July 20, 2020 Tami Nealy

FYI Exchange: “If You Build It, They Will Come”

Made popular in the 1989 film Field of Dreams, the phrase “If you build it, they will come” has become iconic. It’s repurposed daily to inspire aspiring entrepreneurs around the world. 

In April 2019, Find Your Influence introduced FYI Exchange, a low-barrier-to-entry solution to influencer marketing. Since launching, nearly 200 different product campaigns have been delivered via this new tool within FYI’s influencer marketing platform. Those campaigns have engaged 2,880 influencers and achieved more than 1.58 BILLION impressions and 50 MILLION+ engagements, proving out the iconic Field of Dreams theory.

In June 2020, Find Your Influence connected with some Exchange users to learn more about their experiences with the platform.

Brand Priorities

As brands navigate the FYI Exchange, they post their opportunity to exchange their product or services for content for creators to review and signal their interest to participate. From there, brands can hand-select an unlimited number of influencers from their pool of interested applicants.

Hundreds of brands have activated Exchanges via the FYI platform. “When brands review influencer applicants to select for their campaigns, we often receive feedback that brands are surprised and delighted about the total number and quality of influencers who opt-in for exchanges,” said Joslyn Adasek, EVP of Strategic Partnerships with Find Your Influence.

FYI ExchangeRegardless of campaign goals, selecting the right influencers is critical to the success of any influencer marketing campaign. The most successful influencer marketing campaigns are a result of brands doing their homework and understanding who the influencers are and which influencers will be the best fit to authentically endorse your product. Pairing a vegan influencer with a new hamburger chain isn’t going to yield positive results.

Influencer Priorities

Based in California, Joseph Lucido is a fashion, lifestyle and travel influencer. The voice behind The Lucido Life, Joseph has participated in many campaigns via FYI Exchange. “I love new brands that I can share with my followers,” he explains. “My most recent Exchange was with Fisher and Baker, a great menswear brand. The product was really high-quality and was a classic piece.”

As influencers review campaign offers within FYI Exchange, they are each looking for different product types to try and/or review. Raceen, a fashion, food and travel blogger based in New York selects exchange opportunities when they naturally fit into her lifestyle. 

“If it doesn’t fit within my niche or my lifestyle, there is no reason to waste the product or the brand’s time trying to fit it into my life,” she said. “The thought process behind every campaign, gifted or paid, is about how I can fit it into my life.” In addition to influencer campaigns on Instagram, Raceen also features brand content on her blog, Armed By Rae.

Joseph and Raceen are just two of the more than 2,800 influencers who have signaled their interest in participating in specific Exchange campaigns since April 2019. Influencers creating content via FYI’s influencer marketing solution, Exchange, have created most of their content on Instagram (32%). Facebook (20%) and blogs (18%) round out the top three most request platforms by brands.

Metrics That Matter

Every influencer campaign has a different set of performance metrics it hopes to achieve. For some, they may be focused on top-of-the-marketing-funnel metrics like engagement and impressions. Other campaigns may be more bottom-of-the-funnel focused with an emphasis on driving purchase behavior.

A handful of brands have run multiple Exchange campaigns, each for a different product line. “We’ve seen brands beta test campaigns with FYI Exchange to better understand how different parts of the marketing funnel perform,” Adasek outlined. Some brands are also testing campaign performance across different platforms, including not only Instagram and Facebook but Pinterest and YouTube too. This low-cost barrier to entry has been able to identify where they can invest more significantly for greater ROI.

FYI Exchange campaigns haven’t proven a correlation between audience reach and ROI. Oftentimes influencers with smaller followings but high engagement rates can drive much better ROI than influencers with a larger number of followers. 

“When brands look to select influencers for an Exchange campaign, we advise them that prioritizing audience reach doesn’t always need to be the top priority,” explained Adasek. “Because campaign goals differ from brand to brand, making the audience reach the top priority can lead to poor campaign performance.”

Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns on FYI Exchange

A common question asked by many brands is ‘what are the ingredients to a successful influencer marketing campaign?’. As you may imagine, there is no perfect recipe for all campaigns, as every campaign has a different target audience, set of goals, target KPI and budget.

“For some campaigns it makes sense to leverage 100 influencers, for another, five influencers could suffice,” Adasek explained. “We’ve heard directly from some brands using FYI Exchange that when their campaigns use a combination of both Instagram and Facebook, they are often seeing higher upper-funnel performance.”

As brands consider using FYI Exchange, they often ask if social influencer campaigns can be effective when gifting products to influencers vs. paying influencers. They believe the stigma that influencers will only create content in exchange for a fee.

“Product exchanges still have a great place and I really enjoy doing them,” said Lucido. “I did an exchange with a coffee brand that I love and was more than happy to do that as a gifted campaign because I was already such a fan. It is important to do a product-only campaign because it can unlock possible future paid campaigns with the brand. It’s a way to prove your work and show that you’re easy to work with. I think it opens a lot of doors.”

If You Build It, They Will Come

The performance of FYI Exchange speaks for itself in the data but the real power lies in the experience for brands and influencers.

When asked if he had any advice to other influencers about using FYI Exchange, Lucido quipped, “Just use it! Be open to product campaigns.” 

And on the other coast, Raceen shared his sentiment. “I was a new blogger when I discovered the FYI platform,” she explained. “I love it and it has made things so much easier. It feels like all the leads are coming to me and I don’t have to go out spending my time and energy searching for brand contacts to pitch myself. I used to Google PR numbers or PR emails for different brands. I would send emails out and literally almost nothing would come back. It’s a lot of time and energy to do that when you can just use FYI.”

When Find Your Influence launched in 2013, the company’s intent was to service businesses of all sizes so they could scale their influencer programs. FYI Exchange was built. And brands and influencers have come.To request a demo of FYI Exchange, email info@findyourinfluence.com.

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