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When you need to deliver on a six-figure contract, you can’t get derailed because somebody’s stuck in a college classroom.
My company, Influential, is an AI influencer technology that matches brands with social media influencers. Our technology uses machine learning and transparent data to identify and connect top-engaged accounts on social media with the perfect brand/product.
For example, we might connect a car company with a photographer who fits their brand image and has a lot of followers in their target market of Adults 25 – 44 with an affinity for luxury cars. The company asks him to post a picture with their new car model, he posts it (along with an FTC compliant tag like #ad) and they pay him for his audience and his content. The influencer is still posting organic content (now branded), and the company reaches a lot of targeted people with authentic messaging.
When I started this business, I used to manage everything with calls, emails and text messages, trying to make sure influencers posted just the right thing at just the right time. One time, I was doing a campaign for a major movie studio. I needed several influencers to post at the same time, to create a trending topic, but one guy didn’t respond. I was texting him:
“You’re supposed to post—we’re trying to make a trending topic on Twitter right now”
“You haven’t posted yet”
And finally I got a text back, saying:
“In class bro.”
I remember looking at that message on my phone, and thinking a lot of things. Mostly, I realized that I urgently needed to scale up my system so that I never wound up in that situation again.
Putting the company in control
We’ve come a long, long way since then.
Influential now has a network of 15,000 influencers sending their posts into our brand-safe gateway, which is a content bank where the brand can review, approve and post them, at just the right time. Influencers send their posts through our mobile app, and now that app is in the hip pocket of every major influencer on social media.
Putting influencers in control
Through the app, we also send them paid deal requests from brands. And we can show them: “Your posts are worth X because of these data points,” with a demographic breakout of their followers on each platform, the number of follower shares or engagements, and the number of followers gained or lost over a chosen time span. We’re even starting to show an IBM Watson Personality Insights that can say: “Hey influencer, you might think you’re a travel blogger, but you’re speaking about these 20 topics the most: You might be more of an authority on family life and DIY.” We’ve tested that with a bunch of influencers—they lost their mind and loved it.
Putting brands in control
We’re also focusing IBM Watson Personality Insights on brands and their ad campaigns. For instance, we analyzed a campaign from a car company, to get a sense of how people were talking about it. Unfortunately, we had to call their baby ugly. We told them, “You’re at 0% for adventurous and achievement-striving —all the things you want to be. And your top competitors are at 100%.” We said, “If you want to compete with that message, great. Here are 100 influencers that will help you deliver that campaign in a voice that makes sense—that will resonate. Or, let’s find the ‘white space’ that’s waiting for you to write your message. Maybe it’s other consumer behaviors, about gas mileage or resale value, as opposed to this message that others already own.”
Data is control
Now, we’re able to do more than just match brands and influencers. We can look at the bigger question of “How do I change my perception?” That’s been a big move for us in 2016 to 2017.
It’s all about giving us, the influencers and the brands, intel that we’ve never seen before, to help understand how things are being perceived on social. It’s very eye-opening for everyone.
Learn more about Influential by reading an article on IBM THINK Marketing.