Billboards and catalogs don’t reach customers like they used to. Influencers are today’s marketing solution for a digital world. Here’s how you can start working with them.
Jeff Lambert: (00:00)
Billboards and catalogs don't reach customers like they used to. Influencers are today's marketing solution for a digital world. Here's how you can start working with them.
Jeff Lambert: (00:25)
Hello everybody and welcome to Inbound Academy brought to you by Rizen. I'm your host as always Jeff Lambert. I am excited today because we're going to be talking about influencer marketing and we have someone in the studio today who is really very experienced in this industry and has a lot to share with us on the topic. Her name is Gabriella Huerta. She has over 10 years of experience in digital marketing and social media analysis as well as working with influencers and public relations in general. Gabby, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Gaby Huerta: (00:57)
Thank you Jeff. How are you?
Jeff Lambert: (00:59)
I'm doing well. How are you?
Gaby Huerta: (01:01)
Fine, fine thank you.
Jeff Lambert: (01:03)
So I'd like to before we jump into the topic to give our listeners a chance to get to know you a little bit. Can you give us a little bit of what you do on a daily basis? What is your main role and how do you interact in the marketing industry?
Gaby Huerta: (01:19)
Yeah. Great. Well actually I'm a speaker and consultant about digital media topics. I've been working since 10 years ago in very global brands and mainly I've been on analytics, public relations, branding areas. So I love marketing.
Jeff Lambert: (01:45)
Very good. And we had the chance to meet at one of these conferences that you speak at. We were down in Santo Domingo together at Iberoamericana, excuse me, university. And that's when we met up. So it's great to be able to connect with you again.
Gaby Huerta: (02:01)
Yeah, thank you very much. It was a very amazing experience. I love to be at Santo Domingo.
Jeff Lambert: (02:09)
Yeah, it's a beautiful city. Like the people are so friendly. The food was amazing. We have really good weather as well.
Gaby Huerta: (02:15)
Yeah, I love it too.
Jeff Lambert: (02:17)
I can't wait. Hopefully we both get invited back at the same time so we can have another good a week there with the students and with the overall event that they did.
Gaby Huerta: (02:27)
Yeah, it was a very nice activity. It was a very complete congress and the people was learning a lot, was very happy there. I love that.
Jeff Lambert: (02:40)
Yeah, and I think what you and I did that week when we were there ties perfectly into our topic that we're going to discuss today. In both ways you and I are both influencers in different areas of marketing and sales and inbound in general. We speak to different audiences and sometimes the same audiences, but we speak to a lot of marketers and small business people and influencer marketing is becoming really popular especially in recent years. So I'd like to talk to you a little bit about what that is and before we get into influencer marketing in general, could you give our audience a little bit of background in terms of advertising has really changed in the past 10 years, right?
Gaby Huerta: (03:20)
Yeah, that's right. I looked.
Jeff Lambert: (03:22)
How has the customer changed? What has changed about advertising in general?
Gaby Huerta: (03:27)
The big thing is digital media. 10 years ago, smartphones were not as popular or as cheap as we can find them today. So digital media has changed the way we communicate because before digital media and smartphones, we worked with unilateral communications. So right now with digital media we have the possibility to listen the consumer and also we have a kind of obligation to listen to them because the consumer has the reason, they're the King. So we can't ignore what they feel about our brands. So this is one of the activities or the media that has changed in the past 10 years. Also, if we thought we were cluttered with the billboards, with TV ads, radio and all of them, right now the clutter on messages is even more. So clutter is a very interesting topic right now in marketing and also the attention spans.
Gaby Huerta: (04:50)
Before we had a lot of notifications on our phones. There are many studies that say that people had like 12 seconds of attention in an activity, but in 2013 attention spans dropped into nine seconds or less. That is less than the attention that a golden fish has. So yeah, it's very interesting because... And this study was made like seven years ago. Right now the big problem that we have is that people are consuming more and more content. For example, Instagram stories, I saw a meme on 9GAG. It was a cartoon of the... I don't know if you remember the scene in which in Choice Story there was the pork switching the channels very fastly and the meme said that this is the way that consume Instagram stories or in general, this kind of instant content because people believe that there's a lot of of content and they have no time. So they click very fastly and consume them.
Gaby Huerta: (06:11)
So what's happening with the attention spans, it's dropping even to lower... There's no study right now about the attention span because it's kind of different for each person. But this kind of instant communication, this kind of fear of missing out is changing people's mind. Yes. These are kind of changes that are shifting our communications right now. And the thing is that clutter will continue and attention spans will probably drop.
Jeff Lambert: (06:52)
You know it's crazy when you say that because you think about even when you and I were kids, I think we're borderline millennials, we had 30 seconds to a minute for each commercial. A lot of times advertisements would run at the end of the game show we were watching or flipping through a 50 page magazine in order to read a story. You're right, people just don't have the attention span to sit down and read long form content anymore or to watch a long form video. They want things quickly and they want us to get to the point. And like you said, those Instagram stories, any of these instant platforms there are videos that are five to 10 seconds, maybe 15 depending, so I think I hear what you're saying is that we have to really rethink how we advertise to today's customers.
Gaby Huerta: (07:43)
Yeah. Also, Acuity Ads have made a study in which they show how content has been growing in the last years. And the attention levels from people or the consumption of media is almost the same. So brands are creating a lot of content, but people are not consuming them. All of them.
Jeff Lambert: (08:06)
Yeah. I don't think our brains can handle it. Right? There's so much getting thrown at us. It's just hard to keep up and we ended up just kind of shielding it out. Our brains can only take so much of the onslaught. So there's got to be a lesson in there and that's where we see influencers becoming popular. So let's talk about influencers. These individuals or companies that people kind of choose to let in their lives. Can you define what is an influencer? If I had never interacted with one before what would I be looking for?
Gaby Huerta: (08:38)
Yeah, sure. An influencer is a person that can persuade people to change their minds. We shouldn't think about the number of followers because that's a vanity metric. We should think about how this people do their leadership job in an industry or in a topic. So an influencer could be a person that has a thousand followers, but if they believe in them and if they see him as an authority, he's an influencer. So I know that there are some categories about the number of followers, but on first place, an influencer is a person that can be capable of change people mind to teach them. And the most valuable asset in marketing is trust. So this is a point that convinced customers right now. So trust, empathy, this kind of values are very important right now on marketing. So influencers have trust and people believe in them. So that's why they have become very important right now.
Jeff Lambert: (09:58)
Can you give some examples of influencers that maybe you and I interact with every day or see every day, that we may not even realize they're influencers?
Gaby Huerta: (10:07)
Yeah. Here in Mexico there are two influencers that are very famous. For example, Luisito Comunica which is a video blogger about traveling. So he has been worked a lot of years on the traveling videos. He is kind of funny. People like them, but like him, sorry. So right now Luisito Comunica has an interesting project in which he is selling his own clothing brand. So he has found several ways to make more money from his fame and also he's a very charismatic person and people will buy his stuff.
Gaby Huerta: (10:54)
The second example is Yuya. Yuya is a video blogger for beauty and makeup tips for women. So Yuya has also made interesting alliances or partnerships with several makeup and health brands. For example, she has her own shampoo line. It's a shampoo brand from Unilever. So she has made a great deal with that brand. And also Yuya has her own makeup brand. So if people love them and trust in this influencers, they will probably buy their products. So these are two Mexican examples of these people that also... They first create a personal branding that is very strong on digital media. And after that they create products that can be sold and people will buy them.
Jeff Lambert: (12:08)
Got it. So it really just comes down to you, like you said, people that have industry knowledge, people trust what they're saying. And so if they recommend a product or a service, people are going to take what they're saying is genuine. Correct?
Gaby Huerta: (12:21)
Yeah, yeah, that's right. That's right. Because they have created a good connection with their people. There are using the digital media and the bilateral communication. They are very near to their partners, to their audiences and that's what people need. They don't want to hear unilateral messages from brands. They want to feel that they are listened to. So that's what influencers do.
Jeff Lambert: (12:58)
Got it. Yeah. And just to go back to the point Gabby, I think that if you own a small business, if you are a marketer, you really have to look at your industry. I think about, and we'll talk about this a little bit more later, I have a friend who is very big into flying drones, those little helicopter model things that people can use.
Gaby Huerta: (13:19)
Jeff Lambert: (13:19)
Yeah, he races those and he goes to different places and he posts his YouTube videos on them. He started doing that. He has, I think about 5,000 followers now on YouTube. He started a blog and he rates different drones and different parts that you can use to upgrade the drones and for his industry, for the drone industry, 5,000 people, that's a good following. He has a lot of people paying attention to what he says and he's starting to get companies asking him, "Hey, try my product and review it. If it's good can you tell people it's good." And he may not be pulling in a million followers, but in that industry where he is, that's a big thing for him. He's a big name in that space.
Jeff Lambert: (13:59)
So it's about finding people you can work with who have sway in what you're doing. Why don't we talk a little bit more about, I guess the scope of working with an influencer. So in this space, let's say I'm a small business owner, I own a pizza shop or I started a brand selling some type of a fashion product. Where would I begin looking for influencers to work with? Is there a first step that you would recommend?
Gaby Huerta: (14:27)
The first step is, think about your consumer. If your consumer is... Well we should take a look on social media platforms in general, but there are two ways of doing this. The manual and the programmatic. The manual is that you search with your own hands the influencer that you type the name of the industry, the topic. You can also ask for your clients or your audiences if they can recommend you an influencer about food or traveling. People you can ask them and well the programmatic solution is that there are platforms for example like Fluvip in which those are website in which you type the industry that you want to find influencers and there are influencers that have put information about them and they have their own fees. So this is a practice in which you can select the influencers or you can say, "Okay, I have this budget. I want to invest this quantity on influencers and how many can I get?"
Gaby Huerta: (15:53)
For example, in the manual process you can be very near to the influencer. You can tell him the brief, you can tell him how is your brand going, you can tell him what to say, what not to say and you can work very near, very close with this person. And in the programmatic platform you only send the information. Yes, you can send a brief, you can send some instructions, but you are not so close with the influencer. You only depend on what the technology or what the person understands from your brief.
Gaby Huerta: (16:42)
So this are two ways, but in first place you have to think about your audience. Who is your... The best client for you and which platforms are they using. Yeah, the platforms, the topics. For example, if you are working on the food or restaurant industry, you should think about when is the National Pizza Day or National Spaghetti Day because in the US there are a lot of activities in the calendar. So you should also think about that because the best social media pieces occur on the best moment.
Jeff Lambert: (17:28)
Right. And finding people to promote that who people trust. It's very easy for influencers to lose trust if they just start pedaling brands for money because the products may not be good. So yeah, finding people that have sway in the industry. That makes perfect sense. And I will make sure to put a link in the show notes for our listeners, you mentioned that there's a couple of platforms that you can use, like you said, where you can type in your industry and be able to see influencers in your space that you could work with. That's a great resource.
Jeff Lambert: (17:59)
If I decided to do option one and I ask my customers who influences them and I do some research on social media and I narrow down my list, what would you recommend in terms of a next step? So I've identified three influencers I want to work with. Do I send them an email? Do I meet with them in person? How do I start off that relationship? What's the best way to be able to start working with that individual and make it a productive relationship?
Gaby Huerta: (18:29)
Most influencers publish their email. Also, you can send a private message. Most of them have them in a public way. So you can contact them. You could present yourself as, "Okay, I'm the director of this company. I would like to work with you." And also, I think this is the first step, like a private message or an email. Also in order to make it more formal, you should consider a contract. So you can work... You can identify the scope of work with the influencer. So it could be a good idea. If you are thinking about this contract, this could be... Since the first place, and this could be very useful for you because you can do the accord, I mean the agreement in a written way.
Gaby Huerta: (19:43)
So the influencer, will say, "Okay, this is a serious company and transparency is necessary in all relationships. Right?" And also you should consider also that quality is more important than quantity. I mean that you shouldn't ask the influencer to clutter their social media like with a product, because people... If there's a lot of cluttering and posting a lot, maybe their audience will feel like... Will know that it's been paid for. You should make an agreement about how you would work with the influencers so the recommendations should be natural.
Jeff Lambert: (20:46)
Got it. Okay.
Gaby Huerta: (20:47)
Not like putting a lot of ads.
Jeff Lambert: (20:48)
Right right. It's got to feel organic, like it fits into the influencers life and it's something they're actually recommending.
Gaby Huerta: (20:55)
Yeah. And also you as a director, you should also measure, identify and make an agreement about the KPIs that you will be doing with your influencer. For example, if you would like awareness, you could ask the influencer to share with you a report about the awareness that he produced to your brand. And also as many brands are going through a performance metrics, you can do this because for example, let's say that you contract an influencer to create registers or even sales on digital media. You can do it, but you can add UTM on your URL and this UTM will help you to identify if the influencer really help you to make people register or even buy your product. You can check this on the Google Analytics. So this is a very interesting measure and if you are looking for direct performance, you can do it with influencer. So when you give the influencer this link with the UTM that says, "Okay, the source is a campaign with this influencer," you can check his performance on Google analytics.
Jeff Lambert: (22:39)
Sure. And see how much a sway he's having with his audience. I've also seen it done where there's certain websites that have promo codes for their products and they'll create a specific promo code for that influencer. So if it's Cristiano Ronaldo or something, maybe the promo code is C Ronaldo. So when he's on his social profile and he's saying, "Hey, you should check out this brand of socks, go to the website, use this promo code to let them know that you saw my ad." Or use something like that that allows the company to-
Gaby Huerta: (23:11)
Yeah that's fine.
Jeff Lambert: (23:12)
Yeah, it allows them to directly measure and say, "Oh wow, we sold a hundred pairs of socks and they used this promo code. So they were looking at this person's profile and yeah." I agree with what you're saying. And there's got to be some report that your investment actually worked. So I'd like to just take a step back and break these down again. What I hear you saying is a good place to start is to obviously reach out and contact the individual, whether it's by email or by phone, but have that initial conversation to see if they're interested. And then you mentioned creating a contract, some type of written agreement that's important. Yes?
Gaby Huerta: (23:44)
Yeah, it's, necessary. Yeah because there are some influencers that would be very informal or they wouldn't care about a lot of your brand in that right moment so look, when you work with an influencer, you are giving them a part of your branding. And it's kind of risky so in order to minimize this risk you should talk with them very seriously. Create a contract, create a good relationship with these people to be transparent with them because you are lending a piece of your brand with them. And if they do something bad, your brand can also get hurt with that. So it's kind of delicate. We should take a lot of care with this topic.
Jeff Lambert: (24:39)
Yeah. And you mentioned too. As the next step when you develop that written contract to have a conversation with the influencer and say, "Look, this is what I want my brand to be known for. This is what I'm comfortable with you doing. This is what I'm not comfortable with you doing." And to kind of set those guidelines out.
Gaby Huerta: (24:57)
Yeah, that's right. To be clear in any moment. Yeah, it's like human relationships. We should be clear, transparent with both sides. So the brand will get the most benefit from this partnership.
Jeff Lambert: (25:17)
And then you mentioned of course, and I think it's a great point, ask for some sort of metrics or a report when you're done or agree what the expectations are going to be. So is it going to be to increase your social media following, is it going to be to influence sales by a certain percentage? Is it going to be to draw people to a certain event, have that metric in place. I think that's a great point. Now, let's go ahead and talk about in your personal life and you and I think we both follow certain influencers in the industry, for people who are out there who are in the marketing industry who listen to this podcast or small business owners that are looking to follow people that could teach them best practices for growing their business. Do you have any influencers that you recommend in the marketing and sales space?
Gaby Huerta: (26:03)
Yeah, yeah. For example, Matt Navarra and Matthew Kobach. I'm not sure if I pronounce him well. They talk about social media on Twitter. I love to read them because they're very direct and I love the way they talk about social media. Yeah. Also is Estefania Cardenas. She has her Facebook and her new podcast about As in Marketing as in Love. So she does a lot of analogies between marketing and love relationships and it's very interesting. I love to hear it, to hear him. She's a good friend.
Gaby Huerta: (26:52)
Also Alexis Socco that was a speaker also on Dominican Republic. I like his LinkedIn because he shares a lot of graphs about consumption, digital media. Yeah. I love his information too. On Instagram I can also recommend you Gaby Castellanos. She's a person that travels a lot and she shares a lot of tips about social media marketing. I've learned a lot from her and we'll finally, I have two podcasts that I like a lot is La Academia de Marketing online, the Online Marketing Academy that is a Spanish podcast and also a Mexican podcast that is called Social FM with Allen and Aheil [Bondia 00:27:50] . It's a good source of information about what's happening on the digital media world. So I like to follow these people.
Jeff Lambert: (27:59)
Okay. Yeah. And I think about in my personal experience, the people that I follow every day, I'm a big fan of Neil Patel and his marketing school podcast and he's everywhere.
Gaby Huerta: (28:09)
Yeah, yeah. Also he has a very interesting content.
Jeff Lambert: (28:16)
He really does. And he's everywhere. He has a YouTube channel, he has a podcast. He's very active on social media, so I really enjoy following him. Gary V is another one. I think everyone knows-
Gaby Huerta: (28:30)
Yeah, I follow him too. I love the cartoons on LinkedIn.
Jeff Lambert: (28:32)
Yeah. Yeah. He talks about everything. I don't know how he manages to put out the amount of content that he does, but he's someone I've picked up a lot from just in terms of different things to try different softwares to kick the tires on. Another one I really like that I can think of just people that I follow Anne Handley, I'm sorry. Ann Handley is another name that I really enjoy. She's from Boston like me. So you know I feel like I have to support people from Massachusetts, but she's also just... I think she's the chief content officer at a major organization and she's written a lot of articles for the Wall Street Journal and she's very active on social media. So I would recommend her as well.
Jeff Lambert: (29:14)
And we both have on our own spaces, personal influencers that we enjoy too. And I hope our listeners can kind of think in their heads to like, "Okay, this is an example of a influencer that I listened to that maybe I didn't even think of before." I guess to finish off Gabby, you spend a lot of time traveling, you spend a lot of time speaking about marketing and speaking about just how to grow one's business. Can you give our listeners an opportunity to follow you as an influencer? How can we follow your travels and be able to learn from your industry experience?
Gaby Huerta: (29:48)
Oh yeah, sure. You can find me as the Gabriella Huerta on LinkedIn and in the rest of the platforms like Gabby Huerta. Gabby with a Y at the end. And also my username is Gabby Loo. Let me spell it for you. G-A-B-I-L-O-O-O with three O's at the end. And this is a nickname that I use for all my social media. I love Twitter, but also I'm on Instagram, on YouTube. I love sharing in different channels.
Jeff Lambert: (30:28)
I would recommend to our listeners to definitely give you a listen and a follow and Gabby, I have to mention too you're an expert of branding. I remember shortly after we met in the Dominican Republic, I asked if you had a card and you handed me a cutout, a little emoji figurine of you and it had all of your contact information on it. And I thought that was a really cool way to be able to market yourself.
Gaby Huerta: (30:51)
Oh, thank you very much. Yeah. Yeah, it's a sticker with the... It's a cartoon of me that one of... My designer has created. My designer is Josuedric. I love his cartoons and I think that this character is different from a business card because people usually expect a business card, but it's a different way to present to me with people because I love creating a different experience with them.
Jeff Lambert: (31:27)
Well it definitely worked. It made an impression on me right off the bat and I can't wait to hear what else you have to offer our audiences in marketing and otherwise. So Gabby, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Gaby Huerta: (31:40)
Thank you very much Jeff.
Jeff Lambert: (31:42)
We wish you all the best.
Gaby Huerta: (31:43)
You too. Have a nice day.
Jeff Lambert: (31:47)
Well that brings us to the end of another episode everybody. Thank you so much for joining us and remember, you can expect a new episode of Inbound Academy every week and it's always going to be filled with advice that's going to help you grow your business. And remember, if you're looking for an experienced, friendly and results-driven team to help you check out, Rizen by going to gorizen.com that's risen with the Z. You can also follow their adventures on social media.
Jeff Lambert: (32:15)
They're available on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn by searching for the username Rizeninbound, that's one word Rizeninbound. And remember to our regular listeners, if you can just take a minute and go and leave us a review on your podcast app of choice that really helps us reach new people and be able to expand our audience. So overall, thank you for your support and we'll see you on the next episode.