If you as a physician don’t know how to bring that conversation down to the level of the purchaser, you are doing yourself a disservice. This is where the influencer marketing comes in because it really is in their words. It’s their understanding. They’re using the same vernacular, the same language. The reviewer or the influencer was going to be another mother of two that’s got to go to soccer practice and she just happens to have a YouTube channel and she’s going to talk to that mother in a way that you will not be able to. It will be absolutely impossible for you to connect on the same level.
Nick Dumitru: 00:45 Welcome back to another episode of Practice Perfect. Today, we’re going to talk about influencer marketing. If you’re not aware of what influencer marketing is, don’t worry about it. I’ve got probably the foremost expert on the planet on influencer marketing. His name is Joe Sinkwitz. He is a serial entrepreneur, the CEO and founder of Intellifluence, the largest social influencer platform on the planet. They’ve got the most users of anybody online. He’s also the author of The Ultimate Guide to Using Influencer Marketing. His name is Joe Sinkwitz. Welcome, Joe.
Joe Sinkwitz: 01:18 Hello Nick.
Nick Dumitru: 01:19 Great, Joe. What I want to get into today is this whole concept of the influencer marketing. I’d like to get the audience to understand what it is because I’ve had situations where plastic surgeons have taken it upon themselves to do the influencer marketing. They’ve tried to become the influencer, right? They’re trying to get Instagram famous, get the status. I’ve always felt that that is not the highest and best use of time for a physician because there are other ways to do it. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of that and how it can be leveraged, I think you’re the best person I know to start introducing people to what influencer marketing is, if they’re not aware of it. What is an influencer and what is the marketing around that? Talk to us a little bit about it.
Joe Sinkwitz: 02:02 Sure. I think the easiest way to explain is influencer marketing is simply having someone else tell your story for you. There’s quite a bit of misinformation out there online, “What’s an influencer? Who is an influencer? How do they work?” A lot of people will say that there’s only certain ways that they could be used. I like to bucket them into three different groups. We have aspirational influence, authoritative influence and peer influence. For aspirational influence, that’s your general celebrity. That’s the Kim Kardashians of the world.
Joe Sinkwitz: 02:37 Authoritative would be within the realm of plastic surgery, perhaps, maybe someone that’s a board certified. They’re overseeing physicians. Maybe they’re overseeing and approving specific medical devices that could be used, someone with a lot of credibility. The peer would be anyone that could potentially recommend a service. It’s your neighbor, it’s the person down the street that went through a similar issue. We can start there with how different types of influence is used by based on like what psychological trigger you’re looking at.
Joe Sinkwitz: 03:12 From a plastic surgeon example, I don’t think it makes a lot of sense for a surgeon to spend a ton of time trying to become Instagram famous as you say. It would make more way more sense for them to take that time and effort and resources frankly and devote it in such a way where they might work with a localized celebrity or maybe a newscast. Someone that’s somewhat famous, somewhat known in the media and provides services either shared services or supremely discounted services in exchange for just media mentions and explaining what they’re doing. From there, as an audience of those, I’ll call them celebrities still, as an audience of those celebrities, we recognize that they may have been compensated for their efforts, but we also recognize them like they have something that we want, but it’s not that strong of a desire.
Joe Sinkwitz: 04:04 All it’s doing is if we’re going back to the whole ADA rules, acknowledging that, “My attention is now piqued. I know that this exists.” Now, we need to confirm the desire and that’s kind of done via authorities. If I feel like I want to have a particular surgery done because I’m an overweight guy for most of my life, let’s say, I’m going that route. Well, I see the celebrity that went through a similar situation. They’re confirming, “Hey, this is out there.” The next step would be an authoritative figure, essentially backfilling either blog posts, YouTube videos that are really in depth, going into, “Hey, here is a mechanism that can be used to solve this medical problem. I am the expert on this very specific niche, ergo I give it my attest and approval.”
Joe Sinkwitz: 04:55 From there, that’s great. I have my interest validated, but I don’t feel like I need it yet. It’s when my peers actually go through with this that it creates a compulsion and that’s where I got into this realm is I had that background in organic search. I had the background in affiliate email and it wasn’t until I started playing with the psychological triggers of influencers that I started to recognize I can go through the whole ADA, get the attention, confirm it, create a physical need for this product that can only be alleviated via a purchase and then a pile on effect of amplification after the fact.
Joe Sinkwitz: 05:34 I know that’s a little bit longer of an answer than perhaps you were expecting, but that’s how I view it. I don’t view influencer as just this singular thing. I have to view it in terms of there’s an entire campaign strategy that you could build around these individuals to earn outsized dollars.
Nick Dumitru: 05:53 I think that’s great, Joe. I think you touched on a couple of things there I’d like to unpack little bit for the audience. The first one is ADA just because our audience is a little bit … Well, they’re physicians. A lot of them are physicians. A lot of them are business owners with med spas, but they’re not necessarily up to speed with marketing. I just want to quickly let everybody know what ADA is. when Joe refers to ADA, it is attention, desire and action. Whenever you put some advertisement online, some offer online, you first want to get the prospect’s attention, then you want to confirm their desire that they actually want what you’ve got to offer, right?
Nick Dumitru: 06:26 You can slap someone in the face, but if they didn’t want it, it’s not exactly a good form of attention. Then finally, you need them to take action. You have to make them an offer and give them own avenue to take action. That’s what Joe is referring to when he says that. Now, Joe, I want to ask you a little bit more because in your book here you say that you’ve got the three types of influencers that you refer to, but you really dig down into this whole celebrity thing. I think that everybody thinks that the celebrity is the gold standard.
Nick Dumitru: 06:53 I’m seeing a shift in society now where people are a bit more fragmented. Everybody’s not paying attention to the exact same big topics. Everyone’s customizing their life and their attention and their desires. In your book, you say that in business they highlight the use of aspirational that is celebrity influence. While it’s clearly effective, it isn’t even the most effective form of influencer marketing. Talk to us a little bit about that. Why is that? Why is the celebrity not the most effective? What would you do instead?
Joe Sinkwitz: 07:22 If I recall Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, it has to do with the psychological effects of we all want what our heroes have, but we absolutely need what our peers have. Peer influence is actually the most powerful one. It’s just a recognition that when you’re looking at similarities between who does what, who has what, we have more in common with our peers, ergo the decisions that they make influence significantly more than what celebrity does. There are cases where celebrity influence matters quite a bit. Those tend to be more on mass market type items, a particular brand of cola or chips or something along those lines.
Joe Sinkwitz: 08:06 If it’s something that almost everyone has appeal towards, then it makes sense for that audience. The reason I recognized a little earlier going like a localized celebrity, it’s cheating a little bit. With a localized celebrity, it’s someone that you do have slightly more in common with. Similarly, you could have an authority figure with a large enough audience where you can cut out the celebrity piece all together and just say, “Okay, I’m using the concept of the desire and the affirmation of that desire all in one go. Peers though, we just found that there’s significantly better ROI as well.
Joe Sinkwitz: 08:44 A peer in terms of a plastic surgery, it could just be the patients, successful patient outcomes and just asking them to go through step one through, “Here’s all the reasons why I would choose the same doctor again based on the successful outcomes. Here’s my problem. Here’s how they alleviated my problem. I know that my wife when she was a kid, she had a really nasty gash on her arm going down a slide. I think she like reached out and like hit a branch and just ripped her arm open. Well, the regular surgeons in the ER, they closed it up nicely, but she needed cosmetic surgery to provide a normal scene for a young girl which is important.”
Joe Sinkwitz: 09:25 There’s all these different use cases I could see from a peer perspective of, “If this happened to your kid, wouldn’t she want the same outcome of helping them feel normal again because that’s probably the biggest issue out there versus like trying to maximize desire of one’s physical traits?” That’s where I go. You can go through the blog posts, the videos, the image shares. It’s like the before-and-afters. Those work great. At that point though with peers too, it becomes a repetition. If your clients are all pretty happy with the outcome of their procedures and they’re all sharing, it almost creates a little community into itself and that really helps to solidify that, “This physician is great. I should be using him because all his patients love him.”
Nick Dumitru: 10:17 I think that’s fantastic and I’m glad your wife’s okay now that that happened when she was young. I can completely agree with what you’re saying about the influencers and building up that little buzz in the community and really the tribe around that physician. It really helps to convert a lot better. Before we go a little bit further into this, you mentioned that you could think of some case studies and stuff. I always like to give the audience just some concrete ideas, some concrete examples and I want everybody to really get excited about this and make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes that I’ve seen.
Nick Dumitru: 10:47 I think we’ll talk about that a little bit later, but how would you use influencers, just a concrete example, like in a campaign? Let’s say that I’m a plastic surgeon and I am thinking of I really don’t have the time to become Instagram famous. I’d rather be performing surgeries because that’s where I make my money, but I at the same time I really want to tap into this online world, the sense of influencers getting other people to spread my message for me. Give me one or two example campaigns that I might think to set up as a plastic surgeon.
Joe Sinkwitz: 11:20 The first one that comes to mind, Nick, is blogs simply because it allows you to fully tell your story. What I would do here is it depends on the specific niche within plastic surgery. I will just use the kid’s example because it’s still fresh in my mind here where if I specialized in pediatric plastic surgery, what I would do is ask my clients if they have a blog to share their story about what they went through, the catharsis of all of this pain and suffering that they have to watch in the eyes of their child and how it was basically solved because that’s what it’s all about like, “I helped the kid get better,” and just tell that story out. Of course, the link goes into the professional site and you could use it as like lead gen purposes essentially.
Joe Sinkwitz: 12:11 The way I think you make it work though is you provide some incentive. Maybe it’d be incentive as non-monetary. Maybe it’s just you highlight those positive stories on the physician’s portal to show, “Hey, here’s all these people that trusted us and we did not betray that trust.” A similar concept of course for providing long format stories is YouTube because within YouTube you could have the verbalization of what occurred as well as show some still images of, “Here’s the before and here’s the after. Look how great it is. Look at this kid. He’s running around. He’s happy now. This is awesome. Thank you so much for making this a possibility.” Then, you could take those videos and you could embed them into a blog post as well.
Joe Sinkwitz: 12:56 Instagram is another quickie just to show like, “Are you happy? Are you pleased with the outcome? It’s a very easy selfie. You don’t even have to do the before and after if you’re uncomfortable with that thing as a client and you take the selfie of, “This worked. I’m so happy. This is awesome,” and have them tag a certain phrase. Then, you could utilize something programmatically to pull in Instagram cards on the site just to show a cascading wall of love essentially, “Here’s the people we helped. Look at them.” People like that constant reinforcement that they’re going to be making a good decision.
Joe Sinkwitz: 13:34 I don’t think it’s terribly difficult to even dip one’s toes into it, especially if they’ve already had clients. If they don’t, then you’re actually having to talk about it somewhat aspirationally of, “I have children. Thankfully none of my children have needed to have a type of surgery,” but if I trusted a particular doctor that I’m working or has contacted me on this topic, I might say, “If I needed to use the service, here is who I would use and here’s why.” List, “XYZ, trustworthy, whatever, whatever, whatever.” Those elements can be separated out of course.
Joe Sinkwitz: 14:12 If you’re working with a very small client base or a nonexistent one, you want to grow the market, you can use that aspirational type storyline in conjunction with using existing client base for already live stories. It’s one of those flywheels that can go on for essentially forever.
Nick Dumitru: 14:29 I think that’s great. You’ve touched on a few very important topics. I want to try to expand on those just a little bit for people. What Joe is talking about here is sometimes in marketing we’ll refer to it as parasite marketing, but I don’t like that term because it can have some negative connotations in terms of how it’s done. I prefer to look at it more as symbiotic marketing. What Joe is referring here is really you getting access to other people’s audiences, right? These influencers, people that have blogs, that have Instagram channels, that have YouTube channels, they are cultivating an audience. They’re cultivating the type of people that want to listen to them, pay attention to them.
Nick Dumitru: 15:08 Then as a marketer, as a physician, you want to try to reach these audiences and you can do it in several ways. One of them would be to optimize your website to try to get search traffic. Another might be to go and pay for Facebook Ads and Google Ads and try to capture them that way, but it really doesn’t tap into that second layer of psychology that Joe’s influencer marketing does which is essentially giving you that peer recommendation or giving you that authority recommendation from someone that’s built an audience and has already done the connection for you, right?
Nick Dumitru: 15:39 We take this endorsement and it’s passed on, right? The trust that the influencer has for you or seemingly has for you on their posts is now transferred to you and then you get access to that audience. I think that that’s a very important component that is a lot harder to do with advertising. The reason that I like influencer marketing and why we’re really delving into it is because of that second layer of psychology, the fact that you can gain trust a lot faster than you could with traditional advertising or waiting for people to discover you on your own platform like your website or your own Facebook page. I think that that’s hugely important.
Nick Dumitru: 16:15 Now, one of the mistakes that I see a lot of the times is when physicians have done deals with “influencers.” I say quote-unquote because they have different degrees of authority and more importantly the audience. What Joe’s just said here is he touched on blog posts which is web, he touched on Instagram which is social media and he touched on YouTube which is video. Joe, in your book here, you say that what you want to do is really find out where your potential customer is spending time online, who influences them, what their focus should be and when in doubt, test.
Nick Dumitru: 16:50 Talk to us a little bit about that because one of the biggest mistakes I see that physicians make is they’ll do a deal with an influencer, but that influencer’s audience is like in India or in a totally unrelated city. We’ve really got a geographic reach to plastic surgeons. Talk to us a little bit about that, about finding the right audience and the people that influence them.
Joe Sinkwitz: 17:10 Certainly. I think geography is the most obvious example that you hit there. If you’re going to be influencing on a localized level especially, you need to understand where that particular influencer is going to be based. That’s an easy one. In terms of figuring out which network to focus on, it comes back to like a buyer persona. You’re needing to look into your own data. What’s the gender? What’s the age? Is there a socioeconomic breakdown that you’re aware of? Do you already know various interests that they have that you can piggyback on top of? Just understanding those light variables can help you determine what type of material do you have to put in front of this individual for them to make a decision.
Joe Sinkwitz: 17:57 If they’re very young audience, it might be sufficient to be on TikTok and Instagram as a mechanism for education. That might be sufficient. If it’s an older audience, they’re probably going to want to do a little bit more research because, “Hey, we’re older people.” We know that you don’t want something flashy. You want to make sure it’s going to work. That’s where something like a blog posts or the deep YouTube videos come into play, just showing, “All right, here’s all the steps. Here’s all the issues. Here’s all the results.” From there, absolutely you’re going to need to be testing.
Joe Sinkwitz: 18:33 Now, some networks are going to be inherently better than others. Does it make sense to be pushing hard on LinkedIn? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. I’ve not actually tested this specifically within the plastic surgery market, but that’s one of those concepts. If the audience that you’re going after is somehow some professional level plastic surgery, then perhaps. Does it make sense to be on Pinterest? My inclination is going to say possibly only because it’s very image based and you could do a quick and easy before and after, but I’m not entirely certain. Pinterest in my head at least seems to be a little bit more towards the outcome. I’m sorry, the like the recipes of the world, that things that you want the bookmarking versus Instagram is a little bit more towards the lifestyle of what’s occurring than Pinterest is.
Joe Sinkwitz: 19:25 I would think that might be a little bit better just off the top of my head. However, the only way to fully know would be to try to even take the same influencer that might have a decent following on both channels and run an offer simultaneously. What did their audience actually think? Did they care? Was there more committing engagement and likes and all that stuff that occurs on Instagram versus number of pins that occur on Pinterest. That’s where I really get to. I really tried to get into the head of the buyer persona psychology, so I could try to figure out where they are online. Then, I just tried to put something in front of them that I think they’re going to like.
Nick Dumitru: 20:05 That makes a lot of sense. Now, Joe, in your book, you also talked about the difference between influencer marketing and advertising. One of your chapters here is basically the headline is influencer marketing is an advertising. You state that, “According to Nielsen, 84% of consumers prefer communications from their friends and family over other sources of influence.” Then you really get into the concept of ad blocking and the fact that when it comes to advertising, consumers are really able to shape their view of the world. They’re able to filter out things that they don’t want to see and really build these walls around them.
Nick Dumitru: 20:41 I think one of the reasons I’m very excited about influencer marketing is because it gets across all of those barriers. Talk to us a little bit about that. How is influencer marketing different from advertising in your mind?
Joe Sinkwitz: 20:53 Well, I think the first one you mentioned, there’s a certain ad blindness that we’ve all become accustomed to when we’re searching on Google. Most of us know where those ads are. Google plays games a little bit, but we can figure that out. As we’re going through and we’re reading various content on the web, we know when those auto pop-up videos are ads. We know to tune them out. We know to automatically mute them, whatever our stance might be. If we’re really sensitive against those types of ads, we might have employed an ad blocker which will essentially trim that out from our lives.
Joe Sinkwitz: 21:28 However, if your neighbor is promoting the same product that you just muted in an ad, it’s a lot harder to mute your neighbor. You’re already giving them some of your attention. You’ve already invested in various relationships. You actually care about what they have to say. That’s what really comes into play. Additionally, what I found interesting in our data as we got going is we didn’t see any drop off in efficacy when it came to disclosure, meaning let’s say that, Nick, you had a post about a plastic surgeon, but you did disclose, “Hey, I had been a client and I’m getting a referral fee if anyone signs up here.” Well, that disclosure does not take away from the likelihood of me clicking through for whatever reason.
Joe Sinkwitz: 22:19 I think it has to do with the reality that most individuals recognize that nothing in the world occurs for free. There’s always some reason behind a post, but at the same time, by showing that, “Yes, this is sponsored, or, “Yes, this was an ad. Yes, I’m being compensated for my time and effort as I should be,” it’s not hurting. It’s not hurting the overall response rate. People recognize almost everything on the web probably exists for profit reason, but if you’re willing to state like, “Yes, this is what the reason is, but it doesn’t change that this is a quality product,” they’re more likely to take action. You can’t really do that with traditional advertising. It’s locked into a channel and is forced down your throat.
Nick Dumitru: 23:07 I think that segues quite nicely into the next part of the book I want to talk about, Joe, and that is the sort of the mechanism of how to hire them and how to pick and hire a social influencer. One of the things you recommend in the book is that you should be generous with the compensation. I’d like to touch on that a little bit just because I think from what I’ve seen with physicians, the only experience they typically have is either with a PR firm or they get approached. We see that a lot as well like we’ll get an influencer that approaches a physician and makes a pitch and then they end up spending a pile of money and getting very little results back in terms of, like you said, the efficacy of it and only because this was not an influencer that had inappropriate audience.
Nick Dumitru: 23:49 I think what you touched upon with the audience selection, that’s the first category, but also I find that the physicians just don’t know how to value the exposure. They don’t know how to do this deal. Can you talk to us a little bit about the type of compensation that’s available, what sort of deals you see happening, what’s worked best and just bring people along into how to start thinking about a value exchange in terms of hiring somebody?
Joe Sinkwitz: 24:13 Oh, boy. Well, actually, it’s fairly complicated. You’re correct where you have to make sure that you’ve identified the right people first. That’s first and foremost. That’s the only thing that really matters. When it comes to the compensation, all I’m really talking about is to not lowball. If you found individuals that correctly identify either your target audience or have the ability to be in front of your target audience, pay them. In terms of the actual compensation, I’ve seen it vary significantly based on the product and service. What I noticed doesn’t work too well is when it’s just a pure commission basis, especially if it’s a professional influencer. This is something that they do for their livelihood.
Joe Sinkwitz: 24:58 When you reach out to such an individual and say, “Hey, go do all this work and I’ll give you 8% of sales,” they don’t have necessarily that guarantee that everything’s going to turn out okay. In the back of their head, the web is unfortunately a little bit unsavory at times where there’s no control over fraud. They want to make sure they get paid. What tends to work best even if you want to be primarily commission-based is some upfront payment or just a guaranteed payment like, “Here’s the minimum you’re going to get and here is how high that ceiling could go based on actions and activities.”
Joe Sinkwitz: 25:35 Within the plastic surgery market, maybe there’s also some aftercare products. For that case you might be able to provide the product as a sole compensation if the people that you’re giving the product to are those that actually need and want that type of product. If you’re just doing it like an Amazon-style campaign, just blasting out to anyone that has a profile, that’s not going to work out nearly as well. If again you’ve identified the right people and you’re giving them products that they actually want to use and will see the value of, then product as a compensation is fine. It’s when you start combining them that you usually get the best bet.
Joe Sinkwitz: 26:14 My favorite campaigns that I see will involve some product, a guaranteed minimum of cash and then a sweetener. That sweetener is, “Hey, if you keep promoting this over time, here’s your commissional percentage that you might receive,” because then it invests that influencer that much more. The best outcomes always occur when both incentives are aligned, the incentive for the physicians to get more clients and better clients, the incentive for the influencers to maximize their income for the time that they spend on this. If you’re able to cultivate and create an offer that allows for both of those KPIs to be hit, then you’re going to win.
Nick Dumitru: 26:59 I think that’s fantastic. With plastic surgery, in some States, in some parts of the world, there are some issues with offering percentages. I like the idea of giving out these sweeteners, these bonus products. I want to just bring that down concretely for you guys listening right now and just give you an example. What Joe has touched on here is let’s say that you are a plastic surgeon and you’re doing CoolSculpting or you’re doing breast augmentation, whatever it might be, you offer that influencer, for example, you could do the surgery comp and you could also pay a little bit for a promotion or you could just do a straight surgical exchange where you do the breast augmentation.
Nick Dumitru: 27:34 If you’ve got CoolSculpting, you could offer this CoolSculpting for free. Let them have a session or two. Let them get some results. Let’s say you do the abdomen. You let them get the results. You do the full course of treatment, but in exchange for them continuing to promote you, you could do for example a maintenance treatment or you could do a secondary area of the body. Maybe she wants the flanks or the arms or the chin or whatever it might be and you could really do an ongoing deal like that. The great part about this exchange, the barter-style system is that you are getting basically full tilt for advertising. If that person wanted to charge you, let’s say $10,000 to promote you on their channels, it might cost you two or $3,000 in services, right?
Nick Dumitru: 28:18 If you’re CoolSculpting, you’ve got some consumables or maybe you’ve got a laser machine even better and you’ve got no consumables, you could purchase that $10,000 in advertising for next to no payment, right? Then, it’s just essentially your staff’s time to administer the treatment. Maybe you’re paying them $40-$50 an hour. The treatment takes an hour. It costs you $50, $60, $100 if you’re more generous. Then the consumable if it’s laser, you may not have some. If it’s CoolSculpting, you’ve got your credits you’ve got to pay for. Then again, you’re paying a few hundred dollars there. Then, you’ve got yourself centrally a full advertising promotion deal for the cost of your consumables and your internal cost which is a fraction of what it would cost you to purchase that outright.
Nick Dumitru: 28:59 Now, what Joe is also suggesting is that you give the person some money because you want them to be pushing this as hard as possible, right? You want to also make it worth their time to come in because some people, this is their livelihood, this is their living. As much as they might love the CoolSculpting, they can’t really take the CoolSculpting and pay for their rent, right? The landlord is just not going to accept that. You also want to try to compensate them a bit financially as well, keeping that into account because then the motivation level goes off the chart. That’s just one example of what you could do.
Nick Dumitru: 29:29 Now, Joe, in your book, the next point you’d touch on after being generous and this compensation and thank you very much for unpacking that for everybody and really giving the different options because I think physicians generally are just used to paying money, right? They’re just used to paying out cash and they don’t necessarily think about these alternative ways of doing deals, so I think that that’s fantastic. Now, I want to touch on the other side of that value exchange. Now, this influencer has gotten something. She’s gotten something for free. She’s gotten some ongoing care, like you said after care products. You may have been given creams and products to use as she’s doing the promotion.
Nick Dumitru: 30:05 One of the things that you mentioned is really this concept of leveraging that content and reusing it. I think that that’s something where the doctors, they look at the one-off deal and they got promoted, but then they don’t think of how to reuse and repurpose that content. Can you talk to us a little bit about that? What have you seen? How is content being reused? How is that value being leveraged by the person purchasing the influence?
Joe Sinkwitz: 30:29 Certainly, Nick. I think the easiest way to start is to think about the long format video again. You already know that it’s a video that exists on YouTube. Well, what else comes with that? You could take that long video and create short snippets of video that you might be able to put on Facebook for Facebook Live. You could take them and throw them into Instagram stories with short format videos. You could take the still imagery of that and put it into Instagram, into Pinterest. You could take the transcription and turn it into a blog post on your site and then take that video that exists on YouTube, embed it within the blog posts so that people come into the blog are incrementally driving up the video views as well.
Joe Sinkwitz: 31:14 There’s just this way of taking content and slicing and dicing into multiple ways. If it was a really great piece of work, you could take it and use that content in your ads. If it worked really great on Facebook organic, you might as well promote that as a post. If you’re having success with a type of traffic that’s coming in, you could start embedding those little pieces looking like the Instagram card. If you had success with the Instagram campaign, you could take some of those cards and embed them on the site for when referral traffic comes in via Instagram.
Joe Sinkwitz: 31:49 Then you’re playing another little psychological trigger of just like me, where someone’s already in the frame of mind coming from Instagram, they go to your site, they see something else that is showing that Instagram is a part of your strategy. It just creates another little additional connection. It’s just finding commonality in the user. There’s that many ways to do it and I’m just touching the surface here. You can get it into podcast if it made sense. You could get the really high-performing blog posts over into Reddit communities that are related to what you’re doing. You can get them all over the world there. I don’t think there’s any shortage of how you could slice and dice.
Nick Dumitru: 32:30 I agree. I think at that point it becomes really an issue of creativity for their marketing company. What Joe is talking about here guys is really this concept of curation. The fact that you can take a piece of content and then make additional content. I can tell you that if you’ve got someone that created a great video for you, you could take, like he said screenshots of that video and quotes and then really write your own article about it, right? Like a thank-you post, “Hey, thanks to Joanne that just reviewed us on her YouTube channel. Here’s the channel.” Then, you’re cross-promoting, so she feels good that she’s getting promoted by you to your audience, but at the same time you are now creating content on your blog.
Nick Dumitru: 33:08 You’re able to capture additional search traffic on the back of that, right? You’re able to really use that psychology to show people that there are others out there using your services and happy with your services. Joe touched very briefly on advertising. I can tell you that in some fields that we’ve worked in, these review posts, the testimonial posts, these things that are natural-looking videos where someone’s just holding up an iPhone have done extremely well with advertising to the point where they in some cases beat our other ads that we’ve just been able to beat every control with these personable things.
Nick Dumitru: 33:41 When you hit the right audience, like the right avatar, the person that looks like the person that’s going to buy from you, when you’ve got someone that’s very similar to your target market, they tend to do very well because when someone’s looking at your before-and-after photo gallery, they’re really looking not necessarily at the quality of your work as much as trying to find a body, a body shape, breasts, tell me whatever it is that they’re looking at that’s similar to their situation. That’s what everyone’s looking through in life. Then with the influencer marketing, you go a little bit further where you also take that angst out of the equation, where they are now no longer afraid to go with you because someone’s gone before, right?
Nick Dumitru: 34:24 This is just an engrained piece of the way our brain works, right? If you see someone taking a step somewhere and they didn’t sink, they didn’t get attacked by a cougar or something and no rock fell on them, then you’re probably okay to go, right? If you’re the first one, you’ll be a little more careful. You’re going to look up, “Are rocks falling? Is there any kind of dangerous animal? Is this quicksand?” The people that came second tended to survive, right? The ones that went first, they’re pretty much not around anymore because they took the danger. Then, the second person, “Okay, I got to walk around that bit of quicksand to survive,” they’re the survivors and that’s what we are. We are descendants of those survivors.
Nick Dumitru: 35:02 What social media influencers do and what this body of influential content that you can get and build up on your website does is it gives people that assurance that they’re not first and it satisfies that fear that they have in taking a chance with you. I want you to start thinking creatively about what you’re doing, whether it’s on Joe’s platform or somewhere else. If you’ve got any influencer content or random testimonials, how are you repurposing that? How are you leveraging that? I think Joe’s touched on just a little bit of what can be done here and he’s given some great examples, but go back to your web team, go back to your marketing team, your inhouse staff and just figure out how can you take that content and really get the most value out of it.
Nick Dumitru: 35:44 At that point, you’re then leveraging what you’re paying out, right? With an ad, you pay it out and then the ad is pretty much done and you don’t get to reuse that content in any way, except maybe if, like on Facebook, you’ve got a few comments, you can maybe try to take screenshots of or something on the actual ad, but generally speaking it’s one and done. Whereas with social media influencers, it can really live on for a long, long time. Now, Joe, I want to really go a little bit further in this whole concept of leverage here and another thing that you mentioned as part of the strategy of hiring an influencer. You identify the right audience, right? You identify the right channel to be an Instagram, a Facebook, a YouTube, wherever it might be, Pinterest.
Nick Dumitru: 36:25 You’ve done these things. You’ve hired your social media influencers. You’ve been generous with compensation. You’re now leveraging their own content across multiple things, your blog, your social media pages, your own advertisements. We’re doing all of that, but there are a lot of influencers that they don’t have a huge audience. In your book, you call these people secondary influencers. I’d like you to go a little bit deeper into that because they tend to cost a lot less, but they can provide that fulcrum for the leverage. What is that? How are people using these secondary influencers and what do you recommend that we do with them?
Joe Sinkwitz: 36:59 I primarily use them for amplification. In most cases, the peer influencers, they’re going to be micro-influencers, hyperlocal influencers, people with relatively small followings that they’re still relevant to your costs. What you want to do then, to happen is to keep sharing your stories, share your content out. If you’re focusing on like the Toronto area because you’re up in the frigid cold of Canada, if they’re focusing on that market and they’ve identified a whole bunch of people, maybe they can’t afford as a physician to be giving out $1,000 worth of stuff to a person that might only have 100 followers, but all the 100 followers are in Toronto and the person’s in Toronto. Well, okay. Could that physician afford to spend $20 a week for that influencer to just share out the doctor’s blog posts and videos that go live?
Joe Sinkwitz: 37:58 That’s all it is. It’s just a matter of continually hitting your audience with people that are also in your audience. For there, it’s just that repetition, that wolfpack mentality that could build up when you apply pure influence to a large degree. I like to think of the concept of seven touches where I want to have as many as seven different ways a prospective brand might find my service and sign up for it. Maybe they get an email. They see an ad for it. They have an organic listing that they see in Facebook. They come across an influencer that used it and tagged my service, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Joe Sinkwitz: 38:38 If you have this amplification that’s constantly ongoing for your core market and it’s actually easier since you have a very defined core market, you increase the likelihood of converting a potential prospect into a sale. That’s how I’d use them. I’d use them primarily for small amounts of cash in exchange for constant amplification.
Nick Dumitru: 38:58 Very nice. I think that that’s a key concept a lot of people just don’t even think through and we’re going to get into your platform a little bit next I think. For everybody listening, Joe talked about disclosure. Just full disclosure, guys, we are not getting any kickback. We don’t have a compensation structure. The link that you’ll find on the show notes will be a straight link to Joe’s website. We’re really doing this interview because I love to bring cutting-edge concepts, things that will give you an edge over your competitors. I really believe that this platform is one of those things because as we used it, it became a lot easier than the old manual way of doing it.
Nick Dumitru: 39:33 Before we get into that, Joe, I’d like to touch upon KPIs, the key performance indicators. I think when hiring social media influencers, it’s a little bit different than advertising, right? As an advertiser and maybe as a physician that’s used to advertising, we’re used to looking at things like traffic volume, conversion rates, time on page, things of that nature that we can really point to. With the social media influence campaigns because there’s so many ways to slice and dice this, it’s really the Swiss Army knife of advertising because you can get direct promotion, and yes, you can use those same KPIs, but then, you can get all of this leverage, right?
Nick Dumitru: 40:10 You could use it to really improve the conversion rate of your existing pages for example. You could slap this on your procedure page. Then once you’ve got like five or six of these video influencer testimonials, that page may be doing better for you. How do you measure the success of the campaign? How can we start thinking about this? How can we wrap our brain around what makes the exchange successful?
Joe Sinkwitz: 40:32 I think it depends upon what point in the campaign you are, right? Different types of content you’re creating might have a different KPI. If you’re doing authoritative style and celebrity style hit initially, the KPI while it’s a secondary KPI of sales because that has to be happening, you might just be looking to do outreach in terms of branding like an overall reach of just get us out there as far as possible. Then, it might be further down in that funnel of, “Okay, the next step down, the slice and dice, taking these and having a different influencer posts images.” Then, it might be a little bit deeper into sales. For that and if you’re doing link tracking, you’re probably using some sort of a UTM campaign, so you can accurately track or at least the best of your abilities what medium was this touching, which influencer and for which specific campaign.
Joe Sinkwitz: 41:25 Then, you’re trying to tie it all back from the sales did he have eventually. On the amplification side of things, your KPI might just be, how much did you move the previous levels KPI? If you’re at a certain sales amount for influencer posts that already exist and you have data on and you leverage some implication on top of that, did that move that original needle or not? Then, it’s just tying different steps of the funnel all the way back. Of course, you’re dealing with multiple mediums. You’re talking about omnichannel which is the Holy Grail of marketing that no one’s cracked yet, so we’re all hoping we get there.
Joe Sinkwitz: 42:04 So long as you have accurate link tracking setup, maybe you’re using coupon codes in a smart way that you could try to at least tie it back to the original influencer and the timeframe in which the initial campaign took place, you can tie it all through. You could be using custom-coded 1-800 numbers in the United States at least so that you’re able to try to tie activity back to a campaign. You could see like, “Hey, I got a phone call from a piece that we did a year ago that you just forgot about, but it was a decent YouTube video, someone interacted with it, called the number in there.”
Joe Sinkwitz: 42:40 There’s a lot of ways you go about the tracking. I like to try to combine multiple methods if possible. I don’t use the phone number stuff as much, but I do like to use UTM campaigns wherever I can and then coupon codes that were designed to be given out to an audience simply because I know that coupon codes are going to leak out and people will be using them that maybe had nothing to do with the campaign, but ultimately because I like sales, that doesn’t bother me. If I’m able to also use a decent UTM tracking to determine where the individual did come in and what touch points they have along the way, then I at least have some good data to go off of for when I start doing my post-mortem to decide what are the next steps, how do I recreate, how do I iterate and get better.
Nick Dumitru: 43:25 I think that’s fantastic. I just want to expand on that a little bit for the audience because you touched on some important things there. The first concept is this idea of evergreen. When you pay for an advertisement, like I said, it’s pretty much a one and done, the platform is there, it’s like the traffic store, you go there, you buy some traffic. Once you’re done buying, the transaction is done and your traffic goes away. That’s what happens with traditional advertising which is fine. It works great. It’s got its place. What Joe just touched upon here is really this idea that the campaign lives on. It lives on past this transactional point, right?
Nick Dumitru: 43:58 A YouTube video, a blog post, if you’ve done the right deal with that influencer, it should be the right deal to kind of live on forever and they want their content to be out there forever. They never want to reduce their volume of content. What happens is that that promotion, that deal that you just did really lives on for years. Plastic surgeons really need to take this look into the future and take the long-term perspective on their practice because it’s not something that you’re doing overnight, right? You went to med school. You got into this. Now, you’re a physician. You’re going to be in this practice for 30-40 years possibly, maybe longer. I’ve seen some guys that are well into their 70s that are still operating.
Nick Dumitru: 44:37 You’re going to be at it for a long time and you want your promotion out there a long time as well because the moving parade of life is constantly going on. As these people start to engage in their own discovery activities, new people will find you with the same promotion. Whereas your advertising may have been gone, this evergreen content, really you look at it as a long-term investment. The more of it that you can do, the better it will be for you because the discovery activities that people engage in will always bring them back there, right? Nobody reinvents the wheel here. Everybody comes online. They’re born. They get to the age of majority. They can start to make their own decisions. Then, they start dealing with the exact same issues that their great grandparents are dealing with, right?
Nick Dumitru: 45:18 It might be packing on weight around the gut. Maybe breasts are too small. Whatever it might be, they’re dealing with that and then they go online and try to find you. Being out there constantly will really give you this steady flow of customers that you’re after, of patients. Now, the other thing that Joe touched on was really the idea of tracking. You want to make sure that you know where things are coming from. He said UTM. That’s a term that you can use in your analytics to go in and capture things from links but also the tracking phone numbers and they’re not just like the toll free, yes, in North America, Canada, US. We’ve got clients in Sweden, clients in Australia, they have phones and there are services out there that will give you a phone number that you can use for tracking. Again, that’s very important for you to keep in mind.
Nick Dumitru: 46:05 Now, Joe, the next thing I want to talk about here before we get into the platform and I think this will be a good way to start talking about the platform because for me this was always the biggest challenge and I know that physicians have this concern as well. That’s really the fact that you’ve only got so many hours in the day and so much staff to help you out. I’m always looking for ways for doctors to try to leverage their time to try to make things easier for their staff, for people working in their practice. For me, one of the biggest benefits of Intellifluence was the fact that it saved us time. Finally, for the first time ever because we’ve been doing this for a year, it gave us a way to really manage these, I look at it like hurting cats.
Nick Dumitru: 46:51 A lot of these social media influencers, some of them are not that paying attention because some of them have delusions of grandeur. Some of them are just distracted. Your platform really gave us that ability to zero in on this and leverage the platform to give people back their time. One of the concerns I know that they’re going to have is how much time does it take? How much effort and time is it going to take the money they can come up with, but what about this idea of time? How is it to manage these kinds of campaigns?
Joe Sinkwitz: 47:21 It can be actually pretty time intensive. There’s no getting around that. Whenever you’re designing any marketing campaign, there are shortcuts you could try to take. If you already know some of the information in regards to the geography, the categories of interest, the type of activities that people are already into, you can jump right in. Now, our platform obviously I love it. I’m the CEO of Intellifluence. I’m going to pimp my product as much as possible. There’s a lot of platforms out there and the reason they exist is because they’re trying to cultivate a group of people and section them off and apply filters that you could search on, so you’re able to directly interact and get started right away.
Joe Sinkwitz: 48:04 I think you can spend a couple hours and create a campaign and let it run. Now, that’s just on like a single type of content though. I think you should always devote at least a few hours afterwards to try to think through, “All right, I’m pleased with how the first step of the campaign took place. I’m pleased with this. How do I make this even better? How do I make it better? What’s the next step? Do I go back to the same medium and get more people? Do I take this medium and use it elsewhere?” That’s where it gets complicated.
Joe Sinkwitz: 48:37 Obviously, we offer managed services just because it is a complicated manner like most agencies. Our clients, they’ll just come to us and say, “You do this. Here’s what we’re trying to accomplish. Here’s what our clients are willing to do. We’ll deal with the client and we’ll deal with you.” That works great. As an individual physician, you might run into roadblocks. I’d say you’re probably going to want to maybe test something simple out your first on your own, so you have a good understanding and then work with an agency you trust to try to run a really complicated campaign to maximize your sales.
Nick Dumitru: 49:12 Well, I didn’t even know you guys doing managed services now, so that’s pretty cool. Joe, tell us a little bit about Intellifluence. I’d like to give you the opportunity to talk about the platform, talk about the company and just give everyone a little bit of insight of what they should be doing on there and how it helps.
Joe Sinkwitz: 49:27 Sure thing. Intellifluence is currently the largest warm contact influencer network. What that means is that every influencer that we have in our system physically signed up to work there. We did this because we ran into a problem years and years ago. We are digital marketers. I’ve been in digital marketing for over 20 years. Ran into situations where I might receive a cold email database of people that might work, but I spent a lot of time going back and forth trying to assess if the individual even does this work. Do they know they’re in this list? I had a lot of angry replies.
Joe Sinkwitz: 50:02 I wanted to create something that a brand could join and they immediately already know, “Yes, that person wants to do reviews. Yes, this person, they self-categorized who they are, what they do, what they’re interested in, as well as what they believe their minimum compensation should be.” It takes a lot of guesswork out of trying to navigate the wily world of influencers. You could absolutely do this manually. We just try to take as many of those manual steps as possible and make them irrelevant. An interested brand could just get off to the races and save as much time as possible. It is a SAS platform, meaning that everything is doable by yourself.
Joe Sinkwitz: 50:45 Usually what happens is at a sufficient level, larger companies or agencies as they’re referred to will determine, “Okay, this works well for us. Now, we just need someone to manage it full time and then we take over for them if they want to.”
Nick Dumitru: 50:59 Fantastic. I’m going to put links to all that in the show notes for everybody and I’m going to ask you one more question, but before we do that, what I wanted to ask you this, is there anything that I failed to ask you about Intellifluence or influencer marketing that you feel people should know that’s very important for them to keep in mind?
Joe Sinkwitz: 51:18 I think the one thing that maybe we didn’t touch upon is it just another [inaudible 00:51:23] and the answer is no. I had a lot of experience in SEO. At one point in time in SEO, a group tried to splinter off and determined that inbound marketing was the only way and SEO was dead. Clearly, it was not the case, but inbound marketing had its role. Again, it happened with content marketing. Content marketing is the only [inaudible 00:51:44] inbound and SEO are dead. That wasn’t true either. Now, we see the same thing happening again with influencer marketing where it has a very strong role, but it doesn’t negate the other channels.
Joe Sinkwitz: 51:55 I think this has significant staying power. I think it’s going to be regulated at some point in time, heavier than it currently is. Because it works well even when it’s disclosed, I think it’s a tactic and a concept you could utilize probably for the rest of your career.
Nick Dumitru: 52:13 I couldn’t agree more with that and I like the examples that you gave there where people, they’re always crying about the next big thing and this is going to be the only thing. I’ve always looked at the patient’s psychology when people make a decision to go with a physician. What I look at it as it’s almost like trying to pick a lock, right? You have your tumblers and you’re trying to get past one to the next, to the next to really open up that decision-making mechanism in the person’s mind to decide to go with you. That happens in a very complex way. There’s no real straight light way to do that to get the person to make a decision. You have to be where they are when they’re picking that tumbler.
Nick Dumitru: 52:51 They might be afraid of anesthesia. They might be afraid of bad results. They might really want something that they don’t know that you have. They might have something that they didn’t even know that they wanted which is where this influencer marketing comes in. As you get these reviews, you’re really also leveraging the brain power of the influencer. More importantly than their brainpower, you’re leveraging their perspective on things. When we’re in business, we tend to become a little bit myopic. We tend to look at things from our angle. I see this particularly with plastic surgeons and doctors in general where they’ll start using big medical terms because they just assume that everybody knows it, right?
Nick Dumitru: 53:31 Everybody in every industry is guilty of that because as you become hyper-familiar with something and an expert in that field, you start to shortcut the language. You stop enjoying talking to beginners and you start enjoying talking to experts and peers because it just makes the conversation faster. You get to shortcut it. When someone’s making a decision to buy your product or service, they are beginners because they’re not in the industry, right? A mother of two that is taking the kids to soccer practice and worrying about bake sales and whatever doesn’t really care about subcutaneous versus visceral fat. She doesn’t know what those two things mean.
Nick Dumitru: 54:09 If you as a physician don’t know how to bring that conversation down to the level of the purchaser, you are doing yourself a disservice. This is where the influencer marketing comes in because it really is in their words. It’s their understanding. They’re using the same vernacular, the same language. The reviewer or the influencer was going to be another mother of two that’s got to go to soccer practice and she just happens to have a YouTube channel and she’s going to talk to that mother in a way that you will not be able to. It will be absolutely impossible for you to connect on the same level.
Nick Dumitru: 54:42 If you’re able to pick that lock successfully, then the door is open for you and you get the success that you are trying to get in the first place. I think that that’s where this social media influence really has a big, big role to play in the entire picture of marketing. Joe, how can people get in touch with you if people want to ask you questions, learn more about you or the platform or your book? Where can they do all of that?
Joe Sinkwitz: 55:08 Sure, intellifluence.com has links to just about everything. If they want to reach out to me personally, I answer all my own emails. It’s [email protected]. They can usually find me on Twitter. It’s C-Y-G-N-U-S-S-E-O.
Nick Dumitru: 55:23 Awesome. I’m going to put all of those links in the show notes. If you guys need those, you can go to thinkbasis.com or if you’re listening to this on iTunes or Google, you should be able to just open up the description. It’s going to be a long description. This will be closer to the bottom just because we do the full transcript, but if you scroll down there, you should have the full links to get in touch with Joe. I’ll make sure I grab all that data and have it in there for you guys. Joe, I want to thank you very much for your time. This was very informative. I think this is a type of marketing that is rarely if ever discussed in the plastic surgery. Nobody really knows about it.
Nick Dumitru: 55:56 Like I said, when doctors dip their toes into this field, they really are doing it the wrong way. I’m very happy that you’re able to shed some light and some expertise and I want to thank you for being here.
Joe Sinkwitz: 56:06 Happy to do it, Nick.
Nick Dumitru: 56:08 Thanks for listening to Practice Perfect. I hope this episode has given you a lot to think about. I hope you’ve got actionable ideas that you can take back to your practice and go back and make changes, make improvements and take it to the next level. If you want show notes and help and advice and articles on how to grow your practice, visit us at thinkbasis.com where we hold the podcast. That’s thinkbasis.com or just Google the Practice Perfect podcast and you should be able to find our podcasting page. Have a great day. Have a wonderful week. I wish you all the best with your practice. Go out there, make a change and make it happen.