Why Engagement Is The Most Important Metric… Ever.

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By Courtney Moser

 

Is it better to reach 10,000 or 50,000 potential consumers?

Trick question: Neither one matters if there isn’t engagement. You can reach as many people as possible, but if nothing comes out of those impressions, there is no value in them. As shocking as that may seem at first, engagement is what proves people are listening; that they care about what you’re saying or appreciate what you’re offering. Without that feedback, you may as well be sending your message into outer space.

The real impact of influencer marketing surpasses celebrities and increased awareness – ultimately, it can turn passive browsers into active customers and paid influencers into long-term brand advocates. How? It all goes back to engagement.

Marketing guru Jay Baer once said: “True influence drives action, not just awareness.” If a campaign is powerful enough, it will make consumers want to engage – whether by way of likes, comments, shares, clicks or buys. Those goals will be different, depending on your strategy, but the ultimate measure of value remains the same.

When you focus on engagement in your influencer marketing campaign, you’re prioritizing quality over quantity. The benefits of this strategy include:

  • More meaningful connections
  • Increased credibility
  • Higher intent to purchase

Influencers who have higher engagement on their blog or social networks are likely closer to their followers. And a higher engagement doesn’t mean a large reach. It can be more valuable to partner with a small, niche influencer who specifically speaks to your target audience than a random famous figure. In fact, this study found that we are “50 times more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend than a celebrity or internet personality.”

Smaller influencers often become friends to their followers, and that trust is critical when it comes to influencing digital communities. By working with these influencers, you can build on their credibility to cultivate relationships and encourage brand loyalty. And once you’re in with them, celebrate! It’s been proven that word-of-mouth marketing results in a 37 percent higher retention rate.

“Once your social media foundation has been laid, you should forget the big names and focus on those influencers with the highest engagement… It’s important to remember that an engaged audience will grow itself, but an unengaged audience will not grow much at all,” this Entrepreneurarticle says.

For all of the above reasons – and many more – prioritizing engagement is the key to success in your influencer marketing efforts. Contact the Find Your Influence team today to start driving engagement and turning influence into action.

 

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Video Games & Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

 

Total revenue for the U.S. video game industry in 2015 was $23.5 billion – up 7 percent from the previous year. And as we dive deeper into 2017, this number continues to rise. Clearly, the market is huge, so the real question is: How can video games stand out from the copious competition today?

Many games are turning to influencer marketing to increase launch awareness, product buzz, digital fans and sales. These game brands partner with influencers who have a large gaming following online, and ask them to promote their game, review it or play it live. YouTube has emerged as the social platform of choice for these gamers because of the ability to share stories and authentic content through video.

Ann Hamilton, brand representative at video game publishing company Ubisoft, said of their YouTube-focused marketing strategy: “YouTube is an amazing channel for the video game industry. It allows us to share our video content with our consumers directly… It has been a great tool at building communities for each of our games.”

In fact, a recent study found that “90 percent of gamers turn to YouTube at least weekly for a gaming advice, while 64 percent of gamers download games after seeing them on YouTube.” Video game brands can reach their target audience on the platform more effectively with the help of YouTube influencers.

At the height of YouTube gaming influencer fame is “PewDiePie.” Known for his “Let’s Play” commentary and video game experiences, PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg) has more than 42 million YouTube followers. What began as a simple YouTube channel featuring commentary while playing video games is now a full-fledged influencer business raking in millions. Along with writing a book and starring in a video game, Kjellberg has worked with major brands such as the Walt Disney Co.

The success story of PewDiePie, however, also comes with a cautionary tale. He was recently at the center of controversy when he posted videos with anti-Semitic messages. Situations such as this are troublesome because they often reflect back on brands the influencers work with – reinforcing the importance of guidelines and trust in influencer marketing partnerships. It’s vital to apply these best practices to your gaming campaigns for the best results.

Along with video game brands, every company in every industry should use caution when choosing to align with a celebrity or high-profile individual. Influencer marketing is always evolving, and brands have to stay on top of industry content and digital media in order to make an authentic splash and impact future success.

To learn more about different influencer marketing strategies for video game brands, contact the Find Your Influence team today.

 

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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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Take A Bite Out Of Influencer Marketing: How Food Brands Are Increasing Awareness & Engagement

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By Courtney Moser

 

Have you ever tasted success?

The flavors and aroma are different, depending on who you are and where you come from: some might say it tastes like chocolate cake or decadent gelato, while others are adamant that success is a perfectly cooked steak.

For Pepperidge Farm, it’s Garlic and Mozzarella Microwavable Bread; but for Herdez, it’s Instant Refried Beans. These two food brands are tasting success in the form of influencer marketing campaigns promoting their new products. Along with increasing product awareness, they both started their campaigns with the goals of improving brand affinity and intent to purchase.

Influencer marketing has been proven to be highly effective when it comes to reaching consumers where they are online. It’s also bringing back brand authenticity: 92 percent of people say that they trust recommendations made by individuals over traditional advertising. Plus, ad blocking continues to rise. By creating content in partnership with blogging and social media influencers, brands have the opportunity to connect with their target audience and cultivate trust and brand loyalty.

Food brands, in particular, are finding delicious success working with food and lifestyle bloggers who can elevate their products and influence consumers. We take a closer look at Pepperidge Farm and Herdez campaigns below – both in partnership with Find Your Influence – with a focus on strategy and results.

Pepperidge Farm: To launch their new line of microwavable bread flavors and increase both brand and product awareness, Pepperidge Farm asked high-reach lifestyle influencers to write two blog posts incorporating their bread. Sponsored content ranged from simple recipes – like Italian sandwiches and quick kids’ pizza – to creative pairings like perfect pasta dishes that complement the garlic bread. Their #MicrowaveTheFlavor campaign achieved a total reach of 4.9 million, and generated more than 360 comments, 1,900 likes and 463 re-tweets.

Herdez: This Mexican food brand introduced new Instant Refried Beans to the market – allowing consumers to make restaurant-style quality beans at home in just five minutes. To increase product awareness and intent to purchase, Herdez asked influential food bloggers to participate in their “Frijoles Con Todo” (beans with everything) influencer marketing campaign. The influencers each created an original recipe using the Instant Refried Beans and then blogged about sharing the meal with friends or family. Herdez also incorporated a social media contest to encourage further reader engagement. Nineteen dedicated blog posts and 56 social posts led to a total reach of 7.6 million and an ROI of 5:1.

These influencer marketing campaigns successfully generated product awareness for the two food brands. After all, who doesn’t love to read about new recipes or drool over food blog photos? By capitalizing on the impact of influencers, brands can reach new audiences, stay top-of-mind and drive sales.

What other food brands are running successful influencer marketing campaigns? Share your thoughts with us below.

 

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What Your Company Gets Out Of Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

It’s no surprise that influencer marketing is continuing to gain traction in the digital world. By now, you’ve likely read the articles and seen the success stories. Everyone seems to claim that influencer marketing can increase reach and drive sales. But how will it impact you? And how can you be sure it’s worth the hype?

There is plenty of proof and research illustrating how and why influencer marketing works. When you get to the core of it, it’s not even a new concept: brand ambassadors or advocates are tried and true in marketing. The new face of influencer marketing just streamlines strategic solutions and improves the potential impact.

But these updates don’t necessarily equate to simplicity. As with anything that’s worth the work, you have to set goals, measure KPIs, build influencer relationships and prioritize authenticity. A high-quality content strategy will always be vital in order to stand out and achieve success with influencer marketing. As said in Forbes, “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.”

At Find Your Influence (FYI), we’ve seen the success stories firsthand. We have the experience to simplify the complex and can help you get the most of influencer marketing. This is what you need to know:

“On average, marketers who implemented an influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media.” The 2014 Influencer Marketing Benchmark report by Burst Media found that companies really are seeing results—and ROI dollar signs.

42% of consumers look to blogs for information about potential purchases while 52% say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions. You can’t argue with this statistic: sales are sales. If potential customers are looking for information about your industry or products on blogs, don’t you want to make sure they find you?

92% of consumers trust their friends and family more than ads, and they’re more likely to make purchases based on recommendations than billboards. You might be thinking “duh,” but it’s important to connect the professional dots here: this is why your ads aren’t working.

86% of marketers assess that marketing has changed more in the last 5 years than in the 50 years preceding, according to traacker.com. If you don’t evolve with the times, you’re going to be left behind (and see your ROI for traditional ads drop lower and lower)

Influencer marketing campaigns work with any budget. You can go big and pay for celebrity influencers or launch an interactive campaign with lots of perks and engagement. Or, you can go small and invest in a just few influencers who will still make a big impact. FYI offers a self-service platform and the option to start connecting with influencers for free, so you don’t even need to spend thousands of dollars on an agency or consulting firm.

Everything influencer marketing is at your fingertips at whatever price your company has budgeted for the initiative. Learn more about how influencer marketing can help your business here.

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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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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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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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