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.

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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Travel Bloggers And Your Brand

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By Courtney Moser

 

“I want to go there!”

How many times have we gawked over awe-inspiring Instagram photos or Pinterest-perfect destinations? How often does it lead to Googling new cities or airfare prices?

Travel bloggers are influential for a reason: They make consumers wish they were somewhere else, they stir up the wanderlust in even the most content homebodies. In fact, 73 percent of people acquire vacation ideas from social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Influencer marketing is effective because these travel bloggers are promoting their high-quality content across social media, with brands as sponsors or partners. And, 92 percent of consumers trust these type of word-of-mouth recommendations over traditional advertising.

The Northern Colorado Front Range Tourism Initiative recently ran an influencer marketing campaign around the idea of FOMO – the fear of missing out, which is exactly what travel bloggers often stir up in others. In conjunction with their #WishYouWereBeer campaign, the organization worked with Find Your Influence to invite several high-reach travel and lifestyle bloggers on an all-expenses paid trip to Colorado. Their goals were to increase buzz, drive website traffic and improve awareness for their region.

Along with posting real-time social media updates during the trip, the travel bloggers also posted three separate blog posts afterward: a recap of their adventures with photos and video, a post highlighting fall events in Colorado and a post highlighting winter activities in the state. After just the first round of posts went up, this successful campaign had already achieved a total reach of 30 million.

Creative, high-quality photos and videos are key to increased engagement and reach on travel blogs and social media. And, of course, authentic content is at the core: that’s why consumers identify with them and place their trust in their recommendations.

“Most travel bloggers would never recommend things they don’t believe in, haven’t tested or places they haven’t traveled to themselves,” Matthias, the blogger behind TravelTelling, said.

Even if you’re not a tourism office, hotel brand or airline company, travel bloggers can still be relevant for your campaigns. A restaurant can enlist bloggers to include them in a “must-visit” list for their city, while an online retail company can sponsor a “must-have” packing list. Clothing and beauty products are simple to incorporate into an influencer’s blog photos, and even less obvious organizations like banks can sponsor content about travel funds or budgeting.

When it comes to working with any influencers – including travel bloggers – creativity is paramount. How can you work with them to best connect with and captivate your audience? How will your campaign impact your goals? Whether you’re focused on increasing awareness, page views, social engagement, product sales or something else entirely, influencer marketing can help get you there.

To learn more about planning your campaign strategy, visit our blog. To ask the FYI team a specific question, contact us here.

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Influencer Marketing Best Practices: Always Work With Kids & Animals

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By Courtney Moser

 

“Never work with kids or animals.”

It’s time to turn that old adage on its head. In the world of influencer marketing, it’s advised to ALWAYS work with kids and animals. The critique that led to the outdated phrase above – that you can’t control them – is actually a benefit. Kids and animals make your campaign more messy, yes, but also more fun and authentic.

Take Loni Edwards and her dog Chloe, for example. Chloe is a mini Frenchie with a big following – more than 123,000 on Instagram, in fact. She has worked on influencer marketing campaigns with a variety of brands, including Budweiser, Vogue, Martha Stewart and PetSmart.

Edwards says of her dogs’ fame: “Pets generate these warm, happy, fuzzy feelings… Brands are starting to reach out because they make people genuinely happy, and they want their ads to make people happy.”

Chloe’s Instagram following is impressive, but nowhere near the top: There are many pet profiles on the platform with more than a million followers. After all, who doesn’t want to unwind by looking at dogs or cats in hipster glasses and scarves? Even the infamous Grumpy Cat has the opposite effect of grouchiness by spurring smiles.

The target audience for these pet campaigns is certainly alive and well: 65 percent of U.S. households own a pet. And, pet industry spending predictions for 2016 hit more than $60 billion. From digital product endorsements to Super Bowl ad spots, pets are often the star of the show for a reason. They have a universal appeal in our crazy, controversial world.

Kids, similarly, evoke positive emotional sentiments by way of cute humor and innocent insight. Mom bloggers are some of the original powerful influencers, and they often include their children in campaigns – from photos of them enjoying a new snack bar to modeling a certain brand of clothes to quoting their priceless reactions to an experience. Kids give the real scoop on everything – offering a breath of fresh air and much needed authenticity in the world of marketing.

Discount Tire, for example, created an influencer marketing YouTube campaign in celebration of Father’s Day. They gave influencers questions to ask their kids about road trips with Dad. In the video “Our Kids Tell Us About Their Dads,” the little ones answered in funny, honest ways – like saying that Seattle and McDonald’s were their two favorite trips with Dad.

Whether they know it or not, kids have power: it’s even said that kids influence up to 80 percent of household purchases. Parents always have their children top of mind, and using kids in influencer marketing campaigns appeals to family life and what matters most. From laughing at the silly things kids say to cooing over a new baby, consumers appreciate the realness that they bring.

To learn more about influencer marketing best practices, visit the Find Your Influence blog.

P.S. For the ultimate campaign cuteness overload, we suggest working with puppies AND babies… at the same time.

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Why is Listening to Your Influencers So Important?

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By Courtney Moser

Every now and then, it’s important to remind ourselves of Ferris Bueller’s wisdom: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.”

Life does move fast – and the business world is even more accelerated. Between deals, deadlines, changes and campaigns, there’s often little time left for analysis and reflection. But influencer marketing is best when brands and influencers take the time to listen to each other and collaborate. A successful influencer marketing campaign is aligned with the following best practices:

  1. Build manageable campaign deadlines
  2. Set campaign goals to measure success
  3. Fully integrate your influencer marketing
  4. Pick the right social platform
  5. Find the right influencers
  6. Communicate frequently
  7. Provide feedback to your influencers
  8. Scale, and repeat

A large part of finding the right influencers, communicating frequently and providing feedback to your influencers is listening. It comes down to knowing who you’re working with – who you’ve enlisted to represent or promote your brand – and how they do business. Tied into the necessity of listening is the importance of acknowledging your influencers skill set and knowledge within your overall campaign strategy.

“The best conversationalists always start with listening… as do the best marketers,” according to this article.

There’s a reason you’ve partnered with influencers: they bring something to the table that your brand needs for a successful campaign. Not only do they have the attention of your target audience, but they are likely well versed in blogging and social media best practices. In this instance, they are the experts, and you can learn from them.

As this Forbes article says: “Influence isn’t just having a lot of followers. It’s also driven by expertise and credibility on subject matter and the relationship between the influencer and his or her followers.”

When is the best time to post on Instagram, for example? Is your campaign hashtag catchy and shareable enough? Ask – or at least be open to – feedback from your influencers, just as you provide feedback to them. Listen to your influencers’ ideas and suggestions because they are the ones who are “in the trenches.” And in this campaign setting, their success is your success.

What have you learned from your influencers? Which best practices do you prioritize when it comes to influencer marketing? Share your thoughts and expertise in the comments below!

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How Can You Clear The Path To Landing Page Conversions?

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By: Courtney Moser

Dear Influential Ida,

My influencer marketing campaign was executed with great results. We achieved a total reach of almost three million, had high social engagement and hundreds of clicks to our website… but hardly any sales. What happened?

Sincerely,

Miffed Marketer

 

Ah, Miffed Marketer, the scenario you described is (unfortunately) not uncommon. We often focus so much on campaigns, industry trends and keeping up with marketing that we forget to analyze and improve the basics. So while your campaign results are cause for celebration, there’s clearly an underlying issue that’s holding you back from total success.

In this case, it sounds like your landing page isn’t optimized to take advantage of all of your new influencer marketing campaign traffic. Once consumers are getting to your website, you’re losing them. That means that you either don’t have a landing page, or you have a landing page that’s too convoluted to be effective.

Why aren’t your new visitors converting? Let’s examine a few possibilities:

You don’t have a unique campaign landing page. Congrats, your campaign attracted the attention of a lot of people online. They clicked on your URL, and ended up… on the homepage? A random product page? Now what? Creating a unique campaign landing page can help bridge your campaign message with your overall brand website. According to Hubspot, companies see a 55 percent increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15. Targeted, specific landing pages can be very helpful in guiding the consumers on their purchase journey through your site.

You have a weak landing page. Just having a campaign landing page doesn’t make it automatically effective. It’s a good start, but there are several necessary components to ensure it makes an impact and clears the path to conversions. To begin with, simplify your page. Look at your messaging, design, images and CTAs. How’s your headline? Research shows that you have eight seconds to grab consumer attention with a compelling headline and keep them reading. Do you offer quick value and guide them to relevant assets and information on your website? A long, complex landing page can hinder your conversion rate. Simplicity is best here.

You didn’t do any landing page tests. Only 52 percent of companies said that they tested their landing pages to find ways to improve conversions. A/B testing is a simple way to see what works best: longer text copy, more images, and so on. Which messaging is driving the most conversions? If you’re asking consumers to fill out a form on your landing page, is it too long? Is it easy to find the product your influencers were discussing? This testing should focus on your target audience and their browsing or purchasing motivation. If you don’t have the time or resources for testing, always go with the simpler landing page option. Quality over quantity.

Hopefully this helps clarify what you need to do to clear the path to improved landing page conversions. If you have any other questions about this, the Find Your Influence team is a great resource.

Sincerely, Influential Ida 

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Demographics Versus Psychographics: Motivating Your Audience

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By Courtney Moser

Do you know who you’re talking to online?

Unlike an in-person conversation, it isn’t always clear who your message is reaching on the internet. Putting a face to that digital name can be extremely helpful for marketers and brands trying to cultivate an authentic connection with their consumers. To do this, we typically look at demographics.

“Authenticity comes from research – really clearly identifying who your target audience is,” Jamie Reardon, founder of Find Your Influence, says. “Dialing in on demographics can help you determine which influencers reach your target audience.”

Audience demographics are the age, gender, ethnicity, location and other statistical data of consumers. It’s the hard facts behind those names online – information you may gather for an email campaign or target marketing purposes. In an influencer marketing campaign, we typically look at demographics to determine which influencers can help us reach the right audience. Contrary to popular belief, however, demographics don’t provide the full story.

To understand your audience and how to motivate them to click or purchase, you should look at psychographics as well. In the simplest terms, “Demographics explain ‘who’ your buyer is, while psychographics explain ‘why’ they buy.” Both demographics and psychographics can help your brand create buyer personas to better hone in on your audience and market more effectively – and ultimately find the quickest path to conversion.

“Marketers are used to thinking and speaking in demographics … But psychographics, which measure customers’ attitudes and interests rather than ‘objective’ demographic criteria, can provide deep insight that complements what we learn from demographics,” as this Harvard Business Review article said.

How can you use demographics and psychographics to improve your influencer marketing campaign and motivate your audience? Hubspot provides an excellent example of how you can break down this information and use it to your advantage to build buyer personas.

Demographic information:

  • Female
  • Age 45
  • Married with two children

Psychographic information:

  • Wants a healthy lifestyle, but doesn’t have much time
  • Big fan of Pinterest, browses online in the evenings
  • Favors quality over economy

As you can see, both demographics and psychographics offer a lot of valuable marketing insight. Although acquiring demographics has typically been easier, the ever-advancing internet is putting more psychographic data in reach.

Today’s analytics can help you pinpoint the reasons consumers are searching, reading or buying specific things. Interviewing existing clients and asking them about their likes and needs, and purchasing thought process, is also a good way to gain more psychographic insight. After all – if you know who is buying, don’t you want to know why?

Please share your thoughts on demographics and psychographics in the comments below. And feel free to reach out to the Find Your Influence team with any questions.

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Macro Versus Micro: What’s An Influencer Worth?

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By Courtney Moser

Jane Fonda or Jane Doe?

The question of macro versus micro-influencers has never been more relevant. As influencer marketing continues to gain power in business, best practices and tactics are under intense examination: What is most effective? Especially now that it’s shown to deliver an average of a 6.5:1 ROI, influencer marketing is in demand – and marketers are vying for the top strategies.

The value of influencers is at the forefront of marketers’ strategic assessments. There are many ways in which to measure the worth of an influencer, from words to numbers. Forbes calculates the value of brand influencers in the following equation:

Audience reach (# of followers)

x Brand affinity (expertise and credibility)

x Strength of follower relationships (engagemrnt)

= Influence

Although the above equation may seem complex, the most important point it makes is this: “Influence isn’t just having a lot of followers.” That is a common misconception about influencer marketing: not everyone recognizes that it’s about so much more than publicity or impressions. More followers or readers doesn’t always mean more engagement or a higher ROI.

The rise of micro-influencers demonstrates that brands are realizing this and placing more value on expertise, relationships and quality content. Even macro-influencers are starting to be held to this standard – it’s no longer enough to just flash an impressive follower count and hit copy/paste. Brands want substance and quality in a creative partnership.

Ultimately, however, the influencers you choose depend on your brand goals and campaign strategy. If audience reach isn’t everything to you, what is? What do you value? To determine what an influencer is worth to you, let’s play a little game called “would you rather?”

Would you rather…     increase blog views or comments?

raise awareness with the general public or a targeted audience?

partner with a “celebrity” public figure or niche expert?

increase social reach or social engagement?

Questions such as these are critical in determining the desired value of influencers for your brand. Many companies are moving toward the micro-influencer trend, but that doesn’t mean it’s best for everyone: larger brands like Zappos have found great success with celebrity influencer marketing as well.

Regardless of the type of influencer you choose to work with, you need to illustrate your worth to them as well: this is a two-sided relationship! Make sure that along with feeling valued, they also feel as if you’re offering value to them as a partner – whether that’s resources, creative freedom, products or services, feedback and more.

Learn more about choosing an influencer marketing campaign here.

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Why Negotiating With Influencers Is Hard (But It Doesn’t Have To Be)

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By Courtney Moser

What is it worth to you?

In business today, we can get so caught up with strategy, plans, cost and deadlines that we lose perspective. But, the idea of value should always be top of mind – especially when working with influencers. Both brands and influencers should ask “What is it worth?” when entering into a campaign agreement.

After all, everyone has a job to do. Some brands expect influencers to work solely for free samples or get frustrated when they don’t accept the first payment offer, but remember: this is their business, too. What is their work worth to you? What value are you offering them?

As this Entrepreneur article says: “Producing unique, interesting and relevant content for a campaign involves a great deal of work and effort. When pitching influencers, agencies should bear this in mind and propose something that will benefit everyone involved.”

When brands and influencers respect the others worth and business, negotiating becomes a whole lot easier. But let’s back up – before even entering into negotiations, make sure you’ve done your research and chosen the right influencers for your brand. Once you’ve identified the influencers you’d like to work with, reach out and introduce your brand – remember, influencer marketing is a relationship, and this is setting the stage for it.

Discussing influencer rates can be tricky, and there are no set rules. Many influencers evaluate and determine rates on a case-by-case basis, but some will have media kits with a list of prices.

“Be prepared — and respectful — of what their rate might be. If it falls within your budget, great; if not, it will help determine what caliber of blogger you can partner with. While an A-list influencer is most likely not willing to do a sponsored post for $300, a newer blogger might gladly do so and reach the niche audience you are so lusting after,” as said in this Small Business Trends article.

Following are a few tips to keep in mind when you start negotiating a brand-influencer agreement.

Outline strategy and goals: Let the influencers know exactly what your brand wants to accomplish with your campaign. They are the content and social media experts, and hopefully, your professional partners. It will be easier to work together if you have a clear understanding and visibility from the start.

Determine expectations: This is as simple as it sounds – what value are they bringing to the table? What do you expect them to produce? Discuss all factors of content and promotion, including what will be created, when it will be published, where it will be shared, and so on.

Prioritize communication: Throughout the introduction and negotiation process, keep communication at the core. This will help to prevent any future misunderstandings once the campaign begins.

Still have questions? Contact the Find Your Influence team for further campaign guidance.

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Broader & Louder: Content Amplification With Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

“Can you hear me now?”

This simple phrase made infamous by a phone company years ago illustrates the frustration many brands face online today. The internet is so cluttered – with companies, consumers, blogs, social networks, readers, advertisers, you name it – that standing out and being heard can seem impossible. What used to be an opportunity (connect with your customers anywhere in the world!) is now a challenge.

The solution for this challenge is ever evolving. Just when it seems like we have the answer (Google! social media!), there’s a software update or algorithm change and brands are once again lost in the digital hustle and bustle of progression. But, this isn’t a glass-half-empty kind of article. There are plenty of emerging opportunities for companies to be heard.

Influencer marketing presents a powerful way for brands to partner with individuals who have an influential voice online – whether that’s in a specific blogging community, a niche market or on specific social channels. This updated form of word-of-mouth marketing can help brands increase reach, awareness, affinity and even intent to purchase – while connecting with consumers and engaging target audiences.

“Partnering with influencers helps get your message in front of a much larger audience and drive conversions, as well as help accelerate buyers’ decisions,” according to this MarketingProfs article.

There are different tactics within the influencer marketing umbrella, with the most popular being content creation – in which a brand gives participating influencers a topic or idea and has them create original blog or social content around it. Content amplification, however, is equally as valuable and actually an easier process. It’s centered around the practical concept of using what your brand has: giving new life to old words, images or campaigns.

With content amplification, you can take impactful brand content you already have, and ask influencers to promote it. Marketing Land refers to these influencers as the “Megaphone” for a reason. With content amplifiers, you can repurpose clever messaging or impactful content and reach new audiences with different methods, across multiple channels.

Your branded content may be a video or article that didn’t get quite the traction you were hoping for the first time around. Or, it may have done so well last year that you feel it deserves to be seen again. Either way, influencers can help you expand your reach by linking to it from their blog, posting about it on social networks, and more.

It’s been found that a small percentage of your content actually generates the majority of shares and links. The takeaway? “Focus 20 percent of your time on creating fewer high-quality pieces of content and the other 80 on promoting that content,” according to Larry Kim in this article. This supports content amplification efforts, and illustrates the value of increasing promotional tactics with influencers – you can save your resources and still make an impact.

“Start where you are; use what you have; do what you can.” Those words from Arthur Ashe were not necessarily meant for influencer marketing, but they describe the opportunity within content amplification. Are you going to take advantage of it?

Learn more about influencer marketing best practices here.

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Building Influencer Marketing Into Your Budget

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By Courtney Moser

Nearly 65 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget this year. And with an impressive 6.5:1 average ROI, why not?

Influencer marketing is said to be the fastest growing online marketing channel, beating out tactics such as affiliate marketing, display ads and paid search. By now, you probably recognize the power and necessity of this tactic for your brand in 2017. The question, then, is not whether you should include influencer marketing in your strategy, but how to build it into your budget.

The first time you incorporate influencer marketing into your budget can be daunting – How much do you need? What should be included? At Find Your Influence (FYI), we recommend outlining your brand goals for the year, along with any planned campaigns you could capitalize on or expand with influencer marketing. Determine if you’re going to focus on driving specific product sales or increasing overall brand affinity and engagement. From there, you can approximate content needs.

Your content needs will vary from blogs to social media channels, and that will greatly impact cost. Hard numbers are difficult to dish out without context here, ranging anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands. For instance – how much will an Instagram campaign cost with one celebrity influencer? This would require a very different budget than partnering with ten micro-influencers for seasonal blog posts.

A brand just testing out the impact of influencers may want to utilize existing content and just ask them to reach new audiences with it. A survey cited in this Tech.co article discovered that 34 percent of brands plan to center their influencer marketing strategy on blogs – while 29 percent will focus on Instagram, 23 percent on Facebook, 8 percent on Twitter 5 percent on YouTube and 1 percent on Snapchat.

At the core of all content lies the creators or promoters – the influencers. Overall, your biggest influencer marketing cost will be the number and type of influencers. If you’ve always wanted to partner with a certain public figure, for example, that one influencer may cost more than 25 micro-influencers. It all depends what you’re willing to pay, what kind of campaign you’ve chosen (are they simply sending out a tweet or writing 800 words?) and what is worth it for ROI (how you’ll measure the output of what you put into the campaign).

So, what should be accounted for when budgeting for influencer marketing? Look at your goals and strategy for the upcoming year. Let’s recap the essential decisions you have to make:

Content: Will you focus on original blogs, social media or repurposed content?

Influencers: What matters most – reach, engagement, content or audience?

Measurements: How will you measure success?

If you’re ready to get started and reap the benefits of influencer marketing, the FYI team can help you organize your campaign and connect with influencers.

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