benigeri: That is almost like asking Hey, like what CPM should you get on Facebook? You don't really, First of all, you don't decide what CPM you're gonna get on Facebook. And second of all, it just depends on your margin structure, your goals, if you're trying to grow like more heavily or not like your conversion rate, right?

I think it's important to just help people understand that it's actually a little bit more of a complicated equation than hey, let's just like plug in a calculator, divide their followers by whatever magic number and spit out a price. Cause that again, just depends on so many things

[00:46:33] Cody Wittick: Yeah, I think factors to consider in pricing is just the tier of influencer you're talking to, what deliverables you're asking of them, what's the length of term, and then are you having usage rights?

Things like whitelisting, all these different things play into it. But good God, it's Wild West. You have people with 20,000 followers, people with 150,000 followers charging the same exact rate for an IG story. It's just because they base their rates on what they got paid last time, and that becomes their new benchmark, right?

So that's why you have just a chaotic industry, which can be very upsetting to people especially when you're operating on a pay for post model. It can be very exhausting. But those are four things that I would look at in terms of like, how do I structure a contract and how do I pay them? And what to pay them.

But just on like a macro category tier, who you're talking to, deliverables, what you're asking them, do you have usage rights? Cause that's gonna ump the NTA at least a little bit. And then what's the length of term? Is this like a one off post or is this a six month, 12 month type of contract?

[00:47:42] Aadil Razvi: Yeah, tier of influencer, deliverable, length of term. And then the usage rights. Not to get too into the weeds, but on the point of usage. Is that something where it's oh, you should always go for being able to use it every anywhere. Is there again, this is just like whatever you can get.

[00:48:01] Cody Wittick: I would say yes, a hundred. Like from a macro overarching, always. Yeah. You gotta have the ability to repurpose this, even if it's not just like on Facebook ads. But if you have a macro, like at Kayla, we worked with Dale Earnhart, Jr. He was very influential in us getting into retail partnerships. He needed to be on end caps and Lowes.

So we needed usage rights and like his name, image, and likeness for that sort of thing. So you have to have repper ability to some degree. Just depends on what costs and what you're willing to pay. Like on a micro basis, I would never do a contract with a micro influencer unless I have repurpose.

Just cause then you're putting all your eggs and the organic distribution basket and I just want, if I'm the brand I want more to play with, I want, I have all these other channels that I can make money. I want the ability to use the content elsewhere where I can actually have a little bit more control than just the organic algorithm.

[00:48:56] Aadil Razvi: Paul, is that something you're also like, you heavily make sure that's part of your campaigns as well?

[00:49:02] Paul Benigeri: Not always. Again it, it depends on the goals and the relationship. The majority of the time it can be valuable to do it. Again, just having these like hard blanket rules is not always great and it depends on what you wanna be doing.

So for example, If you have a community of 50,000 influencers and you want them to create like a ton of like content for you and share it, maybe you don't need usage rights cause what are you gonna do with 50,000 posts? So that's like a real example of a brand that's using our software to automate their community.

They just don't need usage rights for all their content. If you're just not running Facebook ads, don't have a team to do that, you've got a crappy team, then maybe you can get better deals by not asking for usage rights. So I would say the majority of the time brands are using the content and are in the case to request it.

And a lot of time it just comes as part of it. But I think there's cases to not need it.

[00:50:00] Aadil Razvi: We'll end it there. I think I think we could have gone for much longer. So much to unpack from this black box of influencer marketing. I appreciate you all helping us demystify this whole channel for us.

Paul let the people know what you got going on in your life and how they can get in touch, and I'd love to hear from you, Cody.

[00:50:22] Paul Benigeri: Yeah. Our company Archive builds software to help automate all of your community marketing and including influencer marketing. So we talked a lot about requesting Easter rights, contacting influencers.

We build software to help automate all of that. If you check out, you can install our app. Super easy to set up, takes one minute to install and it'll automatically start detecting all the content you're tagged in and then lets you request usage rights, do all kinds of things based on that.

So we think that the future of community marketing is gonna be heavily automated and we're helping brands by providing them the tools to do that.

[00:50:57] Aadil Razvi: Very cool. How can they get in touch, paul?

[00:51:00] Paul Benigeri: Twitter at benigeri, b-e-n-i-g-e-r-i.

[00:51:05] Aadil Razvi: Awesome. And man, the is such a flex. I love it. What a mic drop right there. Congrats on that. Cody, let's hear from you, man.

[00:51:14] Cody Wittick: Yeah we're Kynship. We do influencer seating campaigns and leverage that content on paid social. So we're reaching out to 500 micro influencers per campaign, all no strings attached, and leveraging the content that gets posted. And leveraging tools like Archive.

Big fan of Archive. So if you guys have not heard of it or you're just hearing about it, go and download it. It's a great way to capture content, especially if you're gonna do seating campaigns. You need to be able to capture the content, know exactly what content is getting posted about you, if you're gonna be seating out product.

And then you can find me on Twitter at Cody_Wittick same spelling. I don't have a number one in there or anything like that to spice it up. Just at Cody Wittick and happy to be helpful or resource for even if you're not interested in our agency to help answer any questions that you might have on influencer.

Awesome. Thank you both so much. This was an incredible session. If you're doing anything influencer marketing related, even thinking about it, these are two people you wanna check out their stuff. Get in touch. Paul and Cody, this was a fantastic session. Once again really appreciate you.

More recordings from Growth Summit