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Posts tagged “Influencers

Influencer Marketing – Where to From Here?

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The popularity of social media sites over the last two decades gave rise to a new and contemporary style of marketing, aka influencer marketing – involving a group of people known as influencers. Influencer marketing is essentially a hybrid of old and new marketing tools, where brands take the age-old concept of celebrity endorsements and turn them into modern-day content-driven campaigns on various social media platforms. In place of traditional celebrities on mainstream media, these “internet celebrities” are referred to as such because of their sizeable number of followers, and who are engaged by brands to endorse and promote their products and services.

Nearly 60% of marketers have been reported to include influencer marketing in their budgets. The strategy, however, has moved on from “What do you think about doing something with influencers?” to “What’s the influencer strategy for this campaign?” That’s how big influencers have become!

Whether we like it or not, influencers are here to stay. Influencer marketing is projected to grow to US$10 billion in 2020, and brands are increasingly using influencers as ambassadors to promote their products with their audience. An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram or a food blogger who tweets. There is enough to go around.

The important thing to remember here is that whatever the end goal may be, you need to make sure the influencer you choose will be able to deliver on your message. Here are some points to consider when identifying one:

1. Consumer Trust

Influencer marketing first became popular as a result of scepticism among audiences towards brand advertising. Consumers instinctively turned to influencers, more so than the traditional celebrity spokespeople for the brand, for more ‘authentic’ voices of opinions or reviews. Influencers’ work has typically been dependent on their commitment to put their audience’s interests first. While their role in marketing has increased rapidly, today’s savvy, informed consumers may still be cautious, and are likely to see them as mere conduits for corporate brands, similar to traditional celebrities.

2. Influencers not synonymous with big audiences

Initially, the word ‘influencer’ was an umbrella term for a group of people on social media with more than a million followers. Today, its subcategory that brands have successfully worked with includes micro-influencers – those with 10,000 to 90,000 followers. In time to come, more everyday brand advocates, with as few as 400-600 followers would become their spokespeople, as brands increasingly commit to reaping stronger results among smaller audiences, rather than blow their entire budget on a single influencer.

3. Differentiation

Social media sites today have millions of active users daily. Having to tap into that big of a potential market on your own can be tricky. That’s where influencers come in handy. With the large number of users, you are likely to be swimming in a sea of thousands. The high level of competition with low barriers to entry make it all the harder for brands to identify influencers. It’s worth considering the different levels of influencers and which ones are best suited to your brand/campaign.

4. Fake accounts / followers

Another risk that comes with the exceptionally large user bases on social media is the number of fake accounts or influencers with fake followers that marketers have to spend time weeding out, in order to identify the ones that organically generate quality engagement. A recent study conducted by Points North Group revealed that up to 20% of mid-level influencers’ followers are highly likely to be fraudulent – artificially inflated to increase their asking rates from brands.

5. Costs

As the demand for influencers continue to rise higher than it already is today, marketers have to set aside a huge portion of their budget for influencer marketing alone. To amass a following as large as they have, influencers would have had to put in hundreds of hours to build their personal brand and reputation; so naturally, they expect just as much in terms of remuneration.

With their ability to engage a highly relevant audience, and share content among their followers, influencers are vital to a brand’s marketing mix. Engaging an influencer comes with a unique set of challenges that can impact the results of your campaign. At the end of the day, it’s really about the messaging. What do you want them to share with their audience? How do you want them to present your brand?

 

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Follow That Bird!

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News, blogs, opinions – Twitter is one of the most popular social networks for spreading ideas. It has revolutionized the way millions of people consume news. With 288 million active users, Twitter is the world’s fourth-largest social network, as it gets ready for its IPO offering.

Twitter has proven its worth as the platform for breaking news. Tweets, i.e. the 140-character messages that make up the global Twitter dialogue, have become the preferred medium of communication for executives, celebrities, athletes and everyday people. Whether it’s President Barack Obama touting healthcare reform or Jennifer Aniston walking the red carpet, Twitter consistently trumps rival media platforms by breaking news, generating controversy and provoking debate in real time. If it doesn’t matter on Twitter, it simply doesn’t matter.

In recent years, usability advancements have helped Twitter to increase their following, and opened up possibilities for companies maximizing Twitter’s functions to achieve business goals. For example, employees of a media agency can share tweets and spread news of digital marketing, SEO and other trends on a selected Twitter stream – a neat twist for mainstream digital communications tools.  For non-business social networking, Twitter can also serve as a communicative and resourceful tool that families and schools can benefit from.

Twitter is also increasing advertising dollars as its empire builds. Social media as an advertising medium is growing, and growing fast.  For small businesses without the resources to explore conventional advertising options, Twitter presents a free and efficient alternative to promote goods and services directly to customers, exploiting the immediacy and intimacy that other channels simply can’t match.

So let’s take a closer look at Twitter and how best you can network and engage with your audiences effectively in order to grow your Twitter following and hopefully your customer base.  By following these simple tips, you can use Twitter to its full potential.

 1.  Keep your tweets short.

Make your tweets clear and uncomplicated, without too much shorthand. If you are including a link, use a URL shortener like Bit.ly or TinyURL. And leave enough room for people to retweet you without having to edit your original tweet.

2.   Be responsive

The easiest and most vital step to grow your audience is to communicate quickly. If someone shows an interest in your company, let them know you’ve heard them. Your Twitter feed may offer the first impression future clients have of your company. You want customers to perceive you as approachable, customer-centric and professional. Answering questions and responding to comments is the best way to do that.

3. Stay positive

The informal nature of Twitter lends itself well to all kinds of tweets.  In Twitter world, your company’s feed becomes a public face, so make a conscious effort to stay positive. While a few off-the-cuff remarks to your followers can make your company seem friendly and outgoing, do watch your tone.

4.  Engage your followers

By engaging your followers, you can forge tighter relations with your customer base. For example, first look for the products or services that you offer and find one that appeals most to your existing followers, and base your promotion around it. Then consider how you execute the promotion. While a simple “retweet to enter!” strategy can be fast-moving and widespread, it won’t convey any useful information to potential customers. Instead, consider asking your followers to tweet about your products using a specialized hashtag for entry.  This gets everyone talking and it will get the word out to a much bigger audience quickly.

5.  Make hashtags a habit

The best way to accomplish this is to create a unique and memorable hashtag and use it often. It should reference either your company name or your most popular and recognizable product, and be short. Hashtags create a page that stores every recent tweet using it; potential customers who click on your company hashtag can be presented with a wealth of information. Be sure to also use situational hashtags, like the hashtag for an event you’re attending. These can pull in new followers who are monitoring those tags or use them regularly.

6.  Ask questions.

Start a dialogue; “crowdsource” an opinion. Asking questions is one of the best ways to attract attention and get your Twitter name retweeted. Instead of posting what you think, ask others for their opinions.

7.  Target influencers

Be sure to tweet at and strike up conversations with influential individuals and companies in your line of business. If you can offer similar type topics or interesting news for their followers, you may just reap a share of the wealth, and capture the he attention of some big names in the process.  It’s a great way to network online and you may find an open doorway that leads to an inner circle of industry experts who could add to your business.

Remember, the sky’s the limit for Twitter as it continues to drive its presence with users and advertisers around the globe. Use it wisely and responsibly – bad news travels fast!

So let your fingers do the walking and keep tweeting – you never know, your company could just become the next big trending topic!

Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, CorpMedia