In this interview we sat down with MagicLinks Founder and CEO Brian Nickerson to talk about video content in influencer marketing, the value video content can bring brands, and why customers love video so much.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there’s plenty of love going around. In the world of marketing through content, the love is being showered towards video content. And with good reason – there are tons of benefits to using video content, and more influencers are starting to take advantage of this format. The relationship between video content, consumers, and influencers is a big one, and plenty of affiliate advertisers are looking to take advantage of this medium.
Brian Nickerson, Founder and CEO of MagicLinks, understands the importance of video in the affiliate relationship between advertiser, publisher, and customer – that’s why he created MagicLinks. MagicLinks helps publishers and advertisers connect with one another and find new ways to promote products and brands through video so that everyone in the affiliate channel comes out a winner.
We sat down with Brian and talked with him about video content, the influencers he works with, and the landscape in video content and influencer marketing. Read the full interview below, and be sure to check out MagicLinks!
Rakuten: Tell me a bit about the influencers you work with – who are they, what they do, and why they’re so significant in marketing.
Brian Nickerson: The community of influencers at MagicLinks are, on the whole, young, entrepreneurial and highly creative. Whether they have several million or several thousand subscribers on YouTube, our creators all work tremendously hard, innovatively and passionately to create amazing, authentic content. Moreover, the MagicLinks creator engages, connects and has meaningful conversations with his or her tight-knit group of loyal fans.
We are proud partners of Linkin Park, Keaton Keller, GlamTwinz, LoeyLane and Passion Jonesz, among thousands more. In terms of our community philosophy, we try to embrace a wide array of creators and celebrate their diversity. The MagicLinks community features body positive bloggers, leaders in the trans movement, and creators of every race, size, creed, color and walk of life.
Their marketing significance stems from the authentic, real relationships that our creators have developed with their fans who trust their perspective and their real, unfiltered opinions. According to Variety Digital News, 8 of the 10 most influential people for teen audiences are YouTube stars, and that number keeps growing every year. All in all, our influencers have tremendous power in motivating their fans to buy products that they actually love, which has vast implications for the future of marketing.
How do brands and video influencers make a good partnership with one another?
BN: First and foremost, the influencer needs to have a genuine passion for the brand and the brand’s products. If that is the case, the influencer can be an incredible force in driving awareness and sales for the brand.
Particularly in the world of social video content creation, you can’t fake it and fans know when the creator isn’t voicing their authentic opinion. The fans hold the creator closely accountable and are constantly monitoring their content for anything that seems inauthentic. Thus, brands wanting to pay a large sum of money to a creator lacking passion for the brand is not an ideal partnership, and rarely results in a truly believable native advertising experience on YouTube.
In terms of a great partnership and brand-to-brand synergy, let’s take MagicLinks creator Elle Florence for example. The Vancouver-based lawyer-by-day, vlogger-by-night recently published a Work Wear Clothing Haul video featuring some of her favorite “office apropos” picks from a leading fashion specialty retailer. Elle, and her fan base, have a natural passion for these products. Especially given Elle’s classical grace and style, the two have an effortless fit.
This partnership represents the power of mid-to-long creators on YouTube, exemplifies the notion of “authentic social commerce,” and illustrates the close-knit community connections that are forged on YouTube. MagicLinks is currently match-matching tens of thousands of happy brand-creator “marriages” like Elle and Nordstrom, offering scalable access into this quickly emerging market.
What’s the most important thing an influencer can do to build an audience? How does that affect a brand?
BN: Certainly, the most important thing an influencer can do to build an audience is to be authentic, interesting and passionate in creating their original video content over an extended period of time.
To illustrate an example, an early member of the MagicLinks community was Keaton Keller, aka TechSmart. When Keaton started working with MagicLinks, he had around 400k subscribers and was still relatively small. Yet, Keaton quickly grew more creative with his editing, increased his production value, and enhanced the overall quality of his content. Today, Keaton has skyrocketed and has close to 2 million subscribers on YouTube. Throughout his growth and evolution as a creator, Keaton has remained true to his unique brand and loyal to his highly-engaged audience.
Channeled right, an influencer promoting a brand can be some of the most powerful and cost-effective marketing a brand can do. A brand, by working with a creator, is essentially hiring creative direction, production, filming, editing, and distribution. In the process, the brand might even learn something new about how their products are perceived by the public, collecting valuable data and organic feedback, in addition to driving sales and clicks and increasing online brand exposure.
How do influencers affect the buyer’s journey?
BN: Nielson has reported that 92 percent of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands. Influencers have been cited as the second most important deciding factor motivating the buyer’s journey, just behind friends and family.
To that end, fans feel like they are “friends” with influencers, especially video creators, in a way markedly different than with traditional celebrities. For instance, Beyonce promoting Pepsi may not move the needle as much as a much-beloved beauty blogger recommending a new shade of lip stain or a just released limited edition eyeshadow palette. Why? Fans learn to trust the authentic voice of their favorite creators, so when a trusted influencer recommends a style that can oftentimes be all it takes to motivate a purchase decision or multiple purchase decisions over time. The lifetime value, thus, is incredibly high.
Especially in our increasingly mobile-centric world, videos are becoming more and more crucial and popular as a pivotal element in the discovery portion of the buyer’s journey. Young people are watching YouTube from their mobile devices while they are traveling, commuting or simply on their downtime. While watching videos, they form impressions, discover new products and we have seen over and over again that these items have a notably high conversion rate.
Where do you see influencer marketing headed in terms of video content?
BN: The future of e-commerce is authentic and social. Currently, we are very much so at the dawn of the influencer marketing industry and the infrastructure behind many elements, such as scalable access, media value measurement, and ROI on influencer campaigns, are still very much developing. However, MagicLinks is quickly providing a solution in this hot market.
To draw a comparison, let’s look at Instagram. Instagram, of late, has been flooded by paid in-content campaigns that fans are rapidly starting to be view in a different, often more skeptical light. The prevalence of “#ad” has, in a way, reduced the core effectiveness behind the message of these social media stars and starlets. Paid content can water down one’s original voice.
On the other hand, video content, especially on YouTube, has remained crystallized as a totally unique medium and, today, is still the most authentic and, therefore, effective platform for influencer marketing. With social video sharing sites, true relationships are formed and organic communities can grow and flourish. We have seen explosive growth in the video sector, and expect that trend to continue, especially as brands choose to compensate creators for their true value.
Lastly, any brand that competes with Amazon or is worried about Amazon should be investing early and heavily in video content in 2017!
The award-winning innovator is pioneering authentic social commerce, enabling YouTube creators to grow their business via sharing ready-to-shop product links with their fans. The company works with thousands of creators and brands to enhance authentic communication around products they love. www.magiclinks.org. To connect with the MagicLinks team please email firstname.lastname@example.org