I Binged on Influencer Marketing Podcasts: Here Are the Takeaways from My Top 5 Picks

Influencer marketing insights from Olipop, Nik Sharma, and Athletic Greens. Steal their strategies to level up your DTC brand, whether you're just starting or looking to optimize your approach.

Priya Nain

Priya Nain

May 20, 2024

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Influencer marketing is great for DTC brands, but it can be challenging to get right. That's why learning from people who have been there and done that can make all the difference. We listened to many influencer marketing podcasts and picked the best ones. Now, we're sharing the top tips we collected. In this post, you'll find the best insights on influencer marketing, like UGC, product gifting, or effective partnerships.

1 — The Influence Factor Podcast by Liz Griffin, Bazaarvoice

In The Influence Factor podcast episode, Alessandro Bogliari chats with Liz Griffin about the importance of user-generated content (UGC) in creating transparent shopping experiences. Liz, the Global Vice President of Social Commerce at Bazaarvoice, highlights how their team helps brands by integrating customer UGC on their websites, making shopping more trustworthy and validating for consumers.

Here's what we learned:

Importance of UGC

Content from real customers, like images, videos, and reviews, drives online sales. It adds authenticity and transparency and builds trust, which leads to higher conversions.

Tools like SARAL can be invaluable to making the most of UGC. SARAL listens when your influencers post and auto-tracks the content, eliminating the need for manual screenshotting and tracking. You can also request UGC rights directly within the platform, download content, and repurpose it to maximize its impact.

SARAL social listening feature

E-commerce Inspiration

While e-commerce sites are good at selling known products, they often lack the discovery and inspiration that social media provides. Integrating UGC and social content throughout the e-commerce experience can fill this gap. Brands can showcase customer stories and creative uses of their products to spark interest and engagement.

Here's an example of a DTC brand, Juliet, using UGC on their landing page

Juliet landing page

Quality vs. Quantity

Brands need to decide if they want to focus on the quantity or quality of UGC. For example, luxury brands prefer fewer but higher-quality pieces of content. It's essential to align UGC goals with brand identity and target audience preferences.

👇 This post from Emma Chamberlain's collaboration with Lancôme is a clearly staged, prepped, and polished post, showing luxury brands' high-quality approach compared to more casual, spontaneous UGC from everyday brands.

Emma Chamberlain's collaboration with Lancôme

Team Collaboration

Breaking down silos between e-commerce, social media, and influencer marketing teams is key. These teams need to work together on a unified strategy to maximize results. Regular communication and joint planning sessions help ensure everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals.

Video Content

If you want to drive social commerce, investing in video content from influencers and creators.  Brands should prioritize creating engaging, high-quality videos that tell a story and resonate with their audience, leveraging influencer expertise.

2 — Generation Influence Podcast by Steven Vigilante, Olipop

In this episode of the Generation Influence podcast, Steven Vigilante shares his insights on how Olipop, a functional soda brand, uses influencer marketing to drive growth.

As a founding team member, Steven has played a key role in shaping the brand's strategy, helping them secure over $50M in venture funding and achieve over 1 billion views on TikTok.

Key takeaways:

Be Prepared to Reinvent the marketing approach every 6 months

What works for driving e-commerce sales to early adopters may be very different than what's needed to turn the product at Walmart. The overlap between those customer segments is often tiny. Be prepared to reinvent the marketing approach every 6 months.

For example, when first starting with influencer marketing, Olipop took a **bottom-funnel approach** with discount codes and "swipe up to shop" CTAs to drive a lot of initial trial and revenue.

As they expanded into more mainstream retail channels like Walmart and Target in 2021-2022, they shifted to a more top-of-funnel approach focused on driving awareness. They started doing more organic product placements, sending free products to creators to include in their content without necessarily calling out the brand by name.

Olipop product placement TikTok
Olipop product placement TikTok

One example was having a construction worker include Olipop in his popular "lunch haul" videos. They also sent pizzas to his whole crew on his birthday which he made an organic video about that got a lot of reach.

If you're considering this strategy but afraid that you'll get overwhelmed tracking the packages, following up with influencers, analyzing the performance, etc. then you should try SARAL. You can do all types of influencer partnerships — gifting, getting UGC, pay-per-post, etc — with SARAL. Claim your 7-day free trial here.

For awareness campaigns, don't get hung up on trying to measure direct sales. Focus on reach metrics and look for signs the content is striking a chord culturally and emotionally. Being able to let go of strict CAC and ROI metrics is key for breakthrough creativity.

Organic Product Placements

One successful strategy was sending free products to creators and having them include Olipop in their content organically. For example, a construction worker featured Olipop in his "lunch haul" videos. These posts generated a lot of engagement and were great indicators for potential paid partnerships. Closely monitor comments and engagement on these organic placements to gauge the potential of a paid partnership. Strong audience interest and comments like "You should sponsor them!" are good signs to put the creator on a retainer for more posts.

Active Presence on TikTok

The brand maintains an active presence on TikTok. The founder himself spends 20-30 min per night in the comments and DMs, replying to fans, getting content ideas, and scouting potential creators to work with. He even takes part in some TikTok videos. This hands-on approach helps them stay connected to trends and their audience.

Olipop TikTok Page

Solely relying on measurable metrics can limit your marketing strategies. Some of the most effective marketing campaigns are those that evoke strong emotions and create a memorable impact, even if they can't be precisely quantified from the start.

3 — Justifying the ROI of Influencer Marketing (ft. Nik Sharma)

In this episode, Nik Sharma, known as the 'DTC Guy,' shares his expertise on maximizing the return on investment (ROI) from influencer marketing.

Nik emphasizes that influencer marketing can be a highly effective and cost-efficient strategy for DTC brands when approached correctly.

Here's how he looks at influencer marketing:

Influencer content is cost-efficient

Influencer content creation is much more cost-efficient compared to traditional production. An influencer provides the equivalent of an entire production crew (stylist, lighting, audio, talent) in one. It would cost 10-15x more to replicate that with a standard video shoot.

Influencer content is faster

The speed of content creation is much faster with influencers. Organizing a large production crew takes longer than having 1-2 influencers create the content.

Influencers are good at content

Influencers are skilled at creating content that performs well on today's social platforms. They've built a following because they understand what drives engagement on both a micro and macro level.

Influencers know the algorithm better

Traditional photographers and videographers aim to create the most visually appealing content possible. But that doesn't always translate to high engagement. Influencers have a deeper understanding of platform algorithms and audience preferences. Prioritize influencers who create relatable and authentic content that resonates with their audience rather than aiming for polished perfection.

Nik also shares that the cost of engaging influencers depends on your goal. If you want them to create content for a whitelisted ad, that's different from having a macro influencer use your product in campaign photos. Clearly outline your campaign goals to calculate the right budget and type of influencer engagement needed.

4 — How Athletic Greens Leverages YouTube Creators

Boyko Kaloferov is currently leading the YouTube partnership program at Athletic Greens. In this podcast, he talks about building long-term relationships with creators in various niches and working with creators.

Here are some key takeaways from this podcast for DTC brands diving into influencer marketing:

Influencer Marketing on YouTube

YouTube is a powerful platform for influencer marketing as it allows brands to reach diverse audiences with different interests. Athletic Greens focuses heavily on YouTube influencer partnerships.

Andrew Huberman YouTube Video

Here's another example of a YouTube creator who is an affiliate influencer for Athletic Greens:

Athletic Greens Affiliate Influencer Video

Authentic Creator Partnerships are Key

Athletic Greens look for influencers who genuinely love the product. They send products for the influencer to try for 10-20 days before agreeing to partner. You should start relationships with a "test" one-off campaign. If it performs well, extend into longer-term partnerships. If it shows potential but underperforms, optimize and try again.

Onboarding Calls

Onboarding calls with influencers are important to build a connection, understand their vibe, and create "partner love." Athletic Greens dedicates 10-15 minutes to this onboarding call.

After seeing many DTC brands succeed with influencer marketing, we've noticed that maintaining strong relationships with influencers is crucial. A single call or generic email just won't cut it. SARAL's Creator Relationship Management system makes this easier by ensuring you never miss birthdays, tasks, or follow-ups. With SARAL, you can view detailed conversation histories, manage all your emails in one place, and stay on top of important collaborations.

SARAL — all-in-one influencer marketing tool

Vertical Variations in Cost and Effectiveness

The cost and effectiveness of influencer marketing vary greatly by vertical. For example, female lifestyle and finance are expensive verticals, while others, like gaming, offer affordable CPMs and substantial reach. For your brand, it's important to tap into different types of creators to find the niche that delivers maximum impact with minimum investment.

Authentic Voice in Content Creation

Athletic Greens allows influencers to use their authentic voice in content creation. They provide key educational information in their creative brief but avoid dictating talking points. This approach ensures that the content feels genuine and resonates more with the audience.

Importance of Credibility and Trust

The success of influencer marketing depends on the credibility and trust between the influencer and their audience. Content and messaging come second to this relationship. Choose influencers who have a strong, trusting relationship with their audience, as this will enhance the credibility of your brand's message.

Prioritizing Influencer Program Initiatives

When building an influencer program, prioritize based on where you see the best signal and performance. Delegate your top-performing initiative to a team member, then move to test the next priority. This method ensures that your efforts are focused and effective.

5  — Starting Small Podcast: Story of Oat Haus

In this podcast episode, Ali Bonar, founder of Oat Haus, shares how influencer marketing has played a crucial role in the brand's growth. Here are the key takeaways for DTC brands:

Key Takeaways:

Leveraging the Founder's Following

Ali's journey of documenting her eating disorder recovery on Instagram helped her build an initial following of around 10,000 people. This served as a test market for Oat Haus, allowing the brand to gauge product-market fit affordably. If the founders have a following on social media, they're influencers. They should use their reach to connect with potential customers and validate their product concepts before a full-scale launch.

Creative Launch Strategies

When launching into Sprouts stores nationwide, Oat Haus sent PR boxes to influencers with custom-labeled jars, gardening seeds, and soil to announce their "sprouting into retail." This unique, themed approach helped generate early store traffic and excitement around the brand's retail expansion.

TikTok PR Unboxing

Engaged Instagram community

Oat Haus maintains a close-knit community on Instagram, using features like close friends' stories to share news and new flavors with their brand ambassadors & loyal fans. This keeps the community involved in the brand's journey and fosters a sense of exclusivity and belonging.

Understanding Targeted Segments

Oat Haus targets three main consumer groups: health-conscious millennials seeking variety, parents of kids in nut-free schools needing PB&J alternatives, and those wanting indulgent but healthier sweet spreads. Tailoring influencer partnerships to address each segment's unique motivations can enhance the campaigns' effectiveness.

Product Positioning

Dessert-inspired flavors like cookie dough and brownie batter are top sellers because they encourage snacking directly from the jar, driving faster repurchase rates. Influencers sharing their experiences of quickly finishing a jar helps reinforce this perception and boost sales.

TikTok Product Review

Here's another example:

Oat Haus Instagram Collaboration with influencers

How Can You Run a Successful Influencer Marketing Program For Your DTC Brand?

Implementing a sustainable, long-term influencer marketing approach requires the right tools and processes. You need technology that helps you efficiently identify, onboard, and manage invested influencer partnerships at scale.

That's where SARAL can help. With SARAL you can:

  • Quickly find the ideal influencers for your brand. No more endless Instagram scrolling, which means reduced time and resource wastage, positively impacting your ROI.
  • Send products to multiple influencers at once, generate tracking links, and monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Manage communication with multiple influencers using automated and broadcast emails.
  • Monitor and analyze online conversations about your brand with its social listening feature.
  • And do so much more…
SARAL creator discovery page

Try SARAL for free for 7 days. See how efficiency it brings to your workflow, freeing up your time and energy to focus on other aspects of your business.

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Influencer marketing insights from Olipop, Nik Sharma, and Athletic Greens. Steal their strategies to level up your DTC brand, whether you're just starting or looking to optimize your approach.

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