Month: June 2017

Influencer Marketing Ain’t Easy: 5 Client Questions to Answer Before They Ask

The client conversation around influencer marketing is changing. When agencies first began pitching influencers as part of a brand’s social strategy, they spent a lot of time answering “what?” and “why?” But as a recent study by Tomoson Research shows, influencer marketing is now “the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel—beating organic search, paid search and email marketing.” Not to mention, nearly 60% of marketers plan to increase their ad budgets to accommodate influencer marketing efforts in the year ahead.

With proof points like these, influencers are no longer a tough sell to clients:

  • 92% of consumers are more likely to trust their peers over advertising when it comes to purchasing decisions.
  • On average, businesses are making $ 6.50 for every $ 1 spent.
  • Influencer marketing has 11 times the ROI of a banner advertising campaign.
  • Marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.

While it’s easy to get swept up in the numbers, there’s still much to learn about what makes a successful influencer program. And while agencies may not have to spend as much time answering “why?”—there’s still the very important question of “how do we do it right?”

Here are five of the most common questions about influencers and the answers an agency needs in order to demonstrate expertise in the space and gain buy-in from clients.

1. What Is the Goal of the Program?

Make no mistake, this is the single most important question to consider when developing (and eventually pitching) an influencer program. Before even thinking about who the influencers will be or what they will create, marketers must identify specific, measurable goals. Should the program increase awareness? Generate new followers? Drive sales?

According to a recent survey evaluating the current state of influencer marketing:

  • 89% of marketers used influencers to create authentic content for their brand
  • 77% used them to drive engagement
  • 56% used them to drive traffic to their websites or landing pages

It should go without saying that the goal of the program should also align with the project brief. A successful influencer program is useless if its outcome does not address the ask of the client.

2. How Will We Measure Success?

For 2017, 78% of marketers have cited measuring the ROI of influencer marketing as a top challenge, making it important for agencies to identify which metrics they’ll monitor to measure the program’s success. Meanwhile, 81% of marketers cite engagement as their top metric for measuring influencer marketing success, meaning how many likes, shares and comments the various pieces of content received.

Marketers may also consider tracking traffic and conversions, especially if the program’s goal is an increase in sales. Using trackable links, promo codes and monitoring correlation are just a few ways an agency can propose tracking these markers.

3. Who Are the Right Influencers?

Marketers, repeat after us: fit over followers. One of the biggest mistakes we see marketers make when choosing potential influencers is focusing too much on the number of followers. What good is a million followers if they’re not the right audience for the brand? The personality, values and previous content of potential influencers have to be a good fit for the brand or the program will fail. And it may take a little research to find that information out.

When pitching potential influencers to clients, it’s helpful to include example posts that both demonstrate their fit with the brand and showcase the quality of their content. And even though it’s not the reason they were chosen, it may be smart to include their potential reach as well to strengthen the business case.

4. What Will They Create?

Once an agency has identified the influencer or influencers for the program, it’s time to decide what type of content they’ll create. Knowing the specific ask will help align client, agency and influencer expectations and will make reaching out to the influencer a much smoother process. It’s also easier to quote rates when the influencers have an idea about how much time and effort is expected of them.

Agencies should take into account the program goal, their desired measurement, as well as the influencers’ own content when deciding what to ask for. For example, don’t ask for a blog post if the influencer’s strength is photography.

Marketers also have to consider FTC regulations, which require influencers to disclose when content is part of a paid partnership. There are various ways to do this, but most often we see posts labeled with an #ad or #spon hashtag. It’s imperative that the branded content be just as compelling and entertaining as the rest of the influencer’s content—or else it will stick out like a sore thumb and the influencer’s audience won’t trust it.

5. Should We Pay Them?

To gift, or to pay: that is one of the most common client questions. And in order to answer it correctly, marketers must consider the pros and cons of both gifting and paying an influencer. The biggest pro of gifting is obvious—free marketing. But cons can include no guarantee of quality or positive sentiment, no control over the message and no ownership over the content that’s created. It also may be more difficult to find an influencer with good reach if they believe their value is worth more than just a free sample.

When you offer payment, those influencers with a strong, solid audience are more likely to be on board. Plus it gives marketers more creative, and legal, ownership of the content. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t matter whether an agency gifts or pays an influencer, a paid partnership must be disclosed to abide by FTC regulations.

Influencer rates vary and can depend on his or her follower count. According to a study done by on Instagram influencer payment, the overall average cost per Instagram post was $ 271; an influencer with fewer than 1,000 followers (also called a micro-influencer) was $ 83 per post; and the average price for influencers with more than 100,000 followers was $ 763 per post.

When offering compensation to an influencer, agencies need to take into account the type of content they’re requesting, the influencer’s follower count, the project’s budget and FTC regulations.

Influencers aren’t just successful in attracting new business for brands; they also recruit more loyal customers. In fact, found that customers acquired through influencer marketing have a 37% higher retention rate. But without the right strategy in place, poorly planned influencer marketing can backfire—and both brands and influencers can run the risk of damaging their respective reputations, or even running into legal trouble. Agencies who take the time to ask and answer the right questions will not only gain the trust and confidence of their clients, but it will also set their influencer program up for success from the outset.

This post Influencer Marketing Ain’t Easy: 5 Client Questions to Answer Before They Ask originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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60% of CMOs Value Brand Experience For Creating Ongoing Relationships

Results of a recent survey revealed that brand managers, CMOs, and event planners around the world are recognizing that sensory brand experiences are a key strategy when it comes to building brand loyalty and staying top of the mind during the purchasing process. If consumers are loyal to your brand, then yours is one of the first names they think of when making a purchasing decision.

The survey was carried out by Freeman, a provider of brand experiences. The experts at the company polled 1,000 professionals in B2B and B2C marketing across North America, Western Europe, and Asia. They discovered that nine out of ten of the people they surveyed confirmed that brand experiences have become a greater central part to their roles than ever before.

The survey also showed that nine out of ten professionals believe that brand experiences offering strong personal interactions created greater levels of brand engagement. Brand engagement is one of the most important parts of marketing.

Evolution In Expectations

The reason that brand experiences are becoming an even bigger part of the marketing process is that the world has seen an evolution in audience expectations. According to Jason Stephen Ali, Director of Marketing forBroadConnect Telecom “It’s never been more important for marketing professionals to take a new approach following an increase in steep competition, the changing demographics, and audiences becoming more sophisticated.”

Over two-thirds of all the survey respondents across the board were in agreement that creating a great brand experience was a key step in achieving the goals of their organization. 59% of the Chief Marketing Officers surveyed value brand experience for creating ongoing relationships.

The report also found that, with marketers recognizing the value brand experiences offer, they are changing how much they spend on creating said experiences. Over one-third of all the CMOs surveyed said they expected that brand experiences will make up 21-50% of their marketing budgets within the next five years.

Three Main Tactics

The three main tactics used by marketers to drive up brand experiences are websites (58%), social media (57%), and through email marketing (51%). Marketers moving ahead of the trend and getting in on immersing their audiences with the brand are taking advantage of interactive marketing tools including touch screens, virtual reality, location mapping, and gamification. Gamification itself is becoming a major part of modern marketing and even staff training.

The report showed that marketers in Asia particularly are moving quickly to adopt immersive and interactive technologies into their brand experiences. Some 42% of Asian marketers are making use of sensory interaction in some way to create a personalized brand experience for their customers, which is much more than the 28% of marketers doing the same thing in North America, and 13% in Western Europe. On top of this, 31% of Asian companies are making use of virtual reality in their brand experiences.

This is over three times as many as the 7-9% of marketers using virtual reality elsewhere in the world. Gamification continues to expand as well, as 22% of Asian companies are making use of gamification compared to the 9 and 13% of their respective counterparts using it.

Every sector is seeing an increase in brand experiences, but there still seems to be a disconnect when analyzing marketing roles within organizations. 48% of CMOs see brand experiences as a great way to showcase their thought leadership and connect with their audience, but only a third of brand managers, and just 28% of event planners are in agreement with this assessment.

Over 58% of CMOs feel that creating a strong brand experience delivers a powerful impact when it comes to connecting their audience to their brand and increasing brand advocacy. The disconnect with this opinion is even greater, as just 13% and 18% of brand managers and event planners respectively agree with their CMOs. It’s up to CMOs to continue to tout the importance of brand experiences and get their contemporaries to agree.

Privacy Is Paramount

Every marketer the world over is fully cognizant of the need for the best possible experience each time, every time with their brand. But with every experience comes more data and with more data comes more responsibility.

"I don't think brands realize just how big and how important data privacy is," said Yosi Yahoudai, founder of JNYLaw. "And consumers are very concerned. Just look at the recent Gigya study which showed nearly 70% are concerned how brands use their personal data."

Moreover there is the soon-to-be-enacted General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, which has been dubbed "the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years." According to the official site the regulation, which goes into effect on May 25, 2018 was designed "to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy."

And lest you think because you're brand is not affected if it's not based in the EU, according to Tech Target Being GDPR compliant is not just a concern for the EU.

With just over a year to go until the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect, companies need to assess their obligations to be GDPR compliant. Although organizations located outside of the European Union might not give a second thought to EU regulations, the GDPR will affect nearly every organization that does business online, regardless of its geographic location."

With IoT, smart watches, connected vehicles, Alexa and on and on there has never been a in history where more data is being generated every single second of every single day. But just because you as a brand have access to all this data does not mean it is yours to use, necessarily.

Who Should Lead?

As customer expectations continue to rise, businesses need to appoint a senior executive like the Chief Marketing Officer to deliver exceptional, end-to-end customer experiences. It’s a tall order, but if done right, enhanced customer experiences translate into loyalty, repeat business, and revenue.

Download Should The Chief Marketing Officer Oversee The Whole Customer Experience? to learn how businesses can set CMOs up for success using four of Constellation’s primary business research themes, including Next-Generation Customer Experience, Digital Marketing Transformation, Matrix Commerce, and Data to Decisions.

This article first appeared on Forbes

Image source: Pexels

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How to make an App Widget with Xamarin.Android

One of the things Android had for a long time were App Widgets. With these small apps, you’re able to create byte-sized functionality that users could use from their home and lockscreen. Since Android 5.0 the support for lockscreen app widgets was removed, while iOS10 introduced them again.

In this article we’ll dive into the way how you can create your own App Widget using Xamarin.Android. This article will cover a Hello World-example which you can take as a start to implement in your next project.

How to make an App Widget with Xamarin.Android

For this demo, I wanted to create a simple app widget which displays an icon, text and the current time. When you click the widget, the time will refresh but when you click the icon, an app will start. Let’s see how we can create such an app widget! The source code can be found on Github.

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Why Link Building and Social Media Go Hand in Hand

When it comes to thinking about search engine ranking, social media isn’t something that comes directly to mind. After all, Google has made it perfectly clear that it doesn’t use the amount of Facebook or Twitter followers as part of its ranking algorithm.

There are, however, a number of crossovers between the two that every marketer should be aware of. To help you to grasp the concept of link building and how it relates to SEO, we’ve come up with a simple FAQ, below:

What is Link Building?

To put it simply, link building is the process of acquiring links back to your own website from a reputable source.

As Google uses ‘followed links’ as one of its three main search engine ranking factors, the popularity of link building has grown substantially over recent years.

The key to successful link building is finding a website that is both willing to link back to your content and that is deemed to be a reputable domain by Google. It’s strictly a quality over quantity approach.

Why is it Important?

With less than 10% of people advancing to page two on Google’s search results, the amount of traffic a website gets is largely dependent on its search engine ranking.

While website traffic doesn’t always correspond to big business, it does guarantee brand awareness and can make your website more attractive to potential advertisers.

Does Link Building Ever Occur Naturally?

Yes. If you’re producing newsworthy or interesting content, other websites and bloggers will naturally do the link building work for you.

There are, however, many circumstances where companies will work together in a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ approach. Many higher ranking domain websites, for example, can charge lower ranking domains to have a link featured on their site.

If you lack the know-how on what sort of websites to approach, a marketing or a specialized link building agency  may be able to do much of the PR-related ground work on your behalf.

What Role can Social Media Play?

As we mentioned before, Google’s search engine algorithm doesn’t directly take into account the number of followers you may have on Instagram or Twitter. It does, however, take an active interest in the amount of traffic that visits your site.

If the content you’re producing on your social media channels links back to your own site in some shape or form, you’re already carrying out some form of link building.

How can I use Social Media in my Link Building Strategy?

Reaching out to bloggers over social media is a great way to enter into the world of link building. Many will already be aware of the concept of ‘guest blogging’, where one company creates content with a link back to their own website for the blogger to post on their site in return for a small fee. Your job will be to convince the blogger that your website has some correlation to the content they regularly feature on their blog/site.

Any content that you do post on your social media channels should also be geared up for sharing. Quizzes tend to perform best on Facebook while articles that are 3,500-4,000 words in length are most likely to be shared on LinkedIn. Interestingly, content that is related to success, productivity, and entrepreneurship is most likely to be shared on both LinkedIn and Twitter. By reaching a greater audience, your website is much more likely to receive larger amounts of traffic, which in turn will improve your search engine ranking.

The post Why Link Building and Social Media Go Hand in Hand appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

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