Influencer marketing has been a marketing trend for a while now. In the B2C world, big brands generate significant ROI with beauty and fashion bloggers, and the B2B world loves to hear from experts and industry influencers who’ve made it. Blog posts about expert roundups and advice are everywhere. And influencer marketing is so loved by marketers because it really does work.
First, it expands your reach. I haven’t heard of you, but I’ve heard of them.
Second, it gives you credibility. I don’t know you or your brand, but I trust them.
Third, it allows for cross-promotion. I like them, maybe I’ll like you, too.
And then there’s video marketing.
From the last marketing conference to the latest #AskGaryvee episode, you’ve been told that you need to incorporate videos in your marketing. That video is the new black. That by 2019, 80% of all internet traffic will be video.
So combining the two hottest trends — video marketing and influencer marketing — is just a natural choice.
Leveraging influencers in video marketing campaigns is perfect for B2B brands just starting out on video because nobody knows your brand yet, and especially not your employees. And featuring them in videos won’t get your audience excited.
Knowing this, when we started our video marketing campaign, we decided to bring B2B marketing influencers in our videos. In our Real Smart Marketing video series, we asked top industry influencers one marketing-focused question in each episode.
- What content marketing predictions do you have for 2017?
- How do you think AI will change SEO?
- What business lessons did they learn from their mistakes while growing their brand?
These videos have generated a lot of views, shares, and engagement in our social media channels, and led to multiple syndications, notably on Convince & Convert:
And Social Media Today:
Both articles now rank on the first page of Google for the search term “content marketing predictions 2017:”
This visibility and recognition wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the influencer’s participation in the video.
Sure, I could’ve presented the same ideas in those videos myself, but Mention’s audience won’t be as excited to hear me talk because they don’t know me. But they know these influencers. I may not have enough street cred, but they do. And they gave credibility to our video series.
And the best part is, any brand can do the same. You should be doing the same because it’s easy, and it works.
How to choose the right marketing influencers for your video campaigns
Before you reach out to influencers, ask yourself:
- Are they willing and available to promote your content?
It’ll be great to get Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin to participate, but the chances of either one having the time and be willing to promote are really small. Of course, if you have a superstar influencer who’s also enthusiastic about promoting, that’s ideal.
If you have to choose, though, an influencer who’s actively involved in promoting your content may prove 10x more effective than a superstar who can’t dedicate any time to your project. For us, both Sam Mallikarjunan and Larry Kim agreed to write blog posts to help promote, which have driven a significant number of views to our videos.
- Is the influencer’s audienceevant to your brand?
Even when influencers are willing to promote, they need to be promoting to the correct audience. Do you freelancers and solopreneurs, or do you mid-market or enterprise companies? Is there a fit with the influencer? You need to determine whether their followers are who you want to be marketing to before producing the videos.
- Do the influencers already know you (or your competitors)?
Influencers who are already talking about your brand are way more likely to participate. So focus on looking for those VIPs if you’re just starting out. Alternatively, you can also find influencers who are casually talking about your competitors (i.e. not officially an ambassador or have an official partnership). If their audience is interested in your competitors, they’ll likely be interested in you, too.
When we started our expert series, we found marketing influencers by looking at Mention’s influencers dashboard for big guns that were already engaging with our brand. We also looked at their interests to make sure there’s a market/audience fit:
- Are they charismatic on camera?
This last one is super important. To make sure your videos will look professional, make sure you select influencers who present well on camera. Some people can be great writers or super talented in building complex codes, but aren’t comfortable being filmed.
When we did our influencer research, we specifically picked industry leaders who already have experience in presenting at conferences or making videos (e.g. Rand’s been filming Whiteboard Fridays before the first iPhone came out). Doing this helped ensure the overall video quality and also saved us a lot of editing time.
After shortlisting the influencers you want, it’s time to reach out.
How to get influencers to say “yes”
There are no real tricks for approaching influencers. What worked for us in this project:
- Have a great idea
- Be genuine
- Don’t ask them to put forth too much effort
If you’ve got those figured out, outreach is less scary than you may think.
For example, this is the email we wrote to Rand Fishkin:
And the tweet I sent to Larry Kim:
Nothing crazy or strategic — simply following the steps mentioned above — which enticed them both to join our expert series.
There is no magic formula, so whether the influencer says yes or not will depend largely on your project, your product, and your brand. But if it helps, this was our approach:
- Write an original subject line.
- Be direct and clear in your request.
- Use social proof (e.g. other influencers you’re working with).
- Don’t make it sound like a lot of work is required.
- (Try to) Be funny. A funny gif can help.
- Don’t send copy-and-paste messages. Just don’t.
Now, I didn’t get a “yes” from everyone. Reaching out to influencers takes time and effort. Unless you’re paying the influencer, you’re usually asking them to do you a favor, so give them a reason to help you. This can be PR exposure, leads, backlinks to their website, etc.
Converting views to leads with a landing page
So you’ve got the influencers, you’ve got your videos, and you’ve got your views. Now what?
When we first started, we just wanted to jump on the video marketing bandwagon and didn’t have a very clear call-to-action in our videos. We merely asked people to check out our resources and pointed to some blog posts andated content in the description box.
That strategy helped us drive over 12K views in our first video, but we couldn’t justify the ROI of producing more of these videos. The videos are fun to create, but they require an incredible amount of preparation and post-production. Being a small content team with lots of other priorities, we needed to see what we can tangibly get out of these videos other than “this is cool.”
So in our latest video, I created a dedicated landing page to convert views into leads. I picked an existing content offer — our webinar with another influencer and entrepreneur, Neil Patel — and rewrote the copy to make it moreevant to the viewers.
Since our video was about the biggest lessons the founders have learned from their mistakes, I changed the original webinar title from “Grow Your Brand Online with Nell Patel” to “Learn from Neil Patel’s Mistakes.”
I also changed the description to fit the context of the video better, so viewers coming from the video will feel that the offer is moreevant.
Here’s the original landing page:
And this is the one I recreated for our video:
It was the same webinar, just with different copy.
Since this dedicated landing page was only linked from the video and can’t be found anywhere else online, I can be sure that all the leads generated from this page came from our video.
And instead of just linking to it in the description box for the viewers to find, I mentioned it at the end of the video, as well as featured it in the “cards” section:
As an end-screen annotation:
And linked to it in the description box as the first link:
…Basically everywhere so that viewers were forced to see it and be enticed to click through to the page.
The result of all this?
For this first attempt to convert viewers to leads, we’ve achieved a 10% view-to-conversion rate. It’s not spectacular, but enough to encourage us to keep trying.
Video marketing is effective, if you do it right
Leveraging marketing influencers in videos is a great way to expand your brand reach to a whole new audience and build brand authority. The keys are to identify the right influencers for your audience, be a little creative in your pitch, and make it as easy as possible for them to participate.
Have you had any experience working with influencers in your video marketing campaigns? What were the benefits you’ve seen and the challenges you’ve had? We’d love to hear them in the comments!
About the author
Joei is a content marketer at Mention.com based in Paris. When not writing, she’s busy looking for the next brunch place and filming footage for her vlogs. Connect with her on Twitter for all things marketing, feminism, or food.