B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1741 · 1 month ago

Should You Hire a TikTok Influencer? with Jess Flack

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode Benji talks to Jess Flack , Cofounder & CEO of Ubiquitous

Discussed in this episode: 

  • Choosing the right creator
  • Using Influencers to generate viral PR campaigns
  • How to attribute and track a TikTok Campaign for your Brand

Conversations from the front lines and marketing. This is B two B growth. Today I am happy to have jess flak with me, Co founder and CEO of Ubiquitous, and jess, welcome to be to be growth. Hi, thanks for having me. I am too, because I know you really founded ubiquitous on this belief right that Tiktok is a great way to grow a business and reach specifically the next generation of consumers. But we're seeing everyone jump over to tiktok. So you're working with creators on compelling and I know I loved the data driven side of this as well, but data driven campaign. So tell me a little bit about your waking up, your realization of this need for connecting creators on Tiktok and businesses. Yeah, I would love to say that. You know, two years ago I had this very clear vision of exactly what ubiquitous is now today, but it didn't happen like that. I found myself at the beginning of quarantine, in a new city, at a job that I had been at for like three years as a series d stage startup called bellhop. Absolutely loved working there, but you know, after you've been at a company, especially one that's later stage and pretty large. You you get in a groove and, yeah, being in a new city, not having a lot of options to like go out and and meet people, I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. And when I first started my career, I worked in agency land, had some some contacts and decided to get back into some contracting work, Um, just to fill my time, UM, spend less time watching Netflix. Yeah, I've...

...partnered with this new music label and they were wanting me to really just put together like their promotion strategy for their singles. And I mean the stars were aligned because Tiktok was also just emerging as this new and exciting platform. You know it used to be musically, and so it had already kind of established itself as this powerful music engine. But in we saw how much Tiktok can impact the billboard top one, and so it was a core piece of of my marketing strategy that I was putting together. But I had just downloaded TIKTOK, like I did not know what the Creator economy looked like on on tiktok specifically. So I spent a lot of time, a lot of hours collecting rights from over two hundred influencers and just found that. I mean the rates we're getting back were incredible. It's like a fourth of the cost of Instagram influencers and as six of the cost of Youtube influencers. Yeah, because I had partnered with agencies in the past when I was working in house at that start up, bell hop Um, and we had run influencer campaigns and so I kind of I was already familiar with what the kind of status quo was for these other channels and what the process looked like. But going over to Tiktok, it was just such a new channel. Nothing had really been standardized, both from rates and also like process Um like, and it just became really exciting to me. So just over time, uh started pulling in more and more friends, working initially again through this label for them, but then it started to grow where we're creating relationships with these creators. Okay, how can we help them? What are the problems that they're having? Oh, they need help like negotiating with all these brands that are coming to them and...

...hitting up their inbox. Okay, well, we could do that for them, and so we started off doing that and then decided, okay, now we have all these great brand connects. How can we take their single creator campaigns and like grow it into a full fledged, you know, fifteen fifty creator campaign? Um, all right, let's go get more outbound creators. And so, yeah, that's kind of how we got started it. It's definitely been an evolution, but we've we have arrived at least to the point of having a lot of like clear focus and vision into what we're creating and the problems that we're trying to solve in the influencer industry as a whole. M I know there's probably many that are in the place where they're just kind of like looking on, but haven't attempted much on Tiktok and we've had some conversations here on the show, but not really around the creator economy. What are some of the maybe misconceptions you think people have from the outside looking in on Tiktok as a platform and the Creator economy specifically? Yeah, I mean I think for for a lot of brands, and and I'll speak more specifically to tiktok since that's our bread and butter, but I think the reminder that you're dealing with humans on the other end, like it's not just, you know, an ad, it is human and a lot of times, especially on Tiktok, you're talking to really young creators who have kind of fallen into this have just recently gained popularity. So, as a brand, the way that you're interacting with creators makes a really big impact on the success that you'll have even long term, because the creator community is pretty tighten it and small, smaller than you think, and I know that there are some brands that are pretty much blacklo sit through the creative community by sending out really low ball...

...offers or just being really Um, you know, difficult to work with. So I think understanding that it's also your brand's reputation on the line every time that you're reaching out Um, and taking it that seriously Um, is something to always keep in mind. I also think understanding the channel, like spending time on Tiktok, and understanding the tone. If you think about like twitter and reddit versus Instagram, like very different culture. Like you cannot be a Nube on reddit and like try to fit in. You've got to spend time before you start speaking the same language and before you can can really make an impact on those types of channels and Tiktok's the same way. So understanding the tone, understanding the way the content appears to people and analyzing your own behavior on Tiktok as you're scrolling, like what's making you stop past the three second mark? I think it's super important. I wonder on because we're talking to like this B two B marketing audience, specifically for B two be brands. What what would you say the process of like choosing a creator looks like, because we all see brands at large, especially B two C, tapping into this creator economy, influencers, but B two B tends to like be a little bit behind and also maybe a bit more unsure on how they would capitalize on on something like this. Oh, totally, and I think it makes sense. B Two B is all about the audience, you know. It's all about who you're targeting and making sure that you're not wasting spend um talking to an audience that would never be in your target market, and so I understand for a lot of B two B companies their hesitation with dipping their toe into something that, in a lot of ways, is considered to be a top of funnel, more brand awareness channel, but I would argue that there...

...are different tactics and different strategies that any brand can utilize with B two B, D two C, and it's it's all about defining what the goal is and then mapping the strategies so that you're you're ultimately accomplishing that goal. So always start with intent and then kind of work your way out from there and understands like again, the channel, the platform, and also with Creator selection. Kind of back to your original question, I think a lot of brands, and specifically B two B brands, can focus on like followers size, and we always base our rates off of average views. Well, we actually have like an algorithm that that has like predicted views and it scraps it off of like they're in the last nine videos and takes it into account like sponsored posts. But for anyone, you can find the average views of the creator that you're interested in and base your rates off of like a target CPM for based on their average views. That's the best way that you know that you're going to to get the distribution that you need and also just understand like if your goal is conversion, then you might want to look for some more niche creators. You know, you, you, and those can be a little bit more expensive. You know, it's the old supply and demand uh conundrum where, you know, if you have if you're a SAS sales platform and you're looking for creators that promote solutions for for other businesses in the sales world, the supply is a lot lower on creators that specifically create that content, but the audience quality is really high. Um, they're not just getting the random followers that you'll see from more generic accounts. And so maybe that is...

...the avenue that that you need to take and you might see higher cpms but you'll see more direct performance. If you're looking for your intent is just brand awareness, then you can go with some of those more generic creators. Have a lower CPM, more efficient spend, but you will likely not see as much, you know, direct performance from each individual post. The attribution window will be much wider, much longer, because you're kind of looking for this halo effect of like okay, what what happens to my direct traffic and my organic traffic over time now that people are seeing me on Tiktok, even if I'm not driving home like a conversion type of message. So yeah, I always start with intent, look at the Creator's average views. Also go even a step deeper into some qualitative data and like look through their comments and see do they have inside jokes with their followers, like how close are they? Because you don't want to align yourself with a creator that maybe, maybe they have a large following but they're kind of infamous, you know, they don't have the best reputation. So there's there's a lot of work that can go into creator selection, but I think the brands that do Tiktok well go through those additional steps to ensure that they're selecting the right creators from the job. Yeah, I think it's interesting because, like, for our audience, you're gonna have people that just aren't there yet. Most of the people that actually clicked on this episode. You're listening to this right now, you're going, okay, I am bought in. I'm just like trying to learn more and I'm ready to like actually go for it. So we're not going to spend time like maybe trying to convince you to do this, but I think at the same time, like there's so many questions you could ask to make sure you're doing this correctly, and I would even say at it's most basic level, even if we can grasp how you could utilize like influencer marketing, which I think I had a decent grasp on before talking to you. I love that that you had some like unconventional options of how to think about this and...

...things that you know. I guess I'll bring up two strategies specifically that I want to hear you go into detail on. One was just using creators for content creations specifically, and then the second one is using influencers to generate like these virals sort of PR campaigns. Walk me through these two because I don't know that and maybe I'm just dumb, I don't know, but like I didn't think through that route of Tiktok and to me that was some of the most interesting kind of thought provoking stuff. Totally. Yeah, so content creation, like using creators on tiktok specifically for content creation is such a great way to get started with with utilizing tiktok creators. Number One. Even if you're running ads on Instagram, youtube, you're running commercials, you see the TIKTOK format being adapted on all of these other platforms and it's so engaging. People like it clicks for people, like right off the bat, they want to stop and they want to see what it's all about. Um. So utilizing creators for for both your organic pages, so you know you can partner with creators and they can produce three to five videos for you each month. You can bundle those those deals and that will be more economically efficient for the brand, but it also kind of gives you those brand ambassadors where you know your audience will start associating, Um, these creators with, with who you are as a brand, which is always, you know, an added bonus, especially whenever you're maybe dealing in an industry that can be somewhat that can lack personality. It's a great way to kind of personify your brand, like find those really fun, engaging creators and kind of start to associate who they are with with who you are. It's also great for or using tiktok creators for content creation is great because you kind of don't need to worry about metrics as...

...much anymore. Like the distribution is off the table at that point. So average views, follower account you can find these really niche or really they could even be general creators, as long as they're good at creating content. They can have a small following, but you're not using them for their distribution anymore. So it's a very economically efficient way to get content stood up and then start putting paid ad dollars behind it. And let's say you haven't done influencer marketing before and it's a little bit unnerving to, you know, allocate ten percent of your monthly budget into just an influencer campaign. Maybe that's a really big swing right off the bat. But if you create the content, test out all these different strategies with inexpensive creators, put paid spin behind it, see how your audience that you're actually targeting through, you know, these ad channels responds, that's like the best proxy for now. You can take that, use that in your creative brief for influencers in the future and then you you already know like what your audience is responding to well. So it's it's a very good tactic for also just even informing what your influencer campaigns can look like. And then for the viral prps. I think what's funny about Tiktok is that, again, it's like permeated into our culture so much and you can really manufacture virality on tiktok fairly easily if you want to. So what I mean by that is, like you can create the story, you can work with creators, have them posted to their organic page, that they're not just creating the content, they're actually distributing it to their audience. But you can select those more generic creators. You can do a mix of generic and niche creators, draft this story through the briefs that you're sending to them,...

...have them produce and promote content and then package that and go through publishers. You know, you see content about Tiktok on pretty much every major publication. I mean I feel like Buzzfeed is pumping out like ten TIKTOK lists today for for every vertical, and so there it's engaging content. Publishers want it and you can kind of create the story that you want to then get syndicated to your target audience and, you know, find the more niche publications that that you know that they're reading and engaging with. I love both of those. I wonder do you have any like examples of either of those that come to mind where, like you've just seen this done really well and it doesn't even have to be and B, two B, but just to get our minds kind of thinking on it. Yeah, actually, Um, and it is a B, two B brand sage Um. So they actually ran a challenge and there is a cash bonus and they called it the Hashtag bosst campaign and they had creators used a particular sound talk about how they're bossing up their year because they're like an HR and an HR solution, and so they, you know, support internal teams and anyway, so they ran this challenge. They had a cash bonus of like five thousand dollars to like the top creator Um or to the top post, and a few prizes. And you know, the post did well. There was a video that actually got like twenty seven plus million views. So I mean it killed it from a distribution perspective. But they also used all of that content and push it out through publishers and have a dedicated page on their site, like using it as kind of a case study. And so there's so many there are so many different kind of...

...utilities and I think trying to maximize the utility out of each post is is really critical if you're wanting to yield, you know, the greatest R O. I from each influencer engagement that you you have interesting. Yeah, let's stick on our O I for a second. Let's talk a little bit about attribution. That's probably I was thinking about it, like maybe not the biggest pushback I get from brands, but there is some skepticism. They're like, okay, if it's not just like this top of funnel thing, then what are we actually doing here? How would we actually attribute it? And you did bring it up a little bit earlier, but take me further down that road and you're thinking how do you track maybe best practices for brands around attribution? Yeah, I mean attribution. It's it's always a pain point and I it's not exclusive to influence our marketing. You know, it's it ever since late when IOS fourteen came out, um it kind of rendled. Rendered pixels not useless, but they became much less useful because we lost a lot of like mobile device tracking and in a way it actually created a much more even playing field for influencer campaigns and even like offline Um campaigns. So I mean there are a few different ways that you can view attribution. You know. I know that a lot of B two B companies and D two C um, but particularly B two B. They might have, you know, a more automated solution. You know, they could use like a multi touch or an offline attribution platform like demand jump or measured or leads, our x, and you know that will do the multi touch kind of attribution for you, Um, but for the majority of us out there, and those solutions tend to be very expensive and maybe you're just wanting to test this out really small scale to start. So my advice to brands is, of course, using...

UTM links in your BIOS, use tracking coupon codes, you know, make try to create as much of a safeess, like a you know, of a structure to all of these campaigns that you know exactly which video, exactly which creator produced at least direct conversions. But for influencer campaigns, especially, because the attribution window can be, you know, much longer, especially we're talking about top of funnel brand awareness campaigns. We're just trying to entertain and introduce yourself to people. What what I suggested brands to do is to look in their Google analytics, look at their direct, organic and unattributable traffic lines and and measure lift. So you know, if you, if all those posts went live on a Wednesday. Measure that week over week, month over month, you over year, and get that person to lift percentage and then, and then multiply that times your conversions during that period and by your revenue during that period through those line items, and then that's an easy way to get that multi touch attribution and to to give Tiktok or instagram the the credit that that it deserves. If you're looking at all of your data in a silo and only looking at direct conversions forever, then as a brand, you will plateau at a certain point because you're never reaching that new audience. You're only spending your money on low funnel direct conversion channels, which I mean for most brands they will have like a last touch attribution model Um and you'll just continue spending to an audience that is either familiar with you or is only talking to the people that are like in market today. But in order to see...

...real long term growth, and of course every company has their different various stages, but once you're at the stage, at the maturity level, I should say as a company, where you're able to invest in more mid funnel in top of funnel campaigns, applying that multi touch attribution model is pretty critical in order to analyze those channels against each other. Yeah, the other thing I wanted to talk about as we're seeing a lot of brands jump on Tiktok. They're bringing it in house and have you know someone on their marketing team that's driving this? What do you think is like the best way? What would you advise as far as having your influencer marketing and you're in house tiktok creators, like working in tandem and creating lift in unison? You know, obviously the influencer is going to add a component, which is fantastic and add some lift, but do you see some some great ways to those two can work in tandem? Oh, totally, totally. I'm I'm always an advocate for trying to stand up something internally and testing it out on a small scale before releasing the hounds Um and really putting gas on the fire. So I think using your in house teams to create content for your organic channels is a great way to start and and using them for you know, you can test your in house created ads against your content that you you've used influencers to create in ads and see kind of you can bulk up at least the number of ads that you're you're testing against each other by utilizing those in house teams, and once you can see which ad is the most successful or which strategy is the most successful, then that can inform you know, your influencer campaigns whenever you're ready to take it from one to a hundred. You know, the in...

...house teams to me are like perfect for zero to one, and then influencers and actually usually their distribution is is how you get real scale totally. Well, as we're starting to wrap up here, I'd love some examples. I did this to Emily Brady. She's on our team, she's does our in house tiktok stuff, and so I would make her give me examples people I should be following. I'd love from you specifically examples of influence or tiktok campaigns or people we should go check out and learn from, if you have some. Yeah, so a brand that we probably all knew very well shopify. Um, they do a great job. They have a nice mix of uh, client success stories, advice for entrepreneurs and then just some really off the wall, uh entertaining kind of viral quote unquote content, Um, where they're utilizing TIKTOK trends and in corporating it into what we call like edutainment content. Yeah, I remember you use that term also. But they you can tell that their strategy is is very much focused on Um acquisition and an awareness, like they are still talking to their their core audience with every post in one way or another, even with the more entertaining stuff. And then on the other side of that coin, Um Audio Studios. Um, it's O D D I o Um. So they probably have not heard of them unless you're on Tiktok Lot. I've seen their content. Um. It's actually a fully artist studio. So they work with you know, production companies or creating background sounds and their content is super quirky, very engaging. Um, they really understand TIKTOK and the culture, which again and is super important. So you...

...never want to come off as like a try hard on on on social as a brand especially, but you can tell that they're targeting like the consideration stage of the funnel. They're not necessarily using tiktok to find new business, but they're using TIKTOK as a way to show their personality and to apply that additional like credibility, um, whenever maybe someone that like a production studio is looking at their social profiles before they reach out or looking at you know, trying to understand who they are. They're very personality forward. And again, I think just understanding the intent in the position that tiktok plays both your organic your influencer, all of it. What piece is it playing in your funnel, because it really can fit into both awareness, consideration and conversion Um. But the content and the strategy needs to change just depending on the intent. I love both those and I don't follow either, so I will go follow both after this. Yes, the one that emily mentioned, and you mentioned offline too, is dual lingo and uh, that's like the recurring example right now. So if you don't follow them, go do that. It's a it's fun, it'll make you smile, it's great. Oh Gosh, yeah, they have such a sense of humor and yeah, so many inside jokes like their fault. Their followers just know that they get it, like there's just a lot of trust and like a deep relationship, and so, yeah, their content is kind of crazy, but I absolutely love it. I think they're killing it. Okay, so I want you just to leave us with like a homework assignment, like give us a give us an action item that's coming out of this conversation, because you are probably talking to be two B marketers that are specifically like ready to do something, especially if they've hung with us for thirty minutes here and they're like, okay, I know, Tiktok is something I need to do. We wanted to you, we want to...

...partner with influencers, but like, what's the thing we should be trying? Okay, stab number one, get to know tiktok. If you haven't downloaded the the APP, great an account. Spend some time on it Um at first. If it's kind of not your jam, just know that the algorithm is really great and it works really quickly and it'll start showing you content that you care about. But yeah, get to know. Get to know the platform first. Understand m the culture, in the tone and the vibe before you start producing anything. And UH, number two. You know, I would say kind of anyway that you can set up some social monitoring to you know, whether it's you, just as an individual, spending time and and keeping track of like trends that maybe you can biggie piggyback off of it's time. is of the essence. I mean Tiktok can often be like a flash in the PAN or a Tiktok post can go VI role overnight and the next day there's there's always just new, new content coming out. So try to find those trends where you're seeing a lot of organic adoption and and find a way to insert your brand voice into that trend Um. It's a great way to be discovered outside of the four you page. So yeah, do that and then test small and then scale. You know, decide what is a significant enough testing budgets so that you know you can have statistical significance at the end of the campaign to know if it worked or not. But also don't test too large to where, if you know your CAC blows up that month and it looks like a failure, the worst thing you could do is just cut any you know, cut it after a single month because it looked like it failed. So use those internal teams or get creators to create content for you to put paid ads then behind. Get to understand what strategies are going to work for you before you you scale and and start investing more and more.

Yeah, those would be the that's the homework. Well, thank you for spending some time with us on B two, B growth. For those wanting to check out ubiquitous, what's the best way for us to do that and then also stay connected to you? Yeah, so our website is ubiquitous influence dot com, and the best way to get in contact with us is just through the form on our website. Um, if you want to shoot us an email directly, feel free to email hello at ubiquitous influence dot com. Got You know, all of our sales people ready to respond. And if you want to give us a follow two, we're ubiquitous official on all social platforms. Perfect. Yes, thank you, jess. I appreciate you stopping by. Yeah, thanks, Bingji, for all of our listeners that have checked out this episode. If you haven't followed B two, B growth yet, be sure to do that and uh, never miss an episode. And then, if you want to connect with me, I would love to chat with you over on Linkedin. You can. I'm talking about marketing business in life over there all the time and would love to hear from you. So reach out. Thank you for listening and we'll be back real soon with another episode. B Two B growth is brought to you by the team at sweet fish media. Here at sweet fish we produced podcasts for some of the most innovative brands in the world and we help them turn those podcasts into micro videos linkedin content, blog posts and more. We're on a mission to produce every leader's favorite show. Want more information? Visit Sweet Fish Media Dot Com.

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