How Can We Fix Toxic Beauty Standards on Social Media?

Ogilvy UK will no longer work with influencers who distort or retouch their bodies or faces for brand campaigns in a bid to combat social media’s ‘systemic’ mental health harms.”

While this rule is undeniably well-intentioned, it still permits influencers to alter their appearance through numerous other mechanisms such as contouring makeup, push-up bras, false eyelashes, and hair extensions. Therefore, I wonder how effective it will be in making substantive progressive towards the goal of reducing unrealistic beauty ideals.

Most agree social media promotes unrealistic, toxic beauty ideals which negatively impact people’s mental health. What can be done about this complex issue? Who should do it?

Well, we have some ideas.

Growing Recognition of Social Media’s Mental Health Impacts 

“As a Gen Xer, the beauty ideals of my childhood in the ‘80s came from MTV (look it up, kids) and magazines. I have clear memories of the thin legs of the women in ZZ Top’s “Legs” video. My own legs have never been so thin, but I’ve learned to love them and appreciate their ability to cycle up steep hills in the woods,” says Megan Bozman, Content Creator at Kingluencers.

Body dysmorphia and depression certainly aren’t new developments that arose solely from social media. However, a myriad of research reveals social media use increases the prevalence of such maladies and worsens the conditions. 

The BBC states, “using social media does appear to be correlated with body image concerns.” The impact is especially pernicious with adolescent girls. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt wrote, “The subset of studies that allow researchers to isolate social media, and Instagram in particular, show a much stronger relationship with poor mental health. The same goes for those that zoom in on girls rather than all teens. Girls who use social media heavily are about two or three times more likely to say that they are depressed than girls who use it lightly or not at all.”

People are increasingly seeking medical interventions to permanently alter their faces, inspired by touched-up or filtered photos of themselves. A 2020 survey of American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) members reveals, “a surge in surgical demand not seen in recent years,” followed in 2021 by, “catapulting demand for facial plastic surgery and aesthetic procedures.” 

Does Low Self-Confidence Drive Increased Beauty Purchases? 

Do beauty brands benefit from these toxic beauty ideals? It’s certainly possible that women who have a negative self-image might spend more money on beauty products. Are brands therefore incentivized to run campaigns that damage self-image?

Of course, top line revenue shouldn’t be marketers’ only objective, and we hope most brands wouldn’t want to deliberately make people feel bad. But the issue is worth addressing since for-profit companies must prioritize shareholder value. 

The good news is that ethical behavior doesn’t harm revenue (at least in this case!) Some studies show that women with lower self-esteem use more makeup, probably to hide imperfections. However, women with higher self-esteem can also use makeup to attract attention.”

In the long run, no one wins from toxic beauty ideals.

Where Does the Responsibility Lie?

If, as a society, we want beauty ideals to shift towards natural depictions and an inclusive appreciation for the diversity of human appearance, how do we get there?

Much like with the battle against misinformation, tackling this challenge requires multiple entities taking more responsibility. Each group should play a role and serve to compensate for the shortcomings of the others. 

Social Media Marketing Specialist at Kingfluencers and Influencer Ha Vy Nguyen said,

“As an Influencer, this topic weighs on my shoulders, as one of our responsibilities is to be inspirational and set examples to our community. And if you heavily edit your photos, you’re contributing to the problem. At the same time, I have the pressure to present the perfect version myself and look a certain way. If I don’t deliver that, my engagement wouldn’t be as strong or my account wouldn’t grow as much. I would welcome a mandatory declaration, in the caption for example, stating that the photo has been edited. But to ban all photo editing I think would make too much of an impact, and not necessarily a positive one.”

Government Efforts to Combat Toxic Beauty Ideals

Conservative MP Dr. Luke Evans introduced a bill in the UK Parliament calling for advisory labels on images where influencers have digitally altered their bodies. Dr. Evans said people were “caught up in the arms race for the perfect selfie,” which was impacting mental health. He hopes “we can foster a society that aims for body positivity without physiques that are literally impossible without digital manipulation.”

A well-intentioned goal, to be sure.

But there’s a common phrase about where a path “paved with good intentions” leads. I’m not sure I agree with Dr. Evans assertion that his Digitally Altered Body Images bill is not an example of the ‘nanny state’ in action. Enforcement will be complex and multiple questions arise, such as if editing for artistic purposes would be permitted.

Brands Promoting Healthy Beauty Ideals

Brands should be trendsetters, taking the lead and setting a positive example. Revisiting the example at the beginning of the article, “Ogilvy UK will no longer work with influencers who distort or retouch their bodies or faces.” Dove only works with influencers that do not distort their appearance on social media, and has created campaigns that celebrate no digital distortion.

Dove has also launched a “#DetoxYourFeed” campaign, which includes a downloadable “Confidence Kit” and “Parents’ Guide” with academically-validated resources and tools. 

Influencers Embodying Natural Beauty

Like brands, influencers can also strive to set a positive example. Influencers can also put our below tips into practice, including partnering with other influencers who vary in appearance.

Anja Lapčević, Co-CEO & Chief Influence Officer, Kingfluencers, said, “This topic should also be addressed by agencies. The issue of ‘false’ beauty ideals is not a new phenomenon, nor is it unique to social media. It is a social problem that has been with us for years. On the one hand, social media intensifies this problem, but at the same time it can also be a solution. Despite all the retouching, you can find unedited, exciting faces, and unfiltered stories on topics such as beauty mania, mental health, and sexuality.

“Banning something usually doesn’t solve the problem. Put more emphasis on transparency. Divulging edits and discussing the issue are the only ways we can develop awareness and move forward together as a society.”

One of Kingfluencers clients said, “I personally welcome these developments. I believe that the prevailing situation, with selfies that are heavily edited, puts many people under pressure to meet unrealistic ideals and can be detrimental to mental health.”

Another Kingfluencers’ client said, “As the Eau Thermale Avène brand, we want to encourage everyone to feel good about their skin. Our slogan, ‘Healthy skin is confidence,’ illustrates this. For over 30 years, our skin care products have been developed by scientists and dermatologists dedicated to the life of skin, especially sensitive skin. Soothed, protected and repaired, people with sensitive skin can trust our dermatological expertise to help them regain self-confidence. Our manifesto includes the fact that imperfections are what make us unique. That’s the beauty of life.”

A Code of Conduct to Guide Responsible Influence

Based in Switzerland, the Conscious Influence Hub (CIH) is a non-profit NGO with a mission of “promoting the core values of respect, empathy, and transparency in the social media influence sphere.”

Working together, Kingfluencers and CIH launched a Code of Conduct that includes best-practice guidelines and examples. Preventing the dissemination of unrealistic beauty ideals aligns with CIH’s guidance to influencers, which includes being transparent with your community. 

France has required retouched advertising images to be marked as such since 2017. A new law in Norway will also require social media influencers to declare if they’ve modified their photos on paid posts. Swiss influencer Nives Arrigoni supports the law, ” In general, I’m for more reality on Instagram.”

Switzerland does not have such a law, although in 2019, the Swiss Compliance Commission (SLK) introduced the following in the regulations for fair and honest advertising, “It is unfair to use computer-processed images of bodies and body shapes in a deceptive manner in commercial communications in order to claim an effect or result that cannot be achieved.” The SLK has not yet received any complaints about it.

Top Tips for Brands to Promote Healthy Beauty Ideals

1. Work with influencers who vary in appearance.

It’s well known that women may use filters and digital editing to make alterations such as plumper lips, thicker hair, larger breasts, and smoother, wrinkle-free skin. Of course, plenty of women naturally have such attributes. It doesn’t help to ban digitally altered images if you then work only with influencers who naturally have the exact appearance everyone’s striving to recreate digitally.

Give the smaller-breasted lady a chance. Partner with the influencer with wrinkles. Let the short-legged woman model your dresses. Everyone likes to see themselves represented as people are so individual and special in their own way and come in all shapes and sizes.

2. Be transparent about your policies.

Make it clear that you either ban or at least discourage significant “face-tuning.” Clarify your position on using models and influencers who vary in appearance.

3. Reveal the power of non-digital visual alterations.

Makeup, lighting, and posture can all have significant impacts on people’s appearance. Show some “before and after” to give people a behind-the-scenes glimpse. Such transparency adds further authenticity to your social media presence.

4. Actively encourage mental health & wellness.

Encourage your community to take steps to improve and maintain their wellbeing, such as spending time in nature, exercising, and socializing in person. Back up words with actions. For example, make monetary contributions to charities such as Girls on The Run, or give staff a paid day off to volunteer building parks. Be part of the solution.

Cultivate Positivity and Brand Love for Longterm Revenue

Consumers aren’t eager to patronize brands that obviously strive to get their money via any means necessary, including deliberately making them feel bad. Fortunately, brands can clearly stand in opposition to this approach, and influencer marketing is a powerful tool for building such positive connections.

At Kingfluencers, we believe effectively matching brands and influencers drives value. Brands benefit from partnering with influencers who focus on positivity and realness, and who build a sense of community among their followers. Done well, influencer marketing can contribute to consumers feeling as though a brand adds value to their lives and understands them. Ultimately, cultivating positivity can drive brand love, resulting in long term revenue growth. 

Take the high road. Not only does it feel good, it benefits the bottom line.

Next Steps for Brands?

If you need influencers to represent your brand while authentically demonstrating uplifting beauty standards, contact Kingfluencers. We can help you select influencers and design campaigns so you can be part of the solution, while simultaneously achieving your business goals such as increased reach.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Swiss Influencers & Content Creators to Keep an Eye On

Switzerland is filled with innovative, fascinating influencers who create informative and entertaining content every day. Kingfluencers has had the pleasure of working with all of the following, and we’d like to highlight some particularly fantastic examples for you to keep an eye on.

Swiss Influencers Who are Leading Trends

Kingfluencers recently published, “13 Social Media & Influencer Marketing Trends to Look For Now,” and we’re categorizing our top Swiss Influencers according to who’s excelling at a few of selected trends. Download the eBook for an in depth look at all the trends.

More Love For Nano and Micro Influencers

For influencer marketing campaigns, brands focus more and more on engagement rates than other metrics, such as total followers. According to a report from Later and Fohr, nano and micro influencers (<25K followers) have the highest engagement rate, averaging 7%, which is more than double the benchmark of 3.21%.

Professional soccer player for FC Basel Alayah Pilgrim is a micro influencer who posts about fashion, fitness, and soccer, of course. She also shares a TikTok account with her boyfriend.

Picture: Alayah Pilgrim

Video is Dominating

Over the next 18 months, video content will continue to increase in relevance and importance. As video becomes the dominant medium, other formats are even less likely to be noticed and brands will have to produce more video content to share.

Alessandra Spataro is well known for her professional and creative videos on TikTok. She often shows ‘behind the scenes’ how she created her videos, and also shares ‘fails’ when things go wrong. Alessandra’s videos have great variety and stunning visual appeal, such as the popping of water balloons with different color dyes.

The success of TikTok is accelerating the move towards video. TikToker Julie Riess frequently posts a variety of videos and is relatable in exhibiting authenticity. In addition to TikToks about food and thrift store shopping, Julie posts “Get Ready With Me” videos and shares with followers her decision-making process putting together outfits.

Creator Economy Will Boom as Content Becomes Currency

The growth of the value of content is driving numerous trends. In particular, more people will try to capitalize on their content, opinion, and voice, making everything more crowded. Brands as well as social media platforms will be actively seeking and soliciting content creators.

Kingfluencers has frequently worked with Fabio Zerzuben, a creator who puts a lot of emphasis on his content and creativity. Fabio is famous for his creative and captivating reels.

As influencers are pressured to create more content even faster, they’re also staying active on multiple social media platforms, as well as traditional media. One of Switzerland’s biggest influencers, Xenia Tchoumi, posts on Instagram about beauty, fashion, and travel. In addition to social media content creation, Xenia wrote the book, “Empower Yourself,” and has given 4 TEDx talks. Swiss comedian Aditotoro is active on TikTok as well as Twitch and YouTube. This prolific content creator has recently become more well known outside of Switzerland.

Influencers Face Increasing Pressure to Innovate

Leo Monferini created a character with funny glasses which went viral on TikTok. As one of the biggest TikTokers from Romandie, he is very popular and Kingfluencers’ clients like working with him. His humorous content is what people are looking for on TikTok.

Consolidation in Influencer Marketing

The influencer marketing industry will experience increasing consolidation in technologies, agencies, and service providers. More influencers are teaming up to form clans to promote their services to brands. 

Founder of the “SKRR SQUAD,” Dario Scheurmann is known for portraying a wide variety of Gen Z situations in a fun way. His TikToks exhibit a sense of childlike whimsy and humorously portray the different ways women and men do things like answering the phone and getting into the car to drive. 

Jean Carly Réveil posts humorous videos on TikTok, often collaborating with numerous other TikTokers. Frequent themes include interactions between couples and friends. Laura Bante creates comedy TikTok videos, with themes such as beauty and fitness, and often collaborates with her friend Margaux Seydoux.

The Headz Agency represents numerous influencers who put a lot of effort into constant content creation, including Simo Bonito who makes funny videos, some of which feature his Italian “Nonno,” whom he plays himself. Ericwdrae also creates comedy content on his own or with his friend T-Ronimo, where they often present two female characters, Bresha and Selina, in funny situations. T-Ronimo posts about soccer, cars, and work, in addition to humor, and sells merchandise such as t-shirts and hats.

Long-Term Partnerships Between Brands & Influencers

To retain credibility, it’s important for influencers to work only with brands they genuinely love and ideally, engage in long-term collaborations, which benefit both brand and influencer. Many of Kingfluencers’ brands conduct year-long campaigns with influencers. For example, we’ve done many campaigns with Minea Jud, who we view as “our sunshine.” She is always smiling and creates high quality lifestyle, fashion, and beauty content.

Kingfluencers has also worked with the following influencers on an ongoing basis to build successful long-term collaborations for L’Oréal: Dilara Tortumlu & Fatjona Muji, Margaux Seydoux, and Jean Carly Réveil, who has also had a long term collaboration with skincare brand CeraVe, plus Lina Senn, who is known for creating humorous lifestyle content and funny relationship situations with her boyfriend, Leonard Stucki, also an influencer. Additionally, Lina hosts the TV show, “First Dates Switzerland.”

All About Gen Z

The existing focus on Gen Z as a coveted demographic will continue, particularly as they’re entering the workforce. Beyond their status as a significant spending group, Gen Z will set new cultural trends in multiple areas such as music, art, work, and ethics.

Also represented by The Headz Agency, Zimmi is a popular Gen Z TikToker who often posts funny skits involving interactions with teachers. The majority of Gen Z are still students, making the education settings highly relatable.

Gen Z TikToker Emma makes funny posts about relationships, school, beauty, and caring for her horses.

Keeping an Eye On Rising Stars and Important Trends

Brands and influencers alike are benefiting from increased opportunities to connect with audiences and generate revenue. Unfortunately, these opportunities are accompanied by the challenges of increased complexity and competition. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on trends and news, and contact Kingfluencers for help building coordinated campaigns.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

How to Communicate Responsibly as an Influencer About War and Crises.

We all want to be part of a community where we treat each other with consideration and communicate transparently. As an influencer, you have a special role in this. Because with your reach and influence on social media, you are a role model for others and inspire your community with your content every day. In this article, we’ll show you what that means and how you can consciously use your role, your work and your influence in times of crisis.

Responsibility

If you have followers, you have responsibility. You influence others with what you post and share. Your comments and contributions to discussions also have an impact. Social media is used by many to get information and find a community. Be aware of your influence and use it for good.

(Excerpts from the Conscious Influence Hub Code of Conduct)

Check then post

Credibility is your greatest asset. When you post or comment, stay factual and be
critical of your sources. If you are not sure, wait and ask someone whose opinion you
trust or contact the author.

(Excerpts from the Conscious Influence Hub Code of Conduct)

Protect privacy

Before posting pictures and content of other people, make sure you have their consent. Therefore, please do not share images of victims and injured people.

(Excerpts from the Conscious Influence Hub Code of Conduct)

(Advertising) Break

Take time off if you need it. It’s okay to not post anything and take the time to reflect. You can also ask your collaborations to postpone or take a break if you want to use the time for yourself or current topics. Also, consider donating your fee.

Full attention

Our attention span is very short. Therefore, use the attention of your community on your feed consciously. When you report on sensitive and current topics on your feed, do it with 100% conviction and willingness. This means that you dedicate that day completely to the topic and don’t switch back to Daily Business and Life in the next slide. This weakens the message and makes it fall into oblivion faster.

We are human beings

People have feelings and make mistakes. Whether you’re sad, overwhelmed, scared, or feeling powerless, your feelings are okay to show or share. It’s even better if you have someone you can talk to about it in person.

For more valuable tips on how you can promote respect, empathy and transparency in influencer marketing on social media, visit the Conscious Influence Hub.

Finally, we’d like to share this illustration from @krikelakrak.

Author: Anja Lapčević, Co-CEO Kingfluencers

Succeeding as an Influencer – Tips from Successful Swiss Influencers

Having had the opportunity to speak with multiple successful Swiss influencers, Kingfluencers complied their top tips, along with an influencer best practices checklist. Our featured contributors are: 

  • Antonella Patitucci, Actress, Presenter, Coach, Content Creator
  • Steven Epprecht, Founder @ Strategy Leaders, Consultant, Content Creator
  • Younes Saggara, TikToker & Creator, Morning Show Host @ Virgin Radio Switzerland
  • Loredana and Kilian, Content Creators known as Saturday & Sunday
  • Carly Réveil, TikToker, Creator & Comedian

Put the Work in and Be Passionate

First, we asked our influencers what the most important requirements are to being an influencer, which included, being passionate as well as putting the work in. Steven noted that it looks easier than it is. Be passionate about your main topic on your account and let your community be part of that. 

Carly said, The magic formula is determination. You should not go there at random, but know the trends and your community.”

Younes’ recipe for being a successful influencer is, “Just be yourself, be open and it’s better to be funny than arrogant because this leaves a better impression. There are many who are trying to be serious and professional but sometimes people prefer if you are not that serious. It seems much more authentic.”

For Loredana and Kilian, not seeing yourself as an influencer is important for success. “We are just a normal family, with the small difference that we share our lives with a lot of people online. 

At Kingfluencers, we’ve noticed that successful influencers are genuinely passionate about their topic. Letting that enthusiasm shine through attracts audiences, contributing to their success.

Pick the Right Platforms

Kingfluencer’s recommends selecting which channels to be active on, taking into consideration different media types, then having a strategy to be present there. “I speak a lot and I know my community likes to listen,” said Antonella.

Loredana and Kilian use TikTok because it’s a hugely creative video platform.

“We both graduated with a bachelor’s degree in multimedia production, so we find this platform one of the most exciting. Meanwhile, however, Instagram has also introduced Reels (copy of TikTok), which we also love to do. We love the Stories on Instagram and our viewers like being so close to everyday life.”

Create Value for Brands

Influencer marketing has proven to be an efficient way for brands to reach target audiences while achieving best-in-class ROI figures. Kingfluencers supports brands in leveraging this powerful tool to get even closer to consumers. We asked our influencers about their specific approaches to creating value for brands.

In creating value for brands, the first and most important is that it’s a match. You have to use the product. I believe all the people in my community could feel if I just did it because someone offered me money or if I really use the product.

Antonella Patitucci

The value is in telling your own story and putting emotion behind it. Give the product a face and so people can relate. Share your unique story and opinion. A product alone is a picture, but with you and your story, it’s like a movie.
Antonella Patitucci
Also, have longer-term collaborations rather than making just 1 or 2 posts. Brands get the most out of campaigns when they’re a longer-term partnership instead of one-offs.
Antonella Patitucci
The most important benefit an influencer has for brands is that we can reach our community on an emotional level, which can be difficult for brands with traditional media campaigns.“Influencer stories are a credible way for brands to communicate, and influencers can serve as real brand ambassadors. We give the brand a different approach, rather than copying and pasting the media and marketing strategy to another channel. The influencer is in touch with the brand and products and makes up their own story on implementing it in their daily life.
Steven Epprecht

Influencer stories are a credible way for brands to communicate, and influencers can serve as real brand ambassadors. We give the brand a different approach, rather than copying and pasting the media and marketing strategy to another channel.”

Loredana and Kilian recommend, “Talk about goals with the partner. To make campaigns interactive and gripping, we think first and foremost about the expectations and wishes of our viewers. The focus is on the added value for viewers.”

Safeguard Authenticity and Engage with Your Community

Another commonality of successful influencers that Kingfluencer’s has observed is building a relationship with their community. Your community wants to somehow be part of your life, so interact and engage with them, which also helps build trust and credibility.

All of our influencers recognize the importance of staying authentic, which includes only doing campaigns for products they actually use.

Antonella added, “Be yourself, stick to your opinion. If you make a mistake, apologize, and change your opinion. I was against TikTok at the beginning and I made an official statement that it’s shit and just for kids, and I made fun of it. But TikTok approached me and wanted me to do it. I looked at the statistics and saw that the audience is older than I thought. I researched and changed my opinion, I wrote in the caption, ‘First I hated it, then I laughed, now I’m copying.’ Then you stay authentic, but you have to be honest, and share with the community, even your mistakes and ups and downs.”

Younes advises, “You should not forget that you earn your money because of your followers. So always interact with them.”

What Responsibilities Do Influencers Have?

Younes suggests influencers make the internet a better place by supporting one another. “Also, be aware that you are a role model, whether you like it or not. You have to be aware of the consequences when you don’t act correctly.

“Now, when I see especially young kids follow me and see me as their role model, it’s like a wake-up call for me to be conscious of what I post and how I act. Especially now, for the younger generation, influencers are the new stars.”Always think before you post something. You don’t know what people are going through at the moment. Always be open in general and open for new things/ideas, especially if someone has a different opinion than you.”

Steven added, “If I collaborate with a brand, it’s crucial that I can stand behind the product, and it’s not just for the money. There are people doing it like that, which contributes to the negativity about influencer marketing.

I have a responsibility towards my community. It’s like a relationship with a friend. I consider if I’d recommend this to my mom or a friend. They trust you and you have credibility and shouldn’t play with that, otherwise it won’t work out in the long run. Only do what is you.”

The Conscious Influence Hub (CIH) is a non-profit NGO that encourages conscious behavior in influencer marketing. Working together, Kingfluencers and the new CIH recently launched a new Code of Conduct for influencers which supports them in acting with respect, empathy and transparency. 

The Concern of Fake Followers

Most influencers don’t consider fake followers to be a problem. Loredana and Kilian said, “I think you can recognize the real online personalities very quickly if you take a closer look at the profiles.” Younes agreed that it’s easy to tell if someone has many fake followers.

Carly, on the other hand, replied, “I am very afraid of fake followers. It messes up the stats. I prefer few real subscribers rather than several fakes.”

Kingfluencers advocates that influencers and agencies work together to keep the industry clean, for example, by establishing guidelines, monitoring stats, and only engaging in legitimate organic growth strategies.

It’s important for influencers to move with the trends, including interactivity. Social media enables consumers to get more involved and interact, resulting in trends like brands hosting polls or soliciting consumer feedback on issues such as new product development. Employees using social media can also serve as brand ambassadors.

Social media platforms are continually releasing new features like live emissions during which consumers can make purchases. Kingfluencers recommends that brands and influencers alike consider using these cool new features to engage audiences and provide what they like. 

What Not to Do

Loredana and Kilian suggest not to:

  • Cooperate with a partner just because they pay a lot of money
  • Only post advertising content
  • Constantly change partners. E.g., a new car every month. No one has a new car every month, that’s not real. That doesn’t do anything for the partner or their own channels.

Younes finds it very annoying when influencers flood their stories with discount codes.

Influencer Best Practices Checklist

  • Be passionate about your main topic
  • Find out what kind of influencer, select your channels, and stick to your decisions (as long as they make sense)
  • Interact and engage to build a relationship with your community
  • You have a responsibility to your community. Treat it like a relationship with a friend.
  • Remember you are a role model, whether you like it or not
  • When promoting brands, tell your own story and put emotion behind it
    • Don’t just copy and paste the brand’s marketing strategy
    • Keep the focus on the added value for viewers
  • Be authentic, maintain trust and credibility – only promote brands you truly stand behind
  • Always interact with your followers
  • Aim for long term brand collaborations
  • Be yourself & stick to your opinions 
  • If you make a mistake, acknowledge and apologize

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Creator Portraits – Bad-Vibes – 20min collab

In collaboration with 20 Minuten we created a series of creator portraits: influencers come from different backgrounds, have different stories and operate in various niches, from sustainability bloggers, to TikTokers and YouTubers. Check them all out below and stay tuned for more!

Meet sustainability blogger Anina Mutter

Meet TikToker Kirs8an

Meet YouTuber Nathistyle

Meet TikToker Almost.Cesca

Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing.

Succeeding as an Influencer – Tips from Successful Swiss Influencers

Based on the GFM — Kingfluencers webinar from 9.12.2020

Kingfluencers and gfm recently hosted a webinar, “Influencer Marketing – a Glance into The Future.” You can watch a recording of the webinar here and we’ve highlighted top tips from our speakers, along with an influencer best practices checklist. Our featured speakers are two successful Swiss influencers, Antonella Patitucci, Actress, Presenter, Coach, Content Creator, and Steven Epprecht, Founder @ Strategy Leaders, Consultant, Content Creator.
More interested in the brand perspective? Check out our previous article here.

Put the Work in and Be Passionate

First, we asked our influencers what the most important requirements are to being an influencer, which included, put the work in and be passionate. Steven noted that it looks easier than it is. Be passionate about your main topic on your account and let your community be part of that. 

Antonella recommended finding out what kind of influencer you are and what’s the best for you, then sticking with your decision. Select which channels to be active on, taking into consideration different media types, then have a strategy to be present there. “I speak a lot and I know my community likes to listen,” said Antonella.

Build a relationship with the community. Your community wants to somehow be part of your life, so interact and engage with them, which also helps build trust and credibility.

Becoming an influencer is creating a personal brand, including all the factors of a brand. As a brand, you must have a strategy how to be present on the different channels.

Create Value for Brands

Antonella added, “In creating value for brands, the first and most important is that it’s a match. You have to use the product. I believe all the people in my community could feel if I just did it because someone offered me money or if I really use the product. 

“The value is in telling your own story and putting emotion behind it. Give the product a face and so people can relate. Share your unique story and opinion. A product alone is a picture, but with you and your story, it’s like a movie.

“Also, have longer-term collaborations rather than making just 1 or 2 posts. Brands get the most out of campaigns when they’re a longer-term partnership instead of one-offs.”

Steven stated, “The most important benefit an influencer has for brands is that we can reach our community on an emotional level, which can be difficult for brands with traditional media campaigns.“Influencer stories are a credible way for brands to communicate, and influencers can serve as real brand ambassadors. We give the brand a different approach, rather than copying and pasting the media and marketing strategy to another channel. The influencer is in touch with the brand and products and makes up their own story on implementing it in their daily life.”

“The value is in telling your own story and putting emotion behind it. Give the product a face and so people can relate. Share your unique story and opinion. A product alone is a picture, but with you and your story, it’s like a movie.”

Swiss Influencer Antonella Patitucci

Safeguard Authenticity

Recognizing that authenticity is a critical success factor, we asked our influencers how they maintain the trust of their audience.

Antonella advised, “Be yourself, stick to your opinion. If you make a mistake, apologize, and change your opinion. I was against TikTok at the beginning and I made an official statement that it’s shit and just for kids, and I made fun of it. But TikTok approached me and wanted me to do it. I looked at the statistics and saw that the audience is older than I thought. I researched and changed my opinion, I wrote in the caption, ‘First I hated it, then I laughed, now I’m copying.’ Then you stay authentic, but you have to be honest, and share with the community, even your mistakes and ups and downs.”

Steven added, “The most important thing is, if I collaborate with a brand, it’s crucial that I can stand behind the product, and it’s not just for the money. There are people doing it like that, which contributes to the negativity about influencer marketing.“I even differentiate the type of work that I do. I’m quicker to accept jobs as a model because it’s my face, not my name. But on my own channels, I’m saying I recommend it and I have a responsibility towards my community. It’s like a relationship with a friend. I consider if I’d recommend this to my mom or a friend. They trust you and you have credibility and shouldn’t play with that, otherwise it won’t work out in the long run. Only do what is you.”

“I even differentiate the type of work that I do. I’m quicker to accept jobs as a model because it’s my face, not my name. But on my own channels, I’m saying I recommend it and I have a responsibility towards my community. It’s like a relationship with a friend.

Steven Epprecht, a swiss influencer in Zurich

Move with Marketing Trends

It’s important for influencers to move with the trends, including interactivity. Social media enables consumers to get more involved and interact, resulting in trends like brands hosting polls or soliciting consumer feedback on issues such as new product development. Employees using social media can also serve as brand ambassadors.

Influencer Best Practices Checklist

  1. Be passionate about your main topic.
  2. Find out what kind of influencer, select your channels, and stick to your decisions.
  3. Interact and engage to build a relationship with your community.
  4. You have a responsibility to your community. Treat it like a relationship with a friend.
  5. When promoting brands, tell your own story and put emotion behind it – don’t just copy and paste the brand’s marketing strategy!
  6. Maintain trust and credibility – only promote brands you truly stand behind.
  7. Aim for long term brand collaborations.
  8. Be yourself & stick to your opinions.
  9. If you make a mistake, apologize.

Top 6 Ways to Make Influencer Marketing Work: Practical Tips from Universal Switzerland

Based on the GFM — Kingfluencers webinar from 9.12.2020

Influencer marketing has the potential to deliver exceptional returns for brands, from awareness and emotional connection with consumers, to conversions to sales. But like any marketing initiative, it needs to be properly executed, which must involve a tailored approach for your unique brand.

On a recent webinar, Martina Klieber, Publicity Manager, Universal Pictures International Switzerland, GmbH, shared lessons learned on making influencer marketing work. You can watch a recording of the webinar here and following are the highlights.

Incorporate Influencer Marketing into the Marketing Mix

As Influencer marketing emerged as a distinct discipline, it was often isolated, although many attributes make it highly complementary to other components of the marketing mix. A holistic and integrated approach to marketing disciplines is ideal. More organizations are understanding this and therefore start connecting the dots, having IM interact with and impact other marketing initiatives. The result is efficiencies and increased impact, enabling brands to achieve more with the same resources. Especially when influencer marketing content is repurposed in other marketing areas, the ripple effect of this integration can be very fruitful.

Each brand has to find out where IM works best in your campaigns. Over the years, we’ve experimented with and implemented IM in our mix. It has proven to be a very effective and efficient way to reach out to what we call our ‘persuadable audience.’ This is usually a group that is harder to reach with linear TV or other advertising media, with maybe a shorter attention span, but with a great acceptance of personalized and targeted advertisement,” explained Martina.

Campaigns to Enable Connections

Universal Switzerland doesn’t promote Universal Pictures as a brand, but rather single titles or film franchises such as “Fast and Furious.” Martina, explains, “Social media and influencer marketing have replaced the common gatekeepers between brands and consumers. Recent studies have shown that IM can be a powerful tool. For us, this means IM as an integral part of our marketing campaign provides us with an opportunity to promote an experience rather than a product. IM is an emotional, personal, and credible approach that is widely accepted by a younger target audience.”

Synchronize Influencer Marketing

“Influencer marketing is never a standalone measure. For the best outcomes, it’s crucial to carefully sync timelines between media and IM campaigns. Each and every touchpoint ideally links to a campaign tentpole, picks up some hot new AV content, and supports a specific campaign goal.

“You have to be aware of the narration of the story you want to tell. You can’t just have gaps in it. Find the space where it fits in best,” said Martina.

A Second Life for Content

If done right, IM content can provide additional value and be used in a second lifecycle. It can culminate in another campaign by creating press coverage, being used in a brand platform in an owned community, or even as advertising or even communication material. Influencer marketing can enable you to succeed with secondary or tertiary goals. Using the content wisely bring a range of wins and advantages and boosts ROI even more.

The Importance of Good Matches

Martina described a campaign to promote the newest installment of a large franchise. “The campaign was particularly successful because of the perfect match we made. We challenged top influencers to create their own trailer, engaging their community and activating them to go see the film. The selected influencers were huge fans of the franchise and went above and beyond to create top content. Our confidence in their capability and creativity, combined with their enthusiasm for the project resulted in a massive overperformance,” Martina explained.

Universal’s success shows that you can have great success when the influencer and community are a good match for your brand, and the influencer is excited about your brand and tells the story properly.

Additionally, Martina noted that when creating marketing campaigns for local theatrical releases using local influencers makes sense for credibility and local language, especially in Switzerland. The influencer help bridge the gap that international stars cannot.

Influencer Marketing Best Practices List

Martina first stated, “Let me assure you, we’ve done it all wrong and right,” and then proceeded to state an exceptional list of IM best practices based on years of experience.

1. Make the Perfect Match

Make perfect matches with not only the influencers, but the community. It’s worthwhile to take a closer look into the statistics of influencers, their community, and their account. It’s nice if you can afford an A-list celebrity, but your money might be better spent by choosing a smaller or more homogenous community.

2. Access Expertise

There’s no way to tell who’s the “best” influencer, so invest time in making the perfect match for your brand. Agencies offer expertise and data to help you source. Hit lists aren’t a substitute for expertise.

3. See the Content Creator, Not the Platform

Influencers are more than just a number on their profile. Use the expertise and creativity that content creators are willing and able to bring to the table. They know their community very well. Give them a precise briefing, but as much freedom as you can.

4. Influencers are Not a Media Buy

You might be able to pay them to say a specific slogan into the camera, but communities can be very harsh with content creators who do that. If they tell you that won’t work, listen to them. Maybe they have a better idea, but maybe they’re not the perfect match.

5. Let Influencers Do What They Do Best

Don’t tell them how to do their job. IM has massive potential to sell complicated brands and experiences. If you think about the story you want to tell with your brand, influencers can offer you a targeted, personal, and credible voice to tell that story.

6. Be Creative and Be Bold

Work with influencers that bring the right amount of creativity to the table, independent of their size. Make IM an integral part of your media mix to target audiences that are otherwise harder to reach. Carefully synch the timelines for the rest of your campaigns for the best results.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Going crazy during the lockdown? Our influencers share their exclusive lockdown survival tips!

As the world grapples with a second (and in some cases even third) COVID-19 wave, many people feel stuck, defeated and hopeless due to the numerous lockdowns they have had to endure in the space of a year. Switzerland imposed a “semi-lockdown” on 18 January 2021, causing many shops to close their doors once again since the end of the first lockdown in March. Kingfluencers, therefore, asked a few Swiss influencers to share tips and tricks to not only cope better with the situation but also to grow personally in this lockdown.

Wednesday, January 13th 2021: The Swiss Federal Council has announced that from the next Monday on, the nation will set yet another semi-lockdown in place at least until the end of February. Millions of sighs of frustration from the first lockdown last March were exhaled at that moment. Here we go again, many thought. Within just a few hours, information spread like a digital wildfire and the nation knew what to do starting Monday and streets and malls were crowded nationwide over that “final weekend”.

Now it’s been four weeks since the semi-lockdown and we have survived the first lockdown back in March. Nevertheless, many are left feeling frustrated, confused and lost since the announcement of the semi-lockdown. To help you not only survive the lockdown but also thrive in it, we have asked our influencers to give us their survival tips and tricks in their areas of expertise.

DIY and hobbies

Doris Flury presenting her fluffy freshly baked bread: All home made!

One of the few things many of us can make the best of is the extra free time. Even if you are lucky to be healthy and still employed, you may find yourself with nothing to do in the evenings whereas pre-pandemic you were normally out with your friends, colleagues, family or life partners. Take advantage of this and try out new things or reconsider your old hobbies that you never seem to have time for. Austrian-native food blogger and mother of three Doris Flury has made home-made bread during the pandemic:

There is nothing better than freshly baked bread.

Sustainability blogger and actress Anina Mutter also recommends “learning a new instrument or singing”.

Harmonie Matthey proudly posing with her home-made octopus toy that she made for her daughter

Harmonie Matthey, Neuchâtel-native blogger and founder of decoration and interior online shop Au_numero_9, had a fun DIY idea. Her daughter wanted a stuffed two-sided, flippable octopus that would indicate one’s mood. One side would show a happy face and the other a sad or mad face. “I could order it in two clicks,” said Harmonie, “but we took the chance to produce it at home! Making your own is a great way to be active and avoid contributing to worldwide mass productions. We found a DIY guide on Etsy, re-created it and posted the result. We have a really cool octopus at home now.” She also values the experience in creating the toy: “Making it at home also was a fun experience. Not only is this a new, home-made toy for my daughter but is now also a great memory for us!

Steven Epprecht has taken advantage of the free evenings since the first lockdown to re-discover his love of reading.

You can also spend this lockdown to try out new hobbies or even re-discover old ones, like reading. Many of us have lost interest in reading over the years due to numerous reasons, including model, event host and blogger Steven Epprecht. He has grown fond of reading again since the first lockdown back in March 2020, especially since he was always out and about in the evenings pre-pandemic.

When you’re at home more often on the weekend, you get the chance to read. I also find it good for switching off.

Netflix: Our influencers’ favourite binge-watching series

For this article, we have asked our influencers which series they binge watch or are rewatching at the moment. If you are looking for new series to binge watch, see if you find something of interest for you. Two shows that came up multiple times as all-time favourites were Netflix originals Narcos and Lupin.

Moreover, most shows that influencers mentioned were ones that they either rewatched or finally were able to start watching even after they ended because they finally had enough time (especially in the evening) to catch up. The shows that were named were the following:

  • How To Get Away With Murder
  • Revenge
  • Friends
  • The L-Word and The L-Word: Generation Q
  • Suits
  • Cable Girls
  • Breaking Bad
  • 24
  • Vikings

If you are seeking on-going shows, beauty, health and lifestyle expert Frieda Hodel highly recommends Netflix Originals Ozark and The Queen’s Gambit. TikToker and Virgin Radio co-host Younes is also a fan of Riverdale. Geneva-native TikToker Carly Réveil also recommends The Queen’s Gambit and Umbrella Academy.

Carly Réveil and Younes Saggara’s exclusive TikTok tips

There is no doubt that TikTok has boomed globally since the first lockdown back in spring 2020. According to Sensor Tower, they crossed 2 billion downloads after the best quarter for any app ever. Nowadays, the viral short video social platform has over 1 billion active monthly viewers, as Wallaroo Media reported recently. Since the first worldwide lockdown, not only did TikTok’s users increase their average watch times, users of all ages also started posting their own TikTok videos. From participating in viral dances and challenges to posting their own cooking, financial, study or fashion tips, a TikTok user has access to many genres of short videos that can be either entertaining or informative.

When it came to tips for current or future TikTok creators, we reached out to two of Switzerland’s many popular Tiktokers, Geneva-native Carly Réveil and Virgin Radio Co-Host Younes Saggara.

Carly Réveil recommends posting dynamic TikTok videos over posting longer ones.

Carly is especially fond of TikTok “because lots of people take pleasure and invent new trends as crazy as each other.” Here we list his exclusive tips:

  1. “Be regular and post at least once a week, because people need to get into our universe.”
  2. “Be effective in the dissemination of content. You don’t have to make long videos but they have to be dynamic and you also have to ask yourself: If I came across this video and it wasn’t me, would I still like it?
  3. “Have the urge. You don’t have to make content to want to be a star but to have fun and pleasure. If we don’t have fun, we can’t stay motivated and keep making quality content.
Younes Saggara’s TikTok top success tips: Be yourself and spontaneous!

Younes has further TikTok tips to add:

  1. My biggest tip is to be yourself because there’s only one of you and that’s something nobody can ever take away from you.
  2. When a cool idea comes up, just do it right then and there. As long as you don’t break any of TikTok’s rules, don’t think of what others might think. Just film and post it.
  3. Let yourself be inspired by other TikTokers — That’s what TikTok is all about.

Steven Epprecht’s exclusive skin care tips for men

Men’s skin needs love and care too. Steven Epprecht agrees!

One conversation that we have seen come up often since the pandemic is of women worldwide agreeing that we finally have time to pamper ourselves and indulge ourselves in at-home spa days, whether solo or together with the people we live with. But what about men? Their skins need love too! We therefore asked Steven Epprecht for exclusive grooming and skin care tips for men.

We have to start early with our skin care routines,” says the model and blogger/influencer. “Us men should definitely pay more attention to our skins to prevent premature aging”. He has repeatedly shared his daily skincare routine on Instagram and is happy to see comments and messages of male followers showing interest and asking for more tips. His own simple and quick routine which he follows every morning and every evening is as follows:

  • Wash face with a foaming cleanser
  • Apply serum and moisturizer
  • Gently apply eye cream
  • Occasionally: apply a mask (because why do only girls get to enjoy masks?)

Needless to say, we need to see our skin care beauty routines as complemential to drinking enough water, eating healthy, exercising regularly and reducing stress.

Mental health

According to the Swiss Corona Stress Study which was conducted by a study team of the University of Basel, “the share of people reporting maximum stress was about 11 percent during the April lockdown,” which then “rose to 20 percent in the second wave in November.” Moreover, the percentage of respondents with major depressive symptoms has increased dramatically over both lockdowns:

“While the percentage of respondents with major depressive symptoms was 3 percent before the pandemic9 percent during the April lockdown, and 12 percent during the May lockdown, it rose to 18 percent in November.”

According to a Swiss Corona Stress Study conducted by the University of Basel, 29% of Swiss 14-to-24-year-olds experienced major depressive symptoms in November 2020 (source)

It is therefore important to not only keep our physical health but also mental health in check. This is also an especially crucial time to check on othersFrieda Hodel states the importance of looking after others in this difficult time:

Notice which people in the environment are strongly affected by the pandemic without perhaps disclosing it from themselves, be it from an economic or private point of view — and motivate and cheer them up with sensitivity!

Frieda Hodel agrees that we shouldn’t only keep our own mental health in check but also look after others in these difficult times

Anina Mutter also recommends appreciating the little joys in life, going through these extraordinary times

step by step, with lots of self-love and acceptance for our own and everyone else’s human-ness

and putting things into perspective:

“Fresh air, exercise, cooking, reading a good book, a gentle and inspiring routine, playing guitar, gardening. All we really have is the now, so why destroy this present moment with too many worries & fears from the past or future?”

Anina Mutter: “All we really have is the now, so why destroy this present moment with too many worries & fears from the past or future?”

Younes also recommends meditating and writing in a diary. Not sure what to write in your diary? In his diary, Younes writes about how he is feeling, what is going on currently and his manifestations for the future.

It is certainly interesting when you read your diary entries 10 years later.

Younes Saggara takes the time to reflect and write down daily entries in his diary. “It is certainly interesting when you read your diary entries 10 years later.”

Moreover, spending time with loved ones has been a luxury for many but it still is crucial to stay connected in this lonely situation. With social-distance-friendly apps like Zoom, FaceTime, Whatsapp, Telegram and other social media platforms on the rise since the first lockdown, many have thought of and shared creative ways to stay connected with each other while still following social distancing guidelines. Online drinking games, Zoom Friday night drinks, simultaneous movie nights, live study sessions etc. were activities that we have only ever done together with long-distance friends, family and/or partners.

Now it seems like we are trying our best to overcome loneliness, one of the numerous secondary issues ensued from the pandemic and necessary measures implemented by our government officials. Remember that you are not alone and even though you feel lost because you have no control over what is happening currently, you can change your perspective of the situation. As Frieda said wisely: “Learn to distinguish between things that you can change in life and things that you cannot influence”. This gives you inner peace and a sense of security!

Contact your loved ones, “the how is only secondary”, said Anina.

Takeaway message

This extraordinary situation also helps put things in perspective and perhaps also makes our pre-pandemic problems seem small. Many of us learnt to appreciate the things we took for granted. As Anina says, “happiness lies in the small things”. Here we list some takeaway messages from the influencers we have interviewed:

  • Harmonie: “We are privileged. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be home and to see how lucky we are. All the rest is only detail. We all learned a lot about ecology and gratitude.”
  • Anina: “Use this time to rethink your lifestyle and integrate sustainable changes into everyday life in small steps. Also, small acts of kindness like trying to be there for others, or smiling at strangers while walking, etc. can be so fulfilling.”
  • Doris: “Support local businesses and shop seasonally.”

Share your unique tips to prevent going crazy during the lockdown. Stay healthy!

Author: Sherriene Redha, Marketing and Social Media Officer at Kingfluencers

The New Conscious Influence Hub: We Share the Responsibility

Anja Lapčević, Kingfluencers’ Chief Influence Officer, has a vision to encourage conscious behavior in influencer marketing. Working with Barbara Fry, Anja recently co-founded Conscious Influence Hub (CIH), a non-profit NGO. Kingfluencers’ Content Contributor Megan Bozman spoke with Anja about the new organization and conscious influence in general.

The Growing Importance of Social Media as communication medium

Anja explains her vision,

We need to be aware of the relevance of social media — both professionally and privately. What started as a fun and exciting platform is now one of the most relevant communication channels for not only individuals, but also companies and politicians.

As social media grows in importance, so do the dangers that come along with it and the responsibility we all share towards our communities and society as a whole because the information or content we share can have real consequences, including people‘s decisions and mental wellbeing.

I realized that over the past few years, and especially 2020, social media has become an important and serious medium, especially for younger generations. It’s not just about posting selfies and showing your world how you want it to be perceived. Many of the topics frequently discussed are very serious, such as politics, mental health, and racism. It is more crucial than ever to be aware of the impact and consequences of our words and actions.

Responsibilities of Influencers

As soon as you’re active on social media you have a degree of responsibility, and as your community of followers grows — which can be an important goal for some people — , that responsibility becomes even more important. It might not seem as such, but at any moment you’re talking to your community as a role model, especially as an influencer. When people start turning to you for inspiration or advice this is even more the case. Every person then has the choice to make on how you want to use that influence and which example you want to set. One choice can be to use it for good. One recent example of using influence to help others is the Family of 5. The Travel Blog recently offered support to help promote the many small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Unfortunately, there are many issues where people and companies are left without guidance, such as the protection of children’s privacy, and dealing with bullying and disinformation. The lack of guidelines and standards for how people should use social media prompted Anja and Barbara to build a nonprofit organization.

Building an Influencer Code of Conduct

As the first influencer marketing agency in Switzerland, Kingfluencers recognized this issue and reacted by establishing the first code of conduct in summer 2020. Working with this new association, we will take additional steps and create a new Code of Conduct that includes best-practice guidelines and examples, posted on the Conscious Influence Hub.

Anja explains,

Our goal is for the organization to function like a think tank, a place where you can ask questions and hopefully get solutions to guide conscious behavior on social media and online in general.

Therefore, it’s very important to have the involvement of both influencers and experts in various fields. Our advisory board includes university professors, as well as people from NGOs and for-profit companies. I find the connection between the academic/ theoretical and practical worlds is often missing, and it’s very important to have the input of both. We’re working together to establish a strong foundation with the best of both worlds.

Affecting Not Just Jobs, But Lives & Society

Anja pointed out that the topic doesn’t just affect our jobs, but our entire lives, our society, and our children.

Becoming a mom was an extra motivation for me. In a few years, my child will face these problems, so I want to be part of the solution and luckily organizations like Kingfluencers and our founding members and advisors make that possible ? We can’t close our eyes; we have to be proactive looking for solutions. The association will hopefully be a part of a better future.

CIH’s goals include building an online tutorial and fostering a community with many influencers. After reviewing the tutorial and Code of Conduct, anyone who shares these values can join for free and connect with other community members. CIH will also participate on Instagram and LinkedIn, potentially adding other channels depending on the rate of growth.

Selecting Advisors & Influencers

When asked how advisors were selected, Anja explained that CIH sought reliable people who could serve as role-models. Commitment and desire to enact change were very important.

We would talk first, to hear if they share the same values and if they want to work together. Advisors are not paid. We need people who are motivated to work for a nonprofit. Our slogan is, ‘We Share the Responsibility.’ All of us have a responsibility in life, but especially on social media.

Additionally, it wasn’t important how many followers you have on social media. We wanted to work with new faces, rather than limiting ourselves to a few big stars. Many people are influencers because they influence people with messages and content. I also wanted to work with influencers who work on a variety of channels, addressing different topics and generations. The result is a diverse mix of people including influencers in sustainability, LGBTQ lifestyle, and food, a YouTube trendsetter, and someone from French-speaking Switzerland, so we represent all of Switzerland.

Co-founders Anja and Barbara also sought diversity in selecting advisory board members. The board includes representatives from a corporation, an NGO, and a university, along with a lawyer, an author of a book on ethics, and an influencer dedicated to fighting racism in Switzerland.

Anja stated, “I’m super proud of the association because I think we’re a colorful mix of people. I was so surprised to encounter so many people who are also very passionate about it. Although they’re busy people, I didn’t have to convince them, they were super committed.”

The Importance of Handling Mistakes

When asked about the possibility of conflicts arising among members, Anja replied,

I’m very much looking forward to having more people join and contribute to the discussions. Of course, you always have that risk of conflict. People aren’t like machines; you can’t program them. They make mistakes, and one of the most important topics in the Code of Conduct is handling mistakes.

It’s important to learn from each other how we handle mistakes. People don’t have to be perfect. Social media is changing all the time, we have to also develop guidelines and work on ourselves. We all have emotions and lives with real stories, and that’s the beautiful side of it.

A united force for positive change

Of course, it is also a prime goal of the Hub to raise awareness for a variety of themes and use our influencer network as a powerful force for positive change, not just by setting the example but also by pro-actively investing together and pushing good causes to the top of the agenda and increase people‘s awareness and participation in building a better society together. Over time we will set up campaigns aimed at tackling key issues like bullying and using the voices and platform of our members to inspire everyone to do better, turning social media more into a beacon of light where we can unite, learn and improve together.

You can learn more about the Conscious Influence Hub here or follow them on Instagram @ConsciousInfluenceHub.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Effective Marketing in COVID Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, raised many challenges, including some unforeseen issues, such as the coin shortage in the US and excess in the UK. We’ve probably all grown weary of hearing empty platitudes about “how we’re all in this together.” But some good news is that business hasn’t stopped, but rather shifted and marketers need to shift with it. In this article, we’re sharing some specific examples of a few marketing tactics, such as social influence marketing, which can help during “these challenging times” and give your brand an image and revenue boost.

The New Life Online

The pandemic drove people to move even more of their daily lives online, beyond shopping and work. A New York Times analysis of internet usage published on April 7, 2020, revealed that our behaviors shifted, sometimes starkly, as the virus spread and pushed us to our devices for work, play, and connecting as well as discovering novelties. Even prior to COVID, social media played a huge role in our lives With almost 4 billion users worldwide, the role of social media in our lives is constantly growing. Social networks have surpassed search engines as the go-to product research channel for Gen Z since 2019.

The Challenge of Less Foot Traffic

As stages of lockdown and reopening vary worldwide, businesses everywhere are challenged with less direct contact with their customers. As consumers shift to making purchases online via ecommerce and social commerce, the online space is becoming increasingly crowded. The shift to online eliminates geographic boundaries, which provides consumers with increased options, but also increases competition for businesses. These changes make it harder for brands to stand out and get their message across.

Social Media, the Rising Storefronts

Now more than ever a brand‘s social media profiles have become one of their most essential storefronts. Making sure the brand pops out and appeals on social channels is more important than ever, and not just to maintain and enhance the brand image. With the ongoing fast rise of social commerce especially among millennials, and even more so Gen Z, social media is becoming a prime sales channel. In the fashion sector, for example, social media in Germany already generated sales of EUR 3.4 billion in 2018. Social commerce usually takes place on the move, i.e. via smartphone or tablet, as social media offers are preferably used via mobile devices. Especially brands that target these consumer segments can win a lot by making sure their social media presence is optimized to cash in on the movement and avoid losing out to competitors. Revising one‘s social media strategy and tactics all the way to the inclusion of clever shoppable features and creative influencer marketing for example is bound to be a very rewarding exercise when done properly.

Connecting with Consumers is Key to Standing Out

Successful brands are those that are able to connect with consumers and create a relationship. Telling stories to create more emotional connections drives a stronger, more appealing social media presence.

Building such connections is crucial to standing out from the crowds. Connections lead to conversions short term, as well as long-term loyalty and even advocacy. This cycle of turning customers into advocates is described by Hubspot as the “flywheel,” a circular process from attract, to engage, to delight, where customers feed growth.

Creating Connections in COVID Times With Fitting Content

In hard times people look for hope, support, strength and leadership. Strong omni-channel (digital) content that captures people‘s emotions and showcases a brand‘s social engagement can be a powerful tool to make your brand stand out and win over the hearts and minds of consumers just that little bit more. Some marketing during COVID undeniably fell flat when a company’s message just wasn‘t credible. However, there were also admirable examples, such as Ford. The auto manufacturer created a series of ads to explain how they have met global-scale crises in the past, creating an image of solidity and reliability. Some of the new ads also beautifully conveyed how the brand is fighting COVID-19 by manufacturing medical equipment in short supply.

Say It With Influencers for Increased Impact

Influencer marketing can make people feel closer to your brand and develop a strong preference for it.

Influence marketing provides an agile, real time communication channel with consumers. Additionally, brands are mainly discovered online, through influencers, making this an important part of your marketing mix. Even more powerful is the combination of emotion-driven storytelling and content creation by influencers, adding authenticity and credibility to the mix. This successfully drives traffic to your social channels and website, generating valuable opportunities for lead generation and sales.

Aligning with Consumers’ Values

As consumers search for purpose, they’re increasingly looking for brands that align with their values. Like many challenges, this can also be an opportunity. Brands can use influencer marketing to get their purpose and value proposition better known and stand out, while successfully promoting new sales channels. By clearly demonstrating their unique values, brands can connect with an expanded group of consumers and build strong relationships with the potential to last.

For example, Kingfluencers worked with the oldest insurance company in Switzerland to create a campaign in which sympathetic influencers created their own damage sketches and included calls to actions for the community to participate. More than 500 sketches were created, resulting in over 550,000 impressions and 80,000 website visits in a short time-frame, along with a 3.01% engagement rate.

Social influence marketing is quick and agile. Such a campaign can be developed and launched in a matter of weeks to drive revenue prior to the end of the year.

Stay Agile and Expand Your Reach

Social influence marketing delivers reach and real impact on consumer decisions fast and efficiently. Give your brand a face people can relate to, elevate your advertising spending by adding credibility and authenticity to your message. Social media channels also enable you to reach audiences that aren’t easily reached via traditional marketing. The reach of Instagram is well known, and TikTok is particularly popular with Gen Z, the generation brands are struggling to connect with.

Holistic Approach to Influence Marketing

Social influence marketing is a broad area that includes more than professional influencers and content creators. A wide range of individuals can serve as effective influencers and contribute to your marketing efforts, such as:

Employees

CEOs and other leaders

  • Your leadership team is part of the face of your brand. Their role as social influencers is becoming increasingly important

Consumers

  • User-Generated Content (UGC) from brand fans and advocates can be very valuable, and boost community engagement

Each of these groups can be powerful influencers, but, when effectively combined, the result is synergistic, delivering a massive impact.

Leverage Your Existing Advocates — Including Employees

Example of a real-life success story

One tech company chose Kingfluencers to run a workshop for selected employees who were passionate about their work and active on their own social media. Kingfluencers taught the 15 influencers how to optimally stage the products on social media and create emotional textual content to achieve the highest possible performance. The results included 89 content pieces posted with a 23.44% engagement rate and more than 62,000 direct impressions.

What are the strengths of influence marketing? How and why does it generate positive ROI? Read this article providing a deep dive into why brands should do social influence marketing and learn more about the topic.

Author: Yoeri CallebautChief Growth and Marketing Officer at Kingfluencers