Tag: creators

5 Best Practices for Finding the Right Influencer for Your Brand

Think you can get away without dipping into the world of influencer marketing? Think ahain. According to The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report, which surveyed 4,000 brands, marketing agencies, and industry professionals, earned media value, which is publicity that comes from promotions, not paid advertising, is $5.78 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

That means while ROI is notoriously difficult to track when it comes to influencer marketing, the publicity gained from influencer marketing is nearly six times as much as is spent. While direct sales may be difficult to track for some companies, it seems that exposure is exponentially increased thanks to influencer marketing.

Here are the best practices to keep in mind when you’re searching for the right influencer for your brand.

Select the Most Important Platform

Choosing the platforms where you want influencer marketing to have an impact isn’t as cut and dry as you may think. On the one hand, the platform where your business is already performing well is a great place to capitalize on that popularity and help it grow via an influencer campaign. On the other hand, a platform where you don’t have a strong presence but where an influencer who’s a great match for your brand and does have a strong presence is also beneficial because you can break into a platform you’ve been wanting to add to your strategy.

You may want to focus on one type of platform over another, or you could try to do both at the same time, assuming the influencer you choose has a solid following on both platforms. What’s most important is that you choose influencers who are doing their best work on the platforms you’ve decided are most important for your business. More on selecting the right platform next.

Approximately 90% of influencer campaigns include Instagram, so whether you only want to promote your business on Instagram or it’s part of a larger campaign, Instagram should absolutely be included. This is especially true if your customer base is under the age of 35 since the largest concentration of Instagram users are ages 25 to 34, followed by 18 to 24.

Make Sure the Influencer Is Relevant to Your Brand

There’s a lot more to think about than just the influencer’s Instagram following and the average age of their fans. Even if they’re in the exact same niche as you are, their content and messaging have to be consistent with or complementary to your brand, too. If the aesthetics or voice of the influencer’s content is way off compared to your own branding, you’re not going to reach the right audience, no matter how engaged their following is. And you could even harm, or at least muddle, your own reputation, too. 

A good way to find the influencers who are relevant to your brand is to discover which ones are already talking about you. Influencers are experts at knowing their audience and what will connect with them, and if they’re interested in what you sell, chances are they know it’ll be a great match for their audience.

Select Influencers According to Your Budget

When it comes to influencers, you should care more about the quality of their following than the number of followers they have. But, in general, a smaller influencer is going to charge less than a larger-scale influencer. If your budget is meager when starting out, aim for a micro-influencer with a dedicated fan base. What you don’t want to do is try to talk to well-known and well-established influencers into accepting a lower rate than they deserve. You could ruin your relationship with an influencer who you’d love to work with in the future when you have a bigger budget to dedicate to the campaign.

Search the Old Fashioned Way

While you can Google something like “top influencers in organic cooking,” you may be disappointed with the results. Lists of top influencers are often repetitive, only featuring the same ones, and you’ll miss out on a bunch of influencers you don’t even know exist. Instead, go about your search the old fashioned way. If you’re on Instagram, for example, search by hashtag. If you use #ad or #sponsored to search, you can skim the results to see if any post looks like it matches your brand’s industry and look. This process may take a while, but it’ll be worth it, and you’ll come across a lot of high-performing smaller influencers who you’d never know about otherwise.

Spot a Fake Influencer Before You Get Too Far

Many influencers are in it for the money they’re paid, and it’s clear why just about anyone would love that opportunity, even without working for it. Fake influencers quickly gather a massive following by buying followers and engagement, which can make their accounts look popular, even if it’s all smoke and mirrors. There are a few strategies you can use to determine if an influencer is the real deal or not, but the most telling one will be their engagement ratio. If they have a ton of followers and their posts have a bunch of likes, but nobody is actually commenting on their posts in a meaningful way, it could be that all of those “fans” are actually bots.

Narrowing down your list of influencers is just one step toward getting a compelling influencer campaign up and running. You also have to pitch the influencer to encourage them to work with you, and then you have to figure out how they work with clients, what type of campaign you want to run, how to track the effectiveness of it, etc. All in all, though, it will be worth it, and with more businesses planning to increase their budget for influencer marketing, you’ll not just only reach more members of your core customer base, but you’ll also compete with others in your industry.

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How Pinterest is Fueling Inspirational Ideas with Story Pins

On the heels of breaking its daily download record and earning a top spot on the App Store rankings due to the release of iOS 14 and flurry of home screen design ideas, Pinterest is taking major steps to connect creators and Pinners around inspirational content.

Following over a year of work, the platform is launching Story Pins in beta and a new creator profile with analytics tools for improved performance tracking. Pinterest is the latest platform to hop on the Stories bandwagon following Snapchat’s lead in 2013 and Facebook and Instagram putting their own twists on the format in 2016. More recently, Twitter introduced “Fleets,” and LinkedIn began testing its own version of Stories earlier this year.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest Pinterest updates and how you can start to build them into your marketing mix.

Turning ideas into Stories

A key difference between Story features on other platforms and Pinterest’s approach to the format is that Pin Stories are very much tilted towards utility, discovery, and inspiration. “Story Pins are designed to show you how people are trying new ideas and new products. That means the features and intent are dramatically different, David Temple, Head of Content, Creator and Homefeed Product said in a statement to reporters.

This new content format blends videos, voiceover and image and text overlay will make it possible to create step-by-step stories, such as tutorials for recipes or DIY projects. Early users of the feature include Coco Bassey, Camille Styles, Shiquita from Unconventional Southern Belle, and Jazmine Ford of Finding Uphoria. An added bonus? Detail pages can be added so materials and ingredients can be revisited later and fuel action on the ideas and tips.

Pin Stories are also not ephemeral, meaning that won’t disappear after a set period of time as is the case on Instagram or Facebook Stories. Much like a standard Pin, Stories can be saved to boards for later use and distributed across the home feed, search results, and relevant tabs including “Today.” Creators will also have the ability to tag their Story Pins or videos with topics or interests which the visual discovery engine can use to match ideas to Pinners who have similar taste.

“We want to be deliberate and thoughtful with the growth that we have here, to ensure that the tone for the content and the community remains positive,” Temple added. In other words, creating a space in which you can be inspired but inspire others in meaningful and actionable ways through content.

Creator profiles

As part of the push, Pinterest is also introducing creator profiles — making the platform a more seamless option for sharing creator content directly as opposed to distributing it once its shared elsewhere.

A big emphasis with the profiles is interaction between Pinners and creators. Specifically, a new display format and updated contact options make it easy to stay connected. Pinterest also unveiled a range of positive reactions like “Great idea,” “Love,” “Wow,” and “Thanks” to provide feedback to creators via a Message or Contact card. This is a subtle but significant update that nods to the current environment — one in which digital empathy is more important than ever and it is harder to express how we feel in the absence of face-to-face interactions.

Maximizing engagement and measuring reach

Finally, in order to ensure creators and brands can easily track how their audiences are responding to this format, Pinterest is revealing an engagement tab, where users can solicit and respond to feedback, and an updated Analytics hub outlining the performance of their Pin Story content. Impressions and engagement are two core metrics, but the re-designed dashboard will also provide a sense into how categories and interests are shifting over time and which audiences are engaging with the most.

With its community growing, searches up 50 percent year-over-year and board creates up 40 percent year over year as of this past July, it makes a lot of sense for Pinterest to want to lean into the Stories format to help people better connect amidst the current global pandemic. It also represents an opportunity for Pinterest to learn more about its community, align with trends and behaviors, and identify the white spaces that exist to drive creativity.

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How Google’s ‘Fundo’ is Reimagining the World of Virtual Events

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place around the world, the need for virtual events is more apparent than ever. Numerous platforms have stepped up in an effort to fill the void with a variety of features from Facebook’s paid online events and Instagram’s announcement of monetization in IGTV to LinkedIn’s introduction of virtual events into pages. One thing is clear from this flurry of updates — these options are here to stay and will likely be utilized long after the pandemic is behind us.

Today, Google is getting involved and providing more tools in this space through an expanded launch of its Fundo virtual events platform aimed to help creators and brands seamlessly schedule and host events through simplified organization and promotional tools.

Creating meaningful experiences online

Originally developed in 2018 by Google’s Area 120 incubator, Fundo began as a tool to allow YouTube creators a way to organize host paid, ticketed virtual meet-and-greet events. Following a beta launch last summer for several hundred testers including fitness instructors, business and lifestyle consultants, Fundo is now available for anyone to use and can be leveraged for a variety of cases including workout and cooking classes and workshops.

“Over the past year, many parts of life had to move online and become virtual. While we didn’t build Fundo specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission of creating meaningful experiences online is even more important today,” shared John Gregg, General Manager at Fundo in the official announcement.

The one-on-one focus is an important way for creators to host an intimate event with a single individual or small group while workshops are an important feature during a time when small businesses including are facing substantial obstacles. Outside of presenting more ways to spread the word and share content, the option adds greater flexibility in which creators can schedule an event in advance, or let fans request a time and have the option to bring in co-hosts or special guests.


“In 2020, a lot of things are online,” Gregg said in a separate statement to Variety. “We’re not exclusive for YouTube creators. We think it provides value to any kind of creator… There are lots of different ways it can be used.”

Taking the complexity out of virtual events

A primary goal of Fundo is to take the headache out of hosting a virtual event, especially when you’re dealing with a ticketed experience. Through a single end-to-end platform, creators and businesses can schedule their event, manage sign-up and payment processes, communicate details about the livestream, and more.

There are no apps for external software necessary for Fundo: Event hosts and their guests access everything on the site through a special-purpose video-chat system separate from YouTube. A fan favorite feature? The built-in “photo booth” feature, in which each attendee gets a photo with a creator-customized frame.

Hosts are in control of the price to sign up and any discounts and whether they want a given event to be free, though Google takes a 20 percent cut of revenue generated per Gregg. Furthermore, some creators using YouTube Channel Memberships are able to offer Fundo Meet & Greets exclusively to channel members as a premium perk. To help fuel cross-channel promotion, Fundo users are able to create an account including their other social media profile details, as well as a personalized URL for easier access.

Safety and discoverability

Fans are able to find events happening on Fundo through the home page, or through links that their creators share. Once they’ve chosen an event iall they simply have to do is answer a few basic questions, and complete a ticket purchase. Fundo manages everything else including generating the event link and sending reminders leading up to the event. The platform also provides technical support if it is needed.

While Fundo prides itself on putting creators in control of their event, safety is also a top priority. To support in this regard, Fundo checks every event guest’s ticket and monitors for reporting and flagging of potentially harmful or abusive content

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How Data Science and Predictive Modeling Can Scale Your Influencer Efforts

In an industry where there are many points of friction for influencer marketers and algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning solutions seem to penetrate every sector and business category, how can businesses establish strategies to scale ROI? How can they scale the identification of their creator partners? How can they increase confidence in content?

During #SMWONE, CreatorIQ’s Head of Customer Success, Brooke Hennon joined by Bhavin Desai, VP of Product Strategy, addressed these questions breaking down how the platform is using advanced data science to create intuitive influencer marketing solutions. Through a holistic, outcomes-based recommendation engine, CreatorIQ is combining multiple data science models spanning influencer identification, content attribution prediction, and audience targeting.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Any person with a social presence can be an influencer
  • To scale the reach and frequency of your campaigns, lean on lookalike audience-powered media
  • To scale the reach and frequency of your campaigns, lean on lookalike audience-powered media

Finding the best creators for your campaigns

A common paint point amongst marketers if finding the right influencers to partner with. The vast majority put a significant amount of time against searching for more influencers that match the aspirational collaborations or already in-flight relationships and desire efficiency. According to Hennon and Desai, right now this process is an art form without guidance and data science is a key solution to helping it become less subjective and more efficient so desired results can be achieved.

“We’re leaving millions of data points across performance, creator approvals, brand affinity, and industry alignment to build a recommendation engine trained to identify the best creators for any campaign.” By constantly evaluating performance data, additional creators can be added on-demand to the engineer based on current high-performing creators. This system can also be leveraged by lookalike creators but specific to a certain demographic (e.g. I want 10 more influencers like this but based in London for this next campaign). Beyond location, gender and interests are other elements that can be used to help identify best fit creators. This can all be combined with the core campaign and brand goals to help identify the best fit creators for any campaign.

“As influencer marketing grows, it needs to scale to go to toe-to-toe with other marketing methods. We have to do it more efficiently,” said Hennon. This starts with finding and collaborating with the right influencers with strong performing content that aligns with your brand.

Increase content confidence with content attribute prediction

Once you’ve honed your identification strategy, the second step focuses on scaling content performance. When thinking of content direction to use to brief influencers, marketers often use little science and, again, rely on subjectivity much like when they set out to look for influencers at the onset of a campaign. To address this, CreatorIQ leverages several approaches to identify and drive the delivery of high-performing content.

“What resonates on TikTok is very different from what resonates on Facebook,” Desai claimed. To remove some of the guesswork, the company is leaning into visual insights to build data science models focused on the identification and recommendation of high-performing content. This is in partnership with some of the leading virtual recognition engines like Google Vision to analyze tens of millions of pieces of content. From this information, custom models are built that can correlate to specific visual and performance attributes detected within the content and provide recommendations around what has the highest likelihood to perform well. This is particularly informative when devising paid campaigns.

A key takeaway: content attribution prediction is not only useful in driving content confidence in the present but can be a useful mechanism to future-proofing briefs in additional campaigns. Frequently influencer marketers lack the bandwidth to build data-driven briefs and this is a solution that takes the headache out of this equation.

“Another key outcome of the visual insights model is the ability to leverage data from the content to not just recommendation campaign content but also deliver refined creator requirements to drive the creation of high-performing content,” explained Desai.

Scaling audience targeting and reach

Marketers want to maximize the reach of the influencers’ best performing content — beyond the fans and followers of partner influencers There are several variables to consider in the influencer space from content to people to different audiences and knowing which levers to pull is a recurring problem. How can there be a more elegant and effective way to amplify content?

CreatorIQ is addressing this question heads on with a model that leverages influencer data like demographics, organic and paid performance to drive the creation of lookalike audience seed segments that are used as inputs to social platform audience targeting

“We have seen significant improvements in conversion data when compared to standalone audience targeting available within the platforms directly, for example, Facebook’s Ads Manager,” Desai explained. What this boils down to is brands having the ability to take a subset of influencers correlated with high performance within a designated campaign and then identify additional lookalike influencers based on those performing well. These can be leveraged to create a “seed segment” that drives lookalike audience targeting. The immediate result to note: improvements on ad spend.

“Any person with a social presence can be an influencer,” said Hennon closing out the session. Build your army of brand ambassadors by recruiting employees or super fans of your product.

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How to Build a Multi-Layered Influencer Strategy with Empathy

Over the last few months, millions of influencers have openly shared their experiences related to COVID-19 — good and bad. Marketers must also take this moment to reflect and find ways to bring empathy as they look to meet each of their partners where they are by asking questions and leverage digital platforms to communicate in more timely and authentic ways. During #SMWONE CreatorIQ’s Director of Partnerships, Jenny Risch was joined by Jennifer Powell, CEO and Founder of JP Inc. and influencer guest, Mary Lawless Lee, to explore this topic in depth and hear their expert insights as to what’s working or not and why.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Being creative can be as simple as resetting at the ground level
  • Don’t overlook the power of the gentle touch of outreach
  • Influencers are as cognizant of their voice in the market right now as you are as a brand

Choosing a partner

Different influencers are likely to be impacted by this crisis in different ways — Rish stressed — so take this time to truly get to know the various types of influencers and how their goals may be shifting. For instance, mega and macro-influencers make a majority of their income from being an influencer. With this in mind, coming to them with an upfront agreement mapping our several months or more of work is essential to create a trusted long-term relationship. Looking at a micro-influencer, on the other hand, that likely treats this work as a side hustle, would more likely be interested in hearing about discounts, product exchanges, and other promotions to maintain work with brands.

A few basics practices Rish offered to incorporate into your approach:

  • Do reach out with empathy. Ask both existing and prospective partners how they’re doing even if you don’t have the budget to work with them at the moment.
  • Do be open-minded when it comes to your brief — your influencers may have fresh ideas that translate into big opportunities
  • Don’t assume business is usual just because they haven’t posted any pandemic-related content
  • Don’t engage with a partner before understanding their personal and family’s well being.

“Now more than ever influencers are as cognizant of their voice in the market right now as you are as a brand,” said Rish. As a marketer you have the unique opportunity to shape briefs and creative strategies now with your partners based on the experiences influencers are having and the new things they’re trying out from a content standpoint that may resonate and that they can organically bring to life for you.

Establishing trust amidst uncertainty

“The beauty of working with an influencer is that they are their audience’s friend — and that relationship is special and has a lot of trust. As brands reach out and re-engage during this time, trusting that influencer and their leadership to deliver the best message and leaning into what that influencer advises is important,” shared Lee on the topic of what establishing trust looks like today and how to set the right tone for a partnership out of the gate. Powell chimed in adding that constantly having a finger on the pulse of readers has been key for major players like Lee and Danielle Berstein. Specifically, this practice of social listening translates into a key data resource and helps inform constructive feedback when discussing with brands what types of content works and what doesn’t.

This isn’t to say brands shouldn’t be involved in these conversations and the gentle touch of outreach shouldn’t be overlooked especially now. “It’s so important for the brand to get to know the talent whether that turns into a compensated relationship off the bat or just to meet and to hopefully partner down the road…for me that’s always been an important part of what I do especially when considering a mega or macro influencer like Mary.”

Pointing to her own story of transitioning her brick and mortar business online, Lee added that it’s a two-way street. “The name of the game right now is supporting one another and meeting each other in the middle. We reached out to every brand we’ve ever worked with and asked how they could be supported through messaging and content as a whole. Many came back to us with gifting and we were able to take that and support them through stories via stories and posts.”

Resetting at the ground level to fuel creativity

Eighty-five percent of Lee’s readers have been with her for six years or more. Powell articulated that these stats are a direct result of her impact as a brand partner and a healthy community. “Her blog was always a passion project — never a job. From having a baby to opening the store and building a house it’s been an opportunity to bring brands along her life journey and share her experiences at different stages of her life.” This is equally if not more relevant in the context of COVID-19.

“We didn’t realize how many moms we had following us so lately we’re doing a lot more cooking, baby, and fitness content and it brings a smile to my face. I’m excited to take deeper dives into these topics because I genuinely love doing these things,” added Lee.

While not to downplay the crisis, both agreed there’s a silver lining and for Powell and Lee this means using the situation productively to experiment and go back to the beginning of why influencer marketing works and its role in the industry. They plan to continue leveraging new platforms and content approaches across Instagram Lives, TikTok, and LinkedIn to navigate the outcomes of the pandemic today and in the year ahead.

“Have a layered strategy with the inclusion of all of these different levels of influencers,” Powell shared in a final thought.

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IGTV Ads: What Brands and Creators Need to Know

For years Instagram creators have leveraged the platform to turn their passions into livelihoods, inspiring their communities, sharing their lives, and building their personal brands from the ground up. Until recently, they’ve had to rely on indirect sources of revenue to fund their goals including branded content and merchandise sales. Now however, the platform is revealing the next stages of monetization including ways for creators to make money from their content on Live and IGTV.

Here’s what’s new and noteworthy:


In recent months, creators have embraced Live in fundamentally new ways, leading to a 70 percent increase in views from February to March. Capitalizing on the trend, the platform is introducing IGTV ads, with at least 55 percent of the advertising revenue shared with creators. Per the announcement, ads will initially display when people click to watch an IGTV via preview from the feed. They’ll be mobile-droven and last for up to 15 seconds. Initial brands to run IGTV ads include Sephora, Puma and Ikea.

“Being able to earn money from the content I’m already creating gives me even more motivation to share more of myself with my followers on IGTV,” shared one creator, @avani, supporting the test of badges.


Especially in this time of crisis, Instagram has seen a surge in users supporting their favorite creators via Live comments, donations, and likes. Whether a fitness instructor, live DJ or chef, Live videos have been core to staying connected during an age of social distancing and continue engaging in the things they love.

Badges will be offered in three different price tiers ranging from 99 cents up to $4.99. Users that purchase them will not only have the badge displayed by their username enabling them to stand out in the crowd of comments, but they’ll also be able to unlock features including placement on a special list of badge holders held by the creator and access to a special heart emoji,

“Providing a variety of monetization tools is crucial in order to support all creators on Instagram, from emerging digital stars to established entertainers and everything in between,” said Instagram COO Justin Osofsky in a statement to Variety. “We’re excited to add these two new revenue streams to the mix of tools for creators to help them generate additional income to fuel their work.”

Enhancing promotion

The platform is also making pushes to improve promotion. In April, for instance, the platform revamped its standalone IGTV and unveiled the ability for users to tease their IGTV content in their Stories with 15 second clips, instead of sharing those videos to Stories via static stickers.

More recently, Instagram introduced Live Shopping allowing for tagged products during a live video. Looking ahead, shopping will expand with broader access to Brand Collabs Manager and creators seeking to sell their own merchandise on the app. On the surface these may seem like small updates but they underlie Instagram’s grand mission to help creators support themselves with its tools and community in authentic and meaningful ways.

While monetization tools for Instagram have been a long time coming, the news is likely to be worth the wait for its top creators and incentive them to post more often, enabling IGTV to showcase more IGTV content to a broader audience and build the offering even further allowing to better compete with the likes of YouTube and other players.

“For it to work, the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network will have to establish itself as a ‘must-watch channel’ to disrupt what is already on the market, including Facebook Watch, said Mary Keane-Dawson, CEO of influencer marketing agency Takumi Group.

For more insights from Mary on the state of influencer marketing and why authenticity should remain core to your strategies to secure long-term audience relationships, check out our recap of her recent session at #SMWONE here.

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Here’s Where Influencers Belong in Your COVID-19 Marketing Strategy

In a pandemic that seems to suck the productivity and optimism out of the country, there are some individuals and some companies that are seeing creativity in ways that may be here to last. Two of those individuals — Harvey Schwartz, SVP Talent, ViacomCBS — and Miki Rai, a registered nurse with 1.2 million followers on Tik Tok sat down during #SMWONE to discuss how they’ve managed to navigate these difficult times.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Influencers offering a sense of positivity and normlacy are winning
  • Choosing trusted partners ise essential, especially for healthcare influencers
  • Be true to what you preach or don’t bother

Miki Rai didn’t follow the path of  your typical “influencer.”  She was born in Japan, moved to the U.S. when she was three years old and decided she wanted to choose a life-changing profession as a nurse when she was in high school. She was a natural, always had a love for posting videos, and when she was in nursing school she would post what she was learning. But who knew sharing a photo of her and a few friends in scrubs out front of a hospital at 6AM before their shift would go viral.

How does a nurse — or any non-celebrity — manage to build 1.2 million TikTok followers? Schwartz has an idea. “Influence has always been kind of a buy product of someone delivering and entertaining a useful connection to an audience whether it is a musician delivering an emotional performance, a yoga instructor teaching spirituality, a nurse tik-toking,” he said. During a pandemic that has serious global implications, the typical ways for building good content have to shift.

COVID-19 changes to the world

This has been an unprecedented time in history where no one is sure what the future holds, and days are blending together. Influencers are unknowingly finding organic opportunities to connect with their followers without a roadmap. On the other hand, followers are looking to influencers for a sense of positivity and normalcy.

Miki Rai couldn’t be a better example of this type of influencer. Rai’s reputation went from 0-100 on all of her social media platforms. By posting content that seemed so simple to her, her engagement levels went through the roof, and she’s so pivotal and useful to a growing list of followers on every channel during the pandemic. Even her handwashing videos are getting close to 15,000 likes on Instagram, all while it not being her main channel. Connecting her knowledge of nursing to social media during a crucial time, was the perfect recipe for her fame.

Choosing Trusted Brand Partners is Essential for Healthcare Influencers

Every content creator, ambassador, brand, and/or sponsor are all trying to figure out the right way to tell stories. Being a licensed professional, Rai is already held to a higher standard. Specifically, she cannot promote unhealthy habits because it would be a recipe for disaster for one’s health and essentially a double standard. In terms of content Rai believes, “when working with healthcare professionals it’s important that when choosing a brand/sponsorships to be careful of brands putting words in your mouth.” In other words, content creators need to stay true to their personal goals when agreeing to partnerships and be sure not to lose control of their own brand.

Practice what you preach

Being open and honest builds trust. Brands need to remember that if they are not true to what they preach, they are going to lose trust from their consumers. This works both ways for the influencer as well.

If the brand doesn’t match the influencer’s mission statement, influencers should not partner with brands. Influencers should not risk losing their credibility for just any brand/partnership opportunity. It is not worth losing your followers to distrust.

“When every content creator starts out, it is really important to outline what your mission is,” explains Rai. From the very beginning, before the coronavirus pandemic, her mission was to educate/inform. Post coronavirus, her goal is still the same. Harvey went on to ask if there would ever be a ‘fork in the road’, splitting two lanes one becoming a full-time influencer and the other continuing to be a telemedicine nurse. All in all, Rai explained that she would never give up nursing, this is her main priority no matter where social media takes her.

“Influence is an undercurrent and is deep-rooted in our culture, in the last 10 years it has been amplified by our social feeds,” said Harvey Schwartz.

The big takeaway: People want relatable exchanges so they can connect on a different level. Sometimes all they need is a light-hearted distraction that speaks the truth through entertaining content during these difficult times. While this pandemic reaches new places, it’s equally as important for credible influencers with significant audiences to make useful information go viral.

There’s still time to register for #SMWONE at smwone.com. Save 20% throughout the rest of the month!

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What You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Creator Studio App

This year there will be close to 1 million minutes of video crossing the internet per second. By 2022, online videos will account for over 82 percent of all internet traffic — a 15x increase compared to 2017.

Audiences find videos more engaging and more memorable than any other type of content

Video continues to stake its claim in the digital space, carving more territory for itself and cementing its role as one of the most effective elements in a digital marketing strategy. As we roll into 2020, there is a lot more for us to understand about video content, but one this is clear — it is no longer a nice to have but a necessity if your storytelling efforts are to be deemed engaging and memorable and drive conversions and exposure.

To help publishers and creators hone their approaches and cater to the demands of a mobile-first world, Facebook unveiled an iOS and Android application companion to its Creator Studio. At a glance, the tool is targeted to allow enhanced management of uploads, performance tracking, and convenient ways to stay in touch with audiences in real-time.

The journey to a creator-centric app

For those unfamiliar with the background, Creator Studio initially launched on desktop last September and served as a replacement for the ‘Creator’ app launch in 2017 (originally released until the title of ‘Mentions’ in 2014). With the history lesson out of the way, let’s take a peek at what the mobile companion has to offer.

Per the announcement — written by the platform’s Head of Creator and Publisher Experience Jeff Birkeland — you can expect the exact same insights and engagement metrics as the desktop hub with a number of added benefits helping manage and edit Page posts, view and make sense of performance analytics, and engage with your audience.

Let’s break these down some more:

Measured metrics and improved multi-account management

A huge priority with the app is to guide creators and publishers as they look to evolve their strategies with rich insights. In the mobile version of Creator Studio, you can seamlessly trace how your videos are performing including one-minute views and average minutes viewed. You can also keep tabs on your advertising earnings, the number of users who commented or shared a video, and how people watched your video for at least 3 seconds.

To take the headache out of hovering from one account to another, the app comes with the functionality to Manage several Facebook Pages and toggle between them without having to go through the added step of logging in and out each time.

“It’s a desktop-mobile ecosystem where you’re getting the benefits across the board,” Birkeland reiterated in a statement to Business Insider. In other words, the app isn’t intended to replace your management process but enhance its feasibility and flexibility.

Creating sustainable audiences and refining your content on-the-go

One of the primary reasons Facebook decided to create a mobile version of Creator Studio was upon receiving feedback that its users wanted to be able to edit video headlines and descriptions and respond to comments from their phones. In this vein, the app comes equipped with the capability of customizing video titles and descriptions, deleting and expiring posts, published drafted posts, and rescheduling scheduled posts.

Consumer intelligence is rising in the ranks as valuable as a form of data that translates into deeper audience relationships and improved decision making. In a nod to this, the Creator Studio app makes it easier to connect with audiences in real-time. Specifically, messages and comments can be responded to directly through the app’s inbox. To help you track your progress over time, the apps come with a setting to schedule notifications when you’ve hit a key milestone.

Being present with your brand continues to be one of the leading ways to secure meaningful engagement. Facebook’s update gives publishers and creators a more streamlined and cohesive way of achieving this in a format that the majority of viewers opt to use. With easier ways of producing and measuring the performance content as well as staying on top of useful feedback, this capability will be integral in bringing a human element to your marketing efforts.

In this vein, marketers should certainly take note that aside from having a human voice, diversifying sources of income continues to be a growing priority for creators as they look to repurpose their content, reach broader audiences at scale, and rise above the noise.

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How Instagram’s @Creators Account Can Inspire Your Brand’s Next Collaboration

Instagram is doubling down on its creator community with a new branded account, delivering more tips, tricks, and inspiration for creators to improve their presence and create better content that leverages all the platform has to offer. Appropriately titled @creators, the company is hoping to address gaps that many are turning to alternative outlets like YouTube to fill in order to meet the needs of their audiences.

In a quote shared with sources at AdWeek, Instagram reps explained, “The hub will be a source of education and discovery for aspiring creators (and those who just like to keep learning best practices—it’s important to remain teachable, you know?)—and a space where content meets “how-to,” spoken in a language that our core audience understands, with the talent they connect with the most.”

An introductory FAQ story highlight shared to the account targets basic algorithmic and setting-focused questions including how to get verified, how to filter comments, how to gain access to the latest features and updates, why the chronological feed isn’t coming back, and how to seek general help and guidance from the Instagram team.

Navigating IGTV

One of the first algorithm insights the account revealed in their posts is that 60 percent of people listen to stories with the sound on. A skim of other uploads clearly depicts a focus on video content, specifically IGTV, which to date hasn’t garnered significant traction but a branded account dedicated to how to navigate it and find success in its use is certainly a viable starting point.

“We’ve always said that IGTV is going to be the first monetizable platform on Instagram. It’s just a matter of when, and I’m sure there’s more to come on that,” Justin Antony, Head of Content and Creator Partnerships told The Verge earlier this year. “The creators that are really leaning into it, being native to it, creating an audience there, will be the stars of tomorrow.”

While these bits of insights are undoubtedly helpful as instantaneous learnings on-the-go, it is important to not neglect your own research and statistics. Use these as a comparison and guide versus as a one-size-fits-all approach to your social strategy.

Get inspo from influencers

Beyond sharing it’s own best practices, Instagram wants users and businesses to learn “from the creators you admire the most,” another post claimed.

Creators, including dancer Susie Meoww and comedian Adam Waheed, have already been tapped to take part in this process, sharing their process and strategies for creating content ranging from the equipment they prefer, sound effects they utilize, how often they post, and more.

“By using all surfaces of the platform you’re able to get traffic from all different directions,” explained Waheed in his IGTV testimonial unveiling ways he’s turned his love of witty Instagram skits into a business. “I post two photos, four videos, and one IGTV per week, and five stories every day,” he said.

Rising above the noise

Additional posts promise future content revolving around topics such as standing out in a community of creatives, finding and establishing your brand, and seeking a strategy for sharing your story in the broader community.

“Find a lane that’s open, and try to fiil it,” says Shalom Blac and LaLa Milan regarding how to cut through the noise in a caption teasing their testimonial.

The @creators handle has already spurred a video series under the hashtag #howicreate, where over 1,000 users have documented their experiences and tips on what has worked in their journey to successful sharing.

Aside from creators, brands also stand to benefit from visits to this new account as they seek to improve their presence and enhance their knowledge of how to best create content. Primarily, by supporting an enhanced understanding of what influencers are looking for and why.

Keeping a finger on the pulse of what your prospective partners are talking about and where these dialogues are taking shape is invaluable in today’s digital space and can only help you prepare for the future and secure more successful collaborations.

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A Marketer’s Guide to Creator Studio for Instagram

In early 2019, Instagram unveiled Instagram Creator Accounts as an alternative to the business profile. After a brief beta testing period, the social platform made these profiles available to anyone.

To help attract and cater to influencers, Instagram creator accounts offers a variety of key features and tools for influencers to go even deeper on their follower metrics. These span counts of daily unfollow and follow counts and important demographic specifics such as age and location of your audience. Such metrics give influencers critical background into who exactly their followers are, and how the content is impacting their experience and engagement.

In order to easily track these bits of information, Instagram unveiled a handy dashboard dubbed “Creator Studio” where you can easily manage your Instagram presence.

At its core, Studio offers the capability of viewing and tracking your posts across multiple accounts, refine your strategy through activity and audience insights, and schedule and publish Feed posts and IGTV content from your desktop.

Getting Started

Recently, the platform published an eight-page guide providing helpful details around how to make the best use of Creator Studio. Here are the three-step basics to getting started:

  1. Make sure you have an Instagram account and Facebook Page (and that your Instagram account is connected to the Facebook Page that you manage)
  2. Make sure that you’ve switched your Instagram account to a business profile or Creator Account
  3. Open Creator Studio on your desktop and click the Instagram icon at the top of the page

At this stage, what you select next is dependent on how your Instagram account and Facebook page are connected.

  • If you manage a Facebook Page that’s already connected to the Instagram account you want to use in Creator Studio, click to connect to that Page.
  • If you don’t already manage a Facebook Page that’s connected to an Instagram account, click “Connect to Instagram.” Then follow the instructions to log into the Instagram account you want to connect.
  • If you manage a Facebook Page that’s connected to an Instagram account, but want to use a different Instagram account you don’t see listed, click “Connect another Instagram Account” and follow the instructions.
  • If you have multiple Instagram accounts already connected to your Facebook Page or Pages and want to manage them in Creator Studio, click “Continue with Connected Accounts.”

Now that you’re set-up, let’s take a closer look at some of the features of Studio:

Activity & Audience Insights

Creator Studio allows individuals to track the specific number of actions their audience has taken in a seven-day window including the number of profile visits and clickthroughs to a website. You can also trace the number of unique accounts that have visited your posts and the estimated number of times all of your posts have been seen over the last week.

Audience-wise, use insights to trace the age and gender of your followers, when they’re most active on the platform the most, and the top countries and cities where they’re located. Identify which stories yielded the most positive impact and what types of content aren’t contributing to your channel’s growth.

Publishing: Feed & IGTV

After creating a caption and uploading any desired media such as a video, photo, or carousel to your post, you have the option to cross-post media to your Facebook Page allowing you to connect with more of your audience. Depending on your needs and interests, you can select to either push the post live immediately, or schedule your content out as far as 6 months in advance.

The same holds for IGTV. Once you’ve uploaded the video and filled out the title, description, hashtag, mentions, and any other key detail you want to share with your audience, you can create a Feed Preview or cross-post to Facebook. Like Feed posts, you have the choice to upload instantly or choose a certain day and time up to 6 months out.

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Building a Lasting Emotional Connection with Customers: A Conversation with Lindsey Turner

Today’s consumers have rapidly evolved into target audience members presenting the fundamental challenge for brands to earn attention and break through in a world overloaded with information. But where are they to begin? Primarily, through understanding audience members’ key emotional motivators and crafting content that aligns brand positioning in accordance with these feelings.

View the initial #SMWLDN agenda & grab your pass at 20% off!

Per recent research, 70 percent of emotionally connected consumers spend twice as much on brands they have an emotional attachment to than those who don’t. Additionally, 81 percent of those respondents promote their favorite brands to family and friends.

On 31 October, the opening day of #SMWLDN, we’ll explore this theme in detail in a session led by Lindsey Turner, Head of Creators at Twitter EMEA. As she interviews a Creator who designs for the feed and builds content for the community, you can expect to learn how to better drive brand conversations, build authenticity though best-in-class Creators, and create an emotional connection with your audience.

It’s no longer good enough for a brand to be the first or even among the first to hop on the social media bandwagon to communicate what their products and services can offer. Brands must shift their focus to longer-term strategies that emphasize what consumers feel versus what they know.

Brands that succeed in doing this effectively translate their messages into deep-seeded loyalty that sticks throughout the entire customer journey, ultimately generating higher ROI. Conversely, those who don’t run the risk of becoming lost in the growing sea of competition.

Per Viacom, the vast majority of brands in 2019 (93 percent to be precise!) are looking to transgress beyond the standard social media post and identify ways to merge experiential and influencer marketing. Above all, the fundamental responsibility we share as marketers in what is a critical inflection point for social media is to revolutionize traditional storytelling by fueling conversations that not only reflect culture but shape it.

There’s still time to join Lindsey and many more speakers in London at Westminster’s QEII Centre this fall (31 Oct – 1 Nov), – so act fast, and look toward a future of connecting with culture with us!

Browse the current agenda and list of featured speakers and secure your pass by 9 August to take advantage of the 20% discount before it expires.

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Turn URL into IRL with BuzzFeed’s Creator Program

The influencer model isn’t a new one and it’s evolved.

There are now new niches to explore and micro-influencers, along with micro-audiences, have dug their feet firmly in the community, making authentic content more important than ever. “They have a direct connection and trust with their audience already,” explained BuzzFeed‘s Supervising Video Producer, Erin Phraner during a #SMWNYC panel. She was joined by Augusta Falletta, Director of Partnerships, and Essence Gant, Beauty Director.

What is the BuzzFeed Creator Program?

The BuzzFeed’s Creator program helps create content using their team of editors and influencers that is both high quality and feels incredibly representative to the company or product being advertised. It then uses its platform, as a media outlet, to promote and showcase the content to raise both the client and the creator’s profile.

It differs from how influencers are using online platforms right now in terms of the reach it provides combined with its equipment and team resources – the program can generate mutually beneficial, customized material. It is also a massive discovery opportunity for both creator and client.

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Gant was fortunate enough to create content for L’Oreal Paris for the Golden Globes. She and Sir John —  famously Beyoncé’s makeup artist — filmed a video where the two conversed in a familiar chat show format and predicted the looks they expected to see on the red carpet. Buzzfeed helped promote it and on Facebook, it became the second most watched video of all the Golden Globes content, with a video posted by Golden Globes themselves outnumbering it, naturally.

Maintaining authenticity

Authenticity is a key theme and it’s difficult to stay true to your own personal brand when your platform expands.

Phraner understands audiences to have a watchdog mentality and how audiences are quick to call an influencer out if what they are advertising doesn’t make sense to them. Gant agrees, “I don’t want to risk longevity taking on a brand that doesn’t make sense to me.”

As Phraner wants to limit the number of opportunities turned down, at BuzzFeed, they editorialize. “We see things that aren’t direct connections but make them make sense for us.”

Measuring impact

Impact is measured with mature tools and data teams pull information that supports each client’s main KPI’s, however, Phraner and Gant really enjoy utilizing their comment sections and private messages to see what their audiences connect with and don’t. “Sometimes I will purposely leave off shopping details sometimes to see how many people ask where something’s from,” said Phraner.

Turning URL into IRL

Carefully curated content, turning URL into IRL, is the way forward. Brands want action. If influencers can replicate that on content that isn’t branded, then they’re deemed as even more appealing to work with. BuzzFeed’s program enables that action with a wider sphere of influence.

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Learn How Creators Can Save Social Media (and the World) at SMWLA

What do health and fitness influencers, cultural curators, business coaches, authors and podcasters all have in common? They’re part of a growing community of mission-driven online entrepreneurs called “creators with a purpose.”

Outside of the traditional definition of an influencer or social media star — building millions of followers to win sponsorships alone — creators with a purpose contain a passion not just for a particular category topic or subject matter, but for creating more positive contexts for engagement, building authentic relationships, and for gaining expertise. Simply put, they generate revenue on their own terms and own their own engagement under the umbrella of their unique brand.

On June 12th, during SMW Los Angeles, Gina Bianchini, Founder & CEO of Mighty Networks and Ian Schafer, Co-Founder & CEO of Kindredwill explore the power these hundreds of millions of individuals have to change the very nature of social media through their motivation to bring their fans, followers, thinkers, and energetic doers together.

In addition to explaining how they’re each helping drive this important movement, they’ll discuss the reasons why brands are flocking to work with these creators, and why they represent the signals of hope in the midst of the rising social media noise the digital landscape experiences today.

As we seek to be more conscious of how we spend our time online and how we feel about what we’re contributing, it is these spaces, curated by genuine people with an undying dedication for inspiring and uplifting others, that will pave the way for a more vibrant, meaningful new era.

For those unfamiliar with these esteemed individuals, Gina has had an illustrious career in the tech world, having co-founded Ning.com, a platform for creating social networking websites with Marc Andreessen in 2005. As one of the most influential voices in the media, marketing, and culture, Ian has been at the forefront of media, content, advertising, and marketing since 1997. In 2002, he started and ran one of the first social media agencies, Deep Focus, which earned him a spot in AAF’s Advertising Hall of Achievement in 2015, and was named one of the 100 people “Making Advertising Great” by the 4A’s.

Browse the full agenda and list of featured speakers and secure your pass today before 6pm PST to take advantage of the 20% discount before it expires.

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Nintendo Ends Its Creator Program, Revamping Its Image and Repairing Relationships

Games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers have created superfans of Nintendo products. However, those wanting to show their fandom on YouTube or Twitch found themselves severely challenged by Nintendo’s harsh policies on content sharing. This week, the reins have finally been loosened, as Nintendo announced the end of its controversial Nintendo Creators Program (NCP).

The Next Web described NCP as “a protection racket for YouTube videos,” developed to ensure that Nintendo got a considerable amount of creator profit when gameplay videos were shared. According to Eurogamer, prior versions of the creator agreement had Nintendo aiming to take 100 percent of revenue from content featuring their characters or intellectual property, monetizing whole user channels regardless of how much Nintendo-based content was on it, and demonetizing all user videos who weren’t approved. “The company [was] notorious for bringing the hammer down on anyone using their intellectual property, and on YouTube that took the form of content ID claims” starting in 2014, The Next Web reported. Other methods included shutting down fan projects outright, and sending cease-and-desist letters to emulators that hosted Nintendo games.

Forbes contributor Paul Tassi summed up the company’s ill-advised approach in 2015: “This is utter insanity, and shows just how badly Nintendo misunderstands the entire YouTube scene.”

Years later, perhaps recognizing that this approach was hurting both their online presence and their perception from otherwise loyal users, the NCP is being replaced with a less stringent set of guidelines. Among the revised policies:

  • Creators who post content with Nintendo characters must “add their own distinctive stamp on the content” and not just post straight captures of gameplay
  • These policies apply to both videos and livestreams
  • Those wishing to monetize their content now do so through the platform in question (Twitch’s Affiliate Program or YouTube’s Partner Program), rather than through Nintendo directly.

And above all—literally, the language opens their new guidelines—Nintendo seems to want to acknowledge their appreciation for the fandom that the considerable content sharing indicates. This is an important lesson for brands aiming to balance control of their image and online presence, with their relationship to consumers and brand superfans.

“We are humbled every day by your loyalty and passion for Nintendo’s games, characters and worlds, and respect that you want to be able to express yourself creatively by sharing your own original videos and images using content from our games,” they say to open the page. By making it easier for enthusiasts to demonstrate that loyalty and passion, they aim to mend what had previously been a tense and needlessly contentious relationship with fans.

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