BLISSFUL BLOGInsider Insights into Influencer Marketing
Read any article on influencer diversity and you’re likely to read thoughts on hiring more women of color in the fashion and beauty industry. Perhaps it’s because it’s often the part of the industry that receives the greatest optics.
But read between the lines and you’ll quickly discover that the demand for diversity isn’t about seeing more black faces on a mostly white press trip to an exotic locale. It’s about consumers seeing and relating to people that look like and represent them. Understanding what diversity really means to these consumers is what will help brands broaden their marketing initiatives to become more inclusive.
How Consumers Define Diversity
Influencer diversity isn’t merely about skin color, although that can often be the most visible aspect to an audience. It’s also about ethnicity, body size and type, age, and even less visible characteristics like sexual orientation.
Zippy Sandler, who’s been blogging for many years at Champagne Living, recently expressed her dismay at how brands continue to miss the mark when creating a campaign for Baby Boomers:
“I hate it when brands don’t get it. I just applied for an Instagram campaign. They are looking to feature baby boomers and assume that we’re not on influencer platforms. They were basically looking for Millennials to feature their grandparents about living a life with passion.
HELLO! I’m right here and YES I’m on Instagram and not only that…I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, my blog and OMG even TikTok. This is the epitome of #ageism…using a millennial to tell a baby boomer’s story.”Zippy Sandler, Blogger
More and more, audiences and influencers are becoming vocal online and holding brands to task that continue to show the status quo. It’s time for brands to ask how they can be more representative of all perspectives.
But Our Audience is White!
A few weeks ago, an influencer agency reached out to prospective influencers to work on a home decor campaign. They presented their campaign criteria by listing the desired target audience, using descriptors like:
- Women ages 25-54 with an HHI of $50k-$150k
- Prominently Caucasian living in suburban areas
While the discussion surrounding this campaign led many people to believe that the internal marketing dialogue was inadvertently posted as influencer criteria, the resulting conversation got to the heart of inclusion in influencer marketing.
As influencer Kris McDonald of Little Tech Girl, who initially brought the issue to light, tweeted:
McDonald, who is African-American, actually has a predominantly white audience. But even if she didn’t, the numbers suggest that a more narrow target audience, such as this example, may be neglecting a significant portion of marketing dollars.
Forbes cites a recent Nielsen report in their article, If You Want Black Audiences, Give Them A Seat at the Table that speaks prominently to the power of minority spending:
“The benefit of properly engaging with multicultural audiences isn’t vague or elusive: With black spending power projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, this demographic will be setting and influencing trends in everything from technology and media to politics and pop culture.”
A report by the University of Georgia suggests that the same holds true for other minority groups in the United States, including Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.
The changing face of consumerism is a reality and brands should be changing their marketing appropriately.
Inviting People to the Table – Success Stories in Influencer Diversity
Blogger Shawanda Mason-Moore, who is African-American, posted her own take on diversity in influencer marketing by reiterating that “diversity and inclusion aren’t about everyone getting what they want. It’s about everyone getting to voice what they want.”
Hearing the right voices starts by inviting the right people to the table.
Influencer press trips are where you’ll often get a good snapshot of how brands are working with influencers. There has been a myriad of articles posted that lambast brands showcasing all white faces. Others are grateful to be included in opportunities but are painfully aware when they are the “token” influencer to fill a diversity spot.
It’s a step in the right direction but diversity for diversity’s sake doesn’t work. At a Communications Week event last year, Darren Wesley Martin, Jr., founder and chairman of Brooklyn-based agency Streamlined Media & Communications, suggested that rather than investing in diverse influencers for brand optics, influencers and their agency representatives must “be authentic to the brand [they]’re serving.”
Both Kohl’s and REI have undertaken recent influencer initiatives that embrace diversity and they’ve done it in a way that’s authentic to their brand.
Kohl’s partnered with actress and fashion blogger, Cara Santana, for her new line of approachable fashion, Cara Santana x Apt 9, a 37 piece size-inclusive collection. In addition to designing the collection, she was actively involved in the marketing by hand-selecting every model for the ad campaign to showcase diversity across body types, sexual orientation, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and lifestyles.
“If we looked at ads and saw a genuine reflection of what women look like, then we wouldn’t be comparing ourselves, we’d be identifying. That’s what I wanted this collection to do.”Cara Santana
REI, the outdoor outfitter, is also taking bold strides both in terms of company policy, product strategy, and social media presence. With their Force of Nature initiative, they’re focusing on leveling the playing field for women of all shapes and sizes. The brand now chooses influencer diversity in terms of color, body shape, gender, ability and more.
When brands aren’t moving fast enough in the right direction, influencers often take matters into their own hands.
Valerie Eguavoen of the blog, On A Curve, started a movement online with her Instagram account, YouBelongNow, to help creators advocate for socio-political justice. And model/designer Candice Huffine launched her own line of size-inclusive activewear after finding that the market fell short.
Diversity and inclusivity are opportunities for both brands and influencers to innovate in this space.
Cautionary Tales for Influencer Diversity
Sometimes inclusivity can feel like a double-edged sword. Influencers want to be invited to the table but they don’t want to be invited simply to check a box. That’s why brand authenticity is so important. When the authenticity is lacking the message falls flat.
Take Urban Outfitters, for example. In 2017, they launched an ad campaign entitled “Class of 2017” and partnered with a diverse group of influencers, including body-positive activist, Barbie Ferreira. The company came under fire for the inclusion as their clothing line did not carry a size larger than 12. Ferreira was essentially being used to sell clothes that weren’t accessible to her.
In this way, companies are using “body positivity as a useful marketing tool and the true essence of the movement appears to have become lost in attempts to simultaneously make a profit and appear to be doing social good.”
This is why brands need to think about inclusivity from the start of their campaign strategy and not just an add-on to campaign messaging.
Why Diversity in Influencer Marketing Can Be Hard
Brands usually approach influencer campaigns with very specific influencer criteria in mind. Typically, they’re looking for a target audience that’s aligned with their market research. Depending on the type of campaign, they may also want to segment by things like gender, age, and geographic location, in addition to follower count and engagement rate.
More often than not, there’s also a goal to include a diverse pool of targets for their campaign. But finding the diverse pool that also meets their criteria can be challenging if not impossible at times.
Sometimes, you just can’t have everything.
When applying all of the desired criteria, you may inevitably end up with a homogeneous mix of influencers. In order to actively include more diverse influencers, you may have to adjust some of the target criteria to broaden your pool.
That’s where agency expertise comes into play.
How An Agency Helps with Influencer Diversity
An agency not only has access to a detailed database of influencers that meet your criteria but they can also look beyond the database to find influencers that might not ordinarily show up on your radar.
We’ve been working with influencers for over 10 years and have continued to build relationships and referrals to help find the right targets for a campaign.
As in the scenario above, we’ve worked with brands that had difficulty finding a diverse pool of talent that met their target criteria. We‘ve been able to present influencer options that brought diversity to the mix while still satisfying the overall needs of the campaign.
We’re working to help the influencer marketing ecosystem be more representative of all genders, races, sexualities, and perspectives. We look to help brands work with a diverse group of people, not for the sake of being inclusive but from an understanding of why diversity matters.
The Social Platform for Gen Z and How It Could Help Your Influencer Strategy
Photo credit: Aleksei – stock.adobe.com
The Origin Story of TikTok
TikTok, the video app that’s increasing in popularity in staggeringly large numbers, was actually launched in 2016, but not in its current form. Owned by Chinese company, ByteDance, and operating under the name Douyin in China, the app got a makeover when it acquired Musical.ly in 2017 from a startup based in Shanghai. (Rumor puts the pricetag at close to $1 billion).
By August of 2018, the original app was merged with Musical.ly and launched globally as the rebranded app, TikTok, combining key features of both apps.
It’s been called a successor to Vine, the now defunct six-second video app owned by Twitter, and features a combination of comedy shorts (similar to Vine) and lip syncing (similar to musical.ly). And the outlook appears to be good. TikTok is being downloaded at a dizzyingly fast pace as users consume and share content poised to go viral.
What makes TikTok so appealing to some is that it’s considered the anti-Instagram. Gone are the highly curated feeds with overt product promotions. Instead, users can create and share 15 or 60 second videos directly from their phone, easily add music and effects, and share across multiple platforms.
TikTok: Outlook is Good
If you’re concerned about whether or not TikTok is here to stay, you only have to look in the competitor space to see what the future may hold.
Facebook’s own Mark Zuckerberg has been talking to his team about how to combat the rise of TikTok. He’s been quoted as saying, “it’s married short-form, immersive video with browse. So it’s almost like the Explore Tab that we have on Instagram… I kind of think about TikTok as if it were Explore for stories, and that were the whole app. And then you had creators who were specifically working on making that stuff.”
But according to the same article in which he was quoted, he’s got it all wrong. TikTok “isn’t about you or what you’re doing. It’s about entertaining your audience. It’s not spontaneous chronicling of your real life.”
On some level, he and his team know that they need to reach beyond Instagram and Facebook to stay competitive, which is why they’re continuing to promote their own app, Lasso. Besides the U.S., Lasso is only available in Mexico, where it’s picking up steam but has yet to show the numbers that TikTok has.
In a similar vein, Google is looking to acquire a similar app called Firework, a free app that allows users to share 30 second videos with anyone. Valued currently at over $100 million, it could be a wise investment for Google. But if talks fail, the Chinese social media app, Weibo, might look to step in as well.
Who’s Using TikTok?
TikTok has been downloaded 1 billion times with 60% of those downloads occurring in 2018. That means it was downloaded more than Instagram last year and was downloaded more times in September 2018 than Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat.
Although TikTok doesn’t release their demographic data, speculation puts 41% of the user base between 16 and 24. Yes, it skews young. And it’s also said to have a distinct female slant.
That puts this social platform firmly in the hands of Gen Z. It’s an audience that is looking for more creative outlets where they can freely express themselves unfiltered.
With the easy-to-use features for creating videos directly in the app, TikTok has allowed a new crop of influencers to rise to the top with a platform known for virality.
How Influencers Are Using TikTok
As with most social media platforms, influence correlates strongly to popularity. But popularity on TikTok can often come from unexpected places.
For example, The Bailey Bakery, owned and operated by Leanne Bailey, is a custom cookie decorating business in Kentucky. She started posting Tasty-style videos on TikTok of her cookie decorating skills, set to popular music.
She quickly rose to over 1 million followers and brands came calling. She now has over 4 million followers and posts sponsored videos once a week.
For other influencers, they’re motivated by entertaining audiences through dance, comedy, or other creative outlets. And as a result, they can be rewarded by their audience with an in-app virtual currency.
Others, still, are capitalizing on their brand with merchandising that they can promote through the app. Keep in mind that most followers are more interested in merchandise to support an influencer or join a trend, rather than purchase a promoted product.
The prediction is clear, though. TikTok is rising in popularity and influencer marketing is poised to be huge in this space.
How Brands are Using TikTok
The most obvious question with any new social platform is whether or not your business should be on it. The best way to answer that question is to look at your audience.
If your target audience tends to skew younger, they’re likely to be embracing a new form of media and demand a new form of advertising and marketing. Some brands have recognized this, embraced TikTok and have had astounding results.
Chipotle, for example, took a leap of faith when they followed in the footsteps of one of their employees, who created the Chipotle #lidflip challenge. Soon, Chipotle was embracing the lid flip and creating videos, like the #GuacDance, for their nearly 90,000 followers.
Other brands have dipped their toes in the water by hiring influencers to create short form videos in their own creative style. Guess partnered with fashion influencers for an #InMyDenim campaign and brands like Coca-Cola, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures and Google have worked with popular TikTok users to raise brand awareness.
Influencer Marketing on TikTok
If the audience on TikTok is aligned with your brand’s target audience, working with influencers could be a necessity for your marketing strategy.
Although TikTok has recently launched an advertising platform (we were warned it was coming), the nature of the platform indicates that inclusion in creator content would have a greater reception from users.
Working with a TikTok influencer may be completely different from working with influencers on other platforms so be prepared to adjust your strategy accordingly. These influencers rely on innovation and creativity to keep TikTok fans interested and engaged and brands need to be ready to embrace that.
Start by reviewing TikTok’s own Mission Statement:
“TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.”
If inspiration, creativity, joy, humor, and entertainment aren’t words you frequently associate with your brand, TikTok might not be right for you. But if it is, you’ll probably need to prepare yourself to give up a little creative control.
Brands that have successfully worked with TikTok influencers have learned that incorporating their messaging organically into creator content means giving more creative control to the influencer. These creators think outside the box and your best bet is to let them.
As on any platform, influencer marketing is best when there is a clear strategy and purpose behind integrating TikTok into a specific campaign. Influencer marketing agencies can help find influencers that align with your target audience and can help manage the details of campaign logistics..
Measuring metrics for TikTok is still evolving but tracking followers as well as likes, comments, reposts or shares and rate of full play are engagement metrics that can be tracked by creators. Without an open API, these metrics cannot be tracked by outside parties like brands and agencies. Ideally, there will be an option to make this easier and more brand-friendly in the future. The jury is still out on benchmarking engagement rates to determine what is above average.
Read more about TikTok stats here.
How We’ve Worked with TikTok Influencers
Blissful Media Group has been supporting TikTok for the past year by coordinating partnerships with various influencers on YouTube and Instagram to help introduce the app to a variety of new audiences.
Popular influencers from DIY to comedy to reaction-themed channels and profiles have been collaborating with TikTok to drive growth for the app, build brand awareness by creating exclusive TikTok content, and encourage downloads of the app with their audiences.
If you’re looking to hear more about TikTok and whether an influencer strategy incorporating this platform might be right for your brand, we’d love to hear from you.
You’ve probably noticed that your social feeds are getting pumped with engaging video content. If it hasn’t yet crossed your mind, browse through Facebook and Instagram for a few moments, taking note of the frequency of video content, whether or not it’s a marketing campaign, and how well you respond to it.
Consumers are shifting toward a preference of video content and have been for a while. That trend has led to a huge increase in the presence of entertaining videos as well as marketing content on social media.
We’re going to touch on the upward trends in video marketing, hopefully shedding a little light on why your marketing campaign should focus more heavily on video, whether that’s Instagram Stories, YouTube or Facebook Live.
The Importance of Video Marketing in 2019 & 2020
We’ll run through a few of the latest statistics, all of which point toward the fact that video marketing has been, and continues to be on the rise.
Whether or not you prefer video content to written material or traditional ads, it’s clear that the greater picture is one where video marketing is king.
An Upward Trend
Businesses have been using video for their marketing for a while, but the last few years have shown a sharp rise in the percentage of marketers that use video in their campaigns.
A Wyzowl study found that over 60% of businesses claimed to be using video in their marketing efforts in 2017. That number jumped 18% in 2018, and the 2019 percentage is up to 87%.
It makes sense, too, seeing as most business owners and marketers who use video say that it brings in excellent results. The same study claimed that 94% of marketers said video improved user understanding of a product or service, 84% said that it boosted web traffic to their websites, and 81% say that their video marketing helped to generate leads.
Those numbers are overwhelmingly positive.
Looking Forward at Video Marketing
The main ingredient in the whole equation, is, of course, the consumer. They’re on board with the trends in video marketing as well, with 87% of surveyed consumers saying that they’d like to see more brand videos and advertisements in 2019.
The marketing community is in agreement on the fact that video will keep pushing into 2020, and many brands plan to increase spending on video. Additionally, of those who aren’t already using video as a marketing tool, almost 75 percent of them plan to start doing so this year, according to HubSpot.
So, What Can You Do?
All arrows are pointing toward the fact that video is here and plans to stick around. That means there’s a lot of competition and the need for great content is extremely important. One way to greatly improve the quality and reach of your video marketing campaign is to work with influencers.
Influencers and video marketing go together hand in hand, often times with the influencer already having the skills and audience to engage your brand with thousands upon thousands of people. Video content can be crafted to any social media platform as well, seeing as some social sites aren’t as popular in certain niches. From product placements to reviews, influencers can work your brand or product into a meaningful customer experience.
It’s an exciting idea, and we’re here to help your brand move forward with its marketing campaign. Contact us to explore your influencer and video marketing options, potentially pairing up with one of our content creators and influencers.
As kids enjoy summer, playing their hearts out before school comes back around, it’s time for companies to start thinking about their back-to-school campaigns. Research shows that over 60 percent of back-to-school shoppers plan to start purchasing before August.
This suggests that your campaign should run a good deal before school starts back up. This, in large part, is because parents are shopping for school supplies and clothing differently than they have in the past.
It used to be that parents would make a run to the store, gather everything on the school supplies list in one sweep, and head back home. Today, parents are spending a considerably larger amount of time researching and shopping for their supplies which means that their shopping starts earlier in the summer.
Most of that research is done online. It makes sense, then, that morel shopping takes place online as well. As school shopping goes digital, so should your back-to-school campaign.
Whether you’re focused on parents, college students, or little ones entering their first year of school, connecting with your demographic can be difficult. Influencer marketers make it a lot easier to make connections, though, and we’re going to list a few instances where influencers have helped companies win big in back-to-school campaigns.
Target and the Quinn Sisters
Target paired with elementary and middle school influencers, the Quinn Sisters, last year and made waves. The Sisters engaged in a “Target shopping challenge” for back to school supplies, bringing a lot of energy and excitement to the sometimes boring process of picking up supplies.
Their YouTube video generated over 1.2 million views, showing us all how fun it can actually be to get ready for school.
Sara Lee and “Loveable Lunch Notes”
Sara Lee (you’ve probably packed a million lunches with their bread) capitalized on the age-old trend of leaving a note for your child in their lunch bag.
The campaign offered a selection of printable lunch notes to include in lunch boxes, paired with a coupon for Sara Lee bread. They worked with twenty influencers to promote the campaign on their blogs with the intention of upping engagement on the company’s Facebook and campaign sites.
They ended up getting almost 700,000 impressions on Facebook and a combined 124 million impressions on Twitter and Instagram.
JC Penny’s Back-to-School Music Video
Sara Rowe, Meghan Trainor, and Alfonso Ribeiro all worked with JC Penny’s back-to-school campaign, creating an exciting music video.
Using Meghan Trainor’s song, “Me Too,” the ad features a group of talented kids dancing and having a blast, wearing new JC Penny styles. The video is centered around Sara Rowe and Alfonso Ribeiro, who is best known for playing Carlton Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
This campaign is a creative example of a brand making its back-to-school push compelling and memorable for consumers.
Target’s Campaign with New Kids on the Block
Target worked with WhatsUpMoms and Joey Mcintyre to create a hilarious commercial. While there’s not a whole lot of product placement involved, the ad is extremely engaging and earned over 7.5 million views on Youtube.
This is yet another example of how much buzz working with an influencer can produce. Influencers like WhatsUpMoms can open you up to niche audiences with millions of consumers who might not otherwise be exposed to your brand.
Minute Maid’s #DoinGood Campaign
Minute Maid partnered with 10 influencers who pushed creative interpretations of their campaign on all social media platforms, with the goal of generating a conversation to help parents better understand their worth.
The idea was that, in a world of a million stressors, it’s often hard to remember your worth as a parent. The campaign’s response was staggering, with a total of over 61 million impressions generated over the span of the campaign. Between Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, the campaign reached people all over the world.
Not only did they exceed their back-to-school expectations, but they also sent out a massive reminder that parents should take a step back and appreciate all of the hard work they do.
Want to Work With Back-to-School Influencers?
There’s a lot to be gained from a well-executed back-to-school campaign. Working with influencers can greatly increase the effectiveness of that campaign.
Contact us for information, ideas, and inspiration for your next influencer campaign!
Want to get your product or service in front of hundreds or thousands of consumers? How about having quality conversations and direct access to your target audience? Do you want to create memorable moments and long-lasting relationships, plus social media exposure to boot?
Of course you do. Blissful Media Group is thrilled to launch our new Influencer Event Sponsorship division.
Want in on this? Below are 4 upcoming influencer events and conferences to have on your 2019 planning radar.
California dreaming? 2019 is Alt Summit’s 10-year anniversary, and this is gonna be BIG. They doubled the time frame, tripled the size, and quadrupled the locations. It’s Alt Oasis, and it’s going to be fabulous and oh-so-Instagrammable.
- 5 Days – March 23-28, 2019
- 4 of the chicest venues in Palm Springs, CA
- 2,000+ Attendees
- Beauty/Fashion, Design, Lifestyle Influencers & Entrepreneurs
By Latinas, for Latinas. Now in its 5th year, #WeAllGrow Summit elevates the voices and stories of Latina influencers and entrepreneurs through the power of community. 2019’s theme is We Are CHANGEMAKERS (and like every #WeAllGrow Summit since 2015, it will sell out in a snap).
- 3 Days – May 30 – June 1, 2019
- Hotel Maya, Long Beach, CA
- 500+ Attendees
- Latina Influencers & Entrepreneurs
#WeAllGrow Wellness Day
Ohmmm. After 3 days of networking and inspiration at #WeAllGrow Summit, attendees are invited to turn inward for Wellness Day. Think: motivational speakers, self-care, and mindful meditations. Wellness Day is a unique opportunity for health & wellness brands to connect with Latina influencers and set their intentions for growth.
- 1 Day – June 2, 2019
- Long Beach, CA
- 300+ Attendees
- Latina Influencers & Entrepreneurs
Teen Leadership Summit
Move over, millennials—here comes Generation Z. The Teen Leadership Summit is a 1-day, motivational leadership experience for teenagers ages 14-18.
- 1 Day – Feb. 23, 2019
- Salt Lake City, UT
- 300+ Attendees
- Teen Movers & Shakers, Ages 14-18
Which event partnership will help you reach your objectives?
Have questions or want to brainstorm options? Let’s chat. We will be happy to set up a time to speak or meet with you in-person.
Whether foodie inspirations come from a recipe video gone viral on Instagram or Facebook, searching Pinterest for dinner ideas, or scrolling endlessly through #CleanEating or #EatingForTheInsta, there’s no doubt that social media and mobile technology have redefined the food and beverage industry. Now that groceries and meal prep boxes are delivered right to our front doors and coupons are digital, brands must find new ways to entice and connect with modern consumers.
Not only have people changed the way they shop, cook, and style meals, their expectations for brand experiences have evolved as well. For brands looking to connect with their customers, the critical first steps are to build trust based on authenticity and honesty and to find a way to seamlessly fit into people’s daily lives. The right influencer marketing strategy can help you reach and bridge that gap with your target market.
Here are some impactful and inventive ways our clients have worked with influencers to showcase the best their food brands have to offer.
Developing New and Original Recipes
A creative way to leverage influencers in marketing your brand is to ask them to develop a new and original recipe that incorporates your product. In this example from a campaign with ACH Baking brand, food bloggers were secured for a year-long project to highlight recipes using brands like Karo® Syrup through social media.
Highlighting the Art of Entertaining
Whether it’s tips and tricks for hosting a memorable party or a quick and easy meal that feeds a crowd, entertaining is a popular topic all year-round. Naturally, people’s interest in entertaining peaks in the lead up to major holidays. So it makes sense to time your influencer campaigns to line up with these occasions.
In this National Pork Board campaign leading up to the holiday season, you can see that bloggers were inspired to create original holiday recipes that aligned with the brand’s Thanksgiving theme.
Showcasing Customer Experiences
Brands that reflect a customer’s lifestyle and sense of purpose or that offer a high level of convenience have a greater likelihood of being considered. Incorporating photos or videos into your influencer marketing campaign can capture a genuine customer experience with your product and help consumers see themselves in your brand.
A recent partnership with California Almonds #OwnYourEveryday brought an array of unique snacking ideas through blog posts and photos shared on social media aimed at “busy balancers” and included ways to incorporate protein-packed snacks during summer routines or travel.
Telling a Great Brand Story
Does your brand have an interesting origin story? Is your product made someplace unique, exotic, or extraordinary? Why not allow influencers to develop engaging content to help you tell your great story and create stronger connections with your brand?
As part of an influencer campaign for Barilla, the script was flipped and top-tier millennial lifestyle influencers shared their passions during National Pasta Month.
The #PassionForPasta campaign garnered an overwhelming response on Instagram and generated brand awareness for Barilla.
Making The Influencers Part of Your Team
The right influencers can offer more than just expert product reviews and social media posts. If the partnership is a good fit, influencers can also be brought on to host in-person events or become brand ambassadors for your company in addition to creating content about your brand.
These are just a few ways food brands can collaborate with influencers. Find out how Blissful Media Group can build a unique and creative influencer marketing program to fit your goals by contacting Paula Bruno email@example.com at Blissful Media Group.