Your essential guide to Influencer Marketing

Source: Pexels.com

There’s no doubt that one of the fastest growing marketing strategies in the social media space is Influencer Marketing. This is particularly popular on Instagram, where “influencers” show off sponsored products to their loyal followers as companies search for a more authentic way to advertise.

What the heck is Influencer Marketing anyway?

According to HubSpot, “Influencer marketing employs leading, niche content creators to improve brand awareness, increase traffic, and drive your brand’s message to your target audience.” This is a pretty good explanation of it. Companies provide products or cash (or both) to social media personalities with loyal followings, and in return, those personalities show off the products to their followers.

Influencer Marketing by the numbers

More and more, marketers are seeing eye-popping Return on Investment (ROI) from Influencer Marketing strategies – in many cases 8x to 11x ROI.

And why is this?

We are programmed to take into consideration the recommendations of others. In fact, 49% of consumers say they depend on influencer recommendations when making a purchase decision and a staggering 90% of people trust peer recommendations (Varma, 2019).

Categories of Influencers

In the world of influencers, there are actually multiple categories, based on the size of their follower base.

  • Celebrity Influencers: Think Kim Kardashian. With over 104 million followers, she may be a bit out of the price range for many companies.
  • Macro Influencers: 100-499k followers. They’re trusted in their category and they carry clout.
  • Nano Influencers: 26-99k followers. They have highly engaged audiences and are trusted by their followers.
  • Micro Influencers: 5-25k followers. Very budget friendly. Highly engaged niche audiences. Extremely relatable and authentic.

The cost of influencers varies based on these categories. According to a 2017 study by Influence.io, the average price per post was $271. The average for influencers with less than 1000 followers was $83, while the average for influencers with more than 100,000 followers was $763.

The current trend is for brands to target smaller niche communities through Micro or Nano influencers, reaching highly loyal and highly engaged audiences within a geographic area or category. Read about more trends here.

7 Top Tips for Developing your Influencer Strategy

  1. Determine what the goal of your Influencer Marketing strategy is. Are you trying to create brand awareness? Do you want to drive conversions and link clicks?
  2. Choose the type of campaign that best suits your goals. The main types of campaigns are: content driven, giveaways, click-throughs, and ambassador programs. Content and ambassador programs will help drive awareness, while giveaways and click-throughs will get you new followers and drive traffic to your website or products.
  3. If you’re not sure, connect with an Influencer Marketing agency who can help you develop the right strategy.
  4. Don’t skimp on the research – find the right influencers for your brand or product. Make sure their audience is YOUR audience too.
  5. Don’t underestimate the need to include Influencer Marketing in your overall strategy – and in your budget.
  6. Develop messaging for your influencer. What do you want them to convey about your brand? What products would you love for them to feature?
  7. Ensure you have a written contract in place with your influencers, but don’t make silly demands of them. This will only serve to turn them off of representing your brand. It also may just backfire. Check out this video below from a well-known YouTuber who was approached by a large company with a sponsorship proposal.

And above all, measure the results.

How to find influencers

There are several ways you can find the right influencers for your campaign, including:

  • Google: Look for industry related keywords and articles talking about the top influencers to follow in this area.
  • Social Media: Search for keywords and hashtags that are relevant and go through the results to find popular content creators. Take some time to review their posts and the engagement they’re getting on them.
  • Referrals: Find out who people in your circles are following.
  • Influencer software and agencies: There is a whole industry popping up with tools to help you find (and vet!) influencers. Check out these 17 FREE Influencer Marketing tools for more on that. As well, check out ShopandShout.com, a Canadian company specializing in this space from both the influencer side and the brand side.

Are you currently using influencer marketing in your marketing strategy? Who are some of your key influencers you’d like to engage with? Drop your comments below.


Social Media Posts

Twitter:
Hey Brands! If you’re ignoring Influencer Marketing, you’re getting left behind. Don’t miss this guide to the world of influencers and how they can help you get 11x ROI! http://bit.ly/2w5xExS

Facebook:
Influencer marketing is one of the largest growing digital marketing trends. Brands all over the world are enjoying huge lifts on ROI, brand awareness, and conversions. If this isn’t already in your mix, it should be. Find out more about how to create a strategy that really works: http://bit.ly/2w5xExS

Sources

Baker, Kristen. (2019, December 2). HubSpot: What Will Influencer Marketing Look Like in 2020? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-work-with-influencers

Chen, Jenn. (2019, December 2). Sprout Social: What is influencer marketing: How to develop your strategy [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/influencer-marketing/

Smith, Christine. (2019, November 30). Write a Great Influencer Marketing Proposal [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: https://www.influenex.com/blog/write-great-influencer-marketing-proposal.html

Varma, Vinod. (2019, October 18). ShopandShout.com – Influencers: A Love, Hate Relationship [Presentation at SocialEast 2019, Halifax, Nova Scotia].

Sehl, Katie. (2019, March 4). Hootsuite: The Complete Guide to Instagram Influencer Rates in 2019 [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-influencer-rates/

ryanm. (2017, February 15). Influence.io: Instagram Influencers – How Much are They Really Making? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: http://blog.influence.co/instagram-influencers/

Influencer Marketing Hub. (2020, January 15). 17 FREE Influencer Marketing Tools to Find Influencers [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: https://influencermarketinghub.com/free-influencer-marketing-tools/

Media Kix. (n.d.). 15 Influencer Marketing Trends in 2020 [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: https://mediakix.com/influencer-marketing-resources/influencer-marketing-trends/

Drowning in Data: How to avoid Analysis Paralysis in social media measurement

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I was inspired this week to take a deeper dive into the world of social media measurement and to try to sort through the noise on what metrics really matter.

With all of the data available from each of the native platforms, not to mention the data available from other paid solutions, you can easily drown in data and get nowhere with your analysis.

In a recent meeting with our digital team, I asked them, “What metrics do you consider the most important for our organization as a whole?”

Their answer was engagement, specifically the percentage of engagement from our total followers. As I probed further, they defined engagement as impressions, due to the passive nature of a lot of the content we’re posting. Engagement is more commonly measured by looking at likes, comments, retweets, shares, and clicks.

So what should I measure?

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What it really boils down to is you need to look at your goals and find the metrics that match them best. Are you trying to sell products in an e-commerce shop? Perhaps link clicks or conversions are your best metric. Are you looking to provide really great customer service? Response rate and time are key for you. If you’re looking for brand awareness, try monitoring all mentions of your brand across the web and your share of voice.

There are really four categories that the most popular metrics fall into:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Conversion
  • Customer

Here are a couple really great resources to get you started in choosing the right metrics:

The most important social media metrics to track (Sprout Social)

19 Social Media Metrics That Really Matter—And How to Track Them (Hootsuite)

5 tips to avoiding Analysis Paralysis

Here are a few quick tips on choosing the right metrics:

  1. Understand your audience. Make sure you are measuring demographic and audience information to make sure you understand who you’re talking to and what they’re interested in. This can even include breaking down the best time to post to get their attention.
  2. Choose metrics that address your goals. Before you can start measuring, you have to really understand what you’re hoping to get out of social media. Look at your strategy and define your business goals clearly, then choose the metrics that will best help you achieve them.
  3. Choose a few metrics that are most important and stick with them. Trying to measure everything will drive you crazy, so choose five or less and stick to them. Create a report template you can update on a regular basis with these metrics and circulate. This makes sure you’re comparing apples to apples each month.
  4. Avoid relying solely on vanity metrics like followers. Yes, this tells you how many people are potentially seeing your posts (though impressions is a better measure of that with the current algorithms), but it doesn’t give you a picture of how engaged your audience is.
  5. Try to create content that is actionable and measurable. Adding a quick UTM tracking link, a unique coupon code, asking a question to start a conversation and inspire engagement, or sending them to a custom landing page is a great way to track the success of a post.

Social media posts

Twitter:
Tired of drowning in social media data? Don’t miss these tips to choosing the right metrics for your organization. http://bit.ly/38HOJwr

Facebook:
To choose the right social media metrics, you first need to really understand your goals. If you’re not careful, the sheer amount of data available can overwhelm you and you may miss important insights. Don’t miss these tips for choosing the RIGHT metrics: http://bit.ly/38HOJwr

Sources

Chen, Jenn. (10 Jan 2020). The most important social media metrics to track [Blog Post]. Sprout Social. Retrieved from: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-metrics/

Shleyner, Eddie. (8 Nov 2019). 19 Social Media Metrics That Really Matter – And How to Track Them [Blog Post]. Hootsuite. Retrieved from: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-metrics/

Social media is your most important customer service tool.

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Historically, businesses relied on conventional methods to deliver customer service. A customer would call on the telephone, send an email through the “Contact Us” page on the website, or even visit in person.

Increasingly, the expectations of consumers are changing and they are turning to social networks to connect directly with brands – either through direct or private messaging, or through public posts, such as tweets in which the company is tagged.

This may be for a number of reasons.

The rise of direct messaging

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In 2020, one of the trends that marketers are following is the rise of “Dark Social” – that is the use of direct or private messaging to connect. In 2016, it contributed to 84% of all online traffic and has only been growing since then.

This growth is likely due to the desire of social network users to escape the constant marketing messages and advertisements from brands. It is, however, seen as an effective way to connect with those brands directly and get a real response, instead of sending an email into the abyss or calling someone who knows where. Customers feel a real human connection when they’re using social networks.

In a recent study of social network users, 90% said they had used social media to connect directly with a brand.

In my experience, at a university, students are most comfortable using social media to pose questions or get information. We consistently receive questions through Facebook or Instagram messages, some that in the past would have been sent via more “official” channels, such as email or by phone. This has presented some challenges in the way our social media management is structured overall, since the marketing team does not have intimate knowledge of the processes and policies to which the questions relate.

Why is customer service so important on social media?

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Your customers have choices. They are also have the potential to be your most powerful advocates.

However, one bad experience can have a negative, and very public, impact on your social media presence.

A few facts about social customer service quickly put this into perspective:

As you can see, delivering effective and quick social customer service is critical to maintaining a satisfied customer base who will recommend your business to others.

7 ways to provide a great customer experience on social media

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  1. Reply quickly. Platforms like Facebook only consider you very responsive if you reply within an average of 5 minutes. While this is not always possible, it is best to try to meet the expectations of your customer. If you’re not able to maintain this type of standard, using auto-responders to acknowledge the messages and provide additional information about the hours the channel is monitored, or alternate contact details, are helpful.
  2. Loop your customer service subject matter experts into the social media management team to reply directly. Instead of relying solely on the marketing or communications team to manage these inquiries, have your customer service team treat social media as another traditional contact method and connect directly. This way, they can resolve issues or share information more efficiently (and more quickly) with the customer.
  3. Be helpful. Do everything you can to help resolve any issues or answer questions. Don’t be afraid to offer apologies if something has gone wrong and try to find a way to fix it.
  4. Keep a friendly, personable tone. Social networks are not as formal as other traditional methods. Customers don’t expect you to speak to them that way. Do your best to be personable while staying on brand with your company’s voice.
  5. Use social listening. A wide range of social listening tools have grown significantly in the last few years among social media managers. This allows you to track mentions of your company, as well as other key terms, and join the conversation directly.
  6. Take public posts to private messages to avoid the “peanut gallery”. It’s inevitable that you may have an unhappy customer comment on your posts or sending you a public tweet, airing their grievances. The easiest way to contain this situation is to try first to take it to private messaging to get more information so you can resolve their issue. This way, they’re not being asked to share potentially private information in a public forum. This also reduces the tendency of others to “pile on” with additional complaints and shows that you are taking their complaint seriously.
  7. Make sure you answer the inquiry. Find out the answer or assign it to someone who has the information to respond to. Follow up to make sure it has been done! There’s nothing worse that a customer feeling like you’ve dropped the ball.

Providing excellent customer service on social media has the potential to transform difficult customer situations and to convert them to happy customers who are your most powerful advocates.

How are you using social media as a customer service tool? What will you change this year to enhance this?

Sources:

Anthony, Emily. (n.d.).  RevLocal: Why Social Media is the Next Customer Service Tool [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.revlocal.com/blog/social-media/why-social-media-is-the-next-customer-service-tool

Gregory, Sonia.  (2019, April 30). FreshSparks: 6 Key Elements of Using Social Media for Customer Service [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://freshsparks.com/using-social-media-for-customer-service/

Green, Liz. (n.d.).  Digital Marketing Institute: Social Media is a Customer Service Channel – Whether You Like It or Not [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-ca/blog/social-media-is-a-customer-service-channel-whether-you-like-it-or-not

Oracle. 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report. p. 4. Retrieved from http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/cust-exp-impact-report-epss-1560493.pdf

Liew, Adrian. (2020). Hubspot: Social Media Trends for 2020: 50+ Industry Experts Define The Trends You Need to Know [PDF file] p. 11. Retrieved from https://offers.hubspot.com/social-media-trends-2020

Social Posts

Twitter:
Looking to turn customers into powerful advocates? Social media is your most important customer service tool. Find out how to harness it: http://bit.ly/38bcAVd

Facebook:
Social media is emerging as the most important customer service tool for your organization. Follow these 7 tips for managing it and turning customers into your most powerful advocates: http://bit.ly/38bcAVd

The Rise of Video in Digital Marketing (and why you should be doing it)

The Rise of Video in Digital Marketing (and why you should be doing it)

Person holding video camera
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The use of video to reach audiences online has never been so widespread (or so important) as it is right now. Year after year, the growth of video-based social media, like YouTube, Facebook’s Watch, Instagram’s IGTV, and now new apps like Tik Tok have proven that video is here to stay.

A growing audience

Audience cheering
Source: pixabay.com

From its beginnings in 2005, YouTube has grown to be the world’s second largest search engine and the second most visited site (after Google). Its 2 billion monthly users watch more than 1 billion hours of YouTube content every single day.

YouTube content creators are creating videos that range from entertainment, to politics, to DIY, education, and everything in between. It has also been the source of new celebrity for content creators, and the development of the profession of “YouTuber” as a viable career.

Video does not stop at YouTube, though.

About 11% of all Facebook posts are video based, adding up to 8 billion views a day. Instagram has launched a new service, IGTV, where users can post videos up to 60 minutes in length and create their own “channel”.

TikTok, a social network completely centred around short form video content, has now surpassed 1.5 billion app downloads and more than 500 million active users worldwide. The most popular users of TikTok are between 16-24.

On Twitter, the fastest growing segment is video, with over 1.2 billion views per day.

The secret to engagement

Person watching YouTube on smartphone
Source: Pexels.com

Across the board, video is the best performing content type on social networks. In fact, social media posts with video have 48% more views and the algorithms of the networks favour content with video.

Creating interesting and engaging video content is the quickest way to:

Top Tips for optimizing your video content

  1. Create content that is funny, inspirational, or practical for maximum engagement.
  2. Search for trends on popular video sites to create content that is consistent with what your audience is watching. For example, TikTok is a wealth of viral video challenges and trends.
  3. Live video is a great way to engage with your audience on a budget and gains excellent engagement.
  4. Keep it short – videos under two minutes get the most engagement
  5. Make sure it works with the sound off – 85% of all Facebook videos are watched without sound, so add those captions!
  6. Put the main message of your video in the first 30-seconds for maximum exposure, as many users will stop watching or skip after this point (33%).
  7. Make sure you’re keeping the format in mind for each channel. Create the size and aspect ratio that is going to gain you the most engagement on each social network (landscape, square, portrait).
  8. Check out YouTube for great tips on content creation and production!

Video is not just the future, it’s the present.

For years, marketers have talked about video being the future, but the current trends point to it being the dominant content form now and growing every day.

What are you doing to incorporate video into your content mix? What challenges have you faced when creating video content? Drop your comments below.


Sources:
Smith, Kit (2020, January 17). 52 Fascinating and Incredible YouTube Statistics. [Blog post] Retrieved from https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/youtube-stats/

Hutchinson, Andrew (2019, March 12). Twitter Provides New Stats and Advice on Video Marketing [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/twitter-provides-new-stats-and-advice-on-video-marketing/550225/

55 Video Marketing Statistics For 2020. (2020, January 20) [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://biteable.com/blog/tips/video-marketing-statistics/

Peters, Brian (2019, January 29). Facebook Marketing in 2019: A Study of 777M Facebook Posts [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://buffer.com/resources/facebook-marketing-2019

Lister, Mary (2017, March 8). 37 Staggering Video Marketing Statistics for 2018 [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/03/08/video-marketing-statistics

Iqbal, Mansoor (2019, August 8). YouTube Revenue and Usage Statistics (2019) [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.businessofapps.com/data/youtube-statistics/

Aboulhosn, Sarah (2020, January 21). 18 Facebook statistics every marketer should know in 2020 [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-stats-for-marketers/

Ting, Deanna (2020, January 1). For TikTok, big expectations await in 2020 [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://digiday.com/marketing/tiktok-big-expectations-await-2020/

Mohsin, Maryam (2020, January 15). 10 TikTok Statistics That You Need to Know in 2020 [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.oberlo.ca/blog/tiktok-statistics

Social Post Examples

Facebook:

Video has been the fastest growing type of content online every year for brands and content creators. If you’re looking to engage with your audience and boost your brand, adding video to your marketing mix is the best way. Don’t miss these tips for creating video content for your channels: http://bit.ly/30YecOZ

Twitter:

If you’re looking to engage with your audience and boost your brand, adding video to your marketing mix is the best way. Don’t miss these tips for creating video content for your channels: http://bit.ly/30YecOZ