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Learnings from 8 years of Influencer Marketing

Jason Wong
Jason Wong
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Hey y'all! Happy Friday and hope you get some good rest this long weekend. I’m going to NYC to host my monthly DTC founder dinner and spending the 4th there. If you guys want to join my next dinner, fill out the form here
Last week, we talked about hiring as an owner/founder, this week, let’s talk about influencers. Chances are you’ve probably seen many brands pouring their money into these influencers to have them showcase their products. Having started my career as an influencer first and in later years ran influencer campaigns for some of the largest eCommerce brands in the space, there’s a ton of learnings that I’ll share today.
How many times can you remember buying a product because one influencer posted about it? How about when multiple people you follow talked about a product, do you feel more convinced to check it out?
Influencer marketing has evolved a lot over the past few years, but so did consumer’s behavior and perception towards influencers. Years ago, a single post from influencers can easily generate thousands of dollars within the first hour, now it might get you some clicks and a few sales but the magnitude of output just isn’t there anymore.
For you to get what you want out of influencer marketing, you can’t think of it as a pure acquisition channel anymore. It’s now a top of funnel display placement that needs a lot more help to convert a customer.
For influencer marketing to really work (without going after a big fish with a big budget), you need to work with influencers with overlapping audience and really good SEO.
Why SEO?
The user journey from an influencer post isn’t what you think it is. The majority of the viewers aren’t clicking in the influencer’s link in bio or the caption to find your account and going to your website from your link. From our experiments the past few years, a big portion of users will go look for you on Google.
Especially with brands that they’ve never heard of in the past, this number goes even higher. They’re looking for social proof, validation, cheaper places to buy, all the little due diligence before pulling out their wallet to buy your product. Some times they may be looking up descriptions of what your product does because they forgot the brand name.
If you go and try to do this right now with your brand, does it show up on the top half of the front page? If not, you’re losing out on sales when you work with influencers.
People don’t want to spend more time than usual to look for you. If you’re not there when they look for you, they’re not going to the second page.
Even though people generally talk about SEO separate from influencer marketing, from my experience running influencer campaigns for hundreds of brands, this user journey is still consistent across the board.
The third time is the charm (or maybe more)
The saying goes, third time is the charm, but I think in the case with influencers, the more the merrier. We’re not just going after quantity for the sake of having more people, but we need to go after influencers that have an audience overlap. The more times you can show the brand to the same person, the more convinced they will be to take an action – whether that is out of a direct call to action from the creator or just out of curiosity. Driving FOMO is the key to win here.
Creators tend to stick together like pods, where they cross promote each other to gain followers. Here are few ways I find creators with an audience overlap:
  • Going to their IG and looking at the suggested account when you click the down arrow next to their follow button
  • Go through their comments on Tiktok and Instagram to see other creators that comment. Creators do this with each other to boost engagement so you can generally see who’s in their pod
  • Going through their following list to see if they are mutuals. Of course, this is not scalable and tedious if they follow a lot of people, but it’s a good starting point.
Your goal? It is to repeat the content and promotion (obviously with some variations, so people aren’t bored with the content) and convince your potential customers to buy your product because everyone else (in their mind) is talking about it
There’s an aspiration sense that people have into wanting to become who they follow on social media. Repetition in posts drives the idea that this is a part of a lifestyle, and people are compelled to buy into that.
Creator Size Matters
There are some general principles that will stick with influencer marketing, and it’s the size of people you go after.
Macro influencers, like those with millions of followers are great to work with if you have a big budget because they won’t be cheap. You probably won’t get a return on your investment for the most part, but it’s great for brand association and using them in assets to run ads against because their face is familiar.
Nano and Micro influencers on the other hand, are more prime for free product seeding and a more budget friendly way to get into influencer marketing, but quantity matters and audience overlap matters even more. Think of it like one small punch in a wall vs 50 small punches in the same spot, the latter will make a bigger impact just through repetition.
Before we end, I have a small favor to ask. Mind supporting me to continue writing these memos by sharing this with a friend? Get my learnings as an operator of dozens of eCommerce brands weekly in your inbox here!
Anyways, that’s it for this week’s newsletter. Be sure to subscribe for more content like this! See ya next week. 
📱 Marketing Tool Highlight - Postscript
A couple of months ago I wrote about fun campaigns that you can run as an eCommerce brand. The idea behind the tweet is to show that SMS really isn’t just a way for you to send your customers your promo text and calling it a day. It needs to be a two way conversation. I’ve tested 6 of the largest SMS apps on the market and came back to absolutely love Postscript. There’s really nothing like Postscript in terms of ease of use, company values, customer support, and their methodology of SMS marketing. Other tools we interviewed in the past encouraged us to list blast – because it makes them more money, but Postscript actually taught us to segment and only send to people that need to see our text. This was my tippy point to go all-in for Postscript.
You can try them for free for 30 days here. Email me back if you need help with Postscript and I’ll personally help you out.
jason wong
Stop sending boring texts that just ask your customers to buy your products with a big coupon code💀

Here are 5 ideas to make your SMS channel more fun 👇🏼
🎙 This Week's Building Blocks Episode
Ep. 23 How Brands Can Go Viral Again and Again with JT Barnett - Ecommerce Building Blocks
Brands need to come up with their own original series - a recurring thing that audience can come back to. That is the company that does that. This is the people that talk about this. Get people to associate the series with your brand. Figure out how to put your product in organically. - JT Barnett
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Jason Wong
Jason Wong @eggroli

Quick 5 minute reads every Friday in your inbox to wrap up what's going on this week in the DTC space, growth strategies, and my memo as a founder building a beauty brand.

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