Article | December 24, 2020
The effects of this year have seen the influencer marketing industry ramp up, and by a significant amount, too.
Our Instagram feeds are filled with more ADs than before and the battle is on for brands to secure long-lasting, authentic collaborations with their favourite influencers. But how can brands transition influencers into ambassadors for 2021?
Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at agency Influencer Matchmaker, explains how brands should be looking to consider ambassadors as part of their influencer marketing strategy for the new year.
The rise of influencer marketing
Fast approaching a market size of $10 billion, the influencer marketing industry has seen an estimated growth of at least 50% each year since 2016. And over the last year alone, the industry has increased by approximately $3 billion.
The coronavirus pandemic has simply sped up changes that were already underway and has allowed creators and agencies within the industry to understand the need to adapt to consumer needs.
And if this year has taught us anything, it’s that trust, and authenticity are pivotal. So, with that being said, we believe that brands should be looking to transition influencers into ambassadors in order to promote collaborative, long-term partnerships.
One-off campaigns vs long-term partnerships
This is not a case of one being better than the other. They both offer incredible benefits to brands, however here at Influencer Matchmaker, we wanted to inform brands how they can turn the influencers they work with into ambassadors and long-term partners.
Influencers are a great way for brands to reach a brand-new audience, providing them with the ability to target potential consumers.
With large and loyal followings, influencers are able to promote a brand, along with their products and services, creating rather impactful results, however many influencer relationships are short-term.
And whilst this is incredibly effective, some brands may prefer to work with influencers as part of an ambassadorship and work on a number of campaigns with them over a longer period of time.
Influencers, as part of both short-term and long-term campaigns, will create and share content about the brand and its products.
However, brand ambassadors will actively and regularly use the products and will share the same values as both the brand and their target audience. This, in turn, creates an authentic and honest relationship between the ambassador and their following.
Consider an ambassador a cheerleader for your brand. They become a representative and maintain an ongoing relationship, earning the trust and loyalty of their followers.
Often, when brands form a partnership with an ambassador, they can post a variety of content, as opposed to one-off posts or stand-alone images. They are able to get involved in press events, offer discount codes and so much more.
Long-term collaborations and ambassadorships usually take part over the course of three months or longer.
How to transition an influencer into an ambassador
Brands should look for influencers who are already fans of their brand and products, and actively uses them.
This may seem odd - why pay somebody to promote your brand when they already talk about it to their audience?
If an influencer already uses your product or has previously discussed your brand, then they already have an audience that is interested and engaged, meaning they are likely to receive any long-term campaigns and collaborations extremely well.
This also increases the level of trust between the brand, the influencer and the target audience. The audience will recognise the authenticity of the collaboration, resulting in a greater return on investment (ROI) for the brand.
As well as this, more recently, brands have been collaborating with ambassadors in a different way and one that is proving to be extremely effective.
Ambassadors have been creating their very own collections with brands, as well as selecting their own edits. This has allowed brands to collaborate with ambassadors in a much more personal manner, creating an even deeper connection with their audience and potential consumers.
Popular influencers have been collaborating with well-known retailors to do exactly that. Victoria Magrath, founder of InTheFrow, recently teamed up with luxury jewellery brand Edge of Ember to create her very own collection. And fellow luxury fashion influencer Lydia Millen has also partnered with Karen Millen.
Similarly, Emma Willis and Marvin Humes have formed a long-term partnership with well-known high-street brand, Next. They both create seasonal fashion edits and collections, which are incredibly well-received by their audiences.
In The Style is an online retailer which is recognised for its long-term collaborations with a number of successful social media influencers. Getting the likes of Jacqueline Jossa, Olivia Bowen and Billie Shepherd on board to create their very own clothing ranges has made the brand one of the most successful online fashion stores.
Transitioning an influencer into an ambassador is a sure-fire way to create successful campaigns. And now more than ever, consumers are seeking creative and authentic partnerships, and what better way to do that than with a brand ambassador?
Article | January 12, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted brands and businesses in ways that we’d never have expected, but with everyone forced to adapt, it has left business owners with no choice but to rationalise and re-think their budgets.
Whether they’ve had to cut down, or change their focus, almost all companies will have been affected by the current economic influence of the world we are finding ourselves living in.
And Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at midlands-based influencer marketing agency, Influencer Matchmaker, explains where brands should be focusing their budgets and finances, and the positive impact this will generate.
Economic influence in 2021
As we enter lockdown 3.0, brands and businesses will once again be forced to adapt to new government guidelines and change the ways in which they operate.
And this economic influence has encouraged brands to re-think their finances and how to better spend their budgets.
Although it has been a difficult time for many, the pandemic has enabled brands to think more cautiously, allowed them to stay relevant and has thrust them into a digital-first world, which is the only way to move forwards.
Throughout 2020, it was proved just how important social media and online influencers really are. When the rest of the world stood still, the digital world kept on moving, and more importantly, earning.
So, if nothing else came from last year, the rapid decline in traditional advertising and the focus on social media and all thing’s digital, is enough to see exactly how 2021 will go.
Measuring the impact
Set to become a $15 billion industry by 2022, the influencer marketing industry is showing no signs of slowing down.
And with 63% of marketers intending to increase their influencer marketing budget for 2021, this proves just how successful this means of marketing really is.
Although slightly tricky when it comes to measuring metrics upon face value, influencer marketing is incredibly successful and creates truly impactful results.
By working with an influencer marketing agency, brands are able to be paired with an influencer that best suits their product, service and goals.
Influencer marketing allows brands to present their product or service to a targeted audience and in a more direct manner, too.
Not only that, but the results of all campaigns and activities are easy to track and monitor through the use of social media analytics. This allows brands, agencies and influencers to document the number of swipe up links, purchases made, views, likes, shares and other forms of impressions and engagement.
ROI (Return on Investment)
Influencers can generate impressive ROI (return on investment) for brands, whatever it is they may be trying to achieve. From increasing brand awareness and generating sales, to growing social media followings and reach, social media influencers are fully equipped to do just that.
And with industry expertise, experience and insight, an agency is likely to have access to the all-important data you need to ensure you are paired with the perfect influencer and receive the desired results.
Many business owners aren’t entirely sure where they should be spending their budgets, or even how to rationalise them, and by working with an agency, they will receive expert advice on where to spend their money to ensure effective results.
Although brands should specify what they would like to focus on in terms of ROI, when working with an influencer, brands will naturally benefit from a variety of other aspects, too – making it more cost effective than traditional advertising methods.
Customer retention and loyalty are huge benefits of working with an influencer. When done effectively, marketing campaigns can make consumers brand loyal, putting brands in great stead against competitors.
For example, many consumers are loyal to Hello Fresh. And whilst they effectively do the same, or similar job to that of a supermarket, it is their marketing efforts that put them one step ahead. By providing their customers with recipe cards, precise ingredients which limit food waste, and information on cost-per-person per meal, this is much more appealing and suits the needs of many.
And with that being said, many consumers are now striving towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. So, when presented with opportunities to limit waste, in any capacity, this will usually be taken without much further thought – which is why brands such as Hello Fresh have done so well.
Similarly, sustainability is another factor that has contributed to the decline in print advertising and the rise in digital consumption, as consumers are now able to receive the same information online without any damaging effects to the environment.
Now, more than ever before, brands and businesses are making a more conscious effort to spend their money wisely. And understandably, want to use the most cost-effective methods available to them.
2020 proved the worth of social media influencers and just how beneficial they can be for brands.
And with traditional advertising methods becoming more and more outdated, it has also become apparent that they are often more costly, too.
Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the cost of influencer marketing, it does prove to be extremely cost effective, with research showing that businesses make an estimated 600% return for every £1 spent on influencer marketing.
The art of storytelling and human-to-human interaction
With influencer marketing, it is much more than simply selling a product. Influencers have spent years building trust and creating a tribe with the community that follows them.
Social media influencers are a new branch of storytellers, implementing an element of human-to-human interaction, as opposed to human-to-brand.
Matt Hayes, Managing Director of midlands-based brand agency Champions (UK) plc, is a firm believer in building brand love and brand trust and explains that emotion should be at the heart of every campaign.
He said, “We’re living in an era that is centred around emotion and building connections, and that shouldn’t be any different when it comes to creating a campaign.
When buying into a product or service, consumers simply look for a connection and a sense of relatability. And by utilising the power of emotion, brands will achieve trust and form that all-important bond.
Without that, brands are nothing more than a commodity, competing on price alone. And influencer marketing holds the power to unlock all of this, and more.”
With social media usage on the rise and with research showing that approximately 82% of users have increased their social media consumption since the beginning of the pandemic, this shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
And with brands seeking to find new ways to become digital-first, many are finding it hard to stay relevant and keep up.
If you’re looking to rationalise your budget and remain at the forefront of consumer’s minds, then influencer marketing could be for you.
Article | September 14, 2020
As the world comes to grips with COVID-19, businesses are having to adjust and react quickly. Now more than ever, it’s crucial for organizations to listen to the people they serve and find ways to help them cope with the new challenges they’re facing.
At SurveyMonkey, we are committed to supporting our customers around the globe. That’s why we’ve launched new resources to help you navigate the impact of COVID-19, and get the feedback you need to make critical decisions for today, and for the future of your business.
Article | March 11, 2021
Depending on what industry you’re in, you might suddenly find yourself with a little more time on your hands than usual. Time for some DIY marketing? Sure, why not?
I’ve been talking to a lot of companies who are focusing on marketing right now. Yes, really. When we get back to “real life” – or whatever the new “real life” is going to look like – they want to be ready to hit the ground running. Smart.
Not all marketing projects are suitable for DIY, though.
DIY marketing: 4 projects better left to the pros
Let’s make sure you don’t waste time or money (definitely not money!) on these four projects. Call a professional for help.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
There are two kinds of SEO – SEO lite and SEO for realz. I’ve written about SEO lite before, though I haven’t called it that. You can do very basic keyword research for your blog to understand what keywords people are searching for.
SEO for realz is much deeper than that. “Real” SEO optimizes your entire website for search based on the best keywords for your company. It is based on many factors, such as what your current ranking is; what keywords you are ranking well for; what keywords are competitive versus less competitive; etc.
Once all that research is done – using special tools that I couldn’t even name without Googling it – each page of your website is optimized. It’s a whole process. Depending on how big your website is, it can take a long time.
Needless to say, proper SEO that actually helps you rank for the keywords you want to be found for requires an expert. And not just someone who says they’re an expert, but someone who has a track record.
I have mentioned Google AdWords exactly once in all of my blog posts, and when I did mention it, this is what I said:
“This is not an area of expertise for us, so my advice is to work with a company that specializes in it (and has proven results).”
Google AdWords is nothing like social ads. It’s about as far from a DIY marketing project as you can get.
First, it is an auction. Instead of bidding on a painting or lamp, you bid on keywords. Cost and placement depend on the competitiveness of the keywords you're bidding for.
Here’s how bidding works (courtesy of Wordstream):
The actual position of your ad is determined by your ad rank (Maximum Bid times Quality Score). The highest ad rank gets the 1st ad position. Your actual CPC (cost per click) will be determined by the ad rank of the next highest ad below you divided by your Quality Score. The only exception of this rule is when you are the only bidder or the lowest bid in the Google Ads auction; then you pay your maximum bid per click! AdWords bidding heavily penalizes advertisers who bid with low quality scores. Conversely, those with high Quality Scores get higher ad ranks and lower CPC.
Are your eyes glazed over? Yeah, me too. As you read above, you also need to meet certain Quality Scores for this to work.
Second, you need keywords that are relevant to your company. If the best keywords are too expensive, you might be tempted to bid on less relevant keywords, which could be a waste of money.
Third, writing ad copy that converts is the hardest type of copywriting out there. Trust me.
Web design and development
SquareSpace, WIX and other web builders are DIY marketing dream tools for small businesses that just need a basic, no-nonsense website. These platforms are built specifically for non-web designers and developers, and therefore they are pretty easy to use.
A custom website that includes a lot of functionality is not a DIY project. What do I mean by “a lot” of functionality?
Think about a membership site or online learning site. Those require a member portal, dashboard, chat function, resource library that supports videos or audio, learning modules, module tracking/grading, etc.
Then there are companies who want a custom design, not necessarily custom functionality. These sites use unique fonts, scripts, graphics and art. They’re the ones that make you stop in your track (OK, maybe that only happens to me, but believe me – these are the sites you notice).
Anyway, my point is: a custom website is NOT a DIY marketing project.
Lead generation strategy
A lead generation strategy requires you to hunt down new opportunities in new places. How can you be expected to spot a lizard in the jungle when you’ve only ever looked for ants in a desert?
A great lead generation strategy requires an outside, objective perspective. Heck, I don’t even do my own lead generation strategy – I hire someone (Nicole at SocialLight) to do it for me.
When a pro does the strategy for you, he or she might uncover:
Completely new audiences – or new segments within existing audiences
Messages, offers, products or services that will better resonate with your target markets
Different communication channels to use
Topics that your target market cares about most
When to reach your target market (and how often to reach out)
You can’t be expected to uncover all of this, and you won’t be able to do it as quickly as an expert.
So remember: when in doubt, turn to an expert – especially for these four projects.