Influencer 101: A guideline for influencer marketing campaigns

Social media post example of influencer marketing

By Corie Fiebiger –  Communications Coordinator

More often than not, businesses and brands are turning to social media influencers to help spread their messages, gain awareness, and win over the masses. These pay-for-play personalities make it their jobs (literally) to make you happy and can change the way your business engages and interacts with potential customers. Successful social media campaigns must be a comprehensive mix of your personalized voice, authentic engagement, worthy visualsbranded and topical posts, and now influencer content. 

Relevant influencer content is great, but not all influencers create equal content. Here are some tips and tactics on what to look for when selecting the right influencer to meet your marketing goals.  

Create Campaign Goals & Targets  

Having a clear idea of your must-haves, required stats, and overall influencer objectives will help you understand the type of influencer you need and can keep you on track if you get overwhelmedNot everyone will be a fit, and it’s important to be particular.  

It will help to have campaign “must-haves” in place to help narrow down the sea of options at your fingertips. Are you looking for influencers in a particular geographic location? Do they meet your minimum follower counts and data markers? This could even be something as specific as what university they attend. 

If your campaign plans to use both paid and unpaid influencers, what are your musthave stats for both categories? Creating a list of influencer and campaign goals at the very beginning of your search will save you invaluable time.  

Find Your Influencers 

Though there might be a plethora of “perfect” people to choose from, finding the right influencer for your brand can be harder than you expect. There are numerous online tools and databases that can help you plug in requirements to find potential influencers. However, depending on the size of your company, brand or campaign, and therefore your budget, paying for influencer vetting software might not be an option. 

Even if you opt for one of these services, you may find yourself having to do additional vetting, as there is no software that can tell you that an influencer’s vibe and esthetic matches what you are looking for.  

If you are trying to build brand loyalty, then you will want to focus on influencers in the same genre as your brand. However, if you are trying to expand your brand awareness and build your audience, then trying out influencers within different categories will be important. For instance, a travel brand might seek out a lifestyle influencer to expand brand awareness by targeting yoga enthusiasts. Or a clothing brand might target a high-end fashion influencer to cement their brand’s reputation as trend setters in the fashion industry. 

One free yet timeconsuming way to find the right influencers for your campaign is by doing a simple search. Google is your best friend. A search for “top lifestyle influencers” delivers almost 24 million search results; each writer has a different opinion and has decided on the best influencers by looking through their own individual vetting lensesEach blog or article will have its best choices represented, so look at a few on a couple of lists to see which writer’s vision you most identify with. You may even find that there are influencers that are represented on multiple lists!  

There is a blog for every topic and an excess of writers to choose from. Another search that is helpful will be “top ____ blogs.” You will be hard pressed to find a blog that isn’t also tied to that blog’s specific social world. Depending on what you are looking for, and if you have the budget to support it, securing an influencer with a blog has its own benefits.  

Create Your Wish List 

You may feel overwhelmed by the large number of influencers to choose from. Staying organized and listing your favorites will be helpful, because this is where the real work and in-depth research begins. An easy place to start is with your must-haves and data dealbreakers. Look at their social sites and review their follower counts. This is an easy way to shorten your list.  

With that said, if you feel there is an influencer with amazing pictures, great content, and good engagement, but who doesn’t meet your minimum numbers, don’t discount them yet. You may find you have to readjust or re-evaluate your goals as you go along, especially if you have a very specific demographic. At the very least, these particular influencers might be a great way to get some free user-generated content that you can share on your own social channels.  

Vet Your Targets Against Your Criteria 

Another easy way to cut down your list is to consider the demographics and psychographics of the influencers you are vetting. Now that you have your list, it comes down to whether they represent who you are. 

Are they the right age, gender, geographic location, or does that matter? What are their interests and motivations and do those align with your product or brand values? Do they have previous sponsored content on their page?  

By looking through various influencer’s platforms, you will eventually get an idea of what you are looking for, whether that is a certain esthetic or something that will resonate with your already loyal following. Read their posts and study their digital habits; a simple “vibe check” can go a long way.  

More important questions to ask yourself: 

  • Are they relevant to your topics or brand? 
  • What is their credibility to products in your category? 
  • What is their sponsored engagement rate vs overall engagement rate? The only one that matters is sponsored engagement. 

There are currently over 570 million blogs out there and 86% of content makers use them, so it is more likely than not that your influencer will have this additional platform for you to utilize. With blogs I suggest looking at the esthetic and vibe. Does it look like someone threw together pictures of their family vacation on a WordPress template, or are there nicely organized sections and tabs to filter their content?  

Many blogs will offer media kits with extra information about their audience, previous branding sponsorships or partnerships, or how many subscribers they have to their newsletters. It is worth noting that previous sponsorships are great, but it will be important to ask what the success rate of that partnership was. Did they just make pretty pictures, or did they increase followers and sell product? 

It will also be helpful to know the blog’s unique visitors per month (UVPM) and domain authority (DA). These could also be featured on the blog. The DA is a search engine ranking score that is a measure of the site’s relevance to a subject area or industry and shows how successful a site is based upon search engine results. Generally anything over 50 is considered good. You can get this free overview of search engine performance from a software development company called Moz 

Budget and Negotiations 

You have your list, yay! Now it is actually time to reach out to your chosen influencers. After all of that time you spent on finding and vetting them, you want them to be a right fit and they want to be a right fit too.  

Just like your own “deal-breakers,” your budget may narrow down your list even further. Determining which one will offer the right results to fit your campaign will come down to feel and your marketing budget.  

Price tends to go up with the number of followers. If a blog post and newsletter mailing is part of your deal, the price can go even further. You may want to use paid influencers, unpaid influencers or both, depending on your budget and size of your campaign.  

Do some research online to find an example of the approximate influencer pricing for various types of campaigns. Many influencers who are trying to gain followers and popularity will work in exchange for product/experience, or whatever it is you are promoting. You can always ask them to do it for tradethe worst they can say is no.   

Online research should reveal the approximate influencer pricing for various types of campaign participation.

You’ve signed a contractnow what? 

Many times, companies will want a firm list of deliverables from their influencer. It is definitely okay to have a must-have shot list. If there is something you would like to feature, a certain product demonstrated, or event highlightedtell them. You are paying and they want you to be successful because it helps them to have successful content. 

Do nothowever, script their entire campaign. Give them creative prompts but not exact messages. Provide the message and vibe you are trying to communicate, but also give them some control and let them play to their strengths. They know their audience and what they will respond to, so work with them to decide the look of the posts and then let them do what they do best. Together, you may even go viral! 

Influencer marketing may not be right for every brand, but we find it to be an influential tool for brand awareness on specific campaigns. With a little time, clear idea of what you are looking for, the right tools for searching, vetting criteria and a contract in place, hiring the right influencers combined with unique and relevant curated content will help create a fully integrated marketing campaign.  

Five Tips for Successful Social Media Branding

By: Kara Dement

Twitter: @KaraDeMent_


In more ways than one, social media is at the heart of how most organizations communicate with their audiences.

‘Heart’ is a good metaphor since it’s both central to the communications strategy and the source of how the organization looks and feels—and of course the ‘look and feel’ is the definition of a brand. So how do you make sure your organization’s look and feel are accurately and consistently portrayed through social media? Here are five expert tips to keep your social media strategy on the brand:

  1. Establish and maintain a consistent voice voice GIF

Buffer defines voice as, “your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.” If you want people to listen, you need to inject some personality. Know your brand’s voice and ensure it’s aligned with your company culture and your target audience. Then make sure you use the same voice across all platforms so that you don’t come across as a split personality.

  1. Choose the right platforms

Understanding each platform’s audience can help you identify what social media platforms are the right choice, and then you can use your brand voice to share things that are relevant to that target audience. Snapchat users on average are between the ages of 18-34 according to Omnicore Agency, so using Snapchat to discuss retirement planning probably won’t work. Also, not all voices work across all platforms. If your brand voice doesn’t have a playful side, you should either look into developing one or steer clear of Snapchat altogether.

  1. Select appropriate visuals

When it comes to describing your brand, a picture is worth a thousand words. So select imagery carefully and make sure it is consistent with and helps augment the story your voice is telling. Speaking of consistency, it’s also important to maintain visual consistency across all social media platforms. Having the same colors, logos, etc. is a given, but even your photography, video and shared stories should all align with your brand’s personality.

  1. Engage

Nobody wants to have a conversation with themselves, plus that goes against the whole point of “social” media. For a brand to have a credible personality, it needs to be responsive on social media, or people will assume no one at your organization is listening. Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, found that 42% of consumers expect a 60-minute response time, so being engaged with the audience’s comments, questions and concerns is critical to meeting your audience’s expectations. It’s also a great way to build trust and rapport so when you want your customers to engage with you, they’ll be ready and willing. yes killer whale GIF

  1. Offer relevant and killer content

At (W)right On, we go by the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of content should be “check this out”, so long as it relates to the brand, and 20% should be “check us out”. Talking about yourself all the time is a turnoff, and not the kind of personality that brands want to be perceived as having. If you stick to the 80/20 rule, it will help prevent the pitfalls of constant monologue and will help develop your brand’s personality by giving it depth beyond your own organization.

Need help developing your brand’s voice and personality on social media? Call or email our team of social media pros to help! You can reach us at (858) 755-5411 or info@wrightoncomm.com.

Influencing the C-Suite: 3 Tips for B2B Influencer Marketing

By Aisha Belagam

Twitter: @AishaBelaPR


Fashion bloggers jet setting to tropical destinations wearing the trendiest floral prints. Genetically blessed Instagram influencers promoting weight loss pills after an early morning session at Equinox. From selfies to flat-lays, these are the types of personalities and formats that typically come to mind when you hear the term ‘influencer’. But these personalities won’t do much for your B2B marketing strategy.

American Idol business jennifer lopez american idol american idol xiii GIFAs with B2C, B2B influencer marketing is about connecting with influential people in your community and leveraging them to build trust and credibility, driving your message. In this digital age, where social media is becoming a regular part of everyone’s lives, influencer marketing is becoming a vital part of the communications strategy. And yes, you can and should use it for B2B companies. The C-Suite is engaged on social media and 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions. Here are three tips to consider when developing your B2B influencer marketing strategy:

1. Where are they and who do they look to?

Who and what influences your target audience? Don’t get deflected by focusing on who has the most followers. A million followers do not necessarily equate to a huge influence on your target audience. This isn’t a popularity contest. Plus, upcoming thought leaders are more likely to have the capacity to pay attention to your brand. Focus on influencers who receive a large amount of engagement on topics relevant to your vertical. These are the thought leaders you’re looking for. The analysts, industry experts, authors, speakers, and media folk who are actively involved in industry discussions, leading the way with their expert insight and educated opinions. You’ll find most of them on LinkedIn and Twitter.

       2. Look within

Who understands your brand better than your team? No one. That’s why you should leverage the CEO, employees, and clients as part of your strategy.

Employee advocacy is a powerful thing. Encourage your employees to promote your brand, whether it’s through social posts and blogs, at speaking opportunities, or by getting involved at industry events. Empower those with the most knowledge, the ones who work on your brand daily, to become the thought leaders opining and engaging, increasing your brand’s visibility.

C-level executives are an integral way for B2B brands to make a personal connection. They are the thought leaders bringing the brand to life. Using C-level executives is a key way to build relationships with analysts and the media, increasing coverage and establishing credibility.

Share results. Success stories from your customers can be packaged into consumable case studies, infographics, and testimonials. It’s great to have your team promoting your brand, but there is an obvious bias. Your customers, on the other hand, don’t have the same stake in your company and their experiences add a layer of authenticity.

      3.  Don’t just promote your own agenda

Build a real relationship with your influencers so they are engaged before you need them. It’s a two-way street. Think about how you can help them while promoting your brand. Reference them as experts, quote them in your blog posts, give them access to your products or services, engage with their social content, and stay top of mind. When the time comes, they will be more familiar with you and more likely to go the extra mile to help your brand.Empire FOX music love happy best GIF

Influencers can help a B2B brand through numerous channels. Think about your goals and identify what your brand needs. Influencers can do everything from collaborating on social content to hosting a webinar, from being an ambassador at your tradeshow to quoting you in their latest interview.

As interest in traditional forms of advertising plummets, influencer marketing is becoming a more important part of the integrated strategy. Collaborating with influencers in the ways outlined above can help your brand become more influential in itself.

Want to learn how your brand can leverage influencer marketing? Drop us a line. With proven influencer marketing results with national brands in both the B2B and B2C sector, we can work with you to develop and implement an integrated strategy that brings your brand targeted, measurable results.

Five Pro Tips For Mouth-Watering Food Photographs

By Shae Geary—Senior Communications Strategist


Ready. Set. Selfie!

We all love showing off our personalized pictures of food, travel, and fun experiences, especially during holidays. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we’re betting you’ll be sharing some delicious eats with your sweetie or besties. To make sure your food selfie skills are perfectly polished, we’ve delved into our archives for today’s blog. Here are five pro tips from San Diego food photographer Sam Wells for producing mouth-watering and Instagram worthy photos for this Valentine’s Day xoxo.

In Hospitality Public Relations, we often rely on images to help tell our stories – a pristine white sand beach; a mojito in a mason jar; a field in bloom. With the rise of social media and the availability of high quality cameras on most smart phones, photography is often how our guests tell their vacation stories, particularly when it comes to food.Tip1

Despite having such ready access to cameras, however, most of us remain photographically challenged. A good camera phone isn’t enough to turn our latest gastronomic delight into the envy of all our friends: placement, lighting and composition are all important elements in the quest to capture delicious food memories. Sounds difficult, right? That’s when you turn to the pros.

I was recently fortunate to work with Sam Wells, a respected San Diego food photographer who shoots for publications like Carlsbad Magazine and San Diego Magazine. While I watched him work his photographic magic, it occurred to me that he must have a load of helpful hints for us “do-it-yourselfers.” Sam was more than happy to give his insights on what makes for great food photography. Follow his tips and you’ll be on your way to drool worthy food on Instagram in no time.

Food Photography Tips from Photographer Sam Wells

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Tip 1: Light quality is everything. 

I shoot most of my food in areas I call “transition zones” – where the light is transitioning from light to dark. Windows, open doors, and the outer edges of shaded areas all produce beautiful directional light. If there are any conflicting tungsten lights in the restaurant, try to block them to create clean light.

Tip 2: Create a strong composition.  

Negative space can be a great asset to a photo. Using the “rule of thirds” always helps – just imagine there are two horizontal and vertical lines dividing up the frame into nine rectangles. Place the most interesting point of focus on any two lines or where the lines intersect, and you’ll instantly have a better-composed image. Add a few more details to fill the frame, and you’re off and running.

Tip 3: Steady your hand.  tip4

Motion blur can ruin a photo, so if you are hand-holding the camera make sure to take a few and be gentle when you push the shutter button. Make sure your camera or phone doesn’t move when you shoot the photo. I always use a tripod to ensure maximum sharpness.

Tip 4: Show some life and action. 

Have a hand reaching for something. Take a bite. Make it messy. Do anything that makes the food look delicious and enticing.

Tip 5: Styling can make any dish interesting. 

I always use linens and napkins to help spice things up a bit. Adding other elements allows you to create a more interesting composition by leading the eye through the image. Think of image flow – a fork placed in the lower right hand corner pointed towards the dish will lead the viewer’s eye towards the focal point.tip6

Keep this handy for your next dining adventure and you’ll definitely have some Insta worthy food photos. Need more photo inspiration? Follow the latest in Sam’s food reel on Instagram at @swellsphoto.

We team up with photographers like Sam to help tell your hospitality story. Get in touch with me, (Shae Geary, Senior Communications Strategist), if you’d like help getting your hospitality story out there.

Must-Use Strategy: Instagram Influencer Marketing

By Chris Jensen – Jr. Communications Coordinator

influencers

My colleague Erica Schlesinger shared in a recent blog post that we remember 80% of what we see, compared to 20% of what we read and 10% of what we hear. So, it makes sense that we gravitate toward photos and videos over text.

As a general rule, social media posts perform better when they’re accompanied by a visual. Visuals, like photos and videos, score more likes, follows and comments. For these reasons, more companies are steering toward Instagram as a key marketing platform.

Instagram only recently allowed advertisements in the feed, so influencer marketing has been the primary way for brands to market to consumers on the app. Instagram differs from Facebook as ads are reserved for large companies who are willing to shell out around $350,000–$1 million a month. For smaller brands that wish to reach a niche group, influencer marketing is the way to go.

Instagram-300-million
300 Million Users = Bigger than Twitter

Instagram: Best Social Network for Engagement

The true power of Instagram is the high rate of engagement and active user base of the mobile app. Studies have found that Instagram engagement rates are up to 58 times higher than that of Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter.

Forrester analyst Nate Elliott once stated, “On six of the seven social networks, the brands we studied achieved an engagement rate of less than 0.1%. For every 1 million Facebook fans those brands had collected, each of their posts received only about 700 likes, comments, and shares. On Twitter, the ratio was about 300 interactions per 1 million followers.” Instagram is the outlier with 4.21% engagement. Although that may sound low, it’s significantly better than Facebook’s .07%.

Why Influencers Matter

Influencer marketing is all about relationships. Brands can benefit from developing relationships with popular influencers who have extensive reach and are willing to vouch for their product or service. When a tastemaker you trust recommends a product, it’s likely that you’ll listen.

In fact, when a consumer is contemplating a purchase, they look to more sources than the brand itself. A Nielsen study found that 84% of the public trusts recommendations from people they know and 68% trust consumer opinions posted online. In today’s digital age, many people treat social media the same way they would a face-to-face interaction, therefore putting trust in the individuals they follow.

Finding the Right Influencer

Most people wouldn’t trust an athlete to review a new software program, yet they will probably listen to his or her opinion on sportswear and nutrition products. Vice versa, a tech guru might not be your best bet to market a new fashion line but would be the ideal candidate to test and share a new app. It’s key to not only find an influencer with plenty of reach, but the type of reach you’re looking for.

A brand doesn’t need celebrities and athletes to promote their products; a “normal” person with a broad reach will do just fine. There are thousands of people with a variety of interests and large followings on Instagram. Targeting the right ones is the important part.

Forbes contributor Kyle Wong uses the following equation to determine how to choose an influencer:

Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers

You can find influencers through hashtag research, skimming related profiles or navigating the ‘popular’ bar. Keep in mind their followers should be similar to your target demographic. If possible, reach out via email to your choice influencer. If email is not an option, a direct message on Instagram should work just fine.

Once you find the right influencer and settle on a deal, they will typically share images of the sponsored product or service with their Instagram followers. The approach is almost always organic and natural, rather than a blatant promotion. Sometimes, the product is not even mentioned.

While many companies have found this method successful, the nutritional supplement company SHREDZ stands out as a leader. SHREDZ only made $90,000 in 2012, but after partnering with a little-known fitness model, Paige Hathaway, the brand jumped to $5 million in gross revenue by the end of 2013. SHREDZ achieved these numbers with just a small team and digital promotion. At the beginning of the partnership, Hathaway had 8,000 followers; she has grown to over 1.8 million in a span of three years.

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Poler Outdoor Stuff’s Instagram is another prime example of non-invasive influencer marketing. By incorporating their backpacks and products into posts sporting the scenic and outdoorsy persona they strive for, the company successfully reaches thousands of like-minded consumers. They have teamed up with dozens of influencers, such as photographers and action sports athletes, to subtly showcase their products. With the help of these “insta-celebs,” consumers from around the globe see their products being used in the outdoors, encouraging a purchase that’s inspired by a lifestyle.

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Instagram boasts an engaging community with a wide variety of easily accessible influencers. If you’re looking to improve your social visibility and drive consumer product sales, Instagram influencer marketing can be a powerful tool.

Let us know if you would like some guidance with your own “Insta-Marketing.” (W)right On is glad to start or assist in an Instagram campaign.

 

Four PR Trends

trendsLooking at past trends in an evolving industry can be a poor predictor of future trends—whether you’re talking about the stock market or the PR field.

Witness Facebook (a 9-year-old), Twitter (a 7-year-old), Instagram and Tout (both 2 year olds). These are among only a few of the game changers that disrupted the publishing industry. Each is a relative toddler by traditional business standards, and not that many years before their existence I don’t recall anyone predicting them. But their global impact on the human condition is already established.

The trend impacting the PR industry, therefore, is not which new social tool will take off, but that game changers are now the norm. Expect and anticipate them.

Here are four things (among many) I see near through long term impacting PR.

The Story Stays

We like a good yarn. Stories have been told throughout human history and they’re not going away anytime soon. So while the delivery method may continue to break speed records in the unprecedented data age we’re now in, if there isn’t a compelling story to whatever the communication is, it won’t leave the station.

In creating your communications, think about your story. How compelling is it or could it be, and why should others care? And if you don’t have one, then either create one or rethink your communication strategy for most effective resource use.

Multimedia Explosion

multimedia

We are a sensorial species, and with the written word there’s a terrible lack of engagement of the senses. True, imagination can help make up for that. However, the way I imagine Utopia and you do can be very different, meaning there’s a significant control loss of the intended message. But what if I could not only tell you a story, but also engage you in it by your five senses? Instant communication around the planet is now possible with video covering sight and sound that will only increase. But I think it’s only a matter of time before technology allows for an online cook ‘book’ to not only convey with what and how something’s made, but also how it should look, feel and even smell and taste.

Additive Manufacturing

3d printing

…aka 3-D Printing will change everything, and this means for PR too.  I think 3-D printing is trul yRoddenberry’s Star Trek replicator come to life like the cell phone, and why I see it profoundly impacting PR is that currently the world’s societies are built largely around traditionally manufactured goods and related services – shoes manufactured in China are consumed in the USA; medical implants created in New York are used in Canada; an airplane is created and assembled from many different places; etc. Things today are still made for us and we don’t make things for ourselves. PR supports all of this ‘traditional’ world commerce that in the next decade will dramatically change with the advent of 3-D printing for the masses. Like intangibles such as information value decreasing with increased accessibility, so will the value of physical goods change. As it does, PR will change as well, becoming less about conveying a compelling call to action to buy consumer products, say, and more about strategically helping communicate things like B2B opportunities, services expertise, key events, experience opportunities, and political and societal agendas.

Local & Smaller

It’s well established doctrine for good communication to know thy audience, and reach them where they are. With billions of us now having our heads buried in our smartphones more than we’d like to admit, guess where audiences are? Sure, we’re still driving down the freeway ready to notice a billboard, pouring over that quaint thing called a newspaper at Starbucks occasionally, and watching commercials whip by as we watch our favorite DVR’d show.  But increasingly we’re more interested in our immediate environs – our local neighborhood – than otherwise. So as opposed to a broad shotgun approach, PR will increasingly need a precise rifle approach tailored to local geography and interests. And in doing so rely less on large real estate like a full magazine, in-depth television reporting or a regional newspaper spread, but instead plan for consumption to be increasingly on a screen just four or five inches wide—that if it’s showing a picture of a rose, soon enough will probably smell just as sweet.