Influencer marketing ROI

A recent report from Digiday which looked at influencer fraud, highlighted that a single day’s worth of Instagram posts tagged #sponsored or #ad was found to contain over 50 percent fake engagements. Of 118,007 comments, just 20,942 were not made by bot followers.

It’s not surprising that an increasingly competitive industry has fostered dirty tactics to help influencers lure in sponsorship deals. But, of course, bots don’t click, buy, comment or think; because they’re not real people.

As influencer marketing thrives and more marketers look to invest in the value of influencers in driving awareness and establishing genuine legitimacy, we see an increasing focus on using a plethora of data to establish the most effective collaboration, and, by proxy, the most engaging content. But as the landscape moves faster than many are able to keep up with, we must ask: are we focusing on the right data to get our money’s worth?

Influencer marketing demands a robust approach which uses real-time data to identify the best content creators to create sponsored content that truly resonates. Influencers themselves are under more scrutiny than ever- particularly given controversies around Logan Paul et al, and the imperative deep delve into historic content and performance.

But part of this process, and a box that is often left unticked, is close scrutiny of the influencer’s audience.

Without a clear indication that audiences could be potential customers, the content could (and is likely to) fall on deaf ears.

It’s widely understood that an influencer’s audience demographics are fundamental in identifying whether content will speak to the right people.  Depending on the content platform, there are many tools to help with this- Peg.co, for example, offers a breakdown of audience age, gender and location.

But we need to go deeper. We need to be looking at whether the audience is an audience at all.

Whilst it is certainly difficult to accurately determine fake followers, due to increasing sophistication of bots and changing privacy settings from the likes of Instagram and Twitter, there are tools available and manual processes to get a good grasp of credibility.

  1. Engagement rates
    This is a good indication of how many of their total followers are actually engaging with their content, and exploring whether their reach is valuable at all. Comments should represent about 2 percent of total engagement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, according to Digiday.
  2. Comments
    If you find unrelated comments asking for likes, subscribers, or generally sound spammy, they are likely to come from automated bot accounts
  3. Follower growth
    If an influencer has an irregular or sudden spike in follower growth, it could mean that they have been purchased. Sites like Socialblade can help monitor this.
  4. General credibility tools
    There are a host of tools which do some of the above for you, by using AI to establish audience authenticity scores based on a combination of follower growth, engagement rates and followers who will actually see the content on an influencer’s feed. Hypeauditor, Influencerdb and Twitteraudit are examples of this.

 

These processes are imperative in moving away from impressive but ultimately meaningless metrics that so often entice brands, and naïve marketers.

It’s up to brands and agencies to invest in understanding these pitfalls and how to avoid them, if we are to work toward genuine ROI.


Does PR work on Reddit?

How to tackle the Wild West of a reluctant social community, by Emily Barnes

For brands, Reddit it is new and relatively unchartered territory- and for good reason.

For those who need a quick briefing, the social news networking site is a space where registered users share news, thoughts or images as either links or user-generated content, which are posted to areas of interest called “subreddits”; with topics ranging from worldnews, movies, politics and gaming (it even has a subreddit for PR pros) to more niche subreddits like the ever popular ExplainLikeImFive (does what it says on the tin). Posts can be voted up or down by other users, with the most popular content going to the front page of that subreddit and potentially of the whole site.

You might’ve seen Reddit gain traction in mainstream media; mostly thrown around in publications like The Huffington Post and Daily Mail who use the more sensational user-generated content for their own stories. The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” is a monumental platform for discussion and content-sharing, with front-page content going way beyond Reddit’s 234 million unique users and into viral territory. Access to so many engaged users all over the world is an amazing opportunity for PRs to learn more about their clients’ demographic as well as to implement some clever campaign tactics.

But Reddit users, or ‘Redditors’, are notoriously savvy to bullshit. Reddit is fundamentally a frank and honest space that users understandably want to keep that way, and self-promotion is rejected with particular hostility. It goes without saying that employing Reddit as a brand or representative has to consider a careful, honest and informal approach.

So, how do we crack a quick-witted userbase with a reputation for pitchfork wielding scepticism of corporate activity on the site, and use Reddit productively for PR? Don’t be scared- it’s not all bad. Let’s look at how PR fits in.

  1. Research

Since Reddit is essentially people talking about pretty much every topic you can think of, it’s a great go-to for looking at sentiment on a topic, brand or person- or simply learning about them.

When looking at brand sentiment, Reddit is also a great place to check on customer service- when a redditor voiced his anger at being ignored by Samsung after his phone battery melted, a rep from HTC offered to send him a brand new HTC phone on the condition that if Samsung replaced his old one, he donate it to charity. The community loved it.

The site’s structure and function make it a fantastic way to talk reach otherwise hidden, niche audiences, which can be great for pitch research, for example. Use this scope to access focus groups that would have marketers chomping at the bit, including experts and professionals as well as consumers, to impress prospective clients and keep your finger on the pulse for current ones.

  1. Get involved in discussion, or start one

Bear in mind that Redditors are famously creative, witty and honest, use this to you advantage by hosting a discussion as part of your research, as part of a campaign or simply for brand awareness. Transamerica (whose reps also happened to be actual redditors)  launched a financial advice session for users in a personal finance subreddit, which went down particularly well.

  1. Brand image and reputation

A go-to PR channel is an AMA (ask me anything); which is essentially an online press conference for your client that shows honesty and transparency through an informal Q&A session. Ben and Jerry (of Ben and Jerry’s, of course) even developed a new ice cream flavour as a result of theirs.  As the name suggests, the consensus is that your client can be asked anything, so be prepared and don’t push back.

We’ll leave you with some friendly and cautious advice:

Think and post like a user and not like a brand

Be transparent, informal and genuine. Think like a user- from the types of questions you’re asking to the way you word your posts. Relax and strip away the buzzwords- it’s not often you feel obligated to do that in PR!

Play by the rules

Each subreddit has its own rules and guidelines for posting and commenting. Ensure you’re familiar with these, else you’ll get booted out by the mods and, if you’re really foolish, you’ll be banned.

Have a play around

As with any new platform, it’s important to explore for a while to get to grips with functionality and user culture. Non-posters are known as ‘lurkers’; get lurking, you creep. Even better, emerge from the darkness and get involved early to establish yourself on a non-business level. If you immediately jump in with your PR hat on, you’ll get thrown right back out. Take it as a warning!

And lastly, if you’ve got places to be and want a condensed version of how to use Reddit as a brand you can read its official ‘brandiquette’ guide, or, if you’re a PR or journo, the pressiquette guide is worth a read.  You’re welcome.


What the launch of Amazon Video Direct means for marketers

By Sarah Boulton

Well, quite honestly we will have to wait and see, but it basically means that there will be yet another way to target and engage with consumers, as it is setting itself up big time to compete with YouTube.

If you missed the announcement yesterday, here’s the basics: Amazon launched its new self-serve programme, called Amazon Video Direct, which allows anyone with an Amazon Prime account to distribute videos directly on Amazon’s video platform.

It’s huge news for multi-channel networks and individual content creators, as it offers a new, alternative revenue stream outside of YouTube, which currently takes a 45% cut of all ad revenue generated on its platform. Networks and big vlogger stars are constantly looking at new platforms to launch on in order to build a stronger, more sustainable business and Amazon’s new service could be the answer.

Amazon has said it will distribute a share of $1m per month as a bonus to the top 100 titles hosted on Prime through Video Direct on top of any other revenue earned through content. But, is it enough on the face of it to beat YouTube at its own game? Its not really offering any extra incentive to post or view content. And, it will have to charm some big name content creators over to the platform and that will not be cheap!

The one thing we definitely know Amazon has, is scale and ambition, (well that’s two things but who’s counting), so we’ll be keeping a close eye at who pops up on the platform and will be sure to keep you updated. Stay tuned.

Why not drop us an email to see how we currently work with content creators on our integrated PR campaign: hello@fanclubpr.com


The Internet is freaking out about Talkshow. Here’s why brands should care

by Sarah Boulton

Thanks to Taylor Swift and her buddy Ed Sheeran everyone is talking about new text messaging app “Talkshow”. It’s been described as texting in public, only invited users can post, but anyone can watch.

Other ways I’ve so far seen it explained: “It’s like Periscope for texting”, “It’s Twitter with a twist”, “It’s the new Peach but better”. Riiiight.

Basically, the chat app lets users host message-based “Talkshows” about loads of different topics, from sports and politics to TV, music and entertainment. People notify followers when a Talkshow is live, encouraging anyone who’s watching to send messages, post reactions and GIFs or even join in as a co-host.

There has been reports of the platform crashing, so it appears that everyone is heading over to see what all the fuss is about. It’s just gone live on the iOS app store so join us in taking a look!

The question on everyone’s lips seems to be, is this THE new social networking platform, or is it just a flash in the pan that will go the way of the Dodo (or indeed the Peach messaging app).

We’ll be keeping our eye on it so you don’t have to, so follow our blog for future updates.


Using war propaganda for peace

By Adrian Ma, at Eurobest, Antwerp

Alexander Smirnov is head of an agency called Tabasco in Kiev. In the agency world, he comes from a unique place, unlike anyone else I’ve encountered.

Growing up with a dictatorship, where news was manipulated every day, he became adept at spotting propaganda and how dictators use it.

At Eurobest, he even shared his Dictator for Dummies rule book. Here they are

  1. Control the media
  2. Create an enemy to unite against
  3. Feed the fear, so people don’t want to fight the enemy, and let the government do it

Following a bloody revolution, Ukraine is now free from its dictatorship, but violence stills exists amongst separatists who side with the Russians and those who don’t.

This flares up on Ukrainian Victory Day, when extremists take advantage of this national spirit and the debate it creates.

In 2015, Alexander and a band of volunteer creatives formed the ‘Information Resistance’, where they used their understanding of propaganda to create a piece of content to promote peace for Victory Day.

This is it (he calls it a piece of propaganda for peace).

In case you missed it, the grandfather was wearing a Russian uniform while his grandson was fighting for the Ukrainian government. This video unites both sides of the conflict through this moving inter-generational story.

Being a volunteer project, they didn’t have budget to buy media space for this, but it proved so powerful on social media (the president even shared it) that all of the TV stations requested the content to broadcast. So they received complete coverage.

In 2015, there were no violent protests that Victory Day. It was the most peaceful Victory Day, ever.

Alexander shared some inspiring lessons from his experience. These are

  1. Even if you are small, you can have a big impact.
  2. Make truth your weapon. You can’t win over propaganda zombies, people don’t listen to facts, so your propaganda should be based on the truth of feelings. In this case, love and understanding
  3. Your truth needs to go viral in order to break through the walls of propaganda

Alexanda’s not much of a Twitter fan, so I’ve not included a link to his bio here. But here’s a link to his agency’s website, if you’d like to find out more.