The BFF Illusion: Influencers & Consumers

friends_edit

By Courtney Moser

 

“Did we just become best friends?

That Step Brothers movie quote accurately (and hilariously) describes our search for instantaneous connections in modern society. We are so in tune with internet life that we start to feel like we actually know the people behind the blogs and social media accounts.

Influencers have become “friends” to all of us online – even though we’ve never actually met them. There’s something about following someone’s blog or Instagram, and gaining peeks into their daily life, that cultivates a sense of intimacy; a bond. It’s only natural, then, that we turn to these influencers when doing online product or service research.

According to Adweek, 49 percent of people say that they rely on influencers’ recommendations when making a purchase decision. And 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference. Influencer marketing harnesses the bond between influencers and consumers to accelerate a brand’s mission – without compromising credibility.

How? Influencer marketing connects brands with relevant, high-quality influencers who reach their target audience. This cuts out the random one-size-fits-all problem with advertising, and ensures that companies can hone in on consumers who care about what they have to offer – increasing brand affinity and overall ROI.

“47 percent of online customers use ad blocking technology. The way to reach them is to provide content they want from people they trust,” Digital News Report explains.

 

Influencers are among the trusted inner circle for many consumers today because of honest product reviews, no filter images, “day in the life” type posts, and more. Blogs and social media have created a new type of friendship built on likes, comments and shares. Brands who capitalize on this by creating an influencer marketing strategy can expect to see at least some of the following benefits:

  • Improved ROI: An average $6.5 return on investment for every dollar spent
  • Increased credibility:92 percent of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations over advertising http://www.adweek.com/digital/why-influencer-marketing-is-the-new-content-king-infographic/
  • Consumer loyalty: Word-of-mouth marketing results in a 37 percent higher retention rate

Influencer marketing can help you make the most of relationships between influencers and consumers online today to drive results. Contact the Find Your Influence team with any questions about getting started!

P.S. Are your influencers “friends” with the right target audience? Learn more about demographics and psychographics here.

Read More

In Tune: Influencer Marketing & Taylor Swift

blogphoto_music_edit

By Courtney Moser

 

“Did you hear her song about John Mayer? I can’t believe he did that!”

We tend to feel like we know pop stars from their music. This is certainly true when it comes to Taylor Swift – the queen of using her own life as song material. Any time she releases a new album, the buzz is all about who’s who in her songs, from break ups to love interests to spurned friends. There’s a vulnerability in the way she shares her stories that makes listeners feel a connection with her – just as influencers build trust with consumers online.

So, if Taylor Swift was a friend of the Find Your Influence team, this is the wise influencer marketing advice we imagine she’d dole out (in song, of course):

Fill your blank space wisely: Taylor Swift may be referring to the next name on her dating list here, but it also applies when it comes to your list of influencers. Which influential bloggers will fill your blank space? This is a pivotal decision for your campaign – the influencers you choose to work with will shape your strategy and reflect on your brand. No company wants to look back and think “I knew you were trouble.”

You belong with me: “I’ve been here all along so why can’t you see, you belong with me.” Not to get too intense with your influencers right off the bat, but it’s important to let them know why they belong with you. Why is this partnership a good fit? What value can you provide? We can all learn something from this bold Taylor Swift song: be up front about what you want and what you have to offer.

Let those sparks fly: Once you’ve set your campaign in motion, watch the sparks fly. Let your influencers do what they do best: create quality content and connect with consumers. Marketing guru Jay Baer said: “True influence drives action, not just awareness,” and so we’re looking for powerful results in the form of engagement—whether that’s likes, comments, shares, clicks or buys.

Shake it off: If one method doesn’t work, shake it off! There are copious ways to make the most of influencer marketing tactics. Don’t be afraid to change your strategy if an influencer isn’t the right fit or your content isn’t resonating with consumers. These teaching moments can lead to greater success in the future – like a $6.5 return on investment for every dollar spent – if you’re open to growing from them.

Inspiration is everywhere! And if you want to avoid bad blood when it comes to your influencer relationships, we advise listening to the best practices above. Of course, if you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Find Your Influence for strategy and campaign guidance.

Which other popular songs unintentionally offer influencer marketing advice?

Read More

Summer Loving: How to Turn an Influencer Fling into the Real Deal

pexels-photo-70304

By Courtney Moser

 

Sunset walks on the beach, pina coladas, sponsored blog posts…

Is it more than just a summer fling? When it comes to building a successful influencer marketing strategy, your seasonal partnership should last far past September – and continue to drive results all year long.

Influencer marketing is at its most effective when centered around relationships. Together, a brand and an influencer can increase product awareness, brand affinity, website traffic, intent to purchase and more. How? When you partner with an influencer, make sure their content and audience align with your brand mission and campaign goals – and then offer value in return. We dive further into how to turn an influencer fling into the real deal below.

Tips for creating influencer relationships that can go the distance:

Build on a foundation of mutual respect: So you like an influencer – but is your admiration reciprocated? As Forbes says: “Effective partnerships start with identifying influencers who already love your brand or have engaged social followings that align with your company and offering them some data-driven creative guidance.”

Commit for the long haul: Your attitude going into a brand-influencer partnership is crucial. You should start out the relationship with commitment in mind – this sets you both up to work together for the common goal of educating consumers, reaching new audiences, sharing product features, and so on.

Prioritize communication: Clear expectations and feedback are important when you’re building a partnership – this sets the tone for future projects and opens the door for effective communication and successful results. Don’t turn to the silent treatment when something doesn’t go as planned!

When you take the time to build a long-term relationship with your influencers, they can move from one-time associates to brand ambassadors who increase authenticity and trust among consumers. As said in this blog post, “The best influencers drive action – they spur their readers and followers to do something, rather than just listen.”

Looking forward, 83 percent of brand marketers say that “identifying and building one-on-one relationships with industry key influencers” is a top priority this year. Are you ready to take your influencer relationships to the next level? To learn more about establishing successful influencer relationships, contact the experts at Find Your Influence today.

Read More

The Gold Standard in Influencer Marketing

hands-woman-laptop-notebook

By Courtney Moser

 

“Any brand knows that having a product in a consumer’s hands or creating an authentic interaction with a consumer is worth its weight in gold.”

The above quote from Forbes explains why influencer marketing offers a return on investment (ROI) that’s 11 times higher than traditional advertising. This modern, word-of-mouth tactic works with both brands and consumers to elevate the typical marketing experience. Instead of a one-sided banner ad or promotional pop-up, influencer marketing hones in on target audiences through influential individuals and custom content.

Authenticity is key because influencer marketing is all about trust. In fact, 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands or ads. By partnering with blog and social media influencers, brands can benefit from the trust they’ve built with their followers and readers to increase awareness, affinity and intent to purchase. This means offering value to influencers in order to be more genuine – whether that’s free products, new recipes, creative ideas, a factory tour, a trip, or something else.

In return, influencers offer great value for brands as well – in the form of authentic content and interactions. They share their product or service experience on their blog or social networks and greatly increase brand visibility with new audience groups. This exposure is valuable both now and in the future, which is why influencer marketing is known for its long-term relationship building.

What else is important when it comes to creating an influencer community? Let’s dive into a few more best practices that are worth their weight in gold for successful influencer marketing:

o   Integrate your influencer marketing efforts with your larger marketing strategy: Before focusing on authenticity and connecting with consumers, you have to ensure that all of your marketing efforts are integrated. Your future success hinges on a streamlined campaign.

o   Pick the right influencers and social platforms: Depending on your brand goals and campaign type, the “right” influencer and platforms will vary. Choose based on who/which reaches your target audience most effectively.

o   Prioritize engagement:Quality over quantity – although a high reach can be impressive, engagement metrics prove consumers are actually listening; that they care and will take action.

Cultivating authentic connections with your target consumers – through engaged, relevant influencers – is a win-win for everyone. The definition of a successful campaign can change, but ultimately it includes increased awareness, brand affinity and a higher intent to purchase. Plus, converting brand ambassadors and increasing consumer relationships are an important part of a long-term influencer marketing strategy.

Are you ready to go for the gold with your influencer marketing efforts? Contact the Find Your Influence team today to get started.

 

 

 

Read More

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

twoinfluencers

 

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.

Read More

3 Reasons Your Campaign Content Failed

startup-photos

By: Courtney Gibb

 

What does success look like to you? As a blogger, creating great content to engage followers is often the overarching goal: You want your readers to get excited, comment, click and share. High-quality content builds interest and turns browsers into followers.

When you’re partnering with a brand, however, there’s more on the line and those relationships can become more complicated.  Along with engaging your readers, you have to factor in the brand’s requirements, measurements and goals.  So don’t be discouraged if a branded blog post doesn’t perform the way you expected at first.

Think of it as a learning experience, and keep improving. Over at Find Your Influence (FYI), we have identified three of the top reasons that campaign content can fail (aka learn from us and avoid making these mistakes!).

1. The brand wasn’t a good fit

You know the expression, “Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole?” It can be really exciting when a brand or advertiser wants to work with you, especially if it’s a popular brand or one that you love. But don’t let that cloud your judgment. Your fans come first. That’s why you have to make sure that the brand is a good fit for your blog, readers, and goals – otherwise your fans may be surprised, annoyed or bored with the content in your sponsored post.

And that could not only lead to lost credibility, but it may also negatively impact your engagement numbers for the campaign. Everyone loses. So, only partner with brands that make sense for your blog.

2. Your post lacked your usual passion or voice

When you’re writing a post for a brand, there’s often a lot of specifications, requirements and suggestions. It can turn into something that feels like a lot of work, and get disheartening fast. The result might be a post that hits every single requirement, but lacks your usual passion and voice—which is a problem.

The brand is paying you because your voice is powerful. If you lose your passion, you’re not producing the type of content that a brand (or your fans) is expecting. Just because the post prompt isn’t what you expected, or wanted, doesn’t mean you can slack off. After all, you’re getting paid. Put just as much work — maybe even a little more — into it as you would your favorite posts.

3. You didn’t measure the campaign correctly

Measurement is key when you’re working with marketers. If you miss the instructions on how to track your post success correctly, you’ve basically disrupted the entire marketing universe. The brand won’t know how to justify, analyze or learn from the results of the campaign. So, make sure you track appropriately.

The great thing about data is that you can usually find a measurement that works best for you and your strengths. If you think the brand should be measuring a campaign a different way, tell them! And even if the brand says no, consider adding your metric to the mix. This way you’ll have something to fall back on if the brand’s metrics don’t work out for your post.

Have you run into any other pitfalls with brand campaigns? Share what you’ve learned in the comments!

Read More

What Does Instagram’s API Change Mean for Influencer Marketing?

instagramphotoEDIT

By: Courtney Gibb

“Progress is impossible without change.”

Almost 100 years old, this perceptive quote from George Bernard Shaw rings more true every day in the digital world. Social media has to adapt and innovate in order to improve and stay relevant. Although these necessary changes may be met with initial user resistance, the ultimate goal – to improve and achieve success – reigns over any temporary upset.

Which brings us to Instagram, and some recent – and controversial – changes the platform has made to the way it collects and distributes data. With more than 500 million users, for example, it’s inevitable that Instagram’s changes won’t be loved by everyone at first. We’re talking about you, Instagram feed algorithm updates. Why isn’t content in chronological order any more?

“The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post,” according to Instagram.

Instagram’s quest for innovation means that they’re anticipating user wants and needs instead of just reacting to them. The new feed algorithm is progress within their platform; another step toward the future in which quality content rules. While it’s easy to view alterations such as this through only one user-focused lens, as marketers, it’s also important to consider the business of social media.

Back in November 2015, Instagram announced that they would be updating their platform API policy to: “improve people’s control over their content and set up a more sustainable environment built around authentic experiences on the Instagram Platform.”

As is their right, the platform is now restricting what their API can be used for, and, along with the end of /users/self/feed and /media/popular API endpoints, instituting a new permissions review process. Existing third-party apps were given until June 1, 2016, to apply for review and get approved.

Mashable reported that this change announcement came quickly after a third-party Instagram app was removed for stealing users’ passwords from the App Store and Google Play. Along with providing more platform security and developer control, this API change will create a more consistent user experience – driving more traffic directly to Instagram and its ad network. And as noted by TechCrunch, the move away from an open platform gives them the opportunity to focus on their own Instagram apps.

So, how will this change your influencer marketing strategy?

Instagram’s API update impacts the ability to see Instagram’s data, meaning that an influencer partnership will need to clearly outline reporting policies moving forward. The update will also cut apps off from seeing a user’s entire Instagram feed. According to Nordic APIs, this may be a good thing in that it will clean up the platform and help get rid of fake “likes” and follower programs. If you relied on spambot apps to follow, like content, or repost content for you, a new engagement strategy is needed (#keepitreal).

It’s vital to stay up to date on Instagram changes and how they impact your marketing strategy. Please contact the FYI team with any questions about this Instagram change. And, learn more about Instagram best practices here.

Read More

How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Build Manageable Campaign Deadlines

Startup Stock Photos

 

By: Courtney Gibb

ASAP. EOD. Do those look familiar? Are you feeling tense? We’ve all cringed at abbreviations such as those added on to a request; inhaled a little more deeply and started rethinking our plan for the day.

Some urgent, last-minute requests are unavoidable – that’s just life and unpredictability in business, particularly in the marketing world. Organized and intentional influencer marketing campaigns, on the other hand, should have firm timelines to add consistency and accountability to your planning and strategy.

Let’s get one thing straight – at FYI, our team has overseen the development and deployment of more than 10,000 influencer marketing campaigns. We’ve seen a lot of different ideas and strategies come through our doors, and we’ve made some better – we’ve added to others, and still others we’ve skinnied down.

Through our research and experience over the years, the FYI Client Success team has come up with the basis for a solid influencer marketing campaign timeline. Is it definitive? Nope. It is mandatory? Still no? But those who fail to plan…well, you now how that goes.

In general, for any influencer marketing campaign, we recommend a nine-week campaign plan…yes, nine weeks. It may seem like a crazy long time at first (I want to influence NOW!), but it’s better to be prepared than lost and overwhelmed.

Here’s how the nine-week plan breaks down, in convenient equation format:

If you take:

Two weeks to select and invite influencers

+ Two weeks for influencers to develop content

+ Four weeks for the campaign to be active

+ One week for reporting and analysis

= A comprehensive, streamlined campaign timeline

Each campaign will be slightly different, depending on everything from personal preferences to brand goals. It’s important to speak with everyone involved in the campaign when setting the timeline, to ensure that it’s realistic based on workload and priorities.

And, it can be helpful to dissect the timeline even further and set daily deadlines. For example, within the two weeks set aside to select and invite influencers, the first three days could be for research, the next four days for invites and the whole second week could be open for influencer responses and questions.

The key to a successful influencer marketing campaign is both organization and flexibility. What if an influencer doesn’t respond? Move forward on a set date regardless. Will your account manager be OOO the first week of September? Factor that in and ensure back-up is available. There may be last-minute issues you can’t predict, but at least it won’t feel that stressful at every turn.

Do you have any tips or tricks that have made your influencer marketing campaigns successful? Let us know! And check out the rest of our influencer marketing best practices here.

Read More

Influencer Marketing Leader Find Your Influence Marks 50th Agency Strategic Partnership

FYI_BestPractices

 

Find Your Influence (FYI), the industry leading SaaS influencer marketing platform today announced a strategic partnership with Tempe’s Lucid Agency, marking the 50th such relationship since FYI launched their award-winning agency dashboard product in 2014.

“Reaching 50 agency partners in just 18 months is a tremendous accomplishment our entire team is very proud of,” said Jamie Reardon, CEO and co-founder of FYI. “Working with agencies the caliber of Lucid allows us to tap into their collective thought leadership, further refining our software platform to meet their needs, and ultimately building long-lasting, highly productive relationships.

Lucid Agency is an award-winning digital marketing and web technology firm that focuses on ROI-centric digital solution to marketing challenges, including interactive marketing campaigns, website development and deployment, and custom code applications. Founded by Scott Kaufmann and Ken Bonham, the Lucid team saw a strategic partnership with FYI as an opportunity to expand their influencer marketing offering.

“Lucid’s expanding client base demands a variety of expertise from our team, and we work diligently to ensure everyone at Lucid stays abreast of new, emerging, and high-margin trends,” said Bonham, Lucid’s vice president of business development. “Partnering with FYI makes sense for us, and the fact they’re Arizona born-and bred like we are is a plus, too.”

Using a proprietary influencer-scoring algorithm combined with a leading SaaS influencer marketing platform, FYI ranks digital influencers on a variety of factors, including audience, reach and advocacy. Since launching in February, 2014, FYI now offers access to more than 100,000 high-quality influencers, from mommy bloggers to celebrities and everyone in between, specializing in the beauty & fashion, lifestyle, parenting, technology, retail, professional services, financial and small business verticals.

 

By connecting to these influencers through FYI, agencies can help their partner brands seamlessly communicate to their end-users directly through the creation of third-party endorsed content, leveraging digital influencers as brand evangelists.

“FYI’s goal is to continue growing the leading SaaS influencer marketing platform in the industry,” said Reardon. “With consecutive quarter-over-quarter growth and aggressive goals for 2016, partnerships like this one with Lucid – and the 49 that came before it – are crucial.”

About Find Your Influence
Find Your Influence (FYI), is the leading SaaS Influencer Marketing technology platform connecting more than 100,000 high-value influencers to brands and advertisers. In just 18 months, FYI has completed more than 1,000 campaigns for more than 100 brands, ultimately driving more than 1B impressions across blogs, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. FYI makes influencer marketing measurable, scalable, and profitable for our agency partners.
For more information, please visit http://www.findyourinfluence.com.

Read More

Take Their Word For It: How a National Identity Theft Protection Leader Recruited Influencers to Change the Narrative, and Enter a Whole New Market

lifelock-sign-1

When done correctly, influencer marketing can help a brand accomplish three things:
1. Increase brand awareness
2. Increase brand affinity
3. Increase intent-to-purchase

Maybe it’s time to add reputation management to the list of things marketers can count on influencer marketing to do.

Take LifeLock for example – the nation’s leading identity theft protection company had gone to market with a very specific strategy: highlight the negative impact identity theft can have. But does that strategy leave potential customers immune to that messaging out in the cold?

Find Your Influence Case Study: LifeLock Identity Theft Protection
National identity protection leader changes their messaging with the help of 45 influencers and reaches millions

Overview
When it comes to protecting against identity theft, there’s no room for error. And when it comes to expanding your footprint as the leader in identity theft protection, you have to rely on more than just your reputation alone.

LifeLock approached FYI with a non-typical opportunity – the LifeLock team wanted to aggressively increase site traffic, but the company already owned the market share in their typical demographic. If they wanted to meet their traffic goals, they needed to branch out. Time for influencer marketing!

Solution
Past initiatives had earned LifeLock a loyal subscribership. consisting mainly of affluent 55+ retirees, so the Find Your Influence team worked closely with LifeLock to develop a strategy that would reposition their products and expand their market share. In the past, LifeLock had focused on the impact of identity theft — educating consumers about what identity thieves can do with personal information. But they needed to reach consumers who weren’t responding to that type of messaging.

With the help of FYI, LifeLock decided to turn their focus on other product features — specifically credit monitoring. They hired 45 influencers from a variety of demographics, including moms and dads in their twenties and thirties. Most of the influencers had experienced identity theft first hand, so they were able to write from personal experience about why solely credit monitoring isn’t enough.

They reached millions with this simple message: to effectively fight identity theft, consumers need both credit monitoring and identity theft protection, and LifeLock offers both.

Results
In just two months and with 45 influencers, LifeLock reached millions of consumers outside their usual demographics. The company were able to reposition their products and begin a new conversation, quickly spreading the message that LifeLock offers a whole lot more than credit monitoring.

Reach: Approximately 5.4 million people
Social content production: Increased 326% from May to June
Total conversations: 1,565
Average CTR: 4.47%

Are you or your brand looking to change the conversation? Influencer marketing maybe be the answer you’re looking for…learn more today!

Read More