The Green Influence: How Social Media Stars are Steering Sustainable Commerce

Sustainable commerce has grown to include more than just eco-friendly products on store shelves in the digital commerce world. It’s about creating a movement – a lifestyle that reduces environmental impact and promotes ethical practices, focusing on changing consumer habits and business models for a healthier planet. 

A significant force behind this movement? Social media influencers. Influencers have emerged as pivotal figures steering the movement towards a more sustainable world, leveraging their significant sway over public opinion and consumer behavior. 

Critics initially accused influencer marketing of promoting over-consumption during the 2010s, yet a notable shift has quickly followed. Brands and influencers are increasingly using their platform and follower relationships to promote eco-friendly commerce practices, proving themselves to be essential allies in the quest for environmental sustainability.

The Responsibility of Influencers in Promoting Sustainability

With 46% of consumers demanding brands to lead in sustainability efforts, there’s a clear call for brand accountability in environmental initiatives. But how can influencers help a brand succeed in reshaping their marketing efforts?

  • Visibility and Awareness: Influencers are a secret weapon in sustainability marketing, driving personalized awareness that goes beyond the impressions of traditional advertising. By showcasing sustainable lifestyle choices, influencers not only promote products but also inspire a shift in consumer behavior towards more environmentally responsible actions.
  • Authenticity and Trust: Consumers are more likely to trust and emulate the green practices of influencers they follow, especially when those influencers share their authentic experiences and the tangible benefits of their eco-friendly choices. This trust fosters a deeper connection between consumers and sustainable brands, bridging the gap between awareness and action.
  • Engagement and Community Building: Influencers excel in creating communities centered around shared interests and values. Their platforms become forums for discussing sustainability, exchanging tips, and encouraging eco-friendly practices. Shopify highlights how influencers can really connect with their audience, turning casual watchers into engaged supporters of the eco-friendly movement.

Navigating Challenges and Shaping the Future of Sustainable Commerce

Addressing the challenges in sustainable commerce and influencer marketing requires a multifaceted approach, requiring a shared responsibility from both consumers and the brands themselves:

  • Combat Greenwashing: Brands should ensure all claims are backed by credible certifications and clear, accessible evidence of their sustainability efforts. Transparency in marketing and product labeling will help build consumer trust.
  • Bridge the Digital Divide: Increase accessibility by offering diverse, inclusive content and solutions that cater to various demographics and technological access levels. This could involve optimizing content for low-bandwidth environments or leveraging different platforms to reach a broader audience.
  • Maintain Authenticity: Brands should prioritize partnerships with influencers that align with their values and are passionate about sustainability. Brands and influencers alike should maintain transparency regarding their sponsored content and openly share the criteria guiding their partnership selections.
  • Educate and Engage: Both brands and influencers can play a role in educating consumers about sustainability. This includes sharing information on the importance of sustainable practices and how individual choices can make a difference.

The role of marketers in harnessing the power of social media influencers for promoting sustainable commerce is more vital than ever. As consumers increasingly prioritize ethical and environmentally-friendly practices, marketers have the opportunity to steer their brands towards greater sustainability. By supporting and amplifying their message, we can all be part of the solution, driving forward the movement for a more sustainable and ethical world. This approach not only meets consumer demand but also builds lasting brand loyalty and trust. Dive deeper into the world of ethical marketing by exploring our white paper on Simple Strategies for Sustainable Marketing. Download now and take a step towards driving the movement for a more ethical and sustainable world.

Inside the World of Influencer Marketing with Tagger Media’s Peter Kennedy

This Q&A is an adaptation of a conversation between Coegi’s SVP of Marketing and Innovation, Ryan Green, and Peter Kennedy, the founder and president of influencer marketing company Tagger Media, which was recently acquired by Sprout Social. You can listen to the full episode of the podcast here

Read on to hear Peter’s insights on the startup journey, and how he was able to adapt and build a successful company by focusing on customer needs. ______________________________________________________________________________________________

Ryan: I’m happy to be joined by the founder and CEO of Tagger Media, Pete Kennedy. Thanks for joining us today. I know we have some big news to talk about but would love to hear a little bit about your background, a quick elevator pitch, and resume of how you got here today.

Pete Kennedy: Thanks for having me here. I’ve been doing stuff for a long time, but I’ve always kind of started companies. That’s always been my thing. So I’ve started companies in the independent travel space back in the.com era, I started a medical device company, I started a water sports recreational business, and then obviously most recently started Tagger Media about eight years ago.

Ryan: So, I don’t wanna bury the lead here. Tagger just got acquired by Sprout Social, so congratulations. I’m sure that was quite the process. I’d love to hear, and I’m sure our audience would love to hear a little bit about what happens during an acquisition – how do you know that the company that’s acquiring you is the right fit? What was that process like?

Pete: I think selling a company is harder than actually starting a company. Crazy enough. When they say that the deal changes a hundred times a day, it really does. We talked to Sprout probably in December of 2022 for the first time. They reached out and said, hey, we’re kind of looking at this space. The real conversation happened [in the late spring of 2023], and they came out and we met with their CEO, their president, head of business development, and what we were looking for is an opportunity to win in this space. 

Sprout has 30,000 customers and they’re all doing influencer marketing, ’cause it’s such a major part of the media mix and it’s obviously such an important part of the social space as well. What we were looking for is not only a company that we could scale with in a major way, but also the right cultural fit. This team is absolutely amazing. A lot of people are coming from Salesforce at that company, which is interesting. So they have this growth mentality and we have like maybe 10 sellers around the world. They have like 600. So it’s just this machine that we can jump into which is great, and that the entire team is so excited about Tagger and the ability to sell influencer to all their customers. 

Ryan: Let’s step back a little bit to when you first were kind of coming up with the concept of Tagger. Most businesses, and you’ve started a number of them in various industries, we’re trying to find a problem to solve, right? So what was the problem that you were really looking at and where did you see your ability and your team’s ability to find a unique solution with Tagger?

Pete: It’s so interesting, that ideation stage. There’s like five stages of a startup, right? There’s ideation, there’s launch, there’s validation, there’s growth, and then there’s maturity or exit. Ideation stage is so much fun and there’s two ways that you can really do this: One is, which is the smart way to do it, identify a need, and then create solutions based on that need. Or you can create an idea that you think is interesting that might pertain to a market and then you build that. We actually did both of those things when we started Tagger. 

We first started with this idea, and the idea was we wanted to disrupt the music industry. The music industry spends billions of dollars every year trying to find new artists and then promoting those artists. They do that by having boots on the ground all over the world. They have music bookers, they have doormen at venues who are seeing artists that they think are interesting, sound producers, all these different people. A lot of times they’re able to find these people very early on, but what we did is we said, well, let’s listen to everyone who matters in the music space, primarily on Twitter at the time. If everyone’s talking about “Ryan”, we could predict that “Ryan”’s gonna go somewhere. Not surprising. The most popular people early on are gonna go somewhere and it really had nothing to do with listening, likes, or views, which that market had been somewhat gamified. 

So we created this platform where we just tracked all these people, but we had to create databases of all these musicians. We had to create databases of all these people who were talking about musicians. When we turned on the platform, we found, like Dua Lipa eight years ago, we found Billie Eilish eight years ago. I mean, we found all these amazing artists and go to the music industry, right? To validate this concept and they all said, what do you idiots know about music? I was like, nothing, but listen, we’re doing what you’re doing, but we’re doing a million times a day and they said, we’re not interested. (Now, fast forward, most of those music companies are clients, not to find artists, but to find influencers.) 

Then I went to New York and I took 40 meetings in like a two week time period. And every time I was just pitching a new thing because we had this really interesting platform where we could understand audiences and their propensity, and we could find artists and all these things, but we didn’t know what we had and how it might apply to someone else’s business. Gary Vaynerchuk over at VaynerMedia, “Gary V”, his team heard what we were up to. We got a meeting and they heard about these crazy people running around New York meeting with everyone. Gary and his team were like, listen, we love your data, we love how you can understand audiences, but you need workflow around influencer marketing. 

I asked the most important question: what is influencer marketing? Because I had absolutely no idea. And he said we have 30 people running campaigns for these big brands around the world and we’re really doing it on Excel spreadsheets. So if you can take our workflow, and by the way, they were hiring like a thousand influencers per campaign. Absolutely crazy and they said, if you can take our workflow and put it into a platform, we’ll be your first customer. 

So I moved to New York for a month, and I lived with them to really understand what they actually needed. Instead of just making a spreadsheet on a platform, we wanted to take that workflow to figure out how we can make it easier. My development team’s in Poland, so I was going back and forth during that month. But by the end of the month, we were able to deliver them a product that worked for them. 

Then it was really interesting. We then brought on a couple more clients. So we could have gone big and just raised money and hired all these people, but we didn’t, we slowly got another client and then another client. We focused on agencies because they had the biggest pain points. Just like I did with Vayner, we would get a new client and then I would go sit with them for weeks and just go in their office and I’d watch the bouncing ball: Like, you discover influencers, but why are you discovering those influencers? Is there a strategy? Who’s the strategy person saying we need to go do that? I’d go meet with that person and then we would have to go pay these people. I’m like, well, who pays these people? They’re like, oh, that’s, accounts payable. I go talk to them. I’m like, well, what are your pain points? So it was interesting, within like a year, I would walk into every agency or any brand, and I would know more about their business because I lived with all these different people to really understand what their needs were. That’s really how we did it. So I was able to identify a need based off of them telling us “this is what we need,” then really just going in and understanding everyone else’s needs so that you can build a unified platform that works for both brands and agencies.

Ryan: So, continuing on that, what are some of the ways that influencer and content marketing has changed and how have those changes evolved the way your platform has changed? You talked about having a modular concept for different workflows with different agencies in house brands, et cetera. But the marketplace has changed quite a bit too externally, so what things have you seen change over the years and how has your company reacted to those changes?

Pete: Yeah, definitely. There are multiple different ways it’s changed. First of all, what you get from influencer marketing has changed dramatically, right? 

Back when I started this, it was very much a PR focus where it’s just like, let’s get these mentions out there. It kind of was replacing newspapers, magazines, and traditional PR because that had kind of died off and was really being replaced by influencer marketing. So it was very much awareness building KPIs. But that shift, that allowed money to flow into this space, is when agencies and brands started to look at this more as a paid media execution versus a PR execution, right? So we would go into agencies, especially PR agencies and train them about paid media. 

Really, Vayner was the one who kind of got me on this. I mean, the Chris Aldi who was running their influencer business, he works for us now, but he started Gary’s paid media business. He’s like, no, this is paid media. This is what it is. So, even if you’re paying someone or you’re giving them a free product, you’re giving them something that costs you money, it’s paid, right? So I think that was a big change. 

Then the platforms made it easier to report on these campaigns and measure an influencer campaign the same way we measure your other media mix. That was massive. For Procter and Gamble to put $200 million into this business, they need to be able to measure this the same way we measure their other media mix and that was vital. 

Then a big shift that we’ve seen, especially over the last two years, is we’re not selling our platform to the influencer marketing team. We are now selling to the strategy team, the analytics team, the growth team, the new business teams at agencies, the technology team. All these different teams are using our platform really to get a holistic view of what’s happening socially, right? Social listening is important. Sprout has this amazing social listening platform and they’re listening to everyone in the world. What we do is we fine tune that down to the people who actually matter in terms of moving culture and those are influencers or creators. So having that view is helpful when you create that strategy. 

Then I think the last thing that’s changed dramatically is just, AI and, well, I’m sure we’ll talk about this, but AI has just allowed us to really get a better understanding of what’s happening, being able to ingest billions of bits of data, consolidate that down to really specific things so you can be like, okay, yeah, It’s raining, but how do I make it rain harder? Or how do I make it stop raining? You need a platform like ours to do that.

Ryan: When we think about who, what, when, where, why and we’re talking about AI, I think AI has a lot of potential in the first four, and it’s that fifth one that seems to still be the human element of it. I think that’s almost true in your platform to some degree as well. I know you have why definitely covered there but that’s where the humans are spending most attention. Thinking about the, why the marketers behind the screen are interacting in that area, probably the most, if I were to summarize.

Pete: Well, I think that that is actually where AI comes in the most, to be honest with you. Let’s say that your client manufactures pickup trucks. Well, why are people buying your pickup truck versus someone else? How did those customers — marketers always say the customers actually position your brand. Marketers don’t position the brand, right? The consumer positions the brand, not marketers. So if we can take all the content from influencers about pickup trucks over the last eight months, it’s probably a million pieces of content. I can’t actually go through all that content to pull out nuggets, but I can put that through AI.

What AI will do is they will look at all of that content and they will pick out themes like within two seconds: Towing capabilities, technology, interior comfort, all these different benefits. Then you can then stack rank how your brand fits within each one of those based off of mentions. So if your pickup truck is mentioned the fewest times in terms of towing capability and the few times you were mentioned, you have the worst sentiment. Everyone’s saying your towing capabilities are horrible. You as a marketer was like, I think our towing capability’s amazing. Well, the market doesn’t and the people who move culture are actually saying the opposite of what you think. 

So as a marketer, my strategy now on the why could be, oh, towing capabilities important for this industry because it’s the most talked about benefit with all the benefits of the pickup truck and we’re the worst. We probably need to create a campaign around our towing capabilities. Maybe we need to go back to the product team and say, listen, our towing capability sucks. We need to make it better. But I think AI allows you to filter all this data to understand what are the benefits and where do you stack up along those benefits?

Ryan: There’s obviously positive use that Tagger has with AI. Another thing that is a benefit to us is being able to sniff out fake followers and bots and things of that nature too. As AI becomes more sophisticated, as there are deeper fakes, things like that, is there a roadmap that Tagger has to help marketers at scale, identify where there’s nefarious content? Where we’re to avoid certain areas so that when we are looking at a plan with 2000 content creators on it, that we’re able to get the 200 out that may be coming from a negative place to make sure that we’re focusing our spend on what’s gonna move the needle and what matters?

Pete: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think that fake followers is definitely something that is important but there’s two things that I think are even more important. 

One, it’s content, right? That’s what we’re also seeing. Like I said, we’re selling into all these different departments, but that influencer content is being used across the entire customer journey. So for example, yeah, you’re gonna run a campaign and it’s gonna be an awareness building campaign, or maybe you’re trying to get conversion. But that customer journey, okay, they’re gonna see that influencer content and then they’re gonna start to see other social media ads about that brand. As you know, you have to see something multiple times before you go buy it. Well, what we know is that influencer content performs 300% better than branded content — on TikTok It’s like 3000% better. Why? Because it’s user generated content and does better than branded content. So now we’re seeing all this influencer content being used in paid media ads and then when you go onto these product pages on an e-commerce site, we’re seeing influencer content because again, it does better than branded content. 

Then when we look at like cart abandonment emails, they’re AB testing that with influencer content, it’s actually converting better. So all the way along this customer journey, what you’re seeing is the influencer content. So yes, if your sole purpose is I just want to go out and buy an influencer, hire their audience essentially, and use that as my conversion, yes, fake followers is super important – but to me it’s like, let’s go find creators who make amazing content. Who creates content that’s authentic to themselves and authentic to their audiences because we, through our affinity data, we can really understand, like, do these audiences care about these things? Then let’s go take that content and use it across our entire e-commerce, our entire customer journey so that we’re getting the most outta that content. So fake followers are becoming a little less. 

Then we’re also looking at more in terms of first party data and saying, well, do certain influencers convert better than other influencers do? When you start to be able to get more and more of that data, then it’s like, Ryan, you might have a hundred thousand followers and maybe 50% of them are fake, but you convert better in healthcare than anyone else. I don’t really care. Now, maybe what that means is instead of paying you based off of your a hundred thousand followers, yeah, I’m gonna pay you based off of you having 50,000 followers, but if I know that your conversion is so high, your followers don’t really matter because I’m paying you based off of what you’re gonna convert from me anyways. Again, not always. There’s multiple ways to think about that and I think fake followers are getting less and less relevant and more about, well, what can we do with this data and what’s our ROI on this campaign as a whole?

Ryan: Switching gears a little bit. Thinking about brands that really do well in the content marketing space, there’s obviously some brands that have built the almost entirety of their marketing function around influencers. I have some brands that don’t spend a dime on influencers and that are performing very well for themselves. 

What are a couple examples that you see of brands that are using creators and influencers appropriately, making it part of their bigger ecosystem, but using that to really drive their brand growth, their conversion growth, their sales, all of it? 

Pete: Companies that do it well are finding influencers that are authentic to their brand category, but whose audiences also care about those things. I think Lululemon’s done a really interesting job of this, because yes, they’re out there promoting all of their clothing, which is great. But they’re also partnering with mental health influencers as well because they know that that’s an important part. So when brands are partnering with influencers to, yes, talk about their products, but more importantly they’re talking about things that matter to their audience. Mental health is something that matters to their audience and they realize that. 

So, back in the day, influencer content used to be polished and beautiful and just everything. And now it’s real because people are looking for social connection and they’re kind of rejecting this social comparison, you know? I think that companies like Lululemon have realized that. You’re gonna see every size model in their content, you’re gonna see them talking about issues, not about working out, but about mental health, things that matter to their consumer. 

Then another company that I think did some interesting stuff was Behr Paint. They create paints and they have a bunch of different colors and they partnered with Emily Zugay and she’s this hilarious influencer that basically takes all of her paints and then she destroys the paint colors and renames them. So she might take like, green or something and call it like, cute green or way more clever than what I’m gonna come up with. But again, it’s kind of rejecting this high gloss social comparison and being real and hilarious. Brands are able now to kind of take the polish off of themselves, I think which is kind of interesting as well. Letting an influencer who, this is what she does, and that’s why she has a big audience, literally kind of like destroy the brand in a way because, you know, that that’s what people are looking for. So I think those are two pretty interesting examples. But, there’s hundreds of brands that are doing a great job of promoting their companies, but really bringing in social issues that matter to their audience, which is gonna be different from a brand next door whose audience is completely different.

Ryan: Very brave of Behr to strip off the gloss, so to speak. I think that leads into my next question: what changes do you predict will come in influencer marketing over the next couple of years? You’ve talked about the change from that curated content to a lot of more unfiltered content brands that are looking to partner with longer term ambassadors. Then just one-off activations with individual influencers as I’m sure you’re looking at how your company’s going to grow with the recent acquisition. Where do you see the marketplace going?

Pete: Yeah, again, I think that you’re gonna see more and more influencer content being used across the entire customer journey. I think that’s gonna be a big shift. Honestly, though, I think AI is gonna be a major addition to the influencer marketing process. Again, it’s not gonna replace anyone’s job, it’s just gonna allow them to be better at what they do. 

So a couple examples would be, just sending out communications with creators, being able to analyze that creator’s content and their voice, and then writing emails to these creators. You have to ask these people to work with your brand and not every creator wants to work with your brand. So being able to create a voice that’s gonna resonate with the creator using AI and be able to do this across a hundred influencers at the same time, is gonna make you way more efficient in your job. So that’s one quick example. 

Another example is just to take all of your content as a brand and look across all these creators instantaneously to find that perfect match of tone and thought and content in order to find those right creators. I also love this idea. AI does a great job of summarizing content. What it doesn’t do a good job of yet is to say, hey, here’s what’s happening in my industry. I have a hundred thousand dollars. How should I spend that? It can’t do that yet. I think in the future it might be able to, because again, it can just summarize data pretty well, but it can’t tell you how to spend your money. 

Ryan: So can I surmise that there may be some changes or enhancements to your platform that artificial intelligence is gonna be able to fuel?

Pete: Oh, we’re already doing it right now. So, I’ve already seen a lot of this. Like I’ve seen all this stuff already on our platform. We’re still developing it and we’ll be launching it over the next month or two, but yeah, it’s just gonna make your life so much easier.

Ryan: Coegi’s going to be a beta tester for that.

Pete: A hundred percent. I mean, there are certain agencies that are thought leaders and you guys are ahead of the curve with most of this stuff. So obviously we always look for partnerships with you guys to help us drive that product development. That’s really where our product development happens, is with you guys, it’s like, what do you guys need? What are you guys thinking about how the market’s going and how can we build based on those needs?

Ryan: Well, we’re excited to see what that looks like both, with the quick wins and those longer ones that’s fresh off the press. I’m really excited to continue to partner with you. 

Pete: Amazing. Thanks, Ryan.

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Using Multicultural Influencers to Drive Vaccine Consideration for Moderna

Brief

Moderna was seeking to drive preference for their COVID-19 booster with multicultural consumers by using authentic, relevant creator-driven storytelling. 

Highlights

28%
lift in vaccine consideration


88%
lift in vaccine discussion intent


7.56%
paid engagement rate compared to 1.86% industry benchmark

Challenge

Moderna’s marketing goal was to drive preference for COVID-19 bivalent booster by leveraging their positioning as the disruptive innovation leader in the space. They wanted to establish an enduring preference for their branded products by: 

  • Educating multicultural consumers
  • Growing urgency and 
  • Increasing uptake of the new COVID-19 booster vaccination

To establish this trust, Moderna needed to provide authenticity in its delivery when communicating with its multicultural audiences. We felt this would be best accomplished through influencer marketing

Solution

A key opportunity identified by the Coegi team was that 15.1M people within target DMAs primarily spoke Spanish. To deliver an authentic message, our aim was to support Spanish speakers’ health journeys while driving business impact for the pharmaceutical tech brand. We focused on utilizing booster messaging that was not only in Spanish, but content that was more culturally relevant. 

In order to speak to a Spanish speaking audience, we needed to learn about them in more detail. We started this process by leveraging data technology and intelligence platform, Resonate. Coegi placed an audience learning pixel across digital placements to learn about the Spanish speaking audience and their online behaviors. 

We collaborated with Moderna to identify the top US DMAs by vaccine data in combination with the highest indexing DMAs for Spanish speakers. In doing so, we were able to blend a demographic and geographic targeting strategy in an effort to build trust and affinity with a Spanish speaking audience. 

Coegi carried out a rigorous process to identify a varied mix of macro to micro influencers to generate authentic stories. These influencers were diverse – ranging from health content focused, healthcare workers to the average, lifestyle influencer.  But all were unified by sharing a value of preventative health and translating why vaccination against Covid-19 is important to them. Throughout the campaign, our team partnered with 13 influencers and delivered content to 15M Spanish-speaking individuals across the country.

We asked each creator to generate three pieces of content that authentically communicated the power and benefits of Moderna’s COVID-19 bivalent vaccine booster. Focusing on compliance while building the highest level of interest, relatability, and trust, we requested that the messaging of each piece answered these three questions:

  • Why is COVID-19 still relevant?
  • Why get vaccinated or boosted?
  • Why trust this brand’s product?

Results

Our influencer content performed well through multiple measurement perspectives. The content outperformed influencer benchmarks with some of our influencer content going viral – one piece of content earned a total reach of 414,000 which exceeded the influencer’s follower count by 2,000%. 

Coegi also leveraged a post-campaign brand lift study to measure more advanced impact learnings. According to the study, our influencer content delivered a 28% lift in vaccine consideration and a 88% lift in discussion intent, outperforming the Kantar benchmark by 4x. 

Organic Influencer Content

  • 1,447,404 Impressions
  • 732,297 Reach
  • 13,686 Engagements 
  • 6.36% Engagement Rate

Paid Influencer Content

  • 16,942,764 Impressions
  • 13,185,622 Reach 
  • 1,617,533 Post Engagements
  • 7.56% Engagement Rate vs 1.86% industry benchmark 
  • 2.28% Estimated Ad Recall Lift 
  • $5.25 Average CPM vs $8.75 industry benchmark

Key Learnings

We attribute a lot of our success to the authentic and real content created by our partnered influencers. The healthcare and pharmaceutical vertical poses many challenges. But with our focus on producing genuine, authentic messages for the Spanish speaking audience in the United States, we were able to provide engaging content in a form this audience could relate with.  

To learn more, check out Coegi’s guide to influencer marketing

5 Essential Influencer Marketing Tips

It’s hard to overestimate the power of a strong influencer endorsement. Trusted creators are powerhouses for building brand equity in a non-invasive way. 

They make word of mouth marketing scalable and efficient, when done well. However, many brands fail to reap the full benefits creators can offer. 

Why? 

  • Influencer marketing is often siloed or disjointed from overall business objectives and media strategy. 
  • Content performance can be difficult to quantitatively measure
  • And, with seemingly unlimited choices, it can be hard to identify the best influencers for your brand. 

But with the right building blocks,you can overcome these challenges. Here are our top five influencer marketing tips we apply to maximize our clients’ investments at  Coegi.

5 Essential Influencer Marketing Tips

1. Align influencer selection with business goals

First, define the business objective. What are you hoping to achieve with influencer marketing? Do you want to generate mass reach? Build market share within a specific niche? Or, are conversions, sales or leads the desired outcome?

After defining the goals, you can determine the mix of creators necessary to achieve those objectives: 

  • Mega influencers (1M+ followers): Ideal for driving mass awareness through celebrities or other large personalities. 
  • Macro Influencers (<1M followers): Reach engaged followerships in a more authentic way than mega.
  • Micro influencers (<50K followers): Ideal for driving consideration and conversions from more curated, but scalable, audiences. 
  • Nano influencers (<10K followers): Ideal for building brand community through long-term partnerships and driving action within niche interest segments.

Remember – bigger following does not always equal better results. Higher follower counts and millions of impressions comes a higher price tag and a less precise audience. Timing is another consideration, as larger-scale creators often have longer lead times due to heavier editorial calendars. 

Learn more on how to choose the best influencers for your brand from one of Coegi’s account supervisors and influencer marketing connoisseur, Natalie Carson:

How to Choose the Best Influencer for Your Brand

2. Find influencers that resonate with your brand style

Selecting the right size of creator for your goals and budget is important. But, finding the perfect creator match goes beyond surface-level numbers. 

  • Does your brand tone match the influencer’s personal brand voice? 
  • Is your product or service offering aligned with their follower interests? 
  • Does their content style and visual aesthetic complement your brand image? 

Finding creators that already fit your general brand standards will make the partnership process more streamlined and the content creation more genuine. 

But the real magic happens when a creator becomes an ambassador who truly knows and advocates for your brand over months or even years. You can nurture these relationships through evergreen discount codes and affiliate links, which will incentivize the creator while helping you track actions taken by their followers. 

3. Prioritize creators with strong follower communities

Users are becoming more perceptive to blatant advertising and ingenuine messaging. Take stock of how strong the creator’s rapport is with their followers. Do they truly influence their audience? This is especially important when attempting to reach Gen-Z consumers, who are hyper aware of sponsored content

Smaller creators tend to drive higher conversion rates due to having greater trust and engagement with their followers. Regardless of size, creators that organically align with your brand and are true advocates (ie. they actually use your product!) will be much more likely to influence purchase decisions.  

Lastly, be sure to thoroughly vet creators and avoid those with significant amounts of bot traffic or paid-for followers. These can inflate engagement and follower numbers but are useless for building your brand. 

4. Don’t treat influencer marketing as an “add on” to your media strategy

Influencer should be woven into a holistic marketing strategy, not treated as a separate tactic or handled by a random third-party. Consolidating your paid media and influencer marketing within one digital media agency offers three core benefits:

  • Measurement and Accountability – By integrating influencer with digital media, you can measure influencer campaign success using the same performance lens as other channels. 
  • Cross-Channel Budget Fluidity –  Centralization empowers marketers to move budget with agility where performance indicates – whether across channels or within creative rotations. For instance, through smart contract negotiation, a viral influencer post can be turned into a paid campaign from the creator’s handle or amplified by the brand. 
  • Seamless Audience Targeting – Media agencies can upload first-party data segments used across other channels to understand which influencers your audience already engages with and synchronize targeting to reduce media waste. 

Sharing cross-channel learnings and insights will make the overall media ecosystem stronger and allow for a more holistic, data-driven approach. 

5. Let your creators create

Good creators are storytellers and social media experts. They have their thumb on the pulse of social media trends. They understand the algorithms. And they know how to communicate with their audiences. 

90% of consumers view micro influencers as credible, believable & knowledgeable. 

Empower these partners to have an authentic voice when speaking on behalf of your brand – not a scripted actor. We’ve all sat through cringeworthy scripted ad reads on YouTube and raised eyebrows at ill-fitting product endorsements on Instagram or TikTok. And I’m betting you didn’t end up using those particular affiliate codes. 

You will see stronger results if you allow creators to communicate with their followers in a way that comes naturally. Simply let them create content, not ads. You can’t build brand authenticity without allowing your creators to be authentic with their audiences. 

View our Practitioner’s Guide to Influencer Marketing for more tips plus a step-by-step process on how to launch an effective influencer marketing strategy. 

The Practitioner’s Guide to Influencer Marketing

The Practitioner’s Guide to Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing campaigns pair the power of word-of-mouth with the efficiency, scalability and data-driven mentality of digital advertising.

In this guide, we share Coegi’s best insights to running more strategic and accountable influencer marketing campaigns.

You’ll learn the ins and outs of results-driven influencer marketing so you can feel confident adopting this high impact, authentic channel into your brand strategy. 

What You’ll Learn: 

  • Criteria for effective influencer marketing campaigns
  • Reasons why influencers are critical for modern marketing plans
  • Key benefits and challenges of influencer marketing 
  • How to determine if influencer marketing is right for your brand 
  • Step-by-step guide of how to launch an effective influencer campaign
  • Expert tips for successful campaigns and creator relationships 

Why use influencer marketing? 

Influencers can be your fast track to content authenticity, brand credibility and business results. 90% of consumers view micro-influencers as credible, believable and knowledgeable. The power they have on consumer behavior and buying decisions can’t be overstated. 

Here are the top 4 benefits of influencer marketing campaigns: 

  1. Credibility Building: Influencer marketing puts a face and personality to your brand – a key component to building audience affinity. Trusted creators can connect with followers on your behalf to improve engagement, retention, and loyalty. 
  1. Content Creation: Rather than spending additional production dollars to create branded images and videos, your creator partners make that collateral for you. The end result – native-looking social media content which, more often than not, outperforms obvious ads. 
  1. Authentic Reach: People are becoming more privy to ingenuine advertising. They place greater trust in relatable creators with close-knit communities who only engage with brands that match their personal values and preferences. 
  1. Social Selling: Influencer marketing can be much more than a brand-building tactic. Sponsored creator posts can drive measurable, incremental sales impact. Use tactics such as UTM links, point-of-sale integrations, whitelisting, and brand boosted influencer posts to optimize attributable sales. 

Download the full guide to learn how to harness these benefits and build high-performing influencer marketing campaigns for your brand. 

Need an agency partner to help craft and execute your influencer marketing strategy? Contact Coegi today for a discovery call. 

How to Build a Content Amplification Strategy Using Publisher and Influencer Partnerships

Custom content marketing is key to achieving long-term brand success. But, content creation can be expensive and time-consuming. A content amplification strategy allows brands to do more with less, maximizing the return on investment. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to create an impactful content amplification strategy that expands reach and extends content shelf life.

Why You Need a Content Amplification Strategy

Content amplification can build an authoritative voice for brands in any industry, from CPG to finance to B2B. For more complex industries, it is an opportunity to establish thought leadership and position a brand as a trustworthy educational resource

Alternatively, content can be all about entertaining the consumer – driving brand affinity and engagement. Whether you’re amplifying successful content, refreshing pre-existing content or partnering with a trusted third party to leverage their resources and authority – it all comes down to finding the ideal intersection between brand goals and consumer value 

Building a Holistic Content Marketing Plan

To begin crafting a strategic content marketing plan that satisfies both the brand and its consumers, follow these four steps. 

#1 – Establish strategic alignment on content goals and production strategy

Begin by putting together a comprehensive brief with the client that addresses: 

  • The brand’s core business and marketing objectives 
  • The brand’s content creation plans for the year to support these goals 

Once you understand the upcoming content pipeline, find ways to incorporate major initiatives, such as custom research studies, company highlight videos, or downloadable white papers, into the paid content marketing strategy. 

#2 – Analyze the existing content library

Next, look at the brand’s current content arsenal. What assets can be easily refreshed and repurposed? This decreases net new creative production needs, while making the most of high-value assets. To identify the best content pieces without bias, start by analyzing pre-existing organic metrics. 

  • What content formats are driving the highest reach and engagement on social media? 
  • What long-form content pieces are generating the most downloads, backlinks, or shares on your website? 

After understanding what great pieces already exist, you can refresh, amplify, and distribute them to more people within their audience groups. 

#3 – Partner with publishers for net new content opportunities

After understanding what content is currently at your disposal, identify gaps to fill by tapping into strategic publisher partnerships. 

  • Where is there competitive white space for the brand to own their message? 
  • Which channels are the brand’s competitors underutilizing? 
  • Where is the target audience most active and reachable? 

Leverage publishers to help create the most engaging and interactive assets possible. Some creative content formats we have explored include immersive articles, Instagram ‘meme’ Reels, podcast segments, animated videos, recipe blogs, co-branded national polls, and e-newsletter sponsorships – just to name a few. 

#4 – Ensure content provides authentic value

Identify the key messages, whether content families or thematic pillars, to find a valuable brand story. Also consider what content formats best communicate different types of information, as well as different target audience segments. For instance, a research survey with heavy statistical data may be best suited for an infographic, whereas a webinar may be better suited for a sizzle reel video.  

Remember these four guiding principles to create authentic marketing content:

As you are creating a custom content plan, you should also be formulating your content amplification strategy. Approaching these in tandem will help you determine what types of assets are needed for both owned and amplified channels and streamline creative production. 

Identifying Optimal Publisher Partnerships

To level up content production and audience reach, connect with reputable publishers to create and amplify custom marketing content. Our teams work closely to streamline communication and access the best added-value opportunities for clients by leveraging relationships with editorial partners.

These publishers could be vertical-specific sites, high-authority news organizations, or relevant internet content and entertainment communities. It’s beneficial to align with their editorial calendars to get greater engagement and stronger placements, while also considering factors like seasonality for the brand. 

In the publisher vetting and RFI process, we look at four key areas to determine the best partnerships:

  1. Audience: Does our audience have a high index and contextual relevance with this publisher’s content? 
  2. Content Quality: Are the publisher’s creative chops high quality, engaging, and suitable for repurposing across multiple channels? 
  3. Message Alignment: Does this publication’s mission and historical content align with the brand’s key messages and themes? 
  4. Distribution: Will this publisher provide adequate reach? Are there paid promotion and distribution opportunities across high-touch and owned channels? 

Typically, it’s best practice to diversify across a few different publishers to ensure you have adequate reach across your target audience. However, there are some instances where it makes sense to go all-in with one publisher if it strongly aligns with brand goals, or if your budget is limited. 

Repurposing Custom Content Across Channels

Content marketing is typically a pay-to-play space, at least in the initial stages of your brand partnership. Nearly every publisher has minimum spend requirements. Strategically repurposing content across channels (without simply copy and pasting) is critical to maximize that investment. 

For example, a publisher can help transform an in-depth white paper with proprietary content into an infographic or animated stat video. By making complex content more digestible, you can reach users earlier in the consumer journey, while still translating the key value proposition. 

After commissioning custom content, there are two highly effective ways to repurpose it: using derivative assets and tapping into influencer marketing. Let’s dive into each of these in more detail.

Using Derivative Assets to Extend Value and Reach

What are derivative assets? Derivative assets are micro content, such as ad units derived from the main “anchor content” and used to drive to the main “anchor content”. Examples of derivative assets include: 

  • Creating a native display unit that links to an organic blog post or sponsored article
  • Boosting an organic social media post on a brand’s page 
  • Using paid search engine marketing to promote a white paper 
  • Building organic and paid social media drivers that link to a branded e-book
  • Producing a sizzle reel from a long-form webinar

Derivative assets extend your anchor pieces, tailoring them to different audiences, placements, and stages in the consumer journey. This approach creates a more comprehensive content strategy and supports creative efficiency.  A good best practice is to sponsor pre-existing organic content, allowing you to test the content before dedicating advertising dollars. This way, you already know which content is likely to drive the greatest paid media results.

Amplifying Content with Influencer Marketing Partnerships

Influencer marketing is gaining more and more attention in the realm of content amplification. However, you HAVE to ensure the content is authentic to the creator’s individual brand and unique followership. An influencer simply pushing out your brand’s ad is not always going to feel organic.  

Publishers often have in-house influencer talent which brands can tap to gain additional reach outside of the publication’s readership. Take PopSugar for example. They have networks of highly-vetted influencers in the food, lifestyle, beauty, and fashion spaces which brands can leverage. Coegi also has an in-house influencer marketing team to help brands identify and partner with creators to create and promote branded content. 

Read our 5 Essential Influencer Marketing Tips article for more.

Key Takeaways for a Successful Content Amplification Strategy

Custom content and sponsored publisher placements have a myriad of positive effects – visibility, credibility, reach, engagement, and more. To reap these benefits, remember to focus on creating and amplifying content that provides true value to the consumer

Save and use this quick checklist to audit the quality of your content marketing assets:

  • Supports core business goals 
  • Translates key brand message through storytelling 
  • Offers authentic consumer value
  • Aligns with publisher editorial calendar or your brand’s seasonality 
  • Is able to be reused in multiple formats and across a variety of channels 

Ready to leverage Coegi’s expert media team to create your brand’s content amplification strategy?

Contact us today for a discovery call.

3 Myths of Influencer Marketing: Debunked | Webinar

 

Are you falling victim to one of these common myths of influencer marketing? 

  • Influencer marketing is an awareness-only tactic
  • Influencer marketing is too expensive 
  • Influencer marketing is only for CPG brands 

If this is you, it’s time to change your mindset! 

Hear from Coegi and our guests from TikTok, Tagger and @BakerBanter as we reframe these three major biases around influencer marketing. 

What you’ll learn:

  • How to influence your bottom line using influencers
  • Innovative strategies to maximize your influencer budget
  • Why nearly all brands should be using influencers

Watch Now: 

Why should brands use influencer marketing?

Nearly ⅔ of US brands worked with influencers, often called creators, in the last year, and for good reason. Brands are seeking solutions to build brand authenticity, especially among younger generations who value genuineness over polish. 

Consumers tend to trust creators’ recommendations more readily. So adding the weight of an influencer’s opinion has a myriad of benefits: 

  • Adding relatable faces to represent your brand 
  • Reaching highly engaged, diverse audiences 
  • Improving customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty 

Despite these benefits, brands often believe influencers are not a viable option due to their particular industry, budget, or goals. So we brought together experts to shed light on the three key myths of influencer marketing.

Three Common Influencer Marketing Myths

Myth #1: Influencer is an awareness-only tactic

Whether your goal is top of the funnel, bottom-funnel, or somewhere in between, social media creators can influence buying decisions and drive measurable impact. Yes – influencer marketing originated as an upper-funnel, awareness tactic. But the creatorverse, and social media at large, have expanded and evolved since its beginnings. 

The recent proliferation of influencer-driven social commerce is further indicating this down-funnel shift.  With trackable coupon codes, UTMs, shoppable posts, and more now being incorporated into influencer marketing tactics, brands are able to more easily tie business results to this content. 

Myth #2: Influencer marketing is expensive

The cost of a sponsored influencer post can range anywhere from $10-10K+, making it a viable option for ANY marketing budget. Nano and micro-influencers with smaller, but highly attentive, follower bases are a lower-cost option for growing brands looking to build a reputation, whereas macro-influencers come with a heftier price tag but can make a significant splash. Additionally, the barriers to entry for influencer marketing are much lower than many other digital channels with the right reach out and process. 

Myth #3: Influencer marketing is only for CPG brands

Sure, having a physical, consumable product an influencer can hold up, wear or demonstrate is visually effective. But service-based brands, non-profits, and B2Bs, among other brands across a wide variety of industries, have also established strong influencer relationships that pay dividends. Some prolific examples of this are Audible.com, BetterHelp, and Robinhood. 

Best Practices of Influencer Marketing

Ready to get started? 

Here are three key influencer marketing tips to launch a successful strategy: 

  • #1 Incorporate influencer into your broader media strategy

Influencer should be woven into a holistic marketing strategy, not treated as a one-off tactic. Consolidate your paid media and influencer within one agency so budgets and channel activation can be handled fluidly and with greater agility. 

  • #2 Be strategic with your influencer selection

Find influencers that authentically match your brand values, have a following that overlaps with your target audience, and use photography and video that complement your brand aesthetics. 

  • #3 Build accountability through measurement

Take a blended approach of measurement tactics to tie influencer spending back to meaningful metrics. For more clearly attributable sales, use discount codes or affiliate links that allow backend tracking. 

For help capitalizing on the true ROI of influencer marketing, reach out to Coegi for a strategy consultation today.

To continue learning more, download The Practitioner’s Guide to Influencer Marketing.

Social Media Marketing for Food and Beverage Brands

Food and drink is inherently social, whether you are sitting around a dinner table, sharing a recipe with a friend, or meeting a date for cocktails. Social media marketing for food and beverage brands allows you to lean into this element even further. It has proven to be a highly successful tool for driving viral food trends (think avocado toast, macaroons, shaken espressos, etc.). 

But you don’t have to go viral to see the benefits of social media. Food and beverage brands can drive results by identifying and targeting their core audience on their preferred platforms with highly ‘craveable’ content, using tactics like influencers and shoppable ads to showcase their products. 

Understanding Your Core Food/Bev Audience

The first step to finding your audience is to understand who organically engages with your brand. What specific niches are they involved in and how can you share your content with them? Audience research will lead you to a deeper understanding of your likely brand advocates and loyalists. Once a clear audience is defined, creating ads and messaging becomes intuitive.  

Search for the answers to these three questions in your audience research process: 

  1. Who is your core demographic? 

Identify basic demographics such as age, gender, education, geographical location and socioeconomic status. These variables will give you concrete indicators on your key audience profiles – what life stage they are in, what they could be interested in, and more. Age, for example, gives you tips on what kind of content they will likely resonate with. Younger ages tend to enjoy emotional posts (funny or tear-jerking), such as the recent Gushers TikTok campaign. In comparison, older audiences tend to prefer informative, trustworthy content, such as this Clinique campaign

      2. What does your audience value? 

Are they more likely sharing food to present an image of prestige or luxury, or to share a special family recipe? These internal motivations should inform the ad creation process. Creating messaging that resonates with your audience’s core motivators and/or beliefs make them more inclined to click or convert.

      3. Where is your audience active online?

The medium in which your ads run is critical to the success of food and beverage digital marketing campaigns. This ensures each dollar you spend is going towards a platform where your audience actually spends time. Use platform data as well as third party data research platforms to identify your audiences’ media consumption habits. 

Identifying Social Media Influencers

Once your target audience is defined, you can make them come to life by creating personas. Or better yet, finding an influencer online that matches your brand’s beliefs, values and aesthetic. Brands that have a strong image and story can easily find influencers that complement their mission. 

Food and beverage social media marketing is primed for influencer partnerships. There are endless YouTube cooking channels, food review websites, and food bloggers across all social media platforms. The creators have a huge impact on consumer purchase decisions. In fact, 49% of consumers depend on influencer decisions. This virtual word of mouth is extremely influential in the consumer journey. 

Adding influencers into your strategy can also drive conversions, not just awareness. This is particularly helpful for food and beverage brands with an ecommerce presence. Use affiliate links and coupon codes to link POS data back to influencer campaigns in addition to awareness metrics, such as reach and engagement.

Creating Compelling Content

Food and beverage brands have a unique opportunity to engage audiences with user-generated marketing content on social media. People are eager to share recipes or new food explorations online, which is a win-win for brand and consumer. Brands are able to capitalize on authentic content that builds trust, while consumers are fulfilled by interaction and admiration. 

Beyond UGC, there are many ways brands can create compelling content on each unique platform. For example, how-to/recipe videos, Instagram Ready Images, and short form videos are all popular ad variations. Keep your audience learnings in mind and tailor your content to each unique social platform to resonate with consumers. 

Measuring Food and Bev Social Media Marketing Success

To measure the impact of advertising you can first look at granular, platform-level data. These metrics show campaign-level data, such as video completions, ad clicks, and site visits. Additionally, brands can utilize tactics like coupon/QR codes, flash sales, and hashtag challenges to track media’s success in driving immediate conversions and online buzz. 

However, the majority of food/bev sales still happen in-store, so it is important that brands keep themselves top of mind during that experience. Also, brands need a method of tracing media’s impact on in-store sales. Whether in a grocery store or a restaurant, brands can utilize CRM connections to track offline data or offer coupon codes/QR codes that translate both in-person or online. 

To better understand marketing’s impact, consider advanced measurement studies. These are surveys that can measure the incremental lift in metrics such as foot traffic and in-store sales due to marketing campaigns. 

Eating and drinking is, and has always been, social. Food and beverage brands should lean into this and explore the vast opportunities social media platforms offer to create and build community. Get creative with your media execution to stand out from competitors and drive sales

Recommended Reading

The CPG Digital Marketing Playbook

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