Confessions of an Influencer N00b

The following post was written by guest blogger Ashley Christiano. Please read her bio after the post.

So you’ve decided to try your hand at influencer marketing, that wild west of user acquisition where you put your brand in the hands of a total stranger. A total stranger who’s probably never used your product or app or service, but one who’s following trusts their word before all else. They’re smart, they’re beautiful, and they have the audience you want.

Now what?

You’re excited. You’re a little scared. And you’re probably pretty unsure of what to do next.

I was in your shoes not too long ago. Just a marketing manager for a news app, thrilled at the getting to try out one of the year’s big trends. So I did what any good marketing manager does: research. I read articles, I took notes, and I vetted agencies and platforms. I decided a platform (Revfluence) would work best for us. With our small test budget and virtually zero knowledge of just what we were getting ourselves into, it would give us the most hands-on experience and control over the campaign.

So here’s what I learned over the course of our two-month experiment.

  • Be patient:

It will take much longer to get this campaign up than you think, especially if you’re working with YouTube influencers (which we were). Give yourself at least a month to just get a good number of creators signed on to work with you before making any decisions about the success or failure of the campaign.

  • Try out different kinds of creatives:

For this campaign, we were focused on YouTube only. So for us it was trying out different kinds of video reviews: dedicated app reviews, a mention in a best apps of the month for various platforms, life hacks or productivity tips.

For our campaign, the dedicated videos did not work at all. They cost more and they sounded less authentic, leading to less installs and lower engaged users.

So ask your influencers what ideas they have. What do they think will resonate best with their audience?

  • Give them bullets, not a script:

You’re working with them because they know their audience and what their audience wants. So give them some free reign and room for creative expression. We provided some bullets based on copy we knew worked for us in other marketing efforts, as well as an outline of the general benefits of our app. But beyond that, we let them go. And it was the ones who had the most fun with it, and sounded the most natural, that did the best.

  • Know your target audience, but be willing to experiment:

For us, we knew our current audience was predominantly male, urban professionals and early adopters. So we went for a younger, male audience (gadget and app reviewers, and men’s lifestyle, for the most part) but also explored other areas (a travel blogger, some film reviewers, and a young woman who’s channel is all about life hacks and being your best self).

By the end of our campaign we had determined who worked for us: Attractive millennials who have their shit together and a devoted following. From Austin who included a killer review of our app in his December Android Apps of the Month round-up, to Haley who pitched Reuters TV as a life hack and a way for young women to keep up with the news that was relevant to them.

Which brings me to my next point….

  • Provide a phonetic pronunciation:

There’s nothing worse then getting half a minute in to this so-far great video that probably took the influencers HOURS to produce, only to discover that..NOOOOOOOO…they pronounced your product’s name incorrectly. Yes, this happened to us. More than once. And then we started sending a phonetic pronunciation (it’s ROY-ters, y’all) to each influencer.

By the end of our campaign we had gained a better understanding of how to collaborate successfully with YouTube influencers. We’d learned what worked and what didn’t, and armed ourselves with the knowledge that this could be a viable acquisition method for us in the future. With the right creator and the right message, our Cost per Install was on par with our Facebook campaigns, and our engagement for these users was actually higher.

Does it take some extra leg work? Yes. But you’ll also learn a lot about what real consumers think about your product, and be able to use that knowledge in future campaigns, influencer marketing or not.

Plus, you’ll get to throw one of the year’s big buzzwords around in casual conversation for a bit. And who doesn’t like that?


-Post by guest blogger Ashley Christiano-

img_0965Ashley Christiano is the Senior Marketing Manager for Reuters TV, where she focuses on user acquisition and retention for the award-winning video news app. Ashley has worked in the mobile media space for over five years, starting out at Hearst Magazines before joining the team at Reuters TV.





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