Social Chain at ProcureCon Marketing (Part 2)

Back to the ProcureCon Marketing presentation from Oliver Yonchev of Social Chain, the rapidly growing Manchester-headquartered “global social media marketing agency”. Part 1 is here.

The fascinating firm uses networks of social media based “influencers”, who lead communities that drive attention and interest in brands, events and so on. One major online clothes retailer used hundreds of “influencers” (mainly young women) for a particular promotion and found one (not even remotely famous) influencer who generated over £70,000 of sales through her network over a couple of weeks in a week or two, just by featuring on her social media channels the new range of clothes in articles, pictures etc.

Red Bull is another great example of a brand that has built its success on the back of experiences, social media and influencers, and spends a huge proportion of their marketing budget in those areas.  As their CMO apparently said, “no-one goes to a website and looks at a video about a drink for 45 mins”. But they might watch a video about freestyle skiing or cliff diving, sponsored by Red Bull and promoted by influencers.

Red Bull “owns” extreme sports, as Yonchev put it, and “supports individuals to do what they love doing”. But Red Bull has done that consistently, which is key. You can’t do an influencer campaign for a week then announce “it hasn’t worked”. Red Bull has supported people who “love what they do” for year after year. And that point of authenticity is interesting – in other words, I couldn’t set myself up to be an influencer of the skateboard community, just as Tony Hawk couldn’t pretend to love corporate procurement.

But of course, advertisers want to know whether this all works.  Metrics and measurement matter just as they do in any other form of marketing.  Yonchev gave us six key lessons, we featured the first four yesterday, and lesson 5 is this – calculating attributable ROI (return on investment) in influencer marketing isn’t simple but it can be done.

So this is where marketing services procurement people get interested. You need to look at reach, follower size, CPV (cost per view), cost per engagement and acquisition, cost per click. Watch out for signs that the reach isn’t “real” too. A huge claimed audience number with limited engagement sounds warning bells, for instance, as the “followers” may be largely fakes.

But this is not the same as buying media, because influencers are also creating content, and posting in their channels – and you as the advertiser should use the content as well in your own channels. (You know, this sounds awfully like what we do here at Spend Matters UK/Europe, when I think about it!)

So consider actual audience reach and engagement rate, compare with industry averages, and look at what you’re asking them to create. But remember – you are responsible for your influencer’s content.

Lesson 6 really was a summation “lesson” of what had gone before. Understand human psychology, emotionally tap into culture, understand social channels, understand how to distribute. Simple really…

There’s clearly a bit of hype around Social Chain and founder Steven Bartlett, but this was an excellent presentation – Yonchev really told us a story, which is what you might expect Social Chain to be good at, of course.

This sort of marketing isn’t right for everybody, but it seems likely to be an increasingly important element of many marketing budgets, and so it is another option that procurement needs to understand in order to help marketing colleagues get value for money.  It is new and different, so take the time to understand how it works (or doesn’t) before you dive into the commercials.  And I’m off to build a Facebook community of millions focused on  … actually, maybe I’ll keep that to myself for now!

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  1. Dan:

    There was recently a good article in The Drum about influencer marketing fraud, and the use of fake followers. It appears that marketing teams themselves are not particularly bothered by it (despite the protestations) as they are then just thinking about the next campaign. Something for marketing procurement to use to make their mark perhaps?

    The article is here:

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