Monthly Archives: August 2016

Recognizing and Embracing the Changing Face of Influencer Marketing

I remember being a wide-eyed communications student sitting in class, learning about how brands reach their target audiences. We were learning about how mediums such as television, print, and radio were king.

A lot has changed in 10 years.

In the years since I was sitting in that college class, the face of influencer marketing has changed. While mediums such as television and print will never die (as long as we still have cable, newspapers, and magazines) now consumers are more interested in discovering various ways to use a certain product as opposed to being told how to use the product.

The Rise of Online Influencers

With the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, users are able to explore and discover things to do with products in a visually appealing way.

In order to garner attention in a more organic way, brands have turned to online influencers — in particular, bloggers. Now, instead of brands simply telling consumers how they should be consuming a product, brands as well as public relations agencies are reaching out to people who are influential online in order to advance a brand’s message.

The Popularity of Online Influencers

This sort of word-of-mouth advertising has become wildly popular. In fact, a 2014 study revealed that marketing which was inspired by word of mouth generated double the sales of paid advertising and had a 37 percent higher retention rate.

Additionally, it has been shown that information shared by trusted advocates (such as online influencers) convert at a rate of 4 to 10 times a higher rate than when the brand promotes the offer directly.

The thing is that these online influencers come in a variety of forms. In addition to the wide variety of bloggers who are promoting the brand, there are also online influencers who specialize in YouTube, Snap Chat, and even Vine.

The face of influencer marketing is constantly changing, which is why it is important to embrace the idea of online marketing.

About the author: When she isn’t taking care of her two young boys, Rachel writes about crafting, decorating, and the joys of parenting on her blog Third Stop on the Right.

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Kayla Itsines: Poster Child for Non-Celebrity Endorsements?

Online influencers have shaped the way we engage with different products. By seeing success stories of people like us, we start to feel confident in or curious about a product that may have seemed unattainable before, especially if it was previously endorsed by a celebrity. Recipes, holiday decorations, and even fitness routines seem to work into our busy lives better when showcased by a relatable influencer.

Kayla Itsines is a perfect example of an online influencer that has taken a product, her fitness guides, and made them irresistible by sharing user results on her social channels. She created a photo plan within her guides so that users take a photo in the same outfit every week to see results without using a scale. Users can then send before and after photos to be featured on Itsines’ channels. It’s the perfect content cocktail – real people using a product then showing unedited results to feature on social for all to experience. It’s motivating, positive, and the content is always changing to continue to engage followers.

So why does this work? In a survey published by Collective Bias earlier this year, it was revealed that nearly one-third of consumers are more likely to purchase a product by a non-celebrity blogger, like Kayla Itsines, than a celebrity. We trust people like us and rely on recommendations to feel confident in using or buying a product. She’s balancing life just as we are and sharing the results from those who have benefitted from incorporating the fitness guides into their limited schedules.

Content has the power to influence, as long as you have the right people producing it. To read more about Itsines and her content success, you can visit the original article on Yahoo here.

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3 Step Formula for a Viral Brand Campaign

It’s every influencer and marketer’s dream: to have their campaign go viral. While viral posts and campaigns may seem like the impossible dream, they’re actually incredibly formulaic. They key to success? An easy three step formula that encourages shares and drives sales.

First and foremost: be helpful.

Posts tend to go viral for one of two reasons: they’re clickbait or they’re helpful. Clickbait posts and campaigns can drive traffic, but the shares will spike dramatically in a short period of time and then promptly fall off a cliff. Helpful posts are shared more frequently and for a longer period of time because they solve a common problem. If one reader has a problem and you’ve provided them a solution, they’re more likely to share it with their friends because chances are they also are on the hunt for the same solution. Helpful posts are helpful for much longer than clickbait posts are popular.

Helpful posts are shared more frequently because they solve a common problem. Click To Tweet

Rack your brain and think back through your last five Facebook shares. In between the quizzes on which Pokemon you most resemble, you likely have shared helpful articles, posts, and campaigns. When working with influencers, it’s important to develop a campaign that aims to be helpful rather than product reviews or straightforward plugs. For example, a watch company partnering with an influencer in hopes of a review and exposure will struggle to get shares with the title “Brand X Watch Review.” The average social media user is way more likely to share a post titled “Five Reasons You’re Always Late” which includes a product mention instead of a straightforward review because the post solves a common problem.

Have top notch imagery.

Humans are visual creatures and nothing makes or breaks a campaign more than the imagery. Amazing photos don’t always mean thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment – some influencers take amazing shots using only their iPhones! The most important factor in photography is to have crisp, clear images that help to tell the story of your campaign.

Partnering with your influencer to choose the perfect “hero shot” for your campaign is key. This image can be used as the main photo in not only their post, but also on all social media channels – driving clicks! Influencers will often pick their favorite photo as the “hero image,” but it’s more than acceptable when collaborating on a campaign to work with the influencer to choose which image works best for you. It’s also important to work with your influencer to tailor each “hero shot” to specific social media channels. For example, taller and thinner photos tend to drive more clicks on Pinterest, whereas wider photos perform better on Twitter. Imagery brings the story of a campaign to life, both driving traffic and driving sales!

Promote on the right platforms.

While all social media platforms have their uses, the two platforms most conducive to viral posts are Pinterest and Facebook.

The key to virality on Pinterest is pinning your campaign’s “hero shot” on a high traffic Pinterest Board. For example, InfluenceHer Collective’s Pinterest board has 130 thousand followers. Pinning to a high traffic Pinterest board is a free and easy way to promote a campaign. Pins that follow the above two steps of the formula (helpful + high quality imagery) are the bread and butter of viral posts on Pinterest because readers will save them onto their own boards, many of which have hundreds of followers themselves.

Facebook is a world among friends, meaning if a reader finds a post helpful to themselves they’re more likely to want to share it with their friends. In addition to organic sharing, Facebook also allows for targeted ads, putting your campaign directly in front of your key demographic. Again, by following the first two steps of the formula readers are more likely to not only click through but also share your campaign, driving sales.

This flawless (and easy!)  three step formula is the key to having your campaign go nuclear every time.

Kelsey is a pint-sized blonde living and blogging in San Francisco! In love with fashion, beauty, travel, and onion bagels, her signature tongue-in-cheek wit is the backbone of all her writing, including her own blog Blondes & Bagels.

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE WHITEPAPER, “10 TIPS FOR GREAT INFLUENCER POSTS SHOPPERS WILL LOVE”

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The Art and Science of Influencer Selection

Yes, you read that right. There is both an art and a science to choosing influencers for your marketing campaigns. Do you want any person with a blog creating content for you or do you want content on a clean and inviting site that is created by an experienced influencer with a trusted audience that you’re hoping to connect with? An influencer marketing campaign is only as good as the influencers chosen for it. Let’s break down the art and science of influencer selection.

An influencer marketing campaign is only as good as the influencers chosen for it. Click To Tweet

The art of influencer selection

Most influencers pour their heart and soul into their blog sites. These blogs house their take on the world and reflects them as a person. With that being said, here’s a taste of what we look for on an influencer’s blog site when selecting whom to partner with.

  • Every post of theirs tells a story.
  • The blog site is clean and inviting
  • Percentage of sponsored content
  • Large and colorful original visuals
  • Prominent social sharing icons
  • Clear calls to action to drive social action
  • Posts regularly
  • Strong adherence to FTC regulations (clear disclosures, etc.)

The science of influencer selection

Every influencer marketing campaign is unique with each brand having a specific target audience and set goals in mind. Along with that comes a need for data-backed decisions when choosing influencers for each campaign. We select the best influencers for a campaign based on a variety of data including:

  • Brand fit
  • Type of content
  • Knowledge/expertise
  • Demographics
  • Store affinity (where do they shop the most?)
  • Geographical location
  • Historical performance data
  • Prior performance including content views and engagements
  • Their audience
  • If the influencer has worked with a brand recently that’s a competitor of the brand we’re creating content for

A detailed influencer selection process is crucial in getting the best of the best to create content for your brand. Download our 12-step checklist for selecting the right influencer marketing company to learn more!

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Can A Younger Boss Help You Get Ahead?

This is the question that Elizabeth Garone answered in her recent article for BBC.com. She asked Holly Pavilka, SVP of Marketing and Content here at CB, for some insight on the matter.

“Working for younger bosses keeps you young, and as long as you work for someone you respect and who respects you, then there shouldn’t be any issues with the age difference,” said Holly. “It’s more important to focus on staying on top of your industry than worrying about a younger boss.

Is this the case for everyone? Apparently not. A 2015 Multi-Generational Leadership study from Future Work/Beyond reported that 45 percent of baby boomers and Gen Xers felt that Millennials’ lack of managerial experience can have a negative effect on company culture.

Elizabeth Garone says to get used to it. With Millennials taking over the workforce and people increasingly staying longer in the workforce, younger bosses are bound to get more and more common.

Here are a few tips she offers:

  1. Remember you are not alone. It’s better to acknowledge any awkwardness felt about the age gap from the get-go.
  2. Realize that there’s much to be learned from other generations.

To read the rest of the article, head over to BBC.com.

You weigh in: How do you feel about working for a younger boss? Tell us in the comments below.

5 Ways to Repurpose An Old Blog Post

One blog post can only go so far, and once it’s been published, what now? What happens to that post after it goes live aside from informing those that seek it out? Repurposing quality content is a fantastic way to keep using the information you worked hard to gather!

Particularly when dealing with influencer content, brands can encourage influencers to repurpose this content in various ways, extending the reach of their original campaign.

Here are 5 ways to repurpose a blog post to bring in more traffic and garner new interest.

Pull out the numbers.

If a post was a numbered post that listed “10 Ways To Pamper Your Pooch”, pull apart each number and make it it’s own individual post. This way, the post is giving readers a little bit more information, while also using what was already written.

Refresh the photos.

Updating photos is a great way to bring in readers that enjoy some good eye candy. If it’s a recipe post and the blogger’s photography skills have improved, the photos can be re-shot for more pinnable images. Bright, well-lit photos seem to work best and are the most eye-catching.

Mix it up.

Did your influencer write a stellar blog post, but are now delving into the world of YouTube? Talk it out! Switching the platform of delivery is a great way to re-share content without boring the audience or losing followers.

Create a 2.0.

Did your influencer write an amazing piece on how to transform their living room for under $100? Have them write a follow up that talks about additional ways to save or other rooms to make over. Using this method for already popular posts is a fantastic way to capitalize on reader interest and keep them coming back for more.

Make it bite sized.

This method is especially great for numbered posts, such as “50 Ways To Spoil Your Dog This Summer”. Taking each individual method and using it for a tweet or Facebook post, alongside a bright photo, is an easy way to use what an influencer already has for an audience who might not have seen it yet.

Whether you seek new followers or a boost in traffic, repurposing content is a great vehicle to get you there. You’ve worked hard to gather that information, so use it to your advantage!

About the Author: Kait Hanson is a Hawaii-based writer who focuses on food, travel and lifestyle topics. She is a bar columnist for Metro Honolulu and contributing writer for Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, People Magazine and more. When she’s not writing, she can be found trying a new restaurant with her husband or playing with her two chocolate Labs, Judy and Bill, at the beach.

Collective Bias Ranks Among the Top 20 Percent on Inc. 5000 2016 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America

Company Recognized for Third Year in a Row; Takes Number Two Place for Arkansas-based Companies

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Aug. 17, 2016 — Collective Bias, a leading shopper marketing focused influencer media solutions company, announced today that it was named to the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America for the third year in a row.

Recognizing its 409 percent revenue growth over three years, Collective Bias was ranked number 977 on the list. Additionally, the company achieved the number two position for top Arkansas companies, with a 2015 annual revenue of $33.6 million among private companies.

Among the first movers in its space, Collective Bias has continued its impressive upward trajectory over the years by perfecting the art and science of influencer marketing through hand-selected content creation and proprietary data measurement. With a curated influencer community now in excess of 8,000 members that has expanded beyond the blogger to key channels like Instagram and YouTube, Collective Bias continues to extend its digital reach for an impressive client roster, including new additions this year like Pfizer, Kimberly-Clark, Shell and Scott’s Miracle Gro. Servicing categories such as food and beauty to consumer electronics and more, Collective Bias’ versatility and growth is also indicative of the company’s deep analytical capabilities with offerings that include verified delivery and predictive algorithms to ensure guaranteed engagements across social networks before campaigns even begin.

“Being named among America’s Fastest-Growing Companies for the third year in a row is not only an honor, but also a testament to the tireless efforts of everyone at this company,” said Bill Sussman, CEO of Collective Bias. “As the influencer marketing industry continues to expand and evolve, we’re proud to stand out and be recognized for the data-centric solutions we provide for brands looking to better engage their digital communities. We strive to improve our offerings every day, and we’re excited to introduce new measurement and analytics innovations in the near future.”

About Collective Bias

Collective Bias’ innovative Shopper Social Media™ platform connects authentic, real-life influencer content with key audiences to impact results at a particular retailer. At the forefront of influencer marketing and measurement, Collective Bias’ proprietary data and technology enables influencer selection and management, resulting in campaigns that drive true engagement and impact sales for leading brands across multiple verticals. Collective Bias was named one of Forbes’ “Most Promising Companies” three years in a row and listed in the “Inc. 5000.” Founded in 2009, the company has offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Minneapolis and Bentonville.

Social Fabric® is Collective Bias’ hand-selected community of over 5,000 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multi-channel reach in excess of 82 million. For more information, please visit Collectivebias.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contacts:

Mailena Urso
Collective Bias
mailenaurso@collectivebias.com
479-414-5819

Parker Winslow
SHIFT Communications
CB@shiftcomm.com
617-779-1863

What You Don’t Want to Hear From An Influencer Marketing Company

Brands of nearly every category and size are looking to dip their feet in the influencer marketing pool. Yet, this pool is like the neighborhood swimming spot on the hottest day of summer and becoming overcrowded with influencer networks, automation platforms, ad firms with newly launched influencer marketing arms and more. With so many options for brands, it’s crucial to do some homework before making your selection. As one of the first influencer marketing companies to be established, we’ve learned a thing or two over the years. So, if you ever find yourself sitting with employees of an influencer marketing firm and hear any of the following statements, we recommend running away screaming.    

“We’ll let you have all the control.”

From crafting campaign concepts that make sense for influencer campaigns, to vetting and selecting the right influencers, to reviewing content, to measuring the impact of the campaign, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes of an influencer marketing campaign. When looking for an influencer marketing company to partner with, it’s important to find one with the experience and infrastructure to scale any campaign size you need. Whether you need 20 bloggers or 200 bloggers, they should have the teams and processes in place to handle either. With so many checks and balances involved in ensuring campaign deliverables are high-quality, oversight is needed along the way.

“Disclosures ruin trust with the audience.”

A recent study found that one in four influencers were asked by a brand to not disclose they were paid for work mentioning said brand. The FTC is bringing the hammer down on brands that aren’t meeting mandates for clearly marked disclosures. Warner Brothers recently made headlines after the FTC accused them of paying YouTubers thousands of dollars to promote the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor without using proper disclosures. The influencer marketing company you partner with should have up-to-date requirements that ensure consumers are receiving quality sponsored content without any deception. If the content is actually meaningful and relevant, the influencers’ audiences will not care that it’s sponsored.  

“Our influencers write reviews.”

Today’s brands are finding the most success with story-driven marketing initiatives. Reviews are great if a consumer just wants to hear if a product/service is “good” or “bad”, but what about how the product works? How can a consumer fit the product into their lifestyle? Story-driven content provides so much more value to the reader than a typical review. People react and relate to personal experiences of how someone like them used a product to make their life easier or make their family’s new favorite dinner dish. Story-driven content also keeps the content from feeling like an ad. Stories allow for emotional and educational connections and between the influencer and the audience. After all, 30 percent of Millennials reported that they refuse to read content that doesn’t entertain or educate them. Don’t be the brand with boring reviews as your “content”.

So you may be wondering what else should be on your checklist when selecting an influencer marketing company. We’ve got a great resource to get you started.

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Solving Marketer Challenges with Influencer Content

This article by Collective Bias CCO/Co-founder, Amy Callahan, originally appeared on Huffington Post.

Influencer marketing: everyone’s talking about it, and over 59 percent of brands are spending money on it. The medium saw a massive uptick in searches last year because of its role in disrupting advertising, shaking up creative agencies, and causing brands, PR agencies and everyone in between to jump into the fray. After all, eMarketer reported that advertisers saw an average return of $6.85 in media value for every $1 spent on influencer campaigns. Studies have also shown that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from other people ­even individuals they don’t know over branded content. Social influencers are the bridge between brands and today’s hyper­-connected, ad-­shunning consumers. Let’s talk about some of the roles social influencers can play in solving common marketing challenges and how they can strengthen the trust between consumers and companies.

Launch new products

As much as 85 percent of new product launches in the CPG category fail each year, according to Nielsen. That percentage creeps even higher for the general market. With such a staggering failure rate, how are brands to overcome this?

Utilize influencer-­crafted content showcasing the new products and how everyday people use them. Consumers will be more motivated to try new products when they can see how people like them are using the products to make their lives better, easier, more entertaining, etc.

Proctor and Gamble brought this insight to life when launching their Swiffer Sweep & Trap product. The home goods giant invited popular mom bloggers to their “Make Meaning” launch party where the moms and their kids could go wild on arts and crafts, then use the new Swiffer product to clean up the aftermath. Moms snapped photos throughout the launch event and shared their experiences with their online followers. According to Hubspot, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference. This goes to show: Wouldn’t you rather purchase something when you can see how well it works beforehand by someone you trust?

Avoid de-listing threats and revive products

Influencer content is not just a launch pad for new products; it can also be the saving grace of well­-established brands at risk of being de-listed. When it comes to creating content involving a brand, an influencer’s true beauty lies in his or her ability to tell stories. Enlisting influencers to spin a lagging product back into the forefront of consumers’ minds is the key to avoid being de-listed. Sometimes, retailers put a brand on notice prior to de-listing and give them one final chance to prove a product’s value. This is where influencers can come in and bring the product back to life through new and unexpected uses.

Collective Bias worked with Mars to activate influential bloggers to help bring Crispy M&Ms (which were once a frenzy in the 90s) back to its heyday status with the “Crispy is Back” campaign. Influencers created compelling content and recipes that drove traffic to a featured landing page on the Mars brand site. A Twitter Party “thrown” as part of the revival campaign made the product a trending topic in the U.S.

Bolster charity campaigns

Influencer content is not just for helping accomplish traditional KPIs. Integrating influencers into charity amplifications brings another layer of authenticity to a brand’s efforts to impact both charities and sales. This is an area that influencers truly love. If the fit is right for their personal brand, a partnership serves as a great way for them to show their civic spirit. With the influential mom, studies have shown having children of their own makes them take a closer look at the world their child lives in, so they love supporting brands who their corporate responsibility and give back. Indeed, wielding the online reach of influencers to get the word out about a worthy cause is truly social good.

Earlier this year, The American Red Cross launched their “2Steps2Minutes” campaign to spread awareness about the two steps people must follow to escape a home fire. Several social influencers were integrated into the campaign to spread the message through digital and video content to their thousands of followers.

Extend the life of in­-store demos and events

When thinking of in­-store demos, it’s easy to picture an uninspired employee manning a booth with sample cups of food or drinks and little else. When utilized in the right ways, demos can be a great way to get consumers to trial and purchase your product. A study by Arbitron said more than 30 percent of customers who tried samples during a demo said they bought the product during the same shopping trip. When influencers attend (and post about) your demo, it gives your brand social exposure as well as more bang for your buck because they will extend the life of the demo through their content. Additionally, shoppers are 29 percent more likely to purchase on the same day that they used social media to assist them in their shopping endeavors, according to a Deloitte report.
   
Final note: Social influencers are not one-­hit wonders; the number of roles they can play along the path to purchase is truly impactful. From launching new products to saving on-­the-­cusp items, influencer content is unique because of its ability to tell an authentic story for just about any product or campaign. Read up on resources to learn how to tell stories that matter. Videos, storytelling, recipes, tips, tricks, tutorials…whatever the type of content, it has the ability to captivate consumers while resonating with them on a personal level. The marketplace is consumer-­driven, and influencer marketing is truly of consumers, by consumers, for consumers. Now, isn’t that a match made in heaven?

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How to Avoid Getting Trampled by Food Trends

This article by Collective Bias CEO, Bill Sussman, originally appeared on Progressive Grocer.

Food trends come and go (remember cronuts?), and can be extremely expensive and time-consuming for brands and retailers looking to keep their marketing efforts aligned with each one. Yet, in today’s super-connected world, consumers expect brands to keep up with trends. Google Food Trends 2016 report compiled the U.S. population’s top searches, which offered a unique look into overall considerations and behaviors when it comes to food.

Let’s observe some of these trends and how brands and retailers can use this information to make impactful marketing decisions that can be used now and for the next fad.

Trend #1: Food with a Function

The trend of people making more deliberate choices based on their health is continuing to grow, namely with food. According to the Food Trends report, Americans want to transform their diets with foods that fill needs beyond hunger and cravings; they want to incorporate ingredients that make them look and feel on top of their game. Rising ingredients like turmeric have consumers looking for the best ways to consume it, often searching for the term in tandem with “powder,” “recipe” and “smoothie.”

These searches spike at the beginning of the week, perhaps because consumers are sparked by “Monday motivation” to start the new week on a healthier note. Online behaviors such as these present an opportunity for brands and retailers to cater the content they release on Sundays-Tuesdays to educate consumers on healthy choices and recipe content and tricks for consuming these “foods with a function.” Have products that are more of an indulgence? Provide content that speaks to the power of balanced lifestyles and treating yourself. Consumers are looking to be educated when making health-based decisions. Be the brand that provides the information they’re watching for.

Trend #2: Traveling Through Taste

TV shows like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, and its predecessor, No Reservations, have already been importing images of exotic foods into living rooms for years. According to the Google report, people are ready to experience the global dishes for themselves. Top searches have included Asian and Mexican cuisine like pho and empanadas.

However, along with those searches, consumers are perusing for nearby restaurants and delivery services to get the unfamiliar dishes made by professionals. This creates a prime opportunity for marketers to make these dishes more approachable to recreate at home. Utilize foodie influencers to produce their spin on trending dishes using products from your store or brand to show that global cuisine can be made in home kitchens.

Influencer partnerships are an economical and effective way to keep your brand in tune with food trends; content creation is their specialty, so crafting approachable recipes is a breeze. Utilize influencers in order to provide the authentic cultural experiences that consumers are searching for.

Trend #3: Bite-Size Snacks

The power of on-the-go: Americans love snacking. According to the report, consumers are seeking out customized snacks that fit busy lifestyles. Bite-size snacks fit the bill of both portion control and convenience. It’s not just about flavor for consumers; they desire snacks that fulfill a wide range of dietary restrictions. Think protein-filled, vegan, paleo and gluten-free.

The report also states that Americans are “turning to their favorite influencers to get recipes and tips on fun snacking.” Many social influencers reflect certain niches in their blogs, resulting in a focus on gluten-free recipes, vegan tips and more. Consumers trust their favorite influencers to create tasty snack recipes based on their certain lifestyle or dietary restriction. Get your brand in on the action by enlisting influencers to concoct fun, bite-size snacks using your products in ways that reflect their personal choices – perfect for the customized desires of their followers.

Food trends can be costly and tedious to keep up with, but partnering with social influencers to create timely and effective content can help brands avoid being considered dated.