On Tuesday, 13 December we organised our first influencer meet-up specifically designed for our influencers in endurance and outdoors sports – to come together, discuss and learn more about how to enhance their power and work with brands they love. Our London event was a great opportunity for bloggers to find out what they need to do to get ready to work with brands in 2017, to learn how to create engaging video content and to meet fellow influencers and the Freestak team.
Influencer Marketing Report – Key Insights
Our community manager, Lenka, presented the key findings from our PULSE Influencer report which was based on the sport and adventure brand survey we ran back a few months ago. The report looks at the current state of Influencer Marketing – specifically in the Endurance Sector – in more detail so you the influencers, and the brands you work with, can build long-term relationships and increase your reach in an authentic way.
You can download the full report HERE.
Here are the 3 key findings;
Brands’ Key Marketing Activities include Influencers/Bloggers
When we asked brands what marketing activities/channels they were focused on in 2016, digital dominated. The five most important areas were – Social, Email, Bloggers, Digital, Events. In other words, working with influencers and bloggers is high on the list of brands’ marketing activities.
Budgets are increasing
More good news is that 70% are going to spend more on influencer marketing activities in 2017. In fact, 23% of brands said they would considerably increase their influencer marketing budgets.
It’s not all about the numbers
When selecting which influencers/bloggers to work with, brands don’t only look at the numbers. In fact, the most important factor is relevance, followed by reach and reliability.
True influence means an engaged audience, not necessarily a big one.
The other factor after reliability is creativity – which from our own experience is growing in importance.
What does it all mean for you?
- Influencer Marketing is a buzz word and is not going to disappear anytime soon. This is supported by an increase in marketing budgets – ergo it’s great time for you to get involved.
- Don’t pay too much attention to your numbers. Yes they are important, but there are other ways for you to stay ahead of the game. Namely: be unique, offer something different (content wise) and be reliable – respond quickly, ask questions, make it easy for the person you work with to report to his/her manager.
- If you are creative, reliable and relevant, it actually counts for more more than your numbers.
So how is your influencer score really calculated?
It’s not only reach that makes up your influence. You need to factor in important variables such as relevance, credibility, strength, depth and engagement levels.
Freestak ‘score’ – Selecting the right influencers
When helping brands select the right people to collaborate with, we look at both qualitative and quantitative factors. As you know, it’s not all about the numbers (but they do count as part of this equation). Here are the three key metrics to use in assessing whether you’d be a great candidate for a campaign:
The first one is (actually) the numbers. This is a really quick exercise for us as we can see those on our platform. It is crucial you have synched all your social media accounts. We have added – and keep adding – new social networks such as Strava and Snapchat; you can also sync your Google Analytics.
The quantitative factors include: reach, engagement rates, posting frequency (blog + social), number of social networks you’re on and also the type (e.g. if a brand needs a YouTuber).
This is where it gets real. You can have big numbers but if you’re not relevant for the campaign, the brand will not select you. The things we look at include: design of your website, tone and feel, your style of writing, how creative you are (your skills – photographer, film maker) – written words vs video (gifs, short videos) etc.
You can show your creativity in your portfolio, pitch creation, as well as in your application for a Freestak campaign.
As you can see from our survey, reliability is one of the key factors brands are after. If brands can check it, they will but if you are new and they haven’t worked with you – an application process can tell a lot. Have you spent enough time on crafting your pitch? Is just a one-liner? How fast have you responded to brand emails? All important factors.
Depending on the campaign, telephone interviews are a great way to find out more about you. If you think you’re right for the brand/campaign don’t be afraid to show it. Be active, respond and come up with ideas and show uniqueness (and skills).
How To Start With Video Content
This latest report on Social Media shows that video content is crucial! 83% of marketers/brands said they would create more video content if they didn’t have restraints such as time and resources. In addition, 30% of marketers are looking to spend more time on Facebook video in 2017, and 28% looking to add YouTube to their marketing stack.
Based on those numbers, we invited Freestak influencer, adventurer, writer and film-maker, Jenny Tough to come and talk about all things video. She showed us how to start creating video content from scratch and what you should do before you hit the record button.
Here are the key takeaways;
STEP 1: Start with why
What is this film about? What’s the story? Is it a documentary, is it illustrative or how to do a sport; is it about people; is it about something that happened…? “Every adventure I’ve been on has been filled with stories and themes. So picking out one big one or a few small ones is essential. Sometimes I don’t know what the film is about, because before an adventure I never know what the adventure is about.” And that’s the point, start with a purpose.
STEP 2: It’s all about planning
Way before you leave, look at equipment options. Where will it mount? Is it weather proof?
- TEST mounts on equipment
- STORAGE and BATTERY LIFE
STEP 3: Have an adventure but get the footage!
And don’t forget to factor filming time into your plans. Uploading video to YouTube takes a while (several hours) plus they will need to approve it which might take up to 2 days.
STEP 4: Make a film
Now the fun part is over – you’ve had an adventure, and you have all this great footage. First thing: upload it and create backups!! Now work on timeline, and start seeing how the clips go together. Some people like to do this on paper. Up to you!
Go back to your WHY…
What’s the story?
- use the timeline to arrange a story
- then add audio
- then edit edit edit
- add titles
Some users claim that audio is >50% of the film experience. Music can manipulate the mood/theme – so are you getting the rights or using stock music? Also think about the narrative, sharing and connections.
Test before you launch
Ask people to watch your film before you upload. Just like getting someone to proofread your work, it’s surprising what little mistakes you might have missed, or something you thought made sense that doesn’t. Feedback might be that some sequences are great and should be longer, others might be too long to stay engaged with.
Plan your launch
YouTube can take the better part of a day to upload, and getting approval for copyright content can take much longer. Decide WHEN you want to post, and WHERE you want to do that. Use the power of social to share your story.
Jenny’s Top Tips
- Think about what you want to share
- Watch some films/videos
- Don’t blow your budget
- Get a little help from your friends ?
What a brand is really looking for from influencers
CaxtonFX brand manager, Carmen Rendell closed the evening with her talk about influencer marketing and how Caxton have embraced it and focussed on it in terms of their marketing mix. She also shared insights into the last influencer campaign they ran on the Freestak platform. The most interesting part was the selection criteria they used to pick their influencers; which we expand upon below:
- Social media engagement
Not just numbers but actual engagement / UK based.
- Balance male/female & age
- Short v long length trips
- Range of strengthens across media
Video, Blogs, Instagram.
- Type of adventure
Mixture of cycling, hiking, exploring and relevancy to customers – not too extreme.
- Worldwide coverage
Preference over where we have currencies.
There are more Influencer meet-ups coming in 2017 so if you’re an influencer/blogger in the outdoor, adventure and endurance sports make sure you join our platform.