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.

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Blogs Don’t Just Aid Business, They Become One

Putting on a show: Dennis Littley presenting his kitchen studio at his Kissimmee, Florida, home where he hosts a weekly, live cooking show online. Littley, a retired professional chef, is one of the many bloggers who are making it big for blogging about things they are passionate about. — Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Dennis Littley doesn’t exactly like to prepare elaborate meals for himself. He’ll usually get by on a sandwich or some eggs. But when the camera rolls in his makeshift home studio, the veteran chef – who has prepared food in executive suites, upscale restaurants and lunchroom cafeterias – comes alive.

“Chefs are definitely egotists and we perform for people,” said Littley, 61. “We love to make people happy. It’s where I get my joy from.”

Littley shoots the video footage at his Kissimmee home and posts them to a blog, Ask Chef Dennis, that attracts up to 150,000 page views in a month. He has become part of a growing number of Central Florida residents who have turned blogging into a paying gig. Littley said the Web has created an avenue for more people than ever to get noticed.

“More are getting published that we would never have seen before,” he said. “There is a lot of talent out there. For just about every topic, there are people sharing things.”

In Central Florida, that has meant bloggers who cover topics as wide-ranging as Disney, food, fashion and travel, along with many others. FLBlogCon organiser Bess Auer, who trains bloggers through her website Gotta Get Blogging, has watched the conference grow modestly from a 100-seat gathering in its first year to now selling 350 tickets. An English teacher for 17 years, Auer started the conference, held at Full Sail University, when she failed to find any nearby blogging conferences. She said her transition from educating students to educating bloggers has been a natural one.

“Most who start blogging do so because they are passionate about what they blog about,” said Auer, who also runs the Florida Swim Network blog, which highlights swim programs across Florida. “They find some enjoyment out of it. They quickly find out that it’s a small world.”

But it can also be a lucrative one.

Jeanette Johnson, 32, has been at the helm of J’s Everyday Fashion, a fashion blog that features clothing and fashion every day. Her work has attracted enough visits to draw advertising from some high-profile fashion companies and department stores. The former marketer says she has earned US$700,000 (RM3.03mil) in revenue since the start of 2013, with about half coming from advertising and sponsorships. She said she wanted to make fashion journalism more realistic, so she started J’s Everyday Fashion in 2010.

“People can tell when a blogger is in it for the money, and I think people read my blog and think, ‘No, that’s not why she shows up every day,'” she said. “I keep it authentic and I think that cuts through in my blog.”

Johnson, who considers herself a “baby entrepreneur” because she does not have to reinvest her earnings, said she incurs very few costs because of her blog. She admits she had to adjust to becoming a full-time blogger, just as family and friends needed to come around to believing it was a worthwhile job. But as she learned more about the business side of blogging, she realised she had become an entrepreneur.

“In the beginning, it was strange that I was literally taking pictures of outfits and posting them on the Internet,” she said. “It was an evolution even for myself from being a silly thing to, ‘I’m an entrepreneur and this is a legitimate business.'”

Her transition in blogging, like many, was part hobby and part necessity after she lost her job in 2012.

“I had nowhere else to go and some of my friends suggested I turn it into a business,” she said. “Within a year I was making four to five times more than I was making as a marketing manager.”

Her popularity on social media has grown along with her blog. Johnson has 13,000 followers on Twitter and her Facebook page has been liked 86,000 times. Recently, JC Penney mentioned Johnson to its 389,000 Twitter followers.

As for Littley, the chef, he’s attracted more than 14,000 followers on Twitter. He first got serious about blogging in early 2010, when he joined a blog group and started researching the hobby. It wasn’t until he started to receive feedback from people outside of his family that he believed he could grow the blog.

“I went from being local to being national; then on Google+, I went worldwide,” he said. “I have friends all over the world that I know intimately but I have never actually met them in person.”

But as he does watch his blog grow, he says he intends to continue writing it for himself, as he has tried to do from the start.

“Food is like this international bond that brings everyone together, whether virtually or sitting at the same table,” he said.

“But I write for myself, it’s for me. I’m not trying to make it my living and be dependent on it. I share what I share and, if it’s not what you want, pass it by.” — Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service

[BY MARCO SANTANA] [Read More]

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Why Global Advertisers Are Ditching Celebs For Little-Known Instagram Artists

It was all about selfies for Christine Adelina, until May 1, 2014. That’s when the 22-year-old student and obsessive Instagram poster from London learned her large following on the photo-sharing app could translate to some decent income. After attending a meetup for Instagram “influencers,” she switched from bedroom and bathroom selfies to artistic portrayals of the world around her, now spending at least three hours a day on the app.

And brands are gawking — handing over ad dollars to Adelina and other so-called influencers, anywhere from $300 to thousands of dollars depending on the deal, to join their marketing campaigns. While some sponsorship deals simply reward users with gifts for sending out company-related Instagram posts, others are contracted.

Take Nabisco’s #PuttingOnTheRitz campaign, for example. That marketing strategy to promote new Ritz Crisp and Thin crackers — to which Adelina and a handful of other contracted influencers submitted two photos for this June  — reached 7.5 million people. One post from British blogger Tanya Burr, who boasts 2 million Instagram followers, drew 110,000 likes.

It’s the latest sign that Madison Avenue and its counterparts worldwide are recognizing the pitch power of organically born social media stars like Adelina and Burr. They can be just as influential, or even moreso, as celebs like the Kardashians. Consumers, the thinking goes, may connect more readily with individuals who lead lives like their own. “For ‘Putting on the Ritz,’ we were very interested in getting people involved. The campaign seemed more real,” said Jana Soosova, social media campaign manager at London-based PHD Media.

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While Instagram influencer Christine Adelina’s post was not the highest traffic-driver for the #PuttingOnTheRitz campaign, Nabisco paid for and endorsed the submission as part of its marketing strategy.  Instagram Screenshot

Earlier this month, Instagram introduced its first ad product for businesses. The system allows companies to quickly create standard ads, target them to selected users and include direct-response buttons (like “Buy Now” as seen on Facebook, Twitter and Google). The move will spur more ads on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app — and fuel Instagram’s predicted rise to $2.8 billion in revenue by 2017.

But there have always been ads on Instagram, some of which have been embraced by the over 300 million-person active community and have enthralled some forward-thinking brands with big budgets like Coca-Cola, L’Oreal and Asos. Rather than sign contract after contract with celebrities, who boast the biggest follower counts on Instagram, some companies have latched onto the artists that have helped build up the young, but fast-growing network.

“Usually the campaigns are more creative, more advanced than you would see on other networks. Whoever is creating the ads puts more effort into the process,” said Soosova.

A New Network

Unlike YouTube’s Partner program or Twitter-owned Niche, Instagram does not have direct ties to a professional network of creators. But entrepreneurs have stepped in — since Instagram’s early days — to fill the role of connecting eager brands to power influencers and help sign, seal and deliver on contracts and campaign expectations.

“We see plenty of agencies pop up. Anyone can scrape Instagram and get 20,000 names together, but having the relationships and knowing how to run a campaign is a different story,” said Francis Trapp, founder and CEO of Brandnew IO, an Instagram-focused marketing company based in Berlin.

Trapp, who did time in banking, consulting and finance and boasts a passion for photography and advertising, started building a network in 2013. He dug through the app, then only a recent acquisition of Facebook, for interesting accounts and reached out. He now oversees a network of 1,500 influencers across 60 countries and has coordinated 130 campaigns. Trapp projects $2.2 million in revenue this year.

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Brandnew IO is a marketing company focused on Instagram campaigns. The team has worked with international companies, such as Spotify and L’Oreal, to run long-term campaigns with influencers rather than celebrities.  Brandnew IO

Marketing teams, such as PHD London, have come to Trapp for help finding influencers. Trapp’s list does not include the biggest names on Instagram, like Justin Bieber (23.8 million followers), Kim Kardashian (23.5 million) or Beyonce (22.2 million). Some companies, such as teeth whitener Cocowhite, target those celebrity endorsements, Jezebel reports. But when marketers come to Trapp, that’s not what they are after.

Adelina is not shy to admit her labor can come cheaper, and more easily negotiated. Not only that, she brings her own photography skills and artistic influence, which she describes as vintage-inspired, into each post.

“Instagram influencers are not the people who are just taking their products and snapping a quick photo. I think companies see the potential in the photography enthusiasts who took the time to create a picture,” Adelina said.

Treading Lightly

Facebook has been moving slowly to develop Instagram into an advertising powerhouse, like its main site has become. “We’re very, very cautious. Instagram remains small relative to Facebook, and it’s really going to take time,” Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said during the company’s earnings call in July. Facebook does not break out revenues for the site.

Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 — two years after its launch — for $1 billion. At the time, there were about 30 million accounts on the app. That has since jumped to 300 million monthly active users who share 70 million photos a day.

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Facebook does not breakdown the revenue by its assets, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus. The company has generated $7.5 billion in ad revenue, so far, this year, as shown in the above investor’s chart. Marketing firm eMarketer predicts Instagram could fuel $600 million in total for 2015.  Facebook

Influencers have emphasized that the company should be careful not to frustrate the power users and consumers. How Trapp views an Instagram post: “It’s a beautifully taken shot in your everyday life.”

“I think this community thrives on creativity,” Adelina said.

“My Instagram style is very minimalistic and whimsical,” said Kerstin Hiestermann, a mother of three who boasts 278,000 followers.

With Instagram’s new system, marketers can generate ads with a click, and the formalized system is just starting. For now, not all sponsorship campaigns need to be approved by Instagram, as long as they fit the terms of service.

That’s not the case for YouTube, where creators must inform the site of product placement and these can only be done by official partners. Google can remove a video if it does not meet standards or if pre-roll ads, from which YouTube takes a 45 percent cut, conflict.

Instagram is now tapping into its own ad cut for revenue, and eMarketer has predicted that the app could generate $600 million in sales this year.

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How Influencers Are Helping Capital One Reach Millennials on Instagram

Dive Brief:

  • Marketers are finding Instagram an enticing platform to reach the millennial audience.
  • Capital One took advantage of social media advertising by utilizing three influencers from among the platform’s users for its “What’s in your wallet?” campaign.
  • This approach also provided Capital One with inroads into the Gen X and Baby Boomer audience.

Dive Insight:

From among the social media landscape, Instagram and Snapchat have millennial-heavy audiences — and marketers are taking advantage of the platforms’ reach.

“[Instagram is] a rich place to reach [millennials]. Instagram is more compelling than Pinterest or Tumblr — just given the audience sizes and growth,” Noha Abdalla, Capital One’s senior director of digital brand strategy and social media, told Adweek.

The three Instagram influencers were given access to Capital One’s account to post images and videos based on the ongoing “What’s in your wallet?” campaign. Nine pictures were turned into Instagram ads, and according to Capital One, ad recall among all consumers rose to 16%. (It jumped higher for Baby Boomers to 25%.) Specifically among millennials, Capital One’s brand favorability increased 3%.

About the effort, Abdalla said, “Many people carry around a wallet that has something sentimental in it other than what’s functional. Oftentimes, that memory is an indicator of something in the future.”

Beyond reaching the millennial audience, Capital One found the campaign achieved impressive recall from Gen Xers and Baby Boomers as well. Because of the success of this effort Capital One intends to utilize user-generated content in multi-channel campaigns, including Instagram’s carousel ad units.

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Instagram Ads vs. Influencer Marketing: Deciding What’s Best for Your Brand

As the largest and fastest growing social network, Instagram is a hotbed for advertising; however, it’s also been somewhat of a battleground for marketers who are eager to tap into its pool of savvy consumers, but were met with resistance by way of Instagram’s limited ad capabilities.

That all changed when Instagram announced that they will now offer an improved ad solution that enables brands to make use of direct response buttons such as, “Shop Now,” “Install Now,” and “Sign up.” Instagram will also enable interest and demographic targeting and allow brands to use Instagram’s API for managing large campaigns.

Furthermore, these offerings will be accessible to more brands as Instagram previously was more selective with the brands it enabled to advertise. Plus, with recent reports that Instagram ad revenue will reach more than $2 billion worldwide by 2017, the ad-route is becoming more and more attractive to brands.

However, prior to Instagram’s announcement, many brands relied on influencer marketing to target potential new customers and reach fragmented audiences. So now, for many brands, the question becomes: how do we decide what’s best for our brand’s marketing: ads or influencers?

The first question to ask yourself is what do you want to achieve? Brand awareness? Customer engagement? More followers of a certain type? Drive traffic to points of purchase? The answer to this question ultimately drives your marketing decision. Here are a few considerations to make:

Brand Awareness vs. Affinity

Ads are great for increasing brand awareness. You can push ads to a desired target group and immediately see results. The very first Instagram ad from Michael Kors received four times the usual number of likes compared to non-promoted posts; and it also reached a global audience of 6.15 million. The company also received 33,000 new followers, 16 times more than usual. Furthermore,Instagram’s business tools captured the progress showing exactly how each brand is performing with each ad and each objective (e.g. brand awareness), measuring impressions and reach to show how each target group responds to ads.

However, while ads are great for increasing brand awareness, brand affinity is a different goal that speaks more to a user’s sentiment when engaging with brand content on social media; and capturing brand affinity through ads is not done easily.

While the Michael Kors ads produced the numerical results necessary to prove ROI for marketers, the sentiment didn’t fair as well as many people in the Instagram community weren’t happy to see the ads and some saying they were “super annoying” and others demanding that they “JUST STOP.”

The idea that Instagram will soon be opening its ad platform to accommodate more brands, sends red flags to users who don’t want to be bombarded with ads any more frequently than they already are, particularly when there’s a chance those ads will have no relevance to them.

One of the strong suits of influencer marketing is its perceived authenticity. Users following influencers have a different outlook than many users who follow brands on Instagram because influencers are not always pushing out ad content; therefore, when influencers do share promotional posts, it comes off more genuine and organic. This is the difference between awareness and affinity. Awareness can be instant but affinity speaks to a positive sentiment and longer-term relationship between consumer and brand.

So the question becomes what’s more of value to achieve your brand’s desired outcome: raising brand awareness to see immediate results for a specific campaign, or building long term relationships and affinity through influencer marketing?

Cost of Ads vs. Finding the right influencers

Instagram maintains that ads will be open to more small to medium businesses, but the cost is still somewhat of a mystery. Instagram has always remained mum on exactly how much a direct ad campaign costs.

One post from Quora claims that figures between $350,000 and $1 million per month have been mentioned by executives. Whether this is true or not, a figure anywhere in that ballpark is probably not cost efficient for the average small business.

Influencer marketing can be much more cost efficient and in some cases, cost nothing as was the case with fashion brand Zara, which built their Instagram presence to over five million without the ad spend. However, finding the right fit of influencers to work with is an ongoing challenge for many brands.

Understanding what qualifies an influencer and how to effectively leverage their audience takes time and research along with negotiating contracts and scheduling time to analyze results and return; although, influencer networks have helped brands bypass these issues by developing a network of pre-vetted influencers and brands that are matched through a central network that manages everything from campaign goals and initiatives to legal contracts, compensation and results.

A Winning Strategy:

It’s clear that developing a winning Instagram strategy is not black and white. Determining whether to use ads or influencers should be addressed on a case-by-case basis as there are pros and cons to each solution; and in many cases, an ad-approach coupled with an influencer-approach to Instagram marketing can achieve desired results. Ads are great for getting eyeballs on your brand content at a fast and far-reaching pace while influencers help boost engagement, bridging the relationship and affinity between consumers and brands.

Brands can benefit greatly from adopting Instagram’s new ad offering into their current strategies; however, with 84 percent of consumers noting that they trust people they know over direct advertising, according to a Nielsen study, it’s clear that influencer marketing on Instagram still has it’s rightful place. The best strategy would be to use the best of both worlds to maximize results.

For example, brands can use content from influencer marketing campaigns and select the best performing images to create an Instagram sponsored post campaign. Incorporating authentic experiences into promotional content can add a flair of authenticity to your Instagram ads.

Brands can also try running ad and influencer campaigns in parallel to combine Facebook data-driven targeting with consolidation from the trusted source of influencers. Instagram’s new trending tags and places features also have potential to increase ad opportunities for marketers allowing them to build content and campaigns around what’s trending.

Instagram’s new ad offering opens a lot of doors for marketers, but nothing will replace the authenticity that makes Instagram Instagram. The platform is defined by the generation that dictates what’s cool and authentic; therefore it’s core users can easily sniff out anything that’s contrary. To thrive in this space, your brand must skillfully balance the ability to tell its story in the most authentic way while also leveraging all of its capabilities to drive customer conversions.

[By Francis Trapp] [Read More]

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Master the Art of Social Media in Just Seven Days

A study by the European commission found that 61% of European SMEs use social media (pdf) and those that do appear to be better off financially than those that don’t. Another survey by Hiscox reported that 27% of SMEs using social media to support marketing efforts said they did so to increase brand awareness and a further 15% use social media to boost sales.

There’s no denying that in order to reach your audience on a more personal level and to stay competitive in the market, social media is key for most small firms. Here’s how to master social media in just seven days:

Day 1: choose a channel

Research where your audience hangs out online. It is a common mistake, and extremely time consuming, for brands to set up accounts on an array of platforms – deciding where your brand will perform best can save time and resources. Colour expert Pantone, for example, performs really well on Pinterest by carefully considering its visual nature and the types of people and creative industries that would follow it.

Day 2: know your audience

Awareness of what your audience wants to talk about, what interests them and what will encourage them to share will form the basis for your online conversation. Find out who they are, what they expect from brands across channels and speak to them on their level. Your consumers may be more engaged with competitions over Facebook rather than Twitter, for example, so adjust your strategy accordingly.

Day 3: start a two-way conversation

The beauty of social media is that it makes brands appear human by the way they can interact online. But like any human conversation, it can’t all be about one party. Responding to comments, answering questions and joining in the conversation will give people a more personalised experience of your brand.

Innocent drinks’ Facebook page is a great example of a brand that knows its audience, and what this audience wants to see. The brand doesn’t take itself too seriously, using humour in its social media posts and even sometimes its customers’ comments.

Day 4: draw up guidelines

The teams in charge of your social media, whether it is managed in-house or outsourced, should be given guidelines on the tone and content of conversations online. Guidelines will differ between brands. Some will allow their social media team to adapt to the most natural style of conversation, while some will define and enforce a more specific voice. The way you want your brand to be portrayed – friendly and chatty or assertive, informative and persuasive – should determine how you approach the development of these guidelines.

Day 5: match your brand

As well as adhering to your followers’ personalities, it’s also important to keep in-line with your brand’s personality. Our business toxicfox.co.uk sells thousands of gifts under the categories ‘LOL’, ‘OMG’ and ‘WTF’ and so content online is built to match this, often including humour and shock tactics which resonate with both the company and its consumers

Day 6: find some influencers

People with an influential presence on social media and that hold importance with your target market can be a golden ticket for your brand. Identify people online with a contextual fit, quality content and a high reach, and form a strategy of how to work with them.

For instance, this may be a celebrity you can send products to, or someone you can form an ongoing brand ambassador relationship with.

Day 7: testing

When your social media strategy is up and running, analysing how things are working can help develop your plan. Observe what time of day your posts get the most engagement – this will vary between industries and between B2B and B2C companies, so it’s important to see what works for you. Consider the types of posts that are encouraging the most engagement. You may find you’re losing or gaining followers after certain types of posts. Gathering all of this information and adjusting your strategy will bolster your performance online and will help you gain some valuable insight.

[By Matthew Rogers] [Read More]

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How a ‘Talent Manager’ Can Take Your Social Media Skills to the Next Level

So you think you’ve got social media clout? You consider yourself a potential “influencer”? You attract impressive numbers of page views on your blog or “likes” on Instagram but you’re not sure how to monetise it?

Perhaps it’s time you found yourself a talent manager. If you’re anywhere near as good as you think, there might be some money in it. Top earners can pull in millions of dollars, digital media talent agencies say, with payment for Instagram posts ranging from $300 to $2000 and blogs anywhere between $1000 and $10,000 a post.

Talent management agencies have been evolving at a rapid pace since they worked out there was serious money to be made. Their role is to represent social media personalities with large Instagram or social followings, and those who have blogs with large amounts of traffic and loyal followers. Twitter doesn’t appear to have as much traction.

These “creative hubs” make money by taking a cut of both sides of any deal they arrange between a brand and “content creator” or “influencer”. One of the first to hit the Australian market was Sydney-based Ministry of Talent, which launched in 2012 with a couple of girls known in social media circuits as They All Hate Us.

CAUSED SELL-OUTS

Best friends Tash Sefton and Elle Ferguson quit their day jobs in retail fashion to concentrate on a fashion blog and Instagram feeds that caused sell-outs in the world of denim. These days they have 242,000 and 483,000 Instagram followers respectively, and attract about 2.5 million visits to their blog each month.

These numbers are vital, their manager and Ministry of Talent director Roxy Jacenko says.

“Numbers are important. It’s like when you book an ad – you look first at readership and circulation, and the third consideration is the look and feel,” Jacenko says. “Some of these people have huge followings, at times bigger than magazine circulations and readerships.”

Over the past two years brands have increasingly been collaborating with such influencers to tap markets broader than those available though traditional media channels, says Katherine Moses, talent manager at Sydney’s Chic Blogger Management.

“Media agencies are now dividing their budgets across not just TV and print but also social media – splitting it into Instagram, Facebook, blogs and websites,” Moses says. “It’s really picked up over the past eight months and I don’t see it slowing down. All the media agencies and brands are planning to spend with these types of people in the next financial year.”

Kate Bensimon, of new Melbourne social media management outfit The Co Collective, agrees.

“All the corporates are paying attention now,” Bensimon says. “Some brands are 100 per cent in already but others will be more of a slow burn. They know they have to be in there and they’re dipping their toes in a little. They’re not yet fully immersed, but in the future they will be. I don’t think they’ll have a choice.”

DEVELOPING POTENTIAL STARS

Talent management agencies have responded by taking on and developing more potential social media “stars”. Later this month, for example, another Sydney agency, Max Connectors, plans to announce an expansion of its stable of beauty and lifestyle influencers from the 10 it’s had since it opened shop last year to 20. Its original talent includes Lauren Curtis, Australia’s number one beauty YouTuber with almost 3 million subscribers to her channel, 1.2 million followers on Instagram and 1.7 million likes on Facebook.

“Since inception, [business] has gown exponentially, with a huge spike in the number of requests and bookings for talent,” owner Lynette Phillips says.

Ministry of Talent offers concierge and PR capabilities to its influencers to help them improve their craft and extend their reach, thus improving their numbers and their earning capabilities.

And this talent is affordable, which is propelling them into “filler talent” status –  they have a profile, of sorts, and are accessible to advertisers without the budgets to pay for the likes of Elle McPherson, Kylie Minogue or Cate Blanchett.

But you have to be at the top of the game to be invited into the serious money.

An ability to take a pretty picture or attract big numbers is not enough get you there, Jacenko says. It’s also about how you handle yourself.

“They have to be able to go on The Morning Show, or give their commentary on the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival,” she says. “They have to be able to communicate. They have to be confident.”

THINK AGAIN

For those who think they only need to fake it to make it, think again. It’s hard maintaining the kind of momentum and quality that’s required to break into – and remain in – this social media game.

“We’re about keeping our brand quite niche and sophisticated,” Moses says. “All the influencers we have on board – all their content, all their imagery, the way they write – everything is top-standard.”

In other words, professional photographers are hired to shoot a job rather than making random use of an iPhone. Successful influencers are expected to post at least one to two blogs a week and upload on Instagram at least three times a day. And, of course, they have to operate across multiple social media platforms, though Instagram is the most popular.

Inflated numbers can be easy to see through, too.

“If someone’s got 500,000 [Instagram] followers but they’re only getting 10,000 likes and a few comments per post, you know there’s something amiss,” Jacenko says. “We’d be very, very sceptical.”

She says the Ministry gets 40 people each week pitching themselves as the next big thing. Most are turned away.

“We only make money by the commission, so if the person doesn’t have the numbers, or their offering hasn’t got a look and feel that’s commercial, we don’t touch them.”

If that’s you, never mind. You can always be a legend in your own lunchbox.

[By Jacquie Hayes] [Read More]

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9 Questions to Ask When Working With Instagrammers

Influencer marketing has been a great source of native advertising ever since blogs became popular. Instagram is now the latest platform to become a goldmine for marketing. This platform works well for all types of companies, whether it’s fitness or fashion, travel or e-commerce, beverages or home improvement; Instagram is a winning bet for most brands. The question is, how do you engage with these influencers and–when you find them–how can you make them work for you on fair terms?

Most brands or agencies will outsource this work to marketing firms that specialize in working with Instagrammers. However, if you are looking at doing this yourself, here are 9 questions and tips for working with Instagrammers.

1 – Find them on Kik
Kik is an app that lets you easily message without phone numbers or email. The person’s Instagram handle is most often their Kik handle too. If you are looking to work with Instagrammers you should be on Kik. It’s the platform of choice for messaging with Instagram influencers.

2 – How long will the post be up?
Unlike blogs and videos where the content stays live forever, Instagram influencers play by a different set of rules and most of them will negotiate a certain amount of time for the post to be up. There may be different tiers of payment (1 hour costs X and 5 hours costs Y) or they may have a flat price for a limited-time-post before it’s deleted. Either way, you’ll want to know how long the post is live for so that you can:

Request the post to go live at prime time for where they are located and who the audience is (are their followers US or European? Is your target audience college students or young professionals?)
Decide if you want posts to go up at one time or if you want the Instagrammers to stagger their posts over a certain period of time.

If the Instagrammer charges hourly costs, make sure to ask them what kinds of results they receive to justify having an hourly fee.

3 – Will you put our link in your bio?
Instagram doesn’t allow you to post links in the caption of the photo. The only links allowed are in the bio area of the Instagrammers’ profile. Some Instagrammers will post in their bio free of charge during the time the post is live if you request them to, and others will negotiate another price as they look at that as additional advertising. Either way, if the influencer does include a link in their bio make sure that they specify this on their photo caption.

4 – Discounts by buying in bulk
First ask the Instagrammer how much it costs for one post. Once you have that price, negotiate for a cheaper cost per post by buying multiple at a time, and having them post every couple days or weekly.

5 – Other sponsored posts
You’ll want to look at or ask how often they do other sponsored posts as well as if there are any competing brands they are working with. You’d be surprised at just how many brands are advertising on Instagram and there is a good chance they are working with someone similar. Before entering into an agreement with them, make sure you know who else they are working with (if you are a sports drink, are you comfortable with them working with another sports drink simultaneously?) If so, ask that they space it out – ie: not within a certain amount of time of promoting a similar company. If a sponsored post works out well with a particular Instagrammer, or if they do really well for a similar brand you can always negotiate to work with them exclusively on a monthly basis.

6 – Fluctuation in pricing
Instagram is still the wild west with some influencers, so understand that prices are not set in stone or tiered as predictably as working with bloggers, for instance. Prices may vary significantly from one Instagram influencer to the next even with similar follower counts and engagements.

7 – Types of Instagram accounts
The type of account will vary with pricing, so if you aren’t using an agency that specializes in Instagram be cognizant of this.
Theme Pages: These can be very affordable. Theme pages are pages that focus on a particular theme rather than a person. They may post pictures only of dogs, or memes, or travel destinations.
Bloggers and Models: These influencers tend to be on the pricier side over standard Instagram influencers. If the account you want to work with has a blog, or is a model, you will be paying more for the post on average.

8 – Repurposing or “owning” the picture
You’ll want to make sure that you have permission to repurpose the picture on your own Instagram page or website. Best practice says to tag them when you do, so approach it as added exposure for them versus ownership of the picture. You’ll want to get this agreed to in writing.

9 – Tracking
Our agency tracks the success of an Instagram post not only through public stats, such as engagement, but also by analyzing site visits and by using technology to extrapolate performance based on the lift.

[By Sarah Ware] [Read More]

Mary K

Mary Katrantzou’s Digital Marketing Team Shares Their Social Media Secrets

It’s not every day that you get to listen to one of your favourite brands divulge social media success tips, but that’s exactly what happened earlier this week. We went along to watch the leading London-based social media agency Cult LDN (the brains behind the innovative Marc Jacobs tweet boutique) in conversation with Mary Katrantzou‘s digital marketing team at London’s trendy Annabel’s as part of its #TerraceSessions series. Here’s what we found out.

Social Success Doesn’t Cost the Earth

Despite beautiful content, successful social campaigns and an ever increasing list of followers, the team surprisingly revealed that it actually has a very limited social media budget and it’s all about building the brand offline and amplifying any activity with social media.

It’s OK to Make Mistakes

The team did admit to one expensive mistake, however, involving a costly photography shoot for a detailed social countdown for the launch of the new site, which quite embarrassingly couldn’t launch on time! It makes us feel much better that even the best of brands have their hiccups when experimenting with social media.

It’s All About Instagram

The team also reinforced the power of the social influencer, which over the years has transitioned from celebrity placements to bloggers, with Instagrammers now having their influential moment. There’s no denying that celebrities wearing a brand’s collection still translates into sales, but any spike in social followings does tend to dwindle away once the hype fades and fans realize that the usual content just isn’t for them. Mary Katrantzou recently experienced this after Taylor Swift was spotted with one of the brand’s bags.

Humanization Is Key

The team also revealed that collaborating with Instagrammers is one important strategy, but defining a brand’s own Instagram channel is also immensely important as it allows it to tell a story, which is an integral part of the consumer experience. The team credited the success of its channel to the fact that it also gives an insight into the designer as a person, as she often hijacks the account when she’s out and about somewhere interesting.

It was a really insightful evening and there’s no doubt that the next time we see a Mary Katrantzou post pop up on our feeds, we’ll appreciate it a little bit more.

5 Traits of a succesful Youtuber

5 Traits of a Successful Youtuber

5 Traits of a succesful Youtuber

 

Twenty-five year old Yousef Saleh Erakat, also known by his stage name FouseyTube, is a Palestinian American entertainer who produces parodies, vlogs, comedy sketches and pranks on YouTube to an audience of more than 6 million subscribers.

What makes him so successful on Youtube? What’s the secret sauce? Here’s what I learned when I went Behind the Brand with fouseyTube.

Trait #1
There’s a familiar theme among the most successful Youtuber’s and it has to do with being yourself. The audience can see right thru someone who isn’t being genuine and we’ve seen several young creators with massive audiences fall hard lately because it was discovered that they were not who they pretended to be.

Trait #2
There is a steady flow of content that airs on a certain day once per week. The magic combo seems to be publishing videos weekly but it’s also about knowing what your people want. For other social platforms like Twitter or Pinterest, more frequent posts might be appropriate. Best practices are all about following the etiquette of that particular network. Do your homework, observe and listen, then jump in the game.

Trait #3
They don’t risk it all at first. Fousey described how he got started. He was working at Chili’s putting money in the bank while making videos on the side for cheap. Once one of his videos hit it big, he quit his day job and never looked back but still spends very little on production costs. He does all of the work which includes the writing and editing.

Trait #4
They don’t give up. Sometimes Fousey’s videos don’t go viral and that’s okay with him. He creates what he thinks is entertaining content and keeps trying to please his audience. You’re only as good as your last video so you have to keep on going.

Trait #5
They care. Author Gary Vaynerchuk wrote in his book, The Thank You Economy, “The person who cares the most wins.” Fousey listens to feedback and tries his best to react to what he thinks will be entertaining for his community. That could include pulling horrible pranks on some of his best friends but it’s always fun to watch.

[By ] [Read More]