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4 August, 2017 - 11.17am UTC

Dior and Louis Vuitton Are the Fashion Brands with Best Instagram Stories Engagement

By Business of Fashion

Just four brands featured in a ranking of users with the highest engagement rate on Instagram Stories, released to mark the feature's first anniversary.  

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

SAN FRANCISCO, United States — Dior, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Christian Louboutin are the fashion brands with the highest engagement rate on Instagram's Stories feature.

The luxury houses were the only brands in a ranking of 15 fashion industry users released by Facebook-owned Instagram on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of Stories. The list was otherwise comprised of powerhouse models and influencers, topped by model-actress Emily Ratajkowski, followed by influencer Chiara Ferragni and model Candice Swanepoel. The ranking was based on the cumulative number of story views over the past year amongst top accounts with 10 million or more followers.

Since its launch in August 2016 as Instagram's answer to Snapchat, Stories' global audience has reached 700 million, 250 million of which use it daily. It has now surpassed its rival, which has suffered an 82 percent slowing of growth over the past year and 161 million daily users.

Eva Chen, Instagram's head of fashion partnerships, says the success of Stories is thanks to the more informal engagement between a brand and their audience. “The industry wants everything to be picture perfect at all times. If it doesn’t look like a Mario [Testino] or a Patrick [Demarchelier] shoot, oftentimes they don’t want to post it,” she says. “What Stories has really meant is that fashion is now able to be a little bit more authentic, a little bit more down to earth, funnier, scrappier.”

Of the top-ranked accounts, Chen says: “What everyone [in the list] has in common is that you have this sense of being there with someone, and feeling like the walls have come down.”

The perspective is similar for Ferragni, who says of her social media persona: “There aren't boundaries between work and private life, because everything that I do and that I share is who I am and what I really like,” she says. “I guess that’s the reason why my followers love my Instagram Stories. There isn’t a strategy behind my activity. The mantra is: sharing is caring."

Ferragni does share one tip, however. "Never record a Story twice, it has to be honest and in real time," she says.

The Instagram fashion accounts with the highest engagement on Stories:

1. Emily Ratajkowski
2. Chiara Ferragni
3. Candice Swanepoel
4. Hailey Baldwin
5. Cara Delevingne
6. Adriana Lima
7. Victoria Beckham
8. Miranda Kerr
9. Gigi Hadid
10. Dior
11. Dolce & Gabbana
12. Kendall Jenner
13. Gisele Bundchen
14. Louis Vuitton
15. Christian Louboutin

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8 June, 2017 - 04.30am UTC

Inviting Beauty Influencer to share their #beautyundefeated story about Ultima Day Lotion SPF+

By Gratia Putri

  Stephanie Rose_1.jpg 

With the launch of Ultima II Day Lotion SPF+, this cosmetic brand invite numerous Beauty Influencers to try their products and share it on social media. The main idea of this campaign is, the influencer share the before after look after using the products. This new Ultima is not only a regular SPF but also consist collagen and serum in it ( we know how all beauties are recently crazeeh about serum these days )


   Devina Putri_1.jpg  

Ultima II inviting some beauty influencer who’s very well known in beauty & health industries, for instance Laura_theux, Catherine Sumitri Stephaniewose and among others influencers must creating sense of natural beauty & authenticy through the product campaign.

 Catherine Sumitri_1.jpg 

As a beauty Influencers, they must showing how beautiful skin you can achieve after using Ultima II Day Lotion SPF+, therefore creating a unique content is a must, marketing Influencers can be one strategy to promote a product directly to the customers. In addition, to be an effective way to engage customers in an authentic way, and monetize loyal relationships instead of building awareness from scratch.

 

Want to know more about the product review and how these beauty love it ? Hop over to instagram with the  #beautyundefeated campaign. You want to be one of the beauty influencer like them ? Go to Iconreel and sign up as influencer now..


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24 May, 2017 - 16.10pm UTC

Influencer Marketing Is Growing Faster Than Digital Ads

By Forbes.com

Cristiano Ronaldo unveils the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly II boots. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for Nike)

Why is influencer marketing growing faster than digital ads? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

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Answer by Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX, on Quora:

Influencer marketing is not a new trend, just as digital ads weren’t anything groundbreaking (given their predecessor the print ads, billboards and other forms of offline banners).

Brands have been utilizing influencers and industry leaders in order to promote their products and services for quite some time - probably longer than the ads’ existence.

One practical example is Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with a popular brand. In 2016 alone, he has generated $500M in value for Nike.

 “ Ronaldo posted 1,703 times overall on social media in 2016. Those posts generated 2.25 billion social interactions (likes, comments, shares, retweets and views on videos), per Hookit. Nike was referenced or its logo visible in a photo or video in 347 of the posts, which had 477 million interactions. Hookit’s methodology looks at promotion type and quality, as well as interactions and market-driven rates. The result: $499.6 million for Nike in media value from Ronaldo’s posts “

So, why is influencer marketing superior as compared to digital ads?

People Trust People

Just like a B2B transaction isn’t a deal between two businesses (but rather managers trusting each others’ abilities), selling products and services to consumers also converts better with a trusted figure.

Digital ads rely (mostly) on a media outlet promoting one’s services. It’s (almost) always a cash-driven transaction and widespread across the net for decades. Influencers, on the other hand, tend to promote brands that they are willing to connect to and bet their name on them.

For example, we’ve been contacted by over a dozen hosting providers for influencer marketing just in the past eighteen months. However, we have our personal preference that we promote across our different channels even without monetary amounts included - simply because it helps our business and supports our clients’ needs, which leads to higher customer satisfaction and longer contract deals for us directly from our accounts.

 

Adblockers Are Widely Used

According to IAB, 26 percent of desktop users use blockers to remove ads. That limits a quarter of a website’s users from even seeing the advertisement in the first place, thus reducing conversion rates.

Online platforms like Medium simply abandoned ads for good, even though there are actionable strategies that may increase conversion rates and decrease the dissatisfaction from readers stumbling upon tons of ads on their preferred websites: Is Medium CEO Ev Williams right that ad-driven media on the Internet is broken?

Focused Customer Targeting

A common approach for larger brands is supporting (and sponsoring) larger outlets that cover various stories for different audiences. That includes magazines that employ dozens (if not hundreds) of contributors sharing stories for different industries, as well as global ad networks such as Google Adwords.

When refined targeting is not in place, a good percentage of the impressions focus on the right audience - people who are genuinely not interested in the category or the type of advertised product.

Better Customer Market Penetration

Moreover, entering a new niche may take years with traditional advertisement approach. Getting yourself known in a new field may be close to impossible without building a network of industry peers who can collaborate with you, cross-promote your products, or include them in their packages.

Influencer marketing may facilitate the exposure and network growth in months, and position businesses higher than competitors that have been sponsoring outlets for many years.

    

Utilizing Different Channels

Most deals with publications focused on digital ads cover solely a banner placement within the website itself.

What about social networks, offline events, or other mediums that gather people with various preferences?

Influencer marketing utilizes the visibility of the influencer in various manners:

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest posts

  • Video marketing on YouTube

  • Live video streaming and interactivity with the crowd

  • Interviews and other forms of PR

That added exposure has immense value for the promoted brand and can very well attract people who don’t follow a traditional (if not outdated) buying flow.

Rise of Micro-to-Middle Influencers

The Influencer marketing trend develops two different areas: the willingness of brands to rely on influencers and the determination of industry leaders to increase their exposure and authority by growing their audience.

That makes it possible for smaller brands to rely on micro and power-middle influencers who may not be known worldwide, but still have a decent group of followers and fans willing to trust their judgement and advice.

Conversational Model

One of the drawbacks of digital ads is the lack of dialog.

Influencers (especially well-established ones without PR teams) are reachable, and can elaborate on their choice of preferred brand that they advertise. You can find them at conferences, on Twitter, email them, or interact in their blog.

Q&A or AMA sessions are common with new influencers, too. You can ask follow-up questions about the advertised business and understand whether it’s a good fit within your particular use case.

In addition to all notable benefits outlined above, influencer marketing can boost SEO through content marketing and various promotions (including PR and interviews), provide better analytics and tracking across different platforms, and include other forms of promotions such as a branded slide during a presentation led by an influencer.

All of those are viable alternatives for businesses who would like to get closer to their customers, receive actionable feedback from the influencers they partner with, get practical suggestions for product or service improvements, and take their brand to the next level.


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24 May, 2017 - 16.05pm UTC

The Fung Brothers Make the Leap from online to On-Air

By www.nbcnews.com

Once David and Andrew Fung start talking about food, there's hardly a moment of silence.

The Seattle natives, brothers, and soon-to-be reality television personalities call themselves "food enthusiasts," but a few minutes of conversation reveals more than just a love of eating: they're passionate about the details of a dish -- from the ingredients to the cooking process -- and the knowledge they wield about the regions in the world their favorite foods come from is nothing short of impressive.


"I do think it's kind of innately in Asian -- but particularly Chinese -- culture to just always talk about food constantly," David, 28, said. "At least in our family, there's no ratchet drama stories. All that energy...just goes towards talking about food in a very nerdy and enthusiastic way."

Fung Brothers Talk YouTube, TV, and Their Love of Food 2:56

"If you saw our parents talk with their friends," Andrew, 26, jokes, "it was a lot about, like, 'Oh, how did they steam their fish?'"

David jumps in, continuing the bit. "'You know where the best place to get fish is?'" he asks, mimicking their parents.

"'What about your wok?'" Andrew mimicks back.

The two laugh, adding on a more serious note that their parents' love of cooking served as a root cause for why they too love food. "We were born into it," David said.

The Fung brothers have turned their love of food into viral videos on YouTube, and now, a reality television show. FYI/"What the Fung?!"

'You don't really get to choose your audience, they choose you.'

 

Raised in the suburbs of Seattle by immigrant parents, the Fung brothers grew up with what they describe as "typical hood dreams"-- aspirations all focused on ultimately breaking through in the entertainment industry.

"We wanted to be NBA players, rappers, ballers of some kind," David said. "We had a guy from our neighborhood who went to the NBA, so at that time, everybody was trying to be like him. Obviously, when you're Asian and you're short, it's not going down for you."

After college, the two focused their energy on comedy, moving to Los Angeles in 2011 and posting short videos to YouTube -- a platform they were drawn to because of its wide open doors. "There's no barrier to entry," Andrew said. "If [your video] goes viral, it goes viral. If people watch it, they watch it. You don't really get to choose your audience, they choose you."

Nearly four years after launching their YouTube channel, nearly one million subscribers have "chosen" them. Their content, which ranges from music videos (their viral tributes to Los Angeles' San Gabriel Valley--appropriately titled "626" in reference to the SGV's area code -- and to Taiwanese bubble teawere featured in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and more) to sketch comedy to food reviews, have been viewed more than 85 million times.

The two describe their channel as a place for "advancing the education and discussion of Asian and Asian-American topics for people around the world," though they're conscious to never speak for other Asian Americans in their videos. "We are just one of of the voices of Asian America," Andrew said, "and I feel like we have a pretty holistic understanding of Asian America at this point...but I don't want to peg myself--me and David--as 'representatives,' you know?"

And while the brothers' YouTube channel still brands itself as "comedy," their food videos are among their most popular ("5 Ways to Eat Indomie Mie Goreng (Instant Noodles)" has 1,425,000 views and counting)--and, easily, the ones filled with the most passion. Their "Fung Bros Food" videos have taken viewers to restaurants at home and abroad to showcase a variety of Asian cuisines, from Japanese street food to Hainanese chicken to classic dim sum (a good dim sum spot, the two say, is one that's perfected har gow shrimp dumplings and chicken feet).

Paired with their quick banter and trademark, simultaneously-spoken phrases is a commitment to teaching others about the food they're consuming. One recent "Fung Bros Food" video introduces viewers to Central Vietnamese cuisine and includes background information on Central Vietnamese geography and how the noodle dishes differ from the more commonly known pho. It's a history lesson wrapped in a dinner conversation between friends, and a signature of the brothers' videos.

Now, the two are taking their food enthusiasm to a bigger screen, launching a food and travel show on FYI network at the end of the month, and finally crossing over to the mainstream world they once saw as guarded by one too many gatekeepers.

David and Andrew Fung focus much of their YouTube content on the experience of being Asian American, but are hesitant to be seen as spokespeople for a community. “We are just one of of the voices of Asian America,” Andrew said. FYI/"What the Fung?!"

'There's a lot of people serving Sriracha aioli out there'

 

What the Fung?! follows the Fung brothers on an "eat-venture" across America in search of the best local food spots, bringing with them the signature sense of humor that drew YouTube audiences to them in the first place. "You're going to see Asians in the South. You're going to see Asians in the city. You're going to see Asians on the beach. We were just everywhere," Andrew said.

"We were in restaurants that no Asians had ever set foot in in the entire year," David added.

And although the show doesn't explicitly aim to address Asian-American culture and issues in America, it's something the Fung brothers say plays a prominent role.

"We've built our careers a lot talking about and discussing Asian-American stuff," Andrew acknowledged. "The show is not about being Asian, but we definitely talk about it."

Each half-hour episode follows the Fung brothers as they explore a new city -- from New Orleans to Tampa to Asheville, North Carolina -- meet local foodies to get their restaurant recommendations, and also jump into the kitchens with chefs.

"There is delicious food everywhere in America," David said, acknowledging that the "hipster culture" seen in places like Southern California's Silver Lake and Brooklyn's Williamsburg can be found anywhere. "You can go to any ultra-red state town, and they will have one subsection of that town that feels like they're Williamsburg, and it's driven by people who have lived in Williamsburg at some point."

"Let's just say," Andrew said, "that there's a lot of people serving Sriracha aioli out there."

Though there are no immediate plans to begin filming a second season, the two hope to expand their "eat-ventures" abroad someday, citing India, Indonesia, Nepal and Laos as countries that top their travel list.

Through What the Fung?!, the Fung brothers hope to use food as a means of introducing viewers to a "new America" made up of diverse cultures--cultures they find themselves learning more about on each leg of their own journeys, which have propelled them to encourage others to do the same.

"To be able to cross-over and do something that hopefully people outside of our YouTube demographic enjoy and touches them...I feel blessed that I have that opportunity, and I just want to increase the profile for everybody," David said.

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23 May, 2017 - 12.16pm UTC

Could L’Oréal’s ‘Beauty Squad’ mark a shift for influencer marketing?

By Econsultancy.com

Social media influencers have continued to be a hot commodity for brands in recent years, with interest in ‘influencer marketing’ majorly increasing since 2013.


However, according to L’Oréal Paris, many brands are getting it wrong by focusing on short-term exposure rather than long-term gain.


With the launch of its ‘Beauty Squad’ initiative, the cosmetics giant is hoping to “craft a different type of relationship” with influencers.

Here’s a bit more on the collaboration and why it could mark a shift within the world of influencer marketing.


What is the ‘Beauty Squad?’

The Beauty Squad is made up of five of the UK’s most influential beauty bloggers, including Patricia Bright, Emily Canham, Kaushal, Ruth Crilly and Victoria Magrath.

Together, they have a combined reach of more than 5m viewers on YouTube as well as a mammoth following on various other social media channels.

Victoria Magrath, also known as ‘IntheFrow’, has over 730,000 followers on her Instagram account alone.


The idea is that the Beauty Squad will be brand ambassadors for L’Oréal, creating digital content to promote awareness and drive engagement around new products.  

This will apparently include behind-the-scenes videos of big events, product reviews, and tips and tutorials.


Following on from its #YoursTruly campaign earlier this year, and a change of tagline to ‘Because We Are All Worth It’, the Beauty Squad appears to be a continuation of L’Oréal's efforts to become a more inclusive brand.


Incorporating a variety of ages, ethnicities and styles into its marketing mix - a focus on diversity is evident.


Why is it different to other influencer campaigns?

It’s not unusual for beauty brands to work with social media influencers, however it is more uncommon to work with more than one or two at the same time.

It begs the question - why didn’t L’Oreal go for Zoella and her 11m subscribers rather than the Beauty Squad and their combined 5m?


According to the brand, it’s all about creating a sense of authenticity, and combatting the disingenuous nature of some sponsored campaigns.


While they might not have the biggest reach, the members of the Beauty Squad are well known for their knowledge and expertise in a particular field.


Each one has been chosen to represent a specific category such as ‘skincare’ or ‘hair’.

As well as drawing on this level of knowledge and passion, L’Oreal also maintains that the collaboration will result in the critique and evolution of its products.


Instead of merely promoting the brand, influencers are said to be part of an ‘open discussion’ – with the freedom to honestly review products as well as speak about other brands.

Whether we will see real evidence of this is unlikely, however it’s definitely nice to hear a big brand take this perspective.


Furthermore, the collaboration is also part of L’Oreal’s aim to forge long-term relationships with influencers, rather than using one-off posts or short-term campaigns.


Interestingly, Econsultancy’s Voice of the Influencer report found one-off sponsored posts to be the most common generator of income for social media personalities.





However, with 67% saying authenticity is a critical attribute for building influence, the monetary value is at odds with what it takes to generate real success.

Will consumers respond?

With the likes of Adidas coming under fire for social media mishaps – consumers are becoming wise to influencers being used for mere monetary gain.


(Naomi's original caption read: "Naomi, so nice to see you in good spirits!!! Could you put something like: Thanks to my friend @gary.aspden and all at adidas - loving these adidas 350 SPZL from the adidas Spezial range. @adidasoriginals")

So, even the decision to announce ‘Beauty Squad’ marks a shift towards being more transparent.


By highlighting from the start how L’Oreal plans to build a relationship with influencers, it creates an immediate sense of trust with consumers.


Beauty Squad is also a good reflection of the changing habits of beauty shoppers. With millennials in particular turning to social media for tips, recommendations and advice - Instagram and YouTube are often the first port of call before any purchase.


By working with highly visible and influential voices in these spaces, L’Oreal's chances of engaging with its core consumer is immediately increased.


Photo published for Weekly Christmas Shop: Presents for Teens | A Model Recommends

How can other brands learn from it?

Micro-influencers are people with a social reach of anywhere between 500 and 10,000.

With a much bigger audience, the Beauty Squad certainly do not fall under this bracket, especially when combined.

However, the collaboration with L’Oréal still reflects a growing trend for smaller yet more authentic partnerships.


In fact, a recent study found that as an influencer’s Instagram following increases, the rate of engagement rapidly decreases.


So, somewhere in between the everyday user and the social media superstar is the ‘sweet spot’ – an influencer who is able to better reach a more tailored audience through genuine storytelling.


Essentially, this looks to be L’Oréal’s aim, albeit on a slightly bigger scale.

For other brands, it could also be a great example to follow, and perhaps the most effective way of approaching influencer marketing in 2017.

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23 May, 2017 - 11.49am UTC

5 Ways to Become an Influencer

By By www.socialmediatoday.com

The authenticity and trustworthiness of an effective influencer provides them with the capacity to persuade customers to buy a product. Brands are often too big and too distant to create the same personality-driven connection with customers.

And this is where you come in. So how can you become an influencer?

1. List your Passions

First off, figure out what you want to talk about and the type of brands you want to attract.

Find a niche that you’re passionate about and feel that you can add value in. Once you position yourself in a certain area, it’ll be easier for brands to see what you’re all about and what you represent and how you’d contribute.

An estimated 20 - 50% of consumer decisions being influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations, and that’s exactly what influencers have become – trusted brand ambassadors, giving personal endorsements of products.

Being passionate isn’t something you can fake, so really dig deep and find your niche, so you can come across as authentic.

2. Create a List

Now it’s time to start researching. Once you’ve picked out your passion, you need to find companies and brands that’ll be receptive to your message.

Compile a list of brands that you can gradually get in touch with over time. Once you’ve done the ground-work and feel confident that you’ve professionalized your personal brand, you can reach out to brands you’d like to collaborate with.

It’s important that you put some hard work into your pitches, as first impressions matter and you need to convince brands that you can add value to their offering.

3. Craft Your Content

The next big thing is content. We all know how important content is, let’s face it – you’re told it enough.

Well *shock horror* content is super important for building yourself as an influencer too.

Become an authority or a thought leader in the area of your passion and be confident in creating content that offers different perspectives or something interesting.

This content is what you’ll use to build a following and to demonstrate to brands that you’ve got something cool to say about a subject.

You can also bring brands that are on your list into your content and focus on some of their products or services.

Be consistent with your content and publish high quality work frequently

A year ago I walked up to one of my favorite brands called Clear. They always have a smile and get me through the x-ray lines in less than 5 minutes at their airport locations. I do really love Clear (and they aren’t paying me to say that). I approached the Clear check-in and lifted my phone camera, hit record and the rest could not have been scripted any better. The best part? It was real life. What happened next turned into a fantastic customer service live video that received over 4,000 views, was featured on their many social pages and this customer service person ended up getting a promotion. Hit play and take a look.

4. Use Social Media

It goes without saying, but you need to prove your social media prowess and show you can be a digital asset to any brand.

The folks over at Twitter tell us that 49% of modern day consumers look to social media for purchase advice, so being able to use social media effectively is a big advantage.

Basically, you need to be visible - but don’t just broadcast on Facebook Live for the hell of it or tag people in tweets every other second. Provide value and engage with your audience. You don’t want to come across as a pain in the ass.

If you’re saying things people want to hear and making meaningful connections with your audience, then you’ll become known for all of the right reasons.

Get involved in conversations, find out what questions people are asking and topics people are talking about in your area. Share often and try to help other out on their journeys.

Having a strong, core following with certain demographics is attractive to brands, and if you can bring that to the table, fantastic.

5. Combine Digital and Human-to-Human Networking

It’s a really good idea to get out and about and chat to people at networking and industry events too. You can make some strong connections and build relationships with people at events, so have your business cards at the ready.

This can lead to more influencer marketing opportunities in your niche area and you can collaborate with others.

Make sure you’re approachable and your authenticity will shine through. Use your unique personality to engage with people and make contacts.

Once you’ve linked up with some fabulous contacts; follow up with them online. Drop them a personalized video, a phone call or a private message on LinkedIn to keep your relationships moving and to check in from time to time.

Staying visible and approachable means that people will come to you and you can share the work you’ve created with them.

Final Thoughts

Engage, interact and build meaningful relationships with your audience and peers, so that you can show brands that you have a strong following and a valuable contribution to make in your niche area.


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28 April, 2017 - 07.16am UTC

Unilever Turns Tables on Influencers With 'New' Hair Care Brand

By AdAge


Like other big beauty brands, Unilever faces growing competition from startups with understated packaging, lofty prices and backing from social-media influencers. So the beauty giant set out to beat them by joining them – sort of – by soft launching Evaus haircare products through a handful of emerging beauty and fashion bloggers.


Evaus is Suave spelled backward. And the stuff in the drab, minimalist packaging was the same as what Unilever sells at Walmart. But the group of influencers tapped in a campaign from Vice's digital agency Carrot, which began working with Suave last year, didn't know that. Carrot let these influencers try Evaus products for about two weeks, then invited them to a studio to reveal the truth. They were, of course, shocked to discover they had been using a mass-market brand they and their stylists had turned their noses up at.


"I used it for 10 days," said Kathleen Harper (@katsfashionfix) in the video, before the reveal. "I would say it was a game changer." She adds that her stylist never recommends anything sold in a drug store.


"It's edgy. It's modern. It's sleek," noted Viannie Bell (@sogrittyprestige), another fashion blogger.

"We found seven of 10 women think higher-priced brands are more trustworthy," said Jen Bremner, Unilever marketing director on 80-year-old Suave. "That really was the inspiration. We wanted to peel back the labels and convert the skeptics."


No influencers were harmed in the making of this video, said Bremner, who said all were good sports about the trick.


Unilever's survey research also found 90% of millennial women would buy lower-priced haircare products if they didn't have to sacrifice quality. So Suave is linking the video to a PR campaign from Edelman offering financial advice to millennials on saving money, including, of course, buying cheaper yet effective shampoo.

Suave is near the bottom rungs of a tall price ladder in haircare. 


Even its affordably-priced sibling, faster-growing Tresemme, is priced slightly higher in some cases, and other Unilever offerings such as Dove, Clear, Tigi, Bed Head and Living Proof occupy higher rungs. The last, packaged in understated style not unlike Evaus, sells at $59 for a 24-ounce bottle on Ulta.com, or around 10 times the price of Suave per ounce at Walmart. So isn't Bremner concerned she'll cannibalize the homegrown competition?

"We're a brand designed for a different purpose" than those other Unilever brands, she said. "We're not overly concerned."


Carrot created Evaus with stock packaging, Bremner said. "It really didn't take very long." So wasn't she tempted to just keep pushing it out of the plant at $20 a bottle and reaping those hefty margins?


"We really thought why bother?" she said. "We wanted the takeaway to be that premium prices don't dictate what the product can do for you."


Of course, besides being more expensive, Evaus has another edge on Suave – novelty. A tracking survey by online polling firm CivicScience finds brand loyalty continues to slip among millennials, 78% of whom said last quarter they tend to be at least somewhat loyal to their favorite brands, down from 84% three years ago, and 12 points below the loyalty rate for baby boomers.

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5 April, 2017 - 06.50am UTC

Travel blogging couple who are paid up to $12,000 per PICTURE reveal their secrets

By DailyMail

Jack Morris, 26, and his girlfriend Lauren Bullen, 24, met in March, 2016, while both travelling in Fiji. 


Since, the inseparable pair have grown to be world-renowned travel bloggers and visited 45 countries together - all while earning a six figure salary for their stunning photographs and breathtaking Instagram feeds. 


And now, Jack, who is originally from Manchester, has revealed some of his top tips and how he and his Australian girlfriend have transformed their passion into a full time career.





Taking to his blog, Do You Travel, Jack said the key to taking the perfect photograph in a busy location is timing. 


'Most of the time we like to shoot around one hour after sunrise. Busy locations don't tend to be as busy at this time of day,' he wrote. 

Jack also said he avoids Instagram filters and always takes the time to ensure his images match.


'I edit all my photos in the same kind of style with my own Lightroom presets so I guess they all look somewhat similar because of that. I also look at the grid and try to plan the next image to make sure it works well with the rest of my recent feed,' he said.





'I don't use any mobile apps or filters, I edit using Lightroom on my Macbook Pro. If a photo looks a little dark or contrasty [sic] I sometimes tweak the edit just on the pre post Instagram editor.' 


The former carpet cleaner, who lived out of his backpack between 2012 and 2016 before moving to Bali with Lauren, also said the pair rely on word of mouth, Pinterest and Instagram to find the 'off the grid' places they are so often pictured in.


He added: 'We try to balance our life between being at home in Bali, travel jobs and travelling for fun. We aim to visit at least one new country each month, non work related, which most of the time is decided on by a last minute decision.' 


Jack also revealed that he and Lauren, aka Gypsea_Lust, take all their own photos and that any snaps of the two of them together are taken via a tripod with a timer remote.





The pair have mastered the art of blogging and as a result, share an incredible three million followers between them and earn thousands of dollars for any sponsored posts. 


Jack revealed to Cosmopolitan in January that he and Lauren won't do a sponsored post for less than $3,000 USD ($3,948 AUD).


The most he has been paid for one post is $9,000 USD ($11,846 AUD) while the most Lauren has ever got from one snap is $7,500 USD ($9,872 AUD).


'I did a job for a phone company where I flew out for three days; there were two days filming and then I had to do five photos on Instagram, and that was $35,000,' he told the magazine. 


'We've even turned up to jobs before that we've charged thousands for, and we've got there and they've been like, "your rates are so low".' 





But despite the high rates, Jack insists the pair only do sponsored posts if they support the brand, company or tourism board. 


'I was contacted by brands way before I started accepting offers. I didn't care about making money, it was always just a project I did for fun. Eventually as I grew bigger some of the offers were too good to turn down,' he wrote. 


'I only promote or post about the things I truly like or believe in, which is very important to me and why my posts resonate with so many.' 


Jack did admit that the job can get overwhelming at times and that they do sometimes travel to places 'for the sole purpose of a "gram worthy" shot'.




Speaking to Daily Mail Australia in 2016, Jack said that within the first nine months of meeting each other, Lauren gained more than 700,000 followers and he gained more than half a million. 


'I think it was because it was mixing the photography up with Lauren and people enjoy seeing a couple and it works for us,' he said. 


Jack and Lauren's jaw-dropping photography and enviable lifestyle drew the admiration of plenty of brands who inundated the pair with opportunities over the next 12 months.


Global brands such as Royal Caribbean Cruises, Disney, Air NZ, AirBnB, NRMA insurance and other headlining acts have all approached the duo.

Lauren has even had to turn down fashion brands.




'She has to turn down a lot of brands, if she wouldn't wear it she won't work with it as she tries to keep it authentic,' Jack said.


Despite their work load, the duo are aware of how truly lucky they are.


'It is almost a dream. Being able to do what I want every day is nice,' he said. 


'It is ideal, I never really expected to find someone I could share this with, so it worked out really well.' 

Keep in touch for exclusive updates

3 April, 2017 - 09.33am UTC

Influencers Accelerate U.S. E-Commerce Sales In China

By Retail Touch Points

For efficient brand impact in China’s massive retail market, more U.S. retailers are turning to key opinion leaders (KOLs) to influence Chinese consumers’ online purchases. Fung Global Retail & Tech expects the emergence of KOLs as ‘celebrities’ — popular online personalities — will continue to propel the growth of cross-border e-Commerce for foreign retailers.

Why are U.S. retailers expanding into China?

As the world’s largest e-Commerce market, China is lucrative, growing and enthusiastic about U.S. products. In 2015, cross-border consumer e-Commerce reached $40 billion with an annual growth rate of 50%, according to McKinsey & Company. iResearch found top-selling categories include cosmetics and skin care, baby and mom products, fashion apparel, electronics and food and nutritional supplements.


How KOLs Can Help U.S. Retailers

Influencer marketing using KOLs is one of the best methods to promote retail brands and products in the competitive China e-Commerce market. KOLs are savvy marketing influencers who have built a large community of engaged followers on social media.


Their solid understanding of Chinese consumer behavior trends gives KOLs the potential to create viral content. Their deep insights into what Chinese consumers want makes KOLs a powerful force in digital marketing, and retailers should consider aligning with them.


Influencers with 50,000 to 100,000 followers are particularly cost-effective targets for KOL campaigns because of their:

- Growth orientation: Given their relatively small business size, KOLs seek to grow their own follower base through compelling content at a reasonable commission;

- Market intelligence: These influencers engage with followers frequently and directly, deepening their understanding of followers’ shopping behavior; and

- Drive for results: Commission-based KOLs tend to be passionate, proactive and motivated to grow their audience to yield bigger rewards.


These business benefits matter to U.S. retailers because Chinese shoppers tend to buy best-selling merchandise and products recommended by their peers. KOLs help foreign retailers get on shoppers’ radar.

China is going through rapid consumption upgrade and the country has the biggest middle class in the world, representing 220 million people. To capitalize on this large, increasingly affluent market, retailers have flooded the market with products — and consumers are confused. These market conditions create opportunities for KOLs to offer clarity by endorsing specific products directly to thousands of followers, especially if the products align with a particular lifestyle.

Where To Find Influencers

KOLs usually have their own social media presence and pay close attention to online comments and messages to discover new marketing opportunities. U.S. retailers can connect with KOLs directly on social media or through affiliates or agencies.

Affiliates are an alliance of influencers that receive orders from advertisers to promote campaigns and products. Of particular importance to U.S. retailers, ‘haitao affiliates’ focus on helping foreign companies reach Chinese consumers, as the term haitao refers to overseas shopping. These companies have long-term cooperative agreements with KOLs, allowing retailers to mitigate risks and improve ROI analysis.

How To Work With KOLs

KOLs’ content marketing usually starts with a compelling short story and transitions to product recommendations. For instance, cosmetics influencers’ content often injects emotional appeal and reflects common feminine topics. The content shares retailers’ brand stories and product information to inspire consumers to visit retailers’ e-Commerce web sites. In return, retailers often compensate influencers with a sales commission or free product trials.

KOLs’ Effectiveness And Reliability

Influencers are effective at promoting certain categories, including beauty products, cosmetics, mom and baby products and fashion. KOLs excel at transforming unpopular products into ‘dark horses’ — brands that quickly evolve from unknown to popular. Once a product gains popularity, retailers’ priority transitions, from using influencers for promotion to improving supply chain visibility to ensure the product is always in stock.

Since today’s consumers often seek what’s ‘new’ and ‘now,’ certain KOLs’ popularity could be transient. Once consumers forget about the influencers, they no longer make good marketing channels. To minimize risk, U.S. retailers should pay attention to statistics on a KOL’s recent engagement activities, shares and views to gauge their marketing longevity.

Who Buys From Influencers?

An iResearch report found that three-quarters of Chinese consumers who buy overseas products fall within the ages of 26 to 40 — a demographic that matches the audience of influencers. These Millennial shoppers have growing purchasing power and unique purchase behavior.

To meet shoppers’ needs, Chinese KOLs have become symbols of virtual communities of followers with similar lifestyles, tastes or shopping behavior. Most importantly, Chinese KOLs understand their followers’ needs. As such, followers trust KOLs — including their product recommendations — because they feel understood and gain a sense of belonging within their virtual community. Followers also believe KOLs have tested the products and the items work well.

Proof Of KOLs’ Effectiveness

Bioeffect: Icelandic niche beauty brand Bioeffect attracted fewer than 100 cross-border e-Commerce orders in China before it starting working with Azoya. After we helped them collaborate with opinion leaders, Bioeffect earned hundreds of orders within 12 hours after the opinion leaders promoted the products, generating 10 times the company’s annual sales within a two-day promotion period.

‘Walk into ANZ’pharmacy tour: Last year Azoya invited several KOLs to visit our pharmacy retailer partners in Australia and New Zealand. Our tour gave customers the chance to experience the retailers’ supply chain, marketing, warehousing and customer service in person. These face-to-face interactions enhanced the retailers’ brand awareness and influence in China through real-time, online broadcasting, which generated positive word-of-mouth referrals. The KOLs enjoyed the free trip, and pharmacies were satisfied with the result. Within days, the KOLs’ live streaming video marketing amassed an audience of 600,000. Sales of pharmacy chain Amcal increased by 135% after the campaign and the number of KOLs’ followers increased.

KOLs can represent an efficient and cost-effective way for U.S. retailers to gain a competitive advantage in the large, lucrative China market. To maximize the value of your cross-border e-Commerce offerings, include KOLs in your China marketing strategy to amplify brand awareness and speed up online sales.

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16 December, 2016 - 12.12pm UTC

Lazada launches SEA’s biggest influencer campaign for HARBOLNAS

By IconReel


Following the success of Lazada’s Single’s Day Campaign on 11/11, where Lazada smashed regional social media records, Lazada yet again launched the biggest influencer marketing campaign in Southeast Asia with over a thousand (1,000+) influencer posts to celebrate the biggest online sale of 2016, all the way from November, leading up to “Mega sales” dates from 12-14 December, 2016. Seeing the high engagement rate influencers bring to Lazada, the leading e-commerce player leveraged a multichannel approach that tied Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and live video streaming (with @michellejoan_) together, which was further bridged offline with press conferences and workshops to maximize the impact of its partner influencers, ranging from rising micro-bloggers to established celebrities. Familiar participating names include Luna Maya (@lunamaya), Carissa Puteri (@carissa_puteri), Ayu Gani (@ganegani), Patricia Gouw (@patriciagouw), Natasha Wilona (@natashawilona12), and Julie Taslim (@julietaslim) among others.


The record-breaking campaign was visually recognizable with pink banners flooding viewers’ social media feeds, parading Lazada’s Laz the Lion mascot with a CTA (Call-to-action) for viewers to share their #ceritabelanjalazada, which broke over six thousand hashtags in a brief time frame. During this festive period, Lazada’s official Instagram account’s (@lazada_id) followers grew from 165.5k to 205.9k, a staggering 24.4% spike. Boosted web traffic from the campaign also drove Lazada to one of its highest Google Trends throughout 2016. All this would seem unsurprising given the virality it yielded:


110.1 million audience reach
5.1 million likes
41.4 thousand comments













The success of Lazada’s Single’s Day and HARBOLNAS (Hari Belanja Online Nasional) campaign is a testimony to how a smartly executed influencer campaign can have impact on boosting brand equity, and yield measurable ROI. According to US AdWeek, influencer marketing has become mainstream in the US, as it has proven to be an effective way to engage customers in an authentic way, and monetize loyal relationships instead of building awareness from scratch. In Asia on the other hand, it is a fast-growing sector with rapidly evolving practices requiring guidance. According to McKinsey reports, if executed well, word-of-mouth influencer marketing generates twice the sales of paid advertisements, with 35% higher retention rates – such prospects, however attractive they may be, should be pursued with dedicated execution and a tailored approach.


For more information on influencer marketing and industry insights, drop us an email at winston@iconreel.com or bradian@iconreel.com :)


About Iconreel

Iconreel is Indonesia’s Largest Influencer Collective that connects Brands directly with Influencers for technology-powered social media campaigns. For inquiries and further information, visit www.iconreel.com, or say hello at hello@iconreel.com

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12 November, 2016 - 12.12pm UTC

Alibaba-backed Lazada smashes social media records on Single’s Day – led by influencers

By IconReel


Just as Alibaba broke Singles Day sales records in China by surpassing $17.7 billion in sales in one day, Lazada made its own Single's Day waves regionally by launching the largest influencer marketing movement in Southeast Asia – breaking unprecedented records in social media history.


Lazada Indonesia, in collaboration with Iconreel.com, launched an Online Revolution Campaign to celebrate the biggest online sale of the year by tapping into Indonesia’s social media influencers –  ranging from micro-bloggers to silver-screen celebrities on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. The digital parade was led by 1,400+ influencer postings yielding:


102.9 million audience reach
2.7 million likes
20.8 thousand comments














Witness the movement through the hashtags #ceritabelanjalazada and #inipassionku or follow Lazada Indonesia’s official Instagram account @lazada_id for a close-up view of the Online Revolution.

 

About Iconreel

Iconreel is Indonesia’s Largest Influencer Collective that connects Brands directly with Influencers for technology-powered social media campaigns. For inquiries and further information, visit www.iconreel.com, or say hello at hello@iconreel.com

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10 November, 2016 - 05.13am UTC

YouTube Is Helping to Sell a Lot of Makeup

By Bloomberg


Hiring a vlogger to pitch a product on the brand's behalf is more organic than trying to get makeup tutorial lovers to follow a brand's channel.


“I was not paid or sponsored to recommend anything at all," Michelle Phan declares as the YouTube star's video begins. Wearing long black braids and a crop top, she praises a cheap lipstick, a dome shaped blush, and Tiger Balm, among dozens of other products in her best-of-the-year roundup. More than a million people have watched the video. The top comment calls her a “trusty older sister.”

With 2.2 million followers on Instagram and 3.1 million on Facebook, Phan is a beauty dynamo. The launching point of her empire is a YouTube channel, where she has amassed 8.7 million subscribers since 2006. The 29-year-old former waitress came into prominence as a result of her channel, where she shared tips on how to take a selfie and how to fix shattered blush. Since becoming one of the most followed beauty vloggers on the site, she has walked the fine line between the earnest beauty product recommendations that first gained her a following and her burgeoning businesses. Among her commercial interests are the beauty-box subscription service Ipsy, a makeup line called em by Michelle Phan, and the lifestyle network Icon.

"She's shown the path forward for a YouTube star," said Ben Cockerell, director of global marketing at social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon. First you get the followers, then you bask in the fame, then you make some real money.

Phan has an uncanny ability to create buzz and turn it into profit. Ipsy has raised more than $103 million in venture capital funding since it was founded in 2011; it has been profitable for more than three years, and its annual revenue is $150 million. It's also talked about a lot more than main rival Birchbox these days, according to new data from Crimson Hexagon.

Even though Birchbox, which started the subscription-box craze in 2011, had cultivated a following before Ipsy even existed, Phan’s brand now has all the hype. The brand has been able to capitalise on Phan's YouTube stardom to convert fans into customers.

Birchbox, however, used more traditional marketing than Ipsy—starting in 2014, it even ran television advertisements. Earlier this year, the company suspended its TV ads while it tested a social campaign on Facebook and Instagram. But Birchbox is late to the social media game. Combined, Phan and Ipsy have more than 10 million subscribers on YouTube. Birchbox has a little more than 80,000. (Birchbox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

"Partnering with creators on YouTube and Instagram has been part of Ipsy's strategy from the very beginning," said Ipsy President Jennifer Goldfarb. "We believe that digital content creators are the new source of inspiration in beauty and have become the biggest influence in consumer's purchasing decisions."

Ipsy is not the only company harnessing the power of YouTube stars. It is a boon for all makeup brands, spurred by various tutorial makers, such as Phan, Bethany Mota, and Zoe Sugg. It's the ideal landscape in which to hawk beauty products, said Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, a consulting firm. "It's a platform for people to showcase themselves. And what do I want to show you? The things I like. How perfect."

Hiring a vlogger to pitch a product on the brand's behalf is more organic than trying to get makeup tutorial lovers to follow a brand's channel. Other brands don't have the trust factor the YouTube stars have developed, Corlett said. Despite the millions of views these videos generate, the platform is not quite powerful enough, though, for Clinique and Cover Girl to devote themselves to it entirely. Although print and television ad spending has declined, they continue to guarantee eyeballs.

The problem for the big cosmetics sellers, however, is there will always be new Michelle Phans and Bethany Motas popping up.

"YouTube will continue to replenish—there's no limit on the number of smart ideas and innovative ways to sell the same thing," Corlett said. "You would've thought we'd thought of every way to sell a razor, but we haven't. And YouTube will continue to be that platform."

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8 November, 2016 - 05.12am UTC

Nuances of influencer marketing: Building successful partnerships in luxury

By Luxury Daily



As influencers carry more weight in the marketing world, these social media stars are playing an increasingly major role in defining brands across the luxury fashion, beauty and fragrance categories.

For many companies, influencers are no longer just a supplement to the marketing and brand strategy – they are the strategy. They have the power to reach vast numbers of consumers in an unobtrusive and genuine way, while simultaneously acting as brand ambassadors who strengthen relationships with customers.

But brands are facing the challenge of ensuring that influencers are promoting their message, vision and product in a way that builds the company’s brand first and foremost – rather than the influencer prioritizing his or her own brand.

In the constantly evolving influencer space, here is how luxury marketers across categories can create successful influencer partnerships and connect with consumers on a deeper level.

Start with a brand muse – not an influencer
Oftentimes, brands begin their influencer strategy by brainstorming and researching the latest “It” girls, or combing through copious lists of Instagram stars to find the most promising option. But this method is largely ineffective from a brand-building standpoint.

Rather than starting with the influencer, luxury marketers should begin by sketching out a brand muse.

This muse is more than a source of inspiration. He or she is the personification of the brand, the intersection where a brand’s values meet the consumer’s aspirations and come to life.

Once a muse is defined, it becomes a natural filter for selecting everything from the right influencer, to brand partners and beyond – and can be applied across the luxury landscape to fashion, watches, beauty and accessories.

Marketers can be confident that their brand is being expressed in the most relevant and authentic way, and cultivate successful influencer partnerships that embody their message.

Apply the brand muse lens
Once marketers have ideated and constructed their brand muse, they must then use this persona as a filter to determine which influencers will best align with their vision.

In today’s marketing world, the same mega-influencers are attached to so many different brands, particularly in beauty and fitness.

Partnering with a major celebrity may draw attention and put a brand on the map – a strategy that certainly has its place – but it does very little to tangibly advance the brand’s goals. This is where the need for a brand muse arises, defining a company’s influencer strategy far beyond the latest “It” girl.

When marketers begin with the muse rather than the influencer, this approach begins to guide and illuminate brand goals, as well as the strategies needed to reach them.

Marketers must look for influencers that are uniquely fit for their brand – and have not been over-leveraged in a way that dilutes their essence or what they personally represent.

Look beyond follower count
There is a perception permeating the fashion and beauty luxury space that the most valuable influencer is the one with the most followers. But this approach does not necessarily translate to the most meaningful brand-consumer connection.

In fact, an inauthentic partnership à la Kim Kardashian and Airbnb can feel discordant, and go so far as to alienate consumers.

It is vitally important to determine the actual impact of audience size, measuring genuine conversation as opposed to hits, likes and clicks.

Do not underestimate the potential impact of micro-influencers, who often have the bandwidth to maintain a higher level of engagement with their followers, and who might have a more specific and brand-valuable follower base than those with a much larger fan base.

Such micro-influencers are particularly effective in the fashion and beauty space, where consumers seek one-on-one advice and feedback on the latest matte lipsticks or how to style their fall boots.

At the same time, reach plays an important role, and marketers must hone their strategies to balance both.

A muse enables brands to accommodate and activate multiple levels and types of influencers, while allowing the company to maintain control of its own narrative.

Revolve has used this strategy successfully, as it has built its brand around a muse and activated influencers through that lens. The Hamptons party with Kim Kardashian – and a wide array of fashion bloggers and Instagram stars – showed how effective a muse aligned with an influencer can be in generating earned media and increased engagement.

As influencer strategies become more nuanced, we are seeing marketers seek out both a face for their brand, as well as a network of additional social media stars who represent various facets of brand qualities.

WHEN TRYING to balance competing interests of multiple influencers – who naturally seek to promote their personal brand – with marketers’ goals, aligning all of these individuals under a coherent vision for a brand muse becomes even more imperative to success.

To make influencers work for you rather than the other way around, it is essential to lead with strategy.

Influencer marketing has become complex and multifaceted. But if done correctly, it can have major payoffs for luxury brands in the fashion, beauty fragrance industries and beyond.

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1 November, 2016 - 14.05pm UTC

Lazada Online Revolution set to break social media records

By Iconreel

Lazada Indonesia, in collaboration with Iconreel.com, is set to make history and break social media records in Southeast Asia by unveiling Lazada’s Online Revolution Campaign on Tuesday, 11/11 (11th November, 2016).  


Details of the campaign will be unveiled Friday next week (11/11), but a wave of teasers have started surfacing from Indonesia’s Instagram influencer scene:
















… and hundreds more.


This story is still developing and rapidly spreading in social media with hashtags #ceritabelanjalazada and #inipassionku.  Be the first to find out about the record-breaking event on @lazada_id or join the movement at hello@iconreel.com

 

About Iconreel

Iconreel is Indonesia’s Largest Influencer Collective that connects Brands directly with Influencers for technology-powered social media campaigns. For inquiries and further information, visit www.iconreel.com, or say hello at hello@iconreel.com

Keep in touch for exclusive updates

31 October, 2016 - 16.40pm UTC

Even Hillary Clinton likes influencer marketing

By David Kirkpatrick


Dive Brief:

  • In three key battleground states, the Clinton campaign is running a marketing effort with video ads featuring YouTube influencers, according to an exclusive report in Variety.
  • The ad content features one of three YouTube stars making surprise visits to fans in each of the three targeted states: Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The campaign hashtag is #StrongerTogether.
  • The three YouTubers — GloZell Green, Todrick Hall and Sam Tsui — have a combined YouTube subscriber base of more than 9.4 million.


Dive Insight:

Few things are going to signal that influencer marketing has hit its full stride in the mainstream more than the recent move by the Clinton campaign. When even career politicians are making use of the format, it becomes clear it has demonstrable value across industries.

It’s especially telling that Clinton's campaign is tapping influencers in order to reach a very specific subset of voters — millennials in this case — in states that are seen as critical to electoral success. Variety reports that the #StrongerTogether spots are designed to reach voters who don't necessarily watch TV (typically meaning younger voters), and it will be unsurprising to see other politicians adopting similar tactics as more and more demos shift away from linear television.   

Presidential campaign advertising spend is notorious for being highly battle-tested, and the timing of this effort is significant. If the Clinton team just wanted to dip its toes in influencer marketing, the experimental phase would've happened long before the final two weeks of the season. It's clear that this is a final dedicated push to win over indifferent or on-the-fence voters, with Hillary for America's Director of Digital Advertising JasonRosenbaum telling Variety, “It’s our campaign’s closing argument.” 

Marketers can glean what they want from Clinton’s influencer outreach, but to a certain extent this effort puts a sort of stamp of approval on influencer marketing as a valid technique for reaching millennials. 

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31 October, 2016 - 16.40pm UTC

Why brands should be looking to micro-influencers to generate sales in the countdown to Christmas


Back in the midst of August, online fashionista Zoella uploaded a first look at her Christmas beauty range. With over 11 million YouTube subscribers and a further six million on Twitter, she is often referred to as one of the most powerful online influencers.

There's no arguing that influencers are now an integral part of the marketing mix, and when names like Zoella and PewDiePie first arrived on the scene the opportunity seemed simple: align yourself with the person with the largest following and reap the results. Years down the line, brands are beginning to question how valuable this exposure is when there is a possibility that the influencers’ followers may not even be interested in their product.

If we add the complexities of hitting the right target audience while meeting the format requirements of each influencer, the challenges of constructing an effective influencer marketing programme become apparent. Looking for a solution, we’ve seen many brands beginning to reach out to micro-influencers who have a smaller, yet highly engaged followings.

As marketing departments tee up their Black Friday and Christmas influencer campaigns, they should carefully consider the fact that less is more and test reaching out to micro-influencers, ie individuals with 10,000-100,000 followers on social, to help them win the season.

Solving the micro-engagement dilemma

While this might appear to be a step backwards, if we take Instagram as an example, a recent study has shown that engagement rates drop rapidly from the 1,000 follower’s mark (where influencers boast an 8% like ratio) to 1.6% at the point where the following surpasses one million users.

There are several factors that dictate this gap in engagement. Firstly, influencers with fewer followers tend to enjoy a larger proportion of fans who actually know them personally and are thus more likely to trust their recommendations. This ties into the fact that the more followers an influencer has, the more likely they are to attract a higher number of fake and bot accounts that will beef up their numbers, but won’t actually generate genuine engagement. Trump’s recent social fiasco in the run up to the US election is a testimony to this.

Appealing to the social media savvy

Alongside the higher proportion of engaged followers, micro-influencers also appeal to changing consumer perspectives. Millennials, who have grown up with social media, are hyper-sensitive to the highly edited versions of ourselves that are portrayed through increasingly professional social media outfits. Craving a more authentic version of events, we are seeing that younger audiences are attracted to smaller-scale and more unique personalities.

It’s also important to be more conscious of the way in which we consume content. Social media personalities have become powerful because we all follow so many of them. With a potential customer’s news feed comprising of posts from dozens of different influencers, there is a risk that if they are all promoting the same clothing line, it will become clear that it’s sponsored content and not authentic, which can tarnish a brand’s reputation.

Working together dynamically

This plurality of influencers places the onus on brands to do the work to find the right influencers with the right followings to get their message out to their target audience. This means choosing collaborators who fit naturally with your brand and are perhaps already brand advocates. Ensure any influencer you work with is prioritising the relationship with their audience– it’s not about numbers or their popularity, it’s about how they can take the best of what the brand has to offer and combine it with their unique point of view.

Crucially, a brand’s mix of influencers will always be in a state of flux. Every marketing initiative, depending on the objective, will shift. That means that the type of influencer a brand works with will likely adapt in line with the campaign. What remains constant, however, is the need to engage with personalities that echo and align with your brand values – especially as the countdown to Christmas looms.

Keep in touch for exclusive updates

31 October, 2016 - 16.39pm UTC

NEWSMarie Claire launches fashion influencer network The Style Set

Pacific Magazines’ Marie Claire is looking to leverage the booming influencer marketing space with the launch of The Style Set, a network of fashion and style influencers who will create content for the magazine’s website.

marie-claire-style-set-influencer-network

The Style Set will create create content for marieclaire.com.au as well as regular looks and shopping stories for Styledbymarieclaire.com.au, the brand’s curated, interactive personal shopping platform.

Style Set influencers will also collaborate on selected Marie Claire advertising briefs.

Jackie Frank, general manager – fashion, beauty and health said: “The Style Set pairs the authority of the Marie Claire brand with the individuality and reach of some of Australia’s best-known influencers. This allows us to deliver our clients and brand partners authentic content that can be amplified across multiple platforms.”

The Style Set’s founding members include Sara Donaldson of Harper and Harley, Jessie Bush of We The People, Brooke Testoni and Kaitlyn Ham of Modern Legacy.

marie-claire-style-set

Nicky Briger, editor at Marie Claire, said: “We’re delighted to launch the Marie Claire Style Set. These style powerhouses, together with the Marie Claire brand, will deliver the very best in fashion and style trends and I’m confident our readers will relish the regular contributions which will further transform the way consumers interact with brands.”

The launch of The Style Set follows on from rival publisher Bauer Media launching an influencer network connected with its Beauty Directory brand.

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31 October, 2016 - 16.38pm UTC

Starbucks Demonstrates Influencer Marketing with YouTube Star Coffee Taste Test


As social media continues to infiltrate virtually every aspect of daily life, global brands are bending over backwards to gain easy publicity by converting the web’s biggest influencers into de facto representatives — and no one is doing that better than Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX).

Last week, the global coffee giant turned heads by bringing in two of YouTube’s biggest stars to engage in a deceptively organic-looking coffee taste challenge.

Watch this Influence Marketing Example

The blindfolded contest saw Nerdy Nummies host Rosanna Pansino square off against YouTube personality iJustine to see which influencer could correctly identify seasonal favorites like the Chile Mocha, or spot the secret surprise in a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

This is the second Starbucks Challenge Rosanna and iJustine have posted on YouTube so far this year — and at face value, the eleven minute video slots in perfectly with each celebrity’s wider social media profile. Zoom in a little closer, and it’s actually a brilliant example of influencer marketing in action.

Influencer marketing is an increasingly common outreach method that sees big brands offer free goods, services or payment to key digital leaders in order to gain endorsements, prominent promotional opportunities or positive reviews. The FTC requires explicit disclosure of compensation for these campaigns, but that does not generally impact their effectiveness.

Most small business owners won’t have the marketing budget to convince two of YouTube’s biggest stars to promote their seasonal product lines — but there are plenty of ways to engage in influencer marketing while on a budget.

Earlier this year, start-up Intellifluence launched a platform designed specifically to connect business owners with the web’s top up-and-coming bloggers, social media stars and personalities.

The site essentially acts as a social media network in its own rite by cutting out the middle man and enabling smaller brands to reach out and interact with influencers without the need to hire overpriced talent agencies.

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31 October, 2016 - 16.38pm UTC

UGC, influencers boost storytelling on visual-centric social media


Long-form video is effective at engaging consumers on a brand’s site or social channels, but the expense of producing this content is causing marketers to seek alternatives.

With film production a time consuming prospect, brands are turning to influencers or shorter, snackable clips to get the same effect on a smaller budget, according to panelists from Four Seasons, Tacori and Olapic speaking at Luxury Interactive 2016 on Oct. 17. Beyond video, brands are turning to outside parties to help tell their story on social media, requiring careful curation and management to ensure that the message matches the brand.

"It used to be, we had our videos very high production—it was our television commercial, its was our campaign film—very elevated, extremely high collection value," said Alessa Martin, director of marketing for Tacori.

"And what we’re seeing is, that’s fantastic, but we also then have Snapchat, so we’re trying to find the place in the middle that is not just this surface level story that allows us to dig deeper into telling different kinds of stories...We’re really trying to be less precious about our video, because being precious is very very expensive," she said.

Selling a story
The panelists during the "Not Just for Entertainment – Hard Social Selling" session agreed that marketers are migrating away from Pinterest as they see declining engagement, favoring alternative channels to provide top of funnel inspiration or calls to action.

Going where consumers are, brands are turning to other platforms, leveraging a combination of their own content, influencer posts and user-generated content to present a complete picture.

Different channels serve different purposes. Four Seasons’ Olivia van Eyk explained that the hotel chain uses Facebook to push direct campaigns with a link, while Instagram is more of a space for top level inspiration, since consumers are less inclined to click and leave the app.

One place that Four Seasons is investing is influencers, whom it looks to for video content and blog posts. The hospitality group looks beyond travel bloggers to those in the fashion, beauty and lifestyle space to tell stories of its own lifestyle.

Four Seasons @margoandme

Post by influencer @margoandme for Four Seasons

When working with content producers who are not within the brand, managing the relationship is imperative.

Four Seasons briefs influencers on its brand to ensure that the content fits its image. Ms. Martin said Tacori works with the same individuals a number of times, establishing a connection.

Beyond influencers, brands are seeing success with spotlighting consumer posts.

With the proliferation of engagement ring selfies, Tacori encourages its followers to look beyond the generic via UGC campaigns. Four Seasons encourages its properties to spur UGC through the promotion of a hotel-specific hashtag, whether on an amenity or as part of a contest.

The hotel chain also keeps things in focus with its visual education series.

“Focus on Four Seasons” will offer tips to take the perfect photograph and curate the best images captured at Four Seasons hotels by professional photographers and the average Instagramming consumer alike. Meeting consumers on a platform they enjoy in a rewarding fashion helps keeps a brand visible and attractive to consumers (see story).

Panelists shared the view that social content can benefit from a boost.

Instagram-on-iPhone400

Instagram's new algorithm is making it harder for organic content to reach eyes

“If you’re not putting dollars behind your post these days, people are not seeing it,” said Ari Wolfe, account director for North America at Olapic.

However, paid may be best for certain forms of content. Ms. van Eyk noted that while Four Seasons does run promoted posts, UGC sees better results on organic than paid.

Personal touch
With social media blurring the boundaries between brand and consumer, marketers need to consider the ways in which they communicate with individuals directly.

Olapic’s Mr. Wolfe said that in his experience, most consumers are thrilled to be contacted by a brand wishing to use their post. However, while consumers are for the most part aware of CRM, he said this approach has the potential to come across as creepy.

Twitter’s fast pace and visibility make it ideal for CRM, and Burberry and Louis Vuitton have accounts purely for customer service. This potential is largely untapped, however, with many brands seeking to maintain distance and exclusivity on the platform despite its function being designed for precisely the opposite (see story).

Panelists pointed out that one-to-one communication has to serve a purpose and be of value for the recipient.

For Tacori, since it does not operate its own retail outlets for its bridal, social media provides a means for the brand to hear from and interact with consumers.

“Nothing is too personal… For us, as long as we’re serving them something that’s relevant, they want to hear from us,” Tacori's Ms. Martin said.

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31 October, 2016 - 16.37pm UTC

How to run awesome Snapchat influencer campaigns


Snapchat is the hottest social media platform for marketers in years. In a similar way to how YouTube, Vine and Instagram produced a portfolio of social media stars, it appears that Snapchat is following the same playbook fostering a new crop of digital influencers with millions of audiences.

Being both a marketer as well as being part of the audience – I’m 21 – I've noticed a few trends and insights which help in making Snapchat campaigns successful.

Why Snapchat?

It's firstly essential to understand why, as a brand, Snapchat and Snapchat influencers should be a staple in your marketing toolset.

The kids on Snapchat

For years, marketers have attempted to reach younger consumers – an age which was resistant to traditional forms of advertising. In the past YouTube provided that opportunity, however the parents started to flood YouTube and so the kids scattered. Now the kids are on Snapchat.

Guaranteed visibility

A second reason however is the high levels of visibility on Snapchat. No other platform takes advantage of the vertical video power as Snapchat. This enables 100% visibility for ads in a way which other platforms don’t compare.

Strong influencer connections

The relationship between a user and an influencer is so strong that coupled with the fact that Snaps disappear after 24 hours, users are obsessive about watching their influencers' snaps. It's one of the rare forms of marketing in which fans can be incredibly intimate with their favourite stars – an experience which is perfect for a brand to leverage.

So now we know the importance of using Snapchat influencers, here are four tips we've learnt through our campaigns and studying other campaigns which have been key in delivering results

Four tips for executing blockbuster Snapchat influencer campaigns

1. Takeover campaigns

One of the most understated ways to work with influencers is launching takeovers – that is using influencers to take over your channel on Snapchat. It strikes me as frankly ridiculous that marketers put their hard earned dollars behind Snapchat campaigns without understanding the value of an earned audience.

Influencer takeovers are powerful ways for brands to hit the nail on both achieving brand awareness but also increasing owned audience. A great example of this is a campaign that ABC Family – the network behind Pretty Little Liars – ran with Snapchatter Michael Platco, in which he took over its channels while watching the programme every week, culminating in ABC Family winning 800,000 new followers in just three months.

2. Create two-way call to actions

Snapchat provides the ability for a two-way dialogue like never before seen on other social media platforms. With this renewed opportunity comes a new responsibility for influencer campaigns. Asking influencers to get their fanbase to send pictures and videos to the influencers through a compelling call to action is one of the most powerful ways to create mass engagement and results in a campaign.

An example of this can be seen from beauty brand Shiseido which wanted to promote its new Snapchat brand channel and thus partnered up with Snapchat influencer Jen Chae. Through the campaign, not only did Jen showcase some of Shiseido's wares, but she also asked followers to send her pictures of their favourite items from the brand, resulting in a mass two-way conversation and most importantly over 100,000 new Snapchat views on Shiseido's channel.

3. Create hype then swing for the fences:

We have this saying in Fanbytes: create hype then smash. This describes the process of using the 10-second limit of Snapchat to build up for a brand and then eventually hitting them with a strong call to action. It's basic human psychology, when you amp people enough, the result is a heightened intensity in the eventual action. Due to its 10-second limit, each snap provides the opportunity to amp up audiences more and more until the eventual slam dunk – a promotion, a download link, a link to watch a video.

4. Cross promotion

Everybody knows Snapchat is a closed network. Compared to YouTube or more relevantly Facebook and Twitter, there isn’t an inherent ability to spread a message across an audience. Thus, in order to amplify content and get the most out of Snapchat influencer campaigns, it's important brands cross promote the collaboration with influencers across alternative social channels. An easy way to do this is to take a screenshot of a Snap or download the Snapchat story, then post the content on other social media platforms.

When to use influencers

We've executed tonnes of Snapchat influencer campaigns and in testing as well as seeing industry experts we've deduced that there are three main types of influencer campaigns that drive action. This is by no means exhaustive but in our experience what works.

Behind the scenes content

Snapchat is the rawest, most authentic medium out there which presents a perfect opportunity for intimate behind the scenes footage. An incredible example of this is Nars, the cosmetics company which, in an attempt to release its Guy Bourdin colour cosmetics, showed exclusive behind the scenes content into its unveiling.

Scavenger Hunts

This technique takes Snapchat's personal intimacy and real time nature to the next level. Using clues in 10 second snaps to excite an audience and lead them on a real life scavenger hunt is a strong way to lead a Snapchat influencer marketing. A good example of this is H&M which created an exclusive piece of content called the Boiler Room and hid various tickets in stores. Users then had to use cryptic Snapchat clues in order to find the tickets to win H&M prizes.

Flash Sales

This is perhaps the most obvious way to use Snapchat if you're a consumer-facing brand, taking advantage of its ephemerality and sending out short coupon codes for users to purchase with. A brand exceptional at doing this is a brand I follow called Everlane which from time to time put out discount codes which can be used in the next 24 hours. Some of these discounts are so steep (60 per cent) that they serve as an incredible source of traffic as its audience runs to use the discount.

Conclusions

Snapchat is here to say, however it is still in its infancy. Its closed network and lack of discoverability has made it a headache for marketers, however it also presents a land of opportunity for marketers especially working with influencers. It's down to us as marketers now to tread carefully (read: not mess it up, like we’re so susceptible to) but speedily, and hopefully this article has presented a good starting point for smashing it.

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8 September, 2016 - 01.15am UTC

Micro-influencers are changing the way brands do social marketing according to new report

New York based discovery platform Bloglovin' has released research showing that it is micro-influencers that are changing the industry. It has noticed a critical shift in what it terms the "next generation" of influencers.

The survey was conducted in June 2016 through online polling of 2,500 micro-influencers that utilize its platform. It found that almost half of influencers join new platforms to expand their audience or express themselves creatively.

The research found that 34 percent of influencers state that brands are unaware of the true costs of influencer marketing programs. It says that there are misconceptions around the influencer marketing industry, one of which is that the big social celebrities are the only ones that are impactful.

The company took an in-depth look into best practices that brands can utilize to make influencer marketing work for them.

The study surveyed a set of of micro-influencers, those not in the top 10 percent of mega-bloggers, to identify trends on the state of the influencer marketing industry so that brands can develop influencer marketing strategies.

The rise of micro-influencers has been slow but steady. Micro-influencers have mid-sized audiences with dedicated, highly engaged followers. These influencers use a variety of social platforms to engage.

As far as engagement goes, Instagram is king for influencer marketing. 59 percent of influencers feel that Instagram is the most effective platform when engaging their target audience -- especially across fashion, beauty, and food.

Blogs are popular too. 54 percent of influencers have worked with brands on sponsored blog posts, making blogging the most popular method of influencer marketing.

42 percent work with Instagram collaborations, 32 percent with Facebook promotions, and 29 percent with Twitter promotions.

Facebook is still relevant with 18 percent of influencers, despite the platform's maturity.

Although half of influencers note Snapchat is their new favourite social media platform, only one percent of influencers find it is the most effective in engaging their audience.

The report shows that influencers are not in it for the money. Rather, they focus on gaining recognition through earned, not paid, social media posts.

53 percent of influencers have never promoted a post on social platforms.

34 percent of influencers state that brands don't have a realistic understanding about how much influencer marketing costs. 84 percent of influencers tend to charge under $250 for one branded Instagram post and 97 percent charge less than $500 per post.

87 percent of influencers charge under $500 per branded blog post, whilst 83 percent of influencers charge less than $150 for a branded Tweet.

New platforms seem to be gaining popularity with influencers. Facebook Live is the biggest new social trend among influencers (33 percent) followed by Instagram's Boomerang (27 percent).

Rohit Vashisht, president of Activate by Bloglovin' said. "While the influencer industry is exploding, a lot of brands are unaware what the best practices are.

By surveying our micro-influencers, we're able to share primary insights that marketers really need to pay attention to in order to put together impactful campaigns."

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1 September, 2016 - 01.15am UTC

Influential not infuriating: 10 tips to simplify your influencer marketing strategy

So, let’s talk social influencers. Over the last few years we have seen a rise in these over the top, excitable, hipster like figures – and we bloody love it. Brands are throwing money towards influencer marketing, and it’s becoming essential to have a strong strategy. Here we’ll outline some overlooked points to help you understand influencer marketing, which are so simple, anyone could grasp them.

1. Know what you want, and go get it

Just like a good night out on the town, we all love to get involved and dive right in – but do we ever think about the consequences when in that ‘moment’? Well you should, and the same applies to influencers.

Don’t get blinded by the shiny light – think about who are you engaging. New or old audiences? Do you want to make noise, or build an ongoing relationship? Do you want a one campaign stand or a wholesome community?

2. Embrace the data

We love choices and it’s easy to get distracted by impressive subscriber numbers, but NO, just because your CEO’s daughter is in love with a particular glamourous YouTuber, that doesn’t mean she’s a good choice for your men’s grooming product. Dive into results, look at views, engagement, audience and demographics, and make an executive choice. Ultimately helping identify the most exciting and cost-effective influencer on the market.

3. Get to know them

Isn’t it awful being forced into a conversation with someone you have nothing in common with? It’s like talking to a wall, but wait, we’re all (mostly) friendly people remember.

Get to know the influencer you work with. The purpose of influencer marketing is to tap into the powerful, essential relationships they have with their audience and fans in order to deliver engagement with your brand! This will help align the content they create, but also show how you can bring value to them and their audience.

4. Ready, set, engage

We all love to rush into things, but hold your horses. Engagement is at the core of influencer marketing which, with patience, can provide a great tool for you to measure future and existing influencers. Clever huh?

It’s important to measure all engagement metrics, and give weightings to apply proper value to each engagement across channels. Create a CPE model, which works for you and calculate how much each engagement is worth.

5. Everyone loves a good platform

YouTube – the glittery, most exclusive stage of them all, and god we love it. Every new brand that takes on influencer marketing runs for YouTube, and god knows why. There are multiple other platforms like good 'old' Twitter, through to the newbies like Blab and Kwickie all connecting with different audiences and influencers. C’mon, be unique, take a risk, it will pay off.

6. Help influencers influence

There is a big difference when most people think of 'influencers'. The term tends to get applied to everyone who is popular across social platforms. However, popularity and influence are two very different things. Some influencers may create great content and make us laugh, but they can’t peer pressure us into buying something.

We’re not pretending this one is easy, but one way to navigate this is to work with the influencer to deliver an engaging story around your brand. But remember, don’t get carried away – an influencer knows how to work their audience best.

7. Summer festival or small dainty café?

We’re all tempted by the very accessible, loud, alcohol-fuelled, messy festival weekends which showcase the biggest bands and swarms of fans. However, sometimes a small candle-lit cafe with one or two bands we love provide us with a better, more personal experience.

It can be tempting to work with a 'rock star' influencer and blow all your budget at once, yet this can be detrimental to your whole campaign. We have found that working with multiple small influencers can not only be more cost effective, but create a more intimate experience, and if you use many of these, you’ll create many little splashes – leading to a large wave of influence.

8. Be safe, please

Isn’t it terrible when people don’t tell the truth? Influencers and brands have got into trouble before for not disclosing paid commercial content (naughty) resulting in AIA and CAP releasing a number of guidelines on how paid content should be signposted in this space.

And guess what? Recent surveys have showed marketers are still unaware of the rules… or they chose to ignore them. Either way, they weren’t happy. So make sure you read the rule book, or ask a knowledgeable third party for guidance.

9. Management

We’ll be honest, managing influencers can be full of potential pitfalls and boy have we seen many. This isn’t generally due to malicious intentions (there's always exceptions), but you need to understand that every influencer works differently and some have never even talked to a brand – bless.

Be gentle, and assume nothing. Communicate clearly what you need, and ensure key deliverables are outlined. The key thing is these aren’t traditional media owners, they have worked hard to gain their position, so just be honest early on, and discuss what they are comfortable doing, or you might blindly walk into walls and look a little clueless.

10. Whatever you do, let creators create

There are so many horrible examples of where brands have had too much control and it has killed the campaign. Let the influencers do what they do best, let them excite their audiences using your brand – this must be a collaborative process so keep the door open.

And yes, we know it’s scary to let go, but let them play. It’s in their brief not to communicate something unwanted or untoward. Just be clear on the deliverables and have a veto in place to ensure nothing goes wrong – that way everyone’s happy.

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31 August, 2016 - 01.14am UTC

Influencers in Asia-Pacific: Four things you need to know

Reaching consumers in Asia-Pacific can be difficult.

There are so many countries and cultures to consider that analysis paralysis quickly sets in.

Using a local influencer to carry your brand message could help, but there are a few things you need to know about the market first.

Asia-Pacific (APAC) has an influencer market which is growing in, well, influence. 

Influencers are loosely defined as anyone with a sizable social media following and they can play a significant role in an APAC marketing campaign.

The reason they are so useful is that influencers have a ready-made audience which can help a brand break into a new market.

If a brand is looking to reach a particular segment, then using an influencer may be a handy shortcut to today's media-saturated consumers.

According to recent reports, brand marketers agree.

More than three-quarters (78%) of respondents to a Econsultancy survey, The Rise of Influencers (2016), indicated that they were using influencers in their marketing campaigns (57%) or planning to do so in the next 12 months (21%).

Unfortunately it's not quite as simple as just finding someone with a large social media following in a target country and signing them up.

There are many potential issues which can arise when using influencers in APAC, so marketers need to be aware of a number of things before attempting to tackle this channel.

1. Each country has its own influencers and platform of choice

This seems obvious. The whole purpose of using influencers is to find someone who is well-connected in a particular country and so, almost by definition, the influencers are going to be different for each market.

Influencers may, however, also be on different platforms depending on the market.

In China, where influencers are typically called key opinion leaders (or more commonly, KOL), they are now most active on WeChat.

There are still KOLs who focus on blogging (or even their own app), but WeChat, with its enormous growth and more reliable follower counts, has become the platform of choice for marketers.

Thailand's influencers are mainly active on YouTube.

Some of Thailand's most-popular internet celebrities on the channel include itinerant videographer softpomz with over a million followers and makeup artist pearypie with around 250,000.

Instagram is the choice for Australians. Pia Muehlenbeck, model and blogger, has amassed 1.3m followers.  

This is quite an achievement in a country with a population of around 23m.  

Sara Donaldson, a fashion and beauty writer, still maintains a popular blog but has moved more than half a million of her fans to Instagram.

2. Due diligence is required

It's well known that followers on social media can be faked.  Search on Google for "Facebook likes" or "Twitter followers" and dozens of pages come up with ways of getting fake fans, for a fee.

Brands should be wary of influencers with high follower count but poor content and low engagement from their 'fans'.

In China, however, it is not so easy to distinguish real from fake.

According to Wechat consultant WalkTheChat, fake influencers (KOLs) in China both steal real content from other influencers and have a 'bot' network to boost engagement numbers.

These practices are possible in any country, though, so working with well-known influencers with a verifiable history of working with other brands is best practice

3. Influencer agencies are emerging

Alternatively, instead of trying to figure it out by themselves, marketers can use one of the many agencies which have sprung up.

APAC has a long tradition of influencer agencies. Nuffnang has offered brands advertising deals with blogger influencers in the region since 2006.  

It is now operating in seven countries and boasts a global community of nearly 1m blogs.

For those looking for more visually-based influencers, TRIBE in Australia andGushcloud in Singapore offer marketplaces where influencers can sign up and marketers can search for one with the audience which suits their brand.

In China, there are countless digital marketing agencies to help brands enter a market with influencers as well as influencer agencies, such as ParkLu.

For marketers doing their own research, there are directories such as Popular Chips andFashion Beauty Monitor which cover APAC and other international influencers.

4. The cost for an influencer still varies considerably

According to The Rise of Influencers most brands still make arrangements with the influencers directly.

Should you decide to do this, one of the first items to establish is the cost.

Unfortunately, there is not yet an industry standard for how much brands should pay for influencers.

Some have suggested linking the cost for an influencer to a typical advertising metric, say $5 to $10 cost-per-1000 views (CPM).  

This might work, though actual impression counts may be hard to get on some social networksso brands should probably agree a fixed rate before hand.

Another approach is for brands to use cost-per-engagement (CPE) or even cost-per-lead (CPL).  

Mavrck, a US-based marketing platform, has carried out research to identify what those costs are for US-based clients and these figures could be used as a benchmark for APAC.

TRIBE, the Australian influencer agency, suggests per-post rates based on the number of followers the influencer has.  

Again, useful for reference but an influencer with an affluent audience should certainly charge significantly more than one who is followed by bargain-hunters.

So, then, the cost per post will then typically be agreed directly between the brand and the influencer. 

According to industry feedback though, many influencers are inexperienced with negotiating and so brands should be ready to walk away should the price be unreasonable.

According to one brand executive, these negotiations can be difficult.

They’re all nuts. They say, “I want to take a car and pick it up in London and drive it around Europe, so give me $100,000.”  Nope, let’s totally never do it that ever. These people don’t understand budgets.

So...

Influencers can be a great way for a brand to tap into a market in APAC.

Using one means that you will not have to worry so much about how to find the right audience, the influencer will bring people to you.

Before simply booking one yourself, however, do some research and find a well-established influencer who has a track record of helping brands find the right audience in the target market.  

Influencer marketplaces and research publications can help, but simple due diligence should also be carried out as well.

As for negotiating a rate, it seems that you're on your own. The best approach is to have a budget in mind and negotiate hard.  

Because the market is so new, most influencers are relatively inexperienced too, and they may very well be open to striking a deal to develop a long-term relationship. 

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24 August, 2016 - 01.13am UTC

Influencer Marketing: Turning Taste Makers Into Your Best Salespeople

Testimonials and endorsements have been a mainstay in marketing for many years. In the online environment, these concepts have been combined, embraced, and refined to drive a hot trend: influencer marketing. It works. If you think about your own purchase behaviors, you can probably trace many of those purchases--whether for some electronic device, a hairstyle, a meal, or a car--to a recommendation or referral that came from a friend or relative or that was prompted through some online endorsement from an individual you admire.

The "Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey" from 2012 indicated that 92% of global consumers said they trusted earned media-e.g., word-of-mouth and recommendations-more than any other form of advertising. That tendency bears fruit online. According to a McKinsey study, social recommendations influenced about 26% of online purchases across all product categories. About two-thirds of that impact, the study indicates, was direct--meaning that the recommendation had an impact at the point of purchase. Additionally, not all product categories are equally impacted. Selection of utility services was at the low end (15%), while categories such as travel and over-the-counter drugs impacted 40% to 50% of online actions.

While there's definitely some marketing power and potential behind influencer marketers, it's important for marketers to understand that influencer marketing--or influence marketing--while it may have some unique nuances due to the online environment it exists in, isn't fundamentally different from the general marketing approaches and decisions they've been undertaking for years.

A Long Tradition of Influence

As Danica Kombol, founder and president of Everywhere Agency, says, "Influencer marketing is really no different than word-of-mouth marketing. It just so happens to be taking place in a digital space." Kombol launched her firm in 2009 and says, "We began working with influencers almost from the day we started. Back then, of course, they were called bloggers." As someone with a background in PR and marketing, says Kombol, "I realized there was great potential for influencers to tell the story of a brand." She adds, "The trick has always been to find the right influencer--to find the influencer who is already naturally passionate about a brand."

Lynn Suderman, a marketing communications and content strategist based in Toronto, agrees and points out that influencer marketing "is part of the greater umbrella of marketing, which also includes advertising, digital advertising, and content marketing."

Corey Martin is managing director of the consumer practice group for Allison+Partners, a PR firm with offices around the world. Martin has worked directly with well-known brands such as Driscoll's and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to develop influencer campaigns and has experience working with leading consumer brands such as Dove and Axe. He's the author of Allison+Partners' "Navigating the Flow of Influence 2016 Report," conducted in partnership with Northstar and based on a survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents ages 18-74.

"The fact is that influence has always been around," says Martin. He points to the earned channel-or PR-as a prime example. "We've been engaging with media reporters-people who can tell our brand stories in an authentic way-for years. Crafting those stories has been incredibly important in securing and ensuring that influence turns into real advocacy."

Paid vs. Earned

There are (at least) two ways to generate impact from influencers-paying them to talk about or link to your brand or gaining their support organically. Paying influencers can be a slippery slope, and there are regulations that marketers must follow if they decide to go this route. In addition, says Kombol, marketers need to think beyond the exchange of money for services concept to ensure that they're "hiring" influencers who truly have a passion for what they have to offer. "Even though you compensate an influencer, it's really important to find one who already loves that product-otherwise the content doesn't feel natural."

"All of this is governed by FTC guidelines and WOMMA [Word of Mouth Marketing Association]," says Kombol. "Influencers are compensated to talk about a brand, and then they disclose that either they were compensated or they received products."

But, stresses Martin, influencers aren't always paid--and they often shouldn't be and don't need to be. "Sometimes, I cringe a little bit when I see people talk about influencers just with respect to paid influencers and bloggers, or just celebrities and bloggers. It's really a bigger world. Truly, it's anyone who can tell a brand story--anyone who can tell stories is an influencer. That really just opens it up to the university of people." That, he acknowledges, can be both exciting and daunting.

"Oftentimes, what we see today are brands trying to purchase influencers or throwing money at influencer strategies and ignoring the simple fact that the end product is not influence itself-but influence as a means to an end," says Martin. "Advocacy is what we ultimately want--advocacy that can be meaningful to consumers, that can have impact and move them toward consideration, toward a purchase, toward brand affinity."

Another possible problem with paid influencers is the potential for negative brand impact when consumers realize that the glowing endorsements they've been relying on have been paid for. Suderman doesn't think this is such a big concern--at least not yet. "Most consumers don't notice or don't care," she says. "It doesn't matter to them. If they follow an influencer that they love, and that influencer jumps up and down and says this is fantastic, they trust the influencer."

Others have a stronger view. Andy Abramson, CEO of Comunicano, Inc., in Del Mar, Calif., says, "This ‘pay for play' model has virtually ruined journalism at all levels." Abramson adds, "It's not just bloggers who are paid, but more and more, the so-called experts have been paid to appear to be neutral. Being able to discern a legitimate commentary versus  a paid shill piece is getting harder and harder." There's certainly some risk involved, and marketers are wise to carefully consider potential brand impacts-positive and negative--when engaging in any paid influencer strategies.

Whether paid or organic, one key question for marketers is, "Where do I find influencers?" In truth, influencers are everywhere. The real question should be, "How do I find the right influencers?"

Agencies such as hers, says Kombol, build lists of influencers that they make available to marketers. It can be a time-consuming process. "There are plenty of databases like Cision that exist to give lists of influencers," she says. "But you still have to do the research to say, ‘Does this influencer write about things that are similar to my brand?' That's what we do as an agency." Most influencer networks, she says, are independent. She points to a few such as Mom It Forward, Latina Bloggers Connect, and Clever Girls. LinkedIn, she adds, is a great source of influencers in the B2B space. 

Tools can help lighten the load when it comes to finding and engaging with influencers. Traackr is one that Suderman points to: "They'll help you find an influencer in whatever space you need to be in, whether it's based on biography, a business silo, or a certain persona." There are, she says, "more and more companies that are doing that."

While tools can help from an administrative standpoint, what really drives efficiency in influencer marketing--as with any other form of marketing--is strategy.

Influence Backed by Strategy

Influencer marketing can take a lot of time. Often, much of that time may be misplaced if there isn't sound strategy and strong alignment with other marketing activities. It's critical to ensure that your influencer marketing activities aren't something separate from your overall marketing communication activities. As Suderman notes, influencer marketing is simply one element of a much larger process. Martin uses the PESO (paid, earned, social, and owned) method as a way to help understand how this all fits together. "Communication strategies have to live across those channels, and true influencers tell stories across all of those channels," he says.

Martin points to the results of Allison+Partners' research, which really drove home the importance of a pull versus push strategy in influencer marketing. "The biggest finding we found from the study, when we looked at consumers, is that influence is pull as opposed to push." Right now, he says, many influencer marketers aren't getting that quite right. "A lot of influencer relations programs are really using a push strategy. They purchase the right influencers that have reach and push out content to consumers. But what we understand is that consumers are in charge of the influence action. A consumer within the purchase journey has to be active. They make a decision to be influenced because they voluntarily go into the purchase journey after they're made aware of a particular product."

This recognition, Martin says, really supports a strategy that ensures "we are engaging some influencers through earned tactics in their channels so that engagement is authentic and is something that consumers can believe in and can trust."

Abramson has been engaged in influencer marketing for quite some time, with some big players. "My agency and I developed what has been described as the seminal influencer marketing program for Fortune 100 companies back in 2005 when we designed and implemented the Nokia Blogger Relations Program, and then ran it through 2010, creating the social media platform and guiding its execution." Other influencer programs created by his agency have been for AT&T, AOL, GrandCentral (now Google Voice)-and a number of other clients.

He adds, "We define influencer marketing as reaching the right audience in a choreographed manner so the story, positioning, and messaging of the client-company, product, service, personality, property, etc.-is able to be told, quickly understood, and retold to others as if you told it yourself. This retelling is also described as amplification by some and results in more of the right people understanding the story correctly."

These stories, he says, are built on what he calls the "4 C's"--each story needs to be concise, credible, compelling, and contagious. The fourth C, he states, is most the important. "The contagious nature of a story is directly related to how far and wide the facts can be retold by the right person to others who need to know." Effective influencer marketing, Abramson says, isn't about the masses, and he advises against attempting to be "all things to all people." Instead, he says, influencer marketers should concentrate more on the "who" than the "how many." "It works by not focusing on the mass market media, but really applying approaches that are best suited for niche-direct-marketing."

"It all goes back to the ABCs of marketing--audience, behavior, and content," says Ken Wincko, SVP of marketing at PR Newswire. "Determine who you are trying to reach, what they care about, and how you can provide interesting content for them. Think about the overall vision you are trying to create, and present a clear story that captures that vision." Focus driven by solid strategy is key.

Will the influencer marketing trend continue? Of course. As indicated at the outset, influencer marketing is nothing new-it's only the methods being used to connect influencers to an audience, an exponential audience, that are new and different from the recommendations and referrals that have been taking place for millennia. The balance between paid and earned will likely be played out for some time-but, ultimately, influence is evergreen.

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13 June, 2016 - 03.21am UTC

Convergence of Fashion and Travel Leads to Rise of Micro-Influencers on Instagram

Many travelers look to social media influencers that travel brands flaunt for trip inspiration and advice. But increasingly, they also view themselves as influencers within their own groups of friends and followers and seek this recognition from brands.

Research from Chute, a social media marketing company helping travel brands, found that fashion is fueling this trend. It’s playing out most aggressively in social media communities with affinities for both fashion and travel, particularly on Instagram. Some 1.3 million of the 56.8 million travel related Instagram photos shared from June 2015 to March 2016 include hashtags related to fashion and travel, according to Chute’s analysis.

Fashion and travel accounted for hundreds of thousands of more photos than food and travel-related photos, for example, with the latter accounting for fewer than 900,000 photos shared during that period.

Of those photos, the highest percentage, 13 percent, included #fashionblogger which Monica Watson, Chute’s marketing manager, said is indicative of how these travelers want to be perceived as influential to both their followers and travel brands. Her team’s research also found that the convergence of fashion and travel is one of the most popular conversations on Instagram and that Instagram users view fashion as one of the biggest gateways to gaining more attention.

Watson said #blogger and #travelblogger were also among the top hashtags used with these photos.

“We’re seeing a trend in something called the micro-influencer, someone who has more of a niche audience,” said Watson. “Their audience might not be in the millions but they’re still influencing thousands to maybe even hundreds of people if you want to go that small.”

“Those people are able to have a much more targeted reach to their fashion or travel communities. It feels like a much more one-on-one experience.”

Some fashion and travel micro-influencer examples include @thebalibible and @HellyLuv. These photos also received the most likes and engagement for fashion and travel photos.

While 12 percent of the fashion and travel Instagram photos included in Chute’s analysis were luxury-related, using #luxury, for example, #streetstyle was also a top hashtag, accounting for eight percent of photos, reflecting the diversity of style on the platform, said Ranvir Gujral, CEO of Chute. Instagram is an aspirational platform, he said, and not only an outlet for high-end displays of fashion.

Watson said brands stand to gain a lot from working with micro-influencers, “The cool thing about working with micro-influencers — and if you work with an influencer you know that it’s almost like working with a celebrity — is that a lot of the time you don’t have to pay them in the same way as larger influencers.”

“They’re already excited about your brand. More than likely you discovered them because they’re posting about you already, they’re using your hashtag. Especially if they’re a local influencer, those are the people you should be engaging with. They’re generally easier to work with.”

Instagram is a feminine-leaning platform, with 58 percent of overall photos shared by women, according to Chute. Men share more than 37 percent of photos on the platform, however, and are also key to the fashion and travel influencer trend. Chute didn’t have a breakdown of how many of the 1.3 million fashion and travel Instagram photos were shared by men and women, but said that #dapper and #luxury were prominent among photos shared by men.

Millennials and Influencers on Instagram

Millennials, those aged 18 to 34, are the largest audience on Instagram and account for more than 50 percent of its users in the U.S, according to eMarketer.

Chute’s analysis of fashion and travel photos only considered those that included relevant hashtags, and there are likely many more photos in that group that aren’t tagged. About 67 percent of millennials don’t use any hashtags when sharing content across any platform and 22 percent use one hashtag.

chute social media

Source: Chute

Note: Centennials is Chute’s term for the generation after millennials, or those born between 1996 and 2010.

What Travel Brands Are Doing With Fashion

The fashion industry is on the prowl for the next far-flung destination that will inform their work, said Candice Rainey, deputy editor of Conde Nast Traveler. The magazine recently went to Havana, Cuba with Chanel to kick off the summer and produce content for social media, including Instagram and Twitter.

“Right now, designers are looking for ‘place’ to inspire them,” said Rainey.
Conde Nast Traveler has nearly 900,000 Instagram followers and is one of the most followed travel brands on the platform. “Showing mid-season collections in unlikely destinations (Louis Vuitton was to show its 2017 resort collection in Rio at the end of May, for example) is common now. It makes sense major fashion houses and designers like Calvin Klein, Bulgari, Victoria Beckham, and others follow us on Instagram.”

“We also don’t play the influencer game just to gain followers or cross-promote. We rely on our influencers—-whether they’re photographers, gallerists, stylists-—to both inspire us as well as give us their invaluable intel so that we may share that with our audiences.”

Rainey said Conde Nast Traveler can present fashion in a native way, “We have much more flexibility and creativity on social media to integrate fashion, whereas with something like food, it’s much more direct.”

“So in essence, it allows our team to think a little more creatively. A great example is the partnership we did with GAP#nothingbutdenim that we ran in April with LustForLife, we saw a 41 percent increase in followers than our daily average. The posts we ran for the campaign focused on the inspiration around people or a place and it allowed CNT to find a new audience to convert because they overlap with LustforLife’s community.”

W Hotels also partnered with Council for Fashion Designers of America’s fashion incubator in 2012 to give startup designers a platform at hotels and offer mentorship to help them begin their careers. The incubator includes programming at properties that features some of the designers.

The brand also has concierges who serve as fashion insiders and help guests find unique shops and boutiques in each destination.

Seeing what music artists and icons are wearing is also a huge appeal for W Hotels’ guests, said Suzanne Cohen, W Hotels’ director of brand marketing for North America. The brand recently launched a partnership with Billboard and worked with designers like Jeremy Scott to help connect guests to what artists are wearing.

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30 May, 2016 - 03.20am UTC

Why Influencer Marketing Succeeds at Driving Traffic

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/influencer-marketing-image-300x128.jpg.jpg

influencer marketing image

Everyone wants in. 59% of marketers are throwing money at it, even more plan on throwing money at it, and 60% of all fashion brands are already utilizing it. So what is this new tactic that an overwhelmingly large segment of businesses is fixated on? It’s influencer marketing, and its success turns on the ability of social media personalities to reach a target audience. Its appeal can be summed up in one attractive acronym: ROI. The facts on the ground say that brands that invest in an influencer marketing strategy see an average $6.85 return on investment for every dollar spent. And as long as social media remains the dominant form of modern communication, the potential for grand returns will always be there.

But what makes it possible? Where, exactly, does influencer marketing derive its power, and what drives its success? The answers to these and many more questions are outlined below.

It’s authentic

First and foremost, influencer marketing works because it’s authentic. According to other statistics, modern teens trust YouTube personalities more than celebrities. This is part of a larger generational trend that sees a great majority of people (92%) trusting word-of-mouth advertising over traditional “push” marketing. It’s this pushiness that has turned off a modern consumer base with its own voice. They no longer want to be “talked at” by brands—they want to have a conversation with peers in the form of product reviews, social media shares, and “likes.”

And that’s what the typical person sees when they follow an influencer on social media—a peer, a regular person who, like them, wants practical info and an honest recommendation. Businesses who adhere to an earned-media influencer strategy can leverage this authenticity to greater returns.

It’s social

To buttress the introductory statement that social media is today’s dominant form of communication, you only have to look at the numbers. Over two billion people from around the world are active social-media users. Facebook alone has 1.44 billion visitors, and YouTube runs a close second with a billion. And with nearly two billion of the global populous accessing social media from their mobile devices, influencers have a direct conduit to a target audience any time of day or night via two major touch points. As far as reach is concerned, print advertising and commercials simply can’t compete.

It delivers the information an audience is already looking for

This notion has been wrapped up in a new marketing term called “Me2B” consumerism. The gist is that today the customer reaches out to the business—or in this case the influencer on their social-media channel. It’s why traditional advertising has little use in today’s world. Sure, display ads have managed to keep up (and will likely be a part of any brand’s strategy for the foreseeable future), but the statistics aren’t encouraging. Click-through rates across all platforms are an anemic 0.06%. Ad blocking grew by 41% over 2015, and that number will only continue to rise. The problem is that it’s a B2C tactic in a Me2B world. Influencer marketing is the strategy of today.

It blurs the line between advertising and content

Another reason influencer marketing drives traffic is because oftentimes folks don’t even know they’re looking at sponsored or branded content. Even with disclosure hashtags, such as #ad and #sponsored, it’s still possible to craft an influencer campaign that creates an authentic viewing experience. And businesses don’t need to focus merely on individuals. A successful example of this is when Friskies partnered with digital publisher Buzzfeed to create their “Deer Kitten,” campaign. Many found the video entertaining, but, more than that, most folks didn’t even know they were viewing what is essentially a commercial until halfway through. It proves that successful brand positioning can be a product of stealth.

It turns individuals into brand ambassadors

Even before the digital revolution, positive word-of-mouth was the ideal endgame for marketers. Indeed, according to McKinsey, word-of-mouth is responsible for twice the sales of paid advertising. And those folks who listen to recommendations by their favorite online influencers not only convert to customers, but if the product quality is as advertised they then carry the torch and tell their peers. This effectively exceeds positive word mouth, and turns the customer into a loyal brand advocate.

It’s time for businesses to stop doing all the heavy lifting themselves. By partnering with an influencer it’s possible to reach an individual target directly, eliminating the need for market segmentation and other superfluous noise. And if brands can deliver on their promises, they have the potential to convert millions of viewers in a single campaign.

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23 May, 2016 - 03.19am UTC

Influencer agencies back new podcast delving into influencer culture

Hit 104.7 Canberra breakfast show host Ryan Jon is the frontman for a new podcast series focussing on different aspects of the influencer phenomenon, backed by two influencer agencies.

influencer podcast ryan jon

Jon, who gave up a career in the financial world to pursue his passion for radio, speaks to a series of influencers including former TV and radio host Jules Lund, Cummins & Partners strategist Adam Ferrier and the crew behind Sketch She.

He said in a release: “Everyone I’ve spoken to in this series is doing exactly what they want. It’s been fascinating to hear how people have turned hobbies and passion projects into full­ time careers. It’s really impressive.”

The 12 episode series has been sponsored by influencer marketing companies Jaden Social and Tribe.

Tribe founder Jules Lund is one of the first interviewees for the series, talking about giving up his first career as a host to set up the technology company.

Another interviewee is Pia Muehlenbeck went from being a full ­time lawyer without Instagram to having 1 million followers and a thriving activewear business, while Project U founder Nic Kelly is another guest.

The podcast launches tomorrow and can be downloaded here, or from iTunes or Omny.

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9 May, 2016 - 03.16am UTC

Four Common Pitfalls Of Influencer Marketing And How To Avoid Them

Influencer marketing is yesterday’s word-of-mouth marketing on steroids. The internet now makes it possible for regular people like you and me to attract thousands of followers. Blogs, social media, and new live-streaming services like Facebook Live and YouNow have opened the door for brands to partner with the micro-famous for (hopefully) macro results.

But most brands have no idea what they’re doing in this space. How could they? This is all new territory. Instagram is six years old. Snapchat is even younger. Blogs have been around a while, but it’s hard to know how to make the most of a platform that’s losing younger audiences. So what are brands and agencies to do? How do you find influencers that are the right fit? And how do you make money while exploring a new frontier?

Here’s a starting point:

1. It’s not about you. I repeat: It. Is. Not. About. You.

A common mistake brands make is thinking that they can buy influencers and then magically grow their business. Big mistake. When you select an influencer to work with, start by making an investment in them. Give them something worthy of sharing with their followers beyond samples and a product shot. Products are commodities that lead to transactions; influencers are people that build relationships. Don’t confuse the two.


Online influencer, Rene Askew on a recent trip to Tequila, Mexico courtesy of José Cuervo.

Online influencer, René Daniella on a recent trip to Tequila, Mexico courtesy of José Cuervo.

For example, during its most recent influencer marketing campaign, José Cuervo took a crew of online personalities to Tequilla, Mexico for a five-day tasting extravaganza. They didn’t just send these influencers a bottle of alcohol; they gave them experience. In return, those influencers including René Daniella(@ownbyfemme), created tons of authentic, engaging content to share with their audience.

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2 May, 2016 - 03.15am UTC

Snapchat influencer campaign launched to push new mobile game Nonstop Knight

image: http://cached.imagescaler.hbpl.co.uk/resize/scaleWidth/614/offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk/news/ORP/nonstopknight-20160606095035372.png

Nonstop Knight - a role-playing game described by flaregames as "the eternal journey of a knight who in each moment is faced with hordes of fiendish enemies" - launched in the App Store and on Google Play on Thursday.

The company has engaged four Snapchat stars – AaronFPS (@aaronfps), Bri Teresi (@briteresi), Harris Heller (@harris.heller) and Typical Gamer (@typicalsnaps) – to promote a competition to raise awareness of the launch.

The quartet, who were engaged through the US agency Delmondo, will encourage Snapchat users to film a creative video using the platform's 'fast-forward' filter, and publish it on Instagram or Twitter by 10 June, including the hashtag #nonstopknight in the post.

In order to keep the competition open to a wide audience, the videos can be of anything, not necessarily gameplay or gaming.

Mickael Bougis, flaregames' marketing director, said: "Just as Nonstop Knight is designed to be played on the go with one thumb, we wanted this campaign to be similarly accessible and relaxed, allowing participants to share their own daily adventures in a fun way."

On 13 June, the two winning videos will be announced via the game's specially created Snapchat account (@nonstopknight), with their creators winning a filming drone worth around £1,000 ($1,400).

The announcement trailer for the game is below:


Read more at http://www.prweek.com/article/1397570/snapchat-influencer-campaign-launched-push-new-mobile-game-nonstop-knight#sQLfjCTp4kxzKQkC.99

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25 April, 2016 - 03.14am UTC

5 INFLUENCER MARKETING TRENDS THAT ARE CHANGING THE GAME

There are many tried and true strategies when it comes to generating sales online. But with the nonstop growth in influencer popularity (whether it’s a social media personality, a blogger with a killer fan base, or both) influencer marketing has become the hottest tool in the marketer’s toolbox.

influencer marketingMore and more brands are discovering the power of using the right storytellers, with 59% of marketers planning to increase their spend on influencer marketing during the year. The strategy has gained mass popularity—and rightly so. Influencer marketing isn’t just the fastest-growing channel for customer acquisition; it’s the most cost effective, returning $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media.

In fact, working with influencers on a marketing campaign can drive 16 times more engagement than paid or owned media.

Businesses of all sizes will be using social media influencers to help spark conversations around products, promotions and messaging. As the industry continues to evolve and grow, here are five influencer-marketing trends that are already changing the game:

  1. Targeted measurement Instagram recently announced new analytic insights to provide marketers with a more realistic sense of how campaigns are performing. As networks continue to update and open their APIs to better assist in metric gathering, we’re seeing continued improvements in how brands can analyze campaign results. Marketers are now sifting through big data to tie back results to very specific KPIs, outlining a level of detail that was previously unheard of. Campaigns are now directly connected to actionable outcomes and weighed with the same scrutiny of any business unit line item. More granular measurement will help influencers, brands and agencies alike to design smarter, more effective campaigns.
  1. Influencers as content creators on brand-owned hubs Brands are increasingly using influencers as a virtual content creation staff, with the aim of turning brand-owned sites into content hubs with dynamic and compelling stories, images and video. In addition, social media amplification from influencers is driving traffic to brand-owned sites instead of influencer-owned blog posts. Instead of directing readers to these blogs, brands are reinventing themselves as the resource for subject matter expertise and relevant influencer content.
  1. A seat for content and influencer marketing agencies at the brand table With more brands outsourcing influencer recruitment, campaign creation and project management content marketing agencies are becoming strategic partners who are integral to the inter-agency discussion. You’ll find PR, advertising, digital and influencer/content marketing collaborating together with brand teams to develop integrated marketing programs that deliver maximum results for each discipline. An advertising idea may spark a concept for an influencer or, a brand retail activation may spur thoughts on the latest PR campaign. In addition, influencer marketing has predominately been folded into the PR budget; but as influencer platforms evolve, advertising budgets may start to fund the programs. Brands will benefit from working outside of silos.
  1. Fewer blog-only programs Because blogs have become just another platform rather than a primary audience destination, we are seeing continued increase of programs executed on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, Snapchat, YouTube and other networks. This is especially pertinent to the younger demographics that aren’t reading long-form blog content and are more likely to digest content on social media channels. Naturally, agencies skilled in developing cross-channel campaigns are integral to brands creating their ideal social marketing mix.
  1. Platform agnosticism, especially when it comes to video No single network, web service or technology has a monopoly on attention. The landscape continues to be ever-changing. Brands are recognizing that it’s far more important to focus on the quality of content rather than the channel of distribution. At the end of the day, a view is a view … whether it’s via a web page, YouTube, Facebook or Snapchat.

There are plenty of changes in consumer behavior and technology on the horizon, but high-quality influencers will remain the strongest bet for starting conversations and building relationships. Influencers build real relationships with their audience, based on the authentic stories they share and their expertise on different topics. These relationships are the foundation for successful influencer campaigns and high ROI for our clients.

When trusted influencers and great brands come together to create engaging content, it’s a powerful combination. Viral posts can generate hundreds of thousands of views for brands and earn incredible engagement from consumers. The trick? Matching the right influencer to the right brand. How do you do that? Well, that’s a topic for another day.

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18 April, 2016 - 03.14am UTC

Younger marketers ‘too focused on digital’ and pace of tech change ‘a worry’

Major gaps are beginning to appear in the advertising industry as younger workers become too focused on digital at a time when traditional mass media channels continue to hold the attention of most Australians.

At the same time, more than a third of workers in the advertising, marketing and media industries admit they are fearful of being able to keep up with the pace of technological change, a Mumbrella survey of more than 1000 industry professionals has revealed.

Agencies losing skills in traditonal media

Agencies losing skills in traditional media

Rising tools such as programmatic are areas of major concern, with just 13% of people saying they have an expertise in the area.

In total, 73% of people said that they felt their organisation needed better digital knowledge to be successful in the future.

But industry leaders agreed there was a skills gap growing, particularly in agencies where younger workers had little knowledge of legacy media such as newspapers, magazines and TV, skewing planning and buying towards digital channels which they were more familiar with.

Speaking from the audience, Rachel Lonergan, head of strategy at Foundation and formerly with The Newspaper Works, said she was concerned by the lack of understanding younger people in media agencies had of mass media that was not digital.

She said that by visiting agencies to tell the stories of newspapers “my observation was that the lack of knowledge in the five-years-and-under group in media agencies and creative agencies around traditional channels is pretty fatal.”

“There is no sense of that scale in that cohorts who see everything through that digital lens.”

News Corp MD of metro and regional, Damian Eales said a shift was needed. “We have made many mistakes – that’s the first thing,” Eales said.

“We don’t talk about circulations, despite the fact it’s starting to flatten out, we talk about ‘total paid audience’ and we talk about ‘audience’ and I think that we have got to earn the right as an organisation for all of the customer’s (work) from the top of the funnel to the bottom of that funnel and apply the right media at the right point in time. We have got to get away from this digital versus traditional – it doesn’t make sense any more.”

Marina Go, general manager Hearst at Bauer Media, said it was about making decisions for clients and that digital alone was not the answer for every client for every campaign.

Omnicom Media Group CEO Leigh Terry said the starting point was the key.

“You have to start from a channel neutral position and consider all channels and dismiss them on the basis of relevance, cost and everything else,” Terry said.

He said media agencies needed to make sure that staff, even if they were not consumers of traditional media channels themselves, were fully up to speed with them “because that’s your job”.

AANA CEO Sunita Gloster said that it was an issue the association needed to address.

“We were certainly hearing some noise around needing to pull apart the marketing fundamentals with that group again,” Gloster said.

“The key for us is to find ways to inspire them to revisit some old principles about marketing and inspire them to re-look at things.”

While there remains major concerns about the ability to keep up with technology, one area in particular appears to have more experts than any other.

The survey revealed 48% of people claim to have a high level of expertise in social media, while 47% said they had mid-level expertise, and just 6% admitted they were social media novices.

Another area where skills are lagging is in display advertising, with 23% saying they considered themselves novices in the space.

The shifting power base in skills is also seen in the respondents that claim the highest levels of expertise in particular areas, such as brands claiming a higher level of expertise in social media, content marketing, SEO and influencer marketing.

Media was the most comfortable with display and native advertising while agencies were more comfortable than brands and media only in the area of programmatic.

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11 April, 2016 - 03.14am UTC

When YouTube duos split: how brands can handle a broken influencer partnership

Today, it feels pretty natural to go to a YouTubers channel and see a video that features a brand.  YouTubers that can reach a brand’s desired demographics in a way that feels welcoming to the highly critical, yet engaged, audiences that subscribe to their favorite personalities.  Top influencers such as Tyler Oakley and Ingrid Nilsen, have found success as individuals but what happens when it is a YouTube duo with the brand partnership, and a split occurs?  

This recently occurred with YouTube personalities Shannon Beveridge and Camden “Cammie” Scott of nowthisisliving who posted a video in partnership with Marriott for the #LoveTravels campaign in celebration of Pride Season after announcing their breakup.  Every brand that partners with a YouTube duo is likely aware that a dissolution can occur no matter the type of relationship shared.  Still, when this occurs it is important to know how to handle the situation at hand and what opportunities to explore to maintain a positive presence within the fandom.

Although it can seem dire, having the influencers address the situation can lead to strong results.  In the case of nowthisisliving, Beveridge and Scott posted a message in the description acknowledging the situation simply as “news” briefly and shifted focus to the importance of the campaign.  Brands can take note of this move as the duo has generated over 200,000 views in under 48 hours with over 12,000 likes on the #LoveTravels video.    

When influencer marketing is done correctly, the audience originally being targeted starts to become a part of the “brandom” of the brand and is engaged with the sponsored content.  Most brands can easily identify another influencer that reaches the desired target audience, but it is crucial to also continue to reach the established and on-the-brink brandom members who have already been engaging with the branded content.  In order to keep these members, the brand should analyze their YouTube partners’ fandom and explore which other fandoms show strong overlap in membership.  Although there will be members that cannot be retrieved, this will allow for the opportunity to mitigate the loss.

Don’t bank on following one part of the duo to a new channel; but it is also important not to rule out the possibility either.  If the brand feels particularly strong about one influencer over the other, then building a presence with him or her could continue a strong partnership.  This will have to be at the discretion of the brand and the YouTuber.  To continue a strong relationship with the fans, a brand should, of course, perform an analysis on the potential YouTuber’s channel.  If the channel is already established (many duos also have their own channel), then dive into the data to see if the target audience is desired and strong enough in views and engagement.  If the channel is not established, then it could be worth the run a survey of the subscribers and sentiment analysis of the YouTube videos to see what affinities are associated with the influencer that the brand would like to move forward with.  There is likely enough information to get some projections for what the audience could grow into.  In the most fortunate cases, brands will be able to continue the relationship with both YouTubers and continue to interact with the members of the fandom in a familiar format.

YouTube duos are incredibly common and there are great influencers who come in a pair.  When the brand is partnered with a pair who end up parting ways there is no need to worry, as long as the proper steps are taken to ensure the audience is attended to.  Brands might not have control over the parting of ways of the influencers, but do have great control over how they turn the situation into opportunity.

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4 April, 2016 - 03.13am UTC

Why Brands Are Spending Piles Of Money On Influencer Marketing

A recent study found through a survey that 65% of brands have plans to raise their influencer marketing budget in 2016. They also found that influencer marketing is receiving greater investments than display advertising and affiliate marketing. Influencer marketing is becoming more important for businesses for the following reasons:

  1. Consumers Use Their Phones to Search for Product Reviews

Many consumers check product reviews online before buying a product. Even if they’re in the physical store, they can use their mobile phones to read product reviews. According to Stacy DeBroff, the CEO and founder of Influence Central, one of their studies found that 70% of consumers sometimes check reviews on their phones while shopping. Even when they are ready to make a purchase, they want the best deal, so they check their smartphones for potential better deals before buying.

  1. Reading Product Reviews is Part of the Research Process

Customers read reviews as part of the research process before committing to a purchase. They think that it helps them make the right decision. Your brand will naturally have an advantage if a well-respected individual in your niche recommends your product through a review. Many people who come across the review will recognize the influencer as an expert in that niche and will therefore be more likely to trust his opinions.

  1. Not Only Millennials Care About Reading Online Reviews

The importance of online reviews extends to older generations as well, not just millennials read reviews before buying a product. In a study conducted by Influence Central and Vibrant Nation, they discovered that 95% of female consumers over the age of 45 searched for online product reviews and first-person recommendations before buying a product. 77% of the women surveyed follow brands on Facebook, and 74% admitted that they’re more likely to purchase a product after reading a positive first-person review.

  1. Influencer Marketing Expands Their Reach

Another reason brands are investing in influencer marketing is it expands their reach. Influencers have large followings of people whom care about what they say. By connecting with an influencer in your field, you have access to his readerbase. Some of their readers will follow you because you have similar interests and are connected to the influencer they already trust. It will be easier for you to earn their trust as well.

  1. Boost Business Credibility

Influencer marketing is an easy way to boost your business’s credibility. Once you’ve built a relationship with an influencer and he shares your products with his followers, your credibility increases rapidly. It will, however, take time and effort to initially connect with the influencer. Remember that no one will talk about your business just because you send an email asking. Think about how many emails influencers must receive every day from people wanting their products promoted by them.

  1. Increase Brand Awareness

You could have the best product, but if no one knows your business exists, you’re not going to make many sales. Increasing brand awareness is important, especially for startups and small businesses that wish to grow. Influencer marketing is an efficient way to increase brand awareness because influencers already have large audiences that trust them.

Conclusion

Businesses are spending more money on influencer marketing this year because of how important influencers have become in the buying process for customers. Many people look to influencers for advice on what to buy and product recommendations. They trust the influencers that they have come to like. To speed up the process of earning trust from customers, clever businesses reach out to these social media stars. The benefits of an influencer posting about your business are worth the initial investment needed to build a relationship with that person.

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28 March, 2016 - 03.12am UTC

A Wild West for influencer marketing, Snapchat continues to lasso brands and agencies

Snapchat has emerged as a prominent communications channel among teens and touts a growing older millennial audience – and yet, its brand opportunities and measurement capabilities remain somewhat nascent compared to more established social platforms.

By virtue of being a “closed” network, Snapchat is unlike the other major social media stalwarts. This has presented a challenging scenario for marketers who value Snapchat’s  active user base, but struggle with how to forge successful campaigns within its existing advertising offerings. Some brands have noted they had driven better results through “free brand-owned accounts” where they distributed their own content, and partnered with popular Snapchat users to post “brand-sponsored content.”

Here are some common hurdles marketers face when launching efforts on Snapchat, and how they can be overcome to drive results.

“I don’t have the resources or media spend to launch and maintain a branded Snapchat presence.”

As any 14-year-old will tell you, Snapchatting is a full-time job. Users post more frequently on the platform and are spending 25 to 30 minutes a day viewing their friends’ content on Snapchat. What’s more, creating content for Snapchat is a real-time art form: it requires capturing and editing vertical photos and videos with a limited set of tools – and doing so in the moment.

Some brands are going all in on Snapchat. Taco Bell, for example, has hired an in-house team of millennials whose sole focus is on creating compelling stories on behalf of the youthful QSR brand. Other brands enlist digital agencies and content shops to manage their Snapchat presence and utilize paid media to reach large audiences on the platform.

Not all marketers have the creative resources and/or media spend (one takeover of a Snapchat Discover publisher channel can cost at least $50,000) to invest in Snapchat this way. For these brands, the best course of action is to identify influential Snapchat users and partner with them to reach their large and engaged audiences. For example, a new protein shake brand might partner with a fitness influencer to infuse their brand into that person’s story – with proper disclosure per the FTC guidelines, of course. Speaking of which, a disclosure needs to be upfront and appear within the first one to eight seconds of a story. Too often, you’ll see a disclosure in the last second of a series of sponsored stories.

“I don’t know how to identify and recruit the right creators to help tell my brand’s story.”

Assuming you lack the resources to maintain an ongoing Snapchat presence yourself – or you don’t have the media dollars needed to invest in Snapchat’s advertising products – how do you find and recruit the most relevant creators to tell your brand’s story? This is a question that plagues many marketers, especially since Snapchat is somewhat like the Wild West when it comes to influencer marketing.

When sourcing creators to partner with on Snapchat and other social media platforms, leveraging data and automated tools will save time to help find the most relevant people for your brand. That said, as is the case with traditional PR, relationships are critical to forging successful (and ongoing) brand-influencer partnerships. Crowdtap recently interviewed 60+ creators to inform a report on the state of influencer marketing, and found marketers can be doing a better job when it comes to building enduring and authentic relationships.

Marketers will want to employ a pairing process factoring both data-driven and editorial inputs. Look at audience lifestyle interests and engagement metrics – beyond sheer reach (read: follower counts) – to source the most authentic and trusted subject matter experts for telling your brand’s story.

“Measuring the impact of influencer efforts on Snapchat can be a black box. How can I accurately report on my campaigns?”

Brands who maintain their own Snapchat handles and invest in advertising can capture metrics directly from the platform, but how can marketers track campaign performance when partnering with third-party creators? Right now, many marketers rely on self-reporting from the creators themselves, oftentimes in formats as rudimentary as a screenshot, which must be captured within 24 hours of posting. There are also partner platforms that collect and store this data (audience, views and engagement) for you.

Snapchat is continuing to evolve is advertising features. For example, Snapchatpartnered with Nielsen mobile Digital Ad Ratings (mDAR) to measure the audiences of its 3V advertising metrics (video, vertical and views) on mobile devices in both U.S. and U.K. campaigns.

Earlier this year, rumors surfaced that Snapchat had engaged developers regarding the creation of an API that would allow third-party technologies to directly pull data from the platform. While it may be over a year before it’s available, we can predict the API will immediately create an accessible price point of entry – similar to what we saw with Facebook's ad tech platform. With this access, third-party developers and brands will be able to target their branded content audiences intelligently and efficiently.

*****

Feeling perplexed or even overwhelmed by Snapchat does not mean marketers need to sit on the sidelines. Snapchat is commanding a sizable slice of media attention among teens and millennials and – at this moment – is the de facto content creation and sharing platform for millions of consumers.

Absent big media budgets to invest in Snapchat ads and an army of in-house creatives to generate content, marketers should explore partnerships with expert creators who have amassed large, devoted followings within the platform. Remember to weigh audience engagement (in addition to reach) to ensure your brand enters conversations here authentically and effectively.

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21 March, 2016 - 03.12am UTC

Have We Overrated The Millennial Consumer?

Last year, it was reported that advertisers spend a whopping 500% more targeting millennials than all other age groups combined.  But what if the advertising industry targeted the wrong demographic?

Forrester Research Inc. reports that baby boomers (aged 51 - 70) are the only demographic to increase their proportion of discretionary spend from 25% of the market to 35% in the last generation. Gen X (aged 35 - 44) also punch above their weight as they constitute only 18% of the U.S. population but represent 23% of all online shoppers. These statistics tell us the industry may be betting on the wrong demographic in the short term, and that the advertising industry needs to take a nuanced approach to marketing to separate demographics.

For example, millennials are more likely to be influenced by word-of-mouth than by other methods, indicating that the better value in marketing spend may be in influencer marketing. Baby boomers on the other hand, make CPG purchasing decisions primarily based on advertising, depending more on word of mouth for financial products and large purchases like travel and electronics.

This being the case, it would seem most appropriate to target CPG ads to baby boomers, forgoing the hip, millennial slang that inundates many ads these days. Using popular hashtags and trendy catchphrases can be effective if used organically within the influencer marketing sphere, but are more likely a turnoff for the baby boomers.
For online retailers, in particular, the best bang for the buck is to move up the demographic ladder. Business Insider reports that, although millennials reportedly spend the most on average per year, they actually constitute the smallest slice of the pie of online shoppers.

The average online spend for those aged 35 - 44 is only $70 less than that of millennials and there are more of them than millennials. Online shoppers ages 45 - 54 are an even larger group. And one in four mobile shoppers in the United States is over the age of 55.

There are specific verticals that work particularly well for boomers like travel, especially luxury travel. In fact, four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel comes from those over 50 years old. And in line with the e-commerce adoption trends among mature consumers, 80% of travel consumers aged 50 and over plan and book their trips online. Many of these boomers are also engaging with online video when making their travel-related purchasing decisions, reinforcing the notion that digital marketing practices resonate well with this demographic.

Rather than being left behind by the onslaught of technology, middle age and even senior consumers are adapting quite well to e-commerce, and marketers need not be so hasty to overlook them. Baby boomers and Gen X have more money than millennials and there are more of them in the general marketplace than millennials. While it’s worth the long term investment to try converting millennials to your brand, their parents are waiting at check-out ready to make the purchase, or are otherwise open to being converted.

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14 March, 2016 - 03.11am UTC

Influencers are bringing travel brands to life

Influencers.jpg


As an alternative to marketing messages distributed by traditional paid media channels, consumers’ trust in peer-to-peer relationships is growing exponentially. These relationships now not only include friends and family but also influencers.

 

These influencers pose an exciting possibility for the travel industry, as they possess the ability to bring the experience a brand is trying to sell to life. The content they produce opens a dialogue with their target audience and gives consumers a platform to engage with the brand indirectly.

 

Of course, influencer marketing isn’t a new concept within the industry; initially travel fanatics were found on forums reviewing their experiences. Then came blogs, followed by “blogger engagement” strategies. Now, with consumer-generated media becoming more and more sophisticated, today’s influencers have more of an impact than ever.

 

You have probably heard of some of the more prominent online influencers who tend to dabble mainly in the realms of beauty, fashion or comedy – think Zoella, Fleur DeForce, Tyler Oakley and Alfie Deyes. These popular personalities regularly receive huge amounts in
sponsorship to speak about selected products or retailers.

 

Now a new breed of travel enthusiasts have appeared on Instagram. These people dedicate their lives to travelling the world, posting stunning photos as they go. They have built their own brands on the platform through their pictures and have millions of followers who continuously engage with their posts.

 

Growing community

Growing community

Take a look at Kiersten, who runs The Blonde Abroad. After leaving a career in the world of corporate finance, she has now travelled to more than 50 countries, funding her travels through her blog.

 

Or take Murad Osmann, creator of #followmeto, who shot to fame by posting pictures of his girlfriend at various exotic locations around the world and now boasts nearly four million followers on Instagram.

 

With examples like this, it is easy to see why brands are turning to the influencer community to help them reach a larger audience who are increasingly hard to reach with traditional advertising messages.

 

In fact, a 2014 Nielsen/inPowered MediaLab study found that content produced by influencers could lift brand familiarity by 88% more than content published directly by a brand– suggesting that marketing strategies need to find a new way to speak to their target audience if they are to remain successful.

 

However, influencer marketing in 2016 isn’t straightforward. These online celebrities now have the ability to pick and choose exactly who they work for, and they don’t do it for free. Many influencers state blogging as their full-time occupation, and therefore will invoice for their time – even if a free holiday is involved. Brands must learn to respect this decision, yet they also need to ensure that the person they are doing business with is the right fit for the message they want to send and that the content they produce will reach the right people.

 

Another consideration for travel brands enlisting the help of influencers is the growing consciousness of consumers. Modern audiences are used to seeing bloggers talking about brands, and they are often sceptical of anything that seems too contrived.

 

This is why a brand’s relationship with an influencer is so important– it must be authentic, and marketers need to learn to hand over the reins when it comes to controlling the message they want to communicate.

 

Expedia and Budget Traveller

Expedia and Budget Traveller

Kash Bhattacharya runs Budget Traveller, a blog designed to challenge people to think differently about travelling on a budget.

 

Recently Bhattacharya partnered with Expedia to show his followers the best way to spend 48 hours in Madrid with £139. He published a blog about his experience, along with a vlog and various Instagram posts, which were all pushed out to more than 20,000 followers on his social media channels.

Trek America

Trek America

Trek America worked with influencers last year to promote the holidays it offers. It pulled out all the stops to send 10 lifestyle bloggers on a tour of the west coast, taking them hiking in Utah, horse riding in the desert and flying in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon. Trek America took advantage of the opportunity to create video content, sending a film crew along with the bloggers to document their journey.

 

Upon their return to the UK, the influencers created blog posts to recount their experiences to followers, raise awareness of Trek America and drive traffic to the brand’s official website. In return for providing bloggers with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Trek America received well-targeted and amplified coverage, helping it to reach new audiences and encourage bookings.

 

This year Trek America has partnered with Visit California on a similar tour.

Kuoni and Tanya Burr

Kuoni and Tanya Burr

In March this year, luxury holiday specialist Kuoni teamed up with resort owner Velassaru to offer beauty blogger Tanya Burr the opportunity to travel to the Maldives for a weekend.

While she was away, Tanya documented her travels in a vlog for her YouTube channel, snapped dozens of pictures to share on Instagram and published a series of blog posts about her experience.

It is likely that this activity helped Kuoni reach a slightly younger audience, who may previously not have been aware of the brand or considered it as a holiday provider.

tanyaburr.co.uk

#MarkWarnerMums

#MarkWarnerMums

For the third year running, holiday provider Mark Warner has set up a competition to find a selection of blogger mums to become #MarkWarnerMums– ambassadors who are gifted two family holidays a year in return for blog posts throughout the year, a vlog and social media takeovers.

 

The company runs a competition asking bloggers to create a post about their perfect holiday, then judges these based on quality of the post and engagement on social media. This year’s winners were announced on the brand’s official blog, and we can expect to start seeing content from them in the next few weeks.

 

This campaign helps the brand extend its reach to the right target audience, and gives ambassadors of the brand a platform to share their experiences in their own words.

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7 March, 2016 - 03.09am UTC

On the Winding Road to Purchase, Influencer Marketing Helps Build Trust


influencer_marketing_community_trust

Sometimes we get questions from people who don’t understand the value of influencer marketing or are having troublequantifying that value to their bosses. They want to know: How does this work? Why is this any different than the other ads I buy? Sometimes influencer project money comes straight from a media buying budget. We get it. You need to quantify these programs and explain to your stakeholders why they are worth your time and most importantly why they are worth your money.


We firmly believe that the path to purchase is nonlinear, it is a long windy road from awareness to trust to purchase. We can help with the awareness and the trust. That’s what separates what we do from traditional ad buying: the trust factor.

Here are some hard facts on the psychology of how influencer marketing helps build trust for your brand and returns on your investment.

Followers as Friends or Authorities

Research finds that knowing people personally increases trust in their opinions, even if that personal connection exists in the virtual world. In fact, the greatest value in social networks is the “data on individual preferences and on social networks: who likes what, who is friends with whom, and what sort of information do friends share” (Galeotti and Goyal, 2009, p. 521). What also helps is the nature of clustering friendships and homogeneous tendencies. Essentially, people tend to connect with people similar to themselves with shared connections, increasing the levels of trust among the network (Campbell, 2013). So if you love rock climbing and follow a rock climbing enthusiast on social media, their opinions on the right climbing gear and snacks will carry some serious weight with you– more than a banner ad on a climbing website or a celebrity endorsement.

Peer Recommendation as Catalyst

Research has determined that peer recommendation through word of mouth– whether online or in person– drives decision making at a higher rate than advertisements or marketing campaigns (Galeotti and Goyal, 2009).

Adding fuel to the word of mouth fire is beneficial for brands. With word of mouth marketing– like influencer marketing campaigns– in place, there is a 54% improvement in marketing effectiveness, an 84% rate of action taking by consumers, 43% rate of purchase by those who favorite a product on social media, and “millennials ranked word-of-mouth as the #1 influencer in their purchasing decisions about clothes, packaged goods, big-ticket items (like travel and electronics), and financial products. Baby Boomers also ranked word-of-mouth as being most influential in their purchasing decisions about big-ticket items and financial products” (Mixon, 2015). When your friends (virtual or in real life) recommend something, you’re more likely to take action on that purchase.

The Catch.

Sounds too good to be true right? The catch is that these recommendations have to seem genuine and organic. What is most important, especially with online word-of-mouth marketing utilization, is that that the communication is organic in that “it occurs between one consumer and another without direct prompting, influence, or measurement by marketers. It is motivated by a desire to help others, to warn others about poor service, and/or to communicate status” (Kozinets, et al, 2010, p. 72). This doesn’t mean that there can be no evidence of compensation (we talk often about the importance of proper disclosure) but it does mean that the endorsements need to be thoughtful and natural to the influencer’s feed. It also means that the product needs to be a realistic part of the influencer’s life. To put it simply– it doesn’t work if it sticks out like a sore thumb.

If this sounds like a tricky balance, it’s because it is. That’s why it can be crucial to have the help of a third party to advise content direction, connect you with genuine brand matches and monitor the content that your influencers are creating.

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22 February, 2016 - 03.06am UTC

Edelman, United Entertainment Group team up on global influencer service

Dive Brief:

  • According to Ad Age, Edelman and United Entertainment Group (UEG) have partnered on a new global influencer service called Starling.
  • The partnership combines Edelman’s marketing and media expertise with UEG’s influencer identification and contracting.
  • According to Jess Clifton, U.S. managing director of strategic growth and development at Edelman, Starling will "use a tech stack to leverage who the right person is" rather maintain a roster of influencers.

Dive Insight:

Influencer marketing has risen quickly among the ranks of tactics brands are looking to for help reaching niche audiences. But as it gains popularity, brands and marketers will have to find ways to mitigate against some of the issues it has, such as with metrics or cost

Research from eMarketer from February found that 67% of respondents reported using influencers for content promotion and 59% reported using influencer marketing tactics for product launches and content creation. Video was most common type of influencer campaigns.

UEG was formed out of a joint venture between Edelman and United Talent Agency which gives Starling immediate access to UTA’s celebrity talent. The new company will also have a somewhat unconventional structure with Clifton and Adam Smith, president of entertainment at UEG, co-sponsoring Starling with no plans to name a president in the near future. Rob Jones, senior VP-video strategy and programming at Edelman, has been named the head of Starling’s development.

Starling officially launched yesterday, but brands such as Petco, Disney Parks and Western Digital have been testing the service for several months.

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15 February, 2016 - 03.06am UTC

What Ad Blockers Tell Us About the Value of Influencer Marketing

Programs and plugins that block ads on desktop and mobile web browsers have been around for a few years. But they hadn’t led to worries or even panic among marketers until last year, when Apple announced that it would include ad-blocking capabilities for its Safari browser in the release of iOS 9. Just like that, a formerly niche tool went mainstream.

The months since have seen a rapid rise of ad blocking apps, which now dominate Apple and Android download charts. As millions of consumers are blocking ads, marketers have begun to panic: how are they supposed to spread the word about their brand if they’re being shut out? The answer is deceptively simple: influencer marketing. Here are 3 conclusions we can draw from the rise of ad blocking.

1) Consumers are Tired of Ads

Above all, the rapid rise of ad blocking capability stems from one major underlying current: consumers are simply getting tired of ads. No less than 45 million U.S. internet users now regular use ad blocking software for a more organic content experience, and that number is expected to continue rising.

By the millions, American consumers have decided that getting exposed to more than 360 individual advertisements is simply too much. When they search on Google or log into Facebook, they want to get relevant results and hear from friends rather than being bombarded by promotional messages. And given the ubiquity of digital advertisements, who could blame them?

2) Revenue Will Be Lost

For marketers relying on digital ads to spread their message, the consequences of this development are undoubtedly troubling. As much as half of your target audience may simply be unreachable via digital ads, staying in the dark about your brand as a result.

According to one projection, advertisers will lose an astonishing $41 billion in 2016 advertising revenue as a result of ad blocking. Unsurprisingly, marketers relying on digital ads for brand exposure and revenue generation are panicking. Some went so far as to calling it the “Ad-Blocking Apocalypse.”

3) Alternative Outreach is Needed

In reality, though, the rise of ad blockers is no need to panic. User are undoubtedly tired of ads, which is why they’re starting to take action and control of their digital content exposure. But the one thing they’re not doing is cutting their digital time as a result. In fact, the average consumer continues to spend more time online every single year.

Digital media consumption is not decreasing; the way in which we consume digital media is. Consumers don’t want to hear promotional messages from brands, preferring authentic messages from their peers instead. For marketers, this insight offers an invaluable opportunity.

Enter influencer marketing. What if, rather than spending your time and resources trying to reach an audience that does not want to hear from you, you would spend it on engaging the influencers to whom your audience does want to listen? Naturally, your efforts will be much more successful.

Influencer marketing does not just offer theoretical benefits in an ad blocking age. Businesses who engage in this philosophy experience significant ROI. One study suggested an ROI that is 11 times as high as traditional banner ads, while another showed peer-focused marketing to generate $6.50 for every dollar spent.

In short, influencer marketing offers an ideal opportunity for marketers to circumvent ad blocking technology and get their message straight to their target audience. It’s a marketing method specifically designed for an age in which consumers are able to decide who they want to listen to, seeking authenticity rather than promotions. So if you’re worried that ad blocking may negatively influence your marketing strategy, consider influencer marketing as a more authentic, organic and beneficial alternative.

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8 February, 2016 - 18.18pm UTC

8 Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing

When it comes to getting major influencers to help with your marketing efforts, you can be embarking down a treacherous path. While it’s crucial to on-board folks who have a lot of sway with your market, you have to be careful not to rub them the wrong way.

In some cases, it can be just as easy to either get ignored by the influencers altogether, or goad them into giving you the wrong kind of marketing. With that in mind, here are four do’s and four don’t’s to pay attention to when you are trying to get influencers to help market your product.

1. Do choose your influencers wisely.

First, and probably most importantly, is to choose the right influencers to reach out to. You want to make sure their following is actually part of your market. That way, your message gets conveyed to people who will actually have an interest in what you’re promoting.

For example, in 2010 when author Shel Horowitz published his 10th book, "Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green," he quickly identified that the appropriate influencers for his market would be newsletter publishers, bloggers, best-selling authors and the like. He reached out to these influencers, and saw tremendous results from the campaign.

Based on a Google search showing 1,070,000 responses for an exact-match search for the book title, I estimate that at least 5,000,000 people were exposed to the campaign (that would be a very low average of five people seeing each page).

Also, remember that bigger isn’t always better. Victor Ricci of Trend Pie says that “targeting the big name social celebrities is nice but doesn’t always have the best results. When looking to get the lowest CPI, engagement is much more important than follower count.”

2. Do amplify influencer messages.

Influencers are often under tremendous pressure to drive traffic to their message, so anything you can do to help them do that will be noticed and greatly appreciated. You should find an influencer you greatly admire, and start amplifying their content by sharing it on your own social media networks. Be sure to tag the influencer so he or she knows what you’re doing.

Digital marketing entrepreneur Spencer X. Smith found out just how powerful this courtship could be when he began sharing articles by Cheryl Conner ofForbes. He would share her stories on LinkedIn and Twitter, always providing his own thoughts about the piece and how his audience might use it. As a result of his efforts, Conner actually contacted Smith to be the subject of a feature articleat Forbes.

3. Do offer influencers something to entice them.

Sometimes, just building the relationship might not be enough. Many influencers need something a bit more tangible than just you sharing their message, so you need to entice them. This could take the form of a charitable donation in the influencer’s name or something more along the lines of helping the influencer get even more exposure.

For example, Cloudways struggled at first to get influencers to promote its new cloud hosting management platform. They pitched a list of influencers one at a time, and were either ignored or told they were being too pushy. While part of this might be a lack of relationship-building first, what finally worked for Cloudways tells “the rest of the story.”

Cloudways reached out to influencers again, this time inviting them to be interviewed for the company’s blog. This got the attention of several influencers, especially mid-level ones and the response was strong enough that Cloudways has published more than 120 interviews and has created a community that loves the company’s product and talks about it often.

Related: Enterprise Tech Takes the Guess Work Out of Influencer Marketing

4. Do use an evangelical approach.

Remember who you’re approaching. Top influencers respond to a different kind of value propositions than regular users. While regular users respond to quantitative value propositions like “cheaper,” “smaller,” or “faster,” top influencers are more interested in qualitative value propositions. This is where you’ll use words like “revolutionary,” “breakthrough,” and “game-changing.” Influencers want to be involved in exciting ventures, so you need to attract their attention with engaging text.

Rick Carlile, the founder of Aegora.com, the Professional Marketplace, used a very evangelical approach in trying to attract influencers to come on board. As a result of his influencer marketing campaign, Aegora.com was able to attract around 500 high-quality signups to the site, a tremendous number in a highly competitive niche.

5. Don’t spam influencers with follow ups.

Yes, you should follow up with your influencer, but don’t be obnoxious about it. This means having a bit of patience, since most influencers are very busy people and may not have an opportunity to reply to your email in just a day or two. If you don’t hear back from the influencer within a week, then it’s probably safe to send a follow up email.

Adarsh Thampy, CEO of LeadFerry, points out that you have to walk a fine line between persistence and pushiness. Thampy suggests you should send no more than two follow ups, with at least a week’s gap in between, to maximize your chances of success. Remember, though, not to be pushy:

It goes without saying. But influencers are humans too. Do you feel like doing something if someone you barely know acts pushy? No. When you face resistance, let it go.

6. Don’t forget to build influencer relationships.

Remember our suggestion in the do’s section about courting your influencer? This is crucial, because it builds a relationship with them before you even think about asking them for help. Failing to build that relationship first will mean you come across as being spammy and pushy.

Chris Boulas, the founder and president of digital marketing firm Formulytic, has built businesses from $5 million to more than $30 million in revenue, largely on the back of influencer marketing. Boulas points out how you can go about developing a relationship first:

Business is about give and take, so don’t approach influencers with a take-only mindset. Be ready to provide value in return. Do you have a skill, idea or feedback on an influencer’s business? Apply your skill or share your ideas for free and provide value upfront first.

Related: 50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016

7. Don’t forget to set influencer guidelines.

How does your influencer reach out to his or her following? Through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or some other medium? Make sure you have specific guidelines in place for how you should be promoted and especially tagged, to generate the maximum exposure possible.

For example, Lindsay White of Lot801 Marketing points out that Instagram has recently made it possible to tag images. As a result of that, many influencers are only tagging people in the images when they are working with brands. This is a major problem, White points out:

"No one taps on the photo anymore to see who they tagged. But, they will read the captions. If your influencers aren’t tagging you in the caption, you’re missing out on some serious sales and social media followers. Since we’ve made this a requirement when working with any influencers, our sales are about 30 percent higher than if they didn’t tag us in both the caption and photo… along with an increase of about 50 percent in sales."

8. Don’t rely solely on the influencer for buzz.

Marketing almost has to take a multi pronged approach, so make sure you don’t get tunnel vision. You cannot rely just on the influencer to generate the buzz that will make your campaign successful. Consider the influencer just a piece of the puzzle, albeit a possibly big piece.

Marc Nashaat, of Powered by Search, stresses the importance of this multifaceted approach. He points out that at the same time you are building your influencer network, you should also be identifying the people or publications that cover your campaign topic or the engagements of your influencer. Do outreach to them to help “seed” your influencer-based marketing campaign.

Run a great influencer marketing campaign.

With these tips under your belt, you should be able to successfully attract the right influencers to help you with your marketing efforts. Just remember to be yourself, and follow the advice of folks who have been doing influencer marketing with great success for many years.

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