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Facebook Tries To Make Buying Followers Illegal (SMK)

Written and distributed by SMK Digital News

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Influencer Marketing Gain and Pain

Facebook’s move against fake social media activity is one to be welcomed.

Although to be fair, the cool kids at buymorefans.com.au have been operating apparently since 2007, so maybe it’s a bit overdue?

Buying social media followers has always been a dumb thing to do. For brands anyway.

While social vanity metrics get pumped up momentarily, as follower counts leap, when the brand actually starts posting in Facebook/Instagram the new fake followers don’t react to the posts, depressing organic reach for the legitimate followers. Creating a net loss.

The same is true of wannabe ‘influencers’. However, the benefit dodgy influencers have is that few brands and agencies actually do sufficient due diligence.

Meaning they can be a dental receptionist by day and gorge themselves on free hampers and face-scrub by night. All courtesy of negligent marketers who are rushing to get campaigns out the door.

Legitimate influencer marketing can be highly effective and creates win/win dynamics all around.

We recently worked with a smart team at Hoozu, who are innovating in the influencer space, creating data-driven client campaigns which move the needle for brands like Hello Fresh. However, outside of a small number of innovators like these, influencer marketing is rotten to the core and needs reforming.

Facebook’s latest move follows a purge on fake accounts last year, on Instagram, alongside changes to disclosure with Branded Content Tags and the soft launch the Facebook Brand Collab Platform.

All major platforms are following suit, to varying extents, which will hopefully clean up the image and improve the effectiveness of influencer marketing in 2019.

Five tips for a killer influencer marketing strategy in 2019

Written for Telegraph Magazine by
Analise Trotter- Hoozu head of Advocacy

Influencer marketing isn’t as simple as choosing an influencer with a hefty following to post an ad for you. There are a multitude of key shifts in 2019 that brands should be factoring into their influencer marketing strategies now.

The broad market shifts informing these trends include rising consumer expectations around authenticity, an increase in influencers making it even harder to reach proposed target markets, and a shift towards the need for solid evidence of ROI.

 

Below is a list of effective strategies that can help you stay on top of these key trends:

 

  1. Influencers are people too 

By now, it’s pretty clear that brands need to identify an influencer that ‘fits’ their image and has an appropriate audience.

Basic advertising and marketing principles dictate that a brand needs to have consistency across all of its messaging, imagery, stunts, and so on. These same principles apply to choosing the right influencers.

For true market penetration in the influencer marketing space, brands need to shake up the way they see influencers.  For the best chance of success, brands need to stop being purely transactional with influencers and start building genuine relationships with them.

Ensuring there is a synchronicity between the influencer, their brand and the target audience is key and will often drive the most genuine engagement and return on investment.

Of course, the irony with using influencers is that paying an influencer to post an ad for a brand is everything but genuine. Therefore, it is important to be mindful that influencer marketing is actually a partnership and when working together, both reputations are on the line.

 

  1. Video is the new black

Now and then, popular culture gives rise to trends and they stick – so much so – that they are still iconic generations later. The 20s had smoking and flapper dresses, the 60s had the flare pants and tie-dye, the 80s had the boombox, and the 90s had the blackberry.

In today’s digital climate, the legacy that millennials and Gen Zs have left is the ubiquitous use of social media. In addition, this demographic has really propelled an unprecedented amount of user-generated content full of memes, videos, and live streaming of stories.

Considering 90% of Generation Z and 83% of millennials are spending at least two to three hours a day watching videos on their smartphones, for brands to successfully penetrate this market, they need to capitalise on the use of video in their marketing strategies.  Creating fun video content and memes that can be easily shared resonates well with this generation more than any other form of media.

 

  1. Authenticity is key 

The most successful influencers have a highly captivated audience. Why? Because their followers feel that they are real people sharing insights about real products and experiences and believe their content to be authentic.

As millennials and Gen Z’s are digital natives to social media and advertising across these platforms, they are also more switched on when it comes to recognising when they are being overtly marketed to.

According to a study by Deloitte, 72% of millennials use social media as a good way to stay connected to news and topics that are important to them. While 65% of millennials said that they are happy to receive targeted content if it aligns with their interests.

Therefore, businesses wanting to engage an influencer to market to this demographic need to be mindful about content that’s not consistent with the influencer’s audience and brand.

Instead of looking to influencer marketing as another means to merely sell your product, brands need to change their thinking to view their relationship with influencers as adding that critical “human element” to their marketing approach.

The best way to make your interactions with influencers less transactional and more relationship focused is to help them understand the brand and why its image, character, values, and positioning is the way that it is.

It may be the case that choosing an influencer with a large following may not be the right strategy and changing tack to work with micro influencers who genuinely share mutual interests with your brand might be more fruitful in the long run.

 

  1. Data is King 

Influencer marketing has long struggled to measure up in the world of traditional marketing strategies. Traditional marketers question whether it can yield actual commercial results.

The reality is – it can. The best example of this is Aussie based company, Hi-Smile. Founders Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic’s started Hi-Smile with $20,000 of their own savings and through the use of influencer marketing, grew the company into a $40M business with over 100,000 customers across the globe in three years.

Measuring ROI and using data to track the success of a campaign is important, not just because you can say with authority that investing the marketing budget into the influencer space was a wise move, but so you can optimise your campaigns.

Influencer marketing is still relatively new and there’s a huge potential to lead the market.

 

  1. Talking to Gen Z

Gen Z’s are expected to account for about 40 percent of all consumers by 2020.

In fact, 80% of purchases made by this generation have been influenced by social media. The channels making the biggest impact are: Instagram (44%), Snapchat (21%) and YouTube (32%). Social media influences everything from purchasing decisions and lifestyle choices to political perspectives.

After almost a decade of focusing on millennials and Gen Y, brands that haven’t started factoring Gen Z into their strategies are shooting themselves in the foot.

Given Gen Z’s have an attention span of about 8 seconds, capturing their attention requires authentic and engaging content that they can contribute to, interact with, or be a part of. They want to feel like they are part of an actual community attached to authentic causes.

As technology continues to advance, the way we use technology to market to consumers will also need to evolve. While the digital landscape brings with it, what can feel like unrelenting challenges, what is exciting about it is the numerous opportunities for brands to tap into a highly engaged audience if marketed to correctly.

Why influencers have divided the media and marketing industry

Written by
Nathan Ruff CEO Hoozu
for Mumbrella

I enjoy the cut and thrust of a good marketing conversation just as much as the next person. There’s nothing like dissecting the merits and misses of a good or bad creative strategy, or media plan, especially over a nice bottle of red. The trending conversation of late and ongoing question I’m still trying to figure out is: “why is influencer marketing so maligned?”

Over the last few months, the uproar surrounding government mandating, bashing by shock jocks, and tabloid newspaper headlines hasn’t deterred growth or brand activity from advertisers. But it has caused confusion for brands, influencers and the media partners we work with.

Blanketed bashing of the sector is wrong, but not unexpected. Media outlets take the moral high ground, judging influencers as sell-outs and self-serving fakes who lack editorial control. It feels a little hypocritical coming from an industry that introduced the world to bots, click bait and native advertising. However, publishing is a highly competitive market and newsrooms aren’t cheap to run. I understand you’re all a little annoyed having those little fit upstarts called “influencers” syphoning ad revenue from your depleting coffers.

For the past 24 months, influencer marketers have been labelled the problem, with the cries for transparency getting louder and louder. The accusatory tone has burdened the reputation of the majority of brand advocates doing the right thing. The attack is obsolete given there are products available and businesses in market that can easily qualify, quantify, authenticate, and analyse an influencer’s audience, content profile, and content performance.

Nearly all the influencers we work with are now contractually required to deliver on minimum benchmarks such as sales, leads and views. Additionally, Facebook has been leading the charge in reducing questionable behaviour and applying strict guidelines to deter anyone trying to cheat. Lastly, this is ultimately enforced by paying advertisers who expect an ROI, or they will not continue to use the form or book the influencers again.

Advertisers

The Australian advertising industry baffles me at the best of times. There seems to be a very conservative approach and status quo to avoid new formats until all old forms have completely failed.

Influencer marketing is undeniably an important part of the marketing mix for our brands. Influencers understand that social media is how their customers ingest information, communicate and research purchasing decisions.

Social audiences follow like-minded people and are interested in the style and type of content they produce, some of which is branded. It also avoids ad blocking, capitalises on two-way communication, uncovers sale generating advocates, and when done right adds genuine value through authentic and entertaining content.

So why all the hate?

I understand there will always a push back when new players join the game. I appreciate the view and perspectives from all camps. I’ve seen multiple advertising forms come and go – all of which were going to be the next big thing – but I’ve never seen a format that has been so polarising.

View Mumbrella article here https://bit.ly/2z5GD10

Influencers must remember what the word influence actually means

Written by
Analise Trotter

Sept 7th, 2018

Leave your petty squabbles at the door as HooZu head of talent, Analise Trotter, discusses the implied social contract influencers have with their followers – and their advertisers

Let’s talk about the word ‘influencer’. Forget about the popular use of the word claimed by social media users, and instead let’s focus on the literal meaning.

An influencer is someone who has the power to affect other peoples’ behaviour. This can be anyone from a parent or a teacher through to celebrities, athletes, and world leaders.

There’s an implied social contract that holds influential people to a higher standard. A certain subset of the population has put them up on a pedestal and this means that, as much as possible, their behaviour needs to be impeccable.

While it’s all well and good for Joe Bloggs down the road to get blotto over the weekend, misplace a shoe (along with his dignity), and pass out in a pool of his own body fluids, the same kind of behaviour from someone influential would result in media headlines and a generous helping of moral outrage from the scandalised community.

As often quoted from Spiderman: with great power comes great responsibility.

This applies to influencers just as much as it does to anyone else in the public spotlight. Being an influencer is a position of privilege, and it comes with a responsibility to act in a way that’s beyond reproach. You can’t reap the rewards of being able to command thousands of dollars per brand mention without paying the toll of intense public scrutiny.

Which is why a recent beauty vlogger feud had me grinding my teeth. The finer details aren’t important, but it essentially consisted of a bunch of YouTube influencers exercising incredibly poor judgment in a public forum. Words were said, insults were exchanged, and fans ultimately got involved, with the entire debacle degenerating into the online equivalent of a primary school squabble, an upper house question time (or an especially good episode of Real Housewives).

It’s worth mentioning that all of the parties involved command significant influence within their community. One of the YouTubers has more fans than the entire population of Hong Kong. That’s a hell of a lot of people who are susceptible to the things he says and the way he conducts himself.

There are consequences to behaving badly when you’re in the public eye. In this case, two of the main instigators lost hundreds of thousands of followers as well as significant endorsement, branding, and partnership deals. The flip side to being famous is that everything you do is scrutinised to the nth degree, and this is an example of influencers failing to comprehend the significance of their power.

So what does this mean for brands that work with influencers? There are two main takeaways. One of the lessons is that the character of the personalities that brands work with is just as important (if not more so) as the number of followers they have and the level of engagement their content receives.

Brands should look to work with influencers who are respectful of the social contract they have tacitly agreed to; individuals who conduct themselves in a way that’s worthy of admiration. This means brands need to do their due diligence via background checks and audits of their social media channels, checking that the content, tone, and language of their posts meet a minimum required standard. This is not just for their most recent posts, but their entire online history, which may reveal racist, sexist, homophobic, or other derogatory slurs lurking within their digital footprint.It should go without saying, but if an influencer has built-up a following of half a million fans by creating click bait videos that trash talk other influencers (and yes, these exist), then this is probably not a personality that brands should be associating themselves with.

Increasingly, consumers want to purchase products and services from brands that demonstrate positive values and contribute to the community, and this expectation extends to any of the public-facing personalities that the brand aligns with.

But brands are also in a position to enforce acceptable standards for influencers. Nothing makes naughty children behave better than threatening to cut off their pocket money, and the same can be done for influencers. You can bet that the YouTubers involved in the aforementioned episode are now far less likely to be a poor example to their impressionable followers after several lucrative endorsement deals were pulled as a direct consequence.

Influencers need to be held accountable for their behaviour – much like any other influential personality – and brands can help to enforce this social contract by taking their money elsewhere when the influencers they work with behave badly. These YouTubers learned the hard way that acting inappropriately was a sure-fire way to fall from grace – and hopefully other prominent influencers heed that lesson accordingly.

To see published article here