Tag: Social Media

There is only so much sand in the hourglass and if you haven’t already figured out what your social media game plan is during a company crisis, please read on immediately.

In today’s age of communications having a social media crisis engagement strategy is critical to preserving your brand. Now more than ever, the public expects an immediate response on social media when a crisis hits. Every minute that passes by without a response is a slippery slope to disaster. According to a recent study on Hubspot 72 per cent of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour. Moreover, 60 per cent of respondents in the survey felt negatively about the brand if they did not receive timely responses.

Here are a few steps to consider on how best to develop a minimal defence on social media when dealing with a crisis:

1. Social Media Monitoring

There are many different software platforms out there but if you do not have a full-time person involved in this process or a person who fully understands how to monitor and what alerts to establish you are far better off to engage the services of a firm that can manage this process for you. The cost of such a monitoring service can run you anywhere from $500+ per month depending on the size of your company. Though software platforms typically cost within this range, the advantage of having an agency manage this for your company is that you don’t carry the additional costs of an employee. At that rate, it makes much more economic sense to outsource.

 

2. Understanding the difference between and issue and a full-blown crisis

Having a clear understanding of the issue is your first step. You should develop a cascade of responses and protocol to ensure that you don’t escalate an issue like an ice cream spill in a retail store to a crisis like a bank robbery in progress.

Make sure the Crisis Communications Team (CCT) has assigned a senior member to be responsible for any communication approvals for rapid response requirements. It is very important that you don’t delay in responding to customer enquiries even if it means providing placeholder responses noting that you’re aware of the issues and you will get back to them promptly. If you have been in these turbulent waters before you understand how quickly a poorly managed issue can soon escalate into a crisis.

 

3. First Responders

Know what the program is once your issue has been detected. Every great crisis management plan has protocols and messaging created in advance. Everyone should know who is on the team and what previously crafted responses are ready to go or need to be quickly modified. Your social media responders have to be empowered with baseline responses and a priority sequence on response levels and messaging. Make sure you have a consistent message that can be adapted across all social media channels.

 

4. Get the message up

Do not waste time pursuing the perfect detailed response. Even if you do not have all the required details, at a bare minimum, you need to inform your audience. Tell them you are aware of the situation and expect to be addressing it more formally within the hour or whatever immediate timeframe possible. This conveys your understanding of the urgency and immediacy of the situation. Also, be sure to display the highest amount of empathy possible. Being abrupt and unsympathetic will only add fuel to the fire.

Make sure your team has a standing ‘if in doubt’ response so that no enquiry goes unanswered. Furthermore, once the correct, informed responses to your issue have been created, make sure your social media manager is able to respond expeditiously, and in the event of uncertainty, that the appropriate level of senior management is available to sign off on the post. Ultimately you will need to post an official response to a situation on your website which will be used by the media, blog writers and others who will be reporting on your issue.

 

5. Pause your scheduled posts

Nothing can be worse than seeing a light-hearted acknowledgement of an unrelated event magically appear during the heat of a crisis. Disable your scheduled posts immediately. Your customer base needs to know that your priority focus is on the issue at hand and nothing else.

 

6. Create a crisis FAQ web page

Having a web page that addresses the most frequent questions around the issue gives you the ability to link to answers more efficiently. Details of the occurrence, contacts at the crisis site, lists of products impacted, geographic regions in question, etc., should all be aggregated in one place that can be easily referenced and shared throughout your social media posts.

 

7. Engage

Once the message is up, make sure you immediately engage with your audience responses. Make sure that you are consistent with your messaging and responding in a polite and caring manner. If you have positive responses, make sure and thank those supporters immediately. There will be individuals that cannot be pleased no matter what the effort and you need to understand this going in.

One tactic you should consider in your response is offering to take the conversation ‘offline’. While you may get a few people accepting this offer, at the very least, you are indicating to the broader audience at large your willingness to address heated and repeated comments directly. Remember, if you are satisfying the majority you have preserved your brand and supporting community.

 

8. Internal Employees

Your employees need to be made immediately alert to any social media crisis response campaign. It is critical that company employees do not randomly respond or engage in conversations on social. This protocol should be addressed in your employee handbook to protect the company/brand from rogue engagement. Make sure that all employees are aware of the situation when it breaks and to refer to the section in their handbook for references regarding proper behaviour. Also, make sure you keep your employees up to date on all developments and conclusions as they are reached.

 

9. Document Everything

Make sure you create a log of engagement. Tweets, status updates, blogs, comments on social media—everything needs to be saved in a central repository for future references. Make sure copies of all your emails are recorded. Also, review your campaign. Understand what worked, did not work and your social media activity as it relates to the time series of the event. Review web site traffic patterns and understand where visitors were engaged. Reviewing what happened will only make your campaign stronger the next time it happens.

 

10. Continue to monitor

One of the most common mistakes to crisis management is thinking it’s over and having it rear its ugly head again four days later. Keep a close eye and adjust your monitoring to key in on higher influencers. As well, make sure you are monitoring key date milestones. In other words, expect that someone will trot out “it was one year ago today…” these are common occurrences, and you need to be prepared.

These are but a few ideas that should help you better prepare. Until your next crisis…
HM

Since its adoption by brands and business, social media has evolved beyond a broadcast platform to a tool that enables you to gather insights about your customers, industry, products and competitors. With the right tools, a social listening strategy can help you earn valuable business intelligence by tracking, analyzing and responding to targeted conversations and keywords.

If you think of the information you can gain from market research, you can implement the same approach to learn from people on social who are already engaging with your brand and your industry. If you approach social media as a giant focus group, ask yourself as a brand, “what problems are you trying to solve, and what data do you need to solve it?”

We can define social listening as the act of monitoring social media platforms for conversation around your brand, clients, competitors, keywords and any other ideas or themes that are relevant to your business. The next step is where we find the real value of social listening: analyzing the information for actionable insights. Those actions can enable you to engage customers, determine consumer behaviour models or shift your overall product or brand positioning strategy.

Social listening is different from social media monitoring by looking beyond social metrics like engagement rate, mentions and followers to learning what the feelings are behind the posts—how people actually feel about you, your competitors and the industry overall.

Make it part of your business strategy

Social media listening should automatically be part of your business strategy—even if you’re already engaging in market research studies, social listening will provide you with scores of actionable data from real people who are actively discussing the subjects you’re monitoring. Last month, Mansfield attended a seminar in Toronto from NetBase, a leading social listening platform. Guest speaker Ravi Imam from 113 Industries spoke about “finding David in your data.” Michelangelo’s David was sculpted from a single block of discarded marble, and just as Michelangelo saw something beautiful in an unwanted piece of marble, there could be a masterpiece waiting in your data—it’s just a question of listening to what it’s telling you and taking action.

 

There's a 'David' in your data somewhere

There’s a ‘David’ in your data somewhere

On their blog, Hootsuite has a useful list of what to track when starting your social listening monitors:

  • Your brand name and handles
  • Your product names
  • Industry buzzwords
  • Campaign names or keywords
  • Your competitors’ brand names, product names, and handles

Because your social listening monitors will pick up what people are you saying about you and your competitors, you’ll be able to determine how your brand fits within the industry, relative to customer perspectives. You’ll see the types of content your audiences are most engaged with and higher level insights around customer behaviour.

With a properly implemented social listening strategy, you will gain a deeper understanding of your brand and industry with insights on how to improve in all areas of your business. Sales teams will learn more about how customers really feel about products and services, marketing personnel will see what content is most valuable to audiences and R&D teams will have direct access to real-time customer perspectives on your products those of your competitors.

With the right tools and keywords, you’ll have the infrastructure in place to mold a David of your own. Read through Mansfield’s entire digital offering here and let us know when you’re ready to put social listening to work for your band. 

 

Welcome to another Mansfield Thought Leadership post. Our posts our designed to help the C-Suite with Public Relations and Social Media Management.

Should your company’s C-Suite executives be using social media? Even if they should be, chances are they’re not—according to research published in 2016 from CEO.com and Domo, 60 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever.

Whether or not the company brass should be publicly active on social networks depends largely on who they are as a person and how they want to be perceived within the company and the industry. Do they want to appear more relatable and connect more genuinely with employees and colleagues? Conversely, executives may harm the brand if their social media is done poorly. Just look at United Airline’s Oscar Munoz’ response to the controversy around their forced removal of a passenger earlier this year.

To give you an idea of the pros and the cons, we broke down the simple reasons for and against your company’s leaders engaging on social media.

 

pexels-photo-219003

Reasons for getting your company leaders on social:

• Shaping brand views: any executives on social media will serve as an extension of the company and their social media posts coming from the top will support the larger marketing activities. This can help the brand appear more accessible to a larger audience.

• Being approachable to employees: any efforts to be more accessible to outside audiences are applicable within the company itself. When employees are engaged on social media with their leaders they’re likely more satisfied in their job which will lead to less turnover.

• Improving relationships with customers and stakeholders: active execs help show the public and future customers how much the organization values customer experience. CEOs engaging with real people on social media can enhance brand opinions and loyalty.

• Talent recruitment: being adept on social emphasizes a CEO’s know-how with technology. Organizations searching for recruits who are invested in tech-friendly companies may value a CEO who keeps a strong social media presence.

• Keeping abreast of company or industry issues: social media allows CEOs to proactively monitor and participate in the relevant discussions that arise in regards to their company or industry. This can help company leadership react quickly to key industry developments.

On the other side, basic arguments against CEOs embracing social include:

• It may be too time consuming: sometimes time is a CEO’s most valuable commodity and forcing social media on them can take their attention away from more relevant pieces of business.

• It could be inauthentic: it’s not uncommon for executives to let their PR or communications teams run their accounts. While they’re most likely approving the posts, the words may not feel genuine which largely defeats the purpose of a personal social media account.

• The risk factor: if they are running their own accounts, giving a CEO free rein of their can be risky if they’re known for contentious or provocative commentary.

• It could harm internal productivity: if company leadership is seen as proactively social it may encourage employees to spend more time than necessary socializing online leading to decreased productivity.

However, if your company execs see the value in social media, launching them on it is a multi-step process. Approach it like any other social media campaign—establish goals and objectives, set benchmarks and most importantly, figure out the personality they want to project to the world.

Above all the brand humanizing, thought leadership and company updates from the top, their personal brands should shine through on whatever they put out.

If you need help navigating the Social Media landscape, we can work with you in confidence to improve your online presence.

Welcome to another blog post on Influencer Marketing. Be sure to check out our other posts in this series.

Are you one of the 84% of marketers that said they were planning on launching an influencer campaign in 2016? Were you one of the 81% that said that influencer marketing was effective? If you are not one of the aforementioned but you’re planning your first influencer campaign, is your website ready for it? It might be the last thing on your mind after searching the social channels for the voice that best fits your brand and putting the final touches on the creative, but your calls to action have to lead somewhere, and that somewhere is your website.

Hardware: Load Balanced or Cloud Based?

Hopefully all your homework and research pays off, you have the quiet little influencer that has a ravenous following. The campaign goes out and you start to worry when you can’t access your website at the same time that your influencer’s tens of thousands followers do. You are caught in the worst situation possible, your web server that runs your website is overrun with request and you can’t get it to load.

This isn’t a new issue, when email marketing was in it’s early days, an email deployment without a staggered delivery schedule would suck your hardware resources dry. Today the same is with influencers once they share their link in their social channel, it hits everyone at the same time. Sure there are longtail stats for the content that gets revisited, but if you want to stay relevant, make sure you content is ready to go live and expand on demand.

Content: Deep Linked or Hide and Seek?

So you have the influencer, you have the hardware, now where are you going to send the users that want to give you money? If your site has gone through a user experience (UX) audit and had a face lift on your chassis, you may have missed one important feature, the deep link to your content.

If you don’t understand the concept of a deep link I try to explain it best like this: if you need to describe to someone over email how to sign up for a service, order a product or reserve a table using more than a URL, you’re going to lose conversions. Javascript has created the ability to float overlays on your content for conversions for those who are just browsing, but if you’re only using that technology to send people to you’re going to have drop off.

Conversions: Calls to Action or Bounce Rate Bait?

If people have made the decision to click through from your influencer, you need to believe they are just as excited to pay or reserve as you hoped your influencer would make them. Always be closing was from the Glengarry Glenn Ross, you have the leads, they have come to you. Make sure your information architecture is set up so you can close with as little effort as possible from the user. One of the first things that your new users should see is an unobtrusive, yet obvious way to let them convert at the click of a link. If you are driving them to take part in your content strategy, have a link to convert when they are done reading it. If your stats are showing that the average video watch time is much less than the total play time, capture them before they disappear and add to your bounce rate.

Analytics: Analyze This or Analyze What?

If I were to make a movie about influencer marketing, my ABC would be “Always Be Checking”. Don’t rely on just one source of your metrics, especially if that only source is your influencer. They can report out of Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights about the clicks from their audience to your site, but are you set up with Google Analytics or your social server to see what your audience is doing after they get to your site? High rates of click throughs from your influencer that don’t correspond to your site’s analytics could be the first indication that your influencer isn’t as authentic as you’d like.

At Mansfield, we don’t want to be the all or nothing agency, we want to do they best for your brand. Our results are data driven, but if you need an audit on your site before you launch your campaign contact us. We are more than willing to help out with one part or all parts of your influencer campaign.

When it comes to creating images to represent your brand, you want to make sure they are aesthetically pleasing. These images can be used on various platforms, such as YouTube, blog posts, Instagram, Facebook, website pages, videos and even logos. To create images that please the eye there are some basic principles of art that are easy to understand and fundamental to create an attractive image; these include colour, composition and text.

First, use colours that complement each other: the colour wheel.

colourwheel

The simplest way to do this is to use colours at the opposite ends of the wheel (as shown above). These are called complementary colours. For example, yellow is complementary to purple, as green is complementary to red. Another option is to use three colours that are an equal distance from each other, such as red, green and blue, or orange, purple and turquoise.

In the image below, you can see where complementary colours are used. The green and red trees complement each other, the same way that blue complements the orange.

Other tactics you can use are to use all different shades of the same colour such as light blue to dark blue (called analogous) or create a black and white image with a strong accent colour.

colour

Second, use strategic composition: the rule of thirds.

ruleofthirds

Have you ever seen the grid on Instagram before you upload an image? This is a common practice used by artists and it is called the rule of thirds. It is a grid placed over the image that is made of three horizontal and three vertical lines. The theory behind it is that the subjects of your image should be in a box or on the line. Using this principle makes the image more pleasing to the brain and makes it appear balanced. Notice how in the image they are also using complementary colours- blue and orange.

Third, do not use more than two fonts and make the size legible.

guinness

Using one to two fonts will make your text easy to read. Too many fonts will be distracting to your audience.

Keep in mind the destination of the image. If it is a picture going on Instagram where people will be seeing it on a smaller screen, the font should be larger. However, if this is for a poster, the text can be smaller relative to the image. For example, Guinness used smaller font in this image as it was going to be printed large for distribution. They also included only two types of font on their image, incorporated the rule of thirds and complementary colours (although muted, the yellow Guinness symbol complements the purple undertones of the image)

Finally, listen to your gut.

These principles are great tools to creating a pleasing image, but ultimately it must look right to you. Do not be scared to try new things.

Happy designing!

Find out more about how we can help with your social media accounts here.

In 2016 alone, $493 billion was spent on advertising globally. It isn’t a surprise that advertising is a multi-billion-dollar industry when you take into consideration just how many adverts you see in a single day. In 2015, digital marketing experts estimated that Americans were exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads everyday. With the exponential growth of social media, smart phones and digital marketing in the past two years, it’s safe to say that the number of ads we are exposed to daily has only increased.

Because of the mass amount of advertisements we take in everyday, it takes a creative ad to be effective enough to stand out from the rest. So far this year there have been majorly successful ad campaigns, like AXE’s newest campaign, to huge advertising flops…yes, Pepsi, we’re talking about you. The month of May was no exception as we saw thousands of ads, some better than the rest. To be considered one of the best of the month, the ad must be memorable, elicit an emotional response, be aesthetically pleasing, have excellent music and, of course, shine positive light on the brand.

These are our choices for the best five ads from May:

1. “Live for the Story” – Canon

It’s no surprise that a company whose main job is to create top line camera equipment has the ability to create visually-appealing advertisements. However, Canon’s last campaign, ‘Live for the Story,’ is even better than what’s expected. The campaigns motto is “your world grows with each story you have, so live for the story,” which is paired alongside video ads of people living life to the fullest. The ads represent freedom, creativity, art, happiness and love, all alongside a catchy song and stunning visuals. The video is apart of a bigger campaign, ‘Summer for 365 days,’ which asks its audience to share their summer story on Instagram for a chance to win a trip around the world.

 2. “#ThankATeacher” – California Lottery

The California Lottery works with schools and teachers across California to support the local education system. Their latest campaign, ‘Back to the Start,’ is about sending native Californians back to their elementary schools to thank their former teachers. This ad shows Venus Williams going back to school to express her gratitude to her first grade teacher. The ad shows a touching moment between former student and teacher; one that is relatable for anyone who has had a remarkable teacher. The ad is successful in drawing attention to the education system and the lottery’s #ThankATeacher campaign.

 3. “Recalculating” – Jeep

Jeep’s ad that came out at the beginning of the month held its ground as one of the best of the entire month. Focusing on promoting their new 2017 Compass as a way to guide you, the ad follows people as their lives move in different, new and fast directions. It’s an inspiring ad that encourages people to find new paths and discover new realizations of the world and of themselves, all with the help of the compass guiding you. It’s an interesting take on a car commercial that sends an inspiring message about embracing change.

 4. “The Human Billboard” – Le CRAN

Le Conseil Representatif des Associations Noires (le CRAN) is an anti-racism organization in France that published this ad in May to combat the country’s racism problems ahead of the election. After collecting racist insults online, from interviews and through audio testimonials, the ad follows Le CRAN covering a young man’s body in the insults and sending him into the streets. This real-life experiment shows the reactions of the public while the man hands out pamphlets with more information on them. This ad is not only a successful video campaign, but was successful in bringing attention to an ongoing social issue.

 5. “Together #WePlayStrong” – Union of European Football Association (UEFA)

Although this ad was released on the last day of May, it made our list of one of the best ads of the month. The visuals, music, production and direction of the video are all very impressive, but another reason why it’s one of the best ads we saw last month? It is the first ever Pan-European campaign aimed at girls that promotes women’s soccer, which alone makes the ad worth watching. The ad is powerful, inspiring and full of encouragement for girls to play soccer.

Instagram is growing at a rapid rate. According to Time, in the past four months Instagram reached 700 million active users, which is the photo and video sharing app’s quickest growth spurt to date. Nowadays, it’s rare that a business doesn’t include Instagram in their social media marketing strategy. And there’s a good reason for it. Instagram is one of the best ways to visually promote your business and engage your audience.

A successful account isn’t measured by just the amount of Instagram followers, but rather is measured by the engagement rate. In the age of buying followers and likes, it is still possible to grow your account’s following and engagement rate organically. The best recipe for a high engagement rate is consistently posting aesthetically-pleasing, relevant and creative photos and videos. However, there are certain tricks you should implement into your Instagram strategy that will help you to organically improve your Instagram’s engagement rate.

Follow these four rules to see organic and substantial growth on your Instagram account:

 1. Have a full content strategy:

With 700 million active Instagram users, you’ll need to be unique to stand out, and behind every great Instagram is an even better content strategy. Merely posting photos on Instagram does not mean you have a content strategy. The most successful brands have a method to their madness and it’s no secret as to why their social media accounts are so popular. A good Instagram strategy will take planning, research and some experimental posts before you find out what works for your account and audience.

Ask yourself these questions when working on your content strategy:

  • Is there a theme? Consider the culture of your business and what you’re trying to convey through your account. Keep posts consistent, whether that means similar captions, filters or subject matter, make sure you stick to your theme. Remember: the best Instagram accounts have an obvious style.
  • How often and what time should I post? Several studies have been conducted on what times are the best for optimal Instagram engagement, however, the best posting times are dependant on several factors, mainly your audience. A good place to start is by using Instagram’s follower insights. After registering your account as a business profile, Instagram will automatically generate insights that will show you when your followers are most active. To see a high engagement rate start by posting your photos during your followers’ most active periods. As for how often, the general rule is at least once a day.

 2. Use quality hashtags

Hashtags are used on every social media platform, but they seem most effective on Instagram. Use the proper hashtags to reach a larger targeted audience than just those already following you. Instagram allows users to post 30 hashtags per post, and a TrackMaven study found that posts with more than 11 hashtags have the highest engagement rates.

What hashtags should I use? The four types of hashtags to include on every post are Instagram’s popular hashtags, local hashtags, related hashtags and branded hashtags. The actual hashtags will differ depending on your content, but there are a few tools, like Hashtagify, that will quickly discover the best ones for your content.

3.  Be extra social

It’s not enough to just consistently post quality content on your account. What separates the great accounts from the good accounts is the level of socializing you participate in with your followers. This ranges from just “liking” a follower’s comment on your post to sharing user-generated content. Other than liking and commenting on other accounts’ posts, which you should do often, try out these socializing tips to gain traction:

  • Ask questions in your captions and ask followers to tag their friends in the comments
  • Share user-generated content and tag the follower in the caption
  • Like up to 100 photos on your explore page per day
  • Respond to comments as quickly as possible
  • Tag influencers or relevant brands in your photos

4. Only post quality, creative photos

Visuals are everything on Instagram so make sure to only post high-quality, crisp images. There’s no need to invest in a professional camera to ensure maximum quality images, as any smartphone camera can do the job. Steer clear of mainly product photos and instead give your audience a look into the culture of your business. Introduce your employees and office, share cool shots of the cities you work in and give some behind-the-scenes looks.

Candid photos will give your audience an inside look at the personality of your brand. Quality over quantity, so make sure to avoid blurry, low-resolution and over-filtered photos and instead share well-lit, tastefully edited and clear focused images.

Learn more about how Mansfield can help improve your Instagram here.

April 2017 saw significant (and avoidable) PR crises for two major brands in the span of one week—United Airlines’ violent passenger removal incident and Pepsi’s “protester” ad featuring Kendall Jenner and its ensuing backlash.

With Pepsi, the brand admitted it had “missed the mark” in their internally-created ad where celebrity Kendall Jenner mitigates tensions at a racially-diverse peace demonstration by offering a police officer a can of Pepsi. The ad brought in nearly 1.6 million views on YouTube within 48 hours, earned five times as many downvotes as upvotes, and attracted criticism from people such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest daughter, Bernice King, who took to Twitter to mock the ad.

With the bad press for Pepsi still flowing, United Airlines staked its own claim for the worst PR disaster of the month when news emerged that a paying passenger had been dragged bloodied and screaming off a flight due to an overbooking debacle that other travelers caught on video and quickly uploaded online.

So when bad press emerges about a company, how should brands approach the crisis, how can they mitigate the damage and what can we learn from their mistakes?

Act fast

The faster you react and respond, the greater the chance you have of being able to control the message instead of allowing the media to form their own stories about it. Speed is critical in these situations and by letting the crisis build up before addressing it, you’re inviting unpredictable media consequences instead of maintaining a controlled, manageable new cycle for your company.

Take responsibility

Taking responsibility or ownership of the crises, putting your spokesperson out in public and being approachable about the situation gives you the opportunity to say how you’ll prevent the problem from happening again. By being upfront and owning the message, you obstruct the blame cycle and prevent others from assigning blame. The more effective you are in applying these crisis communications methods the faster you can control the damage.

Have a “holding statement”

Along with the speed with which you address the crisis, having a prepared holding statement that lays out the basic facts regarding the incident while laying out how you are actively dealing with it demonstrates recognition, ownership and professionalism while leaving time to formalize a more thorough response.

Your company’s communications staff should frequently draft and evaluate holding statements for several potential crises situations and revisit them regularly to decide if adjustments are necessary.

Make the apology right

Finally, when making the formal apology on behalf of your brand, try sincerely to express emotion and be empathetic to the experiences of those affected by the situation—and above all—get it right the first time. United’s CEO was widely mocked for using airline jargon in the first apology, expressing regret for needing to “reaccommodate customers”. The next day he attempted a more authentic apology, saying he “deeply apologize[s] to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard.”

When you find yourself addressing a crisis for your company, be up front with your customers and those affected, accept responsibility and be transparent about your course corrections and you will be able to manage the situation much more easily.

Learn more about Mansfield’s in depth experience in Crisis Communications and brand management here.

 

 

Whether you are looking to engage an influencer on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or smaller niche sites, influencer marketing is on the rise in 2017. To stay on top of this trend brands must actively change their strategies to capitalize on this seismic marketing shift.

Influencers are paid to sponsor a product or campaign through their blog, social media posts, other video/written content. The benefit is simply that many of their followers will often take the trusted source, in this case the influencer, as being a good motivation to check out a brand, participate in a sale offering and possibly initiate a purchase.

There are five market measurements of Influencers:

  • Micro (<10,000 followers),
  • Mid (10,000- 100,000)
  • Macro (>100,000)
  • Super Macro (100,000+ and some level of celebrity status)
  • Niche (follower counts can vary from 500-1,000,000s depending on category and expertise).

Most campaigns will take on a blend of influencers with each campaign directly involved in achieving a defined goal: Either brand amplification, general awareness, lead generation or a defined sales campaign.

Influencers are keenly aware of their power, and this is likely to increase as more brands continue to invest in them this year and beyond. Some of the things you may want to consider when negotiating with an influencer:

1) Do I possess the skill set to negotiate an influencer contract or should I be outsourcing this to an agency?

If you have no prior experience in negotiating with influencers you should consider the cost benefit of using a company that has knowledge, is process driven and can display results from past campaigns. Don’t get lured into influencer software platforms that will spit out millions of recommendations without a defined strategy. No two tracking software programs are alike and, at the end of the day, a human analysis will be required to legitimize whom you may be pursuing for your campaign. Most companies that have this area of expertise will have the required information and market knowledge to create a strategy that will get you the results you are seeking.

2) Do the influencer’s profile and audience fit with my brand? If not is there a parallel association that might make sense?

Experienced influencers will be very particular about your brand and their core audience. They will need to understand your campaign and how they might fit into their communications schedule without being accused of product pushing. Remember, they got to where they are by carefully curating their personal brand. Not all campaigns will have a direct relationship to your brand. As you build out your campaign look for audiences that may have similar character attributes that would be transferrable to your brand. For instance, could an influencer who has a large following in travel also have an impact in food? Also, look for niche experts in geographic locations. You may be pleasantly surprised by both finite expertise and local loyalty. You will also like the associated cost benefits.

3) How do I determine the Influencer’s track record?

Most influencers will have a media kit with past performances and results. Be sure and ask for it. If not ask for screen shots of Google Analytics or past campaign performances. A quality influencer will want to share this information as most campaigns today can be easily tagged and tracked.

4) Who controls the content?

Content control will largely depend on the influencer you are working with. Most influencers will want to know the campaign direction you are contemplating and make their partnership decision based upon this information. For the most part, they will want to incorporate your product info into their own vernacular that best suits their community. Try and look for longer-term relationships. One-offs don’t create any value at the lower three levels of influencers. Having said that, manage your expectations on what might be the outcome when you first begin the relationship. For this reason, incorporate a few influencers into your campaign and see which ones are the highest performers.

5) What is fair compensation?

Most influencers will be willing to negotiate their compensation. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $100 – $1,000 per post/campaign depending on their past performance and size of their base. Most influencers will prefer to be paid in cash, but some (few) will take product in whole or as part of their compensation. There will be other variables that will influence the cost such as schedule (theirs and yours), the length of campaign and level of endorsement you are seeking.  The greater the track record, the more money you will likely be paying. If you are prepared to engage celebrity or athlete endorsements, your cost multiples will increase substantially. Some influencers may to try and negotiate some value-add for their community. Be prepared to serve up some free product, brand swag or discount to those who ask.

6) Is there a contract?

Yes. Please make sure you have a signed Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you begin negotiations. This way you are protected from the opportunity being publicly disclosed. From that point on, if you decide to proceed you need to have the terms defined in a written binding contract. A contract is the only way you will be protecting your rights and the content.

7) Should I be concerned about “sponsored” or “paid” labels on the content posted?

Most Influencers’ communities will not be swayed by the tag sponsored or paid. They will consider the merits of the brand and fully understand that the influencer to whom they are following will have made a commitment themselves to your brand.  They must be convinced of your product to take on an endorsement role for it is their community you are trying to penetrate.

8) How do I measure the success of the program?

See point # 1. If you are inexperienced in running these campaigns and seeking help there are a few base ingredients you should be considering such as:

  • What are the business objectives?
  • What portion of the customer journey am I trying to penetrate?
  • Is there a CPA or sales ratio for dollars spent?
  • Are there regional successes that may be transferrable to other geographic areas?
  • Do I have the right mix of influencers in my campaign?
  • Is the audience size right for my brand (Micro, Mid /Niche)?
  • Am I securing the brand affiliations I have identified in my plan?
  • What metrics am I tracking for success?

According to Altimeter’s Traacker report, 71% of marketers rate influencer marketing as a strategic area of their marketing campaign this year. The report also noted that while budgets are currently small, 55% plan to spend more on influencers in 2017.

A survey by IAB in 2016 indicated widespread rise in ad blockers, especially amongst younger demographics. A full 47% of people are using them, and this number will undoubtedly continue to rise, making influencers even a more valuable component of your marketing strategy.

Influencer marketing is big business and bound to increase even more in 2017 and beyond. Be careful with your negotiations and if you are just starting out, manage your program and expectations accordingly.

Personal branding is something that everyone does, whether they realize it or not.

Building a personal brand means optimizing and managing the way that your identity is received online. In this blog post specifically, we will give 12 tips on how to clean up and improve your personal branding using social media. Social media is probably the biggest key to building your brand, since it can be so personalized. more