The UnNoticed Entrepreneur - Candid conversations with entrepreneurs on how their business got noticed.

How to start being an influencer now even with a small following on social media

May 31, 2022 Jim James
The UnNoticed Entrepreneur - Candid conversations with entrepreneurs on how their business got noticed.
How to start being an influencer now even with a small following on social media
Show Notes Transcript

We often tie social media influencers with someone who has enormous followings on social media. But after talking with Joe Fields, Head of Influencer Relations of Onalytica, in this episode, I learned that having a huge following is not a must to be an influencer or a thought leader to #getnoticed.

According to Joe, an influencer is "someone who's able to persuade people in a certain way, to think more about a certain idea or a concept or a product or service and possibly influence their purchasing decision, or will just bring them around to a new way of thinking about something."

And in Onalytica, they don't only provide professional services to help brands scale their influencer programmes, but also help entrepreneurs like you to become an influencer or a thought leader, and he explains in this episode how. He also shares how much it could cost to hire an influencer from their platform to help you scale up your brand and business, why following and other social media metrics is not a priority to become an influencer, and how you could start become one to #getnoticed, for FREE.

Here's a case study of a successful influencer campaign from Onalytica.

Here is the compensation report for influencers from Onalytica.

Post-production, transcript and show notes by XCD Virtual Assistants


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Jim James:

Hello, and welcome to this episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur. Today, I'm delighted to have Joe Fields joining me. And Joe works for a company called Onalytica, a n influencer relations, and we're going to talk about that today. Joe, welcome to the show.

Joe Fields:

Hi, Jim, thanks so much for having me on.

Jim James:

Well, thanks for taking your holiday time because I know you're normally in the UK, but you're in South Africa. Oh, you're a lucky chap when you're taking part of your holiday to explain to us how can Onalytica help entrepreneurs to get noticed and all about influencer relations? So take it away.

Joe Fields:

Yeah, so I would say there's probably two models for entrepreneurs where Onalytica can help. So, first of all, if you are looking to promote yourself as an influencer and really raise your profile to spotlight your brand, then Onalytica can help you promote yourself and be recognised as an influencer. So you could sign up to the MyOnalytica free platform, tell us all about yourself and then we will try and unlock those opportunities for you as an influencer to raise your profile. The second opportunity would be more to do with working with influencers to help promote your brand. And that's where you would use Onalytica to really identify the influencers in your topic areas and work with them to increase trust and credibility amongst your target audience. Because one of the main reasons people work with influencers is because there's a bit of a lack of trust at the moment around advertising and branded content, whereas, one-to-one personal recommendations or reviews, this goes so much further, that's the crux of it. I would say those are the two main use cases how we can help you promote yourself and your brand as an entrepreneur.

Jim James:

So look, Joe, at the definitions, because you know, what is an influencer? Are we talking the Kardashians, for example in B2B marketing, of course, that community doesn't really carry a lot of weight. So how do you define a B2B influencer on the Onalytica platform?

Joe Fields:

Yeah, so that's a really good question. I think an influencer is probably defined as someone who has influence over a target audience. That's a very loose definition... but basically, someone who's able to persuade people in a certain way, to think more about a certain idea or a concept or a product or service and possibly influence their purchasing decision, or will just bring them around to a new way of thinking about something. But we define influencers in lots of different ways. So, influencers like the catch-all kind of category, but there's lots of different personas within that. We have content creators, people who are writing blogs and articles, PDFs, and creating all the content out there that we see. There's also the social media amplifiers who are sharing lots of content and are getting tonnes and tonnes of engagement on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, wherever they are. And then you also have the event speakers, obviously, that's people speaking at events. They bring in a larger audience, if you're looking to sell tickets to your events you might want to bring in one of those influences. There's lots of different types of influencers. It's difficult to define. And I think there's a lot of education still needed in the marketplace because people still aren't really quite sure about what is an influencer and what they do. So that's a big part of our job is to educate people about what it is.

Jim James:

Okay, what would be one definition for me would be number of, I guess, followers. What sort of number of, let's say, LinkedIn followers would a person have to have in order to be considered an influencer, for example, on Facebook, or on Instagram, or Pinterest?

Joe Fields:

Yeah, I think, it's quite easy to get into that sort of side of things of you're looking at the reach and how many followers. We tend to think of it more in terms of the relevancy of that audience. So you might have an influencer who's only got 2000 followers, but those 2000 followers are actually the top people that you really want to connect with. They could be C-suite decision-makers in the industry. So we tend not to look at reach too much. Obviously, it is important if you want to spread your message as far as possible. I mean, anyone under a thousand or 2000 followers probably not be considered as an influencer. But we've got lots of niche topic areas where people don't have huge followings but they're still considered influential because of their expertise. And so we've tend and to focus more on engagement and authority metrics, as well as reach. But it shouldn't be the most important factor to determine who you are as an influencer.

Jim James:

Okay, you mentioned there Joe engagement, for example. How are you measuring that metric?

Joe Fields:

So for Twitter, it's quite easy because that's a very open platform. There's a lot of, you know, easy access through an API feed. So engagement would be the number of likes, number of retweets, number of comments added up together to get a number. On YouTube, it would be the number of views and the number of comments. LinkedIn is still quite a closed platform, and they don't have an open API, but you can look at the post manually and record the metrics that way. And then there are other platforms as well, which are a bit, you know, a bit more open. But primarily for B2B, we tend to look at Twitter and LinkedIn and also blogs as well. So, comment on blogs, how many shares they're getting, who's sharing them, things like that. So, we actually do a lot of bespoke reporting for our clients as well. We sell a lot of professional services. We have analysts working on lots of reporting for them. So it's not just the platform with Onalytica. You do get a customer success manager and you can add lots of additional services to the platform as well.

Jim James:

And tell us if you've got influencers on Onalytica. If it's an entrepreneur looking to promote, let's say they're introducing a new tech product. How many influencers do you have listed on Onalytica for them to choose from, and how would they go about doing that?

Joe Fields:

Yeah, it's growing all the time. We were adding lots and lots of influencers. I think we added about two to three thousand podcasts the other day. But yeah, there's roughly about a million influencers in the platform, and the way you would activate those is you'd come to the discover section and we have prebuilt search queries for the different topics there. For example, if it was a product which focused on digital transformation, we have a set bullion, search query, already built for you, and we can easily identify the influencers in that area just with a one-click search. But Onalytica comes into it saying as with the filters on those searches as well, so you can exclude people with certain job roles. So you can exclude politicians and journalists, for example. You can exclude celebrities, sports professionals, lots of different roles that won't be relevant. And then you can just look at certain channels. Just want LinkedIn, just want Twitter and location as well. We give you in-depth information into the audience as well. So who's following these people, which is like the crux of it? What sort of audience are you going to unlock by working with these influencers? Yeah. And that's basically where you would find them in our database.

Jim James:

Okay, and then let's just get down to some brass tacks as well, Joe, shall we? If a business owner wants to use the services of an influencer, what does it cost to do that? And is it a one-time or is it a recurring fee?

Joe Fields:

Well, that's a very good question. So, we've actually done compensation reports recently. It's available in the Onalytica blog where we took an average of what influencer were asking for particular services. So, what's the average cost of writing a blog, for example. What's the average cost for featuring you on a podcast or the different services that influencers offer. And we've averaged it out by the UK, and then US, and North America as well. So there's lots and lots of in-depth information in that report. But I think it's also key to think about it not just from a financial point of view, there may be other things that you can offer influencers that they'd be interested in. So a lot of influencers, for example, up and coming influencers. If you are a big brand like IBM, then by featuring them you're actually promoting them to their audience as well. So that's worth a lot to the influencer alone. Inviting them to speak at an event would help raise their profile. I think it depends on the influencer and their motivations. Some influencers are, that's all they do, they're professional pay-to-play influencers. And obviously the ones who are going to be you have to pay them for their time always. There are other influencers who, you know, they're brand employees, they have full-time jobs, but they do this kind of work on the side because it helps raise their profile. And they may be not as motivated by the financial transactions as others say. It very much depends on the influencer and what their motivations are. But there is more information in that report if you want to go check it out.

Jim James:

Okay, yeah, we'll put a link to that report, but presumably in terms of costs, though, Joe, can you give us any sense of, how are we talking hundreds or thousands? And is it sort of therefore within the reach of a business owner to employ these? Or is it really only those large brands, the MNCs that can afford influencers?

Joe Fields:

No, I think some of the influencers have very reasonable rates. So I've seen between 500 to 2000 pounds to create a piece of content, whether that be like a thousand word blog. A lot of influencers don't really want to be paid to post just purely on social media. So it's very rare that you'll get an influencer that just you pay them to tweets for example. That's always kind of bundled into the package anyway. But it's normally maybe like a blog and they'll share it through their channels, and maybe they'll feature on one of your LinkedIn Lives. And you'll do like a package deal, but we can help you with that whatever your budget is for that. And you can start small, you can activate just maybe one or two influencers and see how that goes. And yeah, you can spend however much you want, but anywhere from 500 pounds upwards, I think is possible to activate you know, one influencer and just, and see how it goes.

Jim James:

Okay, that's really very affordable compared to, say, even running Google ads or having a PR firm reach out to the media for you.

Joe Fields:

Yeah.

Jim James:

Joe, what about exclusivity? Now, if I'm working with an influencer and I've got a product, I don't want my competition to work with the same influencer in the same product category. How do you resolve that little conundrum?

Joe Fields:

Yeah, so I think it's difficult because some influencers, obviously, that if they're pay-to-pay influencers they'll work with whoever's looking to hire them. So, it's difficult to make an influencer just be exclusive to you unless you put them on a retainer. And if you're happy to do that, then they'll be happy to just be your advocate and your brand ambassador, and they won't work with anyone else. I think, realistically, unfortunately, it's probably difficult to ensure that that's the case unless you do put them on a retainer and unless there's someone who you really connected to, or you can incentivise them in other ways. A lot of influencers really appreciate getting access to early product research and new content. So if you could give them early access to a report that you were doing, for example, or include them in the product development stages, then they'll be more on board with you, and they'd probably feel more like a partner than a freelancer, for example.

Jim James:

Right. That's a really, really good point about bringing an influencer in, because if they know that market well they could add value to the product development or product rollout, couldn't they, Joe? Do you have an example or a case study that you can share with Joe, all about successful influencer campaign?

Joe Fields:

Yes, I think that's probably best if I email you that, or I share it with the group, because I just need to get signed off. A lot of the case studies that we do publish have to be unbranded. So yeah, we do have case studies and there are some available via our website. There's one actually in our resources section where we did, we worked with a brand called Nature for Climate, and this has been published so I can talk about it. And it was basically to promote nature-based solutions to climate change. So it was really trying to drive that conversation around the before and after the climate summit. So we basically activated lots and lots of influencers. We gave them all the information around this and we really kind of helps promote that nature for climate hashtag around the COP23, I think it was, conference. And yeah, so, that's available on our website, but there are others as well. I'll definitely share with you.

Jim James:

Okay, now I can really see the value of that, of having these people that can connect to their different communities. Sharing your content or maybe modify it, but with their networks. Joe, what about if a person is an entrepreneur and part of the goal of any marketing for a business is to position the CEO, founder, as a thought leader? How can Onalytica help that founder kind of be positioned as a thought leader and an influence in their industry?

Joe Fields:

Yeah, so that's a solution that we offer to a lot of our clients. It's employee advocacy. We would put it under that bracket. So we would connect to your CEO to other influencers in that space who are experts on the topics that your brand is associated with. And it would be about creating branded content with the influencer, or including the CEO in the influencers' content, could be published on both platforms. And yeah, it's just about creating that inspiring content that can help fast-track perception change or increase demand generation. And it's quite easy for us to connect you with lots of influencers. I mean, I think I've run about 600 interviews now for Onalytica with influencers. If you go to the blog section and filter by interviews, you'll see there is hundreds of interviews there with experts in lots of different topic areas. So we have a lot of relationships which helps us connect people with these experts, and the employee advocacy solution is something that's very popular with our clients as well, and works very well.

Jim James:

Okay, that sounds fantastic. But also, the entrepreneur could be an influencer, from what I understand, right? So the entrepreneur could be listed on your website as an influencer in their domain, is that right?

Joe Fields:

Yes. And a lot of influencers they're very connected to each other, and then there's lots of networks of influencers. So you could be an entrepreneur working with an influencer, but also an influencer yourself. It's all about the connections, networking, and helping each other promote each other's services. So there are a lot of two-way partnerships that happen in that way. For example, if you're an entrepreneur in the tech space and you had a new product, and new application, or something looking to promote, we could easily connect you to a number of influencers who would help promote that app, and product, and service. But then also, if you bring them into that product development you can help get their knowledge in into the product as well. And it is very much a two-way street, and a lot of influencers would be willing to help you in lots of different ways. So it's not just about selling a product, it's also about thought leadership and increasing trust and brand awareness, and you know, there are lots of use cases for influencer marketing and employee advocacy.

Jim James:

Okay, and then presumably, if you're an entrepreneur and you want to be listed as an influencer, does that cost money to be listed as an influencer?

Joe Fields:

No, it doesn't. You can sign up to the Onalytica platform for free. The only thing I would say is that it's up to you to create, to get yourself noticed. And the way you get yourself noticed in our platform is to drive lots of engagement on social media. So we provide you with lots of tips and how-to guides on how to be an influencer, how to be more influential on Twitter, what can you do with that platform that would actually drive more engagement, how many people you should mention, how many hashtags you should use, what key topics you should talk about. Don't be too broad. Narrow your focus on the specific areas that are relevant to your brand. And same with LinkedIn, there's different tips and tricks that you can do to get yourself more noticed on LinkedIn as well. So yeah, you can sign up to the Onalytica platform for free. It's my.onalytica.com and then just sign up there. Tell us as much about yourself as you can. And there's lots of places you can add content, so you can add blogs, articles, podcasts, videos of you speaking at events, all that sort of stuff will be added to your profile. But then it's about driving the engagement so your profile starts appearing in more searches. And we do send you alerts to tell you your profile has been viewed this many times by this brand. And you know, we'll show you if it goes up or down by week to week, month to month. And there's some free analytics in there as well.

Jim James:

Okay, okay, fantastic. And it's the brands ultimately who funded this, right? So the brand 's a big company, wants a subject matter expert and influencer who would then be engaged and managed between one another by Onalytica, is that right?

Joe Fields:

Yeah, so our business model is based on selling software licences to the brands. We don't currently charge influencers anything to sign up to our platform. That may change as the platform gets more developed. But at the moment, this influencer sign-up marketplace has only been going since June last year, so less than a year old, and it's still very nice. And as we build out more and more features, we may include a freemium model, and beginner, intermediate, advanced influencer model. But at the moment, yep, take advantage of it, it's completely free. And you get some cool free analytics there as well on how you're performing on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Jim James:

Joe, that's fantastic. So if anyone liked to find out more about Onalytica and both as a brand, how to use influencers or to become an influencer themselves, what's the best place to be?

Joe Fields:

So I would go to our website. I start at the home page onalytica.com. But if you have already something in mind, I would jump straight to the contact page onalytica.com/contacts/ and just reach out to our sales team. They're very interactive. There's also an instant chat messenger on the website. And when someone will get back to you straight away. But yeah, I think that's probably the best place to start, I guess, go to the website.

Jim James:

Joe Fields joining me today from the glamorous location of South Africa before he goes back to the UK. Thank you so much, taking some of your holiday to share about influencer marketing.

Joe Fields:

Oh, you're welcome, Jim. It's been a pleasure to speak to you. Thanks for having me on the show.

Jim James:

My pleasure. Thank you for listening to this episode of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur with me, Jim James, unfortunately just based here in Sunny Somerset in England.