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Influencer Marketing

A Blog from Trending Family

Amazon Introduces Social Media Influencer Program

 

Amazon has launched a beta test of its new social media influencer program in hopes that digital influencers will drive more customers to their site. Although the company already has an affiliate program which many have been using for quite some time, it seems as though the brand wants to create a more exclusive program to attract top influencers. Amazon’s program essentially allows influencers to generate their own unique URL so their followers can easily navigate through a curated selection of products. Amazon has not yet announced any specific requirements to be selected for the program. However, to qualify an influencer must have a substantial following, strong qualitative engagement, and Amazon-relevant content with “shoppable posts.” It is not known whether the new influencer program will eventually replace the existing affiliate program altogether.

If your brand or agency is interested in working with social media influencers, don’t hesitate to contact Trending Family today!   

The Top Misconceptions About Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has defied just about every rule of conventional marketing. Despite the numerous accounts of success, some brands are still skeptical of the impact of influencer marketing. In this post, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions.

ROI Is Hard to Measure: All the major social media platforms are now regularly updating advertiser analytics, giving brands and agencies more options than ever to measure ROI. The crucial task is utilizing these tools to monitor campaign performance and ensure alignment with internal KPIs. Also, unlike traditional media buys in print or TV, sponsored influencer content typically lives on indefinitely, collecting long-tail impressions for “free,” driving down the lifetime campaign cost.

Influencers Require Constant Management: Working with a digital influencer for the first time can be daunting with some brands wondering whether influencers can be trusted to deliver quality content on schedule. It may be easy to partner with one influencer on a campaign but what about when you need 5, 10, or even 15 influencers? Marketers shudder at the thought of managing 15 email threads, 15 contracts, and making sure all 15 post their content correctly and on time. This is where partnering with Trending Family can be extremely valuable to help manage all the logistics of your brand’s or client’s influencer marketing campaigns.

Influencer Marketing Is Only For Major Brands With Large Budgets: Influencer marketing has actually enabled many smaller brands to find success because of its affordability over traditional methods like TV, print, and OOH. Traditional celebrities can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for a sponsored post, while digital influencers are typically much more accessible and may even have better engagement.

Finding the Right Influencer is Time-Consuming: Some brands feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of influencers with varying follower sizes and engagement rates across multiple digital platforms. However, the process of choosing the perfect influencer can be exciting rather than dreadful when utilizing the right tools. It’s crucial to consider influencers’ platform preferences, past campaigns, engagement, and reputation.

Influencer Marketing Is A Temporary Phenomenon: The trajectory of influencer marketing is on a steady rise and influencers will continue to play a vital role in the future of digital marketing. With recent studies revealing that over 78 percent of teenagers relate to YouTubers more than traditional celebrities, it’s no surprise brands are taking influencer marketing more seriously. In fact, 94 percent of marketers now believe using influencer marketing has been effective in their campaigns.

If your brand or agency is interested in launching an influencer marketing campaign, don’t hesitate to contact Trending Family today!    

Snapchat Upgrading Stories With “Our Story” Feature

With rising usage of Instagram’s new Stories feature, Snapchat has been feeling the pressure to innovate in order to keep brands and marketers interested in its 161 million-strong user base. On March 31, Snapchat introduced a new feature using advanced machine learning technology allowing users from select cities to search through over a million user-generated Stories submitted on “Our Story.” Users can now type in a single keyword and find curated, relevant, and unique Stories all around the world. However, the new feature also enables users to find content from specified locations. Snapchat hopes that their new search tool will increase user time spent on the app and prevent cannibalization from Instagram. For brands and businesses, this discovery feature could be an instrumental tool to raise awareness and engagement with the millennial demographic.

If your brand or agency is interested in discussing Snapchat strategy for its next campaign, contact us today!

My Brand Hired a Social Media Influencer who’s involved in a Scandal, What do we do?

For most brands, having an influencer get into an unexpected controversy is one of the worst possible situations imaginable. Crafting a campaign requires months of planning, coordination, and negotiation. Even if your brand has properly vetted an influencer, there is always the risk of them falling from grace regardless of how squeaky-clean their reputation. Further, the controversy surrounding YouTube’s biggest star demonstrated that no one is impermeable to scandal, regardless of the veracity of the allegations. As such, when a brand finds itself in this situation, the first instinct may be to quickly sever ties with the influencer however this tactic could actually do more damage to your reputation. Before making any decisions, take a pause, then ensure your brand’s response is measured and swift.

  • Context: If the scandal involves an issue from the influencer’s distant past, your brand must evaluate the severity of the accusations. For example, it is discovered your influencer has an unpaid speeding ticket from five years ago. For most brands, this would not be a cause for alarm however if your brand sells car insurance, it may be a larger issue.
  • History with the Influencer: Has your brand worked with this influencer numerous times and had all good experiences? Perhaps standing by them is an easier decision than if it’s a one-off partnership with an influencer whom you’ve never worked previously.
  • Trolls: Nearly every social media influencer has a small handful of “haters” that go around creating rumors and stirring up drama. Some even go so far as to send inflammatory messages to influencers’ sponsors to try to get them in trouble. Be very wary of the credibility of these “trolls” because chances are that their claims are baseless.
  • Lay Low: Sometimes the best course of action is to wait it out. Acknowledge the situation by suspending all campaign activities with the influencer to see if things blow over. It’s possible the controversy is the result of a miscommunication that can be resolved by a simple explanation from the influencer.
  • Apologize: When CoverGirl’s first male ambassador James Charles tweeted an offensive joke to his 180,000 followers on Twitter, CoverGirl immediately released a statement condemning the tweet and emphasized it was not reflective of their message. Rather than releasing him as a representative, CoverGirl stood by Charles which reinforced their relationship and served as a learning opportunity.

Even if your brand or agency has never been involved directly with an influencer embroiled in a scandal, it’s crucial to consider a plan of action just in case.

Trending Family focuses exclusively on launching campaigns with “family-friendly” influencers for clients in need of non-controversial content and partnerships. If your brand or agency is considering launching an influencer marketing campaign for an upcoming project, contact us today!

YouTube Adds More Content Filters for Advertisers

Several large advertisers have pulled their ads from YouTube after the recent discovery their products been appearing before controversial videos on the platform. As a response, YouTube has added three new content filters, providing the options to filter out sexually suggestive content, sensational or shocking content, and content with profanity and rough language. While these new exclusions may mean some content creators are subjected to more scrutiny, marketers will have greater control over where their ads appear. In addition to these new restrictions, YouTube has already began accelerating development of new video review processes. In a recent blog post, YouTube specifically addressed content with hateful topics, declaring that videos discriminating against gender, sexuality, race, or religion in particular will be subject to demonetization. While these new policies garner concern about the nature of freedom of expression on the platform, YouTube reassures creators that they can always appeal to have videos re-examined if they have been flagged inappropriately.

Trending Family recognizes marketers’ need for wholesome content, which is why we work exclusively with family-friendly social media influencers. To launch a campaign or review recent case studies, please contact us today!

 

Can Influencer Marketplaces Replace Traditional Vetting?

The process of finding the right influencers for brands and agencies is often time-consuming and can be frustrating. There are a plethora of digital influencers to choose from, and it may be difficult to discern which influencers are the best fit for a particular campaign. As influencer marketing continues its steady rise, software and algorithms are currently being hailed as the ultimate solution for brands in need of influencers. But does relying only on quantitative metrics expose your brand or agency to risk?

Existing “self-service” influencer marketplaces tout access to various analytics such as rates of engagement, follower size, and demographics. While these data are definitely important, they’re not enough to  ensure good influencer partnerships. Traditional vetting is a crucial, if not mandatory component to gauge how well an influencer will align with your brand’s values. The vetting process ensures that the influencers not only have a solid following and authority but also helps identify candidates who have been involved in controversy or may have even worked with a competitor recently. Further, and perhaps most importantly, vetting helps determine which influencers are reliable.

The largest and most obvious risks for brands of working with a suboptimal influencer is the chance of lackluster performance or even developing an unsavory reputation. There’s also an opportunity cost associated with foregoing amazing influencer partnerships due to only cursory reviews of candidates with lesser reach. Campaigns often perform much better hiring influencers with a higher engagement rate than follower size. While some brands might assume that reach alone promises increased brand awareness and ROI, there is no guarantee that this approach will keep your campaign afloat. It is far better to conduct a holistic review of both an influencers’ qualitative alignment and quantitative metrics to ensure the best possible candidates for a campaign.

Trending Family specializes in rigorously vetting all of our influencers to ensure successful campaigns for our brand and agency clients. For more information on how to launch your next influencer marketing campaign, contact Trending Family today.

How to Convince Your Clients to Try Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing has quickly evolved into a pivotal tool agencies and brands can use to grow their audiences and sell their products and services. This Google Trends graph below illustrates the growth trajectory for influencer marketing:


At its very core, influencer marketing is about creating more engaging, authentic content, to augment existing digital marketing strategies. There are several reasons brands and agencies should consider adding an influencer marketing component to their upcoming media plan:

  • Leveraging the Power of an Influencer: Most influencers have deep, intimate connections with their audiences, often developed organically over many years. As a result, to maintain that trust, influencers will think very carefully about which products and services they recommend to their followers. Once your brand can illustrate its value to an influencer, their testimonial can have incredible impact.
  • Unique Content: Influencers can create authentic, customized content for your brand at a fraction of the cost of a traditional production.
  • Distribution and Virality: By tapping into an influencer’s social following with custom content, brands have a built-in distribution platform that can even be amplified with an additional media spend. Further, this content can live on indefinitely, accumulating long-tail impressions and even occasionally, massive virality.

Influencer Marketing Benefits

The loyalty that top influencers have gained can often extend to your brand, helping the campaign message spread quickly throughout popular social platforms. With consumers placing more and more trust in what influencers say and do, it’s crucial that brands and agencies learn to leverage this authority by building long-term relationships with relevant influencers. For example, an influencer contracted to a 1 year ambassadorship for a brand can be utilized to share other marketing collateral beyond custom content, such as case studies, testimonials, sharing or reposting your brand’s social posts, and more.

Ultimately, brands must look at influencer marketing as a “value-add” to their overall strategy rather than a pure ROI calculation.

Trending Family works with a roster of family-friendly influencers to create social and video influencer campaigns for brands and agencies. For more information on influencer marketing campaigns and influencer strategy, contact Trending Family today.

Maintaining a Lasting Career as a Digital Influencer

As any digital influencer knows, maintaining relevancy and consistent popularity on social media platforms is no easy feat. It is common to see a digital influencer skyrocket into stardom for a couple of years before slowly being overshadowed by newer internet sensations. Reasons for the decline in growth or stagnation are mostly due to committing common mistakes: inconsistency, complacency, and/or poor choices to name a few. Here are some key measurements that digital influencers can monitor to ensure longevity in their channels:

Maintain a network of fellow influencers

Collaborations are necessary for any digital or social influencer. A wide network of peers can serve as a strong support system and provide avenues to expand an influencers’ audience and social media following.

Consistency is key

One of the gravest mistakes a digital influencer can make is not releasing consistent content. Many platforms actually algorithmically punish infrequency which can be hard to recover from. Further, consistency encourages repeat viewer/follower consumption. However, veteran influencers understand that producing quality content must also be paired with a healthy work-life balance.

Invest in quality equipment

Most top influencers don’t work with an entire movie studio to create quality content. Instead, they invest in good camera equipment and lighting to achieve professional videos or photos. That being said, many influencers started out with very inexpensive equipment such as a webcam or phone camera and still found success. The bottom line is that influencers must ensure their technology (video, audio, quality, etc.) does not get in the way of their message.

Frequently engage with your supporters

What separates great social media influencers from lackluster ones is the amount of engagement with their followers. Taking the time to acknowledge and respond to your viewers will create a stronger and more devoted following.

Pick the right brands to work with

In our Q&A with Steps to Wander, they mentioned that picking the right brands that integrate with their content has allowed them to maintain subscriber loyalty. Viewers can tell when an influencer has never used or cared about the brand or product before, so it’s crucial influencers don’t take an easy payday at the expense of their followers’ trust.

Use analytics

Top social media influencers frequently use analytics to gain insight on which pieces of content are particularly popular with their audiences. Monitoring these analytics helps influencers better understand their demographics and provides feedback on what their supporters would like to see more of or what content they dislike.

Be authentic

All popular influencers have their own unique personalities which distinguish them from the rest of the pack. However, being eccentric does not guarantee internet success; it’s actually shared values, interests, and honesty which resonate with viewers.

The founders of Trending Family, Justin and April Moore, have over 1 million total YouTube subscribers and have built a loyal following over 8 years on social media. To speak with them about their experiences or for advice on how your brand can work with influencers contact TrendingFamily today!

Finding the Right Influencers for Your Brand

In 2017, more marketers than ever are expected to incorporate an influencer marketing strategy as part of their marketing plans. Having an influencer marketing budget is important, but finding the right influencers for your brand or agency is of equal or of more importance. The relationship between a brand and influencer is an integral part of any campaign’s success. The right influencer should be the voice of your brand. As such, they need to speak your language and hold the same values that you do.

What are some ways you can find the right influencer for you? Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re on the search:

Focus on Engagement Rather than Social Following

Brands should focus on influencers that can garner engagement as opposed to influencers with a large social following. Influencers with smaller followings have more opportunities to interact with their followers on a personal level, raising the influencer’s trust and credibility among consumers. Tom’s of Maine is an excellent example of employing this rule successfully.

Authentic Relationships Between Brand and Influencer

According to Forbes, 43 percent of Millennials—who are voracious consumers of digital content, and are influencers on several of the largest platforms—rank authenticity higher than content. Any influencer you’re considering should believe in your product or brand and are true to their personal standards. The right influencer is your brand’s ambassador, because they believe in what you do, not because of the amount you’re paying them. If the relationship is authentic, your influencer should be a natural  advocate for you and your product or service.

Platform Preference

Platform preference plays an important role in your search for an influencer. YouTube video influencers will continue to be significant because of the amount of quality, authentic content they create. YouTube, the second largest search engine on the web and third most visited site, is the perfect avenue for brands looking to use video as part of an influencer campaign. According to Digiday, 81 percent of internet users in the United States are on YouTube and by 2019, consumers will watch more video content and look for content creators to make more of it. Successful video influencers know YouTube is a driver of significant engagement and brands should take note of it.

Review Your Influencers

Brands should do their due diligence and review previous sponsorships influencers have done to see if they may be a good fit. Past campaigns are strong indicators of what a potential relationship will look like with your brand.

Short-Term or Long-Term?

Brands must decide if they want to forge a one-off partnership or a long term one with an influencer. Brands new to influencer marketing typically make one-off deals due to time constraints or cost. While one-time deals may work for some, long-term partnerships have a distinct advantage. The longer the campaign commitment, the more time a brand has to refine its marketing mix. Longer campaigns also allows your message to evolve over time. Brands can spend more time discussing how to amplify a campaign using social media or local marketing. Long-term influencers can also reinforce their passion for your product with continued use over time which can significantly improve brand awareness.

Understanding the brand-influencer dynamic is critical for creating and sustaining a successful influencer campaign. The right influencers understand how to create authentic content and how to deliver your brand’s message to their audience effectively.

If your brand or agency is interested in finding the best influencers for an upcoming digital campaign, contact Trending Family today.

Featured Influencer: Steps to Wander

Steps to Wander is a YouTube channel focused on travel started in September of 2013 by Corbin and Kelsey Scott and their soon-to-be first child, Juniper. For the past three years, Corbin and Kelsey’s videos featured them backpacking Europe and travelling across North America in their van. Since Kelsey’s pregnancy, Steps to Wander has started including more family-oriented content, but they still plan a strong focus on travel. They believe working with brands that truly align with their content and lifestyle lead to better integrations and overall authenticity.

As our featured influencers this month, Trending Family sat down with Steps to Wander to discuss their lives, content, and future.

Q: Why did you decide to partner with Trending Family?

Steps to Wander: Our viewers know us and in order to maintain our authenticity, we will never collaborate with a brand we don’t truly believe in. We are always open to working with different brands and brands that align with our channel―and Trending Family aligns with our beliefs.

Q: Are you planning on transitioning your channel into a full-time family channel?

Steps to Wander: Once Juniper is born, we will naturally have family-related content. We plan to transition back into traveling when we’re ready. We are planning an international trip because we want to expose Juniper to different cultures and experiences at a young age. We’ve seen family channels travel, but we want to go to places off the map, places where you don’t see young families normally like Thailand, Spain, Morocco, and Portugal.

Q: What are some of the typical challenges you have faced as YouTubers?

Steps to Wander: We were daily vlogging and our viewers expected that consistency we had created. We transitioned into the “van life movement” and our audience totally changed. We had an engaged audience as a “travel” channel and faced the challenge of keeping interest from new viewers, while always staying true to ourselves. At the end of the day, our mission stays the same―to live authentically.

Q: How do you maintain your channel?

Steps to Wander: Consistency is key. We slowly built our channel and stayed really consistent. We always filmed a video every single day at the same time which helped build an incredibly strong audience. We also believe that sharing our true, real selves has helped build that engaged audience. We share the ups and downs (when we’re really stressed). We also get input from comments and take our viewers’ feedback to heart.

Q: What were some of the unexpected moments since starting your YouTube channel?

Steps to Wander: We never thought creating YouTube videos would turn into this. What started as a hobby has truly turned into a fun job that we love. We didn’t expect this “community” aspect that feels like an extended family―we love that we’re able to communicate with people from all around the world

Q: What are your future goals?

Steps to Wander: We always want to be giving back. We want to create a platform that provides opportunities for other viewers to get out and explore.

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