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  • By: Kelly McDonald - Founder and CEO
  • March 2, 2019

Influencers, You Must Be Willing To Give Up the Good to Get to the Great

Within the title of this post is one of my favorite quotes. Or a paraphrase of one. I thought it was by Vince Lombardi, as that’s what was on the poster that hung in the office I worked in where I saw it for the first time. But as I sat down to write I figured I should probably look it up before I suffered the hate of internet trolls. But instead, I found lots of versions of the same idea quoted from Rockefeller to the Dali Lama. So let’s not worry about where it came from for the sake of the post and instead focus on the sentiment.
My company focuses on vetting social media influencers for brands. I love telling people what my company does, because when you say “Influencer Marketing” one of two things happens. The person takes a deep breath and politely rolls their eyes in their head or they groan audibly and tell you what a bunch of spoiled brats influencers are. You might think I’m complaining about the reaction. But I’m not. I couldn’t be more excited about it. Because changing that feeling and thought process is exactly why I started this business.

You see, I’m numb to people thinking an entire industry of professionals thinks and acts sleazy. I’ve been in some form of sales my entire career and frankly a lot of parts of my childhood. And you get a similar reaction from people when you tell them you are in sales. They get quiet and nod a lot, or they say something snarky about how they would hate to have to push people into buying stuff. And just like now, I love that reaction. Because it was honest, direct and gave me a chance to explain the difference between a professional salesperson (like myself) and a con-man who pretends to be a sales-person at every job they get, that is just long enough, to give us all a bad name.

I can’t blame the average person for not being able to tell the difference between someone who is a professional influencer or salesperson vs someone who joins those industries because of the low barrier of entry. It's hard to distinguish by just looking at them. Neither industry requires specific training or licensing. Neither requires a degree of any sort. As matter of fact, there are no requirements to become an influencer or a salesperson. Anyone can do it. However, to become a professional at either role takes effort, time, training, and everything else a con-man won’t bother with completing.

About ten years ago the mortgage industry underwent a major overhaul when requirements around licensing went into effect. Within the first twelve months, half of the folks who had been selling loans left the industry. And while it was tough in the beginning, as change always is, the mortgage industry has been better for it. The riff-raff left because the effort and requirements to pass the licensing were too much for them. They moved on to some other scam that let them phone it in, take advantage of people and are probably giving some other industry a bad name now.

I think that is where we are now with Influencer Marketing and it excites me. Because I talk to an insane amount of influencers. And I can tell you, just like in salespeople, there is a big difference between a professional influencer and someone who is here to make as much money as they can “before the jig is up.”

Professional influencers care about authenticity. They care about what’s best for their audience and they care about the results they will bring the clients they represent.

Many people take issue with influencers being paid if it's truly “Authentic.” That’s just silly. It can often take ten hours to edit one minute of video. I recently had a CEO of a mission-based organization tell me he didn’t necessarily want to pay the influencers he was looking for. He thought since they too would be passionate about the mission they would likely write blogs, do Youtube videos, and podcast commercials for free. I asked him if he was passionate about the mission of his organization. Of course, he said, “Yes.” I then asked him if he was working for free. I didn’t get a response but I did get an agreement to pay the influencers.

I strongly believe what is needed in the Influencer Marketing industry is transparency. It’s not a sticky business, it's an opaque business. And frankly, it’s been good to everyone so far. Some brands report making 6.50 ROI for every dollar they spend. And influencers are clearly cashing in. But if we want to get to the next level, the level where influence marketing becomes a predictable and reliable channel that businesses can count on, we need to drive transparency. Let’s clean house of those con-men who give our industry a bad name by buying followers, comments, or even prebuilt accounts. Let’s start talking more about authenticity, organic growth, and results and less about impressions. Let’s be willing to give up the good to get to the great.

*This post originally appeared on Medium on the Kyndoo blog.

Influencer Marketing Tips for 2021

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Influencer Marketing Tips for 2021

Updated February 1, 2021; Published January 1, 2021

Good riddance 2020!  2020 was a transformative year which not only altered our lives in so many ways, but also evolved the digital era for businesses, politics, education, and media. Like many advertising channels, influencer marketing also evolved with the times. 

With the population staying safe at home, social distancing, dealing with lockdowns and the reopenings spurring across the nation, we saw many talented content creators enhance and expand their offerings through social media. 

This means it’s high time to start planning your influencer marketing campaign…AND community!

However, in order to ensure success, it is important to understand what has changed with influencers last year.  The pandemic thrusted many new influencers into the scene – but who are the ones that are authentic, who gets engagement and which ones have followers that will actually buy your product?  

We have compiled the 6 major changes and helpful tips to ENSURE you have a campaign that you will have data to predict the results AND exactly how it performed.

Partnering with influencers is a great way to introduce your business and products, expand to new audiences, and get shoppers to make some purchases, then genuinely recommend to their followers and...begin the cycle of building your brand community. 

Why You Should Use Influencers in 2021? Before you begin, how do you make sure your products get noticed? With word of mouth marketing...and in 2021 word of mouth marketing on social channels to an engaged group of followers is...influencer marketing!

Did you know that influencer marketing is not only one of the oldest but also one of the best ways to increase brand awareness, grow your followers, and increase sales!

By finding and partnering with influencers who have an engaging and authentic audiences, your brand can reach so many people and make real, lasting impressions.

#1 Establish Your Goals and Plan Ahead.

Here are a few questions to consider when planning your influencer marketing campaign:

You definitely want to think about the goals of your influencer marketing campaign before reaching out to potential partners. Are you looking to drive brand awareness? Generate more sales? Promote a new offer?

Considering the objectives and “why” of your campaign is a crucial first step that will help guide your partnership strategy.

2. What’s Your Budget?

Before you start speaking to influencers, it is important to determine your budget for your influencer campaign.

While there are many niche-influencers who are willing to exchange free products for promotion, we believe it is always best practice to also compensate an influencer for the time they spent creating content for you. We encourage you to do send a product for an authentic promotion, however it is highly recommended to keep your relationship with your influencers professional therefore a contract, money, deadlines, and deliverables should be locked before you begin.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to calculate an influencer's rate. There are a variety of factors involved that go well beyond an Instagram influencer’s number of followers.

Many digital marketers adhere to the one cent per follower (or $100 per 10K followers) rule, but only as a starting point for their calculation. There is no magic number but our data shows that in order to make waves and sales then you should be willing to spend a minimum of  $5,000.  This will get you 2-3 influencers and a month of posts.

Having a clear understanding of your campaign objectives and budget will help you determine whether an influencer’s fees are in line with the value they can offer and the outcome you’re looking for, or if you need to explore another marketing tactic.

If you are launching a new brand and are not sure who your audience is then your first goal should be to find out who your consumers are. Influencer panels is an effective strategy that defines who your consumers are, where they live, what are their common interests are, and where they live. For instance, if you are launching a baby product and use 
a panel of mom-influencers, then you will find out if they are health conscience, do they live in the suburbs or metropolitan areas, and much more helpful intel that will allow you to optimize your campaign and make other informed decisions based on the engagement

#3 Build a community with advocates.

The people in an established brand community will follow all of your content on social media, they share it with others, and keep up to date on all of your new features. With such a community you can reach out for product feedback, feature releases, product designs, and much more. A community helps brands make customer-driven decisions.

Established brands are very likely to have loyalists, and it is even more likely they follow you on social. It is up to you to find them, connect directly with them and form a strategy for people in that community to interact with each other and you.

For new brands who do not have many loyal customers yet, will use influencers to help build the beginnings of a community. Real influencers are public figures within a certain community whom people trust and value their opinions. Influencer marketing is one of the fastest and most effective ways of conveying brand messages today.  

It’s important to think outside the box when planning your Instagram influencer – however lets not disregard the influencers who are right under your nose (or Insta feed)  — it’s how you’ll get noticed!

By using a trusted and authentic influencer to deliver your message, your brand has the opportunity to create a story that resonates with your influencers' audiences. For example, influencers are the ideal people to 
show prospective customers what’s unique about your product.

#4 Safety, Guideline, and Hashtags.

By setting clear guidelines, you can help ensure that you get the highest return on your influencer partnerships.

A good strategy is to build branding guidelines and communications packets for your influencers. We also recommend you speak to each other via Zoom.  If you are working with a panel, we recommend you get all participants on a Zoom together and brief them at the same time to ensure consistency...and a thread that will intertwine each of their posts to tell a cohesive story. 

Now more than ever you need to be confident in the Brand Safety of those who promote your product. We have a 14-point brand safety check on every influencer's content. We can help brands stay safe from hidden messages promoting profanity, adult content, conspiracy theories and more. 

Lastly, don't forget to provide campaign hashtags, inspiration from past campaigns, or anything else you think would help them create content that will align with your brand.  You can use a caption optimizer.

Remember, when it comes to creating content, let the influencers express their creativity. Along with your list of guidelines, be sure to let them know you trust their expertise and are excited to see what they come up with.

#5 Make a panel of geo-targeted, niche up and comers.

Influencer marketing gives brands a unique opportunity to reach a new or niche audience. However, with so many varying rates and different types of influencers, how do you know who’s the right fit?

One of the easiest ways to find influencers who are a good match for your campaign, yet are atypical  is to seek out influencers who are going through a major life moment. Using AI (with partners like Kyndoo!) allow you to use image and natural language recognition to identify logos and captions and find influencers who are already using and advocating your products on their own.
#6 Measure the Results of Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

Once the campaign has launched, it’s important to check in and see how your campaign performed! Some of the most common performance metrics you can use for measuring the impact of your influencer marketing are:

  • Engagement rate: likes, comments, shares
  • Traffic: customers visiting your website
  • Sales, Sales, Sales: conversions and revenues generated
  • Insta-stories
  • Swipe-ups
  • Cart
Kyndoo helps brands and influencers track attribution for multiple, multi-channel, campaigns using UTM parameters. UTM parameters are simply tags you add to a URL, that will count when your link is clicked, they are tracked. You can attribute your sales to specific social media posts, channels and influencers.

Once you’ve measured the results for your campaign, you’ll want to put together a report you can refer back to, and optimize your campaign based on your findings.

In conclusion…
  • Set your goals and budget.
  • Vet your influencers. If it is clear to followers that an influencer doesn’t like your product - do not force it - the followers will know and you will lose credibility.
  • Community is invaluable!
  • Brand safety is essential today.  At the heart of every successful influencer campaign is authenticity and relatability.
  • Track geography and niche groups with high engagement.
  • Track attribution for optimization and consumer insights. 

It's time to begin.  Take your time, have clear measurable goals, determine your budget, and evaluate your influencers. Keep it personal, get to know your influencers, communicate with them often and trust them..and yourself.  Then measure every person and post, optimize as you go, give clear directions to loyalist, give them tools to communicate, and your brand community is a guarantee.


The Power of a Brand Community

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The Power of a Brand Community

Updated February 1, 2021; Published January 18, 2021

Every marketer knows that brands must engage with their consumers and establish a (sense of) real personal connection. 

The term loyal customers or brand advocates is now being replaced by the term Brand Communities - they are relatively similar however brand communities are about speaking directly to communities versus direct to a consumer.   

Brands should be gathering their most faithful customers into one place and take advantage of this group. It is up to a marketer to provide a simple way or place to answer their questions, give instant customer service and interact with their customers daily. The logical place for this to happen is on your social platform, however you still must separate those waiting for your sale post versus those waiting to hear about your latest launch.

The people in an established brand community will follow all of your content on social media, they share it with others, and keep up to date on all of your new features. With such a community you can reach out for product reviews, feature releases, product mockups, and much more. They help brands to be able to make customer-driven decisions.

Since brand communities already exist on social media, it is up to brands to find them, connect directly with them and form a strategy for people in that community to interact with each other and you. 

For brand communities to thrive, most companies use influencers to help start a spark. Influencer marketing has turned out to be one of the fastest and most effective ways of conveying brand messages today. To find an influencer who is already a brand advocate is like finding gold, however without ai tools that Kyndoo has, it can be like finding a need in a haystack.

As obvious as this may seem in writing, so often do brand make the mistake of being excited about using a well-known influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers,  However, as impressive as using these influencers can be, it is crucial that you work with influencers whose audiences connect with your market. For instance, if your company specializes in real estate, using an Instagram model with a huge fanbase of followers to promote your message won’t bring you the leads you want.

Apple is one of the largest electronics companies out there but there is a lot that smaller brands can learn from their huge marketing success. Quality, support, and innovation are not the only reasons why its products may be termed expensive. For most apple consumers, iPhone and MacBooks have become part of their identities. Apple has cleverly built the Apple Support Community to be a place for its fans to hang out and share their experiences and as well offer peer-to-peer customer support.

The Danish toy giant Lego has enjoyed decades of unparalleled success and has flourished at a time when kids are almost always on their screens. Lego, a household name throughout the world has spawned a global franchise consisting of video games, movies, and Legoland amusement parks. It started in 2008 after collaborating with a Japanese website and has risen to become one of the largest product ideation communities. The Lego Ideas community gives its consumers a say in the development of the products by allowing its members to submit product ideas and initiating contests.

To sum up, each brand community offers a unique set of benefits that heightens their success. Evidently, each has three important things that ensure a thriving brand community; feedback, engagement, and support.  If you need to build or find your community, vetted influencers who are already using your products is a great place to start.  And to find these specific influencers, Kyndoo is a great place to start.  

Find out who is #FakeFamous

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  • By: Kelly McDonald- CEO
  • February 1, 2021

Find out who is #FakeFamous

Social media continues to take the world by storm, and now everyone wants to play a more significant part in it as famous influencers. Quite frankly, we can’t blame people for dreaming of becoming Instagram or TikTok famous because who doesn’t want to be showered with free products and get paid by posting photos? Admit it. We’ve all been tempted to quit our job and become a full time travel or food influencer - well I sure have! 

Unfortunately for brands, it is becoming ten times more challenging to differentiate the real influencers from the #FakeFluencers. The lack of clarity is becoming a growing concern in the industry, causing brands to lose their belief in influencers as a legitimate, effective way of reaching their target markets; which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Influencer marketing, when done correctly, is one of the most effective forms of advertising. Wanting to be an influencer, no matter what it takes, is so vogue that HBO is came out with a new documentary called ‘Fake Famous,’ which is a social experiment-based film that takes us on the road with three ordinary people who will become social media “stars”. Numerous studies reveal that high school and college students (and way beyond!) often revere Likes and Followers, to the most important thing on Earth today: Fame. This HBO documentary doesn’t purport to be the next Borat, but it’s certainly aimed to be another wake-up call to social media users today regarding a very significant term: influencer fraud.

‘Influencer fraud’. What is it? And why does it sound so terrible?

Influencer fraud is, in three words: bad for business. That much is obvious. But to truly understand just how bad it is for business, one must first delve into the world of fake influencers. 

Why are fake influencers a big no-no in the world of marketing? It’s important to remember that the very point of influencers – besides playing their role to appear on our daily social feeds – is to promote products. So, when a company decides to invest their money in an influencer whose followers are either bots they paid for, or mass followers, who will follow you for a follow back, nobody actually buys what is being promoted. This results in a general loss to the company and influencer marketing as a whole. Both the bigger companies, who may not feel the sting as much as a start-up, who have so much to lose will lose their faith in this proven tactic.

It is easy to build up a social media entourage by buying bots that will stand as followers to make someone look like a legit influencer. These services have also stepped their game up in creating staged content to gain more attention from social media users, making them look even more legit. All they need is a good photo app, an interesting background, and a nice outfit curated together to get the perfect shot worthy of thousands of likes.

From there, they start racking up fake comments and likes to make their page seem active and engaging. Once they hit at least four digits of followers, brands take notice, and that’s when collaborations commence. Brands usually send out ‘in kind’ products to the influencers, and part with precious budget dollars, utterly oblivious that there will be no return on this investment.  

Spotting the Fake Famous #FakeFluencers

Companies have become so sophisticated at manipulating social media profiles that anyone would think their followers, comments and likes are real! So how can you tell the real and the fake famous apart?

Sudden spikes in an influencer’s follower count is one indicator. Unless of course, that person is Noah Centineo after the release of ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’, it’s highly likely that this person may have just bought more followers. Fake influencers may also post too little content to have that many followers.

There are plenty of other ways to vet prospective influencers before hiring them. But what is, perhaps, the easiest method of doing so is by resorting to Kyndoo’s Kyndex score. 

We have made it our mission to rip open the shades and shine the light on the fraudulent influencers and the influencer marketplaces that promote them.

We are the only service that vets influencers for authentic audiences, unusual follower-to-engagement ratios, reach and performance data, brand safety measures, tracks attribution and all of those other complicated terms you won’t have to worry about, because we KYNDOO it for you!

To find out who is Fake Famous versus who is a Real Influencer get their Kyndex Report.