Twitter Parties: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

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By: Courtney Moser

Let’s address the digital elephant in the room before we begin here. Twitter parties aren’t actually “parties.” There’s no music, cocktail attire, appetizers or even alcohol. That said, they’re still fun and beneficial to brands, bloggers and consumers alike, and a great way to put the power of influencer marketing to work in a different way for your brand.

What is a Twitter party?

A Twitter party is a live chat with a designated time to connect and share thoughts and expertise on a topic via Twitter. So, for example, an athletic brand promoting their event would say “Join us this Friday at noon for a Twitter party to discuss the latest fitness trends.” There are many reasons to host a Twitter party, from launching a new product to pumping up a brand campaign to increasing your social value.

Usually, the party is hosted by an expert in a field representing a brand, company or website. There’s also often a blogger, thought leader or small business accompanying that brand to offer more value and different points of view. A question-and-answer Twitter party format is popular because it’s an easy way to promote the brand, incorporate influencers and increase engagement.

Every Twitter party typically has an assigned hashtag to help the brand and participants track the conversation. To get involved, all you have to do is tweet using the hashtag – ask questions, get answers, share experiences and even give advice. After the party is over, other users can still view and search your hashtag on the platform.

Why should you care? Branding, Reach & Consumer Connections

But what’s the benefit of these parties? Good question. One goal of Twitter parties is to achieve a trending hashtag, which is basically free advertising for your blog or brand. And if a Twitter influencer retweets your information or insights, your social media reach could suddenly expand to include a whole new set of followers and potentially loyal consumers (is your target audience on Twitter?). At the very least, Twitter followers will be retweeting, liking and replying to your posts—resulting in greater awareness and improved engagement.

By setting objectives and measuring metrics such as reach and engagement, you can see the value of Twitter parties firsthand. With 320 million users on Twitter, the platform offers a great way to share messages and connect with consumers in real time. Plus, 80 percent of Twitter users are on mobile devices, making it a convenient, on-the-go form of social networking and marketing. Twitter is also a top network internationally, with 79 percent of its users living outside the U.S., and 35 languages supported.

In short, a Twitter party is beneficial to everyone involved:

Brands/Advertisers: Connect with your consumers, expand reach, assert yourself as an industry expert
Influencers: Promote your blog, networks and expertise to a brand’s fan base
Consumers: Get direct answers to your questions from industry experts

Forget just a win-win situation: Twitter parties are a win-win-win. To learn more about how influencer marketing strategies, such as Twitter parties, can help you increase your reach, contact the Find Your Influence team today.

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Provide Feedback to Your Influencers

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By Courtney Moser

It’s not all about you.

We can get so caught up in the chaos of business – deadlines, campaigns, reports, meetings, and so on – that we forget how important feedback is. The success of your future influencer marketing campaigns depends on your influencers, their high-quality content and the relationship you cultivate with them. Basically? Don’t leave your influencers hanging after a campaign!

According to Social Media Today, 70% of consumers would rather learn about a product through content than traditional advertising. And who is the content expert here? Your influencers. Let’s not forget about them and their role in telling your story, increasing awareness, driving website traffic and improving engagement.

In fact, UK beauty video blogger Fleur de Force advises companies to “approach influencers and say ‘this is our idea, how does it fit into your content?’ Nobody knows their audience better than the influencer themselves.”

Influential bloggers are followed for their unique voice and writing or photography style, so brands should respect that creativity in sponsored content as well. Recent eMarketer research found that 77 percent of influencers site creative freedom as a primary reason for choosing to work with a brand more than once.  From the beginning of your campaign, everyone should be on the same page. Clear communication is vital, and you should be working as a team toward your end goals.

Share feedback with your influencers both during and after your influencer marketing campaign for the best results. This way, there’s a positivity around your professional partnership. While the campaign is still going, for example, you can send messages about content you loved, share their social posts or privately let them know if something needs to be changed or edited. If a piece of content is different than your brand would like or expected, it’s critical to reach out to the influencer immediately to discuss before it goes any farther in the campaign.

Sending a personal message, small gift or thank you note to your influencers after the campaign is a great way to plant a seed for a future partnership. Liking and commenting on their social posts is another way to keep the opportunity for future collaboration open. Show gratitude for the time and effort they put into it, and continue to demonstrate why you’re a worthy, authentic brand to work with in this crowded market.

To learn more about influencer marketing, check out our best practices series here.

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How to Choose the Best Influencer Marketing Campaign for You

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By Courtney Moser

It’s estimated that we make 35,000 decisions every day.

Seriously, 35,000? We’re going to skip counting and just take their word for it! Regardless, at FYI we agree that we’re faced with constant options and divergent paths. Along with deciding what to eat, what to wear, and so on, we also have to make many business decisions.

Just within marketing, for example, there are countless choices that will impact your business. Where you should start when it comes to a marketing strategy? What channels you should use to achieve the best results? Influencer marketing can be an extremely valuable addition to your comprehensive marketing plan. Working with blogging or social media influencers can help you align with company goals, strategize creative campaigns and reach new audiences.

There are 150 million blog readers in the U.S alone, and 31.1 percent of consumers say that blogs influence their purchase decisions. Similarly, 57 percent of marketers say that they’ve acquired customers via their blog.

By increasing awareness of your brand or launching a new product through influencer marketing, you can drive traffic to your website and create buzz in the market. But which type of influencer marketing campaign is right for you? Following is a breakdown of four main campaign concepts we use at Find Your Influence (FYI) to help you decide.

  1. Brand Awareness – What is the meaning behind your company’s name, logo and slogan? Thanks to the evolution of the internet, brand awareness has become increasingly significant. The public is more equipped than ever, with mobile and social tools, to communicate quickly about your brand. This type of influencer marketing campaign focuses on increasing overall brand awareness. This strategy can help your brand reach exposure not only in your own backyard, but across the (digital) globe.
  1. Product Awareness – Influencer marketing can be a creative way to get your product in front of new and larger audiences. When a blogger vouches for your product and tells their readers how much they enjoy it, they are increasing your product’s visibility. A strong online presence, with positive reviews, can also enhance the company’s credibility.
  1. Product or Service Launch – Increase exposure and up the credibility of your brand with this influencer marketing strategy. If you’re launching a new product or service, influencers can help you create buzz, demonstrate best uses and get user feedback. A new flavor of tomato sauce, for example, can be cooked with and photographed in many different ways by various food bloggers.
  1. Seasonal Campaign – The holidays are the busiest times of the year, and influencer marketing offers an effective way to market and increase the success of your seasonal campaign. Some of the most popular posts for influencers are during the holiday season, as their readers are looking to them for guidance – whether it’s costume ideas, Thanksgiving recipes, gift guides and more.

Ultimately, choosing the right influencer campaign for you and your brand is crucial: The success of your campaign depends on it. Here at FYI, we’re experts in this space and we’re happy to help you pick the perfect campaign for your needs.

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Your 101 Guide to Influencer Marketing Campaigns

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By Courtney Moser

 

What’s influencer marketing?

Welcome to word-of-mouth marketing, on steroids. Any solid 101 guide starts with the absolute basics, just to ensure everyone’s on the same page.

Let’s ignore the illegal aspects of steroids for a minute, and appreciate the benefits. They inflate, or pump up, what was to be what is. It’s like giving that one old-school brand ambassador (“Sally, I’ve been using their shampoo for thirty years!”) a microphone and YouTube channel. All of a sudden – bam! – what was one person telling another is now one person reaching hundreds or thousands with the same message.

It’s clear, then, how great the potential impact of influencer marketing is for brands looking to increase awareness and drive sales.  The question changes from why to how – you understand the purpose and benefits, and would like to know how you can utilize this marketing strategy to spread your brand message. The following basic outline will help you launch your influencer marketing campaign.

 

Step 1: Identify your goals, budget + measurements

First things first, figure out what you’re trying to do. There are a variety of ways influencer marketing can help your brand, but it’s smart to focus on one or two to begin with. This will help you target the right influencers and craft campaign requirements that are concise and align with your brand strategy.

Here are a few examples of common influencer marketing goals:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Launch and promote a new product

Once you’ve landed on a goal, it’s time to think about measurements. Make sure you choose goals and metrics you can accurately track. Most campaigns will have a corresponding hashtag to track brand awareness on social networks. You can also provide your influencers with trackable links so that you can easily see how many people are clicking to your site or signing up for your mailing list. Another great way to track your campaign is with a promo code for a discount on your product.

With those measurements in mind, the same list of goals from above would look like this:

  • Increase brand awareness by expanding social reach by 30% using a branded hashtag
  • Bring 3,000 new clicks to a product-focused landing page
  • Launch new product with the goal of reaching 500,000 consumers

For a more detailed look at measurement, check out this blog post written by a Find Your Influence (FYI) co-founder.

Finally, figure out your budget. Influencer marketing can be a really affordable marketing option with a great ROI. But, you do have to pay your influencers. So set a budget before you reach out to them. Successful influencers have a brand of their own that they’re working to grow and maintain – they’re business people too. Make an offer and negotiate a rate. It will likely vary depending on expertise, followership and engagement rates. If setting a rate without proof of efficacy makes you uncomfortable, ask for the numbers. Influencers should be able to provide data points like traffic per day, social engagement rate and average reach.

 

Step 2:  Create your campaign

Once you’ve set your goals, budget and measurements, it’s time to choose a campaign concept. The type of campaign will stem from your strategy and goals, as addressed above.  What kind of campaign do you want to launch? How will it help you reach your goals? Following are a few common ideas:

  • Launch a series of sponsored blog posts with a streamlined topic or focus
  • Have a variety of influencers take over your Instagram for a short time
  • Throw a Twitter party

Part of your campaign concept should include the creation of a campaign brief outlining the details to give to your influencers. If your company requires contracts, legal approval and/or paperwork, this is also the time to get that worked out.

When you’re creating the campaign brief, you should include deadlines, hashtags, messaging requirements and suggestions, and anything else you can think of that might be helpful to your influencers. After you’ve picked influencers, you’ll send them the creative brief to begin your partnership. And that leads us to… choosing your influencers.

 

Step 3: Find + contact influencers

How do you find the right influencers for your campaign? Start searching, clicking and reading. You’re looking for engaging bloggers, social media superstars, video hosts, subject experts, and so on. This can take some time because you’re going to want to identify more influencers you need, as it’s likely that not all of them will agree to the campaign.

There are a few things to consider when you start contacting influencers. First of all, you want influencers who are already writing about topics that relate to your brand or industry. For instance, if you’re selling high heels, you probably shouldn’t be partnering with a blogger who writes primarily about sports — even if that blogger has a massive following. Partnering with influencers who don’t make sense for your brand can have a substantially negative impact on the success of your campaign.

While you’re looking for the right influencers, consider your goals. If you’re measuring reach, look for influencers who have an impressive (relevant!) social following. If you’re hoping to drive engagement, look for influencers who have a lot of comments on their blog and profiles. Surprisingly, these two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. An influencer with a smaller following might have better engagement than an influencer with a massive following. Both have their value.

 

Step 4: Track results + distribute payments

By this time, you’ve either launched your campaign or you’re ready to launch. Great work! But you’re not done yet. Now it’s time for tracking. Based on the detailed goals you’ve put together and the metrics discussed in this post, you know exactly how you’re going to be tracking the campaign.

Ensure your campaign has fully run its course before you start reporting on the data. Combine data points and try to gather key insights. Once you have it all together, provide feedback to your influencers. Let them know that they made an impact and are appreciated! This is also a good time to decide what you think worked well and what could have been done better so that you can improve your next campaign.

 

Does this seem like a lot of work? It is! That’s why we created a platform that helps you efficiently manage all of these steps and more. By using the Find Your Influence platform, you can search for influencers with keywords and other filters, draft campaign briefs, launch campaigns, track results and make one-click payments—all in one. We’ll save you time and money, and you’ll be working with industry experts who can help you launch a successful campaign.

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Scale and Repeat

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By Courtney Moser

Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Of course, there’s a fine line between perseverance and insanity then, isn’t there? How do you know when it’s time to try something new?

If your first influencer marketing campaign didn’t have the outcome or results you wanted, make a change. Don’t try the exact same method again, but keep the aspects you really liked and take a hard look at everything else. Analyze what you can improve or customize, and see if the numbers give you any clues. Were the blog post views up to par? Maybe the content wasn’t authentic enough or you didn’t partner with the right influencers. Was social engagement lacking? This can point back to content quality again, or it may be because of a lack of visibility or consistency.

When you’re analyzing what went right and what went wrong with your influencer marketing campaign, it’s helpful to review the foundation. Ask yourself these questions:

o   Were the campaign goals and deadlines manageable?

o   Was this campaign integrated with our larger marketing strategy?

o   Did we pick the right social platforms?

o   Did we find the right influencers?

o   Was planning and communication prioritized throughout the campaign?

On the other hand, if you went through the above list and felt confident in your campaign results, congratulations! Over at Find Your Influence (FYI), we’re proponents of the philosophy “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Once you’ve discovered what works for you and your brand, scale and repeat. Change up topics and your focus according to seasonal goals, but keep the foundation, strategy and basics to ensure future success.

If you cultivated good relationships with influencers, reach out and ask if they’d be interested in working with your brand again. As said in this Social Media Today article, “Influencer marketing boasts a 37% higher retention rate because it hinges around consumer loyalty.” This loyalty extends not only to consumers but hopefully to your influencers as well. An ultimate goal of influencer marketing, after all, is to turn influencers into brand advocates and ambassadors.

Blogging is often the core of influencer marketing campaigns, but social-centric campaigns are important as well for awareness and promotion. If you found certain networks that really resonate with your target audience, continue to utilize them. Share and integrate this campaign messaging with your brand social pages to create a consistent image and increase authenticity.

To learn more about influencer marketing, read the rest of our best practices here.

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Communicate Frequently

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By Courtney Moser

 

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is–it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

As Scott Cook, the founder and CEO of Intuit, said in this Forbes article, times are changing. The immense amount of opportunities for global, instantaneous connections spanning people and places means that brands and consumers – and their relationship with each other – are different than they used to be.

The one constant? Communication. Although the meanings and methods may change, the importance and core of communication remains. Brands are no longer in total control of their image, for instance, because consumers now have platforms of their own in which to communicate and share. Anyone can do research on a product or service and find consumer reviews, tips, message boards and more – impressions are no longer limited to traditional advertising.

Brands can embrace this evolution of communication by utilizing influencer marketing, which empowers you to communicate to a group of people through an influencer. These influencers – typically high-reach bloggers or social media advocates – share messages, promote products and cultivate partnerships. It’s word-of-mouth marketing on a larger, digital scale.

“People expect brands to talk with them rather than at them,” according to SocialTimes. “They no longer expect brands to sell to them, but to entertain and inform them. In this new paradigm, influencers are a force to be reckoned with. Brands can strategically partner with the right personalities to spark organic conversations and seduce their followers.”

The way a brand, and their influencers, speak with consumers can create communities and impact sentiment. Successful, strategic communication that’s aligned with brand messaging can lead to meaningful conversations, increased awareness, and much more. An effective influencer can turn other consumers into loyal brand advocates.

Once a brand starts using influencer marketing, of course, communication only becomes more important – only this time, it’s internal rather than consumer facing. It’s critical to work with your influencers to align expectations from the start, and stay in the know with their timeline and content. It’s also beneficial to keep them in the loop with your company, products and launch dates so that they can better plan and craft quality content.

The Find Your Influence (FYI) influencer marketing platform, for example, includes a message center to make communication between brands and influencers faster and easier. Every time you log in to the platform, you can check your messages along with campaign goals, progress, and more. This helps centralize communication and gives brands and influencers more time to focus on what really matters in one place, as opposed to checking multiple accounts or delaying timelines.

How you communicate with both consumers and influencers matters. Influencer marketing can make a big impact, but it’s also important to ensure you choose the right influencers and platforms in which to market your products or service. To learn more, check out FYI’s best practices blog series here.

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How To: Leverage Celebrity Influencers to Grow Your Brand

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By Courtney Moser

Nike does it. So does Apple. Disney was one of the first to do it. Microsoft is paying the NFL more than $100 million dollars over the next five years to do it for them.

Celebrity influencer marketing is wide spread, but not always clear cut. It’s not about who you know, but how much you’re paying them to know you. This type of influencer marketing can be effective, particularly if you’re a billion-dollar brand looking to stand out in a crowded market.

But what if you’re not a billion-dollar company? Is celebrity influencer marketing still a viable tactic for you?

SMBs and Influencer Marketing

Let’s be clear – influencer marketing works for all company sizes. And by offering an ROI of 6.5:1, influencer marketing can quickly become a marketer’s best friend. So why add a celebrity – and the risk that comes with that publicity – to the mix?

“The whole concept of celebrity is very different than it was just a few years ago,” said Jamie Reardon, CEO of Find Your Influence. “Even five years ago, you would never have seen movie stars making commercials or endorsing brands stateside.”

The concept of a “celebrity” is certainly evolving, as the phrase is no longer limited to high-profile athletes and movie stars. Celebrities now run the gamut from YouTube sensations to reality TV stars. In fact, a celebrity is no longer defined solely by how “famous” they are, but instead by how motivated their audience and fans are.

“As content – and the way people receive that content – continues to personalize to an audience, so does the nature of celebrities and their relationships to consumers,” said Reardon. “There are a lot more ‘celebrities’ today than ever before – and given the increasingly fractured nature of the market, more celebrities are extending beyond their ‘fame,’ and building brands.”

Personal celebrity brands have become an alternative revenue stream to traditional celebrity-status, and are valuable if audience relationships are nurtured properly. Ryan Brunty, head of Social for Zappos COUTURE, agrees with this evolution: “We are living in an incredibly interesting time in which we are hyper connected to not only each other, but the pop culture icons we love and adore.”

Never before have we been able to connect on such a personal level with our chosen celebrities. Whether they’re a famous singer or a successful blogger, we’re connected to these ‘celebrities’ (or influencers) online in a way that blurs the lines of real-life relationships. We are now able to witness personal vignettes of their lives – to chat, comment on pictures, share stories – as though they’re close friends.

And who do consumers trust when it comes to what they purchase? Friends, of course!

“Consumers are now able to get styling tips, shopping advice directly from their pop culture icons,” said Brunty. “Interestingly enough, celebrities are now becoming their own pseudo-retailers as well, creating a personal shopping experience plugged into their blogs/websites.”

In that sense, celebrity influencer marketing is an extension of the circular marketing experience. Marketers are challenged with aligning trust with celebrity endorsement’s demographics while also staying true to their own brands.

Why are celebrity endorsements so valuable?

Celebrity brands are a multi-billion dollar business today, but there are only so many mega-brands to go around, which makes celebrities more accessible to smaller brands than ever before. Given this increasingly fractured marketplace, it’s becoming difficult to continue using traditional (think direct mail, or even email) marketing methods.

So instead of a one-at-a-time approach, marketers are learning the benefits of influencer marketing, or leveraging an individual with an audience.

“Influencer marketing is the new word-of-mouth marketing, but scalable – and cost-effective,” said Reardon. “SMBs don’t have the resources to market one-at-a-time, so influencer marketing makes a lot of sense – communicate to a large group who share a common interest through a mutual thought leader, and you’ll see a much higher conversion rate.”

Zappos COUTURE began their first celebrity marketing campaign working with Lauren Conrad and the LaurenConrad.com team.

“It has become very important for our Zappos COUTURE marketing initiatives to add influencer marketing to our yearly budget,” said Brunty. “It’s important for anyone in the retail space to highly consider this outlet as consumers look to celebrities for style tips, and we as advertisers want to ensure were aligned with where our customer’s interests are.”

Their relationship with Lauren Conrad has certainly paid off for the retailer, leading to a redux for their spring line.

“It’s exciting to see just how wonderfully these campaigns have affected our strategy in ways we couldn’t have even forecasted,” said Brunty. “It’s especially exciting for me, because of the fact that I championed this project; it was very near and dear to me and was important to implement.”

Zappos had originally allocated budget toward a display buy, but Brunty tweaked tactics at the last minute to sanction off a portion of the budget to experiment with influencer marketing.

“It took some convincing to the rest of the team, but in the end, we are so happy with the results that we just completed our second campaign with Lauren Conrad,” said Brunty. “Buyers are informing me of sold out and low inventory SKUs which is always exciting to see after a campaign execution.”

It turns out that even other celebrities are not immune to celebrity influencer marketing.

“For me, the biggest success story comes from Sarah Jessica Parker being so excited about her SJP Collection being featured in the blog post that she sent a note to Lauren personally,” said Brunty. “It doesn’t get any cooler than that!”

Pieces of the Pie

Social media spending in the U.S. is expected to reach $27.4 billion by 2020 and continue growing at a five-year annual growth rate of 17.4%, according to Forrester Research. The way marketers slice their pie is getting more complex, with more offerings – and influencer marketing can check off a number of boxes for most brands.

While celebrity influencers are more expensive than a traditional influencer, they offer a greater megaphone that some brands desire to amplify their reach.

“The key to influencer marketing is target audience reach. It wouldn’t make sense to use Lauren Conrad as a brand ambassador for beard wax, because that’s not where her target audience lives,” said Reardon. “By the same token, you wouldn’t have the Duck Dynasty guys selling women’s shoes… the audience fit is critical for brands.”

That’s not to say marketers should completely abandon all other marketing strategies to jump on the celebrity bandwagon.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say celebrity endorsements ‘rather than’ any other form of marketing, as much as in addition to,” said Brunty. “It’s important to have a well-rounded strategy and this form of marketing falls directly in line with what we are trying to accomplish with our social marketing strategy.”

Want to learn more about how celebrity influencer marketing can boost your marketing strategy and efforts? Contact the Find Your Influence team today. 

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How to Leverage Multiple Platforms in an Influencer Marketing Campaign

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By Courtney Moser

The average digital consumer has seven social media accounts.

Yes, seven… on average. Let that sink in for a minute. That number has risen quickly from just three social accounts in 2012, according to Global Web Index, and is reason enough to leverage multi-platform marketing.

So what’s your social number? Seven accounts seem shockingly high at first, until you start counting. Between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and everything else, there’s an overwhelming number of platforms and ways in which to connect online.

This can be daunting enough for consumers, but what about brands? The increasing amount of social networks and types of influencers can determine how you handle your marketing strategy and efforts. Below we outline a few of the ways you can make the most of marketing on multiple platforms.

Multi-platform social campaigns

Marketing on several social platforms is now necessary in order to effectively reach more users spanning many networks. In fact, 81% of consumers say that friend’s social media posts have directly influenced purchase decisions. And, 78% say that a company’s social media posts have impacted their decisions. Increased visibility across networks means more opportunities to get your content in front of consumers.

The specific platforms you choose will depend on your target audience and your influencer’s audience demographics. It’s important to understand the difference between the users on social platforms – for instance, Facebook users span a wide variety of age groups, but more than half of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 18-29. A social retail campaign targeting females in their twenties, then, might be shared across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Blog campaigns

When working with blogging influencers, brands often let them choose which of their social platforms are most popular. Obviously, the main platform in this case is their blog, but most utilize other social networks to drive page views and engagement. Tylenol’s #WhatMattersMost campaign offers an excellent example of a multi-platform blog campaign. The brand asked blogging influencers to write about how they celebrate what matters most during the holidays, and then link to that content using the branded hashtag across social networks. The result was 36 blog posts that generated 112,251 unique views – plus 559 tweets, 206 Facebook likes and 334 Instagram posts.

Platform-specific campaigns

These campaigns are typically chosen to capitalize on a specific feature or demographic on a platform. Twitter parties, for instance, allow brands to connect quickly with consumers and follow conversations or host Q&A’s through branded hashtags. Or Facebook Live videos now offer a unique way for brands to “speak” with consumers in real time. Even if you’re running a platform-specific campaign, however, you can still promote it or link to it on other social platforms. You can spread the word about your Twitter party on other platforms to encourage followers to head over to your Twitter page on a certain day and time – increasing awareness and the number of participants tweeting.

To learn more about influencer marketing best practices and utilizing social platforms, check out all of the content on our blog. Plus, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Find the Right Influencers

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By Courtney Moser

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Or is it? At FYI, we’d modify this piece of professional wisdom to read “It’s what you know and who you know,” but that wouldn’t be nearly as catchy. So instead, we’ll have to settle for explaining why both knowledge and connections matter in the world of influencer marketing.

Did you know, for example, that 92% of consumers turn to people they know for product or service referrals? And when it comes to retail research, 60% of consumers said they’ve consulted blogs or social media before shopping or making a purchase. This knowledge is critical in order to understand the importance of influencer marketing. You have to connect with the right influencers to be in front of the right eyes at the right time; to increase reach, awareness and engagement.

Ultimately, the goal of influencer marketing is to turn your influencers into brand advocates. To do this, you have to have a solid grasp on your own audience and know as much as you can about them: how old are they, what kind of blogs do they read, what are they interested in, and of course, why would they want your product or service? Then, you can connect with influencers who have similar interests, goals and high-reaching blogs or social platforms.

An influencer’s audience demographics should align with your target audience. Having this commonality provides a great starting point for cultivating an authentic relationship. Of course, relevance is just as important when it comes to content.Once you’ve found influencers who seem to fit with your brand, you should research their content and social networks. High-quality content is key when individuals are aligning themselves with your brand publicly. You want them to not only be creative and engaging, but professional and relevant as well.

So, how do you find the right influencers?

  1. Know your own audience
  2. Research their audience and content
  3. Add value and cultivate relationships

Don’t forget – this is all about relationships. It’s not just about brand sales or numbers, but adding value for influencers and consumers. As Forbes says: “When you select an influencer to work with, start by making an investment in them. Give them something worthy of sharing with their followers beyond samples and a product shot.”

Ready to learn more? Check out our best practices series here.

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Pick the Right Social Platform

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By: Courtney Moser

Quick, how many influencers are on Instagram?

Trick question! It’s not that simple: it depends on your brand, products, campaign goals, audience and overall mission. So while the answer for one company may be “all the influencers!” for others, it may be very few.

Before choosing which social media platforms you’ll utilize for your influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to understand the demographics and purpose of each one. Who is your target audience and what social networks are they on? Where does it make the most sense to reach them? Examples are shown below from Sprout Social statistics:

Facebook: This social platform has evolved throughout the years from a college friends network to include almost everyone. 87% of adults between the ages of 18-29, 73% of adults 30-49, 63% of adults 50-64 and 63% of adults 65+ use Facebook.

Instagram: More than half of Instagram’s main users are 18-29, and the platform is increasing in popularity as visual elements become more important: The average engagement per Instagram post has grown by 416% over two years (2015).

Twitter: Similar to Instagram, the largest demographic using Twitter is adults ages 18-29. Their users skew female and mostly urban dwellers. On-the-go, localized tweeting can be valuable for marketers: 80% of Twitter active users are on mobile.

Of course there’s also YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Periscope, and many more – but the highly popular networks above illustrate the span of demographics and users. If your brand wants to make an impact with consumers between the ages of 50-64, for example, your best bet for a successful promotion is Facebook. Or, if you want to market a new product to a younger female who lives in an urban area, make Twitter part of your strategy.

There will definitely be network overlaps, but more often than not, it makes sense to focus on a select few for campaigns – even if your brand has a presence on all of them. A video campaign on YouTube and Facebook Live, for instance, will require a different strategy than an image caption content on Instagram. And a trending hashtag may be more meaningful on Twitter or Instagram than other networks.

If you’re working with influencers in your campaign who are bloggers first, then you can ask them to share their blog content on the social platforms that make the most sense for their medium and audience. One influencer may be more photo-focused and have the most followers on Instagram, while another may have the strongest following on Facebook. This is something you’ll have to discuss upfront with your blogging influencers and factor into your campaign goals and analysis.

Now that you’re ready to pick your social platforms, what’s the next step in your influencer marketing campaign? Learn more in our best practices series here.

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