At Sideqik, we work with some of the top brands in influencer marketing. So we know, when it comes to best practices, why not ask the best? We sat down with Mitch Alpiner, Social Media Specialist at DXRacer to learn how they’re using influencers to engage with their audiences.
Sideqik: How does DXRacer approach influencers?
MA: We see influencers as a good trusted source of information that people can take and then apply. I know that’s saying a lot without saying anything.
We are a very experiential product. Just like a pair of glasses or like… a Logitech keyboard, you don’t know what you’re getting until you actually try it.
You can look at one of our chairs online and say, “well, why does this chair cost $400? This is crap, I can go to Staples and get a chair for $50 and be just as comfortable.” But then you try that $50 chair and you try our DXRacers and you immediately notice the difference.
So we use influencers as a trusted source for people to understand that hey there really is a difference between DXRacer and a normal office chair; DXRacer and our competitors.
Sideqik: How long have you been working with influencers?
MA: We have been working with influencers since 2015. We recently took the next step and launched a more fleshed out affiliate and influencer program in Q4 of 2017.
Previously it was a lot of one-off like “hey we’d love to send you a chair, can you make a couple posts about it?” And now we’ve moved more into, “we would love to send you a chair and give you a discount code so you can share it with your community.”
Also, we’ve really moved away from unboxing videos. Because unboxing videos were huge in like 2015 to 2016, where everyone was like “oh my god I got a new chair I have to unbox it.” The problem is unboxing has now become so saturated we really moved away from it and into — we really want our influencers to create unique content that really utilizes both of our brands.
Sideqik: You had a really successful influencer moment earlier this month. Could you talk about that?
MA: Yeah! So there is an influencer, his name is Ninja, you might have heard of him, he currently holds the record for highest individual concurrent users per stream. The all-time record I believe is ELeague, from their tournament finals in January at 1.2 million concurrent. Ninja got 640,000 on [March 14] because — and this was not a paid thing between like Fortnite and Drake — but Drake and Ninja just played duos on Fortnite and then Lil Yachty popped in. Travis Scott popped, it was fun watching the entirety of Twitter freak out. The top trending topics on Wednesday (March 14) were Twitch, Ninja, Drake, Fortnite and I think Lil Yachty.
One of the things that really cool is that Ninja sits in a DXRacer because our previous dealings with a team that he’s on which is Luminosity Gaming. So the other cool thing is that Luminosity and Ninja have a discount code on Ninja’s stream that cycles every 30 seconds or a minute which then helps drive more people to our website and then whenever Ninja is asked about it he says oh yeah go check out DXRacer. His camera is angled in such a way that you can clearly see our chair and our logo behind him.
So just running the stream itself through Sideqik I had noticed that it generated over $2 million in earned media value. So that’s massive. And then running Ninja through he was something to the tune of $50 million in the last six months.
So we love Ninja.
[Eds. Note: DXRacer no longer directly sponsors Luminosity Gaming or Ninja. However, DXRacer branding was visible during Ninja’s stream with Drake.]
Sideqik: How do you pick influencers, that’s some really impressive value you’re getting out of just one partnership, how do you decide who to work with?
MA: It’s a mix of vetting them through Sideqik and talking to them in person. We’ve got some influencer forms set up within Sideqik that we use to vet but we also are very in tune with our community in the sense that like, if they’re at PAX we’re at PAX, if they’re at E3, we go to E3, and then we’ll have people come up to us and say “hey I’m an influencer I have this many followers, this many engagements, this many concurrent, how do I get involved with DXRacer?”
So we also like to have a good judge of their character because not only are they essentially being sponsored by DXRacer, but they are a representation and extension of our brand. And you don’t know how many people have interacted with our official brand before or if they’re interacting with a brand ambassador so we want to make sure that they have a very positive attitude they’re very welcoming because you never know what the first point of contact is.
Sideqik: What are some of the challenges that you face in your influencer marketing strategy?
So some of the challenges that we face would definitely be quantifying data. Sideqik has been a huge help in being able to see exactly how much an Instagram post is worth or exactly how much a Twitter post is worth. But then being able to take that next step and try to get a guess on the ROI on conversions versus like, hey if you’re an influencer and you have 4 million followers and you do a post for us, how many sales will that actually drive?
The thing that we have noticed for a while is that because we are more of a luxury item and also we fall in the furniture category, most people will not blindly buy a chair. They will be smart about it. They will do their research and go check out our website. They’ll go look at competitors and then they’ll go look at reviewers so definitely trying to reduce that process is one of the challenges that were facing and continue to face. I believe that having more trusted voices is better than having less trusted voices.
Other challenges, just scope. Trying to scale properly. We’ve been growing our new influencer program at a conservative rate because we want to make sure that we get it right so one of the things we’ve been working on right before you called me is we do feedback reports because like, we say it a lot, but it’s really true, this is as much their program as it is our program. So we want to be proactive and get their feedback and work with them and figure out how to make it better.
Sideqik: Your product is, well, a chair. Which I think of as a background item. How are influencers highlighting DXRacer the best? Do you work with influencers on how to frame your product?
MA: We do. I guess the way that we see it is having them talk about it and then having them answer questions. So being able to arm them with a depth of knowledge about our chair and our brand so that way they — again getting back to the first point of contact — they can answer those questions or if they don’t know it they can direct their audience to myself or someone on our customer service team. One of the things that we do is we have a DXRacer Twitch account, it is verified and partnered, and we will take it into our influencers channels and we will go hang out with them. So we use it to answer questions in the community. And we’ll comment on things in the stream. And they really like this interaction. We’ll also go with people who aren’t our influencers. We’ll just go find people who are sitting in DXRacer chairs on Twitch and hop in their chat and say “yo nice chair” and then the chat will start asking them questions and that’s when the engagement level builds.
Sideqik: So would you say it’s a fairly collaborative process? You are working with influencers, pretty hands-on.
MA: It’a definitely hands-on. At DXRacer we don’t believe that a relationship starts and ends with a contract. The contract should be the bare minimum. We want to go above and beyond that bare minimum and try to make it as positive and successful for both parties.
Sideqik: DXRacer is very big in the gaming space. Are you looking to branch out in other directions?
MA: We are! We’re actually currently looking into makeup blogging because makeup bloggers normally have like 30-minute videos that are heavily edited. Which means they’re sitting on a chair for one to two hours trying to get one look down. And then they’re sitting in the chair for two to three hours editing a video. Why shouldn’t you be comfortable and have good posture while you’re doing that?
The other thing that we’ve looked into is music in a sense of like, hey, if you take the armrests off our chairs can you use it as a piano bench? Can you use it as a drummer’s seat?
Sideqik: Especially in the gaming space, which is so crowded, where do you see influencer marketing going?
MA: I personally believe that influencer marketing is just going to keep expanding. It’s crazy to me seeing like advertising budgets for video games that came out maybe two or three years ago and what their marketing push was in traditional marketing versus how often I feel like I see a sponsored stream on Twitch or a sponsored post on Twitter or Instagram. It’s definitely become a lot more frequent. I don’t really think that there’s a limit. Because influencers have almost become on par with like news publications.
As an example, there is an I think its British guy on YouTube who’s name is TotalBiscuit, he does a lot of PC games, first looks, he’ll look at the options menu and plays games and gives his take on it for a half hour to an hour and his videos get about as much coverage as like Kotaku or Wavelength or IGN. So like they’re definitely growing and I think as people are putting more and more trust inside of influencers to not steer them wrong or to give their opinion, rather than a news site such as like IGN. So I only think it’s going to keep going.