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4 Principals Of Successful Influencer Marketing

The Bard once commented: what’s past is prologue. This couldn’t be truer, especially when it comes to online marketing. Way back when, display advertising gave way to search optimization, which in turn led to social media advertising and where we are today, where marketers are converging with social media influencers who, in a best case scenario, drive millions of eyes to a particular brand or product. There are those out there, including companies like Startup Grind, who say this represents the pinnacle of social media engagement. Here are some highlights from their recent study:

  • 90% of consumers rely on peer recommendations when it comes to the products they purchase
  • 60% of consumers have at one time or another made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation
  • 81% of consumers trust blog advice

Those who aren’t in the know tend to equate the term “influencer” with celebrity. While the Kim Kardashians of the world certainly draw a lot of water in the marketing realm, they are not the only game in town, as this statistic illustrates:

  • 62% of young adults would try a product recommended by a non-celebrity influencer

This is compared with some 49% of young adults who say they would try a product recommended by a Hollywood celebrity. That means consumers are 13% more likely to buy something recommended by a YouTuber or blogger instead of even a Taylor Swift. And with thousands of regular folks out there influencing their socks off, it’s a fertile resource.

For those ready to dive right into to influencer marketing, here are some principals to keep in mind.

SAFETY IN NUMBERS

Long-tail safety, to be precise. Just like many brands court the hottest marketing agency out there, they also tend to spend all their money on the hottest influencer. This is a mistake. A key point of entering into a business relationship with an influencer is to utilize their reach. It only makes sense, then, that the more influencers a brand utilizes, the greater the engagement. Multiple collaborations are a great way to reach a wider audience.

Take the case of Tyson Foods, for example. Over the 2012 holidays they reached out to dozens of mommy bloggers to help create social media impressions for a chicken-nuggets campaign. By utilizing a high number of bloggers to disseminate photos of chicken nuggets decorated as holiday shapes, Tyson garnered 8.8 million impressions (70% more than their initial goal), which resulted in them emptying their stock of chicken nuggets in time for Christmas. The story became such a hit it even madeHuffPost‘s list of the 10 best influencer-marketing campaigns of the year. And that was in 2013. Can you earn a spot on the list in 2016 and beyond?

SPECULATE TO ACCUMULATE

While influencers are bound by a code of ethics, that does not mean they are going to promote a product or brand out of the goodness of their hearts. Freebies are still the best way to go, since offering an influencer a product or service is a great way to get them to post a review. Many influencers even make a percentage based on how many products are sold via their recommendation. Of course marketers can simply pay for a review, a practice that needs to be clearly disclosed on any blog or vlog review of the product. But focusing just on these methods overlooks the beauty of influencer marketing and the potential it has to deliver a huge return on ROI. After all, there is very little romantic about a relationship that is purely a cash transaction. More on this below.

GROW THE RELATIONSHIP

Unlike past online advertising strategies–such as pay-per-click or even search engine optimization–influencer marketing is all about direct involvement and engagement. Just as old-school salesmen would tout the virtues of befriending their clients, so must the marketer connect with the person promoting his or her product. It is too tempting to look at influencers as nothing more than their metrics, like how many average video views they garner on YouTube. But no influencer-marketer relationship will thrive without a certain level of mutual respect. Those companies and brands who enjoy successful influencer campaigns usually do their homework beforehand. That means eschewing cold emails with a generic query in favor of personalized correspondence that touts the influencer’s past successful campaigns.

Another great way to get an influencer’s attention is to go the organic route. Become a fan. The best marketers follow their favorite influencer’s campaigns closely. They comment on their blogs, like their Facebook posts and retweet promotions that are particularly savvy. It is all in the spirit of joining the conversation and building relationships.

#HASHTAGSRULE

For all brands navigating the seas of social media, the hashtag is the North Star. It is the anchor point where all eyes must go. Influencers can’t do everything on their own, and it helps brand awareness immensely if there is a solid hashtag in place that the influencer can share with the world. Another mistake too many brands make is to insert themselves in the conversation. Hashtags are about having fun, not shameless self-promotion. The best of these start a dialogue and drum up interest. Those who incorporate a brand name will want to do so in the context of an offer or giveaway. Do it correctly and you just may have a runaway hit on your hands, as was the case with #EsuranceSave30.

The most nerve-wracking thing about influencer marketing is what is also the most exciting thing about influencer marketing: it is still in its nascent stages. Brands and companies would do well to leverage this tactic while it is relatively untapped.

[By Danny Wong] [Read More] [Image from LA Times]

SM Influencers

Partnering With Influencers Means Meeting Them Halfway

According to YouTube enterprise rights and marketing firm Zefr, 60% of marketers will increase spend on influencer marketing in the coming year, and 22% say it is a top-ranked customer acquisition tool. The firm’s EVP and global media solutions chief, Rick Song, moderated an Advertising Week “crash course” on influencer marketing on Wednesday.

The event kicked off with a slide demonstrating an interesting data point on social influencers: You may not know their names, but their fans do and their levels of engagement are immense. Digital celeb Connor Franta has way less reach than Jimmy Fallon (12.5 million versus 38.4 million, respectively), but way more engagement — 2 million on average with every social post, versus 1.2 million for Fallon. What’s more valuable to a marketer? Fallon’s 200 million reach, or Frampton’s 2 million engagements with every post. It might be Frampton’s engagement levels. After all, reach just means visibility.

Kimberly Yarnell, VP of digital media at Macy’s, said use of digital celebs has become very important for the brand, “especially as we hope to build affinity for millennials and the multi-cultural.” For instance, Macy’s uses YouTube style vlogger Teni Panosian to reach woman 18 to 34 who are looking to be on trend, but not trend forward. “We are data driven, and defined influencer strategy up front. When we started, we fell into the same trap as others: how many fans, and followers. We have tried to refine our approach and find influencers who like our brand. Up the ante in terms of collaborating with talent.” She says Macy’s keeps an influencer “score card” and tries to craft long-term relationships with influencers rather one-offs. “Crafting relationships over time helps both influencer and brand feel more comfortable in the relationship.”

On the panel was one of those influencers, Shonduras (Shaun McBride), a visual-media social celeb who uses a channel that is particularly popular with younger millennials and Gen Z: Snapchat. He makes a critical point: from the influencer perspective, dealing with a brand can go one of two ways, depending on how the brand treats him or her, especially around how much control the brand wants to wield. The analogy he uses here is a teenager’s bedroom: mom or dad asks the kid to clean it, and the teen either actually cleans it, or kicks his mess under the bed so it looks clean. Except in the case of a marketing negotiation, he says, the responsibility is on the marketer.

“We can check all the boxes in a bad way or good way. If a brand isn’t working with me; if it is telling me what to do, well, my fans know its a ‘job.’ But if I’m passionate about something, and believe it, if I actually love that brand, I’ll build a long-term relationship and when I do social pushes, I don’t hide the fact; I don’t hide the brand under the bed.”

As far as what his fans think about his endorsing a brand, he said, “People say that the brand is cool for letting me do my thing. They embrace the brand. It’s not like I’m doing cool stuff and hiding the brand behind it.”

Jeff Wolfe, VP of content at brand content firm and Starcom Mediavest unit Liquid Thread, points out that, at end of day, people want to be entertained and that the client and influencer need to meet in the middle. “The brand is being well, and the influencer is being true to their voice and tone; it’s not an ad-like object.”

[By Karl Greenberg] [Read More] [Image from Stylecaster]

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What A Day In The Life Of An Influencer Is Really Like

NO TWO DAYS ARE THE SAME.

One of the questions I get asked most is what does a typical work day involve. What I love most about my job at the moment is that there aren’t really typical days; it can vary depending on appointments, shows, travel and the seasons. But if I had to put it down to a daily schedule, a weekday for me looks a little like this.

6.30am
I like to try to wake up early (this is much easier in summer) and go to the gym before work. My favourite classes are Barre Body, Pilates and Yoga – I usually try to do this twice a week and on my days off I’ll go for a walk around the neighbourhood with my dog.

9am
The day begins! Firstly I run through some emails and get ready for my first meeting of the day.

10am
Breakfast meetings are my favourite. Today I’m having porridge and coffee at Jackie’s in Paddington with my photographer, Kelly. We’ll usually brainstorm a few ideas for shoots and locations and look at what needs to be scheduled over the coming weeks. I always try to get a flat-lay at breakfast using my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Today I’m shooting on aperture priority, a semi-manual setting which gives me control over lighting and depth of field, resulting in nice, bright images. Once I’m sure I have the shot, I sync my iPhone to the camera using the OI.Share app – this allows me to instantly transfer the shots I like to my camera roll, ready for posting on Instagram.

11.30am
On to my next appointment, at my agent, Bespoke PR. Today I’m popping in to pick up a few pieces for upcoming shoots and have a browse for outfit options to take with me to New Zealand Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week. Having my camera is always handy – I take snaps of anything I want to keep in mind for future shoots or travel, and sometimes I’ll try a few things on and get a quick photo to keep as a reference.

12pm
I’m off to a new season showing, but first I want to get some outfit photos for the blog. I see a nice wall around the corner and Kelly takes a few quick snaps for me. One of the things I love most about the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is the auto-focus feature. Often I shoot looks with just a few minutes to spare between appointments, so it gives me confidence to know I’ll get a great shot just in time!

3pm
Time for my last meeting and second coffee of the day. I catch up with another PR agency to talk through collaboration ideas at a cafe in the CBD.

4pm
Back home and straight to my desk to answer a few more emails. Once I’m feeling a little on top of things, I like to transfer all my images from the day across to my laptop. I do a little bit of editing and sort my images into categories, whether it’s references for upcoming shoots, content for the blog or shots I want to save and post on Instagram.

Wearing H&M Studio dress and coat, J Brand jeans, Aquazzura flats and Celine bag.

6pm
If I don’t have an event on, it’s time to wrap things up and get organised for dinner. I’m always looking for new recipes to try, I love cooking with wholegrains, lots of veggies and experimenting with healthy takes on my favourite desserts.

9pm
After dinner and a little unwinding (usually with Netflix or a good book) I do my last bit of work of the day. I tend to be a bit of a night owl, so I usually schedule a lot of my blog content and do a little bit of admin between 9 and 11pm, then it’s time for bed.

[By Talisa Sutton of Badlands] [Read More]

Influencer Marketing

4 Emerging Influencer Marketing Trends

Influencer marketing has become an essential part of any digital marketing strategy. Bloggers have catapulted over the last decade from obscurity to near-celebrity status, using agents in many cases to broker sponsorship deals that can reach tens of thousands of dollars for a single Instagram post. As a result of these hefty price tags, brands have begun to look more closely at the potential value of each collaboration to build loyalty, awareness and, ultimately, sales.Although Instagram followers has become the ‘influence standard’ for many brand marketers, there is increasing importance placed on conversions and hence more emphasis is being placed on direct blog traffic, time spent on the site, and other factors that indicate strong engagement. Some emerging digital platforms that connect bloggers with brands for collaborations have gone as far as providing access to bloggers’ Google Analytics, which has become a game-changer for brands when assessing potential conversion and relevance of an influencer for a particular campaign. (It’s important to note that not all platforms offer this level of transparency. Before signing up with any service that coordinates blogger collaborations, brands should always check if this data is available.)Given the growing trend toward transparency between brands and bloggers, here are four influencer marketing trends we expect to see over the next year:

Brands and Bloggers Will Communicate More Directly

With digital platforms making it much easier for brands and bloggers to communicate and negotiate more efficiently, the traditional role of a blogger talent agency will change. Brands will realize many benefits of this direct engagement including more creative collaborations that generate greater levels of genuine brand messaging to a more deliberate and targeted audience. We will see greater levels of  enthusiasm for a wider variety of brands, as bloggers have increased visibility of all opportunities available and will be able to make more informed choices about those that are suitable to their audience and style. They will have greater control over their messaging, partnerships and in turn their success.

Brands Will Utilize a Greater Variety of Bloggers

With blogger research and outreach so time-consuming, collaboration opportunities have often gone to the same handful of top influencers. With the rise of digital platforms, one of the rising influencer marketing trends that expect to see is a wider variety of bloggers involved in influencer marketing campaigns and an increase in collaborations with niche bloggers whose small, yet loyal audiences have high conversion rates.

Brands Will Use Influencers to Grow Their Own Social Media

In a trend that walks the line between influencer marketing and content strategy, we expect that brands will engage influencers to help build their own social media networks and audiences through Instagram takeovers, guest posts and partner events. We also expect that brands will start to publish more of their own content on their blogs, Tumblr accounts and other mediums, engaging influencers to catch their attention and spark relationships.

Bloggers Will Embrace Traditional Blogging

Many top ‘bloggers’ have diverted their attention away from traditional ‘blogging’, opting to express themselves through Instagram and Snapchat – but the emerging value of strong Google Analytics and clear conversion data may in fact inspire bloggers to strengthen their own domain names. As brands start to evaluate key metrics including audience demographics, time spent on the blog and overall digital influence, we expect bloggers to respond by balancing their efforts more evenly across their own web assets and social networks. Having a strong owned presence rather than relying on the platform du jour will help bloggers expand their brand presence and retain their longevity regardless of which social media platform is most popular today…or tomorrow.

[By ] [Read More]