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How to Have Authentic Paid Partnerships

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It may seem like a good idea to get as many influencers representing your brand as possible, but consumers are savvy. If your partnerships aren’t authentic, you can lose credibility and you can lose customers.

What is a Paid Partnership?

First, let’s talk about what a paid partnership is. It’s when you pay a social media influencer to mention your brand. Instagram, Facebook, and other mainstream social media sites offer this function. For the business owner and the influencer, it’s a win-win situation. You get the mention and they get compensation. They have, after all, worked really hard to create their loyal following.

So What Makes A Paid Partnership Authentic?

As you might imagine, some influencers are willing to mention anyone for a buck. The problem is that these people lose followers. They lose credibility over time and let’s face it, your customers and followers may notice that you’re being endorsed by someone who endorses anyone and everyone.

So an authentic paid partnership is one where the influencer has a relevant audience and they aren’t representing or endorsing your competition or a hundred other non-relevant brands.

What to Look for In a Paid Partnership

Okay, so you’re going to look for influencers to work with and pay them to endorse you on social media. Start by looking at the brands they promote and how they promote them. Are they relevant? For example, is a technology influencer endorsing a cooking blogger? Or are they representing a software product?

Is their content relevant and consistent, and does their audience engage with them? Is their focus in everything they do on social media on providing value and creating a quality experience? Keep in mind that when someone endorses you, they are also representing you. You want to choose an influencer who will connect with your audience and represent your brand and your message with authenticity.

Building the Relationship and the Partnership

Once you’ve identified a few people that you may want to pay to endorse your brand, the next step is to put together a proposal for them. This of course includes payment, and many influencers have that information on their website. You’ll also want to look at creating a brief that highlights who you are, what your message is, and the value that your brand, products or services offer your audience.

10 Up and Coming Influencers to Have Your Eye On in 2019

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There are different categories of influencers and each brings something to the table. There are the influencers who have hundreds of thousands of followers. Although some may be expensive, they’re fantastic because working with them gives your brand a tremendous reach.

There are also influencers who have smaller audiences (micro-influencers), but their audiences are passionate and dedicated, and working with them can cost you less money. Let’s take a look at 10 up and coming influencers to keep your eye on.

#1 Simply Quinoa

Alyssa Rimmer is an influencer in the food and cooking niche. She shows her audience how to eat well and stay healthy and represented several companies, including Blendtec.

#2 Olivia Jeanette

Olivia Jeanette is a fashion influencer and embraces the “fashion-forward” mom look. She shares beauty and lifestyle posts and has worked with brands like American Express and Lenscrafters.

#3 Chachi Gonzales

Chachi is a fashion and lifestyle influencer. She’s also a dancer turned actress with a lot of authenticity and credibility with her audience.  She has partnered with M&Ms, Almay, and Arctic Zero Ice Cream.

#4 Jacklyn Sweet

Fitness influencer, Jacklyn shares content on how to get your workout done, as well as content on her athleisure brand.

#5 Everything Technology

Up and coming technology influencer Victor Kamanga reviews speakers and smartphones and is a trusted resource for tech gear on a budget. He’s most noted for his tests on the sustainability of the product by creating fun experiments.

#6 Emkwan Reviews

Emkwan, winner of Esquire Magazine’s Digital Influencer Award, produces high-quality product reviews on tech products and high end lifestyle items. He’s reviewed items sent to him, including the iPhone X and the Huawei Mate smartphone.

#7 Family Fun Pack

This family and lifestyle influencer posts about fun with their family. Two parents and six kids post content on road trips, toys, food and more.

#8 SweetPotatoSoul

Jenne Claiborne shares quality lifestyle and food content. She offers vegan recipes and discusses topics like ethical fashion and natural beauty.

#9 Coding Blonde

Masha, a former Google employee from Denver, makes tech more accessible, empowers women, and teaches others how to code. She’s partnered with Netgear and eBay in the past.

#10 Canine Life

Three retrievers share content that feature their fun adventures. Among their daily activities, they go camping, to the beach, and to the dog park. They have partnered with Kurgo, Barkbox, and Target.

Some of the Best Social Media Marketing Methods

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There are a range of social media marketing methods that have become best practices in the last decade or so since the start of social media. Use them strategically, depending on your goals.

Creating a robust page at each social network that is a good fit for your business

There are some social networks you can consider a must, such as Facebook and Twitter. Others are optional, depending on who your target audience is.

Go where your target audience spends time

Facebook and Twitter are a must because their audience is so large. Other social sites might be a good fit because of their format and/or who spends time there.

For example, Pinterest is a highly visual site, so you need good-quality images of attractive products. Around 90% of users are women. Around 50% of people who use the site have bought something they saw there. You can create pins and publish them on your own pin boards, or shared pin boards. You can add a price and link to buy your items at the site. They will also let you turn your pin into an ad. Of all the sites, Pinterest posts last the longest and are the most widely shared, often months after their original posting.

LinkedIn is the top working site for professionals. If you are more of a business-to-business (B2B) than a business-to-consumer (B2C), LinkedIn could be an ideal place for you to promote your products.

Using all the free methods available

There are free promotional methods at the social sites, and paid ones. In terms of free, post a variety of content regularly, such as written content memes, images, and video. If you get audience engagement, that is, Likes, Comments and Shares, you can grow your brand reach naturally, often referred to as organically.

Using all the paid methods available

There are several ad methods that can help grow your business.

Promoting pages

Once you have a page at Facebook or Twitter, you can promote it in order to increase your followers. Facebook, in particular, can be a good opportunity to market your business more widely because the ads are what are termed native, that is, ads which look like regular content and are delivered in a person’s news feed, not in a separate box off to one side.

Promoting posts

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites all allow you to turn your post into an ad. On Facebook, it is termed boosting. Look in your Insights or Analytics area to see which posts have been the most popular. Click the Boost button to start running your ads.

Creating ads from scratch

All of the social networks will also allow you to create ads from scratch. In most cases you will need an attractive image, a good headline, and interesting content which meets the terms of service for each network.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has become a marketing method in its own right, but it has its basis in social media. With influencer marketing, you can leverage the power of other prominent users on the social networks to market your own business.

There should be several prominent figures with a large following who are working in your niche or industry. Do some research on the networks you use the most. Start to follow them, and observe the kinds of things they post. Interact with their posts in a helpful, not pushy way. Eventually, ask them if they would be willing to share some of your content with their followers.

Why Market Your Business on Instagram?

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Instagram has over 800 million registered users. Around 500 million visit the application every day, with the largest demographic being 18 to 30-year olds, then 31 to 45-year olds.

Having been bought by Facebook, it has been growing even more rapidly than before. Now that the founders of Instagram have resigned, some big changes have occurred with some even bigger changes for the near future.

If you are not already on Instagram, now is the time to start marketing there. 

Some Key Factors:

  1. More than 33% of users buy products through Instagram – Instagram allows you to create a store so you can sell directly to the people who see your content; an excellent way to connect with your target audience.
  1. Around 75% of Instagram users take action – for each post that has a call to action, 75% of Instagram users follow it via visiting a website, clicking through to subscribe, and so on.
  1. Instagram is part of the Facebook Ads system – these ads can be cross-promoted to Instagram, cutting your work in half. Facebook targeting is much more precise than Google Ads and other PPC ads. Their ads are also cheaper, giving you a greater conversion rate for your investment.
  1. Different ad formats – Facebook offers different ad formats based on your own campaign goals. When you click to create an ad from scratch, Facebook Ads Manager will ask you what your goal is.
  1. Re-targeting – different pages you visit drop cookies on your browser to track what you do. If you purchase a product the cookie turns off at the order confirmation page. If you navigate away from the page the cookie will remain and each time you are on a site that is in an ad network, the cookie will trigger a re-targeting ad. This stay active until you buy, or until 30 days have passed. Re-targeting is successful about 75% of the time.
  1. Market using stories – stories can be a combination of images, video and text. They last 24 hours from the time it is posted, unless highlighted to your profile. A story can be a great way to keep your account fresh and interesting, and showcase all you have to offer. 

Social Media Marketing in 2019: Best Practices

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Social media has been around since 2007, and promoting a business on the top networks has grown into a whole new marketing area that small companies struggle with.

Social media marketing is a moving target. Networks are constantly changing, evolving and growing – often in unpredictable ways. What’s trending one moment can vanish in the blink of an eye.

With that being said, a lot of social media marketing practices have emerged that should work well into 2019 and beyond.

Influencer Marketing is on the Rise

Some influencers are celebrities who have tens of millions of followers. Others can be “micro-influencers” who focus on a particular topic, niche or industry. They might not have more over 1 million followers but have built up an audience that respects their opinions and are eager to hear from them.

Business owners can leverage influencers in a number of ways. Following and engaging with their content. If they have sponsored posts, it never hurts to reach out and see if they are willing to work with your brand. Some influencers will charge to do so, but this “ad” can give you a good return on investment because the audience is so targeted.

Knowing Your Audience

Know where your target audience spends its time; is it only Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or a combination of two or all three? Then get to know how users behave on those sites.

Snapchat and Instagram has been very popular with the 18 to 30 demographic, but a growing number of 35 to 45-year-olds have started using Instagram as well.

81% of 30 to 40-year-olds check Twitter once a day, 76% of Facebook users (about 1.5 billion people) visit the site daily and 35% of individuals check Instagram as many as 11 times a day.

Latest Trends

Tools like BuzzSumo allow you to see what is trending and with this you can start engaging with and publishing similar content. You can also set alerts via Google or through third parties such as Newswire’s Media Monitoring feature to ping you on specific keywords, competitor analysis, mentions of your brand, and more.

Trending Hashtags

Hashtags are a popular way to find content and to classify your own content. Branded, unique hashtags allow you to differentiate yourself but also engage with others in your industry.

Go Live

Going live is becoming hugely popular and is the perfect way to interact with your audience. It’s fun, interesting and allows you to give your audience them a behind the scenes look at your business or product creation. Let them ask questions and if anyone misses the live broadcast, you can always save it as a highlight and they can watch it later.

Paid Ads

With startups and small businesses, it’s hard to have a large marketing budget but consider re-investing into paid social ads. These ads are much more ttargets than Google Ads in terms of choosing your audience. You can also cross-promote the ads on thte different social outtlest to get a broader reach.

Top Influencer Marketing Campaigns to Date

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There are constantly tons of influencer marketing campaigns being launched. A number of campaigns have stood out in 2018, so far, both for their originality in terms of content and the high profile of the influencers. Here are a few worth looking at.

Fiji Water

Fiji partnered with Instagram fashionista Danielle Bernstein for a #weworewhat campaign. In addition to Bernstein’s fashion related posts, the campaign also offered quick and easy 8-minute workout videos to get into great shape. It never once mentions water specifically, but of course, water is essential for hydration, especially when working out. The campaign aligns nicely with health, fitness, fashion, and doing your best for your body.

H&M fashion

H&M is one of the most influential fashion brands online as lots of influencers share their looks. H&M launched their new catalog in September 2017, and sales soared thanks to influencers like fashion blogger Julie Sariñana and model Ela Velden. The campaign had almost 25 million followers by the end of 2017 and it is still growing. Check It Out – the clothes aren’t to everyone’s taste or size, but great photography helps their content go viral.

Lagavulin Whisky

The My Tales of Whisky Yule Log won the Shorty Award for Best Influencer Campaign due to its attractive presentation just in time for the holiday season. The campaign had more than 2 million views in the first day and increased channel subscribers by nearly 20,000. The video was widely shared not just by individuals, but corporations as well.

Stride Gum

Stride partnered with DJ Khaled, a popular hip-hop artist and the “King of Snapchat,” to promote their content. Most of his videos get 3 million views, so he was the perfect choice for a Snapchat take over to announce a new line of flavors. See it here.

Subaru’s #MeetAnOwner 

This campaign used three top influencers in varying fields to put together a campaign that shows what it’s like to own a Subaru. The emphasis was on adventure and got nearly 2 million likes and 9 thousand comments

Walmart’s #FightHunger Social Good Campaign

Walmart partnered with seven top influencers and the charity Feeding America to highlight the problem of hunger in the United States. Most people see America as the land of plenty, but millions go hungry every day; many of them children. The Walmart Foundation announced it would donate $0.90 to Feeding America, enough to provide 10 meals to people in need, for every like, share, or #FightHunger comment on their post. They hoped to raise $1.5 million within 30 days of the campaign starting. The campaign was such a hit, they raised that in only 1 day.

Stella Artois Beer

Stella Artois teamed up with influencers to help with their fundraising for water.org, a charity which aims to provide fresh drinking water to the millions on the planet who currently have to do without. They tied into the Oscars as well to get the campaign to create even more of an impact. See the campaign here. 

How Effective is Influencer Marketing?

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Influencer marketing is one of the latest trends in online marketing. But how effective is it, really, and can it work for your business?

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing can be defined as marketing which is focused on getting the attention of influencers, that is, prominent people in a niche or industry. They usually have a large following on social media, so the theory is that if you can get them to pay attention to your brand, products and services, they will pass along your information and make recommendations to their followers. In this way, you can gain traffic, subscribers and sales.

The Importance of Engagement as a Social Media Metric

Social media engagement, such as Likes, Comment and Shares, are an indication to Facebook and your own marketing team as to how well your posts are resonating with your target audience. Increasing engagement, especially shares, will help spread the word about all your business has to offer.

Targeting an influencer has the potential to give you a lot more brand reach and engagement, providing you are not too “spammy”, and your company is a good fit for what they commonly talk about in their posts. If you sell pet products, you don’t want to target a top sports personality, for example, no matter how many followers they have, unless they have a clear track record with respect to animal welfare, rescue and so on.

Engaging with an Influencer

You can follow pretty much anyone online, but posting too often can start to seem like spamming or even stalking. If you are going to engage with their content, make sure everything you contribute is short, helpful, and demonstrates your expertise in your niche.

Social Proof

Another important reason to engage with influencers and hopefully build a relationship with them is something called social proof. Studies have shown that people trust recommendations about products when they come from their peers, even though they might barely know the person in their network, as compared with marketing material that a business publishes.

This being the case, reviews, testimonials and positive comments are essential for getting prospective customers to try your products, because it lowers the risk of being disappointed or scammed. Influencers can help lend your business credibility, but only if they are a trustworthy source of information and are not recommending everything under the sun.

Who Pays Attention to Influencers?

The short answer is anyone interested in a particular niche or topic will always follow at least a couple of influencers and pay attention to what they do, say, and recommend.

Having said that, the youngest generations of shoppers rely heavily on influencer input. In fact, a large percentage of their social media activity is to check out influencers, and to see what is trending. They want things that really work, and are willing to pay a reasonable price for them. They are also willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative, with others, giving influencer marketing a magnifying effect.

How Effective is Influencer Marketing?

Surveys of marketers currently using influencer marketing show that 94% of them find it effective, with 11 times more return on investment than traditional advertising. They report that influencer marketing drives content about their brand and niche, traffic, sales and engagement, all in a cost-effective manner. Add to that the chance to reach younger consumers, as we just mentioned, and influencer marketing could be just what you are looking for to extend the reach of your brand.

Top Influencers and Their Reach

The power and importance of influencer marketing can no longer be underestimated—Forbes recently released their list of Top Influencers of 2017, spanning multiple categories and covering social media kings and queens who operate all around the world. Inspired? Let’s take a look at the users leading each category and their success with social media:

Fashion

In fashion, Forbes lauded Italian fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni, also known by her blog name The Blonde Salad. Starting her blog in 2009, Ferragni’s popularity and reach has thrived so noticeably in the last decade that Harvard Business Review conducted its first influencer case study on her social media presence. According to the piece, she’d made $8 million from her social media and related endeavors the year before. Ferragni owns her own fashion line, has collaborated with major brands like Gucci, and has over 11 million followers on Instagram.

Mommy Bloggers

When it came to parenting influencers, What’s Up Moms came first. The American duo, Meg Resnikoff and Elle Walker, attended Stanford University together and reconnected later in their 30s as new mothers. Their YouTube channel What’s Up Moms, the #1 parenting channel on the site, earns 35 million views per month, and they’ve been sponsored by Kohler, Clinique and Motts. They now work with a team of 12 and can command 7 digits for a partnership.

Travel

As a Morgan Stanley college recruiter, American Brian Kelly—now known as The Points Guy—accumulated travel points for his numerous first class flights, recruiting meals, and other expenses, earning free flights with the points. Soon, his blog about gaining points for perks reached acclaim with eager readers, and he has since quit his job to work on the site full-time. The Points Guy has 4 million monthly readers and 2 million social media followers; it also has a staff of 20 and a freelancing staff of 50. Kelly led the social media campaign for Chase’s Sapphire Reserve card launch and is known for his philanthropic endeavors (Points for Peace, Rainbow Railroad) that he also donates his miles to.

Fitness

Australian Kayla Itsines is almost unanimously the most well-known fitness influencer on the Internet. Her app “Sweat With Kayla” was the most downloaded fitness app in 2016, earning $17 million in revenue, and her workout program Bikini Body Training Guide is purchased for $19.99 each month by hundreds of thousands. With 8.6 million followers on Instagram and well-used #bbg hashtags, and nearly 18 million likes/followers on Facebook, Itsines is a force to be reckoned with. She sold out stadiums in 2016 when her Sweat Tour tickets were sold out within an hour, and her eating and lifestyle book became a bestseller.

Beauty

At the top of the beauty category is Zoella, or Zoe Sugg, a British beauty YouTuber with 12 million subscribers and counting. Making her name through hauls, reviews, and the daily life vlogs of her second channel MoreZoella (nearly 5 million subscribers), Sugg has since expanded her name beyond online. Outside of her intense social media involvement and large following, Sugg has written and published books that have broken sales records, and has collaborated with brands to create product lines that similarly shattered sales records. Recent documents allegedly show that Sugg makes at least £50,000 each month—the equivalent of roughtly $70,000.

It’s clear that influencers are not simply sleek, pretty Internet profiles, as some might think, but real forms of communication, business, and cultural impact. Interested in learning more? Click around our website and platform to get a closer look at one of the newest and most powerful modes of marketing.

The Most Saturated Influencer Industries

Influencers are highly-followed social media users who advertise for companies and brands at a certain rate per sponsored post. However, some industries have a greater presence and advantage in social media marketing more than others. Here are the top 3 industries, not in any particular order, that influencer marketing dominates:

Fashion

Fashion itself is so versatile that it allows for a wide range of users to be placed into the category. The term no longer only refers solely to stick thin models and runways—the images that “fashion” might once have conjured before blogs and Instagram profiles became prevalent. With the accessibility of social media now, fashion influencers show all different styles and all body types. Content ranges from street fashion, plus-sized fashion, thrifted fashion, designer-brand fashion, baby fashion—anything that could ever be worn. Influencers show their own personal tastes, and share brands with those who might want to dress the same way. Users can follow whomever they want, and whatever styles they feel inspired by.

Additionally, influencers are everyday people from all walks of life. The high fashion industry is notorious for trying to sell clothing to the public through the idealistic, uncommon bodies of supermodels. To see people of all shapes and sizes wear sample clothing on social media creates a genuine environment for followers that the high fashion industry cannot supply.

Food

There is a reason the Food Network exists. We all eat, and people are always attracted to seeing how food is made, decorated and even consumed. So, it comes as no surprise that food-related social media is incredibly popular as well. There is something so satisfying about photos and videos of delicious things—even if you’re not the one making or eating them.

Similar to fashion, food is such a general term that includes many, many genres—whether it’s location-based like New Fork City (@new_fork_city), centered on a specific food like The Cake Blog (@thecakeblog) or even novelty-focused such as Tiny Kitchen (@tinykitchentm).

There is also less of a need to cultivate a personal image when it comes to food pictures because the influencer is not using himself or herself to sell the product. The food merely has to look appetizing in the atmosphere it is served in. The influencer does not even have to be in the photo.

People often follow food bloggers for aesthetics, but also for inspiration for places to visit and to post about themselves. Buzzfeed even created a video series of employees trying “Instagram Famous” foods. Food bloggers have such a strong effect because they create a new type of customer: the “foodie.”

Fitness

At first, fitness may not seem like an obvious form of marketing—exercise and clean eating are not exactly products. Yet while the main theme of a fitness blogger’s content might be getting in shape, there are still opportunities to advertise brands and products. A fitness blogger’s main focus might vary: from yoga to powerlifting, there are several subcategories within this single category. Fitness bloggers may post exercises, yoga poses, or powerlifting sets, all while showing off toned bodies and advertising a number of commercial ways to achieve them: protein powder, studio classes, special equipment, special diets. Fashion plays a key part too, as many fitness bloggers are sponsored by athletic clothing brands, or even launch their own.

While fitness bloggers show their sweat and hard work, they also represent an ideal. We live in a culture where we believe that working out not only leads to being healthy, but also to being physically attractive. We often follow fitness influencers to be inspired to work out, to eat better, and to buy the products they’re sponsored by—with the hope that we can look like them, too.

Statistics to Help You Choose Which Social Media Platform to Use for Your Next Campaign

 

There is a famous quote about leadership that goes as follows:

Envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem solvers. They’re cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.

The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies, and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for machete wielders.
The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, ‘Wrong jungle!’”

In a previous article we have already discussed the most popular social media platforms that can be utilized for an advertising campaign. However, it is important to ensure your next campaign isn’t in the ‘wrong jungle’ or it may fall flat. I’m going to outline the best uses for some of the most popular social media platforms.

Facebook: Facebook is by far the most popular of the social media platforms. As of 2016 80% of internet users are on Facebook. With the average age of Facebook user being in their 40s, it may be a better choice for a brand targeting an older audience. Facebook also has a very high character limit on posts (63,206 characters) which makes it useful for the long form.

Instagram: According to a recent PiperJaffrey study, teens described Instagram as their second most important social media, second only to Snapchat. Instagram definitely takes the cake with ‘trendier’ audiences, especially those ages 18 – 29. Instagram additionally has one of the largest presences of influencers among the different social media sites. Hashtags and the explore page make it easy for content to be seen.

Twitter: Twitter differs from Facebook and Instagram in the sense that it is primarily text-based posts, although photos and videos can be posted. Twitter is popular not only for light-hearted content, but also for more serious subjects such as politics. Young people make up a greater number than older people on twitter, which is important to understand for campaigns. Twitter is still very useful for campaigns regarding more serious subjects such as politics or business.

Snapchat: Snapchat is extremely popular among young people with 71% of their users being under the age of 34. The Snapchat Stories feature is very useful for advertising and product placement with influencers. Additionally, 70% of Snapchat users are female.

Each social media platform has its own strengths and weaknesses which are important to consider for any type of campaign involving influencers.