Micro-influencers: How Micro is getting Macro results for brands

Micro-influencer, @pipartus

Apparently, bigger isn’t always better, with the recent word through the social grapevine being:

The smaller the social influencer’s audience, the stronger the engagement.

To put things into perspective, a social influencers following can range from 1k to 100’s of millions (so pretty damn broad). Micro-influencers generally covers the 1-10k mark, and macro-influencers and celebrities tackle the rest. So micro-influencers have, for a lack of a better word, a very micro following. But those micro numbers are getting macro results for businesses, and we’ve put together a list of five reasons why micro-influencers can be the key to influencer marketing success.

1. COST

The main reason brands & agencies are increasingly willing to shift down the popularity ladder to influencers with smaller audiences, is because micro-influencers are highly cost-effective.

How? Well, it’s like hitting 20 birds with one stone. Your influencer budget could get you one celebrity influencer, or 20 micro-influencers. Not only are micro-influencers significantly cheaper than macro-influencers, but they reach a niche (generally local) audience, that is far more engaged which generally leads to a higher conversion rate and return on investment. Where possible, a combination of both micro and macro influencers works best. When it comes to price, the market is always changing, but in New Zealand you can look to spend about $100-$500 for a post by a micro-influencer, depending on factors like follower count, engagement, industry and more.

2. HIGHER AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

Smaller audiences are not only more loyal but far more engaged (liking, commenting and sharing). To put it simply, the smaller the following, the closer their followers are to being actual friends. Which means, they generate high engagement. Once an influencer builds a larger following, their followers are further removed, resulting in less engagement.

In a strange way, it’s kinda like being at a Ricky Martin concert (or any concert if you’re not a fan of Ricky). The front row is like the micro-audience, and the back row, the macro audience. Ricky can get up close and personal, look right into the eyes of the front row, give them a high five, even sweat on them a little. As the rows go back, and the crowd gets bigger (or the followers) that personal connection, authentic engagement, and overall relationship dilutes. See what we did there.

3. BRAND AWARENESS AND EXPOSURE

As we mentioned before, about hitting the 20 birds with one stone thing. Well, it’s not only cheaper to use multiple micro-influencers, but, it also gives you the ability to reach lots of strong niches through different avenues. This will ensure your target audience is regularly exposed to your brand or product. And therefore, allow you to strategically reach your target market, and increase brand awareness and exposure. Boom!

4. AUTHENTICITY OF THE MICRO-INFLUENCER

You’ll believe your friend’s recommendation over a celebrity’s, right? Well, we hope so. It’s the same case with macro vs micro audiences. That’s because a micro-influencer isn’t a celebrity living their life in the spotlight, constantly being paid to promote every brand under the sun. In fact, most people wouldn’t recognise them if they were walking down the street. Which makes them much more relatable. Maybe they’re a friend of a friend, live in the same area, go to the same local coffee spot, maybe they’re a dog lover too.

Whatever it is, their following encompasses a much tighter, engaged circle. And with that comes trust and believability. So when a micro-influencer promotes a product they truly love, it comes off as much more authentic to the viewer. Which is key, because people are becoming excellent online BS detectors.

Picnic by micro-influencer, @pipartus in collaboration with Ngatarawa Wines

5. BULLSEYE TARGET AUDIENCE

Since micro-influencers have a niche audience that’s far more refined and specific, it’s now a piece of cake for brands to cut through the millions of Instagram users and communicate to their exact target audience. However, in order to effectively connect with the influencer’s audience, it’s important to make sure your brand or product is authentic to the influencer’s messaging, morals, and overall Instagram feed.

All in all, micro-influencers are beginning to change the game of social marketing into something, well, macro. From having authentic, believable content, higher engagement with your ideal audience, while also being a cost-effective option. It’s only logical why more and more brands, with both small and large marketing budgets, are getting on the micro bandwagon.

If you’re considering working with a micro-influencer, or any social media star – you can get set up on our platform, or talk to one of our campaign experts.

Everything you need to know about the New Influencer Marketing Standards in NZ

Noise on social media, we’ve all seen it. In order to penetrate through the noise and communicate with consumers, brands must pivot their approach from ordinary traditional & digital marketing.

That’s where influencer marketing has grown as of late, particularly in New Zealand. As consumers move their attention online, brands have followed. In 2016 online advertising spend exceeded that of TV advertising spend.

“Once brands were powerful and people were grateful, now people are powerful and brands are grateful”

Kiwi’s are using social media platforms more than ever, and at higher proportions than Australia, the US and the UK including many other countries.

Adhesion shows that of all online Kiwis:

  • 81% use Youtube
  • 79% use Facebook
  • 46% use instagram

This new space has allowed brands to deliver branded content to consumers in authentic ways by using the highly engaged followings of influencers. This begs the question, as consumers, how do we know what is advertising vs. content from a friend?

 

Change in the NZ Market

The Advertising Standards Authority in New Zealand recently announced that a new code of ethics has been formed around influencer marketing to more clearly inform consumers of the nature of content that they are consuming.

“The ASA Code of Ethics states that all advertising content controlled directly or indirectly by the advertiser should be identified as such, regardless of the medium used to distribute it.”

Additionally, financial payment does not necessarily qualify content as an advertisement. Free product with controlled messaging can also be classified as an advertisement.

Our CEO at The Social Club, Georgia McGillivray, looks forward to the introduction of these standards.

“We are pleased to see the ASA Guidance Note includes guidelines for identifying influencer marketing as well as other forms of advertising. It is a welcome development for influencers, brands and agencies to gain clarity around their responsibilities. We believe these guidelines serve to validate the influencer market in New Zealand and we are excited to implement them as foundational values here at The Social Club.”

 

What does this mean?

Here are a few scenarios to help brands identify whether their content through influencers is advertising or organic content.

  1. An instagram makeup influencer receives free samples of a new product and the advertisers message to them is “Hey, here’s a sample of our new product for you to try.”
    • The influencer uses the product and uploads a positive post on their instagram feed about their experience.
    • This is not likely to be an advertisement as there was no review requested by the advertiser, or any control of the copy.
  2. The same influencer receives more product for review with content provided by the advertiser. The influencer is able to make additional comments as a part of their review.
    • This is likely to be an advertisement as the advertiser has control over the content and requested a review, even though the product was free. It should clearly be identified as such.
  3. The same influencer is provided with a caption copy and script as well as a payment for a review. The caption includes the brand’s name and a call to action to check out the link.
    • This is an advertisement as payment is involved. The call to action and brand name are likely to be obvious and sufficient as identifiers.

 

How do I maintain authenticity as a brand?

Advertising identifiers can be used in many ways, whether that is integrated into the visuals like the use of a logo, or in the copy such as a brand name.

For example, incorporating the brands name or a hashtag such as #ad #collab, into the caption helps to identify that the content is indeed advertising.

To maintain authenticity it is important that the brand & product fit the values of the influencer and their profile, and vice versa. An example of a non authentic relationship would be if an influencer who publishes a vegan lifestyle was to partner with a burger joint. On the other hand, if an avid runner was to post content wearing a major shoe brand’s apparel, the message would be perceived as authentic as well as reach an engaged audience.

Another important aspect to look at is the ratio of advertisements and non branded content on an influencers page. With a healthy ratio, their audience will remain engaged and not feel bombarded with too many ads.

Since the introduction of similar standards overseas, studies with over 86,000 influencers have found that followers tend to engage more with sponsored content than non-sponsored content across most follower ranges. This shows that authentic and high quality content remain the key for high engagement.

If you’d like to read more, click here to check out the full Guidance Note by the ASA which includes more examples on when advertisements need to be identified.

For more information on running an influencer marketing campaign and how it can help your brand, you can reach our team at enquiries@thesocialclub.co.

INCREASE THE ROI OF YOUR INFLUENCER GENERATED CONTENT

Reduce, reuse, recycle is a phrase that has stuck with us since primary school and now that piece of advice doesn’t just benefit the environment!

Influencer generated content, created for your business, can be the gift that keeps on giving if you repurpose it for other marketing channels effectively. No matter the size of your marketing budget, it’s important to ensure that all activity is offering you a long-term return on investment.

To help you reap the benefits of your influencer marketing activity long after your creators share their content deliverables, here are a few recommended ways that you can cross-promote your IGC.

OWNED SOCIAL CHANNELS

Influencers will share your brand content on their own social channels, but the amplification of their content doesn’t need to stop there. Influencer content that endorses someone’s experience with your brand offers a cheaper CPE in paid advertising and often increases a user’s decision to learn more by clicking through to your website.

Remember that 92% of consumers reportedly trust recommendations from others on social, even if they are influencers who they do not know, over content created by brands. This statistic highlights the importance of IGC to a brand’s social and digital marketing strategy.

DIGITAL CHANNELS

Curated influencer content from people who your consumers trust, repurposed for your website, enhances people’s dwell time on your site and increases EDM engagement and click-through. IGC can offer you authentic website, article or blog content that will strengthen consumers trust and subtly highlight the benefit of your brand within your customer’s lifestyles.

PAID MEDIA INVESTMENTS

IGC doesn’t just generate greater click-through rates in paid social ad units; it also drives higher click-through than brand lead content in digital display, YouTube pre-roll and in-app advertising. Above the line media using influencers in outdoor advertising is also reported to drive greater advertising recall than brand lead content.

EXAMPLE OF REPURPOSED INFLUENCER CONTENT

For a great example of repurposed influencer content, take kiwi videographer Logan Dodds Go Pro Hero6 Instagram post. We have repurposed his post by photoshopping it onto a bus stop sign, giving you an idea of just how efficient Influencer content can be in settings well outside the realms of social media.

trekker

A FEW THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN REPURPOSING INFLUENCER GENERATED CONTENT

  • Always give credit, whether that is within your image, messaging or captions.
  • If you’re creating a contract, make sure to include points that address the ownership of content and usage rights. These contracts can be complicated so never assume anything! It’s always best to have agreements for this ready to go in advance of content being created & shared where possible.
  • If you aren’t sure about usage, ask. Chances are your influencer will be okay with the repurposing since it doesn’t require any more work from their end and offers them added exposure – but keep in mind that many influencers are now professionals, with hugely valuable personal brands, so don’t be surprised if they do have an additional price point depending on desired usage and placement.

Last but not least, if you are repurposing influencer content remember to always use content that has performed well. Choose a few Influencers that have had popular posts and repost them where an engaged audience can view them.

 

Snap Map: What You Need to Know

Snapchats latest “Snap Maps” only launched last week but it’s already created waves in the social-sphere. Here’s what you need to know:

Snap Maps plots the precise location of users on a world map in real time. This means it’s become a lot easier to see if your mates are hanging out together, without you.

Users are able to pick whether their location is visible to a select few, all friends or nobody at all – a setting Snapchat is calling “ghost mode”.

If you choose to be visible, you’ll appear as your Avatar on your friend’s maps. It would seem your Avatar even gets an upgrade as it changes as Snapchat monitors the of speed of your movements. For example it will update to reflect the fact that you are travelling in a car.

Snapchat’s introduction video, seen above, focuses on sharing the location of posted Snap Stories which are public. What the video doesn’t highlight is that Snap Map will broadcast and update your location to anyone on your friends list every time you open the app.

So to keep you in the know, we’ve put together a list of points below that we think is noteworthy for all you Snapchatters out there:

  • If you choose to share your location with all your friends on Snapchat, the app will remind you of that choice periodically to make sure you’re still comfortable with that decision.
  • You’ll only be able to view mutual friends on the Map.
  • Snapchat will delete your location data after a short period of time. This period of time hasn’t been specified by Snapchat.
  • If you tap on your friend’s Avatar, you’ll be able see when their location was last updated.
  • A friend’s location will remain on the Map for up to 8 hours if they don’t open the app again.

So how will this affect the influencer space? It opens the door to new location based campaigns, especially for events and physical activations. If you’re an Snapchat influencer expect to see this new function included in future campaigns.

One of the main things is to remember to be safe and always know your visibility setting!

If you have any questions about the new update, flick me an email at tony@thesocialclub.co

Instagram’s new branded content tool

Recently, Instagram came under fire for influencers using the service to post sponsored content without letting their followers know it’s actually been paid for. In fact, we only have to scroll back a couple months to the Fyre Festival incident to see what happens when a sponsored post goes wrong.

Out of all online social, Instagram definitely stands out as the platform to show off your most idealised life. We’ve slowly started scrutinising each and every post, asking ourselves whether it’s a reflection of real life or just another ad.

It would seem Instagram is actually on our side with this and working hard to better distinguish between a genuine gram or a sponsored post. Instagram’s new branded content tool means users will start seeing a “paid partnership with” subhead on posts and stories with sponsored content.

feed-aimee-volvo

Influencers can now say their goodbyes to unwanted #sponsored #ad tags and give their sponsored content a more updated professional look.

For now, the tool is only available to a limited amount of users and to have access to the feature you must use an Instagram business account.

Needless to say, it’s something we’re sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of on your feed in the near future.

Instagram & Twitter Algorithm Update: What it Means for You

Content shared on Instagram & Twitter will no longer appear in the order it was posted and will instead appear based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in it, and your relationship with the person posting it, much like Facebook. 

This week we have seen some major updates to two of our most loved platforms: Instagram & Twitter.

Over the last few years we have seen the organic reach of Facebook decrease rapidly from 100% right down to around 4%. The billion dollar platform have found many ways to monetize and offer users a “tailored and unique” experience, and now they are following suit with their Facebook-owned Instagram photo & video sharing service. While Twitter is not owned by Facebook, it has also released a similar update this week.

What this means as a user, is you will have your own personalised feed which will be ordered based on content and accounts you are most likely to engage with at the top.

For example, if your favourite artist (Taylor Swift) posted a photo of her performance the night before, it will be waiting for you at the top of your feed when you wake up, no matter how many of your other followers have posted in the meantime. Or if your bestfriend tweets a selfie, it will be sitting at the top of your feed rather than 40 photos ago. Make sense?

What this means for Influencers, Marketers and Brands:

  1. Provide valuable content

It is now more important than ever to be providing valuable content that your followers connect with and want to engage with. Without this, your content will be sitting at the bottom of your followers feed, and all the effort you have put into building this community will be lost!

  1. Ask your followers to turn on notifications

Instagram allows you to turn on notifications for your favourite influencers and brands to ensure you never miss a post. It’s likely many of your influencers won’t have heard or know much about this update, and they will definitely be interested in understanding why their feed has changed.

By giving a brief explanation of the updates and subtly asking your followers to turn on their notifications, you will be doing them a favour while helping your account at the same time. @shesaidyes did an excellent job of this:

  1. Engagement rate is king

These social networks are looking to make the overall user experience more engaging. Now that your most relevant posts are appearing on top, users are likely to become less worried about following too many accounts for fear of missing posts. Therefore follower numbers are likely to grow.

What this means for influencers, marketers and brands is that engagement rate will become the key for measuring what an influencer is worth as well as campaign success.

We can also expect up-and-coming influencers with small audiences but great engagement rates to become more in demand.

  1. Influencers time to shine

As it becomes tougher for brands to reach their audiences organically, they will look for other means. This will likely include influencer advertising as well as Instagram & Twitter paid advertising.

  1. Stay true to your community

Whatever you do, don’t let this update affect your accounts. Buying engagement or followers won’t help bump you up the feed and will negatively affect your authenticity. If you remain true to your followers, they will stay with you and spread your content widely.

  1. Cross-promote your platforms

The updates come as a reminder of the power of these giants. You have built a valuable audience, make sure you don’t leave it on one platform. As often as you can, remind your audience of other platforms they can follow you on. Below is a great example from @coreeylupton promoting is Snapchat & YouTube accounts via Instagram:

If you have any questions or would like to talk in more detail about what these changes mean for you, send us a message: enquiries@thesocialclub.co.

Snapchat 101 Guide

Snapchat has successfully become the most engaging social media platform for millennials. And it’s no longer just millennials drinking Snapchat’s Kool-aid.

The massive triumph of Snapchat stems from capitalising on the short attention span of today’s youth, who are always looking for new and entertaining ways to communicate online.

SNAPCHAT IN A NUTSHELL:

Snapchat is a mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos, text, and drawings. It’s free to download the app and free to send messages, which will disappear after 1-10 seconds.

Snapchat has broken every design and user experience rule, and won. By beginning with a complex system, only digital natives had the patience and knowledge to understand the how to use it. Kids loved engaging with new, hip app which their parents weren’t on. For this reason, Snapchat was able to dominate the 13-24 age group very quickly.

Since releasing Snapchat 2.0 in March 2016 with a much more straightforward UX, Snapchat has been able to grow their audience to reach an older demographic. After all, parents want to be where their kids are.

The Brand Goldmine:

At first brands were afraid to put time and effort into a campaign which they cannot (a) put through a strict approval process – as it’s in real time, or (b) measure. The fact that they themselves weren’t using Snapchat and didn’t understand it didn’t help the cause.

However as the digital landscape changes, advertising is changing with it. Early adopters have seen the massive benefits of being able to reach their consumers via a platform with fun, exciting and natural content.

2016 customers want real interaction with their favourite brands – to really see what goes on within the business. Snapchat offers the opportunity to engage with loyal fans and creatively show them behind the scenes, the brand culture, as well as offering exclusive snapchat only discounts codes or in-store keyword vouchers.

The Social Club now allows brands to pre-approve Snapchat content, and can pull analytics to show the results from Snapchat influencer campaigns, making it less daunting for brands.

This is cool and all, but what’s the actual upside of this for a business?

It’s simple; Real engagement.

“Customers who feel more attached to the brand, are more likely to buy from the brand.”

Key numbers:

  • 100 Million active users on the platform daily (Snapchat)
  • The number of over 35 year old on the platform has seen growth of 84% over the last year, while the number of 18-24 years has grown by 56%. (ComScore)
  • The average snapchat engagement rate for brands is currently 80%
  • 77% of students use Snapchat daily and 58% say they would likely purchase a product from a brand that sent them a coupon through Snapchat.

 

HOW TO USE SNAPCHAT EFFECTIVELY AS A BRAND:

  1. Cross promote & grow your account

To ensure your Snapchat efforts are having maximum effect, you need to be growing your audience as rapidly as possible. Some easy ways to do this is by promoting your Snapchat username & QR code via:
a) your website
b) other social media pages
c) POS marketing
d) events
e) email signatures & business cards

2. Influencers

As other platform algorithms change and reach drops, Snapchat will become the most important platform for our influencers to be active on. Snapchat influencer campaigns can promote anything from an event, to a product, to a location. The best thing about it is that it’s live, it’s natural and it features the influencer.

Influencer ‘takeovers’ on a brand’s Snapchat accounts are also an extremely effective way of using influencers to drive brand engagement and grow a brand’s Snapchat account. A takeover usually involves an influencer creating exclusive content for the brand over a given time period, directly driving the influencers own following to the brand’s account. This is most effective if done in conjunction with a new product, event, or other form of campaign.

3. Get creative

There are so many ways to get creative and make your content on Snapchat fun, especially including filters and emojis on your content. Last year TSC partners Motion Sickness Studio created a new public health campaign called Snapped Out NZ, asking young people to creatively and anonymously condemn those who smoke by sending images through Snapchat. The campaign received 9,600 story views, 101,500 impressions & 1,100 new followers.

4. User generated content

In January The Social Club worked with Crowd Mobile & MishGuru on a direct response Snapchat campaign. The campaign used three key Snapchat influencers including Gary Beadle (@gaz2270) from Geordie Shore who has the largest Snapchat following in the U.K.

This campaign asked the influencer’s followers to create their own content, and send it into the influencer to be featured on their story. You can see some of the Snapchats received by the influencer during the 24hr period here. This campaign generated thousands of snaps, over 50 million impressions & achieved an ROI of over 800%.

The true benefit of User Generated content is the insane levels of meaningful engagement. Offering fans the opportunity to have their content featured on the brand or influencer’s Snapchat story is one of the coolest things you can do for pumped up millennials.

5. Customer geofilters

Geofilters allow you to add an overlay filter that your brand has created on to the snapchats they send while on your premises. It is a great avenue for getting more brand exposure, and making the clear connection between your business and what is happening inside the users Snapchat.

While this is mainly effective for B2C businesses, events and conferences of any kind can use the same technique. (This is something to keep your eye on, and being fully deployed into NZ/AUS very soon) – https://www.snapchat.com/on-demand

SUMMARY

Snapchat has grabbed most consumers now – but it’s not the same story with businesses. Factors such as the limited data availability & its existence to date as an ‘unknown quantity’ have left many brands ignoring Snapchat until it becomes standard practice.

With this lies enormous opportunity for adventurous brands to engage their audiences in an incredibly meaningful & creative ways – before Snapchat becomes part of the mainstream marketing playbook. Get on board!