Why Engagement Matters More Than Reach

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By Courtney Moser

Quality over quantity.

Not to sound like a broken record over here, but if you’re ever pitting quality against quantity — quality wins every time. Within quality in influencer marketing lies content, engagement, expertise and more.

While quantity focuses on pumping out a large amount of content to as many people as possible, quality hones in targeted consumers who are engaged and listening. Because of this distinction, we call quantity “reach” and quality “engagement.”

A higher reach used to be the ultimate marketing goal, but now we’ve seen the light and realized that it doesn’t matter how many people you’re reaching if they’re uninterested. Times are quickly changing and it’s much more important to connect with the right people – even if that means there aren’t as many.

This is especially relevant when it comes to the celebrity influencer marketing trend. Although celebrities have an impressively large reach, it’s due more to public status than true interest in what they have to say. Credibility isn’t always there. In fact, according to a recent study, we are “50 times more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend than a celebrity or internet personality.”

Reinforcing the emphasis on quality content and engagement, marketers are turning to micro-influencers to connect with niche audiences and those who are most likely to become customers. Micro-influencers are typically categorized as having less than 10,000 followers, but even influencers with a much larger following can effectively cultivate an engaged audience.

“Influencers in smaller niches may have a much better ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level. This means you should be prioritizing relevance over mass reach. When you’re searching for the right influencer for your brand, look for higher engagement levels instead of large social following,” reinforces Search Engine Journal.

Ultimately, it all comes down to authenticity and credibility, and choosing influencers who are focused on engagement and creating a true community online. Brands who partner with engaging influencers are more likely to see success in influencer marketing.

What are the business benefits of prioritizing engagement?

More meaningful connections: Influencers with higher engagement are likely closer to their followers, with potential for engaging future brand loyalists.

Increased credibility: Smaller influencers are known for more niche topics or expertise, and often cultivate a trust with their readers.

Higher intent to purchase: A study found that influencers have 22.2 times more conversions each week than regular consumers. Clearly, their purchase influence is valuable.

Social Media Today best summarizes the importance of engagement over reach in influencer marketing: “You can’t build a loyal consumer base on reach alone. Reach certainly forms something of a bedrock… But without your audience acting on your content (likes, retweets, shares and comments) there’s very little chance of leveraging that relationship to score leads and converting these to sales. This is why 73% of content creators plan to prioritize creating more engaging content in 2016.”

Have you hopped on the engagement train with us yet? If you have any questions or concerns, the Find Your Influence team is happy to help you get on board. And in the meantime, you can learn more about influencer marketing best practices on our blog.

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3 Massive Mistakes Influencers Make

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By: Courtney Moser

You know those little mistakes we all make that go largely unnoticed? A typo here, a quick after-post edit there? That’s not what this is about. The mistakes we’re talking about today go far beyond any minimal “oops” moment – and right into professionally unspeakable territory.

We’re not trying to scare you, but these mistakes could cost an influencer a campaign, their audience or even a partnership with a brand. How so? Keep reading to learn what to avoid as an influencer in the marketing industry.

1. Not paying attention to Google updates

If you’ve worked on campaigns as an influencer, you probably already have at least a basic knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO). The tricky part about thinking you know SEO? It’s always changing!

SEO is highly dependent on Google algorithm updates, which occur regularly. You have to pay attention to industry news, set an alert for “Google algorithm updates,” or make sure you have a tech publication in your reader. Once an update occurs, it’s important to determine whether it impacts your blog or strategy – and then make the needed changes immediately.

In theory, Google updates their algorithm often so that they can provide users with a better search experience—higher quality content, more relevant content, and less spam. However, these updates aren’t foolproof, and it’s possible that you’re doing something unintentionally on your blog that Google is filtering for. You have to stay in the know, because if your blog includes some sort of link or tactic that Google has deemed negative, your traffic could plummet.

2. Not paying attention to the social media campaign instructions

If your site is performing well and you’re partnering with brands, you’re probably feeling pretty confident about your influencer status. But to keep growing and succeeding, you have to make sure your new confidence doesn’t result in carelessness.

Let’s look at this scenario, for example: A campaign offer comes in. Since you’ve done this a million times, you quickly scan over the instructions, skim the blog prompt and grab the hashtag. You’ll have this done in no time.

Flash forward two weeks and you’re suddenly receiving not-so-positive feedback your brand. What gives? As it turns out, those instructions you barely skimmed were important.

Is this really a big mistake? Yes. Brands trust you to follow instructions and act professionally so that they can accurately track the performance of the campaign. We’ve seen bloggers forget everything from a special link, no-follow tags and specific content instructions to announcing an event or meeting a certain deadline. These mishaps can burn bridges. Brands depend on campaign performance, and if they don’t feel like you did your job, they’ll move on to someone who will.

3. Writing low-quality content

This one seems obvious, but we see it every day. Bloggers are creating content constantly – some even juggling several brands and requirements. It can get hectic, and it’s tempting to rush assignments to try to fit more in. Bad choice: Quality always overrules quantity.

“We want the story to be great and the whole reason we work with influencers is to accelerate the sharing of the story,” Karin Timpone, global marketing officer at Marriott International, said of their focus on content excellence.

As a blogger, you’re typically both the content creator and publisher. It’s clear to everyone involved if your post is just thrown together—the brand, your fans and the communities you’re working with. A poor-quality post could mean you never work with that brand again. But even worse? You could lose the trust of your fans and connections. After a few rushed or low-quality posts, you may see your readership start to dwindle.

It’s critical to treat each campaign with respect, think about what the prompt really means to you, and write a high-quality post. Success in influencer marketing is as simple (and complex) as that.

If you need help, we hope you’ll check out what Find Your Influence (FYI) has to offer. FYI helps influencers of all levels connect with brands and manage their campaigns more efficiently. Get the details here.

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What is a Social Media Superstar?

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By: Courtney Moser

Lights, camera, action? More like post, share, go viral (am I right, influencers?).

With 1.6 billion people on Facebook, 400 million on Instagram and 320 million on Twitter, it’s clear that the world of social media is a cluttered one. The digital revolution has given many people a platform and voice, but between all of the posts and noise, it can be hard to stand out. Unless you’re a social media superstar, that is.

A social media superstar is someone who is famous because of their social channels, as opposed to someone who is already famous for something else and has social channels. Did you get that? The superstars’ fame is social-media made.

“Now more than ever, fame is accessible, and it creates a different breed of famous person. You can release a funny photo… You can create a social media account for your adorable pet, or post inspiring or funny videos about your life. You can change the world, if only for twenty-two seconds,” writer Sarah Klegman said of the changing fame landscape.

Social media superstars have not only used technology to their advantage, they’ve discovered an alternative path to fame and earned digital influence. Typically, they have a total reach of more than one million. There’s a wealth of interesting stories of social media superstars, across many different networks such as YouTube, Vine, Instagram, and more. Even if a superstar is famous because of, or known specifically for a certain network, they still have a presence on the rest of them for cross-promotion and increased reach – a great takeaway for all marketers. This Social Media Today article on YouTube celebrities, for instance, said: “No single successful YouTuber is to be found without any of the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

What are these superstars doing right? First and foremost, they have a definite target audience. They have a following that connects with them – whether niche or more broad – and it isn’t one sided. Engagement is the next critical aspect to social media stardom. Consistent posting, cross-promotion and responsiveness are all important for high levels of engagement. After all, if you have a loyal follower who constantly comments on your videos or asks questions about your photos with zero acknowledgement or feedback, won’t they eventually just stop trying? Social media is all about connecting and sharing, and superstars only rise up with the help of others.

What else sets social media superstars apart? Have you worked with any superstars in influencer marketing campaigns? Share your insight with us in the comments!

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6 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Influencer

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By: Courtney Moser

Ten thousand and one, ten thousand and two… oh, never mind. We’re not even going to pretend that we know how many bloggers and social media users are online today. The total number is overwhelming and constantly increasing! With so many influencers out there, how do you know who to choose for a campaign? The truth is, there are a billion factors you could consider when choosing influencers to work with. A few key metrics will certainly make the search easier, but it’s also important to consider the big picture and ask: “Does this influencer make sense for my brand?”

When evaluating influencers, here are the six most important factors to consider, from the bottom up.

6. Traffic

The most straightforward metric to rely on is blog traffic. If an influencer has a lot of daily visitors, then you can pretty much guarantee a certain amount of impressions. This is a great starting point and a metric that should always be considered, but it’s not the only thing you should look at. Plus, have you learned anything from banner ads? Impressions don’t necessarily mean high engagement or lead to conversions. There are a lot of other factors that comprise the big picture.

5. Social networks

One of the main reasons you shouldn’t depend solely on blog traffic is that influencers span many networks. It’s possible for an influencer to have a low or mediocre blog following, but have a huge social media reach on certain platforms. And social media can lead to high conversion rates. An influencer with an impressive social fan base could easily be more influential than an influencer with high blog traffic – it just depends on where your audience is and which platforms align with your goals.

4. Total Reach

The best of both worlds is total reach. To get this metric, you start by figuring out your influencers’ blog traffic or blog subscribers. Then, you add the social platforms they have a presence on – either combining total fans or getting more detailed insight from the influencers. Finally, calculate total reach and compare to other influencers. Prepare to be surprised: it’s possible for an influencer with an average following on many platforms to have a higher reach than an influencer with one stellar platform.

When you’re looking at total reach and traffic numbers, it’s vital to keep it all in perspective. Numbers don’t mean everything, and “celebrity” influencers aren’t always the way to go. It has to make sense for your brand to be real. As wisely said in this article, “Inauthenticity kills trust.”

3. Engagement

As we said above, it’s not all about numbers (gasp!). An influencer can have a high reach but also a high bounce rate. If your campaign goals are more focused on engagement – if you’re measuring new subscriber comments or promoting an interactive contest – then this metric might be more important to you than reach.

To determine engagement, start with the influencer’s blog. Are people commenting? Does the influencer have email subscribers? These are all questions to ask if you’re considering working with an influencer. Then, move on to the social platforms. Are people commenting, liking, retweeting and sharing? Ask influencers for their engagement metrics to better understand their impact.

2.  Fan demographics

Influencer marketing helps brands reach new consumers – and more importantly, targeted consumers. For the best results, you want to find influencers with a fan base who would love your brand. So, start with your own demographic data — what age groups, location and marital status make up your biggest customer segments? Next, find influencers who have an audience that falls in those specific targets.

If you’re a local brand, be sure to find influencers who have an active voice in your city or state. If your customers are often married with children, parenting bloggers might be a great fit. There are many ways to go about this, depending on how much you know about your segments and demographic data.

1. Content

The most critical thing to consider when choosing influencers is whether or not the influencer’s content, interests and voice match the quality and goals of your brand. Content is king, always. An influencer with a high reach in an unrelated industry is much less effective than a small influencer with a passionate fan base in your industry. Make sure to choose relevant influencers who are developing high-quality content.

This advice from Forbes best illustrates the sum of all six factors: “Just because a person has an impressive number of followers, doesn’t mean they actually wield any real persuasive power. Take time to do a deep dive into the analytics to understand the influencer’s audience. Who are they? Are they engaged? How often? How does the influencer interact with her followers? What do they talk about? Is the relationship genuine? Would your brand make sense in their life?”

And remember: Before you launch a campaign, it’s important to outline specific campaign goals. With the right goals, metrics and content concepts in place, it will be a lot easier to choose influencers based on your campaign needs.

Of course, if you need help finding influencers, we’re available here at Find Your Influence.

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