Joe Sinkwitz, Intellifluence: “Influencer Marketing as part of Brands’ Social Content Strategies”
In our latest eBook about Social Media Content “The Art of Social Media Content Creation” we’ve included an interview with Joe Sinkwitz, CEO and Founder at Intellifluence. Read the whole interview below and find out how Joe is practicing Influencer Marketing to engage as a brand with potential customers, what KPIs are relevant and how to turn content strategies and into successful endeavors.
Could you be so kind as to tell us a bit more about your professional background and what your current role at Intellifluence is?
Joe Sinkwitz: Certainly. I have 20 years of digital marketing experience, starting with blackhat SEO and moving gradually upchannel, previously as the Chief of Revenue for CopyPress, which of course is a large content marketing firm. Currently, I hold dual roles, principal of Digital Heretix, an online reputation management and special search agency and CEO of Intellifluence, an influencer marketing network.
1. There’s so much good social media content out there, which makes it difficult for new pieces to break through all the noise. Sometimes it even feels that creating great content is not enough anymore…what would you advise social media marketers do so that their content still reaches the audience and converts?
Joe Sinkwitz: It’s a good question. We dogfood at Intellifluence; I don’t know if it translates well in the European market, but what I mean by this is we use our own system. When we are putting out what we believe to be great content, we ensure that we go to great lengths to ensure it’s seen by establishing relationships PRIOR to publication, and doing what we can to reference those relationships in the content if possible. By doing this, most of our higher level content receives social sharing and links on day one of publishing.
2. Lately, the focus has been on influencer marketing and Intellifluence is a great tool in that sense. In your opinion, why should companies consider influencer marketing in their overall social content strategy? And how do you see this evolve in the future?
Joe Sinkwitz: Whether a marketer chooses to use Intellifluence or another tool, I think it is absolutely vital to get into influencer marketing. Now. If you look at Google trends on the phrase it shows a very steep climb in terms of popularity. But for more important reasons, influencer marketing is the culmination of the promise that social media initially brought us. Most of us in digital marketing were excited when social media first started to take off, but it was still too early for it to drive meaningful sales, much like the Internet in the late 1990s. However, now with persistent cookies, specialized dynamically created coupon codes, and UTM campaigns, it is possible to not only use social as a sales channel, but to attribute back to the channel, down to individual levels. This is what excites me, because we can see who is truly influencing a consumer. As a hint, for most businesses it isn’t the celebrities, it is a person’s peer group.
This is the evolution I see. There will come a time when public relations more or less conceptually merges with SEO — obviously there’s a lot of nuance to both specialties but for the sake of content and outreach they are getting more similar. Along the same lines I see a similar merger between affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. We’re going to see less and less obvious affiliate sites ranking in search over time; with that shift I would expect to see the more aggressive and intelligent affiliates shifting into creating cults of personality, building followings where they can share their expertise and profit from having done so.
3. Online reputation management is one of your specialities and an exciting field. We’d be curious to know how social media content can be used in this regard? Maybe you could give us an example of a crisis you had to deal with that you solved or turned around through the right social media content strategy.
Joe Sinkwitz: It is no coincidence that I own an ORM agency and an influencer marketing network. haha.
There’s a few different popular angles within ORM: 1) promote positive and benign news in an attempt to drown out negative news. 2) attack negative news — I’ll be light on the details here, but this can be via technical and non-technical attack vectors. 3) Change people’s focus.
With social you can essentially accomplish all three. As I mentioned before, when we have great pieces of content, we can generally get them promoted. Of course, we use our network for some of this. When attacking negative news over social, some of that can be done by discrediting the source of the information [just look at the previous election cycle here in the U.S. and the constant misuse of ‘fake news’ — my co-founder on Intellifluence, Terry Godier, and I presented at the Ungagged conference this past November on the concept of dark influence…while we predicted some of what’s occurring, we had no idea it’d play out as closely as it has].
In terms of examples, our clients are very confidential for obvious reasons, but I can provide a somewhat generic example. Many of our clients are large public figures of public companies. Sometimes by the very nature of that publicity a journalist may author a hit piece — the problem with hit pieces is they tend to get a better click-through-rate than regular articles. Scandals sell newspapers. So one thing we’ve had to do in the past is work with a different journalist at a competing publication to create an even more interesting story and headline; then pushing out w/ Twitter bots and the like, anytime the original story is referenced, this story is pushed. Well, this helps it to get more traffic but also more organic G queries. That with a couple other tricks and this story hopefully becomes the more appropriate source when querying the client’s name.
4. What influencer content KPIs would you recommend be monitored constantly and how can an influencer marketing campaign contribute to a company’s marketing and overall business goals?
Joe Sinkwitz: My favorite influencer marketing KPI is sales. For me, everything starts with that and then works backwards. Depending on the product or service, it could either be leads or landing page entries or triggering a certain level in a sales funnel. At the top of the funnel I would rather have a smaller overall visibility on the right audience than a big visibility for people that aren’t relevant buyers. That’s actually a pet peeve of mine; social isn’t just about a million people seeing a piece of content — that’s like advertising a product during the halftime at the superbowl when the product is only relevant to 0.01% of the viewing audience.
5. Regarding influencer content campaigns via social media – is there a one-size-fits-all approach, like a foundation upon which customized content strategies can be built? If yes, what is that?
Joe Sinkwitz: I don’t think there’s so much a one-size-fits-all, but there is definitely some questions that need to be answered at the onset of any influencer campaign: 1) establish a buyer persona — if a brand doesn’t know who they are targeting to buy the product, it is a wasted effort. 2) where does the buyer persona engage — even if your product is perfect for YouTube, if your buyer persona is only on LinkedIn, then that shifts where you need to be focusing. 3) who influences your buyer persona? Is it aspirational influence? authoritative? or peer? After those are determined, a brand can then put together an offer devised to get in front of that key buyer.
6. In your opinion, what is the most common reason why social media content campaigns fail? Also, please give us some tips on how to prevent that from happening.
Joe Sinkwitz: I think the main reason they fail is similar to what we’ve been talking about. If the campaign doesn’t have a clear and meaningful KPI and it isn’t structured in a way designed to get in front of the key buyer personas to reach those KPIs, then the marketers are just guessing.
7. What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned so far that would improve social media managers’ content strategies and turn them into successful endeavors?
Joe Sinkwitz: Plan. Then do. It’s a common refrain from me, but I don’t like performing any marketing activity without a clear goal. Too many social media managers have a goal of “going viral” without any understanding of what that means or how that will help their company; by concretely establishing goals and stepping through the process they need to execute in order to reach those goals, success ratios will be much higher.
About Joe Sinkwitz
Joe has 20 years of digital marketing experience. He worked as the Chief of Revenue for CopyPress and is currently holding dual roles, Principal of Digital Heretix, an online reputation management and special search agency and CEO of Intellifluence, an influencer marketing network.
Intellifluence is a simple, yet powerful marketing platform that helps brands partner with key influencers to achieve better results.