CEO Series: Talking Influencer Marketing with the CEO of Scrunch

Influencer

Welcome to the World of Influencer Marketing

You may have heard the word ‘Influencer’ thrown around a bit lately. In fact, it seems to have become a real buzz word in the marketing world. As with anything that quickly comes to trend, there was a brief moment where I thought ‘Hey there’d be a good business idea in this!’, but of course a quick Google search revealed some other genius has already thought that – that genius being Danielle, CEO and co-founder of influencer marketing service Scrunch!

Scrunch is an online service that gives marketers the ability to find the perfect social media Influencer and manage a campaign end-to-end. ‘But what is an Influencer?’, you may be asking, I’ll leave that one to the expert.

So without further ado, I welcome you to MI Academy’s Zero to Hero Series where we delve into the minds of some insane digital hustlers and look at how they built a great idea into an even greater business.

What Is a Social Media Influencer?

Hey Danielle, Could you introduce yourself and just tell us a little about how Scrunch initially found its feet?

I am Danielle, CEO and Co-founder of Scrunch! Scrunch was born of two founders, myself and Salvatore who had the drive to create a digital business. We started out in virtual changerooms and fashion discovery platforms; however working with marketers and retailers over the past years we realised that we had the technology to make influencer marketing way easier so we shifted our focus and launched Scrunch!

For those who are still scratching their heads, what is an Influencer?

An Influencer is really anyone that can drive others to action, it could be a customer, your mum or someone with several thousand followers on their social media. The big benefit they bring to a retail business is that they are an authentic voice that can drive consumers to purchase your product.

When developing the business model for Scrunch, what consumer needs were your focal point?

The biggest pain points that marketers had were:

    • How time-consuming it was to find Influencers
    • How quickly spreadsheets became out of date
  • With so many Influencers, how did they choose the right one?

So we created Scrunch to solve these problems and make it super easy for anyone to identify an influencer and start a conversation in minutes.

Why influencer marketing and why only now?

Influencer marketing has been around since the dawn of time; it’s just now taking a new form. Word-of-mouth has always existed, just like when you give your friend a recommendation to a great new restaurant you tried, a person with a following on Instagram gives a recommendation to their audience about your brand or product.

Is Influencer Marketing Right For Your Business?

What advice do you have for a start-up with a small marketing budget looking to invest in a social media Influencer? How do they ensure the ROI will be positive?

This is a tricky one, you have to remember that influencer marketing is the same as any marketing channel so it must be tested. You don’t throw thousands of dollars into Google ads on day one and expect a ROI. You start small and test it until you find what works. influencer marketing is the same. We recommend you start small with a few different influencers and test what works, this will help you understand the right categories, and platforms you should think about when selecting the next round of influencers. There are a few obvious selections in different niches so our team is always here to give some advice to speed up the process!

How do you calculate the value of an influencer? Is it based on impressions, sales, the number of followers?

I love this question! It is totally up to you and should be based on what brings YOUR business value. If you’re a publisher, you might be looking for eyeballs on a website. If you’re an eCommerce store, you are probably looking for sales. Influencers can help you achieve any of these KPIS, but it’s important to know them upfront and select the right influencer for the job!

What should be included in a creative brief for an Influencer Marketer?  

We always recommend leaving creative control with the Influencer, as you usually get a much better end product and build a better relationship with them that way. Our advice though is to be VERY specific on the guidelines, what is the objective of the content, what is your style like, what NOT to do… then let them run free!

What makes Influencer Marketing different, or more trustworthy, than traditional celebrity endorsements?

Influencers have a really close relationship with their following which makes them much more credible than a celebrity. Influencers usually start out by interacting with every person that comments on their posts and learn from what their audience responds to, so they know them intimately. Whereas a celebrity is often just broadcasting their life.  

When someone is paid to endorse a product there can be an obvious falseness in their advocacy. How can you ensure the influencer you pick will be genuine?

We like to look back at an Influencers posts and understand what their audience has responded to in the past, and what other products they have promoted. If it is obvious that an Influencer takes a lot of sponsored posts and is no longer authentic, then sometimes it’s best to avoid them altogether.

As of the 1st of March 2017, Influencers are required to tag photos with #ad if it’s a paid promotion. Do you think this will decrease the authenticity of influencer marketing?

I actually think this will increase the authenticity of influencer marketing, as it helps the consumer understand which pieces of content have been paid for and which ones are organic.

About Scrunch

What credentials do you look for in a good influencer? How does Scrunch work to filter the good from the bad?

At Scrunch, we love diving into the data! And the most helpful metric right now can be engagement rate. This is the proportion of an Influencer followers who actually take action on their content (liking, sharing, commenting etc). This is a really simple way to identify whether the Influencer has a good relationship with their audience and that their content is resonating. It can also be a red flag if they have really low engagement, that some of their followers might be purchased.  

You note on the website that Scrunch is a data-driven program. What data points do you use to curate the service?

A lot! Our software looks at:

    • Follower counts across each individual platform
    • Aggregated follower counts
    • Engagement rate
    • Topic analysis
  • Location analysis

Plus we include other softer data like the Influencer’s content and their BIO which can help to paint a picture of who they are and whether they are a good fit for your brand.

Lastly, can you give me three actionable steps that a business owner, start-up or marketer can take today to get started with influencer marketing?

I’m going to be cheeky here… Book me in for a chat to talk about exactly how Influencers can work in your business, or throw yourself in headfirst and check out our free trial of Scrunch!

Look at it this way, influencer Marketing is great news for businesses who don’t have 1 million dollars to splurge on a Kim Kardashian Instagram plug. Even businesses that can afford celeb endorsements are jumping on the bandwagon, take for example Adidas and Hi Smile. If there’s one thing we can learn from Danielle it is that influencer marketing is achievable and effective, no matter the size of your business or marketing budget. So I’d strongly advise you to jump on the influencer Marketing bandwagon ASAP!

Also, keep your eyes peeled as MI Academy will be giving you another blog in the Zero to Hero Series very soon. In the meantime, check out some more of our blogs!

This blog was written for Inside Retails Newsletter, you can view the original here. 

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