If there’s one type of influencer or content creator that I am asked to find more than others these days, it’s the performance-based, affiliate-type of micro or nano influencer that can just drive sales. It make sense that most businesses, particularly direct to consumer brands, would rather skip the high cost, awareness influencer types and just drive revenue.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to identify creators with smaller audiences but good influence, particularly in terms of whether or not they can convert.
But where there’s a difficult path, there’s always someone carving out a trail for us.
William Gasner is the chief marketing officer at Stack Influence. It is a micro-influence managed service that specifically focuses on creators who will trade a post for product, and who are more likely to want to sign up for affiliate programs and referral deals to get paid more when they get you paid more.
Because Stack Influence has some very specific parameters for who should use it and what types of creators they’ll get, William actually has thought very deeply about the space and the differences between creators of various sizes and effectiveness. He makes for a good conversation about topics like influencer pay scales and the differences between creators of various audience sizes and more.
I invited William to come on the show to tell us more about Stack Influence, but to also hold him to the task of answering some of the trending questions in the space. We talk about pay, performance-based compensation, programmatic versus high touch and more.
And I happened to stumble upon a huge missed opportunity for Stack Influence. It has something to do with its name and how the company got started. Listen closely for that in the conversation.
This episode of Winfluence is presented by Tagger, the complete influencer marketing software platform. Sign up for a free demo today at jasonfalls.co/tagger.
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William Gasner on Winfluence Transcript
[00:00:00] Jason: On this episode of Winfluence.
[00:00:01] William: How TikTok’s platform works is like you can have 30 followers and your post can get a million views, and Instagram has been copying that with reels, and how that actually works is like once a piece of content starts getting engaged, the social platform’s gonna start showing that to more people, and then the more people that engage out of that new audience, they’re gonna keep. Exploding that, right? So it’s no longer the days that the celebrities control this world and the mega influencers, it’s the everyday average piece with these nano and micro influencers that could be getting even more reach than, and literally they have like 30 people following them, but they’re creating really high quality content that people love.
[00:00:45] Jason: There’s a difference between being an influencer and actually influencing. I’m Jason Falls, and in this podcast we explore the people, companies campaigns and stories that illustrate that difference. Welcome to Winfluence, the Influence Marketing Podcast.
Hello again friends, thanks for listening to Winfluence, the Influence Marketing Podcast. If there’s one type of influencer or content creator that I am asked to find more than others these days, it’s the performance based affiliate type of micro or nano influencer that can just drive sales.
It makes sense that most businesses, particularly direct to consumer brands would rather skip the high cost awareness influencer types and just drive revenue. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to identify creators with smaller audiences, but good influence, particularly in terms of whether or not they can convert sales.
But where there’s a difficult path, there’s always someone carving out a trail for us. William Gasner is the Chief Marketing Officer at Stack Influence, it is a micro influencer managed service that specifically focuses on creators who will trade a post for product and who are more likely to want to sign up for affiliate programs and referral deals, so that they get paid when you get paid. Because Stack Influence has some very specific parameters for who should use it and what types of creators they’ll get, William actually has thought very deeply about the space and the differences between creators of various sizes and effectiveness.
He makes for a good conversation about topics like influence or pay scales and the differences between creators of various audience sizes, effectiveness, and more. I invited William to come on the show to tell us more about Stack Influence, but also to hold him to the task of answering some of the trending questions in the space.
We talk about pay performance based compensation, programmatic versus high touch and more, and I happen to stumble upon a huge missed opportunity for Stack Influence, it has something to do with its name and how the company got started, listen closely for that in the conversation. William Gasner of Stack Influences coming up.
Before we get to that, let’s touch base on Tagger, our presenting sponsor. It is a complete influencer marketing software platform that allows you to find, reach out, contract, collaborate, pay, and even measure content creators for your influence marketing efforts. I use Tagger every day, I literally have projects in the platform for a couple dozen clients right now.
Each project is divided by campaigns, and each campaign has groups within it, so I can have lists of creators under one campaign that are different. So I can have all the fitness and exercise creators in one group but in another group I can have those from beauty and fashion. What that does is it allows me to organize and manage lists and groups within campaigns so that when I’m focused on one group, I can make my outreach and my work more relevant and focused on engaging each creator with better context, and that makes my influence strategies come to life better than they would otherwise. I could go on, but you know, I use Tagger everyday, you should check it out. It might be right for your brand or agency. Go to jasonfalls.co/tagger to get a free demo and see if Tagger is right for you, that’s jasonfalls.co/tagger.
Want micro influencers who will post for product only sign up to be affiliates and not have to hold their hand? Find out one way you can do all that with Stack Influences, William Gasner, he’s next, on Winfluence.
William, I want to get into all kinds of things today, but let’s start at the beginning. How did you come to be a co-founder and CMO of an influence marketing company?
[00:04:51] William: Great question, Jason. So basically my background is in web development slash marketing as well as e-commerce. So for almost a decade, ran a web development design marketing firm, with two friends of mine and that led me into also some product development and e-commerce marketing as well. What really dove me into the influencer world and also taking kind of e-commerce to the next level was actually the fidget toy trend, if you remember that in about 2015.
So, one of my friends and I were actually some of the first e-commerce sellers to one actually sell on Amazon and two, to kind of run ads for the fidget toys and definitely a trendy product, but it really showed us the potential of where influencers can go and also just how far you can scale an e-commerce product.
So during that time, we used kind of the full spectrum of influencers from the mega influencers, which are really the celebrities of the world, to those who don’t know the terminology to the nano and micro influencers, which are more the everyday average person. And throughout that experiment and throughout all of those different tests to try to see we’re the best place to kind of put our ad dollars would be we ended up seeing that the nano micro influencers were kind of the best bang for our buck, and for numerous reasons. So one, we found that we could really do a lot of product compensation promotions as opposed to paying people kind of an arm and a leg to do something that we found very beneficial because, It’s an ode to authenticity, right? It’s like when you pay someone, they may not care about your product, they’re doing it for the money, when you’re giving them a product as compensation, they better care about it in, in order for them to actually spend time to create a post and kind of represent it, right?
So, Added to that authenticity, it was cheaper for us to scale. Micro influencers also diversified the risk because not every influencer is cut from the same cloth, some can be an amazing promotional strategy for you while others can kind of be very much dead in the water. If that’s the right terminology to use, or basically just a very big dud you could say.
And so, really with the micros is like, you may get a few duds, but if you’re working with hundreds or thousands of them, like the majority of them are gonna really pan out really well, so that was another really big aspect, and then obviously and for those who don’t know, the big advantages to micro and nano is like, these are everyday people, so their follower base is their friends, their family, their close acquaintances, right? Like trusted audience, you could say.
And really throughout history, the most powerful marketing tactic when we have ads and all these other things PR it’s like really been word of mouth. who do you trust the most in your life for a recommendation is usually your friends or your family.
And so that’s kind of the advantage to these micro nano influencers. Many of them don’t necessarily consider themselves to be an influencer but the truth is, we all have influence over our peers and our relationships, right? Especially when we may have some special expertise in an area, like we’re really passionate about rock climbing or yoga, right?
There’s even more extra value there. And that’s truthfully also the additional value to the micro nanosphere where and it correlates to social media engagement. How many people actually like, or comment or do some sort of action after they promote, And industry standards are like 5 to 10x.
These micro nano influencers are having higher engagement levels than the celebrities of the world, and it completely makes sense because like people follow celebrities for the cloud or because they’re kind of in the cultural ethosphere, but they might not care about everything they promote and they know that they’re getting paid huge amounts of money to do a lot of these promotions.
Whereas like when your friend promotes something or your family member, like, you’re much more apt to not only look at it, but engage with it and trust it. And so that’s long story short, where we really found a lot of success. However, the issue that we freaking faced during all of this was, the name of the game with the micro and nano is you do have to scale them up, right?
Working with only a handful of them isn’t gonna really do much coz their follower base is so tight knit and you do wanna get that kind of celebrity reach. And so, for different products we were promoting, finding the right people, actually vetting them, getting them the product, making sure they actually post on time, do what they say they’re gonna do, all of that became a very daunting task, and we really like it was almost a full time job.
And so we started to kind of build out our own internal team to handle a lot of that for our own e-commerce brands, and then realized this was like it was very inefficient and started to talk to other brand owners and realized everyone was in kind of the same boat even with using a lot of the top influencer softwares that existed out there which mostly are kind of this CRM model, they give you a database of influencers, makes it really easy to find people and then some communication features to kind of negotiate prices, et cetera, but reaching out to people, even getting the product, all of that still and out, we are paying kind of huge, expensive subscription fees for these softwares, it was still a full-time job.
And so what we set out to do is really kind of solve our own issues which was really the birth of Stack Influence was to figure out a way to create automations to make this process much simpler. And we started to do that in house along with kind of our internal team, and as we started to build that up, a few of our other e-commerce friends were like, hey, can we actually have access to this? And then it was kind of basically an epiphany that, hey, maybe, this could be a really cool business venture, and simultaneously to running our own businesses, we started kind of putting more money towards those software developments and those you could say influencer management automation tools, and that’s where Stack Influence was born, about almost five years ago now, 2018.
[00:10:34] Jason: So what you’re telling me is, this isn’t like a second business, this is an evolution of the fidget spinner business?
[00:10:42] William: Basically
[00:10:44] Jason: And the other thing that struck me while you were telling that story is how in the world did you walk past the opportunity to not name the company, digit spinners?
[00:10:54] William: Digit spinners, really a good question, good question. That would’ve been a genius name, we had a few different names.
[00:11:04] Jason: Well, I’m gonna start calling you digit spinners as a Non Daplume, if you will. And by the way, I’m sure one of the umpteen dozen fidget spinners, at least one is probably your alls in my daughter’s collection. She was big into the, fidget spinners during that face, my son had a few too, but my daughter really got into it, so she’s probably got a drawer full of ’em at the house and I bet about half of ’em are probably from you guys so…
So thank you and you’re welcome all at the same time. All right, so, the high level explanation then of Stack Influence is that you have built a micro nano influencer scalable solution. Take us a little bit more deeper into the sort of elevator pitch explanation of what Stack Influence does and who it serves?
[00:11:44] William: Yeah, definitely. So you hit the nail on the head. High level, we are a nano micro influencer marketing platform that specializes in automated management at scale. So totally hands off platform, everything’s handled from you from A to Z, we save brands on average about 90 hours per month in management time. And we’ve developed some very unique systems into this entire platform that solve other issues we actually had, one of them is that we actually guarantee influencer promotions unlike basically every other e-commerce platform out there. And what I mean by that is certain percentage of the time when you’re doing micro and nano transactions, even when you’re paying people, but most of this issue comes along when you are doing a product compensation campaign is actually getting someone to do what they say they were gonna do or even post a promotion in general.
And yet you’d think everyone’s trustworthy in the world, and many people are trustworthy and sometimes life becomes busy and they forgot they signed up for an influencer campaign but you send a product out and then nothing comes and you follow up with them and they don’t respond to your emails and you basically lose inventory in time. It became a major issue when we were really scaling this out in an automated fashion and when we started offering our systems and solutions to our clients, they would get pissed when we, they were like, hey, I want 300 influencers and only 200 people post on social media, and we were like, hey, we did all this work for these other people, like we wanna charge you for that, you know? And they were like, well, yeah, I just lost all this inventory, now I’m gonna pay you fees for like these people who never did anything for us.
So we developed this very unique system that we actually require our influencers to be real consumers of a brand to participate in campaigns. So basically all of our influencers who in our community actually have to buy our clients’ products for full price from some sort of online website or listing, et cetera.
And then once they complete their promotion, they get, in essence, their influencer payment. That payment can be a reimbursement for their the fees that they paid for that product, in addition to, occasionally we reward influencers with, depending on how many followers they have or what actions they do how much they reach with monetary compensation. Even though, again, as mentioned, the main incentive to participate in our our platform is for products. But basically what this model does is, one, it ensures people do what they say they’re gonna do, right? If someone buys a product and they don’t post on social media, we’re not paying ’em back and we’re not charging our brands, right?
So totally insured influencer transactions which really no other platform out there is doing because can be very hard to convince people to do this process, which we faced. But the second thing it really does which is amazing, is a handle shipping logistics, like nowadays, not every company has inventory on hand, they’re using a fulfillment center, they’re like across the world, right? and so this goes through your normally e-commerce channels where you have your fulfillment center integrated. Many times you kind of can ship the product out much easier, we’re not dealing with sending addresses back and forth, losing inventory, not getting people products on time.
So it was this amazing model that really has enabled us to actually guarantee people are gonna do what they say they’re gonna do as well as actually like post the correct type of content, like, you’d be surprised, you give people all these instructions and then, and a lot of creative freedom and they just don’t follow anything, you know?
[00:15:08] Jason: You mean you expect these egotistical influencer types to read instructions? Are you crazy?
[00:15:15] William: Exactly, so those are the big value props that our platform comes into play is the ability to totally outsource your influencer campaigns and not to just an agency who may charge you a lot because they don’t have the software power to do something in an efficient manner, but also enable scale, right? And scale is the name of the game, especially if you’re a big brand or, even when you’re just first launching, like you want to be able to scale up these promotions as you grow, and that can be very difficult for depending on what product niche you’re in. And so we’ve specialized in that and along with that, we guarantee and ensure all these transactions actually happen as our brands wish they’d happened.
[00:15:53] Jason: Well, that’s pretty amazing also, when you consider your pricing, coz I’ve looked at your pricing list that’s available online on your website a couple of times and you’re talking, you know, less than, 30 or 40 or less than 50 or 60 bucks an influencer to execute some campaigns on the low end, certainly I’m sure it goes up, but you know, for you guys to guarantee that and it be a very low cost is pretty impressive.
[00:16:15] William: Yeah, definitely our platform actually now the highest price we charge is actually $39 an influencer. And it actually goes down, the more you scale up. Not all of the platforms do that sometimes increased scale, convenient, increased bandwidth and issues for us, it makes things easier, so we actually give you a better discount for kind of larger scales and truthfully there are some brands that think that price is expensive, but what I always tell people is go out and try to find these same influencers yourself and see what they’re gonna charge you, right? And then how much inventory you’re gonna lose, coz it’s gonna be much more than what our platform ends up charging you, and you’re gonna have to do all the work yourself.
[00:16:53] Jason: Right, so I’m curious when I go to most software solutions or even influencer companies that focus on micro influencers you’re typically talking about a marketplace, which to me always feels like Craiglist, which I don’t care for very much. So I’m curious, how do you recruit, these creators that you then have that kind of success, guiding them and getting them to do what they’re supposed to do, because you guys are not necessarily a marketplace, you’re not necessarily a, you know, SAS product either, I don’t think so, how do you man the roster there for folks?
[00:17:26] William: Great question. So we do actually consider ourself a marketplace, but in a type of marketplace like Uber, right? So when you go on Uber and you go to request a ride, you don’t get to choose every single driver, right? You do get to see what their ratings are, you do get to kind of get some information about them, but it automatically matches you with the right person for you, that’s the closest to you, right?
So it’s a curated matching system, but still somewhat of a marketplace because they do have two users. They have drivers on one side and then riders on the other, right? And so, we consider our Stack Influence to be the same way. We do have brands on one side and influences on the other, and what our job is to match make, and curate their relationship in the best way possible.
So initially we did think of this kind of Craigslist model where it was just like a free for all, right? But we started to realize is that in order to keep people engaged and keep promotion’s actually positive and collaboration’s really positive.
We need to be the ones to curate this collaboration and so we do this on multiple ways, first we tap into social media APIs to source information about people. Everything’s public, so we’re getting information kind of on like, if you’ve ever used a specific hashtag, right? Like let’s say you use hashtag yoga we can figure out, okay, these types of people or these profiles have tagged hashtag yoga in their posts. When we know that we’re making an assumption, right? So hashtags are the main kind of feature for many of the platforms, to tag and to search. We also can kind of get information on people you’re following or things that are in your profile, et cetera, but going back to the hashtag yoga, it’s gonna give us some sort of an assumption of what you might be interested in, right?
And so if you tag to hashtag yoga, maybe you’re interested in health and wellness, maybe you’re interested in fitness, right? Maybe you’re also interested in yoga, who knows? And then from there we kind of collect more data on your profile. So maybe and things that are very important to us, like what is your engagement rate or how many times or often do you post on social media?
How long has your profile been around for? Do you have too many followers and not enough people you’re following? Or vice versa, meaning like you may actually have fake followers or you’re kind of using bots to promote your profile. Other things are what other keywords are you actually incorporating into your posts? What types of tags are you using in your promotions, et cetera. All of that information we take in so that we can actually figure out information about you that, we can curate the right kind of product to invite you to our community and and figure out if you’re gonna be interested in a product.
That’s our first step, and we use actually a lot of AI and automated systems to filter people out. We then actually have human eyeballs and a full team of people who actually go through each profile and give us more concrete data and kind of confirm our assumptions, because maybe you did hashtag yoga, but you hate yoga, and you were kind of talking down about yoga, right?
And we wanna make sure those automate assumptions aren’t wrong. And so the human validation period in our platform kind of confirms that once we get all this kind of these data points about people we then need to have the right product for them, right? If someone’s interested in yoga, Maybe like they’re not interested in let’s say football, right?
And so if we had a football product that, and maybe they were interested in sports, right? But like we’re making an assumption maybe they’re not interested in this type of athletic sports or et cetera. So, if we have a football product ready, we may not send that as the first thing for them to see, to join our community.
If we have a yoga mat, that might be perfect, right? And so it’s kind of this curation process, not only for the first touchpoint that we reach out to influencers for, but we also really care about who the brand’s getting, right? Like you want someone who really fits your aesthetic and is going to be a true customer of your brand in order to participate in the campaign, let alone represent your actual company and your products.
And so it’s that back and forth curation process, and then once they’re part of our community, we end up getting much more data points on what people. And what they’re interested in. And we do that through not only surveying them, but we give influencers always kind of different options to choose from because at certain times people might be interested in one product or the next, and also, there’s a nuance to even similar product categories, right?
Like someone may we realize, okay, they’re interested in fitness, they probably like protein powder, right? But do they like vegan protein powder or do they like animal protein powder, right? And that’s a very specific nuance, and we can’t have someone fill out a million question survey with everything that they possibly kind of could like, know about them, and we can’t get all the data points on social media from them, and so what’s amazing is like through our platform, what we can do is give them options between oh, you’re interested in fitness, here’s some protein powder. Do you want vegan protein powder? Or do you want animal product protein powder, right?
And they’re gonna deny, let’s say the animal product protein powder and accept the vegan product protein powder. That negative data point sometimes is more valuable than the positive, right? Because now we just realized that, they may be vegan, and that’s an amazing way to now curate new products to them, understand about demographics, more depth.
And that’s really how we do this matchmaking system is through constant kind of opportunities and then figuring out how they interact with the brands, allowing the brands to give us feedback on the influencers that promote for them. And it’s very much this curated process. I know there’s a lot of information, but…
[00:23:04] Jason: That’s what we wanted, we wanted a lot of information. All right, I want to get into the nitty gritty of micro influencers, how you define that classification and explore some, of the controversial positions of paying creators, you guys typically engage with creators who will exchange their content for product only. We’re also gonna talk about the advent of the Amazon influencer, all that’s coming up, don’t go away, we’re talking to William Gasner of Stack Influence, stay tuned.
Back with William Gasser of Stack Influence, it is a managed solution of sorts for brands and agencies to leverage micro influencers, mostly to drive online sales via Amazon or other pathways.
All about conversions and all about leveraging influencers who will work primarily for products, so William, that’s a touchy subject for some people in the Influence space, the evangelists for the creator economy out there, regardless of how many followers Influencer has when a brand engages them, they’re getting time, they’re getting content they can use, they’re getting access to that creator’s audience.
All three of those deliverables are valuable. So why does Stack Influence, I think primarily work with creators who are willing to work for product only, which in some people’s minds is working for free?
[00:24:16] William: Definitely, and also really great question. So we consider ourself the gateway to the influencer world. We are not, against paying influencers in general, and I think that people spend a lot of time and they should be paid for their time, right? On these types of promotions. But what we wanna do is allow people to, it’s similar to kind of an internship, right?
Many people are getting in the door with a company and getting things on their resume, to then be able to get paid much more money in the future. And so what our goal is, to match influencers with really high quality brands, people that they can actually build this, what we consider an influencer resume, right?
And then leverage that to actually get paid opportunities elsewhere or within our platform, and we do plan to actually develop paid promotional opportunities in the future. We just wanna focus really on kind of the segment of product compensation promotions, to really dominate that market. But going back to really like people willing to promote for just a product compensation one avenue that we kind of see ourself in, and you may be familiar with kind of a discount software is one of the most popular ones, is called Honey.
They were acquired by PayPal. Basically when you’re going shopping online, right, for something that you really desire, a product that you actually want, it’s an amazing opportunity to find a coupon for it, right? And get a discount. What we believe our system will evolve into is people who didn’t see that their social profile and their influence was actually valuable, can now leverage that to save money and make money, right?
And so, we see that like, let’s say you’re shopping online, you see a product that you really want, and you go to Stack Influence and search for that product, right? Or you have a Stack Influence extension that pops down and tells you, hey, you can buy this product but you can get your money back, which is in essence paying you, right? Coz you’d normally hash out your own hard earned money for this certain product that you want, and that goes back to that product compensation model. And now you can actually leverage that social kind of influence that you normally didn’t realize you had and get this for free and save money, and also make money.
And so that’s really where we focus, and what we also, the opportunity we see is that literally 92% of the entire social media world falls into the micro nano space. About less than 10,000 followers and many of these people, it’s about almost 3 billion people on the planet.
would never consider themselves an influencer. There’s actually kind of a negative connotation these days to being an influencer, like almost a sell out or you’re egotistically boosting, right? And we want to change the perception to almost have people think of themselves as passion promoters, right?
You desire a product and you have like knowledge in a specific space or have basically a passion for something or a hobby in something. You are a passion promoter, right? Like, and you can now make money or save money by leveraging that and getting products that you actually would normally be consuming.
And then eventually, if this is something that you really desire, maybe this becomes an actual occupation of yours, you become kind of a career influencer in this space, that’s the space we want to stay in and dominate at first, so that we can turn basically the world of everyday people into these passion promoters, into people who leverage their social profiles, and then there always will be people who wanna get paid for what they do, and we wanna also be here for that, but that’s not where we’re gonna start.
[00:27:38] Jason: While I appreciate the alliteration of passion promoters, I still think it’d be better if they were digit spinners, but that’s just me. Well, and to be fair, we are talking about micro nano influencers and you know, you’ve recognized a lot of the people that you’re talking about don’t even consider themselves influencers, so they may not even think I can either get free products or make money doing this, and so, Stack Influence might be a really nice way for people who maybe don’t think they have what it takes to be a quote unquote influencer to kind of walk into that in a really interesting way, and as you said, build their resume.
So Love the fact and when people would say, hey, I don’t like the Stack Influencers of the world or the micro influencer platforms of the world that only do product campaigns, you guys are literally set up with creators who know what’s the deal is going in, so they’re choosing to do this, it’s their decision to make, right?
[00:28:30] William: Exactly right. And we’re not holding them kind of, you could say hostage against other influencer platforms, we have no exclusivity agreements. Influencers are free to reengage with brands they work with through our campaigns, we actually encourage that and have tools to promote that, and they also can use other influencer platforms and many of them do.
And we just wanna provide as much value to them and ongoing opportunities for them to come back so, we’re just one of the segments for you to build your influencer resume and get things that you really love, right? But if you value getting paid, like that’s totally cool, and that’s really where we see how we define, going back to kind of an initial question you were mentioning, how do we define a micro or nano influencer? And personally for Stack Influence is your willingness to do a promotion for a product. Because the definitions vary wherever you read them online.
Some people say less than 100,000 followers, some people say less than 10,000. It’s all over the board with what is a nano, what is a micro influencer? What’s a mega influencer, right? At like, what we see is that majority of people with less than 20,000 followers or over 20,000 followers wanna get paid and that’s totally understandable. You should be getting paid for that reach, right?
But there are many of those people with 100,000 followers, 70,000 followers that are part of our community, and they normally get paid by other platforms or other brands, but they do promotions with us for just a product because we give them really high quality products that they want, right?
[00:29:51] Jason: Yeah, very fair. So, real quickly, another, you know, sort of topic that, you know, can bridge a little bit of that gap. Tell me a little bit about affiliate setups, are you guys able to incorporate a, paper for performance model for any of these creators?
[00:30:05] William: So we actually dont have that integrated into our system quite yet, it is something we are working on developing. However, what we do, and I slightly alluded to this, is encourage all of our clients to engage and basically activate influencers during or after our campaign, outside of our platform.
And so we actually have tools in our dashboard that enables, our brands to download all of the influencers who participated with information of what stage they were in the campaign, what their engagement levels are, what their follower base is as well as source in, specific modules that actually tell you who is the highest engagement, influencers who participated, who are the best influencers based off of not only your engagements, but like the photo content, how many followers they had, et cetera.
And so we’re trying to curate kind of this experience to where we want the brands to identify who are the best promoters for them, and then we encourage people to then reach out to them and integrate them into their own affiliate networks, right? Whether that is on your normal D2C website, whether that’s on through an Amazon platform and online marketplace but really what you should be doing for, any micro influencer or influencer platforms in general is kind of creating ongoing relationships with these people because that’s where you get the most value. And it’s the same thing with the content, right? Like you get this content that’s great and it was promoted on social media, but you should then reutilize that and put that in your ad campaigns.
Which is, many stats show, like authentic UGC actually decreases your ad cost, increases your conversions. Like use that for your social, your own social promotions, use that on your marketing materials. And it’s like you build a website, right? And then you don’t do any SEO or any marketing and like no one’s gonna see that beautiful website you made, right?
And, the difference with influencers is they are promoting for you, but there’s so many aspects to a campaign that provide these assets that you really have to leverage during or after the campaign’s ended to maximize all of the benefits that you receive.
[00:32:05] Jason: Yeah. Good stuff. Well, and also too, kind of a follow on to that point, you know, if you’ve got brands that you’re working with and the programs that you run are pushing people to, as you said, a, you know, a D2C website or Amazon to purchase, that makes Stack Influence very powerful because it closes the conversion loop. You guys are all about driving conversions, which has been a dang on influencer marketing from the C-Suite, so what do you look for in a creator to know they’re gonna be a good investment with conversions in mind?
[00:32:35] William: So the biggest thing is really engagement, right? Basically, engagement is the largest correlation to a conversion that you can get as the like overall metric, and it comes down to just the social platforms have changed now where it used to be everyone who actually we’re following you saw your post when you promoted it, right?
As long as they were on Instagram or whatever the platform was at the time of day that you kind of, or the day that you actually posted something, everything’s now changed to where basically all of the social platforms are only showing your content to people who care, and so now what you’re seeing is like people with 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 followers are getting the same amounts of engagements on their posts than people with 200 or 300 followers.
And it just comes down to, and it makes total sense, it’s like what the social platform’s job or desire is to keep people on their platforms and keep people engaged, and what they probably started to see is that when someone started to be on the social platform for longer periods of time, they started to follow more people and they started to follow people they didn’t really care about, and then when they’d go onto their feed, they’d see all this content that they didn’t care about, and then they’d leave, right? And so they probably started to show them, okay let’s figure out what people actually care about and who they actually engage with, who they spend more time, what profiles they spend more time on.
And instead of just showing them content from everyone they’re following, will only show them content from the people who actually care about, and it definitely, it increased most likely the people’s stickiness on their platforms. And so now that’s how the world of social media works.
And they’ve even taken a step further with the advent of reels, and honestly, how TikTok platform works is like you can have 30 followers and your post can get a million views. And that is also a really intelligent thing to do, and Instagram’s been copying that with reels, and how that actually works is like once a piece of content starts getting engaged, the social platform’s gonna start showing that to more people.
And then the more people that engage out of that new audience, they’re gonna keep exploding that, right? So it’s no longer the days that the celebrities control this world and the mega influencers, it’s the everyday average piece with these nano and micro influencers that could be getting even more reach and literally they have like 30 people following them, but they’re creating really high quality content that people love and that’s what’s gonna dominate the platforms.
And that’s the biggest, going back to your original question, it’s like looking at someone’s reels or looking at these certain metrics on maybe TikTok, et cetera, do their post get, pushed to a larger audience?
Like what is the amount of people who are like in commenting, sharing based to the amount of people who are following them? And those correlate to not only the quality of content they’re putting out but like in my opinion, kind of, impressions can be somewhat of a vanity metric, right?
Like an impression can be someone who quickly scrolled by something, but you get someone to like, or comment on something, that means they actually took the time to look at what you were promoting and actually take it in, right? And that’s the awareness you want, and that correlates to sales.
[00:35:41] Jason: So to follow up on something I mentioned earlier, I talked about the term Amazon influencer, I know I saw you mention that on, you know, some other podcast I think you were on recently. I want to clarify a little bit, because I have my definition of what an Amazon influencer is. What’s your definition of Amazon influencer and do you have some secret index of h how people can sell stuff on Amazon you’re not sharing with us coz if so, I’m gonna come up there and smack you.
[00:36:10] William: So Amazon influencer can be a variety of definitions because Amazon has their own influencer platform and you can apply to that platform. They’ve actually just, they used to have it kind of a bit gate keep to only larger influencers and they have opened it up to smaller influencers, and it really comes down to also taking in the same correlations I just mentioned with engagement rates, et cetera.
And they should be, because it’s like, why does it matter? You have 200 followers if you’re driving engagements in sales, like that’s what Amazon cares about. So the Amazon influencer program, once you’re accepted, you get, it’s very similar to their longstanding affiliate program where when you promote certain products, you get a specific affiliate link, and if someone buys that product, you get a commission of those sales.
The difference with the new influencer program is now influencers were able to curate their own storefront of products that they love and promote, as well as also access Amazon Live. And so they can kind of do, move into the live e-commerce shopping world. And that can also be very beneficial for brands promoting.
So we actually encourage All of our influencers to participate in the Amazon Influencer program because what it enables them to do is kind of also get more value out of the products that they represent, right? If they’ve gotten this product for free and they’ve tested out and they love it, and they’ve already promoted it on social page, now many people have a kind of a link in bio, a link tree, et cetera and they can kind of add an Amazon store there, right? And now they can get consistent, not only are they helping the brands out by promoting them, but they’re also getting an affiliate commission from those actual promotions themselves. So that’s one aspect to Amazon influencers, and then there is another aspect of just getting influencers to promote Amazon in general.
You don’t necessarily, in my opinion, have to be part of Amazon’s influencer program to promote Amazon, and for sellers that are on online marketplaces, it can be very more impactful to drive traffic to a some sort of online marketplace as opposed to D2C. There’s ups and downs with that, but one is you’re kind of maybe losing a little extra money because Amazon takes certain fees right from you. However, the upsides are when you drive to an e-commerce site, right, and you’re driving traffic you’re getting money and money out, right? Like. Ideally you’re getting, like for every dollar you spend, you get two or three bucks back, right?
It’s the ideal, goal for any marketing or advertising channel. But when you’re promoting an online marketplace, that dollar in dollar out might not be a one time thing. And it comes down to being a search engine, right? Which is what all of them are, is if you can drive enough promotions in sales you’re actually going to enable you to get to a position where you have more eyeballs on the platform and then more sales come in organically, right?
And so you may be able to run a promotion that you spend a dollar and get $2 out, but that it doesn’t end when the campaign ends, right? You’re now in a position where that $2 out is consistent throughout time, right? You’re no longer only making 100 units a month. You’re making 500 units a month, right?
And like you got to this position where that maintains so basically that’s one of the biggest, really avenues for or benefits of kind of, when you are, and now truthfully, as any e-commerce seller, you should be unfortunately selling on some of the marketplaces because that’s where the dollars are.
There was a stat I think in 2017 that 47% of, and don’t quote me exactly on this, but it’s right about the range of there around 40% of every single eCommerce sale in the US. That’s every other marketplace, every other D2C website was through Amazon, right? How dominant they are, and this is before Covid, right?
So like, I can only imagine, and they haven’t even come out with their numbers, probably for a specific reason because of how dominant they are, and government’s gonna come out to break them up. but basically it’s a necessary possibly evil, right? Like, it’s like a very competitive place.
You gotta pay a lot of fees to get on there, but you gotta be on there now and there can be very lots of benefits if you can get to a, kind of, become a top seller on one of these marketplaces. And the last thing I’ll mention is if you are an Amazon seller, You should also look into a new program.
They just released what are called their Attribution Link program and brand referral bonus program. And so, what the Attribution Link program does is enables you to create a special unique URL link that tracks where your traffic is coming from. Amazon predominantly forever, never really gave you much data on.
Your sales were coming from, and so this new attribution link program, enables a seller to put specific links in their different marketing channels to actually track where these sales are coming from, what marketing channels are being actually really effective. And so it’s a great way to use four influencer promotions.
And then Amazon’s taken it a step further and released a brand referral bonus program. What that does is actually gives you Amazon savings, so on their fees, you can actually save up to 10% if you drive traffic from an external source like social media in combination with attribution links. So, and it’s a play by Amazon to actually, what they probably saw is that a lot of people running influencer promotions, running social ads, were doing it to their D2C websites because they were getting hit by these large fees on Amazon, didn’t totally see the value, and they’re trying to kind of take that traffic and create incentives around that, and my personal opinion is running it through those channels is so much impactful, right?
Because of those kind of longevity of effects, but now you’re actually getting cost savings by doing that, so that can be another definition of an Amazon influencer, which we usually promote many of our brands to incorporate into their campaigns.
[00:41:57] Jason: Very nice. Well, William, this has been a fun and insightful conversation, I love what you guys do. Very likely to be implementing some Stack Influence programs in the coming months. I can’t wait to test the service out myself, and rest is assured, I’ll be sharing that experience down the road, but tell the good folks how they can experience Stack Influence and where they can find you on the innerwebs.
[00:42:16] William: So the best place to find us is go to stackinfluence.com. You can also find us on all of the social platforms @Stackinfluence, we have all of those handles, no spaces in between there, and you can always get in touch with me if you have any other questions. Pretty simple, [email protected] is the best email to reach me at and been a pleasure being on the podcast, jason. Look forward to possibly working with you and your suite of brands and clients and talking to everyone today.
[00:42:43] Jason: Well, and I’m expecting my commission check when you rebrand as Digit spinners,
[00:42:48] William: Deal, I’ll give you some royalties on that one.
[00:42:51] Jason: Awesome.
So as you can tell, Stack does have some limitations, but it is well worth checking out. stackinfluence.com is the website. We also have links to the website and then to William’s LinkedIn profile In our show notes, you can always find an episode’s show notes at jasonfalls.com, just click on articles up in the top and look for the guest or topic you’re hoping to find now to do that faster, here’s a little, you know, sort of inside baseball trick for you. I use Jasonfalls.co as a URL shortener. The website is jasonfalls.com, but I also have jasonfalls.co. I use that as my URL shortener, and each episode is named after the guest. So this episode’s short URL is jasonfalls.co/williamgasner.
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Winfluence, the Influence Marketing Podcast is an audio companion to my book Winfluence Reframing Influencer Marketing to Ignite Your Brand. Get your copy online at winfluencebook.com. While you’re there, sign up for the latest ideas about influence marketing delivered in my periodic newsletter, or book me to speak to your company or organization about influence marketing.
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