Category Archives: fashion

The 9 Influencer Marketing Myths Most People Get Wrong

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The 9 Most Common Influencer Marketing Misconceptions

In the span of a few years influencer marketing has grown from a largely uncharted advertising strategy into a cornerstone of the online marketing landscape. On Instagram alone, influencer marketing is now a one billion dollar industry.

As influencer marketing continues to rise in popularity, certain misconceptions about the industry run rampant or are misinterpreted. Here we’ll dispel the ten most common influencer marketing myths.

1. Influencer Marketing Can Be Fully Automated

The rise of the influencer marketing industry has led to the formation of two primary methods used to select influencers: (1) influencer marketing agencies and (2) influencer marketing platforms. Though some marketers see platforms as a fully automated substitute for agencies, influencer marketing campaigns are extremely nuanced and certain processes or campaign demands/intricacies cannot be fully automated.

In a recent study, Mediakix created two entirely fake influencer accounts that both secured brand partnership offers through influencer platform automation, despite having 100% fake followers and engagement. In this instance, the platforms nor the brands using the platform for influencer marketing were able to rely on automated processes.

Agencies offer seasoned, first-hand experience when it comes to executing high-performing influencer marketing campaigns from start to finish. In addition to proper influencer vetting and selection, experienced agencies come with other significant advantages absent from platforms, including personal relationships with some of the world’s largest influencers and the ability to orchestrate successful custom campaigns integrated into a brand’s larger marketing initiatives. 

Related Post: 10 Major Differences Between Influencer Marketing Platforms & Agencies

2. The Influencer Marketing Bubble Is About To Burst

In 2017, search interest in influencer marketing doubled.

Additionally, brands are increasingly dedicating more of their advertising budget to the strategy. 48% of marketers plan on increasing influencer marketing budgets in 2018.

Not only is general interest in influencer marketing flourishing, consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on social media, making social media marketing more relevant than ever. Influencer marketing is helping businesses of many types reach consumers on social. As ad dollars funnel into the industry and search interest increases, it’s clear that influencer marketing is still a rapidly growing industry that shows no signs of “bursting” anytime soon.

Related Post: Forget The Influencer Marketing Bubble — The Industry Is Evolving

3. FTC Compliance Doesn’t Matter

As the influencer marketing industry grows, the Federal Trade Commission is becoming increasingly stringent in regards to proper advertising disclosure. In April 2017, the FTC delivered 90 warning letters reminding celebrities, brands, and influencers that brand partnerships must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed to social media users.

2017 marked the first year the FTC has singled out individual influencers in violation of FTC, an escalation from the FTC’s decision to file complaints against brands in the past. Evidently, proper compliance is more important than ever.

Related Post: A History Of Brands Violating FTC Digital & Social Media Rules

4. Brands Don’t Need Influencer Marketing Agencies

Some brands assume they don’t need agencies because they may be able to work directly with influencers. In reality, coordination of a successful influencer campaign is extremely time intensive and requires a wide breadth of expertise spanning from up-to-date knowledge of FTC regulations to influencer agreements and sponsored content ownership/licensing, and what delivers results when it comes to marketing on emerging social media channels and networks.

Developing and managing relationships with the right influencers is a time and resource intensive venture. Unless brands are prepared to navigate the influencer marketing space on this front, working with a qualified agency saves brands copious amounts of time (and avoids costly missteps) by handling all influencer relationships and communications.

In business, time is money, and although a select few brands may be capable of implementing influencer campaigns independently, agencies have implemented thousands of campaigns and are therefore equipped to do so with unparalleled efficiency and accuracy.

Related Post: 7 Defining Characteristics Of Top Influencer Marketing Agencies

5. Influencer Marketing Is Impossible To Measure

A common misconception within the influencer industry is that influencer marketing ROI is immeasurable. However, digital tracking technology gives marketers the ability to measure the number of downloads, sign-ups, click-throughs, and website traffic produced by sponsored content. Undoubtedly, influencer marketing is a highly measurable form of advertising because of its digital nature.

Influencer agencies possess the knowledge needed to use quantitative metrics such as sign-ups and website traffic to accurately measure the success of a campaign. Agencies can also determine what ROI metrics a brand should be concerned with depending on their campaign goals and needs.

6. Influencers Only Care About Money Above All Else

Many assume that influencers are only on social media for the money. However, in reality, influencers feel deeply connected to fans and in multiple interviews have stressed the importance of collaborating with brands that will appeal to their audience.

Tammy Hembrow, a fitness influencer with over 7 million Instagram followers, recently told Mediakix, “I find it’s so important to be transparent with my online community. I feel an obligation to them because they trust me and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that.”

For successful campaigns, brands should seek deep partnerships with influencers who are genuinely interested in their products and be wary of “influencers” who are only seeking to take advantage of ad dollars quickly pouring into the space.

Related Post: Should Brands Pay For Influencers? [Infographic]

7. Micro Influencers Get Higher Engagement Than Macro Influencers

The topic of micro and macro influencer performance has been a source of great debate within the influencer marketing industry. Many assume that micro influencers receive higher engagement that macro influencers on average, making them better suited for partnerships.

Recently, Mediakix assessed 16 brands that collaborate with both macro and micro influencers and found that macro social media stars receive comparable engagement rates to micro influencers. Additionally, macro influencers perform markedly better than micro influencers when it comes to likes, comments, and reach. Macro influencer content also tends to be more shareable than micro influencer content. 

8. Celebrities Are Better Than Influencers

Logic would suggest that the more followers an influencer has the better. However, the assumption that follower count is the most important metric to consider when selecting an influencer ignores factors such as audience relevance and engagement rate.

Though celebrities maintain enormous online followings, they often draw in varied and impersonal audiences. Social media influencers, on the other hand, amass highly targeted audiences that they connect with regularly through comments and messages. Audiences, in turn, feel empowered to contact influencers directly, because it’s likely that they will receive a response. The reciprocal nature of relationships between influencers and viewers often makes audiences perceive them as more accessible and relatable than celebrities. 

Though influencers may reach smaller audiences than celebrities, they reach specific niches and develop relationships with their followers. Fans are more likely to take their product recommendations seriously, which can result in more powerful engagement and conversions.

Related Post: Influencer Marketing vs. Celebrity Endorsements: Which Is Better For Brands?

9. Influencers Can Only Be Used For One-Off Campaigns

The development of an ongoing relationship between a brand and an influencer is beneficial to both parties. An influencer’s dedication to one brand communicates a genuine partnership to viewers. Furthermore, influencers can provide value beyond social media, such as product feedback and recommendations. 

Lululemon is one brand well known for maintaining long-term partnerships with influencers. The brand often works with professional athletes, who are not only well positioned to advertise to its athletic consumer base but to also provide feedback on product design and performance over the course of months and years.

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How Baidu Leverages Influencers To Advertise Its Global Mobile Apps

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How Baidu Markets With Influencers To Promote Mobile App Downloads

Founded in 2000, Baidu has grown to become one of China’s most innovative web service companies. With over 40,000 employees around the world, the internet provider is a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) design and also develops widely popular social networks and mobile apps.

Social media and more specifically influencer marketing have become an essential part of the company’s global advertising strategy. We spoke with Lin Min, Global Marketing Manager, who oversees the promotion of Baidu’s Facemoji Keyboard to social media users worldwide. Read on to learn more about how Min uses influencer marketing to drive app downloads and promote Baidu to a global audience.

1. Tell me a bit about yourself and Baidu (e.g. brief company history and highlights, your role, etc.).

Baidu is the world’s leading Chinese-language internet search provider and is one of the biggest tech firms in China. The company was founded in 2000 by our CEO Robin Li, with the mission of providing the best and most equitable way for people to find what they’re looking for.

In May of 2017, we updated our mission statement for the first time in many years to highlight our belief in the power of AI, and our dedication to creating new and intuitive ways of interacting with the world. Our new mission statement is: “Making a complex world simpler through technology.”

I represent Baidu’s Global Business Unit (GBU). GBU develops many popular apps for users outside of China. We always aim to create innovative products that are fun and easy to use, and that people truly enjoy.

As Global Marketing Manager, I handle online and offline marketing campaigns for our mobile app (Facemoji Keyboard) and develop specific marketing plans and programs that focus on social media to increase brand awareness and app downloads. 

2. Since its founding in 2000, Baidu has grown enormously! How has Baidu’s marketing strategy changed as the company has evolved?

First of all, it’s worth mentioning that Baidu is an enormous company with over 40,000 employees around the world, and I can really only represent a small sliver of everything we do. In our business unit (GBU), we focus pretty much exclusively on users outside of China. That means we need to have a solid grasp on what’s happening across a wide swath of countries and cultures, not only technologically but also in terms of people’s lifestyles and online habits. 

Because of this, our marketing technique is constantly evolving. I can tell you that a staple of our efforts has always been social media including Facebook and Twitter, and those platforms probably won’t lose their efficacy anytime soon.

A more recent trend that we see across all geographical regions is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is absolutely huge and is quickly becoming a core element of our overseas marketing efforts.

Related Post: The 13 Biggest Influencer Marketing Trends For 2018

3. As Global Marketing Manager, how do you effectively craft Baidu’s image on social media to connect with a diverse range of people? What are the key considerations in your overall social strategy?

We learn as much as we can about our existing customers. What things motivate them to download our apps? How often and in what way do they use our apps? What benefits do our apps bring to them? What is the user experience with our apps? Why do they share our apps, and if they don’t share them, why not? What would they like our apps to offer? What differentiates our product from that of our competitors? Why do our customers use Facemoji Keyboard vs. other keyboard apps? 

The list goes on. My focus is on Facemoji Keyboard, but we take into account these questions and many more for all of our products.

In addition, we also look at reviews in the app store on a regular basis. For example, we saw that many people could easily express meanings and emotions with Facemoji Keyboard. People always struggle to express meaning and emotion on the internet, however, with Facemoji Keyboard, they can express their mood easily without any misunderstandings.

4. For some companies, influencer marketing is their primary or sole advertising strategy. For others, it’s part of a larger social and digital push. How does Baidu approach influencer marketing and how do social media influencers fit into reaching consumers at scale?

Influencer marketing is a direct way to attract users. It is also an efficient way to enter the target market quickly and reach a genuine audience. To me, it is a sure-fire way to market our apps as influencers have already built a trusted image in the industry. The impact of influencer campaigns is greater than just watching a commercial or reading an article.

Previously, we did video campaigns on YouTube only. Now we’re also marketing on Instagram. Instagram Stories are short and can directly link to our app download pages. When people watch YouTube, they may skip the commercial part. But Instagram Stories are different. They’re a quick way to advertise your product.

Also, we strive to make our videos as creative and fun as possible allowing influencers to think of a way to play with our app functions within their sponsored video. For example, a rap influencer could make a rap video that talks about our apps and presents them in a funny way. Being creative and playful is an important part of getting audiences to watch, engage, and share videos.

5. How has creating influencer-specific Facemoji stickers driven the success of your Facemoji Emoji keyboard and Hahamoji mobile apps?

We collaborate with each influencer to create their own influencer-specific Facemoji stickers. As a result, each influencer authentically promotes, uses, and integrates their Facemoji sticker within their video content creating a fun and natural dialogue with their audiences. 

When users see their favorite influencer’s stickers, they’re excited to engage in the dialogue, motivated to download the app, use the stickers, and share them with friends on social media.

6. Looking ahead to 2018, any upcoming projects, initiatives, or launches we should be on the lookout for?

We generally like to surprise our users with new campaigns, so we’ll stay light on the details. You can expect to see more awesome giveaways, tie-ins with some of your favorite online personalities, and more!

7. Anything else you’d like to add?

It was a pleasure taking this interview!

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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How To Advertise On Instagram: The 12 Best Ways

For the latest authoritative social media and influencer marketing news, trends, and stats, subscribe to our industry digest newsletter!

A Complete Guide: How To Advertise On Instagram

Instagram is a social networking powerhouse that currently boasts over 800 million monthly active users, 250 million of whom use its Stories feature on a daily basis. Accordingly, brands interested in reaching Instagram’s deep well of users are constantly looking for the most effective techniques to advertise on the trending and popular social platform.

The two primary ways for marketers to reach audiences are via Instagram’s native advertising features and a variety influencer marketing strategies, tactics, and campaigns with advertisers spending $1 billion on Instagram influencers alone in 2017. However, the wide array of options within each of these verticals can be a daunting assemblage to absorb and comprehend.

In order to give brands a better understanding of Instagram’s advertising landscape, we’ve developed a comprehensive guide which details the many ways the social platform can be leveraged to reach potential customers.

Native Advertising

In order to use Instagram’s native advertising features, brands will first need to set up both a Facebook Page and an Instagram Business Profile. These accounts will serve as a launchpad for native advertising efforts and will become destination options for ads and campaigns.

1. Photo Ads

IMG_1702_iphone7jetblack_portraitPhoto Ads purchased by brands display a single photo and caption in a user’s Instagram Feed. Labeled as “Sponsored”, these ads provide marketers with the option to include a range of different calls to action (CTA’s) alongside clickable links.

Photos Ads, while static, can be versatile. They’re able to serve businesses by increasing brand awareness, conversion, engagement, reach, traffic, and app installs.

2. Video Ads

Video Ads give brands an added dimension of vibrancy on Instagram. This advertising feature autoplays videos up to 60 seconds long or, alternatively,  offers a slideshow feature that enables up to 10 images to loop in video form.

Similar to Photo Ads, as well as many of Instagram’s native advertising options, Video Ads are denoted as “Sponsored.”

3. Carousel Ads

Carousel Ads give brands the power to post up to 10 photos or videos as a single swipeable, dynamic post on Instagram. This format gives brands the opportunity to display multiple pieces of branded content that can create more in-depth narratives.

Carousel Ads are accompanied by a full-width CTA and link for viewers.

4. Stories Ads

advertise on instagram stories

Instagram Stories Ads are sponsored videos or photos that appear between users’ Instagram Stories. Sponsored photos in Stories are visible for three seconds, while sponsored videos can be played for a maximum of 15 seconds.

Stories Ads are equipped with an optional CTA, and while captions are not available, text can be incorporated as an overlay.

5. Shoppable Posts

instagram shoppable post

Shoppable Posts give businesses the power to facilitate shopping experiences directly through Instagram. Tagged as “Shoppable,” these posts include a brief description of a product or service, a price tag, an additional photo, and a purchase link to the brand’s website.

6. Canvas Ads

Canvas Ads were originally exclusive to Facebook, but are now available for Instagram Stories as well. The Canvas Ad format allows brands to create ads that, once clicked, become a fullscreen user experience. Within a Canvas Ad, users can scroll, zoom, and swipe to see more detail.

Like many Instagram and Facebook native advertising options, Canvas Ads are a content medium that brands can utilize to reach new and existing audiences.

Influencer Sponsorships

Outside of Instagram’s native offerings, brands can partner with influencers on the platform to promote their brand image, generate user engagement, and/or advertise specific products and services. Promotions can be subtle or explicit and can include offer coupons, deals, or giveaways, or specific CTA’s.

Virtually every content feature on Instagram’s robust platform allows for influencer marketing possibilities. However, influencer-brand partnership posts must contain either “#ad,” “#sponsored,” or the requisite sponsorship disclosure in the caption to comply with FTC guidelines.

Related Post: 93% Of Top Instagram Celebrities Don’t Follow FTC Guidelines [Infographic]

7. Macro Influencers

instagram macro influencer

Macro influencers are Instagram accounts that have amassed more than 100,000 followers. Some macro influencers are verified on the platform, while others appear as normal accounts. Their breadth, depth, and activity can vary greatly.

As “online celebrities,” macro influencers are a testament to the inherent success of Instagram and other social media platforms. Macro influencers on Instagram are frequently used by brands to get their messaging out to large audiences in effective and meaningful ways.

8. Micro Influencers

instagram micro influencer

While verified accounts and macro influencers may be out of reach for some brands, smaller influencers on Instagram are available for partnership and promotion. Micro influencers are accounts with less than 100,000 followers that have become a popular option for brands looking to reach specific audiences.

While they may have less reach, aggregate engagement, and be prone to fake followers and engagement, micro influencers sometimes offer more targeted, loyal, and responsive followers.

Related Post: Macro Influencers vs. Micro Influencers: Which Is Better? [Infographic]

9. Paid Partnership Tag

kendall jenner paid partnership

The Paid Partnership Tag reads “Paid partnership with…” and displays a brand’s Instagram account above the featured content, allowing influencers and their partners to view performance metrics unavailable through other means.

In the FTC’s latest sponsored social media disclosure guidelines, the organization deemed paid partnership tags or native disclosure tools (like the above example) as insufficient disclosure.

10. Stories

Differing from Instagram’s default feed, Stories showcase content that disappears within a 24-hour window. Brands can partner with influencers on Stories, using a wide range of promotional messaging techniques.

One of the most popular ways influencers and brands partner through Stories is by showcasing a product or service through a video, while including branded hashtags in overlay text. Influencers can also present shopping opportunities in their Stories by creating CTAs around products or services that encourage followers to purchase on a brand’s website. To further increase conversion rates, influencers can provide links to brands’ websites within their Stories.

Related Post: How Brands Are Marketing With Influencers On Instagram Stories

11. Live Stories

Live Stories on Instagram allow influencers to engage audiences authentically and in real-time. By activating influencers in Live Stories, brands are able to grab audiences in the moment with urgent and disappearing content.

12. Instagram Takeovers

An Instagram takeover is when an influencer is enlisted to create content for a brand’s Instagram account for a predetermined period of time. An influencer will promote a takeover in advance on his or her own Instagram account to encourage their followers visit and engage with the content.

Takeovers are popular with businesses looking to showcase their close relationships with influencers, advertise big launches, or bolster the traffic and followers on their own Instagram account.

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Use These 7 Tips To Take Your Brand Ambassador Program To The Next Level

For the latest authoritative social media and influencer marketing news, trends, and stats, subscribe to our industry digest newsletter!

How To Build A Brand Ambassador Program With Influencers: Tips, Examples & More

Today, the average person spends nearly two hours per day on social media. As individuals spend an increasing amount of time online they’re also demonstrating an aversion to ads. A recent study found that two out of three millennials use an ad blocker on mobile and desktop, a number that’s likely even higher for Generation Z members.

In order to more authentically connect with consumers online, many marketers are implementing brand ambassador programs with social media influencers. Here we’ll define what a brand ambassador is, identify the benefits of building a brand ambassador program with influencers, and provide tips to guide your brand ambassador program.

What Is A Brand Ambassador?

Most simply, a brand ambassador is an individual who promotes a brand in order to raise awareness and boost sales. Brand ambassadors showcase company products and services, inform the public of relevant brand news, and promote and appear at live brand events. Ambassadors maintain ongoing relationships with brands, sometimes for a year or longer, and endorse the brand and its products over time.  

Today, brand ambassadors typically take the form of social media influencers and/or celebrities given the enormous audiences both maintain online. Traditional celebrities are individuals who have risen to fame through success through traditional means oftentimes entertainment (e.g. TV, movies, sports). Social media influencers are those who create social media content around a specific niche and develop large audiences who trust their expertise on a specific topic.

Brand ambassadors are either paid or unpaid. Those that are unpaid receive compensation for promoting a brand in the form of free products, travel opportunities, tickets/invitations to events, and other non-monetary perks. Paid ambassadors are those that are monetarily compensated for collaborating with a brand.

Related Post: Brand Ambassadors vs. Celebrities vs. Influencers: Which Is Best?

Benefits Of Building A Brand Ambassador Program With Social Media Influencers

There are many benefits to leveraging social media influencers as brand ambassadors. First and foremost, influencers present a valuable opportunity for brands to gain both exposure to and valuable engagement with their enormous online followings.

Additionally, influencers’ audiences trust their opinions, compared to celebrities who typically amass larger but more impersonal followings. Because influencers consistently create content around specific niches and topics, they are regarded as everyday relatable experts and tastemakers in their respective categories.

Consumers have also reported that they relate more strongly to social media influencers than traditional celebrities. 62% of eight to 24-year-olds say they would buy a YouTuber endorsed product over a celebrity endorsed product, which demonstrates influencers’ suitability for brand ambassador programs.

Overwhelmingly, influencers have the potential to be high-performing brand ambassadors because the audiences today, in particular, connect strongest with them and see them as trustworthy.

Tips For Building A Brand Ambassador Program With Influencers

1. Establish your goals.

When designing a brand ambassador program with influencers marketers should start by clearly outlining program goals. An ambassador program can be used to drive sales, grow overall brand awareness, promote individual product launches, increase website traffic, and more. Advertisers should ask themselves why they’re building an ambassador program and outline KPIs that will be measured.

2. Define who your ideal ambassador is.

Brands should also consider the age, gender, geographic location, and interests of their ideal ambassador. Individuals often connect best with people who share characteristics with them, and therefore a brand’s ideal ambassador may reflect their target demographic.

malia manuel lululemon ambassador

Sportswear brand Lululemon is one example of a brand that has chosen its ambassadors wisely. In January 2017, professional surfer Malia Manuel announced her ongoing partnership with the company. As an athlete, Manual is well-positioned to reach Lululemon’s athletic target demographic of yogis, runners, swimmers, surfers, and sweaty generalists.

3. Partner with influencers who are already supporters of your brand.

Consumers increasingly view influencer marketing as more palatable than traditional advertising, with 70% of YouTube subscribers reporting that they relate to YouTubers more than traditional celebrities.

The authenticity that an influencer brings to promotional content can be compounded if that influencer has previously expressed organic support for a brand. Brands are best served by partnerships with influencers that truly love their products and can make genuine recommendations.

4. Outline clear contractual obligations.

Brands should create clear contractual obligations for ambassadors when building a brand ambassador program. Influencers should agree to a fixed number of branded posts per month or year. The length of the ambassador relationship should also be established.

amex ambassador instagram

American Express has become well known for its #AmexAmbassador program on Instagram. Influencers that are members of its ambassador program regularly showcase the company’s rewards program on Instagram by posting photos of themselves enjoying American Express perks such as exclusive airport lounges, parties, and trips.

The program includes both celebrities, macro influencersand micro influencers and demonstrates the brand’s ability to create clear, organized guidelines for influencers.

5. Educate your ambassadors.

Brands should strive to create an honest connection with their ambassadors in the form of education and exposure to high-level company members. The more an ambassador knows about a brand’s inner workings and products, the better equipped they will be to share branded content with audiences.

Furthermore, if an ambassador can make detailed product recommendations they are likely to come across as more genuine to audiences.

Recently, Fresh Cosmetics took a group of social media influencers on a trip to Cambodia. On the trip, the influencers attended a “Product Sharing Session,” in which one of the company’s co-founders, Lev Glazman, educated the influencers on current and upcoming products.

The presentation served dual functions: (1) It prepared the ambassadors to provide followers with accurate information about product uses and benefits and (2) it fostered a personal relationship between the influencers and members of the company.

6. Work with ambassadors on more than just social media.

Aside from partnering with influencers on social media, brands can also feature ambassadors on their website, YouTube channel, and more. Ambassadors can also provide valuable product feedback and appear at live brand events.

The North Face is one company that highlights its ambassador program on its company website and leverages influencers beyond social media. The brand maintains a dedicated athlete page, which features professional athletes that the company sponsors.

conrad anker the north face

On American rock climber and mountaineer Conrad Anker’s North Face page, website visitors can watch a video featuring Anker himself, learn about his many accomplishments, and explore his favorite North Face Gear. By featuring its ambassadors extensively, The North Face emphasizes the people that embody its brand ethos.

7. Start small and grow your ambassador program.

When building a brand ambassador program with influencers brands can start small and scale their program over time. An ambassador program is a long-term investment that requires patience. Brands should avoid overwhelming audiences with branded content and focus on building a lasting relationship with both influencers and consumers.

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Google’s Marketing Strategy: How The Tech Giant Drives Results With Instagram Influencers

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How Google’s Marketing Strategy Utilizes Influencers To Advertise New Tech Products

Since its founding in 1998, Google has become one of the wealthiest and most powerful tech companies in the world. In 2016, the company ranked as the most visited multi-platform web property in the United States with a global revenue of $89.4 billion. While its original product revolved around online search, Google has since expanded into video, consumer electronics, and many other tech-oriented ventures.

In October, Google released two new hardware products: A voice-controlled smart home device called Google Home Mini and the second version of its Pixel smartphone. In the following case study, we’ll examine how the digital giant is collaborating with Instagram influencers to help promote both of these products.

 Google’s Pixel 2 Marketing Strategy With Instagram Influencers

Goal:

Promote the launch of Google’s new smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, during Fall 2017.

Approach:

  • Google enlisted the help of 51 Instagram influencers, 14 of which were macro influencers with more than 100,000 followers and 35 of which were micro influencers with less than 100,000 followers.
  • The influencers created a total of 61 sponsored posts, highlighting “Google Assistant,” as well as the smartphone’s photography potential.
  • The influencers used the tag @madebygoogle and hashtag #teampixel in their posts.

Key Influencers:

  1. Xenia Tchoumi — 1.2M Followers
  2. Neeti Mohan — 1.1M Followers
  3. Justin Main — 93K Followers
  4. Niki Pilkington — 65K Followers

Examples:

photified sponsored instagram post

Instagrammer and photographer, Justin Main (@photified), edits eye-catching images into surreal works of art. In his one sponsored post, Main seamlessly incorporated the Pixel 2 into a dazzling and unorthodox cityscape.

Main’s caption, “OK, Google, play my highway playlist,” paid homage to his photo creation, while promoting the phone’s voice-activated feature. To date, the post has garnered over 13,000 likes and 335 comments for an engagement rate of 28.5% — one of the highest of the campaign.

xenia tchoumi instagram influencer

Russian-Swiss model, actress, and entrepreneur Xenia Tchoumi (@xenia) is one of the most popular fashion tastemakers on Instagram. By partnering with Tchoumi, Google positioned its phone as an accessory worthy of attention.

Tchoumi emphasized her presence at the Google Pixel 2 launch event, which further legitimized the Pixel 2’s prestige status. The polished post has amassed more than 27,000 likes and 267 comments total for an overall engagement rate of 4.3%.

Results:

To date, Google’s Instagram influencer campaign for the Pixel 2 has garnered over 348,000 likes, 3,900 comments, and an average engagement rate of 7.8%.

Related Post: Tinder Swipes Right On Influencer Marketing [Case Study]

Google’s Marketing Strategy For The Google Home Mini

Goal:

Promote Google’s Home Mini device to millennials during Fall 2017.

Approach:

  • Google partnered with 17 Instagram influencers, almost all of whom were millennials. Eleven of the Instagrammers were micro influencers with less than 100,000 followers.
  • The influencers created a total of 17 sponsored posts, promoting Google Home Mini.
  • Posts were tagged with the official @google or @madebygoogle Instagram accounts, while the hashtag #googlehome was utilized by all but three influencers.

Key Influencers:

  1. Teala Dunn — 2.4M Followers
  2. Tony Romo — 657K Followers
  3. Taylor Kinney — 606K Followers
  4. Chloe Van Patten — 23K Followers

Examples:

tony romo instagram post

NFL commentator and retired professional football player, Tony Romo (@tony.romo), often uses Instagram to share humorous and heartwarming family moments. Romo’s one sponsored post mirrored his lighthearted content style, while it pointed to a Google YouTube video in which he stars.

In the caption, Romo used the call to action (CTA), “Link in bio,” to encourage followers to watch his fun and informative Home Mini production. To date, the post has amassed over 68,900 likes and 783 comments for an engagement rate of 21.2%.

sponsored google instagram post

Fitness and lifestyle micro influencer, Chloe Van Patten (@care.free.chlue), took a more straightforward approach to promoting the Home Mini than Romo. Though her one sponsored post was also a photo, Van Patten visually showcased the Home Mini, while also referencing its Google Assistant feature in the caption.

Van Patten’s post received over 600 likes and 40 comments for an engagement rate of 5.5% (vs. Romo’s 21.2% engagement rate).

Results:

To date, the Google Home Mini Instagram influencer campaign has generated over 175,000 likes, 2,200 comments, and an average engagement rate of 7.4%.

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Exclusive Interview With Food Blogger Lindsay Ostrom Of Pinch Of Yum

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Inside Look: How Acclaimed Food Blogger Lindsay Ostrom Turned Her Love Of Cooking Into A Social Media Career

Food influencers across the internet are inspiring millions to step into the kitchen. Lindsay Ostrom of the food blog Pinch of Yum is one influencer who has found a way to stand out in the saturated space of food bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers. Ostrom brings recipes of all types to her Instagram audience of half a million and boasts partnerships with brands among the likes of Chobani, Land O’Lakes, and more.

We interviewed the recipe creator to learn about how she turned her love of cooking into a full-time career on social media, and to get an inside look into her creative process and forthcoming projects.

1. How did you become interested in cooking and what inspired you to start a food blog?

I cooked a lot with my roommates in college and then when Bjork and I got married, bought a house, and got “real jobs,” cooking regularly started to become a normal part of my life. I loved having someone to cook for and always loved trying new recipes.

pinch of yum food blogger

2. At what point did you consider food blogging full time? Any specific turning points or factors?

We implemented ads on the site about a year after I started blogging. I never started it to grow it into a business, but about three years after starting the blog, with the help of display ads and a few of our own digital products that we sold, we were able to build the income from the blog into something that was matching or exceeding our day jobs. That was a major turning point where I started to realize that doing this full time was a possibility.

3. What are some of your main sources of inspiration when developing a new recipe?

I love Instagram! It is a great place for visual inspiration which often translates into new recipes for me. I also love to eat out and try new restaurants and that is often a source of inspiration.

lindsay ostrom instagram

4. When partnering with a brand how do you best integrate a product into your content?

We only work with brands that we truly enjoy and recommend, so integrating products is easy and natural. I usually show the product in a picture in the blog post and talk about why we like it. Sometimes I go on my Instagram stories to talk about the product further or show it in a real-life context.

5. What brand sponsorships are you most proud of?

Some of my favorites from this last year were Almond Breeze, Bulletproof, Chobani, and Land O’Lakes.

pinch of yum food

6. From your point of view, what draws audiences to your recipes and food images/videos?

I always try to make our content interesting and inspiring, but ultimately very approachable. I want people to look at a recipe and say, “I can make that.”

7. You and your husband Bjork run Pinch of Yum together. What advice can you give to aspiring bloggers or social media influencers who are working with a close friend or spouse?

It’s okay to have some separation. We do not work closely together on each of our respective areas – I do all the content and dictate almost everything about how that comes together. He does all the back-end website maintenance and dictates almost everything about how that runs and operates.

It helps to be able to take ownership over certain areas so you can work together without really getting in each other’s hair too much. 🙂

8. What’s the most underrated aspect of working in social media?

Instagram stories have been huge for us in the last 6 months. It’s amazing to me that we can just be in our house in our pajamas and doing some random video posts that will be viewed by more than 50,000 people.

If I were to go in front of 50,000 people in real life, it would feel so intimidating. But I can talk to that many people from my pajamas, on my couch, without showering, and not feel nervous about it at all. It’s a very strange and powerful concept for Instagram influencers to be taking advantage of in terms of having a really engaging way to connect with their followers.

pinch of yum instagram stories

9. Lightning round:

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

Breakfast

Most difficult recipe you’ve mastered?

Maybe eggs benedict? That hollandaise is tricky.

Best part of living in Minnesota?

Snow at Christmastime. And lakes. So many lakes.

Favorite spice or herb?

Cilantro.

10. How do you see Pinch of Yum evolving in the future? Any upcoming projects that your fans should get excited about?

We’re looking at purchasing a new studio building and probably expanding our team in 2018!

11. Anything else you’d like to add?

Sage (our dog) says hello! 🙂

food influencer lindsay ostrom

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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10 Major Differences Between Influencer Marketing Platforms & Agencies

FYI, for the latest influencer marketing news, resources, and case studies, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

10 Factors To Consider When Deciding Between Influencer Marketing Agencies & Influencer Marketing Platforms

Influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing sectors of advertising. On Instagram alone, the influencer marketing advertising spend is estimated to be $1 billion in 2017 and projected to exceed $2 billion by 2019. Accompanying this market growth, a variety of companies have cropped up to offer a range of services aimed at meeting the demands of the ever-evolving influencer marketing space.

For many brands and advertisers evaluating influencer marketing solutions, the choice often comes down to either working with an influencer marketing agency or learning how to use an influencer marketing platform (software). In this nascent and somewhat fragmented industry, it can be difficult for brands and marketers to determine which solution best fits their specific needs.

Below, we elucidate the 10 key differences between influencer marketing agencies and influencer marketing platforms.

1. Access To Influencers

When planning advertising campaigns through influencer marketing platforms, brands are limited to the influencers that have registered for that particular platform. While many micro influencers use these platforms to secure advertising deals, larger and more established influencers aren’t as accessible.

Influencer marketing agencies are able to work with any influencer, regardless of size, reach, or affiliation. Whether independent, connected to a multi-channel network, or represented by a larger talent manager, the best influencer marketing agencies have relationships with the world’s top social media influencers.

2. Selecting Influencers

Through executing thousands of campaigns, influencer marketing agencies have extensive experience identifying, vetting, and selecting influencers that can meet a brand’s image and marketing goals. Moreover, well-established agencies can leverage historical data and case studies to identify influencers who consistently deliver results.

Platforms may offer some data about their registered influencers, but it’s often limited to campaigns executed through the platform itself. These metrics may not paint a full picture, nor do they necessarily offer insights into the nuances of identifying, vetting, and qualifying influencers for specific campaigns and messaging.

Related Post: 3 Reasons Why Hiring Social Media Influencers Based On Followers Could Backfire

3. Creative Strategy

When using an influencer marketing platform, brands may desire to plan and coordinate their objectives similar to traditional pay per click (PPC) campaigns. However, this siloed approach can often undermine the appeal to authenticity that influencer marketing campaigns are specifically meant to offer.

Pairing strategy and creativity, many influencer marketing agencies offer robust services critical to a campaign’s success. Beyond matchmaking expertise, agencies understand how campaign elements such as target audience, scheduling, and demographic subtleties require the same level of creative attention given to messaging and content.

4. Communication & Relationships

Influencer marketing agencies handle all communications with influencers to ensure that campaigns move efficiently and seamlessly while delivering expected results. From initial planning to content specifications, to timing of deliverables, a qualified agency manages the entirety of the campaign on behalf of the brand.

When using an influencer marketing platform, brands are responsible for communicating directly with influencers. This requires marketers not only to plan and structure the campaign but to manage the relationship, campaign adjustments, as well as any hiccups (or unexpected pitfalls) along the way.

5. FTC Compliance & Best Practices

Agencies well-versed in the FTC’s rules and regulations for sponsored content are an ideal intermediary for monitoring a brand’s influencer marketing content.

When running a campaign through a platform, brands are responsible for ensuring that influencer content and posts comply with ever-changing FTC requirements.

Related Post: Which Brands Have Violated FTC Guidelines? See Our List Here

6. Campaign Execution & Reach

Depending on the brand’s goals, influencer marketing platforms can be useful for coordinating one-off campaigns with limited posts and requirements. However, as a brand’s needs become more complex, platforms can’t always scale to meet more sophisticated needs.

Influencer marketing agencies can manage small campaigns, but also offer an additional menu of options for larger scale initiatives. Able to establish long-term relationships with influencers and brand ambassadors, as well as strategize, coordinate, and execute cross-platform marketing efforts, agencies are adept at custom tailoring campaigns.

7. Results & Reporting

Agencies work with influencers before, during, and after the campaign to ensure that best practices are observed and key performance indicators (KPI) are met. Offering in-depth data and reporting, influencer marketing agencies then provide clients with a clear and thorough understanding of their campaign’s impact.

Platforms don’t offer campaign optimization services or recommendations. Moreover, metrics are automated and assimilated through application programming interfaces (API).

8. Costs, Value

On top of standard influencer fees, many platforms have recurring subscription and/or commission fees. These additional costs can add up to thousands of dollars per month without necessarily relating directly to the complexity or value of a particular campaign.

Influencer marketing agencies also charge fees for their services, but are able to customize pricing based on the specifics of a campaign. Additionally, agencies can often negotiate influencer fees due to their strong relationships.

9. Time, Resources, Expertise

The personal nature of influencer marketing means campaigns means that they don’t work like PPC or other digital advertising efforts.

To execute a proper campaign, a brand must be willing to dedicate both time and resources. For businesses looking to minimize their time investment, as well as save money, a qualified agency can provide a range of valuable influencer marketing services that simplify processes and offer a return on investment (ROI).

In addition to paying fees to use an influencer marketing platform, a brand must still allocate time for learning, planning, coordinating, and executing their campaign.

Related Post: The CMO’s Guide To Influencer Marketing [PDF Download]

10. Fake Influencers & Engagement

Agencies don’t work with influencers who purchase fake followers or partake in inauthentic engagement. Basing their reputation on relationships and results, agencies know how to spot fake followers and disingenuous metrics so brands don’t find themselves compromised with underperforming campaigns and results.

With influencer marketing platforms, brands are at higher risk of partnering with influencers involved in unethical practices. With human relationships taken out of automated processes, brands may not know whether or not an influencer is purchasing fake followers and/or engagement to boost their profile.

In a recent experiment, Mediakix created two fake Instagram influencer accounts and secured paid brand deals with several national brands on a popular platform, illustrating that businesses using influencer marketing platforms can easily fall victim to influencers with fake engagement.

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Case Study: 6 Fashion Advertising Campaigns With Top YouTube Influencers

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Fashion Advertising on YouTube: How Nordstrom, Calvin Klein & Others Partner With Top YouTubers

In 2016, the U.S. fashion industry generated $72.1 billion in revenue through online sales. With that number projected to rise to a massive $116.3 billion as soon as 2021, it’s evident that Americans aren’t shy about purchasing apparel and accessories from web-based storefronts.

Currently, eight in 10 U.S citizens buy online each week, and as many as one-third of shoppers are likely to make purchases through social networks. In order to reach potential customers on Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms, top fashion brands are now adjusting their advertising focus.

In the following case study, we’ll take a look at fashion advertising campaigns by Nordstrom, Calvin Klein, Levi’s and other brands to see how partnering with top fashion YouTubers created exposure and drove results.

Nordstrom’s Fashion Advertising Campaign With YouTuber Shea Whitney

Since influencer Shea Whitney started on YouTube in 2016, she’s amassed more than 150,000 subscribers. Her fashion-focused channel includes clothing hauls, fashion hacks, and unboxing videos.

In collaboration with Nordstrom, Whitney created one sponsored video, entitled “10 Things From Nordstrom You Need!” The video is structured like others on Whitney’s channel, where her bright personality doles out fashion advice in the form of numbered lists.

Whitney is well positioned to reach Nordstrom’s consumer base. Her subscribers tune in multiple times a week to hear her fashion advice and styling tips. In the sponsored video, Whitney highlights her favorite Nordstrom items through the tried-and-true format her audience has come to expect and appreciate.

Calvin Klein Advertisers With Lifestyle YouTuber Lauren Elizabeth

Lauren Luthringshausen, better known as Lauren Elizabeth, is a Los Angeles-based YouTuber with 1.2 million subscribers. Whether in the form of vlogs, ”favorites videos”, or recipe tutorials, Elizabeth keeps viewers up to date on all things beauty, fashion, and lifestyle.

Elizabeth partnered with Calvin Klein to help market its women’s underwear and clothing line on YouTube. Utilizing dry humor and slick editing techniques, Elizabeth walks viewers through her morning routine to showcase her favorite Calvin Klein pieces.

The success of the sponsored video stemmed, in part, from Elizabeth’s ability to integrate the Calvin Klein items into recurring themes on her channel. Elizabeth consistently exposes her viewers to products of all types and the partnership with Calvin Klein was a seamless addition to her valued library of content.

Levi’s & Clothesencounters Team Up On Denim

Jenn Im is an expert in all things fashion. Through her YouTube channel Clothesencounters, she creates vlogs, “favorites” videos, and lookbooks with a focus on trends and style.

Im created one video in partnership with Levi’s to showcase the brand’s diverse line of denim jackets. With more than two million subscribers, Im is in a great position to help Levi’s reach a targeted audience of fashionistas.

Im presented the brand integration by giving users applicable advice on how to style a denim jacket. She also emphasized a personal connection to the Levi’s brand by saying, “I’ve been rocking Levi’s since I was a little kid,” which served to subtly accentuate the timelessness and enduring relevance of the Levi’s brand to viewers.

Related Post: KFC, BarkBox & More Leverage YouTube Gamers To Generate Revenue

ThredUp Collaborates With DIY Fashion YouTuber Coolirpa

On her channel Coolirpa, April specializes in DIY fashion and thrift shopping videos. With an impressive 1.5 million subscribers, she’s perhaps best known for her thrifting haul videos.

In collaboration with the fashion reseller ThredUP, April posted one sponsored video. Since she’s known for creating content in the second-hand fashion niche, working with a resale brand like ThredUP was a natural fit.

Presented like many of her unsponsored haul videos, which showcase her trying on her clothing purchases, April was successful in connecting ThredUP with her viewers in a stylish, organic manner.

Wendy’s Lookbook Partners With DSW To Showcase Footwear Trends

Sharing “favorites” videos, tutorials, travel films, and more, Wendy Nguyen of Wendy’s Lookbook is a fashion influencer well-known for her impeccable street style.

Nguyen posts highly cinematic videos with text overlays and no dialogue. Adopting a similar strategy for her Designer Shoe Warehouse collaboration, she created one video to advertise DSW’s top shoes for Spring.

Featuring five unique styles, Nguyen demonstrated a different Spring trend for each shoe, while advertising their wearability and durability in various New York City environments. The emphasis on both fashion and functionality is something that speaks to Nguyen’s viewers, while also servicing DSW’s marketing goals.

Related Post: The 20 Top Female YouTubers Dominating Online Video

Timberland Markets With YouTuber Summer Mckeen

Summer Mckeen is a California-based fashion YouTuber known for makeup and clothing tutorials, as well as her lifestyle content. Mckeen boasts nearly one million subscribers, keeping her audience entertained with multiple videos each week.

Mckeen created one video in partnership with Timberland, integrating a pair of their boots into her “Day in My Life” vlog. Following her candid format, Mckeen spends time with friends, cutting to different parts of her day, while wearing the Timberland brand boots. Mckeen’s substantial subscriber base allowed Timberland to reach hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Notably, Mckeen and Nguyen both advertised footwear, but each influencer used a drastically different style of content. Nguyen’s dedicated DSW video directly highlights specific products. Mckeen’s video, on the other hand, showcases Timberland boots through a vlog integration which focusses less on product details and more on how her footwear choice fits in with her lifestyle.

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10 Kid Influencers Achieving Fame & Fortune On YouTube

For the latest news and trends on top YouTubers, Instagrammers, bloggers, & Snapchatters, subscribe to our industry digest newsletter!

The Top 10 Kid YouTubers 12 & Under Entertaining Audiences Online

The top kid YouTubers under 12 reach millions of subscribers regularly in the form of music videos, toy reviews, and more. For these young pre-teen sensations, YouTube is serving as a place to connect with global audiences and acts as a springboard for their careers in the entertainment industry.

The top 10 kid YouTubers under 12 are bringing childish spontaneity and enthusiasm to videos, and though they are young, they carry considerable influence on the consumer habits of the newest generation of kids.

The 10 Kid YouTubers Under 12 Driving Social Media Trends

1. Ryan ToysReview — 9.4 Million Subscribers

Ryan of Ryan’s ToysReview, is an adorable U.S. based 6-year-old who reviews children’s toys of all types for viewers multiple times a week. To date, he is the most subscribed child on YouTube with 9.4 million subscribers and more than 16.5 trillion video views.

Though Ryan’s family has kept their identity relatively confidential, his father Shion frequently appears aside Ryan in videos. Not limited to toy reviews, Ryan’s channel also incorporates vlogs and prank videos.

2. EvanTubeHD — 4.6 Million Subscribers

Evan, of the YouTube channel EvanTubeHD, is a 12-year-old toy reviewer. Known for his charisma and hilarious facial expressions, Evan stars in a new video each week.

Not limited to just toy reviews, Evan’s channel also includes challenge videos and science experiments, in which his sister Jillian and father Jared frequently appear. Impressively, Business Insider reports that Evan earns $1.3 million a year on YouTube.

3. Kids’ Toys — 2.4 Million Subscribers

Quincy Faye and Laurice are the two endearing sisters behind the YouTube channel Kids’ Toys. Both star in toy review videos that are published twice a week.

Though their channel focuses primarily on the latest children’s toys, Quincy Faye and Laurice occasionally appear in vlog style videos alongside family and friends. In total, the Philippines-based sisters have garnered over 2.9 trillion video views during their 4.5 years on YouTube.

4. Seven Awesome Kids — 1.8 Million Subscribers

YouTube channel Seven Awesome Kids features the lives and thoughts of girls ages 0-12 seven days a week. The parent controlled channel showcases the girls’ wild imaginations through hilarious and kid-friendly skits.

Through their candid moments and wacky adventures, the girls help their 1.9 million subscribers navigate and discover the perks of pre-teen life.

5. EthanGamer — 1.7 Million Subscribers

At age 10, Ethan of kid-gaming channel Ethan Gamer is a social media star. He broadcasts to nearly 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube and is best known for his plays on Roblox, Minecraft, and other mobile games.

Unlike most mature gaming channels, Ethan’s content is unique in that it is age-appropriate. His enthusiastic attitude about gaming makes for great entertainment for the newest generation of social media users.

6. Babyteeth4 — 1.6 Million Subscribers

Jillian and Addie, ages 12 and 9 respectively, are the stars of 1.6 million subscriber YouTube channel babyteeth4. The two sisters are famous for their kid candy reviews, which feature their hilariously honest reactions to unique sugary snacks.

The comedic pair is also well-known for their two series, “Too Many Addies” and “Fast Cars, Bad Kids,” each of which has racked up tens of millions of views.

7. B2cuteCupcakes — 1.6 Million Subscribers

B2cuteCupcakes is a 1.7 million subscriber YouTube channel run by 12-year-old social media star Bee. On the channel, Bee demonstrates new DIY’s, trendy challenges, toy reviews, and kid life hacks.

Her bubbly personality and colorful videos exemplify the pre-teen lifestyle, and her channel is a great resource for parents and children to learn about the newest kid products.

8. Hulyan Maya — 1.4 Million Subscribers

Hulyan and Maya are the stars of the well-known toy-testing YouTube channel Hulyan Maya. Broadcasting to over 1.4 million subscribers, 6-year-old Hulayan and 3-year-old Maya are charming audiences every day by testing toys.

Hulyan, Maya, and their parents have been featured on NBC’s Today Show, Yahoo News, and Good Morning America, and are making over $1 million through their successful channel.

9. Hailey’s Magical Playhouse — 1.2 Million Subscribers

Hailey’s Magical Playhouse is where adorable 6-year-old girl Hailey comes to play. Hailey’s kid-friendly channel centers around toy unboxings, surprise eggs, costume dress-ups, and other indoor and outdoor play activities.

Her channel attracts 1.3 million YouTube subscribers and focuses on Hailey’s favorite animated characters from Disney, Nickelodeon, and more.

10. Naiah and Elli Toys Show — 1.2 Million Subscribers

5-year-old Naiah and 6-year-old Elli are the kid influencers behind YouTube toy parody channel Naiah and Elli Toys Show. The two girls love doing silly skits and inserting hilarious commentary during toy unboxings.

Alongside their crazy adventures, The Naiah and Elli Toys Show includes a family vlog detailing the everyday activities of the new family to 1.2 million subscribers.

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The 7 Traits Of Top Influencer Marketing Agencies

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The 7 Characteristics Of Top Influencer Marketing Agencies

Influencer marketing is one of the most valuable and effective ways for brands to advertise on social media. As the industry has grown, so have the ways that brands can access it. In particular, influencer marketing agencies offer brands expertise into a nuanced and quickly growing space with best practices, managed services, and proven results.

However, in an increasingly crowded space, some agencies are more qualified than others. The most outstanding influencer marketing agencies will have these 7 characteristics in common.

What Differentiates Influencer Marketing Agencies From Each Other?

Influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing categories in digital advertising, and brands are eager to learn how to best proceed with the new strategy. The numerous options in the influencer marketing industry can be boiled down to three primary approaches:

  • Undertaking influencer marketing in-house
  • Working with multi-channel networks (MCNs)
  • Partnering with a top influencer marketing agency

For some brands, executing influencer marketing in-house may not be an option as executing influencer marketing campaigns properly require significant resources and expertise. MCNs do offer managed services however talent options are restricted to a network’s roster that may not be the best fit for a brand.

Related Post: The Pros & Cons Of YouTube Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs)

How To Tell You’re Working With A Top Influencer Marketing Agency

Influencer marketing agencies, however, specialize in the complexities of influencer marketing, including campaign strategy, execution, and management.

In contrast to more common digital marketing agencies, these agencies are dedicated solely to working on campaigns with top social media influencers. They will often maintain working relationships with high-performing social media influencers, but do not contract them to a talent roster. Moreover, influencer marketing agencies will have deep knowledge of sponsored content, social media trends, best practices, contracts/agreements, licensing, and copyrights, FTC disclosures, and much more.

As influencer marketing agencies become more common, it becomes more difficult to determine which ones stand out among the rest. These 7 characteristics can help brands discern differences between top agencies from the average.

1. A Deep Understanding of Influencer Marketing Strategies

A top influencer marketing agency will have comprehensive knowledge of how social media and content marketing strategies fit into a brand’s overall marketing initiatives. Top influencer marketers will educate their clients on best practices and key tactics in the industry.

For instance, top agencies will know how to amplify sponsored content across social media channels and will know whether a brand should be using micro or macro influencers to reach their goals. Top influencer marketing agencies will offer a wide variety of strategies to their clients and highlight the ones that work best.

Further, top influencer marketing agencies will educate their clients on realistic outcomes. Marketers should be wary of agencies and influencers that offer promises of engagement and guaranteed conversions. Recently, marketers and brands have been made aware of fake Instagram influencer activity prevalent in the space.

Related Post: Micro vs. Macro Influencers — Which Is Better? [Infographic]

2. Creative Differentiation and Integration

The best influencer marketing agencies will be able to align a brand’s social and messaging with influencer components in creative integrations. Every brand has different goals, whether it is to simply reach teenage audiences or to motivate loyal tech consumers to purchase an item.

Moreover, every influencer has their own style and format. A great influencer marketing agency knows how best to pair unique and well-performing influencers to create original and organic sponsored brand integrations for each client.  

To determine whether an influencer marketing agency has the capacity to brainstorm proper creative campaigns, marketers should request multiple examples of creative case studies. Creative influencer marketing strategies should be customized for every brand as each one has unique audiences and each brand aspires to unique messaging.

3. Transparency with Budgets

Influencer marketing is still a nascent space with much ambiguity and misinformation on influencer pricing and rates. As a result, when brands work with an inexperienced agency, they will often find unexpected or hidden costs at the end of or throughout a campaign. Top influencer marketing agencies will be upfront with budget minimums and spends and guide clients through all possible monetary considerations.

With any influencer marketing outfit, marketers should clarify final costs of campaigns upfront and inquire about possible hidden fees. Brands should not be required to spend additional funds to supplement an influencer campaign.

Top influencer marketing agencies are experts when it comes to budgeting and allocating the right ad spends to achieve and exceed campaign goals. They have extensive knowledge and experience in maximizing campaign budgets to reach clients’ KPIs and campaign benchmarks. Moreover, their strong relationships with influencers allow them to negotiate fair talent prices for clients.

4. On the Forefront of Influencer and Social Media Trends

A top influencer marketing agency will not just be known for superior services and results, but also for its expertise and research in the space. The best agencies are thought leaders of the industry, deriving deep insights and strategies from a repository of experiences, historical performance data, and original market research.

Great influencer marketing companies conduct and share original market insights into emerging trends (e.g. how top influencers are now posting 2x more on Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat), how audiences use social media platforms, new technologies, and best practices and can provide ample resources and studies to support recommendations.

Related Post: 93% Of Top Instagram Celebrities Violate FTC Rules [Infographic]

5. Offer Airtight and Seamless Campaign Management 

While influencer marketing tools and platforms seek to automate certain aspects of the campaign process, properly partnering and maximizing collaboration with influencers is far from a turnkey process.

Instead, the best influencer marketing agencies seamlessly manage campaigns, and the best ones elide and create maximum efficiencies for every client and campaign. From executing thousands of campaigns, these agencies have streamlined complex workflows (e.g. partnering with influencers, negotiating rates, and executing contracts and agreements) to the most timely and succinct processes.

Brand marketers should ask whether their campaign has a dedicated account manager who manages every aspect of each campaign, from finding the right influencers to appropriately scaling future campaigns.

Related Post: What Marketers Must Know About Sponsored Influencer Content

6. Adhere To and Know The Latest FTC Guidelines

Top influencer marketing agencies protect their clients and ensure proper disclosure with influencers according to FTC guidelines.

Federal guidelines require that sponsored posts are disclosed with an explicit and written notation on sponsorship. These practices may differ across platforms, and the top influencer agencies will know these best practices.

Agencies will also enforce disclosure because they know that disclosures don’t hurt campaigns. Contrary to common belief, research demonstrates that disclosures appeal to audiences as authentic. Posts that are overtly sponsored but not disclosed often face backlash from influencer audiences that are well-attuned to an influencer’s content.

Related Post: The Updated 2017 FTC Guidelines For Sponsored Social Media [Infographic]

7. Produce High-performing and Visible Results

The chances you’ve seen a campaign run by a top influencer agency are high. Top influencer marketing agencies have a history of results and have been responsible for high-performing, trending videos or photos on multiple platforms.

To gauge the efficacy of an influencer marketing agency, consider if you’ve previously seen or heard of their campaigns and clients. The results that a top influencer marketing agency produces are visible in its popularity against other pieces of content on social media.

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