3 Things Brands Misunderstand When Choosing Influencers For Their Campaigns

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We get the privilege of being in the middle of both brands and influencers. We’re kind of like matchmakers. And as matchmakers, we like our suitors to know what they’re getting into.

 

The problem is we see a lot of brands misunderstanding what makes influencer marketing campaigns special—which is totally understandable. Brands have to worry about reporting numbers, making budget, etc. (we see a part 2 in our future: 3 things influencers misunderstand about brands).

 

It’s easy to bypass some of the details. But like in every good relationship, you’ve got to take the time to get to know what influencers have to offer if you want the relationship (or campaign) to be successful. So without further ado…

 

3 things brands misunderstand about influencers:

 

1. It’s not just about blog views
The special thing about influencer marketing is, well, influence. These bloggers aren’t only blogging. They’re tweeting, pinning, gramming and more. And if they’re running a campaign for your brand, they’re also sharing information about your brand on their favorite social platforms.

 

The point? If you’re trying to find the right influencers to launch your campaign, don’t only look at their blog views. You have to consider their total reach and social footprint. After all, sharing on social is what gives a campaign reach, shares and scale.

 

2. It’s not just about reach, either
Think you can just take number 1 and run? Not so fast. Remember, this is a relationship. You want an influencer who can really fall in love with your brand (or already has). So look for influencers that are compatible with your brand message and who have followers who would love your product.

 

The most successful influencer campaigns occur when the campaign fits into the influencer’s overall themes, style and messaging.

 

3. Blogging is a business, too
Just because bloggers often write about their personal lives does not mean that their blogs are considered a hobby. Influencers often have editorial calendars, marketing kits, brand guidelines and standard pricing.They’re organized, and they’re analyzing data.

 

Most importantly, an influencer has a personal brand that he/she takes very seriously.You’ve got to consider that when finding an influencer and pitching a campaign.

 

Instead of focusing on how the influencer can drive results for your brand, ask yourself what your brand can do for the influencer. We hate to go there again, but hey, in every good relationship there’s a little bit of give and take.

 

If you’re interested in influencer marketing but don’t know where to start, the best thing you can do is call an expert. We recommend  simply shooting us an email. We’ll set you up with an influencer marketing expert who will help you find the right influencer for your campaign.

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Twitter parties: What are they and why should you care

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Let’s start by saying what a Twitter party isn’t. In short? a party. There’s no music, dress code, food or cocktails. That said, they’re still fun and more importantly, beneficial to brands, bloggers and consumers alike.

 

Twitter party: A Definition

A Twitter party is simply a designated time to share thoughts and expertise on a topic via Twitter. Usually, the party is hosted by an expert in a field representing a company or website. There’s also often a blogger, thought-leader or small business accompanying that brand so you get a few points of view and a personal experience.

Each Twitter party typically has an assigned hashtag. All you have to do is Tweet with the hashtag. Ask questions, get answers, share experiences and even give advice.

 

Branding, Reach and Consumer Connections

But what’s the benefit? Good question. A lot of Twitter parties will have trending hashtags, which is basically free advertising for your blog or brand. And if a Twitter influencer retweets your insights, your social media reach suddenly reaching a new set of loyal consumers. At the very least, loads of followers will be retweeting, liking and replying to your posts—resulting in greater reach for your message. Best of all, it takes only an hour and it’s free.

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

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

It’s a win-win-win.

 

Join us for the #CreditHealth Twitter Party

If you’d like to see for yourself what Twitter parties are all about, you’re in luck. We’ve organized a stellar event with Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog  and LifeLock to discuss Self Improvement Month and how to manage and improve your credit health.

When: Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 3-4pm EST/ 1-2 MST / 12-1pm PST
Where: Join us using your Twitter handle; just be sure to follow the hashtag: #CreditHealth
Topic: Self-Improvement
Prizes: Three (3) $50 Gift Cards

Come by and check out the event, and let us know if you’d like to be involved with the next one here at Find Your Influence.

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7 Free Tools You Should be Using To Help You Manage Your Blog

clockBlogging should be fun, right? After all, it’s all about you and your interests. But when you’re balancing kids, a full-time job, dinners and more, keeping your blog updated can start to feel like a burden. Find Your Influence to the rescue! We’ve gathered some of our favorite apps, tools and programs that can help you manage your blog and social presence more efficiently, and hopefully, more enjoyably.

1. Feedly

A big part of creating great blog content is keeping up with what’s popular on the web. But who has time to read the entire internet? You do. If you’re not already using a reader, start now. By putting all of your favorite links into Feedly, you can get your daily reading done all in one place. You can easily see who has new posts and what’s popular. You can also divide your content into different categories—like mom blogs or recipes.

2. Editorial Calendar Plugin

If you have a WordPress blog, this one is for you. Instead of using spreadsheets or logging in to other apps, you can manage your editorial calendar directly in WordPress. The free plugin offers drag and drop functionality in a easy-to-use calendar where you can see all of your posts at once.

3. Buffer

You already know having a social media marketing is important, but geez louise it’s hard to keep up with. Buffer can help. First of all, the web app is pretty. Good design is always a major plus. You can schedule posts, copy them to other platforms and easily add their suggested content.

4. iDashboard app

This free mobile app is a great way to keep track of your blog data. Simply connect your Google Analytics account and then you can easily view your key performance indicators whenever you want.

5. Evernote

This app has become extremely popular so you’re likely already using it, but it’s definitely worth the mention in case you’re not. Evernote is like a digital filing cabinet. You can use it to store and organize anything from recipes to last year’s taxes. If you use their web clipper, you can easily grab articles you see on the web, add some helpful tags and save—all without leaving the page. You can also use it to store blog images, graphics and ideas.

6. Easy Tweet Embed

Another WordPress plugin, Easy Tweet Embed does exactly what you’d think. It makes sharing your blog post on Twitter easy. You can add prepopulated text to the share button so that when someone wants to tweet your post, most of the work is already done for them.

7. Easel.ly

Good visual content is often just as important as the words on the page. But hey, we can’t all be professional designers! Easel.ly is an easy-to-use tool for building beautiful graphics. You can build a graphic from one of their templates,  add features to your liking, save as an image or pdf, and voila! You’ve got great graphics to share with your followers.
There are tons of other tools out there that can make managing your blog easy and more enjoyable. What are some of your favorites?

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Why You Should Add Influencer Marketing
to Your Marketing Strategy

Click to view infographic
Click to view infographic

 

You’ve heard that influencer marketing is the next big thing. But you’re skeptical. Who can keep track of all the supposedly revolutionary fads in digital marketing over the years? We get it. But the reality is influencer marketing makes sense for your budget, goals and sales. Here’s why.

 

Influencers are reaching people you’re not

 

Sure, you could force yourself into a segment’s radar by spending tons of money on TV, radio or banner ads. But what about consumers who aren’t on those channels? What about the thousands of consumers that use some form of ad blocker? What about consumers who are just tuning all those ads out?  You’re not reaching them, and brute force isn’t going to be a healthy start to your relationship.

 

Bloggers and social media stars already have a following. The best influencers have a following that’s engaged—reading, watching, interacting and listening. Those followers are your potential customers, and influencers are you in! It’s like having a your cool friend get you into a private party.

 

It’s much more affordable than banner ads and paid search

 

Ads are expensive. Sure, digital advertising is cheaper than traditional advertising, but it still adds up fast. To launch a remotely successful campaign, you can end up breaking budget fast. An influencer campaign can be catered to your budget and can be as small or as large as you want. Plus, once your post is live, it’s live indefinitely. You don’t have to pay to keep it up.

 

It’s more authentic and informational than an ad

 

When you’re thinking about buying a product, do you research it first? A lot of people do. And 96% of consumers ask their friends first. An influencer campaign is an all-in-one ad. It promotes your product, gives information about your product and includes a peer recommendation. It’s basically includes everything your customers need to feel good about purchasing. It’s the entire buying cycle in one.

 

On top of that, a good influencer will provide his/her personal experiences and opinions about your product. It will be a detailed, authentic review. More importantly, it will likely be more authentic.

 

It’s shareable – which means it can multiply

 

When’s the last time you shared a banner ad? Probably never. That’s because they’re not engaging. A blog or social post about your product is totally different. If you work with a high-quality influencer, the post about your product will be interesting, fun, engaging and personal. It will likely receive comments, likes and clicks. But best of all? It can easily be shared. That’s free distribution of your brand’s message. A great post will be shared over and over again multiplying your reach and customer base.

 

Influencer campaigns have a high click-through rate

 

If you’re wondering whether influencer campaigns actually convert, you can stop worrying now. Influencer campaigns have a higher click-through rate than Facebook ads which until now had the highest CTR rate in digital marketing. For campaigns launched here at FYI, we’re seeing click-through rates around 3.5%.

 

Check out this awesome infographic to learn more about the power of influencer marketing.

 

For more information about how to easily launch an influencer campaign from start (finding influencers) to finish (tracking results), contact us.

 

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Influencer Marketing Campaign Spotlight: Best Western

Image courtesy of  http://allinadaysworkblog.com/
Image courtesy of http://allinadaysworkblog.com/

We have a lot of really great campaigns come through Find Your Influence. But every now again, we get one that is really unique, challenging and rewarding. Our recent Best Western Rider influencer marketing campaign was exactly that.

 

First of all, we had no idea that Best Western had such a cool program for motorcyclists. They offer rewards, special services just for riders (like a bike washing station) and discounts. If you ride a motorcycle, you should check it out. But don’t take our word for it, read any of the awesome posts we summarize below!

 

The second great thing about this campaign is that it brought to us a fun challenge. We had to find influencers who were passionate and knowledgeable about motorcycles. Turns out, there are a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts out there in the blogosphere. Even our mommy bloggers joined in!

 

Reading our influencers’ motorcycle stories, dreams and mishaps was so entertaining we’d like to share them with all of you. And even if you aren’t into motorcycles, these bloggers are definitely worth following!

 

The Palmetto Queen
The Palmetto Queen is a home-schooling mom, business lady and a South Carolina queen. In her campaign post, she reminisces on planning motorcycle rides with her dad. It’s the perfect tie-in to her review of the Best Western Ride program.

 

YouMotorcycle
YouMotorcycle is a blog full of enthusiasts, and this campaign post really shows it. The writer intertwines the poetics of Hunter S. Thompson and the splendor of the film Easy Rider to tell part 1 of his San Francisco bike adventure. Once you start reading, you’ll be hooked.

 

Saving U Green
First of all, Maria of Saving U Green is so genuine and honest, reading her posts is like listening to a good friend. She definitely brings that to her campaign post. She describes how her parents got her into motorcycles, and you won’t believe how they decorated their wedding!

 

All in a Days Work
This girl keeps busy! Her interests range from fitness, cooking, crafting and budgeting. Now, she can add motorcycles to the list. Read how she goes from a skeptic to an enthusiast all because of a family bike.

 

Our Whiskey Lullaby
Talented and successful in many fields, Katherine is an eclectic soul who home schools her kids and owns 15 birds. Check out her campaign post, and then click around to learn more about her talents.

 

This Mama Cooks
You’d never guess this supermom and wondercook was a lover of bikes, but it immediately becomes clear in her campaign post. You’ll love her photo of her toddler baby on a Harley!

 

Daddy’s Hangout
This is the blog for all things dads (i.e. manliness)—music, sports and of course, motorcycles. Travis has been roadtripping on his motorcycle since he was barely out of high school. His campaign post might motivate you to take a trip with the entire family!

 

The Jewish Lady
This is a gem of a blog to find great ideas on recipes, savings and beauty products. The Jewish Lady admits she’s a novice to riding a motorcycle, but is officially interested after just one ride! Read her review and click around for some great tips.

 

BikerMetric
The bikerMetric focuses on custom metric motorcycles, and the writer’s knowledge base is vast.  In his campaign post, Adrian talks about the different “bike-friendly” encounters he’s had in his 8 years as a rider. Some are pretty hilarious.

 

Someday I’ll Learn
Nate and Chelsea co-write this adorable blog about parenting and enjoying the small things. In the campaign post (hilariously titled, I Am The Recon Man), Nate features stunning photos of him on his bike and tells intimate tales of his experiences as a rider. It’s like watching a movie. Enjoy.

 

Bah Bah Blog
Jenn shares experiences and tips about parenting, cooking, technology and everything in between. In her campaign post Jenn shares what she’s learned from her experiences as a motorcycle lover. Check out her 5 tips.

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Influencers: Start thinking like a brand

Understanding the metrics that brands are looking for in influencer marketing

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We know brands and advertisers are searching for more ways to partner with influencers and tap into the audiences they’ve worked so hard to create. But what metrics and traits are brands really looking for when it comes to selecting the right influencers? Let’s start thinking like a brand.

Overall Reach and Content

You already know that just because you have a HUGE following, doesn’t mean you are a good fit for a specific influencer marketing campaign or that you will have the ability to influence action on a specific topic—and brands are starting to understand that. The value and power of quality content is becoming widespread knowledge. So brands want experts that are creating not just good content, but content that’s engaging to their target audiences. If you have content that’s quality, relevant and engaging to your fans, you’re a great fit for the right brand.

That being said, brands are still paying attention to numbers. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Brands are now looking at ALL of your social media reach, not just your blog. Make sure you have at least one social vehicle with high reach and engagement, and display it prominently on your blog.

2. Make it easy for brands to see who your audience is and what your blog is all about. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.

3. When deciding what your rates should be, make sure you’re backing it by a tangible metric. One good example is CPM or Cost per thousand views. This metric is tied to impressions and reach, and could easily be calculated based on your current blog metrics and social following.

Results

Advertisers love influencer marketing, but at the end of the day they need tangible numbers. Advertisers use a few key metrics to track results and determine whether the campaign was a success.

  • Conversions: This is probably the most important metrics for brands. Whether it’s sales of their products or an email address for re-marketing—conversion matters. If the brand is asking you to push special offers or drive to a lead generation form, they’re most likely tracking conversions. Ask if they have tracking tags you can add to your content in order to enable conversion tracking.
  • Click through rates (CTR’s): Influencer marketing has incredible CTR’s compared to other digital channels. Even when comparing sponsored influencer content to Facebook Advertising—one of the highest CTR’s today—influencers win. Current FB Advertising CTR’s range from .5%-2.2% and what we’re seeing for influencer marketing? 3.5%+. Make sure you’re tracking CTR’s on your sponsored content and if your rates are higher than 2%, share that metric!
  • Cost per thousand views (CPM): Influencers offer a great vehicle to build awareness and reach. If the advertiser is purely looking for brand awareness, they’re probably tracking CPM. A good range for affordable CPMs are $6-$10. You can use your blog post following and social media metrics to determine CPM.
  • Cost per click (CPC): Some advertisers are looking to purely drive traffic to their site. Cost per click is a great metric for tracking this goal. A good average cost per click would be anywhere from $1.30 to $5 depending on the brand.
  • Social engagement: Some advertisers are looking for more engagement and conversions on their social channels. They’re tracking share of voice, brand sentiment and increased traffic to their branded social media pages. Increase in share of voice and brand sentiment is a great metric for influencer marketing and is directly affected by the great content you’re creating.

Ultimately, if you want to leverage your influence by partnering with brands, you’ll have to learn how they’re measuring a social media campaign’s success. The more you understand how brands are measuring success, the more you can execute successful campaigns that result in more campaigns, clients and income.

Do you have any experience with these metrics? Tell us what works for you.

 

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10 Blogging Mistakes To Stop Making

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Let’s face it, a lot of bloggers start off totally clueless about publishing best practices. It’s to be expected — you’re just getting started! But you learn, tweak and change as you go until one day, voila, you’re an expert blogger. When you look back at your novice years, you’ll laugh, cry, cringe and maybe take note of how much you’ve learned.

 

Well, novice bloggers, Find Your Influence like to help you avoid a few common mistakes that will really slow you down. And for you veterans, this might be a good refresher course. Here are 10 blogging mistakes you should stop making (or never make in the first place!).

 

1) Not blogging on a regular schedule

When you start off blogging, you’re excited, passionate and have lots to say. But before long real life gets in the way and you start posting more erratically. It has happened to the best of us. But if you want to pursue a professional career in blogging, you’re going to have to start posting on a very consistent schedule. It doesn’t have to be every day, or even every other day. It just has to be consistent.

 

A lot of bloggers swear by using an editorial calendar. Editorial calendars allow you to plan and organize your content ahead of time. It doesn’t have to include final headlines and research, but instead can just be a guideline. That way when it comes time to write, you’re not starting from scratch. Ideally, you can use the calendar to work a few days ahead so you’re never feeling rushed to hit a deadline. For a sample editorial calendar, check out this free one from Hubspot.

 

2) Not learning the basics of SEO

If you’re hoping your blog will build traffic, you want it get picked up by search engines, right? Well then you should start writing with the search engines in mind. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simply that. It’s the practice of optimizing your content so that it shows up in searches — maybe even the first page of a search.

 

The basic principles are fairly simple, and they could have a huge impact on your blog traffic. So take some time to study up and start implementing what you’ve learned into your blog. This SEO tutorial is a great place to start.

 

3) Relying too heavily on SEO

Now for the flip side. Some writers learn about SEO and think it’s their golden ticket to success. They start stuffing their content with keywords and only writing about heavily searched topics. Before long, their content becomes stiff, boring and unhelpful.

 

Don’t make that mistake. Instead, write the blog post you want to write first. Write with your own voice, taking into consideration nothing but your passion and knowledge. When you’re done, go through your post and see if there’s anything you could do differently. Maybe you could improve your headline to include a key search term. Maybe you should add a meta description. Just don’t go too crazy. Creating high quality content is above all the best way to get noticed by search engines.

 

4) Your topics are too broad

Would you rather read a blog post about why puppies are cuter than dogs or a blog post that muses on the new scientific discovery that puppies have a unique gene that makes them like people more than cats do? (Note: We made that up).

 

You’d rather read the second one right? That’s because it’s more specific (although please note we also recommend using only facts, unlike the topic example above). The Internet is overloaded with generic, bland content. There’s no reason to add to it. Instead, find unique angles and opinions to make your blog posts more specific. If you can write an entire article on one small detail, then do it.

 

5) You talk about yourself too much

The thing that really makes your blog special is that it’s about your thoughts, opinions and personalities. So you should definitely keep it that way. However you should also make sure that your blogs are interesting and helpful to your readers.

 

If you’re writing about your own life experiences, make sure there is a moral or helpful tip at the end. Don’t make the mistake of rambling about your day-to-day grind. Unfortunately, many of your readers simply won’t care. Keep your posts balanced between personal and informational.

 

6) You don’t know who your target is

Another common mistake new bloggers make is writing for the world–the entire world. Instead of writing posts that anyone could relate to, do some research and decide who you want your specific target to be. It could be stay-at-home moms with children under 15, runners who run slower than 9:15/mile, men who have daughters, etc. As you can see, this is really similar to number 4. Be specific! Just because your target is specific doesn’t mean other people won’t read your blog. But what it will do is give your blog a very clear purpose and voice, and your content will likely end up being more helpful as a result.

 

7) You don’t spend enough time editing

Take it from Hemingway, “Write drunk, and edit sober.” Okay maybe don’t write drunk either but the point is that editing is often even more important than writing. Editing is what makes your talent, knowledge and voice really shine. After you’ve brain-dumped your post, read it out loud several times. Take time to fix typos, reword sentences, reformat, reorganize and simply improve your post.

 

8) Not responding to comments

If your readers are commenting on your posts, lucky you! Now start replying to them. Over time, interacting with your readers can have a huge impact on your blog engagement and reach. The more you interact with your readers, the more likely they are to comment more. They’ll start craving your tips, advice and praise. Plus, advertisers are really starting to focus on influencer engagement, not just traffic. If you can improve this metric, you’re that much more appealing to brands looking to partner with influencers like you!

 

9) Using “click here”

You’ve seen it a million times and it makes sense: “For more information, click here.” But it would be a much stronger call to action if you (once again) are more specific. Stop using “click here” and instead hyperlink where the link is actually going. For example: “For more information, check out Find Your Influence.” Try not to hyperlink the sentence verb and make sure the information you do hyperlink accurately reflects where the link is going.

 

10) Using your header tags for style purposes

Many blogging content management systems, like WordPress, have headline tags built in. For instance, when writing your  post, you can choose to format specific words and phrases as “Headline 1” or “Headline 2.” These tags often create pretty formatting so it’s tempting to use them to make your blog look more stylish. But that’s not actually their purpose.

 

These tags act more like an outline for search engines. They tell search engines what’s important in your post. So you should only hyperlink headlines and subheads that are representative of your post. For more information about this, complete tip number 2!


Okay experienced bloggies, here is your chance. What’s our list missing? Tell us some of the mistakes you made when you were starting out.

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