Why Influencer Marketing is here to stay 0 3121

Over the past months, you have probably heard arguments that Influencers are becoming ‘too much’ and that an invisible Influencer Marketing bubble is about to burst anytime soon.

The question though is, is it?

Well, unless your company doesn’t sell a product or service to humans, Influencer Marketing isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Way before Instagram was launched with perfectly curated social media feeds becoming synonymous with high achieving content creators – and many decades before companies partnered with digital celebrities to tap into their social spheres with branded content – movie stars, top models and footballers were using their own names and acquired audiences to endorse products in paid collaborations. People didn’t have any idea about algorithms or ‘likes’, but from the moment the audience could recognize the person fronting a campaign – instead of simply a random person playing a character – the ‘influencer’ factor was switched on.

The main reason influencer marketing has been questioned lately is due to its transparency, authenticity, and the quality of influencers chosen to help push a campaign – something that has more to do with the capacity of in-house marketers and agencies to select the right brand ambassadors rather than with the efficiency of influencer marketing as a valuable tool.

It hasn’t stopped brands and agencies from heavily investing in content creators, though. In fact, Influencer marketing has continued to grow over the last few years, shifting from a respectable $1.7 billion industry in 2016 to an astonishing $6.5 – 8 billion segments in 2019, as reported by the American Influencer Council and Business Insider, respectively.

The statistics surrounding the booming influencer industry probably explains why 8 out of 10 marketing teams have a dedicated budget for influencer marketing this year, as per the 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report, a global study conducted by Relatable.

Here are the five key reasons that back their decision.

It is scalable

Influencer Marketing is easily adaptable to almost any budget size or region. A recent report by Influencer Marketing Hub, an established Influencer marketing resource for brands and agencies, revealed that 57% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is a scalable tactic in their marketing ecosystem because if a brand wants to create a bigger campaign and target different regions they can alter their approach accordingly. For example, they would need to mainly focus on working with a greater number of influencers with larger followings, as long as they remain relevant to the company’s niche.

It has a higher Return On Investment (ROI)

Because in-house marketers and all agencies need to justify the money spent on any campaign, the so-called ROI (return on investment) remains at the forefront of the minds of most marketing professionals in 2019. However, a 2019 survey of marketers by Mediakix, an influencer marketing agency, shows that 89% of in-house marketers believe that the ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to, or better than, other marketing channels.

It can help to keep the conversation always on

A long time ago, when customers had a preferred outlet to get their daily dose of entertainment and information, it was easy to plan a campaign, target the platforms where your audience would most likely be hanging around and simply sit and wait for the results to come in. That technique no longer applies to any sector, with one-off campaigns becoming a risk too high to bet marketing budgets on. Due to their low costs, as well as their flexibility, “always on” influencer marketing campaigns have proved an effective way of keeping brand values and key messages in constant motion, leveraging long-term brand ambassador partnerships to keep a continuous and fresh stream of branded content.

It is a popular B2C tool

A study by inbound web marketing analytics and optimization agency Blue Corona found that, from over 800 marketing professionals and brand representatives surveyed, 69% of marketing professionals focus their influencer marketing campaigns on the B2C sector, with Instagram and Facebook leading the choices of most used social media channels for campaigns.

Reach new audiences

Besides helping to spread the news about a new campaign through word-of-mouth, sparking conversations about your product or brand amongst fans, Influencer Marketing campaigns also offer brands the opportunity to tap into the new audiences of content creators. Although some products are much more specific than others and one size doesn’t fit all, reaching a new audience beyond a company’s own social media channels will, at least, increase brand awareness.

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Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, speaker and a Content Producer working with brands and publications in the UK and Latin America.

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What do influencers think about the new hiding likes Instagram trial? 0 1419

It is still relatively early to say how the Instagram ‘likes’ ban in selected countries will affect the number of people actually liking a piece of content posted by their favorite influencer.

While brands and content creators have attempted to adjust in countries like Canada, Italy, Brazil, New Zealand, and Japan, where the ban was introduced last month, there still remains a discussion surrounding the efficacy of this test being carried out by the Facebook-owned social platform. Ultimately, at this point in time, the potential positive outcomes of a more “healthy” environment and higher quality content are yet to be seen.

Here, content creators from different countries around the world share their views on how they see the latest Instagram decision having an impact.

It will change the way people use Instagram

“I think it’s a great initiative. Likes are causing anxiety amongst users and hiding them will change the way one uses Instagram. Content will be created for the content and not to get likes.”

Pooja Dhingra – Pastry chef. Founder and CEO @Le15India and author

Only good content will matter

“Definitely a good initiative because in a world where the number of likes proves a person’s popularity or not, there is a lot of competitiveness, depression and imposed standards. I think hiding likes will direct people towards paying a lot more interest to the content itself, and only those ones with good content will continue to influence people’s lives.”

Bruna Martimiano – Blogger and digital Influencer

There are two sides to it

“We see the good and bad side of it. The good: without the pressure of having really high engagement, creators will have more freedom of expression with the content that they’re making. Either they get more personal to connect with their audience more, or they create even more beautiful content to continue standing out. It can encourage newer creators, too, to create more as they would be judged by quality rather than likes.

However, the bad side of it is that this can be a move for the platform to control engagement more. If no one can see the likes, the algorithm can try to lessen exposure to content and they can prioritize content distributors that are spending more money (advertisers and promoters).

Ruben Arriba and Rachel Pregunta – Content creators and travel bloggers at @gamintraveler 

People will stop comparing themselves to others

“I believe it’s a good and a bad thing really depending on what way you look at it 💯. It’s not really good for people that are promoters or influencers as they work with a lot of companies that send them clothing and other things because they have a really good following on their Instagram and get a lot of people liking their pictures, which means a lot of people see what they post and may potentially buy it. On the other hand, it’s good for people’s mental health as they can stop comparing themselves to others.”

Peter Hopkins – Footballer, Model, and Influencer

It may impact engagement

“I think it doesn’t necessarily impact the creator-brand endorsement relationship as creators will still be able to view likes on the back-end. However, not seeing a large number of likes may discourage others from liking a post, thus driving down that engagement.”

Goldie Chan – Founder and Keynote Speaker, Top Linkedin video creator

Instagram may lose identity

“Personally, I think there are pros and cons. For me, Instagram is about posting great and engaging content and it’s great to see public likes to know that your hard work is paying off and your audience engages with your content, and other people and brands can see this as well. However, on the flip side, I do have days where I wish likes weren’t a thing and that people were not so fixated on them, including myself because it does start to affect you mentally if a photo you post doesn’t match your expectations of how many likes you think it should get. But, somehow, I feel that if likes disappear from Instagram, altogether, then Instagram itself will lose its identity.”

Murray Davies – Content creator | London

There is more to life than Instagram likes

“In my point of view, it will make social media more enjoyable; people are going to be seen more as human beings and not simply as numbers. It’s also going to be good to finally be able to post our daily content without expecting numbers! At the end of the day, life is so much more than this!” 🙂

Keu Bastos – Content creator – Ireland

They are destroying Instagram

“I’m not impressed with what they have been doing to Instagram. I actually messaged them just to say it before they destroy it even more than they already have. I don’t like it at all, as my last photo had less than half of the likes it would usually get, so fewer people are now seeing it with the algorithm. It makes difficult now to tell what accounts are genuine because previously most accounts that had lots of followers you could just look at their engagement – including likes – and almost tell if they bought likes. The new ban on likes has just started, so it is still early to say how it will affect in the long run. As other people won’t be able to see the likes someone else’s post gets, maybe it would be the case if we all start commenting “like” on the pictures as a way to fight back?”

Utah Jack – Photographer

How to switch off from social media when your job is to be switched on? 0 2767

When was the last time you heard that, if you truly care about your mental health, you should stay off social media? With Instagram alone commanding 1 Billion users per month, it is easier said than done, of course. And for some people, like content creators, journalists, and digital campaign managers, being ‘in the loop’ is an extension of their daily jobs – even over the weekends – and we all have bills to pay, one way or another.

Take Instagram, for example. Since its launch in 2010 its picture-perfect grids have been linked to anxiety and depression, and the popularity of social networks, as a whole, have been questioned even by those that have a digital DNA. Last year a study conducted by marketing agency Hill Holiday found that 41% of generation Z, the most socially savvy generation made of those born in 1994 and later, were quitting major social media platforms because it is actually making them unhappy.

As a journalist and content creator myself, I have been working with brands and publicationsfor a while now and I have seen how unbalanced that relationship with social media can be. So, I went out there and asked professionals who make a living from being constantly connected and informed, how they find the balance between the content-thirsty online world and staying sane –  and how they manage to, eventually, switch off.

Get yourself organized

“I switch off by setting limits around how much time I am going to spend on my phone. That is not just for social media, but technology in general. I haven’t mindlessly scrolled in a while and I actually rarely engage with people’s accounts or follow them unless they are my closest friends. And yes, there have been times where it has been too much and I have forgotten to prioritize my mental health. That being said, I think social media has the potential to be an amazing platform to learn, to get information and be connected/inspired in ways I could not otherwise. I lacked role models growing up and many of the individuals I follow on social media have significantly impacted my life for the better. The key is just being mindful and aware of HOW and WHAT you engage with. I also switch off from social media and instead connect with REAL people; this will always be better than any online presence.

From a content creator’s perspective, the best thing to avoid social media burnout is to be efficient and produce many photos ahead of time, including shooting and editing, so that you don’t feel under pressure. I always have 25+ photos ready to go as backups so that way I can take breaks and still maintain a consistent presence on social media.”

Caleb Spiro – Influencer, Mental health advocate and creator of the #StrongerSelf podcast

Say bye to notifications

“I found myself getting too caught up in the numbers of likes, numbers, and followers. So sometimes I do take a little break. Right now, I’m not on Instagram too much on Fridays and Saturdays and I think a lot of people are starting to do the same! The weekend is usually centered around family and friends, so I want to be present rather than just staring at a screen. Of course, I have met so many wonderful people online and I love talking to them through IG — it can be such a great source to connect with like-minded people. However, you have to find that balance if you are finding yourself checking your notifications in your real-time.”

I switch off from social media by not allowing notifications to show on my phone — from Instagram to Facebook (which I actually deleted), and recently my email too! I used to have them on because I always felt the need to be “on” and respond right away, but I quickly got overwhelmed by the number of notifications and all the buzzing. The other major thing I do is that I set my phone to “do not disturb” starting at 10:30 pm and ending at 7:30 am! So, I take quite a few precautions because, over the years, I found myself just getting really distracted with my online life when there was an amazing real-life happening in front of me. It also kind of took my creativity and headspace away because I was so distracted.”

Hana Brannigan – Travel and mental health influencer

Put your phone away consciously

My Instagram account has been growing very fast since I started creating and posting content every day. Suddenly I got a lot of attention and, with it, external pressure increases. Because Instagram is almost like a full-time job, you always have to post and be active, so your numbers don’t drop. However, if you are not careful it can definitely influence you mentally. I found that taking time for yourself without your phone and putting it away consciously on a regular basis can be very helpful; enjoy moments with friends and family and have good conversations. The best thing to do is to not look at your phone in the morning, go for a workout and be productive offline first, instead.

Paul Pasytsch – Content creator and fitness model

Know your priorities

“When important deadlines approach academically, I naturally limit my time on social media however, never go cold turkey as I believe it will mess with the Instagram algorithm and stop your momentum. To find a balance I go to the gym and use that break as a time to be plugged only into my favorite music and focus on the present while going through my workout”.

Sergio Wynne – content creator

Be aware of who you follow

“My best tip to avoid social media burnout, especially if you use it as a platform for business growth and networking, is to make sure you set boundaries for when to be consuming and creating content, and to decide ahead of time how much time you will spend doing those activities. One rule I like to try to implement is to never spend more time consuming than I do create content. I also like to take one day off most weeks from creating and consuming content.

I have definitely had moments of feeling overwhelmed from social media. This past winter I deleted Instagram off of my phone for about a week and it was really refreshing. I honestly didn’t miss it and felt much more connected to my emotions and the people I was with. I think it’s an incredibly valuable platform, but it’s also addictive and it’s important to be conscious of that and take breaks when it becomes too much.

Another tip is to unfollow/mute anyone who is not adding positive value to your life. Once you “follow” someone, you really have very limited control of what and when they will pop up on your newsfeed and what emotions that might bring up for you. If you find yourself feeling bad, unhappy, upset, or like you are in a constant competition to someone you follow, it might be time to clean the house”.

Emily Louise – Online Entrepreneur, health and fitness expert.

Temporarily delete social apps

“To switch off from social media I just put my phone away and do something with my friends in the real world. I am studying to be a teacher and once when Instagram got to a point that became too much during my exams and it started to disrupt me, I made the decision to delete the app for a whole month. “

Florian Whitewalker – Model and content creator

Think before posting

“I don’t think I have ever got to a specific point where I have had to absolutely take a day or week off of Instagram or any social media channel. I realized I needed to make a change when I began attending events for bloggers/ influencers and I found myself scrolling through my own Instagram page to see how others were expecting me to be. This was a turning point for me. If I was having to look at my own social media pages to see how I should show up, I needed to make a change with how I used that platform.

So, rather than taking time off social media altogether, I decided to take more time to find myself. Instead of sitting on the couch scrolling, I would go for a walk or write. I needed to find a new way to show up online as myself – not with what would receive the most likes.

To most people’s surprise, I actually don’t spend much time on social media anymore. I always ask myself “why” every time I open an app. Am I posting something I am proud of? Am I getting on to look at content that will inspire and encourage me? If I find that I am only getting on because I am bored, or want to check the performance of a post, I step back.

I try not to check social media within the first hour of waking up. This helps to get my day started without distractions and to keep you focused on the tasks that are ahead. For me, spending that first hour planning out the day, connecting with myself, and easing into it all, truly helped my mental health for the better. And if social media is beginning to make me feel insecure, I immediately exit.”

Hannah Neese – Lifestyle Blogger

Conclusion: The key is to find a balance that works for you that helps clear up your headspace a bit for other things like being in the moment or being able to be creative.

#InfluencerMarketing #SocialMedia #ContentCreators

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