Jay Baer is a hype-free marketing strategist, speaker, and author and President of the social media and content marketing consultancy Convince & Convert. A digital marketing pioneer, Jay has consulted with more than 700 companies since 1994, including Caterpillar, Nike, Visit California, Allstate, Petco, Columbia Sportswear, and 29 of the Fortune 500.
Jay Baer, who is listed as a Top 5 marketing speaker on the Marketo blog, was also named one of America’s top 3 social media consultants by Fast Company magazine, and his Convince and Convert blog is ranked as the world’s No. 1 content marketing resource. He’s also co-host of the popular weekly Social Pros podcast.
He’s the author of the forthcoming new book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times best seller list, and was a #1 Amazon best seller. and is the co-author ofThe NOW Revolution a best-selling book about social media’s impact on businesses of all sizes and types.
Highlights from the Interview
Social Brands and Influencers: How large a role does influencer marketing play in the overall strategies of some of the Fortune 500 companies you’ve consulted for?
Jay Baer: Increasingly so all the time because of a weakness in top-of-mind awareness. … You can’t just say “Hey, let’s make a TV commercial and we’re all good.” It doesn’t really work like that as well anymore. … What smart companies do is they seed useful things with influencers. They find people that … have large audiences, that are relevant in that topic, and they make sure people are aware of that utility and help them spread it to the second, and third and fourth level of their audience. (Influencer marketing) is a big, big part, especially in the launch part of the program.
SBI: Is influencer marketing scalable? How do marketers create large scale campaigns and effectively measure ROI?
JB: It’s absolutely scalable, but you have to set it up to scale from the beginning. There are certainly a lot of companies out there that have excellent influencer programs and software and systems that allow you to scale it. At present, most of those programs are mid-market and enterprise class in terms of their pricepoint and things like that. But there are a lot of good companies out there — I’ve worked with many of them — that are really healthy in influencer outreach scale. From an ROI standpoint, it really depends, on some level, on what kind of company you are. It’s much easier to track back the impact at the dollars and cents level on a product or service that is purchased online because the trail doesn’t go cold. It’s harder to track the impact of influencers on something like Pringles, or whatever, because people probably never buy Pringles online and when the company goes to restock the shelves they don’t know who bought those Pringles necessarily, unless they got shopper card data; they just know the Pringles are off the shelf. When we talk about ROI, sometimes what we mean is success metrics. There’s lot of potential success metrics for influencer programs — not all of them can easily be categorized in dollars and cents. That’s why before you launch an influencer program, you have to sit down and say “What’s our scoreboard?” What’s the measurement narrative and how can you track that across the board.
SBI: Are there painpoints or any disconnections with the ways brands are using influencers in their marketing campaigns?
JB: It’s people trying to involve influencers that really don’t have influence in that particular category or that particular type of product. Just because someone is sort of internet famous doesn’t mean I’m going to listen to them about Wheat Thins. Now, someone who is a dietician, I’m going to listen to about Wheat Thins, for example. I think that’s the No. 1 problem — people mistaking influence and audience. Other issues we’re seeing today is not giving influencers enough time; not making the influencer program (an) all the time (thing), instead they’re saying “We need to get this thing some attention in the next two weeks.” That’s not how you build relationships. You don’t build relationships overnight in life or in business or in influencer outreach.
Below you’ll find just a snippet of the rest of the questions we asked Baer: be sure to listen to the podcast to hear his answers.
- You’re a successful author and consultant, but take us back in time, how did Young Jay Baer get his start in this new fandangled social media industry?
- Of all of the places you could move in the world, you recently moved to Bloomington Indiana, home of the Indiana Hoosiers… why on Earth, Jay? Why?
- In your latest book, Youtility you said that Youtility is marketing that is so useful, people would gladly pay for it. And you pose the question, “What if instead of trying to be amazing you just focused on being useful?” Can you be both or are they mutually exclusive?
- How can brands be more helpful and what are a couple favorite examples of helpful brand Youtility?
- You’ve talked a lot about awareness in your book… Top of Mind Awareness, Frame of Mind awareness and my personal favorite,
- Friend of Mine Awareness, how do these work and which is more relevant to today’s marketers?
- How does mobile fit into the Youtility mindset?
- How large a role does influencer marketing play in the overall strategies of some of the Fortune 500 companies you’ve consulted for?
- Is influencer marketing scalable? How do marketers create large scale campaigns and effectively measure ROI?
- Are there painpoints or any disconnections with the ways brands are using influencers in their marketing campaigns?
- How do you manage your time as an influencer to many oustide brands that reach out to you?
- What are some ways you feel like brands can better work with/optimize their influencer outreach campaigns?
- You were an early adopter of live Twitter interviews (twitterviews), how has Twitter impacted your business and what are some of your advice for people just getting started in the Twitters?
- “Today, every employee is in marketing.” What are some effective ways that companies can activate employees?
- How do you measure the true ROI of influencer marketing – beyond KPI’s like reach or amplicifation
- What is the best way for companies to find influencers beyond klout/kred/etc scores.
- What are 3 social media tools that you couldn’t live without? Do you think there is a (social) tool out there that can filter out the ‘noise’ to only show influencers?
- I see your quote “content is fire, and social media is gasoline” everywhere around the internet – can you explain that further?
- What are the keys to social media success? What are the key to content marketing success?
- What are the biggest mistakes marketers make with social/content marketing?
- What would you do if your biggest, most obnoxious, most hated company approached you for consultation advice?
- Who are some of the people that you read, watch, listen to: why?
- Final Tips on how people and brands can create more Youtility in their life?
- Final Question: Halloween is coming up, what was your all-time favorite costume and scary movie?