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 The attack is obsolete given there are products available and businesses in market that can easily qualify, quantify, authenticate, and analyse an influencer’s audience, content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.

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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

Heart surgeons and neurologists are the same thing, right? Well neither is PR and influencer marketing…

Written by Hoozu General Manager Justin Golledge for Mumbrella August 21, 2018

If an agency suggests that influencer marketing and PR require the same tactics, brands should take it as a sign to get out, and fast, explains HooZu’s Justin Golledge.

Both disciplines are part of the same field, but so are the trades listed above. It doesn’t mean they have the necessary expertise to do a first-class job.

Influencer marketing is a specialist media category that requires a deep understanding of the social media sector – a space that evolves and changes by the hour. PR and all-service agencies typically lack the tools and expertise required to create and distribute content that will effectively convert consumers on social networks.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the technical expertise of these two fields is the way content is distributed. Influencer marketing operates on a similar model to advertising; where, when and how long content is displayed predominantly comes down to a commercial arrangement.

In contrast, PR relies heavily on earned media. Traditionally, earned media has a high level of consumer trust. Journalists and publications go to great lengths to maintain integrity when it comes to what they write. They will not cover purely commercial material and have complete discretionary power over what the end story looks like. The flip side of this is that a brand’s key messages and call to action are often diluted.

Here’s where influencer marketing shines. Brands and their respective agencies maintain control over both content and distribution, enabling stronger and often more effective brand messaging. Rather than creating a story that a brand can be pulled into, influencer marketing allows a narrative – whether it is an image, video or blog post – to be created around the promotion of a brand and its offering.

Additionally, it’s much harder for a non-specialist agency to keep up with the industry’s constant progression. Social platforms frequently adjust their algorithms to de-prioritise sponsored content.

A lack of knowledge around this and how to combat it will significantly eat into a campaign’s ROI. These platforms are constantly introducing new attributes such as Instagram’s IGTV and it’s important that brands work with an agency that adopts these features early in order to capitalise on the captive audience before it becomes saturated.

Both public relations and influencer marketing are highly effective when it comes to generating awareness and building a brand’s identity. However, they should be used in different ways. If brand wants to boost consumer trust and credibility, or drive thought leadership in a particular space, PR is a great choice, but if it wants to target a very specific audience and encourage consumers to engage with a particular product, influencer marketing is often more effective.

To get the most out of any media strategy, it needs to be handled by a team that dedicates every day to refining its practice, fine tuning tricks garnered through years of experience, and keeping abreast of industry changes to ensure that they are ahead of the game.

For example, the agency running an influencer campaign should not only have access to a talent pool with both micro and macro audiences, but it should also be able to recognise the benefits of both large and small followings, and when each one is most effective.

As with any industry, if an agency lives and breathes a particular service they are going to be more knowledgeable and experienced, therefore provide a superior service and drive stronger results for clients.

Influencer marketing simply cannot be grouped under the PR umbrella. Its strategies are unique and media planning and buying principles are required to ensure that advertising investment is spent wisely when dealing with social publishers.

If an agency suggests that you can group the disciplines together, or that influencer marketing and PR require the same tactics, brands should take it as a sign to get out and find someone who knows what they are doing.

Justin Golledge is general manager at HooZu.

Hoozu increases data tracking and reporting capabilities, to track client return on investment.

Written by
Rebecca Evans

July 12, 2018

In the wake of a number of global brands re-assessing how they spend on influencer marketing, HooZu has implemented a powerful reporting platform that tracks campaigns thoroughly in order to protect both brands and talent alike.

The platform has been applied across all HooZu influencer created activity. This software effectively tracks and analyses the fundamentals essential for reporting back on campaign success.

The platform offers detailed data and insights into the “who (advocate), what (content), when (time) and where (social channels)” of influencer driven campaigns. It also offers insight into what drives peak performance for brands using social content. The software distinguishes organic and paid media performances.

“In line with HooZu policy and client expectations, we will always make data driven decisions. This software will ensure that any content we create published by our brand advocates are totally accountable for the performance of the campaigns in question. We are excited to offer our clients such comprehensive data reporting on their influencer activity.” says Hoozu’s General manager, Justin Golledge. “We now can track engagement comprehensively. We are proud to offer every confidence to clients that their spend is generating ROI, and that their content is optimised towards their specific KPIs.”

Additional reporting added to Hoozu campaigns include;

  • Activity – The time of postings and performance
  • Total Impressions – Total amount of impressions (organic Impressions + paid media Impressions)
  • Total Reach – Total reach (organic reach base + paid media base)
  • Total Engagements – Total amount of engagements (Engagement Base + paid Engagement)
  • Organic Impressions Base – Number of impressions without media boosting
  • Organic Reach Base – Number of people reached without media boosting
  • Organic Engagement Base – Number of engagements without media boosting
  • Paid Impressions – Number of impressions from Boosting
  • Paid Reach – Number of people reached from Boosting
  • Engagement – Number of engagements from Boosting
  • Base Reach %  – Percent of followers that the content reached without Boosting
  • Base Engagement % – Percent of people who saw the content then engaged with the content
  • CPE – Cost per organic engagement
  • CPTE – Cost per total (including paid and organic) engagement
  • CPI – Cost per impression (including paid and organic)
  • CPA – Cost per acquisition (including paid and organic)
  • CPOA – Cost per organic investment
  • ROI – Total sales to total investment
  • Channel performance – performance per social channel

HooZu reporting is fully GDPR compliant and is available for all activity across all appointed brand advocate social content we execute.

Please get in touch with rebecca@hoozu.com if you require any additional information

HooZu ?.  We create on brand authentic and compelling social video that drive sales outcomes for our clients

For the love of Instagram Gods , can you please keep it real !!

By Nathan Ruff for Mumbrella

HooZu’s Nathan Ruff breaks down exactly what went wrong with influencer Andrew Pap’s sponsored engagement announcement, after it received a torrent of negativity online

Like the majority of my contemporaries in the advertising sphere, I’ve not been able to escape the Insta image of Renae Ayris getting proposed to over a cuppa joe from her loving fiancé Andrew Papadopoulos.

Like you, my heart melted at the two perfectly formed beauties in bed, who seemed to wake up without a hair follicle out of place, or the dry drool crust that I suffer from.

There’s a gleam of anticipation in their eyes at tackling the day together, utter content, happiness and affection flowing from perfectly formed biceps and tanned bodies, not to mention the glancing look of appreciation and thanks to the gods of love for finding each other.

Andrew nervously jostles with the realisation there is only one more thing to do, he has to ask the question that will bind their love forever. He finds the strength, gets down on one knee and says… can I get you a cup of Nescafé?

Ok, I may have taken some extreme satirical liberties as I’m not actually sure what came first, the coffee, marriage proposal, or scheduled reflection time on the engagement (maybe we can ask the photographer on the end of their bed), which raises other questions.

But the real question is why would anyone use such a ‘memorable life moment’ and tie it in with a sponsored coffee post? Are the lines now becoming too blurred? What is next? Will we be in the birthing suite promoting a paper towel brand?

In defence of Renae and Andrew (neither I nor Hoozu have any association or involvement with the campaign), they probably believed the glossy and touching moment of their lives was a good opportunity to share.

A lot of their audiences and followers, who engage with the pair every day, enjoy the content they create and would feel honoured to be included and privy to such an intimate moment.

However, to deliver this ‘special moment’ as a sponsored post screams of tackiness and misjudgment and it’s not surprising the couple received so many negative comments in response. It should never have been put forward by their agency and the post deserves the criticism it has received.

When done right, influencer produced content can be remarkably powerful, relatable, moving and educational. The integration opportunities for brands is hugely valuable, but it needs to be done with proper planning and strategy. The power of influencer generated content is that it resonates as being true; it should be as real as possible to the brand that is paying you, and the audience that is following you.

Done badly, it can be extremely damaging for brand and influencer alike. Having created and tracked thousands of pieces of social content we can attest that real people dealing with real issues (like getting kids in cars, running late for everything, getting two hours sleep and waking up with blotchy skin, hiding stretch marks, feeling fat etc); perform far better than repurposed branded billboard imagery.

When audiences see influencers with flashy lives facing the same issues they face i.e. hiding love handles and not being able to keep their kids clean, they respond positively, in turn reaping a positive affiliation for associated brands.

Social audiences are not stupid, and should never be regarded as. The art of producing strong content lies equally across discovery and creation – if one is off the end result will be off too.

For any brand it is critical you use advocates that would use the product, are relatable, and who have legitimate audiences that match the desired customer base. Content has to appear as true to the influencer as the audience that is watching.

Ultimately, the backlash to Andrew’s post has reinforced the need to balance being on message for brands, staying authentic to audiences, and tapping into timely events. Some advocates are better at this balance than others, but ultimately it’s the role of the content agency to guide them and protect them from such faux pas.

A good reputation can take decades to build and a moment to damage, so brands and influencers should tap into the data and AI insights which can guarantee success for both parties. In any case, when embarking on influencer content please make sure it reflects the advocates personality, is an authentic brand/product match, and that the content itself oozes reality.

Oh, and don’t include sponsored posts on special life announcements, unless you’re promoting an engagement ring.

See article here https://mumbrella.com.au/for-the-love-of-the-instagram-gods-can-you-please-keep-it-real-530417