Beyond the Dashboard

Influencer marketing dashboards aren’t very dynamic.  Most, at best, provide advertisers with a recap of the influencers’ posts only after they’re published.  But successful a influencer marketing strategy takes more than just a slick dashboard.


At InstaBrand, we understand the importance of keeping our clients involved in the process.  This is why we are rolling out a new dashboard with features designed to power collaboration and enable quality control, giving them transparency and control over their branding through influencer partnerships.

These features include:

Influencer selection:

We’re giving you more control when it comes to selecting influencers. Until now we’ve selected influencers based on your criteria, and with great success. However, with our update dashboard, you can choose from a list of possible influencers, and prioritize your favorites before we move forward with the campaign.

 

Content Approval:

We’re putting the power of quality control back into your hands and turning influencer campaigns into a creative collaboration between you -- the brand -- and social influencers. Now you can work across multiple teams to provide feedback, make comments, and have final approval of all content before the it goes live.

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Improved Reporting:

Our updated reporting provides powerful analytics with actionable data including social metrics by platform and performance; great for A/B testing and campaign optimization on the fly. You’ll also get a breakdown of results against guaranteed deliverables, so you can see exactly how well your campaign did compared to the expectation.
 

 

With these tools, we are able to augment the value we get from utilizing big data, by putting the human element back into influencer marketing. We’re trusting the wisdom of what we’ve learned as a leader in the influencer marketing space: Campaigns yield the best performance and engagement when the content is authentic and the brand story is well integrated.

Why Instagram Carousels are a Game Changer for Influencer Marketing

Instagram has been one of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing over the past few years due to its visual nature, ease of content discovery, and constant deployment of content-creator friendly features.  For example, Instagram has taken on longer form video via the addition of 1 minute video, gifs via Boomerang, bookmarking (similar to a Pinterest ‘Pin’), Story content a-la Snapchat, and now album-like storytelling via its latest feature- Carousels.

With instagram Carousels, users can better convey their experiences via Instagram’s classic feed.  It works by allowing users to share multiple (up to 10) images or video in a single carousel for their friends and followers to swipe through.

“You no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an experience you want to remember” Instagram writes.  By allowing users to post more, it allows users to be more engaged with the platform by removing the fear of over posting and flooding their followers feeds.


In regards to influencer marketing, this means that influencers are now able to tell a more in-depth and descriptive story and therefore have more flexibility over where and how they integrate branded content, as opposed to being constricted to one image or video at a time.

“An area where we see huge potential for Carousels is in experiential marketing via influencers” writes our CEO, Eric Dahan. He continued, “A current drawback of experiential marketing via influencers on Instagram is that there has always been a trade-off between immersive content that is short lived (via Stories) or long-living content that is not nearly as immersive. With Carousels, we don’t have to make that trade-off anymore.”

If Instagram can get users not only engaging in carousel content but also creating it, Instagram will change how advertisers and brands measure success on the platform when it comes to influencer marketing.

To learn more about how your brand can integrate carousels with influencer marketing, contact us!

5 Tips To Help Find The Perfect Influencer For Your Business

As your customers turn to social media to direct their buying decisions, your business might begin to feel the strain on your bottom line if you rely on traditional marketing campaigns.

Over the years marketers have seen a declined effectiveness of mass marketing campaigns. This is because customers are weary of many traditional marketing techniques, and are putting more trust in their social network and opinions of trusted online influencers.

Instead of relying on mass marketing tactics, large businesses are turning to digital relationships and word of mouth to drive future profits. It is no secret that word of mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing. Many studies show that word of mouth marketing help drives about 20-50 percent of all purchase decisions (source).

Influencer marketing captures the benefits of word of mouth marketing and the power of relationships and applies the benefits of this strategy to the digital marketing landscape.

An influence marketer is someone who is seen as a thought leader and a trusted source in a particular market segment (deeper explanation). These influencers usually have common traits throughout their online presence:

  • Large online following on networks you want to penetrate.
  • Highly engaged with their audience and relevant business sectors.
  • Produce quality content about their area of interest.
  • Precise follower segments you are trying to reach.

If your business is struggling to capture more market share, you could be missing out on the benefits of influencer marketing. However, before you choose an influencer marketer to increase the exposure of your brand, you will want to follow a few basics to choose the right influencer.

Finding The Right Influencer For Your Brand

Influencer marketing offers many benefits for your business through sales and long-term interaction with your target audience.

However, influencer marketing can be a wasted investment if you do not choose the right influencer marketer for your brand. Here are a few suggestions to consider before you hire an influencer marketer.

Context Of Engagement

The most important thing to consider when choosing an influencer marketer is their contextual fit with your brand. Identifying the context that a potential influencer plays in the market is vital because this will determine how relevant their audience interests are to your brand.

Just because an influencer you are considering has millions of Instagram followers, your brand needs to decide if that person’s expertise aligns with the products and services your business offers. For example, while Kanye West is a popular music and popular culture influencer, a large brand like Microsoft might not choose Kayne to promote Windows 10. This is because Kanye’s brand does not have authority in the area of computer software.

Another aspect of context to consider is the audience of an influencer. If you are trying to raise awareness for prune juice, your business should not choose a YouTuber influencer who plays Battlefield. This is because the audience who watches Battlefield on YouTube are likely not in the market for prune juice.

Actionability

Working with an influencer who can prompt their audience to take action is an important part of an influencer marketing campaign. While influencers shouldn’t force their ideas on their audience, they should have a connection with their sphere of influence in such a way that empowers their audience members to take action based on the products and services they promote.

If you want your influencer marketing campaign to be profitable, then your business needs to partner with an influencer who can sway their audience towards your brand. While there is no perfect way to predict or measure the impact that an influencer will have you can look at the Click Through Rate of specific links on past campaigns.

Engagement

The goal of an influencer outreach campaign is based on relationships. A post on Instagram won’t last forever, but a relationship an influencer builds with their audience provides the basis for a lucrative partnership with your brand.

The most valuable influencers are highly connected to their audience. An influencer who has an audience base who considers them a trusted friend will be more influential than someone who has large following but lacks meaningful engagement with their audience. The number of followers and subscribers an influencer has on their accounts won’t accurately indicate how engaged their audience is.

Unless an influencer is directly selling products, it will continue to be difficult to attribute sales to an influencer. However, when choosing to partner with an influencer marketer your brand should look to some key metrics, including:

  • Likes, Comments, Retweets, and Shares on relevant posts.
  • Comments and interactions at the bottom of blog posts and videos.
  • Clicks on trackable links displayed on specific posts.
  • Response rates by the influencer marketer to comments left by their audience.

Quality Of Content

When you partner with an influence marketer, you have to be willing to give up a certain level of control over your message. This is because you need to ensure that the voice and personality of the influencer are not diluted. When your brand integrates influencer marketing into your marketing mix, you are looking for an influencer to promote your brand through their personality to their audience.

Since you will be giving some control of your brand’s message you want to be sure that the influencer creates and promotes high-quality content. The key to a successful influence marketing campaign is to allow the influencer to set up their content or else the message won’t feel authentic. The good thing is that influencers know how to create content that works well on their respective channel, but it is still important that your marketing team agree that the quality of content produced by an influencer meets your brand’s voice and branding guidelines.

Professionalism

Last but not least, before choosing to partner with an influencer you will want to make sure they are professional and serious about their craft. There are lots of individuals who have strong followings on social media, but they could also lack consistency and communication your business expects.

Research elements like response time, dependability, and past experiences of an influencer so you determine the best influencer for your needs. There are different ways to validate how professional influencers are, but having insight like the tools provided in our platform, can give you the best way to vet influencers before signing a deal with them efficiently.

Leverage Data To Connect With Your Customers

If you are ready to grow your market and reach new customers, then influence marketing could provide you with the edge you need in a competitive marketplace. However, as with any business decision, you need to find the right criteria to maximize benefits for your business. Our industry-leading influence marketing platform will give you the insights you need to ensure your influence marketing campaigns are a success!

 

Need Some Help Finding Quality Influencers?

How Brands Can Harness the Power of Links in Instagram Stories

If you’re not already familiar with Instagram’s Snapchat-aimed Stories update, you should be.  With over 500 Million active users on its platform, Brands, Publishers and Influencers alike are constantly discovering new ways to engage with Instagrammers on the Mobile giant. 

With Stories, Instagram offers a “front page” of disappearing Snapchat-like full screen content that lives at the top of all users’ feeds.  I predict Stories, with their gated, extremely consumable format, will soon dominate the way Instagrammers interact with brands on the mobile app.  And this newcomer is only getting more sophisticated.

Recently, Instagram upped its bid into Stories by allowing users to add clickable tags and to this content.  Tapping a handle tagged inside an Instagram story now takes a user to that person’s page – a feature that previously only lived in the comments. 

Obviously, influencers will be capitalizing on the changes, and will be discovering a plethora of new ways to harness them for the good of their sponsors over the coming months.  It makes sense – 750,000 users follow Todrick Hall, who sends them to Fiat’s page via a link in his story.  That much we can expect (and have seen).  But how can brands follow suit? 

Here are some creative and powerful ways I’ve come up with to supercharge your brand’s Instagram by enriching your Stories with links and mentions.

 1. Promote your Storytellers

It’s no secret: Influencer marketing has become a key tool in any solid marketing suite, and the growth of its popularity only seems to quicken by the second.  In a recent Adweek survey, most marketers said they plan to spend between 50,000 and 100,000 per influencer program in 2017. 

But money isn’t all that influencers are in it for – their brand growth is of equal or greater value.  The recent addition of mentions to Instagram stories offers a unique win-win to brands and moguls alike. 

Brands can tease interesting content on their own feed – say, a Q&A, a contest, or some behind the scenes exclusive.  By using mentions, they can then direct users to an Influencer running point on content and messaging.  And vice versa.  Users are driven in both directions and content is shared as a conversation

Users who want the full experience will need to engage with every page involved – and mentions make the process natural.  This diversion from standard campaign formats we’ve previously seen on Instagram will end up driving much more traffic for all.  Taking

2. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours

Why should this be so attractive to marketers?  With powerful influencers becoming more and more in-demand, they can begin to pick and choose their sponsorships

Brands, take note: treat your influencers like your customers.  The more engaging your campaigns are, the more they will be inclined to advocate for you in the future.  A conversational format is one way for them to get to know your brand in a non-transactional, yet professional way that also decreases the chance of alienating their own native following. 

3. Q&A back and forth

The same goes for Q&A by both internal and external thought leaders and experts.  Is there a member of your company who is (or deserves to be) an influencer in their own right?  Use the power of the conversation to make sure your followers are intertwined. 

The more users engage with a prolific representative of your brand, the stronger your brand grows.  It’s all about interconnectivity.

4. Involve the community

One way that top accounts are engaging with their followers is the promise of exposure.  Contests, Q&A’s, and time-sensitive hashtags can be the highlight of your user’s social experience for that day. 

Take J. Crew’s #ShinyPonies campaign, for example.  From a community perspective, posting a picture of your favorite shoes in accordance to a contest’s rules is a small price to pay for the chance to be recognized by a community you care about (and grow your own following in turn).  User-generated content promotes on- and off-line engagement with your products – by taking the same approach on stories, you will capitalize on those who don’t take the time to scroll through their entire feeds. 

Your contest will live on right at the top of Instagram, where eyeballs go first.  And turnover is quick.  No drawn-out RFP process necessary.

TIP: When running a contest over Instagram Stories, a Brand should absolutely make it known ahead of time that winners will be announced and featured in Stories – and then follow through. 

The promise of more followers to the average user makes that #OOTD contest all the more attractive, so give ample notice.  Those who browse casually through your stories will catch your feature and be more inclined to join in for next time. 

5. Megaphone your entire brand suite

Remember when I mentioned interconnectivity?  That should go for the multiple products, companies, and accounts your brand is associated with.  Have a new fashion line you want to promote?  Mention it.  Running a social good campaign? 

Tag it and send your followers on a journey that makes your company story more and more a part of their own.

6. "See More” – turn your story into a Performance Marketing Campaign

With the Mentions update also comes the addition to link to external content.  This could have incredible clout for fashion brands to link out to the products they showcase on their Stories. 

Rolling out to verified brands and influencers, the feature allows users to swipe up to “See More” at the bottom of their screen, taking them wherever the poster desires.  As we discussed in our last post, Shopper Marketing is on the rise in Instagram, and performance-based initiatives are slowly working their way into the Social Interaction behemoth. 

The only hurdle is user experience.  By integrating links with stories, Brands and Influencers alike will be using the utterly tempting “See More” CTA to take the work out of navigating off-app to relevant shopping carts and lookbooks. 

The math is now entirely simplified: See that dress she’s wearing?  Click once and you can get that much closer to rocking it even better (while checking out other products).  No more disconnect.

The more and more I investigate Instagram’s Stories update, the more it truly bears all the markings of a “front page”.  The content is snackable, varied, and up-to-the minute.  With solid new functionality rolling in at a staggering pace, Marketers would be wise to adopt these recent changes in both their Performance and Brand marketing strategies.  And as always, Watch the Influencers.  You might pick up another winning tip or two.

 

Thinking about running your own influencer marketing campaign?

What Instagram Shopping Means for Influencer Marketing

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Many companies that have tried to tackle social commerce over the past few years have came and faded out.  Companies like The Fancy for example, created an excellent discovery experience for unique and high luxury items but the site failed to really leverage social interactions to drive real everyday purchases from its users.

 

Fast forward to today, and there is real hope for social commerce through the 800-pound gorilla in the social mobile space, Instagram.  As a social platform, Instagram may seem like an unlikely candidate to succeed in the commerce space as historically (relatively speaking) social platforms have not had much success integrating commerce into their ecosystem.   However, Instagram is different.  Instagram is uniquely positioned because more than just a way to interact with friends or keep on-top of trends, Instagram is the world’s visual content sharing and discover engine making it the perfect fit for brands to share. Coming from the fashion industry, I have seen a transition away from brand websites being the host of their lookbook to Instagram becoming the new home where their lookbooks lives.  This means that a brand’s website is nothing more than a shopping cart and checkout button. To date, the flow from a brand’s Instagram profile to a purchase has been clunky at best requiring users to go the brands bio, leave the app, click to that they’re leaving the app, launch a browser, wait for it to load, and then navigate a site.  By making posts shoppable, Instagram isn’t trying to change user behavior it’s just further simplifying an existing one.

 

Similar to its ad rollout, Instagram has only enabled it’s shoppable post feature for a handful of brands as it tests the feature.

 

So the big question- what does this mean for influencers?  Influencer marketing to date has been benchmarked by upper funnel KPIs such as reach, views, and engagement/interactions.  Publishers, creative companies, and PR shops have quickly accepted and adopted these benchmarks for measuring success.  However, the digital media buyers and DR shops have been left scratching their heads a bit when it comes to upper funnel KPIs that are more focused on brand building than conversions. This may all change as making Instagram shoppable means that advertisers will have a more direct funnel meaning more of what influencers achieve will be more visibly attributable to brands’ bottom lines.

 

What does this mean for brands?  Though people won’t buy CPG brands like Coca Cola online, this may open up the door to a new set of clients who have been strictly conversion focused to more heavily invest in Instagram, and in interaction drivers like influencers.  This could mean that influencer marketing will be a more viable option for those obsessed with direct response marketing and tracking.

 

Tracking individual influencers performance will still be difficult. Unless influencers are selling products directly from their own content, attribution for a brand will still be difficult.  There is no way currently of telling which influencer drove a specific user to a brand’s account let alone a purchase.  Additionally, Instagram’s API doesn’t offer data to any third party on the identity of specific users that are following influencers or brands and definitely doesn’t offer transparency into sales data.

 

How could this affect influencer pricing? From a marketing standpoint, influencers do much more than simply drive traffic, they build brand equity and establish brand positioning. This means that the dollar value of the sales they generate isn’t inclusive of all the value they create and they therefore can’t not be compensated simply based on sales generated on a given day. However, the additional transparency will lead to some adjustment towards influencer pricing. Many influencers who have based their pricing on assumption and bias will likely have to decrease their rates.  Others who may be under charging may find that the added transparency may justify an increase in their rate.

 

Instagram’s recent entrance into the social commerce space is a great first step towards monetizing the platform in a way that’s organic and unlike ads, doesn’t take away from the user experience.  Influencers aren’t going anywhere and for Instagram and platforms like it, influencers are key content creators that add value by keeping users engaged. In terms of what Instagram can do to better leverage influencers, anything that allows influencers to better monetize their audience will keep influencers tied to the platform.

 

‘Dashboards are not real technologies’: Influencer marketing technology is a hot mess

As social media influencers become more appealing to marketers, a slew of tech startups have emerged promising they can help agencies and brands reach those social stars and run effective campaigns with a simple dashboard.