CBD Influencer marketing. It’s all the buzz, but is it worth all the hype?
In the cannabis and hemp CBD space, we’re in an industry that is known for using influencers to promote products.
But is it worth adding an influencer marketing program to market CBD? What do you need to know to get started?
Joining us to share with us best practices of influencer marketing is Christine Scherping, Founder of Friend of a Friend PR. You won’t want to miss this episode!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
➡️ Why you shouldn’t chase BSOs (Bright, Shiny, Object)
➡️ Creative ways to partner with content creators
➡️ Who are influencers? They’re much more than their social media platform
➡️ The top three things you need to know before you work with influencers/content creators
Welcome to Cannabis Marketing Live – All Puff. No Fluff!
Influencer marketing has earned its place as one of the most effective ways to grow brand awareness and sales. But creating positive brand awareness through influencer marketing is not an easy feat.
First, you need to create a content strategy that effectively conveys your brand’s story, defines goals, identifies your target audience, and details the approach you’re going to take on each platform. Assuming influencer marketing is a key part of your strategy, then comes the next step.
Second, you need to make sure that you are reaching your target audience through the right influencers.
But how exactly can we do this? How do you know who the “right influencers” are?
In this episode, let’s explore exciting and innovative ways to reach new audiences through successful marketing campaigns with influencer marketing expert Christine Scherping.
Christine shared with us her insights on everything: from what works best when targeting different types of audience segments, choosing the perfect influencers, to avoiding bright, shiny objects (BSOs).
We also discussed the most common mistakes made by businesses that try their hand at influencer marketing.
Why you shouldn’t chase BSOs (Bright, Shiny Objects)
“Bright, shiny objects syndrome, also known as BSO, happens when marketers focus too much on the latest trends instead of growing their business.”
But here’s the thing: it happens to almost everybody, even to those of us with CBD brands.
“It happens to the best of us,” admits Christine.
New platforms, new tools, new strategies – they come up all the time.
But if you spend most of your time chasing after them instead of building real connections, you might end up missing out on opportunities to gain valuable exposure and build lasting partnerships with trusted partners.
What can you do to avoid BSOs when it comes to influencer marketing?
The good news is there are many things you can do to prevent yourself from falling victim to BSOs.
According to Christine, the best place to start with an influencer marketing program is by asking yourself these questions:
1) What are you trying to achieve?
Is it for broader awareness of your CBD brand? Is it for a product launch?
The first step to success is knowing what your objectives are and why you want to use influencer marketing.
2) Who is the target audience for your CBD brand?
Christine emphasized how important it is for us to know our target audience. Having a clear idea about your target audience makes it easier to identify which influencers work well for your goals.
3) Which platform should you focus on?
There are so many options available today, but not every option is suitable for everyone. It depends on several factors, including which platform your target audience engages more on, and whether or not it aligns with your CBD brands.
And because of that, you may find that certain social media channels suit your brand better than others.
But of course, Christine thinks that social media platforms aren’t always what we think they are. For example, many of us think of LinkedIn as a buttoned-up platform, and yet, there are several influencers who are using it in more creative ways to grow their brand.
“There are very creative ways of having different things come to life. You might be surprised at how some traditionally-stayed topics can really come to light very creatively.”Christine Scherping
What goals are realistic to expect from a CBD influencer marketing campaign?
Contrary to popular belief, influencer programs do not always translate to CBD product sales.
When running online marketing campaigns, there should be other things in play besides a paid influencer program, including paid efforts, SEO, paid social, email marketing, etc.
Influencer marketing is powerful, but that’s just one piece in the larger digital marketing. CBD brands need to see campaigns in a more holistic approach if they want to increase brand awareness for their CBD products.
In general, influencer marketing advocacy-type programs are great for Top of Funnel (ToF) goals, like broader awareness, broader reach, increase in engagement, and so on.
When you’re working on ToF goals like broader awareness, for example, you need to make sure that you’re clear with your KPIs, and what your deliverables are. You should also ensure that these metrics are properly captured.
“I think about 70% of influencer marketing have sprints on some platforms by measuring everything from engagement rates, to story completion rates to swipe ups.
Even though you’re working on broader awareness, there are true metrics that you can use to help showcase what’s being done on behalf of the influencer. If it’s a successful partnership, you will see positive metrics.“Christine Scherping
Who are the influencers?
When it comes to influencer marketing, a lot of people are focused on celebrities or athletes. But this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Today, brands are finding new opportunities through smaller influencers.
In fact, Christine even mentioned that they often see higher engagement numbers with the nano-influencers and micro-influencers. These campaigns work because these smaller influencers know their niche better.
With bigger influencers, the audience’s interest tends to dilute. The audience might be following an influencer not just for CBD, but also for lifestyle content, or even entertainment purposes. This means that when the influencer posts something related to CBD, it doesn’t resonate as much as it should with their audience.
Christine outlined the four categories of influencers based on generally accepted industry benchmarks:
1) Celebrity-Level Influencers
These are usually well-known personalities who have a following of at least a million to even hundreds of millions. Think of these types of influencers as the Kardashians, or Chrissy Teigen’s.
2) Macro Influencers
These are typically those who have a following between 100k – 500k followers.
These tend to fall somewhere in between 10k -100K followers.
4) Nano Influencers
These are those who have less than 10K followers.
If you’re looking to develop a broad awareness campaign, then you’ll want to focus on the first two categories of influencers. The influencers in categories three and four are incredibly powerful when it comes to getting their followers to take an action.
What are the most common mistakes companies make when trying to engage in influencer marketing?
Christine said that there are four common mistakes she sees companies make when trying to launch an influencer program. They include:
- Succumbing to BSOs.
- Listening to non-data fact advice.
- Choosing influencers for the wrong reasons.
- Putting all of their budgets into influencer marketing.
How do you choose the right influencers?
With so many influencers saying YES to every single brand partnership that comes along, authenticity is hard to come by these days.
Ideally, you should partner with someone who:
- Genuinely believes in your product, and
- Who is aligned with your company’s values.
When you do that, your promotion will just come off much more genuine and it’s generally easier for people to trust your brand.
To do this, you must filter your influencers. You need to be picky, and your influencers should meet all of the key criteria you laid out for your brand.
Otherwise, your brand might get mismatched with influencers who could be talking about CBD one day, and a different topic in another.
“When it comes to influencer marketing, we always look into data, but there’s that human element, where you need to be picky about. You need to be picky about who you partner with.“Christine Scherping
Which do you think is more successful: having long-term partnerships with influencers or working with them once or twice?
“Influencers are an integral part of your business and you want to see them involved,” said Christine.
In order to build your brand’s credibility over time, you need to build strong and genuine partnerships with your influencers.
In an ideal scenario, long-term relationships benefit both the brand and the influencer. Having a long-term partnership with an influencer indicates an actual relationship that’s happening. Most of the time, this kind of relationship usually comes off as genuine to others.
That’s the main reason why Christine recommends setting aside some budget and flexibility to allow for longer-term partnerships with influencers.
What are your tips for brands when they’re just starting with Influencer Marketing?
Start with a plan for your influencer marketing program.
Christine’s first tip was to start with planning your brand’s influencer program.
She also added that if the content is created by the influencer, that same content can be leveraged in several other platforms and channels. The brand must consider that early in the planning process.
Christine also recommends starting with an “Influencer Brief,” which should include the following:
- Information about the brand
- Goals and objectives
- How strategies are going to be implemented in the priority platforms
- Do’s and don’ts when promoting the brand
- Some other brand guidelines.
Also, it’s important for brands to remember that influencers are also experts in their niche. You don’t want to stifle the influencer’s creativity because you have too many restrictions on what they can say.
That’s why going overboard with the rules, regulations, and guidelines around influencer marketing may not be a good idea as well, especially at first.
“No one wants a prescriptive experience. The influencer absolutely does not want that experience. They know what engages their audience the most.”Christine Scherping
Do you have any tips to share when it comes to contracts?
It’s best to keep everything very clear up front so everyone knows exactly how each party will benefit from the agreement.
Christine also strongly advises against starting a program without a contract. A contract is essential to protect all parties’ interests. It helps ensure transparency throughout the entire project.
Other things to keep in mind when it comes to partnerships:
- Set expectations – Clearly outline the deliverables. For example, how many IG Stories is an influencer expected to deliver? How often will they post about your brand?
- Make sure that there are no other brands in the competitive space where your brand is featured.
- Make sure FTC guidelines are always followed.
- Make sure that the content that’s created for your brand will live in perpetuity – for as long as that platform exists for that influencers.
“Surprises are great for life moments like birthdays and anniversaries, but no one wants to be surprised with things that they didn’t ask for in terms of a partnership or work.“Christine Scherping
Getting to Know Our Featured Guest:
Christine Scherping is the founder of Friend of a Friend, a boutique PR agency dedicated to building meaningful relationships between brands and influencers that have a measurable impact.
Christine has spent the majority of her 20+year PR career agency-side, collaborating with some of the best-known and most beloved brands in the country, including Bath & Body Works, Land O’Lakes, Sherwin-Williams, Caribou Coffee, and Red Baron.
Her PR and influencer work has been recognized by the industry’s most celebrated awards including PR Week, SABREs, Silver and Gold Anvils, and Christine was also been named one of the Women Champions of PR by PR Week.
You can find Christine at:
LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook @friendofafriendpr
About our host:
Kendra Losee, Founder of Mota Marketing, helps cannabis and hemp CBD companies jumpstart their brand and accelerate their sales. With more than 20 years of award-winning marketing experience, she specializes in creating and executing marketing strategies that help companies grow. Kendra hosts a Facebook Live show, Cannabis Marketing Live, All Puff, No Fluff, and regularly teaches graduate-level social media and marketing courses.