Capitalizing on Big Events

Timing is everything, and there’s no better time to partner up with an influencer than throughout big events.

On April 28, Chicago hosted the NFL 2016 Draft showcasing the best upcoming talent in the NFL. With major media coverage, these popular players — such as Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Ezekiel Elliot — were some of the most followed men on social media, making them prime candidates to act as influencers throughout the the draft.

Let’s start off with Jared Goff. The highly ranked player worked with Gillette, Pantene and Redbull throughout the draft process. He posted three tweets and one Instagram post, mentioning the brands in each post.

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What did he do right? 

Both Gillette and Redbull knew that the majority of his followers would be friends and fans similar in age to Goff (young 20’s). Redbull did a great job of showing Goff in a casual setting with his friends, showcasing the product and how it fits into any situation among friends.

Carson Wentz opted to work with JCPenny, posting a video on Youtube of him preparing for the draft wearing a suit from the company.

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What did he do right?

The brand knew that he would be wearing a suit for the draft. It’s also important to note that he stated #ad in the caption, a must when working as an influencer.

Ezekiel Elliot also had a high brand count, working with FedEx, Old Spice and Quest Nutrition.

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What did he do right?

Ezekiel Elliot did a great job at keeping his personality in his posts with the brand. Following Elliot for awhile, it’s obvious he’s a lighthearted person and the brands that he worked with recognized that and capitalized on his personality as well as his draft placement.

So what does this mean for influencers? 

These brands were successful because they recognized who the influencers were in the moment. High numbers of followers are great, however, sometimes the best way to get customers attention is catering to the events they’re already watching.

Working with high profile athletes might not be in the budget of every brand so consider thinking outside of the box. Work with the family members of athletes or those being featured, chances are the celebrity will retweet or repost the image of their friends and family anyways, reaching that extra audience.

 

10 Seconds or Less — Exploring Snapchat

The future of social media is here…then it’s gone in ten seconds. If you don’t know what social media platform I’m talking about yet, let me introduce you to Snapchat. According to WhatIf.com, Snapchat is defined as “a mobile app that allows users to send and receive “self-destructing” photos and videos.” This essentially means that users can send “snaps” for a period of ten seconds or send a ten second video to their “snap story” where it remains for up to 24 hours.

What does this mean for influence marketing? 

Once again, businesses and influencers are going to have to adjust what they expect of each other as we see more and more influencers turning towards Snapchat as their main social platform.

In order to work successfully with influencers it’s imperative that as marketers we know the top trends and best practices for influence marketing on Snapchat. The top two trends of influence marketing on Snapchat are generally promoting a product by talking about it and “Snapchat takeovers.”

First let’s explore  working with a social influencer as they generally promote a product. Similar to any other social platform, brands work with influencers by offering them four things — cash, travel, access or product. In this case blogger GypsyLovinLight is working with UK cosmetics brand Eye of Horus to promote some of their new product. Posting this on her story, her followers will see that she is working with and is excited to try out new product from this brand. IMG_6816

What does this mean for influencers?

Offer new product to key social influencers and encourage them to post about it on Snapchat. It’s a relatively new platform that is still up and coming so it’s not yet saturated with content, making it easier for a brand to break through.

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The second top used trend among Snapchat social influencers are “Snapchat takeovers.” Top brands and designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Maybelline and Mui Mui among others have worked with social influencers as they take over the brands Snapchat, telling all of their followers to follow the brands Snapchat for the day to see what they’re up too.

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Above — Supermodel Gigi Hadid works with Tommy Hilfiger as she takes over the brand’s Snapchat as she prepares for the Met Ball. Below — Following Tommy Hilfiger, fans of Gigi will see snaps similar to the ones below capturing her night

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What does this mean for influencers?

Working with an influencer as they take over your brand’s Snapchat is all dependent on what you want and how influential that influencer is. Working with high-profile influencers, such as Gigi, allows for the option to follow her as she prepares for a major event or just follow her around for the day.

Other brands such as Maybelline have teamed up with influencers showcasing how to use the product and how well it stays on throughout their day. Remember to stay true to what your brand is and work with influencers whose daily routine fits in with your product.

 

THINK LIKE AN INFLUENCER

 

So you recognized that in order for your brand to become successful and well known, thus generating conversation, engagement and profit, you might need to work with a social influencer, now what?

Using social influencers can be a powerful way to market your brand to consumers, however, like any marketing strategy you walk a fine line between producing quality content and saturating the market with essentially social media garbage.

The first mistake that any brand (or influencer) can make is assuming that the relationship is strictly a one-way street. The influencer should choose the brand or product just as much as we as marketers try and choose a specific influencer that aligns with us.

According to TapInfluence, after a recent survey conducted among 5,000 content creators and social media influencers these are the top five concerns that influencers have when determining whether to partner with a brand.

  1. Poor Organization

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This one seems self explanatory however the truth remains behind any campaign that communication is key. It is not unlikely that brands will choose to work with multiple influencers at the same time marketing the same product. Marketers must have their strategies clearly outlined for each influencer, explaining exactly what is expected from both parties, when it is expected to happen and what platform will be used. Most influencers want to create successful post that increases both their interaction and interaction with the brand. It is up to both parties to ensure that the goals and objectives of each campaign and each post are outlined from the beginning to help ensure that success.

2. Product Fit 

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One of the top reasons that brands work with influencers to to get their new or existing products in the hands of new customers. As influence marketing is rapidly increasing, influencers find themselves over saturated withbrands wanting to work with them and must often make choices based on what they see best fits with their personal brand. If an influencer were to turn down your product, however, this isn’t time to turn your back on that relationship meaning more than likely there will be a better chance for you to work with that influencer on another product that better aligns further down the line.

Erika Sevigny from AllThingseBlog said is best stating, “Don’t pitch me if I’ve never written about anything even close to being in your product’s category.”

3. Compensation

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No one is going to do anything for free, period. Although social influencers have become a powerful part of the paid media economy, the gap between what brands can offer them and the amount they believe they are worth continues to widen. Social influencers can earn anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars based on how many followers and the engagement they have. Brands can avoid the awkward “money talk” by researching what similar brands offered for their campaigns and financially modeling off them.

4. Amount of Work 

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The top reason for negative business between influencers and marketers is poorly planned programs. Influencers often feel as if what is expected of them is unfair meaning unclear deadlines, extra requests outside the contract and unresponsive brand representatives as reasons campaigns required more attention than expected. As mentioned above, keep organized and outline everything that you need done early and clearly.

5. Audience Feedback 

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Despite careful planning and organization behind a campaign, sometimes a campaign doesn’t quiet reach the audience and ultimately fails, leaving both the brand and the influencer in the wake of its dust. The best way for brands to avoid a failed campaign is to listen and know their influencer and what exactly their personal branded voice is.

Alexandra Azara from NoshOn. It speaks from an influencer perspective saying, “Let influencers promote your brand in the way that works best for them and their audience rather than trying to enforce specific statements (in a blog post, for example). I think sponsored content is most successful when it doesn’t come across as sounding sponsored.”

What does this all mean? 

At the end of the day a social media influencer is an individual whose career is their personal image. They do not have to partner with you as a brand so if you want to work with them, sometimes putting yourself in their shoes really is the best option.

Gender and Social Media Marketing

The conversation of gender inequality in the professional space has recently risen to the top of conversation over the past decade, arguing that women are generally doing less and as a result making less than their male counterparts. These results may still remain true in most fields, however young women are taking over the social media marketing space as  leaders of change in styles of storytelling in the new digital economy.

According to  a study done by social media expert Dr Ruth Page, of the Department of English, University of Leicester, women are biologically more expressive, willing to share and reveal more about their personal lives. They primarily use social media to connect and and form relationships with those they follow.

Men, by contrast, use social media specifically to gain influence and expertise over competition. They primarily perform research and interact only with those that can help the individual better himself and his career.

So what does this mean? In terms of social media marketing, women are naturally the main target and the ones leading the social media revolution.

This study commissioned by American Express found that 6% more women than men use at least one social networking site for their small businesses, while 8% more women than men make products available for sale online. Women recognize that their target audience (other women) are the ones that actively use social media and to succeed as a business, they know they must market primarily through those outlets.

According to Page, “The role of young women as leaders of the changes in the styles of storytelling in social media is significant as it is at odds with other statistics that show that they are under-represented as the developers of social media sites and software.”

A solid strategy for any social media business effort is to be as human as possible in your interactions with fans and followers. Does that mean a woman should be running your social media presence especially when working with influencers? Not necessarily but it might be worth a try for you as a small business to try and help promote your brand image as being relatable and naturally conversational.

This could mean feeding into notoriously female cliches as a means of building community and boosting fan loyalty. Examples: Posting more personal information and content relevant to your brand, or engaging more frequently and readily in online conversations by teaming up with female power influencers.

Sometimes girl power is the way to go, especially when it comes to social media.

Check out these info graphics for more information about how women are dominating the digital marketing space!

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Top Instagram Marketing Trends

With the growth of Instagram over the past year, it’s no question that the social media platform is one of the best when it comes to reaching a large global audience. The trend of partnering with influencers strictly on social media has increased as well and with that we most constantly track what the current and upcoming trends are on the social platform. This allows us not only to initially appeal to the influencer that we wish to work with but acknowledging top marketing trends on social media serves as a guideline when we are working with an influencer as we explain what we expect of them when working together.

According to Latergramme, the automated Instagram posting application and website, and Media Kix these are the current top five trends that they have observed throughout the beginning of 2016 and where we can hope to see even more growth moving forward.

Using GIFs and an increase of video on Instagram

2016 is the year of the video and we expect Instagram to gain a whole lot more movement over the upcoming year. With new applications such as Apple’s Live Photos, Boomerang by Instagram and DSCO by VSCO, it’s no wonder that the social media platform is turning into somewhat of a live stream, allowing its users th personalize their posts and create a moving “snapshot” to share with their friends.

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But customers aren’t the only users taking advantage of the video trend. Brands can use this as an additional opportunity to showcase how their product or brand actually functions in real time. If you’re running a fashion boutique, for example, having an influencer post a short video clip of a twirling in a dress you sell will help better showcase how lightweight the dress might be better than a picture can.

Even Instagram is a top supporter of this trend already updating the social platform so videos play on loop rather than having users manually start each video.

Advertising on Instagram

In 2015 Instagram launched a variety of new features to increase the ways that brands could advertise through the social platform.

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Although many users aren’t keen to sponsored posts creeping up on their feeds, brands must realize the importance of creating relevant and engaging sponsored content that integrates itself into the users feed rather than scream out that it is an advertisement.

Linking to Content

In order to be successful on Instagram, brands must ensure that what they post is leading customers back to their original content, whether that be a blog, company website or online commerce site.

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Although Instagram currently does not possess the ability to allow brands to post links directly in the caption of an image, we have already seen the increase in features such as Instagram’s “Buy Now” Button and other services such as the popular Like To Know It. These web applications are the closest thing we have to making Instagram “shoppable” and if you are selling a tangible object it is imperative to utilize what is currently available.

Consider working with a top bloggers through these web services. For example if you want to work with a fashion influencer, encourage them to post an image wearing a top from your brand and link it with LikeToKnowIt so viewers can instantly see where to purchase the top.

 

Stock Photography 

As the visual social platform continues to grow, customers expect to see a stream of only high-quality imagery. As customers expect more and more, the idea of “stock photography”, meaning that perfect looking imagery, will continue to grow and brands must ensure that their image quality is at its best.

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Brands have the option to use outside tools such as Stocksy, which offers beautiful stock photography from Instagram-loved photographers, or Flashstock, which pairs brands with localized photographers around the world. These tools allow marketers to have more options to outsource their Instagram content. But high quality isn’t cheap — both of these tools come with a nominal fee based on the image chosen.

When working with influencers consider working out a way to double-check the imagery that they are planning to post. No one wants to see a blurry image on their feed so if the image they have planned is not high-quality enough, you want to have it switched out before it is exposed to the social platform.

Multiple Instagram Accounts 

As Instagram continues to grow, brands need to adapt to the idea that consumers are looking for very specific characteristics when turning to Instagram. Brands need to create multiple account for their different types of customers.

A great example of this is Nike. The brand has multiple accounts based on the type of customer that searches for them. For example, the brand has @nike, @nikewomen, @nikebasketball and many more, all cultivated towards the different types of customers they serve.

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This allows the brand to really hone in on what that specific brand persona of their customer is and how they can better market to the customer based on that. If a female customer is looking up the Nike brand on Instagram, she will be more likely to consider making a purchase if she sees an image of a women exercising in the Nike classic running short she’s interested in, rather than see a post of a man wearing basketball shorts.

When working with social media influencers, having multiple channels allows you to work with a variety of influencers. The more content you have available the more likely you can find an influencer that matches with your brand image.

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The Business Behind Influencer Marketing

Let’s take a step away from the whom and focus on the step-by-step process of how a business works with an influencer.

The first step is reaching out to contact the influencer. Depending on the influencer’s popularity within the social sphere he or she might have a manager ready on standby to negotiate sponsored content. If that’s the case, settle down and make the call. Typically the meetings will be between the business, the influencer and their manager. It’s at this point that  you must be forward in what way you want to work with the influencer . Make sure that you have spent time researching the influencer and what they typically blog or post about. It’s not uncommon that influencers will turn down businesses because they feel that their brand image and the product that you want them to post about to do not align.

If the influencer is still up and coming (which for small businesses are the key influencers to target and work with) they will provide the best way to contact them on their chosen social media platform. Regardless of popularity you must be forward in what you expect from the influencer and what they expect from your brand in return.

Moving forward, you booked your influencer, you know what you expect from them and they expect from you, now let’s talk financials.

YouTube star Vivian V. posts a sponsored post for Kohls Madden reaching her 356K+ followers on Instagram
YouTube star Vivian V. posts a sponsored post for Kohls Madden reaching her 356K+ followers on Instagram

So how does working with influencers turn away from the idea of doing a favor and into an action of business?

According to Harpar’s Baazar and New York based fashion blogger WeWoreWhat it’s all about the numbers. “Right now, Bernstein’s rate card, through Next Models, sets her range for the cost of a single piece of sponsored content (i.e. one Instagram shot) ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.”

The piece goes on to discuss that the rate can be negotiated depending on the terms of the deal, for example of a brand wants a long term commitment or multiple Instagram posts a deal might be able to be cut. But it doesn’t stop there, according to the piece influencers with 1 million or more followers can charge anywhere between $20,000 – $100,000 for a single post on the visual social platform.

Danielle of WeWoreWhat promoting makeup brand Maybelline on Instagram
Danielle of WeWoreWhat promoting makeup brand Maybelline on Instagram

I know what you’re thinking, those prices are a steep amount to pay for a single post and if you’re a start-up or small businesses, paying those prices isn’t plausible. This is where non-financial influencer marketing comes into play. Often times, smaller and lesser (although still relevant and popular) known influencers will offer to post and promote a product simply in exchange for the product itself.

Consider this example; you’re a small business that focuses on selling organic drinks with locally grown ingredients. You would search for health conscious bloggers who have already posted several times about some of their favorite natural beverages. Assuming they do not have a manager, you can reach directly out to them offering a package of top product in exchange for a review on their blog or even a social media post.

Instagram star and model Shannon Barker posts a picture of a Pressed Juicery drink on her Instagram
Instagram star and model Shannon Barker posts a picture of a Pressed Juicery drink on her Instagram

 

If you are working with an influencer on a non-financial partnership you must ensure that your product aligns with their personal image. If the influencer risks the chance that his or her readers will question the validity of the review of the product, they will most likely choose not to promote your product, knowing that their followers might lose trust in them and because they have no financial stake in the deal.