July 27, 2018

Where’s my influencer marketing ROI?

With all things digital, we expect results, fast. You can plug in a banner ad and credit card, and boom. Visitors start flowing in. You purchase just about any software product and within 15 minutes, you’re up and running. So in this environment of instant digital gratification you may be asking, where they heck is my ROI from influencer marketing?

Today we’ll help you calculate it! And there’s two things to know about doing that. The first, is that to find the ROI you’re looking for, you have to start off with goals in mind. And the second, is that really profitable relationships take real time. While other digital marketing channels can but much faster to the table, so too is fast food, and we both know what that does to you. If you’re willing to invest in cooking a proper meal, you’ll get far better results in the long run.

What are the positive, healthy side effects of influencer marketing? They are legion. It delivers $6.50 on every $1 invested, increases long-term reach, boosts followers, enhances customer quality, produces marketing content, and the list goes on.

So today, we invite you to eat a healthy meal and let’s explore the ROI behind it!

The first step for calculating influencer marketing ROI is to set out your goals clearly.

Begin with asking yourself the question, “what do I want from my influencer marketing program?” Some brands are trying to be seen, some are hoping to forge partner relationships, and others are just plain looking to drive revenue (and most are a combination of the three). In setting out those goals, measure where you’re starting out at today so that you have a benchmark.

Here are a few sample goals:

I want to ….

Drive an additional $2,500 in sales each month

Expose more than 500,000 consumers to my products

Increase my following on X social platform by 200%

Increase my users by X

Once the results are back in, we can calculate and compare.

Here are 7 ways for brands to calculate their influencer marketing ROI:

1. Dollars and cents: This is your good old fashioned bottom-line revenue, the life-blood of any business. You can think of it in terms either of net-new revenue generated or in terms of money saved generating the same revenue as before. Let’s explore a real life example.

The equation: (revenue earned from campaign – money spent on campaign) / money spent on campaign = ROI

GlossyBox offers deluxe beauty products in a subscription box. Because those are sold on a monthly subscription basis, their sales from influencer marketing became the gift box that kept on giving. They generated over $3k in monthly recurring revenue that continued for long after the campaign, meaning that the initially calculated $3 return on every $1 spent on the campaign will continue to double every month into the foreseeable future (minus their churn rate, of course). This is return is $3 right now, but will be $5.80, $11.17, and so on up.

For comparison’s sake, email marketing campaigns return $1.19 – $1.27 according to Marketing Sherpa.

2. Audience Reach: This has always been the common denominator for advertising, and will continue to be until the day when we’re all chipped and tracked by big brother, which hopefully is not soon. This is about getting the largest number of eyeballs on your ads so that familiarity will eventually lead to positive feelings and then a sale, while simultaneously admitting that we can’t fully track that entire journey because, well, life’s complicated. Traditionally it’s been difficult to wrangle a dollar-value ROI metric out of these exposure campaigns, but some influencer marketing platforms have used data science to calculate the dollar-value of impressions to give brands a useful benchmark.

The equation:

Derma e for example uses this method. They felt confident that video was the best way to both reach their audiences and to explain the value of their products. They ran a campaign and connected with 55 beauty influencers on YouTube who helped them reach 5 million people (the total views) which led to 150k new engagements from potential customers. For a fairly inexpensive campaign, the ROI based on _____ is _______.

3. Growth in followers: This calculation goes one layer deeper than audience reach in that your goal is to amplify your voice and power future campaigns. That is, when people follow you, they’re bound to hear everything you say in the future. Every post you make to your followers is like a free CPM campaign to an already engaged audience. Thus, you can either calculate the cost that you might have spent on advertising to reach that number of people, or you can think of it in terms of the lifetime value of a follower.

For example, Fashion Nova is an affordable fashion-forward LA brand who knew that visual impressions would be everything in appealing to their target demographic. They thus focused on Instagram and grew their followers from a respectable 700k to an impressive 2.3M through a series of campaigns. On an initial goal of 1M followers, they saw a ____% return on their money invested.

4. Grow in users: For those companies that operate on a subscription model and are focused on an ongoing relationship rather than a one-off sale, user growth is extremely important. Users compound the activity and buzz around your business. They interact, provide free product testing, create their own content, and if happy, evangelize you and help you achieve a viral growth factor.

Caldwell is a great example of a men’s style brand that tailors your look to generate the perfect wardrobe, taking the hassle out of looking great. They set out with a goal of acquiring 3,000 new users and through a series of campaigns, gathered 5,600. Because they had expected to generate new users at about $1 each, and for the same spend they generated them at $0.56, they saw an ROI of ______.

There we have it! Four methods for calculating your ROI! But we aren’t even half finished, because we’re on to a rapid-fire list of the intangible benefits that to many clients, outweigh the monetary ones.

How much are these benefits worth to you as a marketer?

5. Higher quality customers: Research shows that customers brought in through influencer marketing campaigns are ___ more loyal, typically because they were better educated upon arrival because of the influencer.

6. A content creation machine: Influencers create photos, narratives, and quotes that you can repurpose in other campaigns. Fashion Nova acquired 280 pieces of content this way, and Love with Food acquired 75 videos.

7. Residual marketing effects: Influencer’ activity continues to ripple across social media long after their campaigns are done. The content they create persists on their profiles and across all of the channels that it’s shared upon, generating additional traffic, views, and clicks for years to come (albeit at a diminishing rate).

Whew, we’re all done! We hope you’re feeling far more confident about calculating your influencer marketing ROI. If you’re like us when we first started many years ago, your eyes are wide like dinner plates in contemplating the multitude of benefits to influencer marketing, both tangible and intangible. The bottom line is that it generates sales, reach, followers, marketing content, and user growth, and that seems like a pretty good return from just one of your marketing channels.

July 27, 2018

Social influencers are one of the most effective marketing tools a brand can leverage to promote awareness and customer loyalty. In fact, the majority (92%) of consumers trust an influencer more than a traditional advertisement.

While it’s easy to see how this modernized word-of-mouth marketing tactic can increase the number of people you reach, what’s not always clear is the return on investment. Because influencer marketing doesn’t always result in direct sales conversions, you might need to try other tactics to measure your ROI. Here’s how seven Forbes Agency Council members recommend addressing this challenge.

Members of the Forbes Agency Council weigh in.IMAGES COURTESY OF FAC MEMBERS.

1. Use Tracked Links

It’s imperative when working with influencers to have a strong tracking mechanism. Ask influencers to use trackable links so you can measure traffic, engagement and, ideally, conversions on your site if possible. If influencers are wary of using tracking links, it may be an indication that they are not the best fit for your needs. – Kelly RuskBanfield Agency

2. Create A Branded Landing Page

You must tie your influencer campaign into a branded landing page in order to measure the ROI of that influencer. The influencers can have as much free reign as you’ll permit, as long as they drive their audience where you want them to go. Once on the landing page, you, as the brand, can incentivize the users and capture their lead info for measurement data and future communication. – Kenny EicherThe CSI Group

3. Tie Influencer Activities To Performance Channels

Influencer activations should deliver value to performance channels like SEO, generating traffic and quality links to valuable sections of your site. Map out in advance some keyword targets that you expect to improve visibility as a result of the partnership. SEO tends to be the most efficient acquisition channel, so make sure your influencer marketing efforts are benefiting it. – Jamey BainerPACIFIC Digital Group, Inc.

Measuring campaign engagement goals of your influencer marketing initiatives is a good indication of your brand’s awareness, loyalty, audience activities and ROI numbers. Engagement metrics such as views, clicks, likes, shares and mentions can be measured, which is ultimately solving the metric CPE, or cost per engagement. – Solomon ThimothyOneIMS

5. Look At Your Social Media Analytics And Referrals

One of the easiest metrics to track when using an influencer is social engagement. Track your social accounts for changes in total followers as well as new unfollows. Monitor your website traffic for an increase or decline in website visits from the social network. Are there spikes that align with the influencer’s activity? Do you see an increase in sales (or inquiries) directly following their activity? – Korena KeysKeyMedia Solutions

6. Consider The Overall Earned Media Value

We partner with influencers organically, where we mutually benefit from our collective social media engagement. Where possible, we add press tactics into the campaign for editorial uplift. We consider a mix of engagement, website traffic, campaign hashtags, influencer-linked URLs and editorial coverage metrics to come up with an earned media value. Fan comments provide anecdotal insights, too. – Gina MichnowiczUnion+Webster

7. Use Influencers To Reach Niche Audience Groups

The true value of influencer marketing lies in its ability to deliver a more meaningful message to niche groups within your target audience. Crafting very pointed messages for each of those groups and a clear role for the brand in their lifestyle can go an incredibly long way. This can help to build brand affinity among micro-audiences that may have previously brushed off your mass-market messaging. – Jess CookTMV Group

July 27, 2018

Like many social media infuencers, “Lil Miquela” posts photos of herself wearing high-end designer clothing with cleverly crafted captions.

She wears clothes from companies like Proenza Schouler, Coach and Balenciaga, and recommends hair products from OUAI for “keeping my strands silky smooth.” She has more than 1 million followers — most of whom are Millennials and Gen Zers.

Miquela also voices support for social causes like Black Lives Matter and has partnered with Prada on a campaign for Milan Fashion Week. She’s even released a few songs on Spotify(SPOT).

Since launching her Instagram account in 2016, the 19-year-old model from Downey, California, has become increasingly recognizable on social media. Her dark brown hair is often styled in double buns. She has freckles, brown eyes, bangs cut straight across her forehead, and goes to popular events like the music festival Coachella.

lil miquela main
A photo of Miquela from her Instagram page.

But in April, she made a confession.

“I am not a human being,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m a robot.”

Miquela is a CGI — or computer generated image — created by a Los Angeles-based startup called Brud. The company specializes in artificial inteligence and robotics. According to TechCrunch, Brud is backed by venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital, BoxGroup and SV Angel. Sequoia Capital declined to comment on whether they’re connected to Brud. BoxGroup and SV Angel did not respond to a request for comment.

Miquela is a part of an emerging group of “fake” virtual influencers, including BermudaBlawkoand Shudu, who’s known as the world’s first “digital” supermodel. Like Miquela, Blawko is a creation of Brud. (The company is reportedly behind Bermuda, too). A fashion photographer named Cameron-James Wilson is behind Shudu, who has over 120,000 followers.

Related: Snapchat is fighting Instagram for celebrity users

Like human social influencers, these CGI accounts often promote brands and products. But it’s unclear if any posts have been paid for by sponsors. Brud declined multiple requests for comment on this story.

In at least one case, Brud is profiting. Lifestyle news site Highsnobiety collaborated with Miquela on an $80 patterned shirt. According to a spokesperson for the brand, Miquela’s team receives a cut of the profits if the item is purchased from her online store, but not on the Highsnobiety site.

The concept of advertising via CGI influencers raises questions: How can they promote products they can’t try? Should companies and brands be transparent about creating or using virtual influencers?

“There’s room for consumers to be confused — and this should be [remedied],” said Olivier Toubia, a marketing professor at Columbia Business School.

Toubia says CGI influencers should have a “transparent relationship” with their followers about sponsorship deals, and it should be clear “who is real and who is not real.”

Jennifer Grygiel, a social media professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, agrees.

“It’s not obvious [she’s a CGI], and it’s not obvious on the post level,” said Grygiel, calling this concept “deeply problematic.”

“When I was growing up, at least we knew Barbie was a doll,” she said. “For over two years now, there could be people, teenagers especially, who thought [Miquela] maybe was a person,” she said. “We need the brands to disclose. We also need these companies to help so they’re not facilitating and participating in this mass deception.”

lil miquela 2
Miquela modeling a Proenza Schouler design.

Related: Instagram prioritizes newer posts after user complaints

But some advocates argue that being completely transparent about a CGI influencer’s identity isn’t necessary, that it’s obvious these aren’t real people and that actual humans edit themselves with Photoshop, too.

“How much do you see on Instagram that is authentic?” said Yoon Ahn, co-designer of the Ambush brand, which has worked with Miquela on an unpaid post. “How many Instagram models got surgically enhanced [and] are selling things? It’s the same thing, isn’t it? It’s not real.”

“Those products didn’t make that kind of hair. Those products didn’t make those kind of lips,” she added.

Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, an AI-enabled influencer marketing platform, views it as an authenticity issue, rather than an ethics one.

“Mannequins have been around for the last 100 years, and those are things in the store to sell beauty and to sell an ideal. So I think it’s not much different than that,” he said.

Why CGIs are attractive to brands

So what’s in it for brands? Virtual influencers can be particularly appealing to companies, according to Influential’s Detert. It can be less risky than partnering with a person because there is more control over the image.

“Assuming the design team can design quickly enough, they will always be able to post the right thing at the right time with the right angle that the brand wants,” he said.

There won’t be issues in a CGI’s past that could get the brand in trouble, such as criminal history or use of profanity, Detert added. It’s also a way for companies to show they’re creative and on the cutting edge of technology.

Tyler Haney, CEO of Outdoor Voices, said her company likes to be “experimental” when speaking to an audience about the brand. Miquela posted photos of herself wearing an athletic dress by Outdoor Voices as part of a recent campaign.

Haney began following Miquela on Instagram and originally didn’t know she was a CGI. She was later connected to Brud through an investor. Haney wanted to partner with her even though she learned she wasn’t human.

“We’re constantly thinking about ways we can use tech to create a more interesting, engaged customer experience,” Haney said. “I enjoy finding cool and interesting ways to bring product to life.”

Other brands, such as Barneys, don’t seem to mind Miquela isn’t real, either. Marissa Rosenblum, VP of content at Barneys New York, told CNNMoney the company was interested in reaching Miquela’s audience of Gen Zers and didn’t partner with her solely because she’s a CGI.

Experts believe we’ll see more of these CGIs in the future.

“More and more, people might start blurring the line between AI and human,” Detert said.

Brand interest and guidelines

Through social media stars, brands can reach specific, niche audiences in a more authentic way compared to traditional advertising.

“One of the big benefits is trust,” Columbia’s Toubia said. “People tend to trust recommendations from people more than they trust brands or advertising or commercials.”

The Federal Trade Commission has guidelines for human social influencers endorsing products. But these rules should apply to CGIs too, the agency told CNNMoney.

“The FTC doesn’t have specific guidance on CGI influencers, but advertisers using CGI influencer posts should ensure that the posts are clearly identifiable as advertising,” said an FTC spokesperson.

This means social media posts should have a disclosure, such as “#ad” or “#sponsored” if the company is paying you to promote something. The FTC also advises influencers to make disclosures if they receive items for free.

Brands can be subject to fines if guidelines aren’t followed.

Issues of transparency

For early creators, such as photographer Cameron-James Wilson, not being upfront about the CGI influencer’s true identity was part of the mystery, and contributed to the hype and intrigue.

shudu gram
A photo of Shudu “wearing” a lipstick from singer Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line.

His creation Shudu appeared so lifelike that Semhal Nasreddin — the creator of clothing line SOULSKY — thought Shudu was a promising up-and-coming model from Africa. Last year, Nasreddin reached out to Shudu and sent her a free shirt to promote.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that Wilson admitted to Nasreddin that Shudu wasn’t real.

“I thought she was a real emerging person with incredible potential,” Nasreddin said. “As you can imagine, it was a surprise to me [when I found out]. She just looked so real, which is a credit to how good his artwork is … and a tribute to how far the technology has come.”

But Nasreddin, whose background is Ethiopian and Eritrean, said she didn’t feel deceived by Wilson.

“I feel like he represented her image in a dignified way,” she said. “There was nothing exploitative about it, or demeaning, or anything negative behind it.”

Wilson told CNNMoney he has not yet participated in any paid deals with Shudu. He didn’t immediately disclose she wasn’t real because he wanted to see if people would think she’s human. Now, Shudu’s Instagram profile page says “Shudu Gram World’s First Digital Supermodel.”

“When you’re doing 3D, for people to be convinced that what you’re doing is real, is a major thing,” said Wilson, calling her a form of art.

But when asked whether or not Wilson would hide a CGI’s identity from followers again, he said: “Absolutely not.”

— CNNMoney’s Lisa Fischer contributed reporting.

Originally Reported at :

July 24, 2018

You will have no doubt heard someone who works in marketing, whether it’s a colleague, industry resource or thought leader, harping on about influencer marketing and why it is ‘the’ thing to add to your comprehensive marketing strategy in 2016.

With the rise of social media platforms as an avenue to influence consumer purchasing decisions, influencer marketing has become a trending topic that is rapidly gaining momentum.

While many marketers understand why they need to add influencer marketing to their digital marketing strategy, many don’t know how to incorporate influencers to complement their other marketing and advertising efforts, both online and offline.

To spark some ideas and inspire you to add influencer marketing to your strategy right away, here are 13 different ways your brand can work with influencers to communicate your message, increase exposure and awareness, support your content marketing activities, drive traffic to your website and ultimately, generate more sales.

1. Discount Codes and Affiliate Marketing

If your goal is specifically to drive sales via influencer marketing, your campaign needs to be structured with an incentive for both the consumer and the influencer.

Encourage consumers to make a purchase with an effective call to action accompanied by an exclusive discount code (or gift voucher coupon) that is too good to refuse.

In addition, provide the influencer with an affiliate link to really get them behind your product and/or service.

Unsure what we mean by an affiliate link?

No problem!

An Affiliate link is a specific URL that includes the affiliate’s (the blogger or influencer) ID or username so brands and advertisers can attribute sales directly to their campaign and pass on any commissions earned from sales they converted, as per their affiliate agreement.

As influencers love passive income and affiliate links can be quite lucrative when used properly, it’s a win-win for both the brand and influencer when it comes to finding a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Keep in mind though that affiliate marketing only works if the influencer and their audience is a good fit with your brand, and there is a lot of engagement on their platforms.

On a side note, discount codes and affiliate marketing will also help you track and report on the success of each campaign and attribute the sales that were generated from the engagement, giving you a better understanding of the ROI.

2. Competitions and Giveaways

So you want to increase brand awareness and exposure among your target market?

Collaborating with an influencer to host a competition or giveaway is a great way to expose your brand to new followers and potential customers.

Competitions and giveaways also get everyone involved and engaged with the brand and product (and when people don’t win the prize, they often feel inclined to make a purchase anyway for fear of missing out).

Warning: before hosting a competition or giveaway with an influencer, be sure to check the local and national laws and regulations on the subject and also abide by the competition guidelines set by each individual social network.

For more information on running a competition or giveaway, check out this blog post by the team at Social Media Examiner.

3. Long-term Ambassador Roles

Much like celebrity endorsements, long-term ambassador roles with influencers have the potential to lift a brand from drab to fab quite rapidly.

If you’ve dabbled in influencer marketing and discovered one particular influencer who really resonates with your brand and target customers, why not engage them in a long-term campaign and see the momentum build on from your original engagement.

Long-term ambassador roles are great because they ensure the influencer does not promote any competing brands for the collaboration period, and it also appears more authentic and genuine when an influencer supports a brand that they genuinely love over a long period of time rather than the week (or day) of the one-off campaign.

4. Sponsored Blog Post

In saying that, there is still a place for the humble blog post, even with the rise of social media influencers and proliferation of video content on the web.

While influencer marketing in the form of blog posts is great for a number of reasons, the greatest benefit is more technical than anything else.

Blog posts are indexed on search engines, so unlike social media mentions, they can be searched and consumed by web users for months, and quite often years, after the original publication date.

Blog posts also support your SEO strategy and backlink profile, as influencers will often include a link that points back to your website, simultaneously driving traffic, increasing sales and improving your search engine rank.

Now that influencers are turning their personal brand into a business, often sponsored fees may be involved as compensation for their time and effort, so be prepared and expect a fee if you want to collaborate with top and middle tier influencers in your niche.

Not sure what blog content about your brand would look like?

5. PR Stunt

The PR stunt can be a risky exercise because there is no guarantee that your activation will generate the coverage and achieve the intended goals (whether that’s brand exposure, email sign-ups or increase sales).

It’s risky business, but it can reap some big rewards if executed by the right team and at the perfect time.

Coverage is essential to a good PR stunt, so before you go ahead, research your audience and curate a list of target influencers who are a perfect fit for your brand and campaign message so you can include them in the PR activation and maximise your reach.

Some PR professionals will argue that traditional media is the best outlet for a publicity stunt, however if your target market is millennials, influencers are certainly more effective.

6. Social Media Mention

Influencers are becoming super savvy with their social media platforms, and only mention brands, products and venues they genuinely love, or that they have a working relationship with.

To be featured on an influencers social media platforms, it is best if you personally engage them first (via email is best) to introduce your brand and talk about how a collaboration might look. If you’re not sure where to start, follow the template below and customise the fields in red.

Hi (Influencers real name),

I wanted to reach out and introduce you to (Your brand/business) as we would love to collaborate with you. We are a (1 x sentence about your brand and what makes you special) and would love to (Send you a product/invite you to an event/facilitate a relationship etc) as we think you will really love our (Product or service that fits their style and aesthetic).

Of course, we would be thrilled to be feature on your (Platform – Instagram, Youtube, Blog) if you think it’s a good fit.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on (your brand/business) and look forward to chatting to you further.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Kind regards,

(Your name, email signature, title, contact details and website/social media platforms).

Be open to gifting complimentary products and experiences in exchange for the mention (more info below on gifting and contra strategies) and give them everything they need to fall in love with your brand.

Although it might seem like an easy task, influencers take content creation very seriously, so give them time and the resources they need to produce the best image that combines their profile with your brand.

From our experience, we’ve found a social media mention is more effective when paired with a complete collaboration (blog post, Youtube video, multi-platform campaign) and/or a long-term relationship. Otherwise, your brand mention will get lost in the crowd after a couple of hours.

7. Event Activation

An event activation is a great way to engage a whole group of influencers and media at the same time, so it is a great opportunity to really maximise your coverage and brand exposure.

The most important thing about an event activation is having a guest list that is full of people who can spread the word about your brand, both during the event and in the weeks following.

To get a host of relevant influencers to your event, you should design an invitation and send it out to your guest list a couple of weeks in advance. and are two fantastic tools that can help you create professional invitation documents, especially if you don’t design savvy.

Be sure to include the date, time, location, dress code and RSVP details, as well as an overview of the event and what to expect. It’s also a great idea to extend the influencers invitation to include a guest, as they are more likely to attend if they can bring a friend, partner or fellow influencer to accompany them.

To distribute the invitations, reach out to the influencers (or their talent managers) via email rather than social media comments or private messages, as it is more professional and you can attach the invite so they check their schedule, reply with their RSVP and archive the invitation information.

Influencers need good imagery for their platforms, so if you want them to share their experience ensure your event has good lighting, fun decor and lots of photo opportunities.

If the influencers can take great pics at your event, they’re much more likely to share them on their social media platforms.

After all, it’s all about the picture on most social media networks and a good picture sells your brand much better than a bad one.

Don’t believe us?

Check out these 37 visual content marketing statistics on how and why visual content receives more engagement than written.

8. Onsite Guest Blogging

If you’re working with a limited budget and want to kick-start your influencer marketing strategy with a few wins on the board, open your onsite blog to guest submissions from influencers in your niche.

It’s a win-win type of collaboration because you get new and exciting content for your blog and the opportunity to work with relevant influencers and be featured across their platforms.

In return, the influencer receives exposure to your audience and a great backlink to their website.

9. Influencer Takeover

Create a more meaningful connection with a key influencer in your industry and have them take over one or all of your social media platforms for a period of time.

It could be 24 hours, a couple of days or an entire week, whatever works best for your brand, your audience and the influencer.

Why does it work?

The influencer generally promotes the collaboration and takeover on their platforms, which drives traffic and new followers to your landing pages.

It’s also great for content generation and to attach your brand to a public figure for a period of time, much like a celebrity endorsement.

10. Contra Strategies and Gifting

Each week, influencers receive a large volume of requests for their mailing address which leads to a bounty of ‘gifts’ on their doorsteps, most with a not so subtle string attached to their arrival.

Marketers and PR professionals are getting sneaky with their tactics, offering to gift influencers a product or experience in the hope it is featured and promoted across their platforms.

Like PR stunts, contra strategies and gifting are risky business because there’s no guarantee that the brand will be featured.

In saying that, it is a great way to introduce influencers to your brand and generate some exposure without investing money in sponsored or paid collaborations.

Before approaching a contra or gifting strategy, it’s best to make contact with the influencer first to see if they are interested, and include an idea of your expectations/outcomes without putting pressure on the relationship.

Be guided by the influencers response and treat each collaborative opportunity on a case-by-case basis.

11. The “Creative Director” Role

This type of collaboration is quite creative and is most effective when implemented on a large scale, so it should be reserved for opportunities where you work with big influencers so you can really generate ROI and move the needle for your brand.

Make an influencer the creative director for a project, such as a capsule fashion collection or a bespoke range of health food products.

The options are limitless when it comes to a creative direction role, so brainstorm some ways you can have an influencer join your team (short-term or long-term) and create a new and exclusive offering for your customers.

Not only will your customers love it, but the influencer will too as it helps to build their portfolio and establish their skillset in the public eye.

12. The PR Approach

There’s never any harm in reaching out to an influencer or publisher to introduce yourself and/or your brand so they can keep you in mind for any editorial opportunities that are coming up.

It’s also a good opportunity to ask what they are working on and pitch some ideas that you could be a part of.

  • Could they interview you for a profile piece?
  • Can they feature your product in a seasonal round-up?
  • Is your product a good fit for their upcoming home renovation or tropical island holiday?

Take on a PR approach to influencer marketing and foster a relationship with influencers so you can have an open conversation about what they’re up to and how your brand could naturally be incorporated into their content.

13. Banner Ads

Web consumers are becoming more savvy, so blatant advertising and banner ads are losing their appeal among digital influencers, and particularly bloggers.

However, for both influencers and brands alike, banner ads are an important revenue channel which cannot be ignored. Banner ads work best when the brand and the influencer align perfectly, and should be accompanied by other forms of digital advertising (blog post, social media mention) to ensure maximum exposure and interest.

While there are many options when it comes to collaborating with influencers in your niche, not all will be the right fit for your brand.

To ensure you hit your KPI’s, the collaboration must be mutually beneficial for both parties involved and one cannot take advantage of the other.

Originally reported at –>

July 13, 2018

Twitter is cutting millions of dubious accounts from user follower counts, the company announced on Wednesday, as the platform continues its efforts to weed out trolls and fake accounts.

Locked accounts, which have been made inactive until further verification by Twitter, will be expunged from follower counts starting on Thursday, the company announced in a blog post.

“Most people will see a change of four followers or fewer; others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop,” said Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust. “We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation.”

Twitter noted these accounts are different from spam and bot accounts — two other issues that have plagued the platform — in that they were usually started by “real people,” but the company is unable to verify they’re still being run by their initial creators.

The announcement follows the Washington Post’s report last week Twitter is increasingly cracking down on fake accounts, with the company suspending 70 million accounts between May and June. The company’s stock fell 9 percent on Monday, as Wall Street worried Twitter’s plan to cleanup its platform would impact its user base. Twitter said on Thursday its removal of locked accounts from follower counts will not impact its daily or monthly user count.

Gadde said the removal of locked accounts aims to give users a more “meaningful and accurate” depiction of follower counts.


Originally reported:

June 21, 2018

Here’s a look at Instagram’s longform video feature IGTV

June 2, 2018

Its rate limit was slashed from 5,000 calls per hour to 200, without warning

Instagram has become a key pillar of most influencer marketing strategies, but what happens when that pillar starts to crumble without warning because of privacy controversies at its parent company, Facebook?

On March 30, Instagram slashed the rate limit on its platform API (application-programming interface) from 5,000 calls per hour to 200 with no advance notice for developers.
The lower rate limit provides access to far less data than developers were able to pull prior to the change, forcing some to make tough choices about where to allocate their calls.

Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, an influencer marketing platform backed by IBM’s Watson, said some of his company’s third-party partners have resorted to rationing the number of hashtags they track, while others have found tools such as sentiment-tracking APIs to be unavailable or limited.

Detert pointed out that verified business accounts on Instagram have access to more than 200 calls per hour. However, Mavrck co-founder and CEO Lyle Stevens countered, “Several influencer platforms instructed creators to switch over to Instagram business profiles immediately to continue using their services, which we feel is impulsive and self-serving.”

Instagram abruptly announced last Wednesday that the depreciation of the Instagram API Platform in favor of the Instagram Graph API—which was originally scheduled to occur in two phases, July 31 and Dec. 11—was happening “effective immediately,” again leaving developers no time to prepare.

Joseph Varghese, co-founder and head of technology at social media analytics provider Unmetric, described his company’s reaction to last week’s developments: “Fortunately, some parts have already been converted to use the Graph API and the rest are being explored right now. It’s an inconvenience for our clients who expect to see uninterrupted competitive data for Instagram, but we hope and expect to have things up and running again once Instagram starts reopening access.”

Some influencer marketing platforms escaped relatively unscathed, as they rely on first-party opt-ins from creators to directly access their data, using API tokens only for that purpose and relying on fewer calls per hour than other platforms.

Why did everything occur so abruptly? Pierre-Loic Assayag, co-founder and CEO of influencer marketing platform Traackr, echoed the surprise of many in his industry, saying, “Facebook has always had a true developer culture. Even when it is changing its terms, it has always allowed for a bit of lead time and provided an explanation.”

Detert agreed, saying, “I get why they did it. I would have loved a better heads up.”

Instagram is far too embedded in most influencer marketing strategies for companies to declare that they will drastically cut back their emphasis on the platform or leave it altogether, and common themes among those we spoke with were being “platform-agnostic” and finding ways to make their platforms work in the new environment.

Detert did not foresee a mass influencer exodus, saying, “Consumers are still on Instagram and love the product. Despite there being less data because people weren’t prepared for this, influencers still have deals.”

Assayag did not seem to be on the verge of immediate moves, either, saying, “There’s no freak-out factor for us. In the short term, we’ll figure out ways to keep the lights on with some of the Instagram data that is still available.”

However, he did not rule out a shift in the near future, adding, “More of a question for us and our clients is: How is it going to affect the behavior of influencers? Many of them were betting on Instagram, and there is probably going to be a reallocation of time and resources. I’m not suggesting that Instagram is going down the tubes because of this, but it will hinder its momentum, particularly with millennials and Gen Z.”

Meanwhile, Mavrck had already begun prioritizing Pinterest before the changes last week, with Stevens pointing to its commerce focus, the longer half-life of content on that platform (“several months versus several days”) and its “search-first nature,” which he said “allows creator content to be exposed to more people than it is via Instagram’s ‘follow a creator.’”

“I’m not saying this is the wrong move for Facebook and Instagram, but it’s going to hurt them more than they know,” Assayag said.

Original Story: Adweek – David Cohen, Editor of Adweek’s Social Pro Daily

June 2, 2018

Instagram introduced Business Profiles in 2016. Since then many businesses have chosen to switch their Instagram accounts from a personal profile to a business profile.

The change seemed inevitable, with Instagram now being owned by Facebook. In many ways, Instagram acts as an extension of Facebook, emphasizing the visual element, and this is particularly the case for business accounts and advertising.

There has been some resistance to making the change though. Many businesses have noticed the lower organic reach of their Facebook pages compared to personal Facebook profiles. They were worried that the same would happen with Instagram. In practice, however, there does not appear to be as much stigma attached to an Instagram Business Profile than there is to a Facebook Business Page. If you continue to share quality material through your Instagram Account, you are unlikely to see much if any reduction in organic reach.

This doesn’t mean that you should avoid having a Facebook Page for your business, however, as operating a Facebook page is a requirement for being able to convert to an Instagram Business Profile.

You will lose two features when you convert to a business profile, however:

  1. The ability to make your posts private
  2. The ability to link to multiple Facebook profiles – instead you connect your Instagram account to your business’ Facebook page

In reality, although these features may be of value to a personal account, they would have little if any use for a business account, wanting to market, which is probably why Instagram removed them.

December 8, 2017

All brands are shifting over to Audience Insight’s main platform

Facebook’s Audience Insight scrubs everything from demographics to income data.
Getty Images

Facebook has long held a tight grip on what data advertisers can and cannot access. Now, it’s pulling some of the reins away from social media vendors as it shutters its Audience Insight API.

This week, Facebook quietly shut down its research tool, which allowed social vendors including Spredfast to build billion-dollar businesses by tapping into the social network’s firehose of data and crunch vast amounts of user information for marketers.

Audience Insights digs up aggregated demographic, interest and lifestyle data, including age, education levels, job titles, hobbies, family size, income and location. Importantly, Audience Insights is not part of Facebook’s significantly bigger Marketing API that hundreds of ad-tech companies like Adobe and Hootsuite use to manage budgets, create audience profiles and run campaigns. Now that the API is closing, the social vendors—and all companies—are being transferred over to another version of the Audience Insights program, where Facebook supplies its data directly to marketers instead of going through a middleman.

In a statement, Facebook said: “We have decided to focus marketers on our more broadly available Audience Insights tool, so we are winding down the Audience Insights API by end of year. We’ll continue testing different ways to provide valuable insights to advertisers and agencies through the tool and across other destinations on Facebook.”

Can marketers trust Facebook?

However, removing middlemen from Audience Insights is causing some marketers to question the validity in unvetted metrics from Facebook; the platform is simultaneously embroiled with Congress over Russia-backed adspurchased during the 2016 presidential election, leaving marketers feeling even more uneasy about the social giant.

“Most advertisers do see value in the data that Facebook provides, but with all the recent news, it’s been a little bit more challenging to trust it as much as we used to,” said Courtney Blount, associate director at The Media Kitchen. “It goes against what they’re trying to [convey], which is [that] they are transparent and willing to share their data. I do wonder if they will go through with this knowing how much PR they’re trying to do.”

Blount also questioned Facebook’s interest in getting into areas beyond advertising, noting that it is historically “not heavy on client services—I would be interested to see if they were providing these insights on a more ongoing basis directly to agencies and brands.”

Kirk Drummond, CEO of Drumroll, said that shutting the door on Facebook’s data could be a good thing in light of its current controversies. “There’s definitely something to be said about limiting who has access to the data, because you also limit how many people have to defend somebody trying to come after that data,” he said.

Over the past 18 months or so, advertisers have increasingly demanded transparency from Facebook’s data following a string of measurement problem discoveries. According to Carolyn Everson, vp of global marketing solutions,Facebook has 24 partnerships with third-party measurement companies to vet the platform’s stats.

Facebook launched the Audience Insight API at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2016; Mondelez and Anheuser-Busch were the first brands to test it. Since then, the API has remained in beta, and a handful of social aggregators that pull data from multiple social platforms are plugged into the API.

Revenue potential

Agency execs said Facebook doesn’t charge for Audience Insights—yet.

During recent earnings calls, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has communicated to investors that Facebook is close to hitting a tipping point with ad load, and that it soon won’t be able to pack more ads into newsfeeds. As a result, it’s eyeing new forms of revenue through its messaging app Messenger and could turn Insight Audiences into a paid product that scrubs Facebook’s users for deep troves of data.

“My hunch is that it reflects ongoing efforts to figure out how to monetize,” said Drummond.

The Media Kitchen’s Blount added that a new revenue stream could also help Facebook make further inroads directly with brands and marketers by cutting out an agency or social vendor.

“It could be potentially turning into a new revenue stream for them to provide additional access to clients and brands,” she said.

Additional reporting by Marty Swant.

Originally Reported: