Whether – and what – influence social media has on SEO is a question that is never answered directly by Google, but they have long admitted (vaguely) that they take ‘social signals’ into account. Bing, on the other hand, openly admits that social media presence has a bearing on their SERPS rankings. And in 2021 and beyond, social media is both an excellent driver of direct traffic to your website and an efficient way to help build your brand (or tarnish it, depending on what you post.)
Social media experts often tout the power of making use of influencers. As people are more inclined to take the recommendations of others – especially those they admire – this makes sense. But if you are NOT a billion-dollar brand, and can’t afford a Kim Kardashian, or any Kardashian/Jenner come to that matter, or a David Beckham or a James Charles, or a …the list goes on and on, how are you supposed to take this advice seriously?
The good news is that influencers are not always rich and famous. In fact, most are not. They are, however, content creators that have thousands, if not millions, of loyal followers who hang on their every word and like every picture. Many of these people may indeed be well within your brand’s reach. But how do you find and connect with them? That, the developers say, is where a software platform called Intellifluence comes in.
What is the Value of a Good Influencer?
Brands must find new ways to make ad dollars work as digital users become more adept at tuning out online advertisements, and ad-blocking software makes avoiding ads easier. For many, the solution is influencer marketing.
In fact, survey data shows that 67 percent of marketers think influencer marketing helps them reach a more targeted audience, and it was found to be successful by 92 percent of marketers who use the technique.
Take the Netflix and Hulu documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, a music festival on a private Bahamian island, billed as an exclusive, luxurious experience, as anecdotal evidence.
While the festival itself was an unmitigated disaster and resulted in its organizer going to prison in the US, the immense power of influencer campaigns is seen in both documentaries and how a handful of popular models, musicians, content creators, and others can orchestrate a massive buzz around a brand and event.
As people also very concerned with SEO, it’s interesting to note that (whatever they say) Google takes notice of these influencers too. Fyre Festival ranked for tons of keywords very quickly without much in the way of an E.A.T reputation, or onsite content, or even much of a website.
Smaller brands are now making use of these people all the time too. From mommy bloggers who can help promote everything from food to florals, trendy kids who can bolster toy companies to people who others just think are COOL given the willingness to take the time and spend the money, almost any brand can ‘cash in’.
You may also get a more tangible SEO boost when working with some influencers, as if they say, for example, review your product or service on their site if theirs is a reputable website, then the backlinks from such content may be very valuable.
Who Uses Influencers?
If you have never used them before, you might be wondering if your competitors are or if they might be considering doing so. While we can’t answer that directly, the chances are good that the answer is yes. That is because, according to a survey from e-marketer, more than two-thirds of North American retailers use some form of influencer marketing. And almost half of US and UK digital marketers spend at least 10% of their marketing communication budget on influencer marketing.
Not convinced that influencer marketing really gets results? According to that same survey, 34% of frequent Instagram users purchased something based on the fact that they saw it recommended by a social media influencer or a blogger.
For many social influencers, Instagram is the site of choice, making it one of the most relevant platforms for influencer marketing. However, don’t forget the other social media channels – especially the fast-growing TikTok – and the value of a blogger review. Almost a quarter of Facebook users admit that they made a purchase based on a suggestion from a blogger or influencer. So have 29% of Twitter users, and for them, they have done so on a regular basis.
What is Intellifluence?
Intellifluence is a web-based SAS tool designed to help companies and brands find, and connect with, influencers who might be willing to work with them. This is not a magic tool, you’ll have to make your pitch a good one to snag the services of these potentially very valuable to you content creators, but it is a way to find these people, make that initial outreach and then keep track of the communications you have with them.
How Does Intellifluence Work?
Intellifluence is used by some big-name brands – 1-800 Pet Meds, Ghost Beds, Capriotti’s and more. But it is said to work just as well for smaller brands and even individual entrepreneurs. Here we’ll take a step-by-step walkthrough to see just how (and if) Intellifluence is worth the price (more on pricing shortly)
Getting Started with Intellifluence
After signing up, you’ll be directed to this dashboard – blank, of course, in the beginning.
Nice and straightforward, and it’s reasonably easy to get started quickly. When you are ready to begin a campaign, you are presented with a number of options, from having an influencer share a social media post to write a blog post review, create a video review, and more. You can see all the available options below.
For this review/walkthrough, we are going to run several sims, none of this is real, just a way to determine what this platform may or may not have to offer.
Starting simply, let’s select the social share option. The next option is choosing a social platform, and the biggies are all there, except for Snapchat.
Selecting TikTok, as it’s so hot right now, you will then be asked to complete the following screen.
The process is then much the same for other options, such as asking influencers to write a blog post:
Whatever you need an influencer to do, your next step in the process will be to decide and state how you are going to compensate these folks.
Inputting a cash offering of $200 gave us the following stats and targeting options. You will then be asked to fund the campaign and set it live for influencers to view. To fund the campaign, you’ll be asked to select the number of influencers you want to connect with and add funds to cover those costs. If you are not offering money but simply product instead, you will be allowed to connect with as many influencers as your chosen plan allows for.
Just who are these influencers? We wanted a good look. Scrolling through, there is an impressive number of them, and even some names we knew. For example, some of you may recognize the lady in the middle of this shot:
The quality of the influencers? There were faces, like Gretchen’s we recognized, and bloggers and YouTubers we knew. However, to be of use to a smaller brand, an influencer does not have to be a household name, simply someone your target audience is likely to know of and respect. The key to finding the right people to promote your brand will be researching, aligning with those who can offer you the biggest bang for your buck. Each influencer has a profile on the platform, as well as links to the accounts they run promotions through, which helps cut down on Googling time!
Once a campaign is created, influencers working on the platform can choose to message you based on their interest in the description and your product or service, or you can reach out to those that interest you most directly. The more popular the influencer, the better the pitch will need to be, as well as the size and value of the compensation. The number of influencers you can interact with will depend on your plan but will be at least 50 per campaign.
The folks behind Intellifluence offer a number of flexible, month-to-month plans, including completely managed options. Call us control-freaks, but that is not the plan we’d choose, as we would prefer to rely on our own research and due diligence, but for those interested in a ‘set it and forget it’ solution, a managed account may be the right choice. At the time of writing, Intellifluence’s pricing breaks down as follows:
Intellifluence: Our Take
So what did we make of this SAS offering? If you are starting an influencer campaign for the first time, it will certainly be a plus. New or lesser-known brands rarely have the reputation for catching a popular influencer’s attention, but making use of the platform removes that obstacle. We liked the fact that the campaigns are so easy to set up, that there are affordable influencer options available, and, perhaps most useful of all, that all communications are made through a single dashboard interface, minimizing the risk that emails will get lost or a crucial message from an influencer will go unnoticed in an overcrowded email inbox.
One thing we cannot emphasize enough is to be selective with the influencers you choose. There are some profiles that almost seem spammy and certainly of little value. Ensure that you check each influencer’s social accounts/blog, and Googling those you are really interested in won’t hurt either. For example, the beauty blogger we referenced in the image above? Yep, she’s the real deal.
Overall, Intellifluence offers an excellent starting point for those who are interested in launching their first campaigns as quickly and easily as possible. To try it out for yourself, you can sign up here.