Monthly Archives: January 2017

Going For Guinness World Records®

Companies talk about culture, but few live and breathe it like Inmar, Inc., our new parent company. At Collective Bias, we are pretty proud of our culture of ping-pong tables, dogs roaming the hallways, our can do attitudes, and what we’ve done together. And we’re pretty excited that we’ve maintained it over our rapid growth the past few years.

But when you find yourself acquired, one of the first things you think about is your culture. Thankfully one of the reasons, we chose Inmar was the culture fit and it was never more evidenced than at the recent Inmar Town Hall event. Inmar flew all 150 Collective Bias employees down to their headquarters in Winston-Salem where three days of intense indoctrination began.

“Town Hall” is a pep rally on steroids. Executives from various business lines spoke about the future. The Winmars – Inmar’s in-house band played a rocking set throughout the three-hour event. One executive even donned a cheerleader costume as a result of losing a bet and led us in a rousing cheer, truly underscoring the pep rally aspect. The energy in the room was palpable.

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All new companies that Inmar acquires are asked to come to the Town Hall meeting prepared with a theme song and a presentation. In addition, we were asked to perform. Perform? Yes. We were told in the past acquired companies had done skits and various acts and that we need to come up with our own version.

We started out with the objective of performing something all 150 of us could execute. After all, Inmar had flown us all down there from all over the U.S. This meant we had to have an idea that was easily executed by a group that size who would not have time to rehearse and the idea had to illustrate who we were as a company and what we did.

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We create content and that served as the starting platform. We had to create an epic piece of content. After series of meetings we landed on playing kazoos and towards the end of our performance, inviting a few “Inmarians” to join us at the front of the stage to symbolize our companies coming together. But Sharon Joyner-Payne, the EVP of Corporate Communications and Great Teams at Inmar, upon hearing the idea, jumped at the idea of having the entire company join us taking the number of kazoo players up to 1,200 and we would capture footage of all 1,200 of us performing to create a memorable, shareable video.

Looping in our PR firm, Shift Communications, to the impending stunt, they quickly escalated this by saying, “Let’s set some Guinness World Records®”. However, the record for the largest group of people playing kazoos was 5000 people. We ended up deciding to play triangles! Seven pages of rules, a monumental list of details and craziness later, we shattered the existing record of 574 musicians when 876 Inmar and Collective Bias employees performed ‘I Heard it Through The Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye on the triangle for the required five minutes.

Little did we know what it takes to win Guinness World Records® when we started this journey. And we have certainly set the bar high for any future acquisitions.  

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Collective Bias joins Inmar in earning the Guinness World Record® for the most people playing triangle at the same time. This is an example of two companies combining company cultures effectively!

The Weekly Bias: How Brands Can Use Social Video

Social video is rapidly on the rise, with everyone from moms to brands utilizing both recorded and live video daily. The use of video for brands has become a necessity, but using it creatively to foster the most engagement can be tough. This week’s Weekly Bias explores how brands can use social video to connect with their target audience.

Social Video Sweepstakes Increase Engagement

As the popularity of social video continues to rise, new opportunities for brands present themselves in unique ways. For example. brands can host giveaways, or sweepstakes, on Facebook Live, and announce the winner at the end of the broadcast. For more creative ideas, read the full article on Convince & Convert.

Social Video + The Big Game = Winning Combination

It’s no secret that brands love to use the power of the biggest football game of the year to generate more sales & engagement. Social video is a powerful marketing tool, especially during times when social media sees a huge spike in user-driven content. Sharing video content a few days leading up to the big game, and preparing other shareable video content for game day, is key to seeing higher engagement. For more, read this article on AdWeek.

Brands Should Build Their Video Library on Facebook, Not YouTube

According to the ever-popular Gary V, YouTube might be the “grandaddy” of video content, but Facebook’s growth is surpassing it’s predecessor daily, with 4 billion daily video streams. Facebook video is more personal, and more shareable, than that of YouTube, making it more appealing for brands because they can foster higher engagement with their consumers. Read more about the future of social video from Gary Vaynerchuk.

Learn What Works in Social Video From Brands Using It Wisely

Social video can change opinions, raise awareness, promote products & services, and so much more. Convince & Convert recently looked at 4 brands who have utilized social video to meet their marketing goals, and analyzed why each video campaign worked so well. For example, Girls Who Code used humor to educate viewers on the gender gap in the technology industry. The video quickly went viral, fostering nearly half a million views on YouTube. Read all of the case studies on Convince & Convert.

Pet Influencers Show Brands the Love for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is traditionally associated with roses, chocolates and other sweet treats, and getting dressed up for dinner with your special someone. Pet influencers, however, have turned Valentine’s Day into another way to treat their pups! Valentine’s Day shoppers spent an estimated $19.7 billion in 2016, and pet brands can get in on the action. (source)

Our Social Fabric influencers partnered with Milo’s Kitchen in a Treat The Pups campaign, creatively celebrating this long-standing couples-only holiday with their furry friends.

c3aa470f596e5ea54848a441a3016f44Soiree´Event Design created a Puppy Love Valentine’s Day Treat Bar for her puppy Deizel. She tells the sweet story of bringing her furbaby home, and how special he is to her family. The Valentine’s Day Treat Bar was extra special, because it was Deizel’s first Valentine’s Day!

Sugar & Soul shared the tutorial for these one-of-a-kind treat bags she made for her boy Shoester, then filled them with some of his favorite tasty treats!

Sunny Sweet Days created a recipe for Peanut Butter Pupcakes for her dogs with dog-friendly ingredients, and topped each one with tiny Milk-Bone dog treats.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for humans anymore. Influencers can help your pet brand take the spotlight by creating unique pet-friendly recipes, gifts, dog beds, and so much more!

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Valentine's Day is traditionally associated with roses, chocolates and other sweet treats, and getting dressed up for dinner with your special someone. Pet influencers, however, have turned Valentine's Day as another way to treat their pups! Valentine's Day shoppers spent an estimated $19.7 billion in 2016, and pet brands can get in on the action.

How Big Heart Pet Brands Used Influencer Content to Drive Engagement

Picture this: you’re scrolling through Pinterest and see a pin for a D.I.Y dog cabinet featuring a little dog hanging out in his impressive cubby-like cabinet. You click on the pin and are brought to a blog post featuring a step-by-step tutorial with beautiful photos.

You might be surprised at how much work goes into blog posts like these. It’s that care and attention to detail that makes all the difference in engaging readers. Big Heart Pet Brands partnered with Collective Bias to activate influencers to create awesome Valentine’s Day-themed content featuring the pups in their lives. Below is just one of the case studies featured in our new white paper, Ten Tips for Great Influencer Posts Shoppers Will Love. This white paper is a great guide for brands looking to reach shoppers through influencer content. It’s filled with tips, tricks and breakdowns on what makes a great influencer post.

Fill out your info in the form below to get your free copy!

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The Weekly Bias: The Latest in Social Commerce

Social commerce could be on its way to becoming the new norm in online shopping, particularly due to the rise in social media and mobile online shopping, but early trials on various social platforms have shown uncertain results. This week’s Weekly Bias explores the latest in social commerce across the internet.

Social Media Is Still Too Social

Facebook and Pinterest have experimented with buy buttons on each platform. Pinterest seems like a logical fit, with many people creating Pinterest boards that double as wish lists. While social media has proven to influence sales, it’s more difficult to actually convert that influence into direct sales on each platform. Read more in this article on Barber Martin.

Instagram Hits the Mark

Instagram has been able to seamlessly integrate shopping into its visual platform. The “Shop Now” feature appears on promoted Instagram posts after a user spends a period of time engaging with the content. This is an unobtrusive way for brands to promote themselves without feeling sales-y to the user. Read more in this article by ClickZ.

Social Influences Purchases But Consumers Still Uncertain

According to a study by Sumo Heavy Industries, social media influences purchases of 50% of users, but only one in five actually purchased directly through social. Common concerns seem to be tied to concerns over security and privacy. Brands will need to focus on education and trust in order to convince more social users to purchase directly through social platforms. Read more in this article on Social Times.

Snapchat Tests Deep Linking & Autofill

Snapchat is using clickable ads to send users to a brand’s website in hopes that they will make a purchase. And when they do so, autofill will help automate the payment process by using contact information shared when each Snapchat account was created by the user. When users see ads that interest them, they will be able to tap or swipe to engage with the brand. It’s too soon to tell how well these ads will perform. Read more in this article by Pymnts.

Twitter Drops ‘Buy’ Button

As Twitter’s future hangs in the balance with the absence of a buyer, features are being dropped, beginning with the ‘Buy’ button that was initially introduced in 2014. This feature never gained much traction with brands on this social platform. Along with doing away with the ‘Buy’ button, Twitter will also be getting rid of lead generation campaigns, and its Dashboard app. Read more in this article on Marketing Dive.

Additional Reading:

2017 Influencer Marketing Predictions

This article by Holly Pavlika of Collective Bias, originally appeared on Mobile Marketing Magazine.

2016 was an amazing year for influencer marketing. Not even the changes in algorithms on various social platforms, FTC compliance crackdowns or questions over ROI stopped companies from jumping into the realm of working with influencers. But what will 2017 hold?

Influencers could save Twitter

Who will buy Twitter and save it from the death everyone has been talking about for years? So far there have been no takers, but Twitter has been making moves to attract influencers to the platform (for example, announcing a generous 70/30 revenue split back in August).

Twitter’s recent downturn might completely wipe the platform out from the influencer marketing platform race, but Twitter Moments feeds the curated news appetite of many audiences – and it remains a favorite platform of celebrities, politicians, and anyone with a passionate cause.

A Snapchat vs Instagram showdown

Which platform will ‘win’ for influencer marketing in 2017? Snapchat’s growth has been tremendous this year, but Instagram is a much easier platform to learn and navigate than Snap and its influencers are more established.

Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, recently bought FacioMetrics in what seems to be a move to go after Snap’s fan favorite filters. Facebook, a seasoned behemoth, knows a thing or two about audience growth, engagement and monetisation, is lending Instagram its years of experience, which should ensure its success.

TrackMaven recently analyzed over 51, Instagram posts and Instagram is leading the way for engagement over all social platforms at a rate of 70 interactions per thousand followers. Our testing of influencers on both platforms shows Instagram in the lead as well and they are aggressively attacking the social commerce of the platform, which is ideal for driving purchase. Our bet is on Instagram in the long run.

B2B influencers will make a bigger play

Influencer marketing has traditionally been used by consumer brands, but B2B companies will start to take advantage of it in 2017. The FTC will need to catch up to the B2B industry influencers and make them disclose their payments for conference speaking, free flights and hotel stays. in the same way it does for B2C.

These influencers can often demand a pretty penny for you to associate your brand with theirs and ultimately you end up promoting their brand instead of yours. That said, B2B influencers are great for networking and ideation. Leveraging their name and commentary can be a boon for sending traffic to your website, where you’ll have to see if the leads are valuable and convertible to sales.

Live streaming influencers will become mainstream.

Already influencers are flocking to live streaming. It’s much easier for an influencer to broadcast himself or herself on Facebook Live than to learn to shoot video and edit. But live streams make tracking compliance even more complicated for the FTC.

Disclosing sponsorships on live streaming should be no different than any other platform, but we can expect some bumps in the road in 2017. Influencers and brands are bound to run into trouble if they don’t stay true to the guidelines.

We still won’t reach a standard method of payment

The industry may never reach a standard method of payment for influencer campaigns, but will anything change in 2017? Doubtful. So, how do you put a price on someone’s influence, audience size, engagement or the quality of his or her content? Is Kim Kardashian worth the reported $300,000 per post she receives?

Regardless of the payment model, influencer companies should be taking on the risk and employ incentives to encourage influencers to work on behalf of brands in an honest and transparent way, as well as measure and motivate them to produce their best work.

Compliance will finally be taken seriously

2017 will be the year that brands stop working with non-compliant influencers, influencers stop working with non-compliance brands and agencies, and everyone accepts their own accountability for the FTC guidelines. This year saw several big brands get slapped with significant fines, but monitoring the hundreds of thousands of influencers and the proliferation of their content is a near-impossible task.

The risk to the industry is great, especially if advertisers and brands feel the industry is less than ethical, so it’s paramount that everyone from brands, digital agencies, PR firms and influencer marketing companies toe the line. And influencers need to obey the rules to help ensure their business.

Data will prove influencer marketing’s actual worth

With marketers becoming more accountable for ROI and sales, 2017 will be the year that data will show the strength of influencer marketing beyond the beauty of it being impervious to ad blocking or mere social engagements. But we will all need to meet somewhere in the middle.

Brands eager to understand influencer marketing’s impact on sales will need to be more willing to disclose POS data, for example. At the same time, influencer marketing companies will need to get a grip on a deeper understanding of the influencer’s audience or the potential of dark social’s impact on measurement.

Strategy will become critical for influencer marketing success

Celebrity influencers? Micro-influencers? Power middle influencers? When it comes down to it, there shouldn’t be a fight over which type is the best. Each can play a role a brand’s success, but it takes careful planning, setting clear objectives, mapping out a channel strategy, and aligning the right influencers.

Influencer marketing can be part of a content strategy, a social strategy, a PR strategy or audience growth strategy while helping to amplify everything from traditional advertising or in-store/online shopper marketing efforts.

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

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10 Tips for Great Influencer Posts Shoppers Will Love

There is a science to creating great content, particularly with influencer-crafted blog posts. The key to keeping authenticity intact when working with influencers is to allow them to tell stories from their genuine, unaltered perspective. A great blog post starts with a great story that comes from a place of true experience, not something spoon-fed from the brand.

You build credibility and trust for your brand when everyday consumers are able to read about it through the lens of someone like them. It showcases how integral your brand is and how well your product/service fits into different walks of life. The last thing a brand needs is 50 influencers creating the same piece of content for you.

To break down what brands should have included in their influencer posts and campaigns, Collective Bias has created a special resource, “Ten Tips for Great Influencer Posts Shoppers Will Love”.

This white paper teaches brands how to drive:

  • engagements,
  • in-store and online traffic
  • and sales through powerful influencer blog posts.

To get your free copy, fill out the info below!

The Weekly Bias: What to Expect in Social Media in 2017

The only constant with social media is change. In 2016, we saw Instagram evolve into a more social commerce platform and introduce live video and Stories, Facebook began pushing live video content to the top of the newsfeed, and Twitter let us know its future is uncertain. In this week’s Weekly Bias, we explore what industry experts think will be the future of social media in 2017.

Disappearing Content On More Platforms

Snapchat paved the way with disappearing content, and in 2016, Instagram brought the feature over to their photo-sharing social platform. Recently, Instagram brought ephemeral content to live video as well. As Facebook continues to grow their video platform, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see disappearing video become a messenger feature.

Virtual Reality Becomes More Mainstream

Virtual reality video experiences became the cool new thing in 2016, and as the thirst for more video content grows among consumers, particularly social media users, brands will be looking to this new technology.

Expect B2C Messaging

Social messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are being used more frequently by brands to directly communicate with consumers, and with 4 billion messaging users worldwide, this will most likely become the new norm. Consumers will move away from phone calls and emails and look to social messaging to connect with businesses.

Live Video Continues to Grow

Periscope ushered in a hot new trend with live video, and other social platforms have quickly jumped on board. Facebook pushes live broadcasts to the top of the newsfeed, while YouTube and Instagram also provide users the ability to broadcast live. Brands will begin using live video more often in 2017, with 43% of brands adding interactive video to their marketing plan. Live video will also have more features, with Facebook planning to introduce live 360-degree video, and YouTube planning the same feature.

Social Advertising Becomes More Expensive

Of course someone has to pay for all these new and advanced features on social platforms. Brands looking to get noticed on social in 2017 will have to pay a premium for ad space as each platform continues to grow. The social marketplace will also become more competitive, with more brands recognizing the potential of social media to reach their target audience.

For more on what to anticipate in social media in 2017, take a look at these posts:

Top 8 Influencer Marketing Resources of 2016

People now trust recommendations from influencers nearly as much as their own friends and family, as shown in a study by analytics firm Annalect. As dubbed by Twitter, “handheld names”, a.k.a. social media influencers and bloggers, are the new tastemakers these days. With an oversaturated digital marketplace and steep competition for consumers’ attention, 2016 proved to be a pivotal year for influencers as brands started truly understanding the importance of including influencer marketing in the mix. Over the past year, Collective Bias released several educational resources for brands, retailers and agencies to learn the specifics of influencer marketing and the impact it can make on consumers in nearly every category and demographic. Check out our top 8 studies, white papers and blog posts of 2016.   

Collective Bias surveyed over 14,000 U.S. consumers to vet how their online behaviors impact in-store purchase decisions. Guess what? Only 3 percent of consumers would consider buying a product in-store if it was endorsed by a celebrity. Click here to view the rest of the survey.

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Hey shopper marketers: ready to make a change in your marketing strategy? Social influencers are the best tools to have in your shopper marketing toolbox. Download this white paper to see how social influencers helped brands like Eureka and Chobani stand out amongst competitors!

Travel and lifestyle blogger Erin of southtosouthwest.com offers 5 ultimate tips to gets reading to connect with your content. Tip #1? A call-to-action or simple question makes it a breeze for readers to engage. Click here to check out the rest of her tips.  

The world of grocery is constantly affected by everything from societal changes, consumer food preferences and even how consumers shop. This blog post shares four grocery trends of 2016 that will continue to be significant in 2017. Click here to read.

In recent years, Hispanics have become one of the largest-growing and influential demographics for brands and retailers. For those looking to reach Hispanic consumers, Holly Pavlika rounded up five important thoughts from notable industry experts for marketers to keep in mind. Click here to read.  

12-step checklist: Selecting an Influencer Marketing Company

From B-to-B and B-to-C influencer companies to PR firms to digital agencies to do-it-yourself platforms, the options available for brands looking to hire an influencer marketing company can be overwhelming. Every brand needs something a little different, so we’ve come up with a 12-step checklist to to make it easy for you. Click here to download.

While moms are still an important audience, the world of influencer marketing has changed dramatically. Now Hispanics, Gen X influencers, men and more have opened up the doors for influencer content to impact sales well beyond the typical food, beauty and fashion categories you usually see harnessing the power of influencers. Click here to read more about the changes afoot.

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The key to a successful influencer-brand partnership is ensuring the authenticity an influencer holds with their social audience is not damaged by a brand’s desire to control storytelling. Authenticity can be killed in a heartbeat. Download our white paper to learn more.

Did your favorite CB resource of 2016 make the list? Tweet us @collectivebias to let us know!

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2016 was a banner year for Collective Bias as we worked to produce valuable (and free!) content for brands and marketers. These are our best of the best from the year.

Why Social Media Should be a Larger Part of Influencer Campaigns

Typical influencer content has long been composed of a blog post with a few required social shares, but social media should be a larger part of influencer campaigns. Gone are the days of readers simply discovering blog posts on their own. With the advent of social media, namely Pinterest, and a rise in knowledge of SEO, bloggers have to be both content writers and marketers in order to get more eyes on their content, sponsored or not.

With 97% of adults age 16-64 visiting a social media platform in the past month, influencers and brands alike should be sharing their content on various social channels in order to earn a higher ROI on each piece of content. What does this look like from a brand perspective?

LOOK FOR INFLUENCERS WITH STRONG SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

Pageviews and followers don’t mean as much as they used to. Brands should dig a little deeper when seeking out the best influencers for their campaigns by looking for influencers with strong social media engagement. For example, look for influencers who receive high reach and a lot of active comments on their Facebook posts; influencers who host or participate in Twitter chats; or influencers who have embraced live video through Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, or Snapchat.

ENCOURAGE MORE SOCIAL SHARES

When brands reach out to influencers to create authentic sponsored content, they should strongly encourage influencers to do more than simply share their blog post on each social channel once or twice. Bloggers tend to share an image from their blog post, along with a short blurb about the content and a link for social media users to read the rest of the post. This works fine, but truly shareable social content requires a bit more effort.

Attract #socialmedia's 2.3 Billion users with platform-specific #influencer content. Click To Tweet

Rather than simply sharing their blog post, influencers can increase shares and engagement by creating content exclusively for each social media channel that asks a question, makes people laugh, makes people think, or is inspired by a hot topic. When in doubt, cute animals always work.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BLOG POST

Sponsored content doesn’t always have to include a blog post. Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, says, “The goals of content marketing are consumption, then behavior. The goals of social media are participation, then behavior.” (source) Consider the goals for your influencer campaign before determining how you will structure your campaign.

Work with influencers to creatively share your product in ways that don’t involve a blog post, such as:

  • Facebook Live broadcast: Product or cooking demonstrations become more approachable to the consumer when demonstrated live on social media.
  • Instagram Takeover: Hand over the reigns to your Instagram channel to an influencer for the day. Set guidelines as to the number of posts expected, and the overall message of their content, but give the influencer creative freedom to post photos that will reach your audience. Influencers should also respond and engage with people who leave comments on each post.
  • YouTube video: Similar to a live broadcast, a recorded video can be made more professionally with transitions, overlays, and voiceovers. After all, 78% of people watch videos online each week. (source)
  • Teach a Course/Host a Webinar: Influencers have worked hard to establish themselves as authorities within their niche. Partnering with them to teach something to their audience not only fills a need in their online community, but allows the brand to share their product or service in an informative way without being overly sales-y.
  • Host a Twitter Chat: Engage with Twitter users while enjoying an active conversation with potential consumers. Influencers can host a Twitter chat, and as a brand, you will create a specific hashtag that each participant will use. An influencer with a strong Twitter following can generate huge reach on Twitter, and your hashtag is searchable long after the Twitter chat ends.

REMEMBER THE “SOCIAL” PART OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Brands seem more approachable when they actually communicate with consumers on social media. With the rise of chatbots and social messaging, like the calls-to-action on Instagram and Facebook Messenger, brands now have a unique opportunity to chat 1:1 with consumers, answer their questions, solve their problems, and learn from them.

How does this tie into influencer marketing? Consider a brand ambassador. Brands like Home Depot and Wayfair work with brand ambassadors for months or a year at a time because of their continued reach and engagement. These brand ambassadors can now take over a brand’s social channels for a day and talk directly to consumers about their experience with the brand. Twitter chats, Facebook Live broadcasts, and Instagram Stories are perfect for this type of interaction.

Social media continues to grow, with 2.3 billion (with a B!) active social media users, and as more users create accounts and social channels introduce new ways to engage, social media should play a larger role in influencer campaigns.

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For too long, social media has only been the way to share influencer content, but social media can be the content in and of itself. Social media is where consumers hang out, and influencers bring a realness to the content that is easily relatable and shareable, so why not make social media a larger part of influencer campaigns?