The BFF Illusion: Influencers & Consumers

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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.

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In Tune: Influencer Marketing & Taylor Swift

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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?

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

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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.

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The Gold Standard in Influencer Marketing

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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.

 

 

 

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How Influencer Marketing Is Changing The TV Landscape

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By Courtney Moser

 

Consumers ages 13-24 are 2.5 times more likely to watch internet videos than TV.

Video-streaming services have overtaken live programming as the viewing method of choice.

Do we need to keep citing alarming statistics or is the picture clear enough? The TV industry is changing – from trending topics and viewers to advertising methods. Traditional ads and commercials just aren’t as effective as they used to be in the midst of the digital era.

That’s where influencer marketing comes in. To better promote TV shows and networks today, it makes sense to meet your consumers where they are – online. In 2016, 78 percent of Americans had a social media profile, and in 2018, the number of worldwide social media users is expected to pass two billion. There are millions of blogs on the internet, and even more blog readers.

Influencer marketing makes the most of this extraordinary digital age to reach consumers on blogs and social media through advanced word-of-mouth marketing. Brands partner with specific influencers – who have an engaged following that aligns with their target audience – to share cultivated messages, branded content or product promotions. Trust in traditional advertising is down, but up when it comes to influencer marketing: 92 percent of consumers say they trust earned media and recommendations over all other forms of ads. TV shows can take advantage of this influencer credibility to increase awareness, buzz and viewership.

Comedy TV show Kevin Can Wait, for example, turned to influencer marketing to promote awareness for its time slot change and drive new viewers. They identified lifestyle bloggers who had seen the family-focused comedy before, and asked each of them to write one original blog post about why they’re fans and how they relate to the show or characters. A few of the creative blog topics that resulted include:

o   My favorite TV snack and Kevin Can Wait

o   Sometimes it’s just good to laugh #KevinCanWaitAt8

o   Relate to the dreaded motherhood + balance dilemma?

The blogging influencers then shared their content across social media channels using the campaign hashtag #KevinCanWaitAt8. As a second follow-up to this campaign, the show asked a larger number of social media influencers to post three times on their social networks about the show. Ten targeted blog posts and hundreds of social posts achieved more than 252 million impressions, with a total campaign value of $3 million. These combined efforts led to 57,169 clicks to the Kevin Can Wait website – increasing awareness and interest.

Although influencer marketing may not be the go-to advertising method for TV shows yet, Kevin Can Wait’s success demonstrates that it has the power to be. Using influencer marketing, shows can reach their current audience along with a wide range of potential viewers to truly make a lasting impact.

Curious about how to get started? Contact the Find Your Influence team today to learn more.

 

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The Value of Evergreen Content

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By Courtney Moser

How did that old blog post shoot back to the top of your views this week?

Thanks to the digital black hole that is the internet, anyone can find anything at any time. The article your team wrote years back about the rise of Snapchat? Still here. The embarrassing photos you posted on Facebook in college? They’re out there, somewhere. Ahem, talk about a double-edged sword.

Anyway, the positive aspect of content on the internet is that it can continuously deliver results. Months – or even years – after it’s posted, a blog post can pop back up in popularity or a photo can be picked up in a story. And when that old blog post soars to the top of your views again, make sure to analyze why (along with high-fiving). Most likely, that content is what we consider “evergreen content,” which holds its value over time.

This article explains of the origin: “If you compare it to an evergreen tree, which doesn’t go dormant and keeps returning each year, evergreen content is continually relevant information that won’t ‘fade’ with time.”

For example, even as influencer marketing continues to evolve and expand, the basics will stay relevant. This includes evergreen topics such as “Working with influencers,” and “Influencer marketing best practices.” So although timely, trending topics are valuable, it’s equally vital to incorporate more general, all-encompassing ideas.

A seemingly one-time investment can actually offer long-term results. Because evergreen content sticks around, it’s important to be strategic on where – which links and landing pages – you or your influencers send consumers. If it’s to a brand or influencer blog, great: that content lives on indefinitely. If it’s to a brand landing page, determine how long you’ll keep it up at the start of the campaign. You may be surprised at the views it receives months down the road!

Through the years, you can pick certain high-performing or relevant content pieces to update with new statistics or quotes to ensure it stays evergreen. You can also repurpose pieces by converting several blog posts into one longer e-book or transforming an evergreen white paper into an infographic. Hopefully, you’ve kept up a relationship with influencers you’ve worked with on campaigns, and can reach out to them with ideas on new social promotions for an old brand recipe or an extension of a past sponsored post.

As Entrepreneur says, influencer marketing is a “long game.” The key is to work smarter – not necessarily harder. If you already have high-quality content that is consistently relevant, why not get creative and use it again?

For more influencer marketing ideas and tips, visit the Find Your Influence blog.

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Geo-Targeting And Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

Do your marketing efforts feel like a page out of the Where’s Waldo book?

In the crowded digital marketplace today, it can be difficult to stand out. Brands struggle to be seen and heard just as consumers waver between countless products and service choices. And yet, something has to give: You have to set your brand apart by way of marketing in order to reach those consumers and impact success.

How can you cut through the clutter? Location makes the brand marketing experience more personal. By using geo-targeting to customize your message based on location, you can make sure consumers find Waldo (er, your brand) quickly and easily. With influencer marketing, this typically means working with geo-targeted influencers who reach your target audience in specific areas.

Red Bull, for example, created a geo-targeted influencer marketing campaign to promote their live tour – Red Bull Flying Bach – in Phoenix. They partnered with local social media influencers to improve awareness and drive ticket sales. Along with asking the influencers to post content leading up to the three shows in Phoenix, the brand also gave them tickets to attend the event. By honing in on local influencers and their captive audience, Red Bull successfully used geo-targeting to increase event interest and attendance.

How can other brands use geo-targeting? Rideshare company Fare debuted their services in Austin by giving local influencers free rides and asking them to post about their experiences. This simple content focused on authentic reviews helped Fare drum up positive awareness in the city that recently ousted other ridesharing companies. Of course, geo-targeting also offers a huge opportunity for any company with physical locations – from retail stores to gyms – to draw in new customers.

“As more brands look for ways to drive in-store purchases, geo-targeting for influencers will become more prevalent,” this article on 2017 influencer marketing trends says. “The targeting won’t be limited to where the influencer lives, but rather where their audience lives – shifting the definition of ‘local influencer.’”

This concept shift means that influencer marketing is advancing past basic influencer profiles to include layers of audience demographics and psychographics. As our insights into an influencer’s audience become more comprehensive, the ability to more accurately target consumers increases. By geo-targeting your influencer marketing campaign, you can gain a deeper understanding into your target audience – and by extension, find more success from your efforts.

Ready to take the next step and start honing in on the right influencers and audience? Contact the Find Your Influence team today for help.

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Event-Based Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

 

RSVP yes or no.

What makes someone decide to attend an event? It typically comes down to interest and the fear of missing out if they don’t show up. After all, no one likes to be left out of the latest happenings or feel a pang of regret at skipping an event! Society today is all about being in the know – and sharing (or flaunting) it across social media.

Influencer marketing harnesses that feeling by motivating consumers to join in on the fun by way of a trustworthy source: influencers. It’s been proven many times now that we trust people over ads. So by extension, consumers are more likely to attend an event recommended by a blogger they follow than an event promoted by way of a digital banner.

Brands have started capitalizing on this by partnering with credible, relevant blog and social media influencers to drum up buzz for events. Finding the right influencers are key here, as reinforced in this article, “the more closely aligned your event industry and your influencers’ industry, the more receptive and interested their audience will be.”

This type of event-based influencer marketing can be broken down into several smaller strategies. They include:

  • Pre-event promotion to increase interest and attendance
  • Influencer live-streaming at events
  • Post-event recaps and future promotion

The first strategy – promoting the event beforehand – doesn’t always require influencers to actually attend anything. It can be something they’re interested in or that is relevant to their readers, and they can promote and extend the invite effectively without being there. Of course, if they do attend, you can incorporate several other components into your campaign agreement – from live-streaming videos to tweeting in real-time. And an event recap blog post can be valuable for sharing details and drumming up interest in future brand events.

The most comprehensive event-based influencer marketing strategy would include all three of the above aspects. The influencers you’re working with can promote the event, attend and post on social media during, and then write a recap afterwards. This offers the highest visibility and potential results – whether you’re aiming for increased awareness, social engagement, website clicks or something else.

“When you amplify your voice, you are likely to amplify your revenue,” Find Your Influence CEO Jamie Reardon said. “Influencer marketing can impact the success of events – both online and in person.”

Can your events benefit from an influencer marketing boost? See what the FYI platform can do for you here.

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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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