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What Managing 40,000 Influencers is REALLY Like
[caption id="attachment_94" align="alignright" width="400"] Melysa Schmitt | Account Supervisor for Babbleboxx, a top Influencer Network connecting brands and influencers.[/caption] Think you can manage over 40,000 (yes, that says thousand) Influencers & their multiple campaigns all at once? It's not as easy as it seems, but some people do make it look easier than others. In this day in the life Q & A you'll be meeting Melysa Schmitt - the Babbleboxx Account Supervisor that makes influencer and campaign management look like a breeze.
What’s the FIRST thing you do when you get to your desk in the morning? Sign on to Skype so I am ready and available for questions from the team, then check and reply to emails! How long have you been in on the agency side of managing influencers? Since March of 2012. We understand you started out as a blogger. With so many people shifting focus to become social influencers, do you think there is still value in longer format content? Blog content has SEO benefits that social shares do not. When a consumer is searching for genuine information about a product and recommendations, a blog post from an influencer is incredibly valuable as it is a testimonial from a genuine source. Blog posts are a great way to let people dive deeper into a brand. Social media posts are great for exposure but they can miss important points, or not have a strong enough call-to-action because of word and character limits. What is the biggest misconception about your role in managing influencers? That it's easy! There is a lot more involved than just "hiring" an influencer and sending them a product. In order to ensure a campaign's success we provide clear and detailed guidelines to ensure influencers hit important touch points that showcase a brand in the proper way, as well as reviewing content (pre or post publish) for accuracy and effectiveness of reshares. We also check-in with influencers every step of the way to make sure questions are answered and things run smoothly. How many campaigns do you manage at any given time? I supervise our entire account management team and oversee each and every campaign that is in motion, from start to finish. Typically we have anywhere from 5-10 active campaigns per month at various stages of progress. How many influencers and pieces of content do you manage at any given time? Our most popular campaigns are our 10 and 20 influencer activations. Each participating influencer is assigned a blog post and 4+ social shares. Nano. Micro. Macro. Where do you think brands can see the biggest impact? While macro influencers might seem like the way to go to reach a larger audience, their engagement rates are typically much lower than a nano or micro influencer. Statistically I'd say it's easier for most people to relate to a nano or micro influencer that is promoting a product. Managing influencer campaigns is a balancing act. Can you describe some of the things you are juggling at any given time? Scouring the internet for new talent to work with, compiling influencer lists for recommendations and outreach, doing influencer outreach to secure influencers, negotiating payouts, creating and distributing campaign guidelines, monitoring progress of live campaigns to optimize effectiveness, compiling data and analytics insights into campaign wrap-up reports, coordinating payments to influencers. What is the one most important thing you (and marketers should) do to make sure a promotion is successful? Know your target audience, and do your research to identify and hire engaged influencers who speak to them. How do you deal with influencers who go MIA when contracted on assignments? If an influencer goes MIA we vow to never work with them again. We literally have a black list! As soon as we realize and influencer is flaking on a campaign, we quickly work behind the scenes to identify and hire a replacement who is of equal or GREATER value to our client. Influencers are often portrayed in a negative light in the media. Can you counter that sentiment? (for ex: maybe how you can paint a positive picture around how hard they work) When compared to traditional advertising and PR, most influencers will go above and beyond to showcase your brand in an outside of the box way, at great value! The right influencer will have you saying goodbye to bland press releases and hello to high-quality, visually engaging content that consumers are interested in. What are the top three mistakes marketers make when it comes to working with influencers? 1) Focusing solely on follower counts is the #1 mistake I see clients make. More followers are not always better. If you must focus on numbers, I'd say look at engagement rates. Your ideal influencer is someone who sparks a conversation with their content. 2) When you have success working with an influencer, collaborate with them again! And again! Focus on establishing a long-term relationship instead of a one off collaboration. Future promotions will feel more organic since they already understand and value your brand. And when their fans see them writing multiple posts about a brand they know it's worth buying. 3) Set realistic expectations when it comes to your budget and the type of influencer you will be able to afford to work with. There is just no way you're going to be able to collaborate with someone who has 100,000 Instagram followers for $100 or free product Influencer content is supposed to be “authentic.” What are your thoughts when marketers enforce “content reviews” prior to publication or sharing? Just like hiring a paid employee, I do believe brands should have the opportunity to provide feedback and edits if an influencer's content does not meet the campaign guidelines or specific instructions they've been given. But this is ONLY when the content does not meet the guidelines or because of legal issues, NOT because you don’t like a photo of your product. What do you love most about working in the field of influencer marketing? I love getting positive feedback from brands post campaign. Being able to connect a brand that is growing their business, to the right influencer that really WOWs them on a campaign fills me with such pride. [caption id="attachment_31" align="alignright" width="400"] Babble Boxx | Unboxing the best marketing ideas, tips and connections for brands and influencers.[/caption] What is the most memorable experience you have had managing an influencer or campaign? I really love our experiential events, but one time we had REALLY bad luck with weather in NYC the night before an influencer event we were hosting for Match.com. I'm talking blizzard conditions and a state of emergency, which is NO FUN when the premise of the event was a guided bus tour making stops at several different date friendly spots to try products from sponsors. The bus company shut down. The city was shutting down. But the team from Match.com and their guest speaker were already in NYC so the show HAD to go on! I remember hopping on the last available NJ Transit bus before the state of emergency kicked in so I could get to NYC and meeting Sherri Langburt at cocktail hour so we could brainstorm what to do to save the event. There we sat with our laptops and a few dirty martinis and came up with a plan to bring the tour to the influencers at a trendy bar the next afternoon once the roads were clear. While everyone was sleeping in that morning, we ran around the city sloshing through unclear streets and sidewalks, gathering decadent goodies from as many stops as we could so the attendees could still experience the tour over cocktails. Despite our bad luck, the event ended up being a HUGE success. I think our quick thinking and ability to adapt to such a stressful situation was what made Match.com such a loyal client. We went on to do annual "Singles In America" events for them for several years!
*photo credit Afternoon Espresso

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