This article originally appeared on Influencer Marketing Days on September 7th, 2017.
Continuing this year’s pre-show interview series, today I bring you the interview with yet another one of Influencer Marketing Days 2017 speakers, Matt Myers. At our second annual conference, Matt will co-present with Clarins providing a blueprint of successful influencer relationship automation.
Question: In a few words, could you please tell the IMD’s community about yourself and what you do?
Matt: Matthew Myers is co-founder and CEO of Tidal Labs, a 7 year-old startup company whose software and strategies power the influencer networks for brands like Kohler, Gap, Today Show and Clarins, among others. Matthew has spoken on the evolution of technology and marketing at events like SXSW & Advertising Week.
Question: Influencer marketing has been around for a few years and has already had its share of ups and downs. What are the biggest challenges that you see it face now?
Matt: I think we’re over the biggest hump, which is simply recognition – moving forward, influencer marketing will be at least be on the radar of competent marketing professionals at every brand. Unfortunately the term has developed some negative connotations through its association with mercenary celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez. I don’t have anything against these stars personally, but they’ve received some backlash for being perceived as inauthentic spokespeople, and have given “influencer marketing” a bad name as a result. Our biggest challenge from a sales perspective is convincing brands that building internal networks of influencers/advocates is a very different proposition from paying celebrities to endorse a product, and that the authentic exposure that comes with activating micro-influencers can have a huge impact on the brand perception and purchasing behavior of the audience.
Question: How can marketers overcome these?
Matt: We’re starting to see savvy marketers wanting to build personal relationships with content creators, and we’re confident that more and more brands will start buying into the idea that you can only leverage the trust a creator has established with their audience if you’ve built a trusting relationship with that creator as well.
Question: What, in your opinion, is the biggest advantage of (doing) influencer marketing?
Matt: For brands, one of the biggest advantages of influencer marketing is the prolific, authentic content they can get from a diverse array of brand-chosen influencers. Over the past few years, brands have recognized the impact authentic content has on their audience. By hand-picking their own influencers and developing creator networks, brands have the opportunity to reach an unparalleled number of followers in their target demographics.
Question: When operating on a tight budget, but wanting to hop on the influencer marketing bandwagon, where would you recommend a company to focus their efforts, how, and why?
Matt: In the early stages, when operating at a small scale, influencer marketing can be handled manually. Brands can search for creators on instagram and across the blogosphere, and reach out and form relationships with these influencers one at a time. When it’s time to scale this strategy and it becomes appropriate or desirable to activate anywhere from 20 to 100s of influencers per month, managing campaigns manually becomes no longer feasible, and brands should seek out software to help streamline this process.
Question: On September 26, 2017 you’re speaking at Influencer Marketing Days. Why should marketers want attend your session?
Matt: Managers should attend my session because I’ve been running a software company in the influencer marketing space since before Twitter & Instagram existed, and I’ve helped some of the world’s biggest brands manage effective scaled campaigns with hundreds of influencers and audiences of tens of millions.
Question: If you were to give one influencer marketing advice to brands/advertisers, and one to influencers, what would they be?
Matt: I would tell brand marketer to think like an investor. Good investors use a data-driven approach to build a portfolio of picks and then are always tuning that portfolio. They would never use their gut to put all of their assets in just one stock. As a marketer you should diversify and allocate in the same way and that means you need tech as a core part of your strategy.
For influencers, you have to hustle. You’re a brand manager yourself, that brand being you. And you have to attend events with marketers, build relationships with them and the platforms and networks they rely on. And you have to stay abreast of the latest social tools and online trends in your area of expertise. This will make you the go-to expert when it’s time to launch a new campaign.