Interview: NYTimes’ EVP & COO On How Digital Publishing Has Changed Over The Past Year

At Social Media Week New York 2018, Meredith Kopit Levien (EVP & Chief Operating Officer, The New York Times) sat down with Brian Stelter (Senior Media Correspondent and Host of Reliable Sources, CNN) for an intimate fireside chat focusing on why great journalism matters and why it–and The Times–is having a moment.

We sat down with Meredith Kopit Levien after her session for more insights into the future of publishing.

Check out the full interview above and a list of what was discussed below.

  • How digital publishing changed over the past year
  • How the revenue model changed for publications
  • Her thoughts on an ideal world where journalism and social media work well together with the rise of fake news

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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Why You Shouldn’t Trust General Stereotypes About Your Audiences

At Social Media Week New York 2018, Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer at 4C, discussed how data can reveal surprising and counterintuitive insights, and how marketers can leverage these insights to better engage with their target audiences.

In this clip, Aaron talks about how hyper-specific segments are key to figuring out the targeting needed for different parts of an audience.

Read the full recap and sign up for SMW Insider to watch the full session.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2018/10/why-you-shouldnt-trust-general-stereotypes-about-your-audiences/

Snap Is Betting You’ll Want to “Discover” Their Original Programming

“What I love about Snap is that it has the beating heart of an entertainment company inside it.”

It was with this bold statement that Snap’s Head of Original Content Sean Mills unveiled the company’s ambitious plans for a slate of original programming to live under its Discover tab. Snap Originals will be a collection of scripted and reality micro-programs, created in partnership with television powerhouses like Bunim-Murray Productions (creators of The Real World) and the Duplass brothers’ creative agency.

Twelve “serialized” shows are planned for the rollout, differing in that they will follow a narrative over a “season.” Programming currently created by partners such as ESPN, Viacom, the NBA and the NFL doesn’t follow that model, thus making this a true departure for the platform. Among new offerings: Class of Lies, a show about college students who start a true crime podcast after a friend goes missing; Endless Summer, a show in the vein of MTV’s Laguna Beach; and Co-Ed, another college-set project by the aforementioned Duplass brothers.

“Fast-Paced and Hyper Visual”

Snap Originals are shot vertically, average five minutes in length, and will premiere daily; Mills is counting on this pacing and style to engage users in a way different from other streaming content providers. The goal? To distinguish the platform as a home for programming that mimics the habits of existing Snapchat users. Snap’s VP of Content Nick Bell buys strongly into this methodology, pointing out, “Really good mobile content is cut vertically; it’s very fast-paced, it’s hyper-visual—and that’s really how Snapchatters are communicating.”

A Chance to Reassert Authority

Taking cues from existing users and how they create content is seen as key to bringing in new viewers—and hopefully, new Snapchat users. “If the programming really resonates with the demographic, people will go into school or the workplace and they’ll tell their friends about it,” Bell speculated. “We hope that’ll bring new people into the app,” likely in the way House of Cards and Orange is the New Black did for Netflix, or The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu. Mills is optimistic about the foothold this will allow Snap to reclaim after a controversial redesign and a loss of users: “I feel like I’m watching the beginning of a fundamentally new medium, where people are just waking up to how you have to take a very different creative approach.”

Originals allow Snapchat to expand in areas where it already excels. In addition to capitalizing upon the success of programming already hosted on Discover (18 current shows exceed 10 million viewers monthly), its programming will feature augmented reality elements other streaming shows haven’t yet debuted. Swiping up during a show will let users interact with filters from the world of the show, engaging viewers in a wholly new way.

Debra Aho Williams lauded Snap for the “creative and unique” elements of its medium, and says what Mills and Bell are likely thinking: “If it keeps executing and making smart moves, then things will turn around for the company.”

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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Facebook Looks Outside Its Walls for Its Next VP Hire

News of a high-profile Facebook executive departing the company isn’t exactly new. in recent months, Facebook has witnessed the departure of Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, and now their VP of Global Policy and Communications, Elliot Schrage. What is new, however, is their approach for filling the role: unlike many other senior level vacancies, Facebook is prioritizing an external hire for Schrage’s position.

Schrage’s Critical and Challenging Role

Schrage’s role has been a beleaguered one in the past year; his deliberate “wait and see” response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal was largely blamed for Facebook’s slow reaction to the news. To his credit, however, he’s also credited with much of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony, where the company walked away scrutinized but relatively unscathed. Moreover, he encouraged Facebook to be more forthright about their actions (or lack thereof) surrounding election integrity. He says of his time with the company, “Leading policy and comms for hypergrowth technology companies is a joy—but it’s also intense and leaves little room for much else.

His successor will have no shortage of scandals to manage, between continued concerns about privacy (which has drawn a $1.6B fine in Europe), accusations that the platform’s algorithm suppresses conservative thought, and “Facebook fatigue,” a jaded feeling that has users reducing their use or fleeing to other platforms altogether. As Recode reported, “leadership for this unit is critical right now.” For his part, Schrage is staying on to help choose his successor, and will continue to work with Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in an advisory capacity.

“Predominantly a Policy Role”

In searching outside the company, Facebook has a unique opportunity to address the concerns surrounding privacy and balanced viewpoints. Prospective candidates being considered reportedly include individuals based in the UK—creating a foothold that can help the social networking giant address Europe’s more stringent laws—as well as individuals with ties to conservative institutions. Schrage’s predecessor Brandee Barker, one of the few with intimate knowledge of Schrage’s stead, believes the successor should view it as “predominantly a policy role.” “They have challenges now at the governmental level internationally, in the US and the EU, and it will only continue to increase.”

Among prospective candidates seen as having the chops for the role are Clinton-era press secretary and Goldman Sachs communications head Jake Siewert, former George W. Bush chief of staff and ONE board member Josh Bolten, managing director of the International Monetary Fund and former French finance minister Christina Lagarde, and former UK Parliament member and current International Rescue Committee Head David Miliband. But it’s likely that the final decision won’t come down for some time; Facebook has no plans to make their hire before midterm elections, and will largely allow their chosen candidate to dictate their own start date. From that date forward, Facebook will be entering a new era of leadership, in more ways than one.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2018/10/facebook-looks-outside-its-walls-for-its-next-vp-hire/

Facebook Debuts Its Portal at a Critical and Controversial Time

Earlier this month, Facebook announced its foray into the smart speaker/camera market, the video conferencing tool Portal. Featuring high-quality speakers to allow flawless streaming from apps like Spotify or Pandora and powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, Portal stands apart in the market by prioritizing video phone calls, made through the platform’s Messenger system.

Portal’s Points of Distinction

Facebook seems excited to stake its claim on the smart speaker market—likely after a high-profile swing and miss in the smartphone market—and has announced a few distinguishing features that make its reception attractive. The “AI-powered smart camera” was developed to “free” users from the constraints of a frame; the camera will move and adjust to follow a moving target. And the announced Storytime feature, where a user can share a bedtime story through a teleprompter-like feature, makes it an additional draw for growing families separated by distance.

What Of the Portal’s Privacy?

In reporting on the product’s launch, however, Recode’s Kurt Wagner presents a crucial point for those considering buying the device: “The most important question with Portal, though, is also the most obvious: does Facebook have enough credibility to convince people to put a Facebook-powered camera and microphone in their home?” In some ways addressing Wagner’s question, NYMag’s Intelligencer column was named, “The Facebook Portal Could Be Good If Anyone But Facebook Released It.”

Facebook has been no stranger to controversy in the past year, particularly around issues of privacy. In fact, the Portal’s release announcement came days after Facebook announced a security weakness that exposed up to 50 million users’ personal information. The figure was later adjusted to 29 million, but still represents a sensitivity that Facebook seems ill-equipped to address. Consumer behavior is already adjusting to this new reality; Pew reported earlier this year that 44% of 18-29 year olds had deleted the Facebook app from their phones.

But should that Pew report be believed?

In the wake of this latest breach, VP Guy Rosen insisted the company would “do everything it can to earn users’ trust.” The observant will note that this verbiage echoes impassioned pleas from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a mere seven months ago. It’s justifiable to wonder how many more times such pleas will need to be made—and how the Portal could contribute to such a problem.

Getting Ahead of the Skeptics

Perhaps anticipating worries about the Portal’s privacy measures, many questions have already been addressed. All calls will be encrypted, and will not be recorded or even seen by Facebook. The camera will not capture video when not in use, microphones will not be engaged unless expressly summoned with a “Hey Alexa,” and both can be manually shut off to prevent recording when not in use. Further, no data will be mined from conversations, and targeted ads will not be tailored based on any information shared in private calls.

Announcing these features proactively could help boost confidence in the Portal, but ultimately time will tell if these measures—combined with flashy features—will be enough to entice consumers.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

The post Facebook Debuts Its Portal at a Critical and Controversial Time appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2018/10/facebook-debuts-its-portal-at-a-critical-and-controversial-time/

PODCAST: Listen & Scale with Todd Grossman (CEO Americas, Talkwalker)

This week’s episode of Social Media Week’s Leads2Scale podcast features Todd Grossman, CEO Americas, Talkwalker, the #1 social media analytics and monitoring platform.

Back in April, at our New York conference, Todd hosted a panel of industry experts to discuss the development of social listening strategies and achieving organizational adoption. Read the full recap here.

Featured in this episode, Todd discussed:

  • Why it’s important for brands to be listening to their customers
  • How Talkwalker sets themselves apart from the competition
  • How they are scaling their business and much more

Listen and subscribe via the following platforms: Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, Castbox, Overcast, and Stitcher.

If you have suggestions for who we should interview or what topics you would like us to cover, please reach out to us at leads2scale@socialmediaweek.org.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

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http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2018/10/podcast-listen-scale-with-todd-grossman-ceo-americas-talkwalker/

3 Predictions For IG Shopping and the Future of Ecommerce on Instagram

Instagram is rumored to be building a standalone shopping app, IG Shopping. But what would a separate shopping app mean for the future of ecommerce on the platform?

Social media marketer, Thea Neal, investigates.

With more than 25 million Instagram Business profiles, and more than 2 million advertisers, Instagram is constantly evolving, testing new features, and experimenting with new ways to increase the value businesses can get from its platform.

For example, in June 2018, Instagram unveiled its latest standalone app, IGTV. The vertical video app was poised to be a challenger to YouTube, and positioned as a long-form video hub that would focus on creators and not on content found via search. Then, two months later, The Verge published a report that Instagram is developing an additional standalone app dedicated to shopping.

In this post, I’ll take a look at what a separate ecommerce app could mean for the future of Instagram marketing.

How IG Shopping could change ecommerce on Instagram: 3 Predictions

1. An opportunity for Instagram to increase conversions

The Verge noted Instagram’s shopping app-in-development will likely be called IG Shopping. Within the app, users would be able to “browse collections of goods from merchants that they follow and purchase them directly within the app.”

Instagram continues to grow by adopting features from other platforms, like its Snapchat-like Stories or the Pinterest-inspired “Collection” save button. Next, Instagram needs to find a way to harness the purchasing power of eCommerce giants like Shopify and Amazon.

As Instagram grows, so does its importance to Facebook’s bottom line, and Andy Hargreaves, a research analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets told Recode that he expects Instagram to grow to about 30 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue in two years, as well as nearly 70 percent of the company’s new revenue by 2020:

In order to achieve these targets, encouraging more and more advertisers to invest their ad spend on Instagram will be essential — and one way to do this could be the rumored IG Shopping app. With Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigning from the company, we could also see Instagram adopt a more aggressive approach to monetization.

Shopping on Instagram features, that enable users to buy products featured in images and stories, have existed for less than a year, meaning consumers still need to learn they can shop on the platform securely and confidently on a regular basis.

Talking to Refinery29, Instagrammer and regular online shopper, Tamiracle Williams, says she would worry about the quality of products and trustworthiness of the merchants on an IG Shopping app:

“I believe the app would focus on quantity over quality. I used a third-party app awhile back to purchase my best friend a hoodie and it ended up being a Polaroid-sized print on a massive hoodie.”

But despite these worries, brands are definitely seeing success with the current version of Shopping on Instagram. Since the features rolled out, accessories brand Natori has seen a 100 percent week-over-week increase in revenue from Instagram. This could easily be translated to IG Shopping, if users are willing to shift their shopping behavior to the new app.

2. Decreased in-feed Instagram organic reach, but increased intent-to-purchase

Organic page reach on Facebook has plummeted in recent years, forcing marketers to increase paid Facebook posts and move organic-only content to Instagram.

If IG Shopping does make it to our phones, it seems likely that Instagram could take a similar approach by throttling business reach on the feed to encourage brands to move to IG Shopping. The only clear reason a brand would opt to use IG Shopping over Instagram’s feed (paired with shoppable posts) would be to grab eyes from shoppers who have a true intent to purchase, rather than intercepting them in their usual feed. On a platform where your brand isn’t competing with baby and dog photos, content could drive more conversions on IG Shopping.

But could IG Shopping reveal itself as a branded echo chamber? And how would paid ads work on a platform that exists for brands only?

3. Increased sales opportunities for influencers and DIYers

It’s our assumption that IG Shopping will require a business account to post on the platform. Since many influencers have business accounts already, ecommerce platform, Shopify, should be nervous about how this will make things much easier for influencers and small-scale DIYers who use their platform now.

If IG Shopping unveils itself as a highly-integrated ecommerce platform without requiring an entirely separate site to operate on, it almost certainly will steal business from other ecommerce platforms.

Do consumers want another standalone app?

Instagram’s vertical video app IGTV was released in June 2018, and as of August 2018, the feature’s launch partner’s recent videos received about 6.8 times as many views on their feed videos than they did on IGTV posts.

via Techcrunch

As Techcrunch noted, “if IGTV’s launch partners that benefited from early access and guidance aren’t doing so hot,” the platform likely has bigger problems on its hands. The standalone IGTV app has only peaked at #25 overall in the US iPhone app downloads.

How long will it be before Instagram Stories is a standalone app? Instagram Messenger? The future of ecommerce on Instagram relies on how easy it is to shop on it, but the continued development of more apps will likely contribute to the adoption rate of the platform.

After all, why would you shop on IG Shopping when you could keep shopping on the Instagram app you already have?

But however it’s executed — a standalone app or increased shopping features within Instagram’s main app — it feels clear that Instagram sees eCommerce as hugely important, and lucrative, part of its business going forward.

What are your thoughts on IG Shopping and ecommerce on Instagram? Let me know in the comments.

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Social Media Week London Announces Final Agenda and Speaker Lineup for November Conference

In four weeks, the 9th Annual Social Media Week London Conference (#SMWLDN) kicks off at Westminster’s Queen Elizabeth II Centre. Attendees and subscribers to SMW Insider will be treated to 100+ sessions from a lineup of some of the industry’s most talented and knowledgeable thought leaders, and we’re proud to share some of the latest highlights here with you.

This year’s conference theme is “Closer,” so chosen to reflect the role that social media is designed to play in society—as well as the many challenges that impact our business, as that role shifts. The conference theme will be expressed across 14 tracks of programming including The Evolution of Storytelling, Data Decision Making, The Future of Brands, and The Influencer Equation.

Some of the highlights from today’s announcement include:

  • Television personality, host, women’s rights activist and author of Diversify June Sarpong, MBE will share advice informed by her book about how to cultivate and participate in a social media environment free of prejudice;
  • Oxford University’s Amy Orben will present “Social Media and Well-Being: Rethinking the Scientific Evidence,” detailing the findings of scientists who are exploring the consequences and long-term effects of social media usage;
  • Facebook Groups Director Dan Robinson will discuss how technology has impacted the relationships between brands and consumers, and why loyalty will come to depend on your ability to scale one-on-one interactions;
  • Founder and Executive Director Toby Daniels will close Social Media Week London 2018 in conversation with We Are Social’s lead researchers Paul Greenwood and Caroline Lucas-Garner. Together, they’ll share the results of We Are Social’s forthcoming Think Forward research report, revealing the trends that brands and agencies will need to be aware of in 2019.

Additional sessions will be presented by leading industry figures from National Geographic, Reddit, theAmplify, as well as by actor/writer/director David Schneider of That Lot.

Recognizing that brilliance can be found in more places than just the stage, information sharing will flow in two directions this year at Social Media Week London. In addition to our slate of speakers, more than twenty roundtable conversations are scheduled to engage attendees and speakers in intimate settings that highlight all the knowledge they have to share. Further, real-time polling during sessions and mobile-driven audience Q&A will be debuted at this year’s conference.

Passes are still available for this year’s event and can be purchased at socialmediaweek.org/london.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

The post Social Media Week London Announces Final Agenda and Speaker Lineup for November Conference appeared first on Social Media Week.

http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2018/10/smw-london-announces-final-agenda-and-speaker-lineup/

Influencer Marketing: The A to Z Guide on Getting Started and Calculating ROI

  • Influencer marketing is here to stay. Beauty, business, and tech influencers, among others, can help businesses to reach what can be difficult demographics.
  • Savvy brands recognize consumers want honesty and are using transparency and openness as a differentiator in influencer marketing campaigns.
  • Great influencer marketing campaigns include content that is compelling to your target audience, authentic to the storyteller’s voice, and delivers in-line with your overall business goals. 

Join 18,000+ weekly listeners for the Buffer podcast, The Science of Social Media, where we bring you the latest and greatest in social media marketing news, updates, stories, insights, and actionable takeaways.

Let’s dive in!

Influencer marketing: The A to Z guide on getting started and calculating ROI [episode transcript]

Hailley: Hi everyone! I’m Hailley Griffis and this is The Science of Social Media, a podcast by Buffer. Your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and learning.

Brian: Welcome to episode #116, I’m Brian Peters and this week are going in-depth into one of the most popular and arguably effective marketing strategies for so many businesses – and that’s influencer marketing. And though influencer marketing isn’t new, it can be tricky to navigate and we hope to solve that for you today.

Hailley: Influencers have the potential to be both effective advocates for your brand as well as opportunities to tap into niche markets that can be difficult for your business to reach. I’m excited to chat about all of that and more.

Brian: As always, a warm welcome to the show. Let’s kick it off!

Part I: An introduction to influencer marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new.

Long before the industry coined the term, consumers have looked to experts for guidance or inspiration.

Think about William Shatner for Priceline or Catherine Zeta-Jones for T-Mobile or Mark Wahlberg for Calvin Klein. All of these are influencer marketing campaigns in their own right and helped to drive millions of dollars in sales.

Hailley: Today, influencer marketing takes many different shapes and forms, especially in an era where social media stars are born overnight.

The term “influencer” encompasses a wide variety of socially savvy experts. Beauty, business, and tech influencers, among others, can help businesses to reach what can be difficult demographics.

Brian: One thing you need to know about influencer marketing is that it’s here to stay.

For business taking the wait and watch approach, we suggest that you reconsider. Consumers trust recommendations from a third party more often than a brand itself.

In fact, studies show that 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions over brands.

Hailley: When you align with an influencer, not only do they bring their audience, but they also bring their audience’s network as well.

Because of the loyal nature of their audience, an influencer has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure, and sell your product through their recommendation or story about their experience.

Influencer Marketing ROI

Brian: And it’s important to note here that we’re not necessarily talking about getting expensive celebrities like the Kardashians to endorse your brand.

Sometimes the best influencers are already in your community. They have a small, but highly-engaged and fiercely loyal following. These are the influencers that will make the biggest impact on your brand in the long run.

Hailley: A robust influencer marketing strategy will often include macro-influencers, micro-influencers, brand ambassadors, brand advocates, and even your employees (yes, they’re influencers, too!).

The right influencer marketing strategy will allow brands to understand and optimize the performance of the right group of influencers, at the right time, to meet their goals.

Brian: Which is a perfect segment into how to get started.

Part II: Getting started with influencer marketing

The first thing to know about influencer marketing is that it’s not about you, it’s about the consumer. And more importantly, about building trust with the consumer so that they buy from you more than just once.

As influencer marketing becomes a central strategy for brands, maintaining that trust requires authenticity and honesty.

Hailley: Savvy brands recognize consumers want honesty and are using transparency and openness as a differentiator.

Brands are doing things like social media takeovers with influencers for a more authentic experience. This removes the brand’s control of the content, but helps to increase performance of the campaign.

So not only is it trust between the brand and consumer, but the brand and influencer as well.

Consumer Trust Influencer Marketing

Brian: Exactly, so it’s essential that you start with an understanding of who your target customer is.

A common mistake brands and agencies make is to decide first the type of influencers they would like to work with.

Instead start with who your target audience is and then work your way back from there. Identifying influencers that fit into your ideal description.

Hailley: There are really 4 places to find influencers for your brand. Google, databases, networks, and marketplaces.

  • Google: A manual process of typing keywords, scanning webpages for contact info, and then keeping track of the info in spreadsheets. I would also lump social media into here – manually searching social channels and hashtags for relevant influencers for a given topic.
  • Databases: Do website scraping for you, pulling publicly available data. These are good places to start but be prepared to spend time vetting each influencer and communicating with them directly.

Brian:

  • Networks: In the middle of Google/social and databases. A network is like an agency that has relationships with the influencers, but will require that you go through them to reach out.
  • Marketplaces: A marketplace often offer the best of the four options by pulling in real-time information, along with avoiding the middleperson to connect directly with influencers.

Hailley: There’s no right or wrong way to find influencers for your brand. The key is identifying people that align with your values and customers. Which leads us to types of influencers.

So for the sake of this episode, we’re going to skip finding celebrity influencers and cover more realistic types.

First you have your macro-influencers who create a ton of content. They’ve attracted a sizable audience because they’ve gotten to know them during their process. These are great for reaching a large audience in a certain industry or vertical.

Brian: Just below macro-influencers, in terms of audience size, are micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers are great at getting the word out and have audiences that range in smaller sizes.

They’re great for spreading the word to a highly engaged audience and can help get your brand the attention you’re looking for. The scale won’t be huge, but you’ll be rewarded with higher-intent buyers, even if you don’t have a large budget.

Hailley: Last but not least, are your brand’s advocates and employees.

Employee Advocacy and Influencer Marketing

These “brand ambassadors” naturally love your brand and can be found online talking about you already.

Pay attention to your social channels and invite them to share and create content. These people already love your brand and are willing to talk about what you are doing.

Referral programs are great for these types of influencers and will help incentivize them to spread the word.

And, of course, there are hundreds of varieties of expertise and specialties within each influencer category:

Many Faces of Influencer Marketing

Brian: We’ve got our influencers aligned with our target customers. We’re set to go.

Now what?

Part III: The keys to every great influencer marketing campaign

The key to any great influencer marketing campaign is creating great content. Content that is compelling to your target audience, authentic to the storyteller’s voice, and delivers in-line with your goals. If one piece of this equation is missing, the content will fall flat.

Hailley: One fun way to look at creating great content is giving your audience something to talk about.

Everyone talks so much about optimizing content for search engines these days, that virality and sharing often gets lost in the equation.

One way this can be done is by giving your influencers an experience or brand immersion they won’t be able to stop talking about. Experiences provide the creative inspiration influencers crave, and also align nicely with your brand messaging since you control the atmosphere.

Brian: One example of this is how brands in the travel industry are sending influencers on trips and basically having them document everything.

They’ll pay for the trip as long as the influencer puts out a certain amount of authentic content every day:

View this post on Instagram

This. 🙏🏽 @revolve #revolvearoundtheworld

A post shared by Aimee Song (@songofstyle) on

Which is actually interesting because it’s fun for the influencer to create content and for the audience to follow along with. There are definitely ways to get creative.

Hailley: Remember that a true influencer of your brand is passionate about your product or service.

Giving them access to your product to get familiar with and inspiring them to share engaging content is a great way for the audience on the other side to buy into the campaigns you’re running.

Brian: Exactly. And one of the great things about influencer marketing campaigns is that it doesn’t just stop with the content being posted on their site, or across their social channels.

A successful strategy includes extending the content usefulness to other aspects of your marketing. You can use influencer content in quotes and testimonials.

Or you can feature influencers in your social media ads or on your website. We recommend also including your content in a dedicated section of your business’ newsletter.

Part IV: Influencer cost, budgeting, and ROI

Hailley: Totally. You know one thing we haven’t talked about yet is cost and budgeting.

Great influencers will naturally want to be compensated, but the good news is that it doesn’t always have to be financially if you’re on a tight budget.

You can offer the influencer shout outs on your blog, website, or newsletter.

You can give them your product or products for free. I’ve seen some brands offer influencers a free supply of their product for a year in exchange for a certain amount of content.

Brian: And of course you can also offer influencers, like in a referral program, a certain amount of commission for every 1,000 people reached, or sale, or whatever your goal is.

Quora has a great thread regrading how much influencer marketing typically costs based on influence and the type of campaign:

Cost of Influencer Marketing

There’s no right or wrong here and a lot of times influencers are willing to get creative with you in order to make it work. Especially if they like or believe in your product which is always better anyways!

Hailley: Alright, last but not least, as with any good strategy, let’s talk metrics.

Different metrics and methods for measurement can be used to define your influencer campaign success in relation to your original goals.

Instead of just talking about reach or conversions, we like to break it down into 5, more specific parts, of the buyer journey.

There’s awareness, consideration, activation, purchase, and loyalty.

Brian: It’s important to remember that not everyone who sees the content will purchase your product right away and that’s not necessarily a loss for your brand.

The Marketing Funnel

Hailley: Ideally we’d all start in the purchase stage, but don’t immediately skip all of the first stages in an attempt to sell your product. Those are all part of the trust building that we talked about in the beginning of this episode.

And then there’s the loyalty stage at the end. With any luck , followers of your influencers will become influencers for your brand in their own right.

That will look like even more sharing, referrals, and user-generated content which you can repurpose for your marketing channels.

Brian: It’s one big, beautiful loop.

Marketing Growth Loop

Once you start to collect data on your influencers, you can start to use that data to optimize your influencer marketing efforts. You can rank your influencers based on output, what content resonates with your audience, and which of their social channels are best for distribution.

Hailley: Precisely.

And just recapping this episode before you go…

Technology and data are only part of the story. There is a reason influencers are often referred to as creators. Look for a partner that blends the science of data and technology with the art of experience, expertise, and content creation.

Brian: Well said, Hailley.

All of that will help give you a clear and customized picture of the real impact of your influencer marketing campaigns and strategies.

Thank you so much for tuning in to the Science of Social Media today. The show notes for this episode are now available on the Buffer Blog at blog.buffer.com with a complete transcript.

If you ever want to get in touch with me or Hailley, we’re always here for your on social media using the hashtag #bufferpodcast. You can also say hi to us anytime and hello@bufferapp.com

Hailley: Thanks for tuning into our show every single week. You make this fun and are the entire reason we do what we do so thank you! And thanks for telling your friends, family and colleagues about us as well. You are our very own Science of Social Media influencers and we love you for it.

Until next Monday, everyone!

How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on TwitterBuffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About The Science of Social Media podcast

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 18,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/QPHvJ8_j1Qw/influencer-marketing-podcast

Influencer Marketing: The A to Z Guide on Getting Started and Calculating ROI

  • Influencer marketing is here to stay. Beauty, business, and tech influencers, among others, can help businesses to reach what can be difficult demographics.
  • Savvy brands recognize consumers want honesty and are using transparency and openness as a differentiator in influencer marketing campaigns.
  • Great influencer marketing campaigns include content that is compelling to your target audience, authentic to the storyteller’s voice, and delivers in-line with your overall business goals. 

Join 18,000+ weekly listeners for the Buffer podcast, The Science of Social Media, where we bring you the latest and greatest in social media marketing news, updates, stories, insights, and actionable takeaways.

Let’s dive in!

Influencer marketing: The A to Z guide on getting started and calculating ROI [episode transcript]

Hailley: Hi everyone! I’m Hailley Griffis and this is The Science of Social Media, a podcast by Buffer. Your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and learning.

Brian: Welcome to episode #116, I’m Brian Peters and this week are going in-depth into one of the most popular and arguably effective marketing strategies for so many businesses – and that’s influencer marketing. And though influencer marketing isn’t new, it can be tricky to navigate and we hope to solve that for you today.

Hailley: Influencers have the potential to be both effective advocates for your brand as well as opportunities to tap into niche markets that can be difficult for your business to reach. I’m excited to chat about all of that and more.

Brian: As always, a warm welcome to the show. Let’s kick it off!

Part I: An introduction to influencer marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new.

Long before the industry coined the term, consumers have looked to experts for guidance or inspiration.

Think about William Shatner for Priceline or Catherine Zeta-Jones for T-Mobile or Mark Wahlberg for Calvin Klein. All of these are influencer marketing campaigns in their own right and helped to drive millions of dollars in sales.

Hailley: Today, influencer marketing takes many different shapes and forms, especially in an era where social media stars are born overnight.

The term “influencer” encompasses a wide variety of socially savvy experts. Beauty, business, and tech influencers, among others, can help businesses to reach what can be difficult demographics.

Brian: One thing you need to know about influencer marketing is that it’s here to stay.

For business taking the wait and watch approach, we suggest that you reconsider. Consumers trust recommendations from a third party more often than a brand itself.

In fact, studies show that 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions over brands.

Hailley: When you align with an influencer, not only do they bring their audience, but they also bring their audience’s network as well.

Because of the loyal nature of their audience, an influencer has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your social media exposure, and sell your product through their recommendation or story about their experience.

Influencer Marketing ROI

Brian: And it’s important to note here that we’re not necessarily talking about getting expensive celebrities like the Kardashians to endorse your brand.

Sometimes the best influencers are already in your community. They have a small, but highly-engaged and fiercely loyal following. These are the influencers that will make the biggest impact on your brand in the long run.

Hailley: A robust influencer marketing strategy will often include macro-influencers, micro-influencers, brand ambassadors, brand advocates, and even your employees (yes, they’re influencers, too!).

The right influencer marketing strategy will allow brands to understand and optimize the performance of the right group of influencers, at the right time, to meet their goals.

Brian: Which is a perfect segment into how to get started.

Part II: Getting started with influencer marketing

The first thing to know about influencer marketing is that it’s not about you, it’s about the consumer. And more importantly, about building trust with the consumer so that they buy from you more than just once.

As influencer marketing becomes a central strategy for brands, maintaining that trust requires authenticity and honesty.

Hailley: Savvy brands recognize consumers want honesty and are using transparency and openness as a differentiator.

Brands are doing things like social media takeovers with influencers for a more authentic experience. This removes the brand’s control of the content, but helps to increase performance of the campaign.

So not only is it trust between the brand and consumer, but the brand and influencer as well.

Consumer Trust Influencer Marketing

Brian: Exactly, so it’s essential that you start with an understanding of who your target customer is.

A common mistake brands and agencies make is to decide first the type of influencers they would like to work with.

Instead start with who your target audience is and then work your way back from there. Identifying influencers that fit into your ideal description.

Hailley: There are really 4 places to find influencers for your brand. Google, databases, networks, and marketplaces.

  • Google: A manual process of typing keywords, scanning webpages for contact info, and then keeping track of the info in spreadsheets. I would also lump social media into here – manually searching social channels and hashtags for relevant influencers for a given topic.
  • Databases: Do website scraping for you, pulling publicly available data. These are good places to start but be prepared to spend time vetting each influencer and communicating with them directly.

Brian:

  • Networks: In the middle of Google/social and databases. A network is like an agency that has relationships with the influencers, but will require that you go through them to reach out.
  • Marketplaces: A marketplace often offer the best of the four options by pulling in real-time information, along with avoiding the middleperson to connect directly with influencers.

Hailley: There’s no right or wrong way to find influencers for your brand. The key is identifying people that align with your values and customers. Which leads us to types of influencers.

So for the sake of this episode, we’re going to skip finding celebrity influencers and cover more realistic types.

First you have your macro-influencers who create a ton of content. They’ve attracted a sizable audience because they’ve gotten to know them during their process. These are great for reaching a large audience in a certain industry or vertical.

Brian: Just below macro-influencers, in terms of audience size, are micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers are great at getting the word out and have audiences that range in smaller sizes.

They’re great for spreading the word to a highly engaged audience and can help get your brand the attention you’re looking for. The scale won’t be huge, but you’ll be rewarded with higher-intent buyers, even if you don’t have a large budget.

Hailley: Last but not least, are your brand’s advocates and employees.

Employee Advocacy and Influencer Marketing

These “brand ambassadors” naturally love your brand and can be found online talking about you already.

Pay attention to your social channels and invite them to share and create content. These people already love your brand and are willing to talk about what you are doing.

Referral programs are great for these types of influencers and will help incentivize them to spread the word.

And, of course, there are hundreds of varieties of expertise and specialties within each influencer category:

Many Faces of Influencer Marketing

Brian: We’ve got our influencers aligned with our target customers. We’re set to go.

Now what?

Part III: The keys to every great influencer marketing campaign

The key to any great influencer marketing campaign is creating great content. Content that is compelling to your target audience, authentic to the storyteller’s voice, and delivers in-line with your goals. If one piece of this equation is missing, the content will fall flat.

Hailley: One fun way to look at creating great content is giving your audience something to talk about.

Everyone talks so much about optimizing content for search engines these days, that virality and sharing often gets lost in the equation.

One way this can be done is by giving your influencers an experience or brand immersion they won’t be able to stop talking about. Experiences provide the creative inspiration influencers crave, and also align nicely with your brand messaging since you control the atmosphere.

Brian: One example of this is how brands in the travel industry are sending influencers on trips and basically having them document everything.

They’ll pay for the trip as long as the influencer puts out a certain amount of authentic content every day:

View this post on Instagram

This. 🙏🏽 @revolve #revolvearoundtheworld

A post shared by Aimee Song (@songofstyle) on

Which is actually interesting because it’s fun for the influencer to create content and for the audience to follow along with. There are definitely ways to get creative.

Hailley: Remember that a true influencer of your brand is passionate about your product or service.

Giving them access to your product to get familiar with and inspiring them to share engaging content is a great way for the audience on the other side to buy into the campaigns you’re running.

Brian: Exactly. And one of the great things about influencer marketing campaigns is that it doesn’t just stop with the content being posted on their site, or across their social channels.

A successful strategy includes extending the content usefulness to other aspects of your marketing. You can use influencer content in quotes and testimonials.

Or you can feature influencers in your social media ads or on your website. We recommend also including your content in a dedicated section of your business’ newsletter.

Part IV: Influencer cost, budgeting, and ROI

Hailley: Totally. You know one thing we haven’t talked about yet is cost and budgeting.

Great influencers will naturally want to be compensated, but the good news is that it doesn’t always have to be financially if you’re on a tight budget.

You can offer the influencer shout outs on your blog, website, or newsletter.

You can give them your product or products for free. I’ve seen some brands offer influencers a free supply of their product for a year in exchange for a certain amount of content.

Brian: And of course you can also offer influencers, like in a referral program, a certain amount of commission for every 1,000 people reached, or sale, or whatever your goal is.

Quora has a great thread regrading how much influencer marketing typically costs based on influence and the type of campaign:

Cost of Influencer Marketing

There’s no right or wrong here and a lot of times influencers are willing to get creative with you in order to make it work. Especially if they like or believe in your product which is always better anyways!

Hailley: Alright, last but not least, as with any good strategy, let’s talk metrics.

Different metrics and methods for measurement can be used to define your influencer campaign success in relation to your original goals.

Instead of just talking about reach or conversions, we like to break it down into 5, more specific parts, of the buyer journey.

There’s awareness, consideration, activation, purchase, and loyalty.

Brian: It’s important to remember that not everyone who sees the content will purchase your product right away and that’s not necessarily a loss for your brand.

The Marketing Funnel

Hailley: Ideally we’d all start in the purchase stage, but don’t immediately skip all of the first stages in an attempt to sell your product. Those are all part of the trust building that we talked about in the beginning of this episode.

And then there’s the loyalty stage at the end. With any luck , followers of your influencers will become influencers for your brand in their own right.

That will look like even more sharing, referrals, and user-generated content which you can repurpose for your marketing channels.

Brian: It’s one big, beautiful loop.

Marketing Growth Loop

Once you start to collect data on your influencers, you can start to use that data to optimize your influencer marketing efforts. You can rank your influencers based on output, what content resonates with your audience, and which of their social channels are best for distribution.

Hailley: Precisely.

And just recapping this episode before you go…

Technology and data are only part of the story. There is a reason influencers are often referred to as creators. Look for a partner that blends the science of data and technology with the art of experience, expertise, and content creation.

Brian: Well said, Hailley.

All of that will help give you a clear and customized picture of the real impact of your influencer marketing campaigns and strategies.

Thank you so much for tuning in to the Science of Social Media today. The show notes for this episode are now available on the Buffer Blog at blog.buffer.com with a complete transcript.

If you ever want to get in touch with me or Hailley, we’re always here for your on social media using the hashtag #bufferpodcast. You can also say hi to us anytime and hello@bufferapp.com

Hailley: Thanks for tuning into our show every single week. You make this fun and are the entire reason we do what we do so thank you! And thanks for telling your friends, family and colleagues about us as well. You are our very own Science of Social Media influencers and we love you for it.

Until next Monday, everyone!

How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on TwitterBuffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About The Science of Social Media podcast

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 18,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/QPHvJ8_j1Qw/influencer-marketing-podcast