Influencer Marketing

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

What Should Your Content Really Look Like in 2019

What’s at the centre of your digital and social activity? Chances are its content, which bridges the gap between brand and customer like no other media or medium could do previously.

Content marketing has come a long way since the early days of publishing multiple (and mostly mediocre) blogs each week on your website in the vain hope of getting noticed or ranking for a couple of obscure, long tail search queries.

These days, content marketing is a multi-channel, cross-platform behemoth, consisting of everything from landing pages and infographics to podcasts and videos.

The increasingly competitive space in which content sits has also changed dramatically, with things like featured snippets and voice search making any marketing objective even more difficult to achieve.

But that doesn’t mean to say boosting your brand identity, increasing online awareness and engaging with customers through content marketing is impossible…

Here’s the content that performs best in 2019:

Long-form authoritative content

So, if regular blogging doesn’t cut it anymore, what does?

The answer is long-form authoritative content.

This means going into great detail about a particular theme or topic and updating it regularly with fresh insight, imagery and video.

After analysing 912 million blog posts to better understand the world of content marketing, Brian Dean from Backlinko discovered that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than shorter articles. It also generates significantly more social shares, especially within the ‘sweet spot’ of 1,000-2,000 words.

Other industry studies have also found a direct correlation between long-form content and first page Google rankings. This is because long-form content stands a better chance of satisfying intent and maintaining engagement by demonstrating in-depth knowledge of a particular subject.

Best practice: Identify topics or themes that strongly correlate with your brand’s products, services, or industry. Think about how you could demonstrate your authority with long-form content that meets your customer’s wants and needs.

Short-form video

Every year, the importance of video content continues to grow – you only have to look at the success and influence of platforms like Instagram to realise that its here to stay for the long haul.

According to a recent study by Altimeter, short-form video (less than two minutes) is the best performing content in terms of engagement across every industry and every geography. By contrast, long-form video (greater than two minutes) was said to be 20% less effective.

In addition to greater engagement, short-form video can also improve your SEO, make content more accessible to a wider audience, generate a strong emotional connection with customers and lead to more conversions.

Best practice: Generate ideas for short-term video content that will resonate with your audience. Remember to optimise for mobile viewing (where most video is watched), create captions, include a CTA and keep it short!

Influencer marketing

Despite the exponential rise of social media influencers in recent years, this marketing trend is nothing new. However, several brands are reluctant to explore the idea of influencer marketing due to misconceptions that you need to spend thousands (or even millions) getting high-profile celebrities on board.

More often than not, brands have the most success with influencer marketing when they choose people directly related to their industry or niche. Better yet, they collaborate with influencers throughout the content ideation and creation process.

The following influencer marketing statistics speak volumes about its effectiveness:

  • Influencer Marketing Campaigns Earn $6.50 for Every Dollar Spent
  • 67% of Marketers Promote Content With the Help of Influencers
  • Influencer Marketing Is the Fastest-Growing Online Customer-Acquisition Method

Best practice: Think of influencers as an ad-hoc extension of your own content team. Take advantage of their creativity and audience, relieve some pressure from in-house efforts and add credibility to your brand in the eyes of followers.

Voice search

Voice search is slowly but surely becoming a daily fixture for many, especially given the increasingly popularity of Google Home, Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants. Estimates suggest there are over one billion voice searches per month, while 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

So with more and more text-based digital tasks moving over to voice thanks to the speed and convenience it affords, every marketer should adjust their content strategy accordingly.

Unfortunately, each device seems to pull data from different sources and offer completely different results. But by creating pieces of content that deliver quick answers to quick questions, you should be able to position yourself ahead of the competition.

Best practice: Think about the words people say, not just what they’re likely to type. Also, most voice-activated searches take place on mobile, so make sure your website is responsive and optimised for smartphones.

Storytelling and Digital PR

There’s a reason why storytelling remains one of the most popular approaches to content marketing – it works, and will continue to work for many years to come. By conveying facts through narrative, you’ll create a connection with your audience and encourage action thanks to the number of decisions people make based on emotion.

One excellent example comes from National Geographic and its content marketing activity that engages with 350 million combined global followers on social media. As Nadine Heggie, VP of Brand Partnership, explains: “Staying true to your brand, being timely with content, using the power of wow and wonder, and embracing new technologies to tell stories.”

Key ingredients to any story include a main character/hero, a conflict/journey, and an ending/resolution. Don’t forget to make it easy-to-follow, relatable and memorable. Support your stories with visuals and data to drive the message home.

Next steps: Try to gain an in-depth understanding of your audience – their needs, pains, hopes and aspirations. Know exactly what you want to say and what you want your audience to do before launching any storytelling campaign.

Take your content marketing to the next level with JBH – let’s create something awesome together.

1000 667 Perri Robinson

How NOT to Include Fake Influencers in your Content Marketing Strategy

Influencer marketing is huge right now. All the major brands are using this tactic to boost their content marketing strategy reach, engagement and credibility.  But it’s not just the conglomerates capitalising on influencer marketing. Smaller companies also want in on the craze and their small budgets aren’t putting them off; instead, they’re opting to invest in micro influencers.

Did you know the market estimated worth of influencer marketing is $1.5 billion; but as with any big trend, there are people who aim to exploit it.

Influencer Fraud

Influencer fraud, where social network users artificially increase their following and/or engagement, has become a hot topic. Top brands such as Unilever have addressed this unethical practice, announcing a crackdown on working with such individuals.

Sure the benefits of utilising influencer marketing in your content marketing strategy are vast, but the loss of ROI from choosing fake influencers is huge.

With 65% of brands planning to increase spending on influencer marketing in 2018, it’s important that the industry is aware of the preventative tactics they can adopt in order to detect and avoid influencer fraud.

 

Weeding out fake influencers

 

Weeding out Fake Influencers

Track Community Growth

Following is a metric brands flock to when choosing influencers. The more followers, the more they pay. Fake influencers, therefore, purchase followers.

By tracking the follow/ unfollow activity of influencers, you can identify normal and abnormal growth patterns. In most cases community growth is consistent. It’s worth keeping in mind that spikes in followers may be legit, but sometimes it’s not all it seems. This is especially the case when growth isn’t partnered with an increase in engagement too – which brings me onto the next point.

Analyse Engagement Rates

Look at engagement rates (likes, comments, shares)! If an influencer with thousands of followers only has a few likes, it’s likely that they’ve inflated their community artificially. This is usually achieved via bots or ‘engagement pods’, whereby individuals form alliances and boost engagement by interacting with each other.

As a rule of thumb, the average Instagram like rate is between 1% and 5% of the total following size. Keep this in mind when choosing relevant influencers to support your content marketing strategy.

Similarly to community growth, track engagement rates to spot anomalies too. Surges are difficult to spot if you simply look at their most recent posts, so do it over a longer period of time. If you do spot a spike, conduct further research to understand the reason behind it. For example, this may be the result of press coverage or other brand partnerships. You can find such insights out using a media monitoring tool to uncover the reasoning behind trends and spikes in coverage. If you can’t find an explanation, avoid.

 

Instagram Engagement

@leoniehanne’s post comments 

Inspect Comments

Out of context, identical and generic comments like “Cute”/“Love it!” or simply posting an emoji can be the outcome of purchased engagement and bots. If the comments are conversational, like people tagging their friends and personalised dialogue, this is much more telling of authentic following and engagement.

Monitor the Real Reach

The actual reach of an influencer is an extremely telling metric. When talking about reach, we’re referring to the number of people who see their posts. If an account has a community of mostly bots and inactive users, posts will be seen by very few. You can ask the influencer to provide you with stats prior to collaborating with them, alternatively, any sufficient influencer marketing platform will be able to monitor the reach metric for you.

Study Their Network and Interactions

An influencer’s community is one of the main factors that are appealing to brands. Influencers are often part of common networks; they interact with each other and go to the same events. If an account interacts with other influential social media accounts or is mentioned/ tagged in pictures with other influencers, chances are high that they’re a real person with real influence.

Eliminating Manual Analysis

Vetting an influencer is critical if you wish to maintain your content marketing campaign and brand’s integrity – but it takes a lot of time. Luckily, you can remove the manual work by using an influencer and media monitoring tool such as Meltwater. Meltwater can suggest relevant influencers as well as measure the influencer’s true reach, community growth, engagement rates, audience demographics and more.

 

Want to learn more about influencer marketing? Check out our definitive guide.

Instagram influencer
1000 667 Jane Hunt

Is influencer marketing a bubble that is going to burst?

Influencer marketing is booming. Marketers are investing more and more in influencer marketing with a Linqia study showing that 39% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018.

With the lack of trust that consumers now have for brands, influencers seem like a great way to increase revenue. A survey conducted by Collective Bias showed that 70% of millennials are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.

While all this does indicate that influencer marketing is prospering, it’s hard to ignore the doubts that many are having and those that think the industry is a bubble waiting to burst. From regulations to attributions and measuring results, there are certainly some issues the industry need to tackle.

 

Fake influencers

  • 92% of marketers say Instagram is still the most important platform for influencer marketing.
  • It is estimated that Instagram may have 95 million bot accounts.
  • Fake followers mean it can be difficult to tell if an account has built a genuine following.

How to spot fake influencers:

 

Measuring ROI

The same Linqia study mentioned above found that 76% of marketers say that the biggest influencer marketing challenge for 2018 would be determining their campaign ROI.

With fake influencers and the potential for fraud, brands need to think about the metrics they use to measure their ROI or they could end up haemorrhaging money on unsuccessful marketing campaigns.

When thinking about how to measure the success of your influencer marketing you need to establish what your goals are first. Think about whether you’re aiming for visibility, engagement, or revenue.

Visibility and engagement can often be measured easily as all social media platforms have their own native analytics that can show you these numbers. Revenue can be a bit more difficult but with things like promo codes, affiliate links and Google Analytics goals you can start to build a more accurate picture of how much revenue your campaigns are generating.

 

Finding the right influencer for your brand

Just because an account has a large following or high engagement, doesn’t mean they are the right account for your brand. If their following doesn’t match your target audience, no matter how much the influencer promotes your product you will see poor results from a campaign with them.

Some audiences are even beginning to grow tired of influencers who have too much-promoted content, social media creators are creating the same content formats again and again which grows boring for audiences and causes influencers to lose their influence.

Finding the right influencer takes time an research and if your brand picks the wrong person you could end up with an unsuccessful campaign. Your ‘perfect match’ should be someone who already uses or finds genuine value in your products and services and can give an authentic promotion to their followers. However, finding these people takes time, effort, and due diligence.

Perri Robinson, Head of Marketing for Meltwater UK & Ireland explains:

“One way of keeping tabs of thought leaders gaining momentum or identifying influential advocates is through social listening. Simply pop in an industry related keyword/ your/ your competitor’s brand name and use a social listening tool to analyse and make sense of conversations using metrics such as “top posters”, “trending themes” or “sentiment”. Such metrics provide rich insights for brand management – one of them being relevant influencers to collaborate with.”

The cost of influencer marketing is rising

Even with the above issues, brands are spending more on influencers than ever and are still the most popular choice for brand endorsements.

On average, according to research by Rakuten Marketing and Morar Consulting, posts from celebrities with at least 1 million followers cost on average £65,000 each. Posts from celebs in some industries are even higher, with premium fashion brands, paying celebrity influencers more than £160,000 per post.

These rising costs might not be such a big deal for larger brands, but a small to medium size business is going to struggle to keep up with the rising costs for influencer marketing. If they can’t accurately measure ROI on a campaign they will find it hard to justify adding any more money to their influencer marketing budget.

 

Want to learn more about influencer marketing? Check out our definitive guide 

How will influencer marketing will be impacted by IGTV?
800 533 Jane Hunt

How IGTV is going to impact influencer marketing?

Instagram is the platform for influencer marketing with over 99% of influencers using it.

 

In the last month, Instagram has launched a new feature that could have big implications for influencers and how they use the platform – IGTV.

 

In what ways will IGTV effect influencer marketing?

IGTV is Facebook’s challenge to YouTube – the only other successful long-form video platform. Instagram has a much bigger user base, with over 1 billion monthly users which make it the largest social media platform used in influencer marketing.

Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019. Influencers would be mad not to start incorporating video into their campaigns. Content only succeeds if its what users want and over the years it is becoming clearer and clearer that audiences want video.

Before last month, if you were an influencer and wanted to produce video content, your only option would have been YouTube. Now, Influencers can create video content, and it will be shown to their Instagram following.

The content created by influencers will very much depend on their audience. LauraDIY and IG influencer is posting her latest DIY videos to add value to her audience and boost engagement. Artists are making videos of themselves as they create their art, fitness influencers are creating videos with tips and routines to get into shape. The possibilities are endless.

 

Learn everything there is to learn about influencer marketing with our Complete Guide.

 

Some influencers may need to adapt to the new platform. If they see that their audience is engaging with in-depth video content, then they will need to incorporate it into their marketing to keep their audience happy and stay relevant.

If audiences do not respond well to IGTV or do not engage with its content, it is unlikely that influencers will continue to invest their efforts there.

 

IGTV will change how influencers use other platforms

Until now the limit for video on Instagram has been 60 seconds which has limited its use as a video sharing platform – now users can create video up to an hour long. One of the main reasons that influencers operate across multiple platforms is that no one social network provides them with everything they need. Instagram is now trying to overcome that challenge.  

Videos for IGTV must be horizontal which will make it difficult to repurpose content for other platforms like YouTube which use horizontal video. As all the video is horizontal its likely that most of the content that will be put on IGTV will be unique so you won’t find it on other platforms.

Unless influencers want to spend time creating duplicate content in both horizontal and vertical formats its probable that they will pick the platform that their audience most commonly uses and stick to it.

 

Social Media Influencer creating a horizontal video for IGTV

 

We may see influencers pull away from other channels and focus more of their time on their Instagram accounts as Instagram now offers more options for their content.

If an influencer uploaded longer videos until now, they were having to put them on YouTube, but if their audience spends more of their time on Instagram, they would have to find ways to direct users to their YouTube channel. These videos would then see lower engagement than if they were more accessible to their audience.

 

Monetizing content

One of the main issues influencer will have in the beginning, is being able to profit off their video content. Youtube provides content creators with income through ad revenues, but currently, IGTV is ad-free. We may see this change in the future, but for now, influencers will have to find other ways to profit from their content.

One way influencers can monetise is through sponsored content and partnering with brands. IGTV allows for links in the description box (much like YouTube) which can be used to generate traffic to sponsors products and websites.

 

It has become easier to find an influencers content

IGTV uses channels that make it easy to find content from the users and influencers you follow. On Instagram, you probably don’t search for specific posts or profiles very often; instead, you just scroll through your feed and see content from users you follow.

Scrolling through hundreds of posts can mean you forget or don’t see a lot of the content your viewing and you almost never see all the posts from a single user you follow.

With IGTV as you have to search for a channel, so your mindset is different. You are searching for specific content and influencers you want to see which means influencers fans are more likely to see more significant amounts of their content.

 

Why early adopters will benefit

Like any big change, it will take time for brands to adapt. Influencers and small business are more adaptive and willing to experiment with new platforms and ideas.

As IGTV is still in its early days, influencers will see little competition on the platform. This will give them a chance to build a big following and reach new audiences before brands start taking over.

Brands that are wanting to partner with influencers should consider doing it sooner rather than later; before they become bombarded with proposals.

With any new platform, there is a risk that it will not take off. But, if you look at Instagrams history, with features like stories taking off in a huge way it’s likely we will see IGTV take off.

 

The world of social media and influencer marketing is always changing. To stay ahead check out our top 5 new Instagram features that will help you grow your brand.

social media influencer adapting to changes in Influencer marketing
1000 667 Jane Hunt

The Rise of CGI Influencers

Hyper-realistic CGI humans are here – and they have Instagram accounts.

It might sound a little crazy, but CGI avatars could be the influencers of the future. They’ve actually been around for longer than you might think with the first few popping up in 2015/2016. Since then they have grown to take on massive followings and work with some of the biggest names in fashion, could they be the future of Influencer marketing?

 

Who are these influencers?

Lilmiquela
Brazilian Amerian CGI model and musician Miquela Sousa, also known as Lilmiquela is the most significant CGI generated influencer around. Since her account launched in April of 2016, she has racked up 1.3 million followers.

Her Instagram bio reads ‘19/ LA / Robot ? Black Lives Matter,’ and her feed is full of selfies in designer clothes. Earlier this year she partnered with Prada and attended their Fall 2018 fashion show; since then partnerships with other brands and media outlets have continued to roll in.

 

Shudu
Shudu is another CGI Instagram Influencer whose account is run by photographer and digital artist, Cameron-James Wilson. With 129K followers, this model has risen to fame after endorsements from the likes of Tyra Banks and Fenty Beauty.

Fenty Beauty, the makeup line by Rihanna, re-posted an image of Shudu wearing their Saw-C shade of lipstick which pushed the model into the spotlight. Since then Wilson has had a number of requests from fashion brands hoping to collaborate with the CGI model.

Flamingo ???? . By @cjw.photo . . #3dart

A post shared by Shudu (@shudu.gram) on

 

Why are brands using them as part of their influencer marketing strategy?

Brands will likely embrace this change to their influencer marketing strategies. There is a lot of potential in using Instagram influencers like Lilmiquela and Shudu in their marketing as they have a vast reach, and people are following them without much concern for whether they are real or not but just because they like what they post.

 

Learn everything there is to learn about influencer marketing with our Complete Guide.

 

CGI Influencers can potentially give brands many of the pros of working with Instagram influencers with less of the cons. If a brand created its own CGI influencers, this would be a more efficient way of controlling the brand message. You would have full control of all the content put out.

 

Instagram has already become a platform full of photoshopped and filtered images. Many people have constructed social media identities that they keep separate from their real self so the distinction between who is real or not is already blurry.

 

Accounts like @Lilmiquela are showing investors that CGI accounts have the potential to become mainstream fashion influencers. But they do raise questions about endorsement guidelines.

Instagram promotional posts are marked with hashtags such as #ad and #paid but with accounts such as Lilmiquela where the owner has not been identified, who is accountable?

 

Could they mean the end of human Instagram models?

While CGI influencers could easily become mainstream, the chances of them pushing human social media influencers out of the market altogether are slim. Questions of authenticity will always be an issue, can you be an authentic CGI influencer? Should you trust the opinion of someone who doesn’t exist?

As they are not real people their endorsements can never be 100% genuine and authentic. In fashion there is only so far an influencer can go; while being able to give opinions and advice on style, a CGI influencer will never be able to tell you how soft the material is or other characteristics that need human senses.

 

How will human influencers adapt?

Human Instagram influencers may find ways to adapt and embrace this new trend. We could see people in the future creating CGI avatars of themselves. This would help them stay relevant in the continually changing influencer market and also allow them to do things that their human self might not.

Are CGI Influencers a bit out of your comfort zone? If so, read the definitive guide to Finding, Nurturing and Sustaining HUMAN Influencer Relationships.

Content marketing influencers 2018
1000 667 Jane Hunt

The Top 13 Content Marketing Influencers to follow

From automation and artificial intelligence to video and voice search, the world of content marketing is increasingly advanced and encompasses an abundance of contrasting components.

Keeping pace with the latest trends isn’t easy, especially when the preferences and behaviours of online audiences change as quickly as the tools and techniques at your disposal.

So, to stay relevant, it makes sense to follow and befriend marketing’s most exceptional thought leaders. Not only will this list of content marketing influencers (in no particular order) provide you with expert insights, they may even endorse and share your own content.

1. Lee Odden
@leeodden
CEO, TopRank Marketing


“Don’t fall for the ‘influence = popularity’ myth. Customers want to see more than just famous talking heads. Focusing solely on popularity drives awareness, but not engagement or conversions.” This quote alone tells you everything you need to know about Lee Odden. A leading voice that loves to spread his message far and wide.

2. Roberto Blake
@robertoblake
Creative Entrepreneur and YouTuber


Roberto Blake is part of a new wave of marketers. Head over to his YouTube channel for a cavalcade of exciting and engaging content aimed at motivating and educating fellow creatives. If you require assistance with your video marketing efforts, Roberto is your man.

3. Oli Gardner
@oligardner
Co-Founder, Unbounce


Work and life go hand-in-hand for Oli Gardner. One minute he is giving his hot take on the latest content marketing trend, the next he is requesting consumer advice or complaining about the state of the airline industry. A Twitter bio that reads “perpetually pissed off about shitty marketing” speaks volumes about his passion for betterment.

4. Joe Chernov
@jchernov
Chief Marketing Officer, Insightsquared


For shrewd content marketing opinion combined with sharp-witted observations about everyday life, give Joe Chernov a follow. Recognised as an influential marketer by both the Content Marketing Institute and Adweek, he’s informative and entertaining in equal measure.

5. Ann Smarty
@seosmarty
Founder of MyBlogU and TwChat


A never-ending stream of useful resources and thought-provoking titbits, Ann Smarty’s Twitter feed is bound to inform your content marketing activity. Her extensive résumé of previous projects and current commitments is a testament to Anna’s enthusiasm for all things marketing.

6. Jennifer Polk
@JenPolk1
Research Director at Gartner for Marketers


Free of the frills that many marketers use to attract followers Jennifer’s feed blasts snippets of helpful information for marketers of all kinds. She specialises in digital commerce and the lessons she shares will help you boost your marketing career to the next level.

7. Michael Troiano
@miketrap
Venture Capitalist 

A venture capitalist and marketing expert whose twitter feed brings killer tips for entrepreneurs and marketers alike. Mikes feed keeps it real with none of that pretentious nonsense you get from some content marketers. He has sat at the big table and is bringing his experience back to help you succeed, you really get the sense that Mike is someone who will always be looking out for the little guy.

8. Sonia Simone
@soniasimone
Copyblogger


To find out how women are ruling the digital marketing space you need to follow @soniasimone. Her quick-witted and sometimes a little bit snarky comments will be sure to catch your attention in your busy feed. The leader of Copyblogger she has a ton of original and helpful insights that she shares with her audience about copywriting and SEO.

9. Lisa Loeffler
@LisaMLoeffler
Digital Marketing Director at Nimble


Marketers can often sound like broken records sharing posts like ‘beginners guide to [insert buzzword here] and how to reach [ridiculous number here] social media followers. Lisa explores exciting topics with authentic insights making her feed a breath of fresh air against the tons of spam out there.

10. Nadine Dietz
@NadineDietz1
Host of @CMOMoves


Her podcast gets personal with CMOs and other leaders from some game-changing companies like Microsoft and Spotify. In just 140 characters she shares some top-notch wisdom with her followers that will help give you the edge in your career.

11. Ashley Norris
@Ashley_Norris
Content Creator at The Content Marketing Association


Ashley’s feed spans a wide variety of topics from marketing startups, tech & media to vegan food and 60s films. Working at the Content Marketing Association has given him a range of knowledge and skills and his tweets are definitely worth a read.

12. Michelle Garrett
@PRisUs
Freelance writer


Michelle Garrett is a public relations consultant whose work has been published on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Meltwater just to name a few. She has been working in PR for over 20 years and accumulated a wealth of knowledge making her feed well worth keeping an eye on.

13. Ann Handley
@MarketingProfs
Head of Content at MarketingProfs and WSJ bestselling author


An obvious yet essential choice, Ann Handley is one of the most experienced and adept marketers in the world. Along with “waging a war on mediocrity in content marketing,” she also professes a passion for making complex subjects more accessible.

 

Trying to find great content in the 6,000 tweets sent per second can be a frustrating task but following these top content marketing influencers is guaranteed to make things more interesting as you scroll.

If these guys and their thousands of followers seems a bit intimidating to you, don’t fret,  they all had zero followers when they started. If you’re looking for ways to improve your brand’s online presence, read our Top 3 Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing Fitness in 2018.

social media influencer marketing
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Finding, Nurturing and Sustaining Influencer Relationships

Influencer marketing has always played a crucial role in the marketing mix and shows no sign of diminishing. However, the digital boom brought a new generation of influencers with it. Insta famous fashionistas, globe trotter bloggers and YouTube Vloggers are taking the world by storm. The influence of these “Average Joe turned Celebs” has attracted many brands wanting to capitalise on increased reach, engagement, brand advocacy, authenticity and lead generation that partnering with such social media influencers can bring. But in order to enjoy such luxuries, a solid influencer strategy must first be in place.

 

Nurturing social influencers

 

Whilst social media influencer marketing has a ton of pros, it can also be extremely expensive if the influencer outreach strategy is not based on authentic relationships. We wouldn’t expect favours from strangers and the same goes for dealings with social media influencers. Actual friends – or in this case, true brand advocates – are often willing to lend a helping hand at no cost.

 

The most important factor in building organic, authentic and sustainable partnerships is how we choose our desired influencers and nurture the relationship over time.

 

Finding the right social media influencers

Finding the right influencer isn’t simply about searching for people with the most followers. Followers act as a vanity metric. You may have 400,000 followers but if they don’t engage with your content, you can’t expand your brands reach to their community – which is arguably one of the largest benefits of having a considerable online following.

So what should you look for in influencers and where should you look to find the most suitable ones for your company?

1. Conduct social listening to follow relevant industry related trending keywords, hashtags and topics developing across key social networks. By doing so, you get to understand what social media channels your audience and industry engage with the most, helping you to allocate resource. You also get to know potential thought leaders driving the conversations in your space. Don’t forget to look for communities on social channels such as Twitter chats or LinkedIn groups too. Jot down their most active community members; it’s likely that they’ll be well connected.

2. Research blogs that talk about your industry and keep a note of the authors. A quick Google search looking for the “top 10 blogs in xx industry to follow” will unearth a list of blogs to start with. I’d then recommend looking up the blog/ its author on Twitter to see how many people follow and engage with them, this is a good indication of the blogs readership (and author’s influence).

 

How to find relevant social influencers

 

Check social influencers out on Twitter

 

  1. Use a social influencer marketing database to reveal your perfect match. Meltwater’s tool lists more than 500 million global influencers in more than 60,000 different categories. Searching through all those Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and blogger contact details to find the perfect one would be extremely overwhelming without the use of advanced search. As such, most social media influencer databases will allow you to filter searches. Meltwater offers the below search filters to help your find the needle in the haystack.
  • Area of expertise
  • Language
  • Geographic location
  • Community size
  • Scope and rate of engagement
  • Community demographics
  • Posting frequency
  • Past brand relationships

 

Use an influencer marketing contact database

 

4. Influencers can, and should, be leveraged throughout the entire customer acquisition funnel; the key is to determine at which point in the funnel a particular influencer will provide the most value. The top of the funnel is about building awareness, so look for influencers who are up for creating content with you to drive brand reach and awareness, for example host a joint webinar or cobrand a white paper. The middle of the funnel is where purchase preference is formed. Here, you want to partner with influencers who can help buyers evaluate your product via reviews, for example. Bloggers and Vloggers sit well in this part of the funnel.


It’s a good idea to involve influencers early on in your content creation process, not just during the execution, as this helps improve buy-in.

 

 

The content creation process

 

Persuading them to work with you

So you’ve done your homework and found the right influencer. Now how do you persuade them to work with you? Firstly, you need to remember that it’s not about you. In some cases, it’s not about the influencer either but rather the community they’re trying to build and maintain. This may be their livelihood after all.



Nurturing influencers

Never make the first contact with them about you and your brand. Comment on their blogs or articles and share their content (ego boosts never hurt anyone). Download their whitepapers, subscribe to their blog, ask them questions and deliver added value by answering their community’s questions too.



Basically, act as the advocate you say you are.

Show that you fully understand what they do. This is essential for them but also you as, as you need to be sure that they’ll be a good fit. The next step is to engage with them over a period of time, slowly building up a relationship of mutual respect and not at the last minute when you desperately need them. Nurturing a relationship can take months, but the ROI is huge. Trust me, I’ve seen it. After stepping into my role, I was presented with a significant marketing budget cut (joy!). This forced me to stop paying to work with influencers and get creative. So, I created an influencer nurture flow. It looks something like this.

 

influencer marketing nurture flow

 

The type of engagement ramps up over the weeks, for example, it takes less effort to like a post compared to writing a review about their book. Watch this on-demand webinar recording if you’d like a deeper dive into the influencer nurture strategy.

 

The main thing to take away is that only after you have built a relationship should you approach them about partnering with your brand.

 

Even if you’re willing to dig deep into your pockets and pay to work with them, it’s likely other companies are approaching them too and a relationship will help you get ahead of the rest.

 

Ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship

Both parties need to feel that they’ve received a good deal from the partnership, otherwise it won’t last. To ensure this, you need to decide what kind of opportunity is going to be the most mutually beneficial. Whether or not you’re willing to compensate your influencers is a key consideration. With some, payment is expected. Some influencers aren’t interested in money but would accept other incentives, such as free versions of software. On the contrary, some influencers are interested in gaining exposure by leveraging your audience. It’s important to know which option motivates your selected influencer/s. Avoid assuming, a straight up and honest conversation needs to take place, no matter how uncomfortable it might make you feel.


Sustaining social media influencer relationships

Making the most of relationships once you’ve established them is vital. Especially considering the time and effort you’ve put into building it. Think about how you can keep the social media influencer engaged. You may want to offer them VIP access to events or inform them of brand announcements and product releases before other outlets. Whether you are paying them or not, showing your ongoing support of your influencers by sharing their content and celebrating their success is another way to keep the relationship warm.

 

Have a read of our Communications Pros Guide to Influencer Marketing ebook for more tips and tricks around building a winning strategy!

 

Instagram Stories and Influencer Marketing Event
576 1024 Jane Hunt

Meltwater Event: The Krays, Pancakes and Instagram Stories

Last Tuesday I collaborated with our friends at Meltwater for an event focusing on one of my absolute favourite subjects – Instagram Stories.

Meltwater were hosting the event at the gorgeous Courthouse Hotel in Shoreditch. I really enjoyed getting to know Perri and the team while planning the morning – Meltwater is a fantastic brand insight tool and it was interesting learning more about what it can do (spoiler alert – everything!)

Instagram Stories and Influencer Marketing Event

When giving a presentation I find that asking the audience a couple of basic questions is a great way to break the ice and get a better sense of who you are speaking to. I asked for a quick show of hands to find out who was currently using Instagram Stories and whether they were having success. It turned out that more than two thirds of the room were already loving Instagram Stories – making my job that bit easier.

My aims for the event were to cover some of the basics for those with limited knowledge, discuss ways brands can work with influencers and provide inspiration for those looking to get a bit more creative with their Instagram Stories.

It’s no secret that I am an Instagram fanatic – when your hobbies include brands, fashion, interiors and the Kardashians, surely it’s only natural? Armed with my passion, I wanted to inspire delegates to experiment with Stories features on a personal and professional level.

It’s hard to believe Stories has only been on our radar for 18 months or so. With more than 400 million daily users, this relatively untapped platform presents huge opportunities for brands to get creative and win over audiences.  

On a basic level, Stories is great for showing people what goes on behind the scenes. We will be sharing lots more content on Instagram Stories in the coming weeks (or there are details on how you can get your hands on the full deck from the talk at the bottom of this post), but to get you started …

Our lovely audience

Why should brands use Instagram Stories given their 24 hour shelf life?

Instagram is life for marketers

With their 24h shelf life, Instagram Stories are what we call ephemeral content. The platform offers a happier, more intuitive user experience than Snapchat (sorry Snapchat). Reach is greater and messages tend to travel much further. People are used to interacting with brands on Instagram – as the platform has grown, beautiful branded content has become a cornerstone of the experience.

Perfect for capturing a moment in time

Stories give your audience a glimpse into your world without interrupting your beautifully curated Instagram feed. It lets you really be in the moment and is perfect for capturing a moment in time – whether it’s a new product arriving, the launch of an event or competition or in a 24hr period.

It helps you smash your goals

Whatever your marketing goals are they will probably include some variation on brand awareness, traffic and conversions. IG Stories has given us another brilliant platform to make creative content to get users interested and ultimately drive to your goal, whether that’s to raise brand awareness, have someone donate to a cause, buy clothes, sign up for an event, visit your blog or download a song.

The perfect fit for influencer marketing

Stories perfectly complements a wider influencer campaign or strategy. Influencers are out there using Stories every day, creating vibrant, compelling content that audiences can’t get enough of and are handy with the “swipe up” feature which they use to drive traffic to their own websites, blogs and/or YouTube channels. The username mention feature makes it easy for influencers to send clickers through to brand accounts where your bio can then be used to drive traffic to your website or landing page.

So that’s why it works from a technical perspective, but Stories is also light, fast and fun. It works for influencers for the same reason it works for brands – it gives them the chance to be creative without any of the pressure and doesn’t detract from the impact of their beautiful ‘real estate’ or profile.

That’s a wrap!

A former cell (current VIP room) in the Courthouse Hotel bar

After wrapping up the morning speaking privately with attendees from a fascinating range of backgrounds, Lauren and I headed upstairs to check out the bar. Only recently renovated, the Courthouse hotel is (obviously) a former courthouse. The bar features the original prison cell blocks as VIP rooms – Perri told us that the Krays were trialled there and recommended that we check out the still-standing toilet in one of the cells!

The pancakes at Old Street Records – delightful!

All that was left to do was hit the Old Street Records Cafe across the road for some epic pancakes (don’t judge us, it was Pancake Day).

Want to learn more about Stories and influencers? Email me jane@jbh.co.uk and I’ll send you the full deck from the event. For bonus points read our Definitive Guide to Influencer Marketing – it gives a detailed overview of influencer marketing and is packed with tips and tricks.

Instagram Influencer Marketing
1024 683 Jane Hunt

How to Spot a Fake Instagram Influencer

As Instagram influencer marketing becomes a more credible way to make serious money, weeding out fake influencer accounts can feel a bit like a game of Whack-a-Mole. Here we talk you through the easiest ways to spot a faker and the steps you can take to make sure your brand doesn’t get taken for a ride.

Being an Instagram influencer is great. Perks include fans, events, holidays, freebies, creativity, freedom and (if you’re lucky) cold, hard cash.

The problem is that getting there takes time. To attain even the status of “micro-influencer” (5k-100k followers) takes at least a year. That’s a year of full-level commitment, posting every day, blogging, attending events, getting the perfect shots and being active in the Instagram community – often while working and living normal life.

Fake it without having to make it

Instagram influencer marketing
Like most things, where there’s money to be made there are people willing to try anything to cheat the system. As a result, fake Instagram accounts are becoming a big problem for brands.

It’s alarmingly easy to fake an Instagram following – plenty of bloggers and journalists have had a go and the JBH team even dabbled ourselves back in the summer.

This means that there are tons of Instagram accounts out there with fake followings – including influencers who don’t exist at all. While the more professional cheats might hire a model to pose for photos, most fakers keep things nice and generic with free stock images.

Pair this with a few thousand bought “followers” per day from websites selling other fake Instagram accounts and you’ve got yourself an influencer, ripe for the picking by brands desperate to pay big bucks for that all-important word-of-mouth.

While it’s not likely that the big fish (100k+) are gaming the system like this, micro-influencers are where it’s at on Instagram right now. Research shows that accounts with smaller followings prompt higher levels of engagement. Brands know that these accounts are a smart investment.

Obviously, none of this is good. PRs, brands, bloggers, influencers and the public buy into Instagram influencer marketing specifically because of how authentic it is. Add fake, money-grabbing accounts into the equation and the whole market is screwed.

So what should we be watching out for?

 

Instagram Red Flags

Instagram influencer marketing

Poor-quality content
You’ll usually be able to spot a dodgy account by the quality of the content. To know that Amber Fillerup-Clark is a real influencer you don’t need to look any further than her beautiful photographs and commentary. Fake influencers will usually write one or two words followed by a bunch of lazy hashtags.

Engagement groups
To stay relevant, influencers need to pop up on people’s feeds. This requires lots of juicy comments. In order to keep up with social media’s ever-changing algorithms, a high percentage of bloggers are members of ‘engagement groups’ – a mutual-back-scratching type operations where you comment on my picture and I comment on yours.This is actually ok in theory, it’s how most influencers get started. If they are in one or two small groups generating less than 30 of this type of comment per post, it shouldn’t have too much of a negative effect. Any more than this and the account becomes depthless, scoring comments and likes to the benefit of no one in particular. Look at the nature of comments on an influencer’s posts, not just the volume.

Follower spikes
Sudden spikes of 1,000, 5,000 or 10,000 followers are a dead giveaway. To put this in perspective HudaBeauty has 22m followers and gets around 5000 new followers per day. Your average blogger or influencer gets 0-200 followers per day. If a blogger with 30,000 seems to pull 10,000 new followers out of thin air seemingly overnight, you know something is up. Likewise, if it looks like someone is quickly following or unfollowing large numbers of accounts this is the first sign of follower tools and bots.

Dodgy followers
Take a look at the “followers” who have liked their pictures. If they look anything like this, they’re probably a big, fat faker.

How often do they post?
If an account has too few posts for a large following, or sporadically posts at odd times, something ain’t right.

Rates of engagement
If likes stack up slowly at first and then spike by 1,000 in one go – it’s pretty easy to spot a faker. A good rate of engagement for a micro-influencer is between 2-6% with smaller personal accounts usually falling at around 8%.

“If you have 90k+ followers, 100+ comments and 4000+ likes on EVERY picture; your engagement % = +5%!!! Congratulations, you have an engagement rate higher than Barack Obama!” (Naomi D’Souza)

Bot behaviour
Watch out for repetitive interaction and generic comments – especially those loaded with emoji.

Still not sure?
Ask for their stats, impressions, reach etc. This is their business, any influencer worth his or her salt won’t mind sharing these figures with you.

Fake accounts ultimately contribute to a false economy where prices go up and value goes down. Watch where you’re investing your money and make sure you report fake accounts to the powers that be wherever possible.

1024 683 Jane Hunt

Influencer Marketing Horror Stories

Fright night is here and we’re telling 2017’s scariest influencer marketing horror stories.

From kids stranded on a mysterious island to a Swedish Jekyll and Hyde, we relive some of this year’s most terrifying influencer marketing fails and toss you a few weapons to make sure your brand doesn’t get dragged off into the woods.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

 

Hell Fyre

Everything about Fyre Festival screams budget horror movie.

Organised by rapper Ja Rule and heavily hyped on social media by mega influencers including Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, Fyre looked like it was going to be selfie heaven for the elite millennials that managed to score a $10,000 dollar ticket. If Instagram was to be believed, attendees would be partying with supermodels, eating high-end cuisine and staying in luxurious accommodation.

Instead, after a struggle to even get to the island, festival-goers were greeted with cancelled performances, FEMA tents, a lack of food and basic sanitation and packs of feral dogs. To make matters worse, many were left stranded once the festival was cancelled.

After suffering their ordeal for several more days, Fyre attendees were rescued just minutes before they went full Battle Royale. They immediately unleashed their fury – not only on the event’s organisers but on the influencers who had been so involved with promoting the festival. The general feeling was that influencers had blindly accepted payment rather than promoting an event or product they genuinely believed in.

The key problems here are obvious. The event’s organisers launched what was arguably a very successful influencer campaign, took the money for their sell-out event, then failed to actually deliver what was promised (i.e. the festival). Many have called the organiser out as con-artists.

Influencer campaigns work best when the influencer is involved in the entire process. Your best weapon when faced with this nightmare is transparency. Don’t wait for things to blow up – if things go wrong, your influencers can help you deal with consumers and manage their expectations before it’s too late.

 

It Offends

Lauded as YouTube’s biggest star, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg was dropped like a lead balloon by brands including Disney and YouTube in February this year for posting “horrific, repeated anti-semitic content” on his channel (WHOSAY). So far did he fall from grace that online commentators started discussing whether influencer marketing was already over.

PewDiePie argued that the claims made against him were blown way out of proportion, saying: “I make videos for my audience. I think of the content that I create as entertainment, and not a place for my serious political commentary. Though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive.”

He did however, get into trouble again last month for exclaiming yet another racial slur in an online video.

While this is an extreme case, the real risk here is giving the influencer control of your brand image. Once a brand has worked with an influencer the two become inextricably linked in the mind of the consumer. Your best weapon here is careful research. Look into your chosen influencer’s tone of voice, their past content, even the interaction they have with their followers and critics. when the influencer screws up, the brand screws up.

 

The Misjudged II

You can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Kendall Jenner. In her second appearance in this year’s list of influencer marketing fails, Jenner took a lot of flack for what Time called “a glaring misstep”.

The ad shows Jenner joining a protest against nothing in particular where marchers hold signs saying “Love” and “Join the Conversation”. The end of the ad shows her seeming to diffuse tensions with the police by handing an office a can of Pepsi in an image with more than a passing resemblance to Baton Rouge protester Ieshia Evans.

The ad has been accused of undermining and appropriating imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement and Vietnam War protestors to sell soda.

Unsurprisingly, both Jenner and Pepsi were dragged through the mud on social media and the two-and-a-half minute ad was pulled after just 24 hours.

How best to arm yourself? Stay the hell away from anything like this!

 

From misjudged campaign sentiments to full-on disasters, occasionally even the biggest brands can get it dead wrong. If you do happen to find yourself in a cabin in the woods with the unmistakable roar of a chainsaw in the distance, remember to handle the inevitable bloodbath with humility, grace and a heartfelt apology.