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

Free Ebook – Connecting the Dots: Guide to Omnichannel Digital Storytelling for Brands

Although the term “storytelling” is (over)used non-stop in marketing circles, it sometimes feels like a mythical creature many talk about but few ever really see. One thing we know is that stories work.

In our Ebook about Omnichannel Storytelling, you will find every important aspect to step up your storytelling game to connect even more with your audience.

Downloadable Content

e-book

Omnichannel Digital Storytelling for Brands

Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing and here for our social media services.

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

Free Guide – 13 Social Media & Influencer Marketing Trends to Look For Now

Looking at the title of this guide, you might be thinking: trends come and go as fast as Instagram Stories. Why should my brand keep up with social media/influencer marketing trends?

As Facebook (now Meta) founder Mark Zuckerberg once said, “If we can figure out what the next big trends are, we’ll know what to focus on.” Predicting upcoming trends can be one of the most important factors in planning your next digital marketing campaigns. Kingfluencers experts and their content creators have selected the top 13 social media trends brands should pay attention to.

Downloadable Content

e-book

Omnichannel Digital Storytelling for Brands

Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing and here for our social media services.

Influencer Marketing vs. Legacy Advertising – Put Your Brand into The Inner Circle

Traditionally, advertisements have been a deviation from the content audiences want to consume. A pause in the TV show. A break in the article. A stop to the music or podcast. Ads and content were distinct.

Influencer marketing (IM) breaks this paradigm. IM is a different game altogether, and not just another media channel to reach your audience. Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing services.

Influencer Marketing Fuses Content and Ads

Influencer marketing abandons the traditional deviation and instead, fuses ads into the content the audience seeks. Recognizing this, TikTok advises, “Don’t make ads, make TikToks.” The social media giant describes this guidance as, “an invitation [to brands] to be more creative, more authentic, and to create content that truly speaks to people.”The continuing growth of influencer marketing is part of an ongoing shift away from traditional channels to digital advertising. According to Media Focus’s 2021 annual summary, internet is now the dominant media group in Switzerland, with a 30% share of the media mix 2021, replacing TV.

Influencer marketing is never a standalone measure. For the best outcomes, it’s crucial to carefully sync timelines between media and influencer marketing campaigns.

— Martina Klieber, Publicity Manager at Universal Pictures Switzerland

The Proximity of Social Friends Makes Influencers Relatable

People follow influencers because they genuinely like the person, or at least their content. Our social media friends may not always be in close physical proximity, but we feel close to them. Connections make digital friends, and social media serves as a direct channel into their lives. Many influencers are living normal lives that their followers can relate to. They might shop at the same stores, visit the same restaurants, and wear the same clothes. We could even imagine running into them in real life.

While influencers are people we admire, they are still living lives that are attainable, as opposed to hugely distanced celebrities. “Influencers are per se already more authentic than classic celebrities because they interact with and are connected with their communities, which they built up on social media from day one,” said Anja Lapčević, Co-CEO & Chief Influence Officer at Kingfluencers.

Classic celebrities conduct monologues, whereas influencers conduct dialogues. “Engagement and interactivity are much more possible with influencer marketing which is something that traditional advertising can never achieve,” said Yoeri Gabriel Callebaut, Co-CEO and Chief Growth & Marketing Officer at Kingfluencers.To their community members, an influencer can feel like part of their friendship circle, helping drive high levels of engagement. TikTok influencers are particularly close. Even smaller influencers have engagement rates of 17.96% on TikTok, as opposed to 3.86% on Instagram, and 1.63% on YouTube.

Although celebrities are more popular for advertisements due to their recognizability, influencers, on the other hand, would get direct feedback from their communities, positive and negative.

— Anja Lapčević, Co-CEO & Chief Influence Officer

All in all: “With influencer marketing, you can really reach specific communities that might be hard to reach with regular advertising,” said Yoeri.

Influencers Bring Brands Into People’s Inner Circle

Traditional ads always feature a product for purchase. Typically, the people featured are actors, and even when real spokespeople are used, it’s obviously advertising.

But IM is a distinct approach from regular advertising.

Partnering with influencers gives brands an authentic and relatable representative. Influencers can serve as a true face, a real person within settings that people relate to. These attributes make IM special, and the result is to bring brands into people’s inner circle. 4 in 10 millennial YouTube subscribers say their favorite influencer understands them better than their friends.Influencers are remarkable storytellers who are uniquely able to bridge the space between brands and people in order to establish powerful connections. Brands have the ability to select influencers who are already talking about their type of product. Careful selection results in ideal matches for seamless brand and influencer connections.

Another important aspect to look out for as a brand is the target audience of the influencer/s. If a female influencer’s audience is 80% male, an influencer marketing campaign for a women’s perfume would not work too effectively. If an influencer’s audience is 70% teenagers and students, an influencer marketing campaign for a designer bag would not deliver a great ROI. An influencer who doesn’t drink alcohol would not accept an offer for a beer campaign. The brand’s target audience should match as closely as possible with the target audience of the selected influencer/s. 

Influencers Affirm Trust by Displaying Authenticity in Approach to Ads

In a wonderful display of transparency, Danish influencer Kellylouisekilljoy, acknowledged the stigma of influencer ads and expressed her appreciation for her community’s positive reception of ads. “It makes me so extremely happy because for me to continue to do content full time, it means I have to do ads…We don’t have Creator Fund in Denmark or any of the Nordic countries. Even if we did, it still wouldn’t be enough to make a standard my-adult-bills-are-paid salary.” 

Kelly promised that the brands she works with are carefully selected and stated, “My mission is to make ads for you which both look and feel like my regular content. I refuse for you as my audience to feel like there are ad breaks when you scroll through my content page.”  Such an honest overview of her approach to ads contributes to authenticity. Acknowledging her appreciation and respect for the audience helps build and solidify their trust.Writing for MarTech, Kim Davis states, “The growth of interest in short-form video and engagement with social channels that host it … Put that together with the soaring importance of social commerce, and the appetite among audiences for authentic content rather than just ads, and it’s easy to see influencer marketing as a mainstream marketing channel and not just an interesting add-on.”

Anja’s Top 9 Tips: What Brands Should Look Out For Regarding Influencer Selection

  1. Main message: What are the influencer’s main messages and do they align with your brand’s mission and vision?

2. Target group: As obvious as this sounds, it is crucial that the influencer’s and your brand’s target audiences align as closely as possible to ensure campaign success. Look at their active followers closely and be sure to ask the influencers for their stats. Also, make sure that the locations of the followers match with the locations of your target audience. There are many amazing Swiss influencers that have huge international followings but if you are a Swiss company that sells products in Switzerland only, make sure you select influencers with a high Swiss reach. 

3. Authenticity: One great advantage that influencers have over classic celebrities is their authenticity. In most cases, influencers actually use the products or services that they make branded content for. Make the most of this and let your brand actually connect with the target audience instead of just bringing awareness. 

4. Brand fit: Would the influencer likely use your products or services or do they already use them? It doesn’t even have to be an obvious choice, i. e. a beauty influencer for a face cream. A comedian, for example, could also participate in a campaign for the newest face cream. Be unique with your approaches while still making sure that the goals and objectives align.

5. Content & style: Look out for influencers that publish great quality content that also fit the brand/campaign. Most of the time, the quality of the content is better than the quantity of followers that the influencer has. You will be surprised: We know many micro and nano influencers that publish amazing branded content that are then used in the brands’ other marketing mediums, such as newsletters. 

6. Community engagement: As important it is that the influencer’s target audience matches with your brand’s, it is important to also consider their engagement rates. What’s the point of an influencer’s target group that fits perfectly with yours but isn’t very active and therefore might not even notice the branded content from that influencer?  

7. KPIs & stats: Before the customer searches and selects an influencer, they must know what requirements and expectations they have of the influencer. These must be clear and, above all, related to the medium of influencer marketing and not simply taken from classic advertising. Because with influencer marketing, you work with people and a community, not with machines or models.

8. Format & medium: Is your selected influencer in the platforms where your brand wants to be present? Is the influencer able to create the desired content in the right form? Does your brand want to use the content generated from the influencer marketing campaign in other medias? If so, then brands should brief the influencers accordingly to ensure the correct format and quality of the images/videos. Make sure that the influencer is familiar with that particular format, i. e. don’t expect high quality and artistic images from an influencer that mostly posts Reels or TikToks and vice versa. 

9. Recognizability (for larger campaigns): As previously mentioned, the advantage that celebrities have over many influencers is that their faces are recognizable by the masses. Nowadays, many macro influencers are more recognizable and some even have celebrity status in their areas or even multinationally. Take advantage of that and add a few macro influencers in your influencer selection that fit your brand to spread awareness quickly and effectively. Macro influencers have not gained their success for no reason after all. Also, thanks to platforms like TikTok, new breakout-stars emerge weekly, due to viral contents that get pushed by the platforms’ algorithms

CASE STUDY: Feel-Good Stories Shared within The Inner Circle

Kingfluencers worked on campaigns to promote V6 chewing gum. To highlight the unique health and well-being benefits of V6, the team chose influencers focused on health, nature, and an overall positive outlook. In one campaign, influencers shared a story in which they received the most beautiful compliment and why it made them smile, then encouraged their communities to share their own stories, achieving an engagement rate higher than average on Instagram and Facebook.

Picture: Zoe Torinesi for the V6 campaign

The Future of Advertising

Within the last few years, there has been a clear shift in advertising mediums: Advertisers are investing less in traditional media and more in digital, especially mobile. According to GroupM’s global mid-year report (June 2020), traditional ad format spending is expected to fall by 20.7% while digital advertising will have up to a 67% market share by 2024 already. 

While digital and mobile advertising has been continuing to rise, new formats have been trending. Live shopping and social selling are currently trending topics. To find out more about these two digital advertising formats as well as other predictions in social media and influencer marketing, click here for our free downloadable guide and click here to find out more about our influencer marketing services.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

In Influencer Marketing Bigger isn’t Always Better

Influencers’ followings range in size from niche with a relatively small following, to macro with a large reach. Influencers of varying community sizes each provide a different set of advantages and there are clear reasons why your brand should consider a healthy mix of influencers, including niche influencers, especially on TikTok.

Select The Right Influencer Match to Achieve Your Goal

It may be tempting to think, “The bigger the following, the better.” Many brands pay exorbitant fees to advertise to millions of viewers, such as during the World Cup and European Championship. But niche influencers, like niche publications and events, also offer excellent value to brands. 

The reality of Influencer Marketing (IM) is that the size of an influencer’s audience is merely one attribute of many that should be considered. The key is to select influencers that best match your brand, your values, and campaign objectives.

From Size to Connection

For simplicity, influencers can be categorized according to their total number of followers. Although this is the easiest way to create classifications, influencers vary in numerous ways and how one would categorize audience sizes differs from country to country. What is considered a mid-level influencer in Germany or the UK for example would probably be seen as a macro-influencer in Switzerland given the different size of the total market. As such size reis relative when it comes to influencer marketing. But that’s not where the main trade-off happens. Engagement is the key-word. Often, the smaller following of nano and micro influencers corresponds to a closer connection to community which tends to translate to higher community engagement.

Macro influencers, with more than 100K followers in Swiss terms, deliver a broad reach and awareness. But working with influencers with smaller followings can increase focus and connection to the community, which drives engagement for brands. 

Working with niche influencers also enables your brand to achieve a high degree of targeting. Forbes Councils Member Kelly Ehlers wrote, “A micro-influencer serves more niche audiences and can be beneficial to a brand because they provide access to a small subset of a targeted demographic interested in your business.” In some cases, niche influencers are necessary in order to properly reach your target audience, such as Swiss brands targeting only French-speaking Swiss people.

Pros and Cons of Macro Influencers

Of course, working with a macro influencer can increase your reach, but at a higher total cost. While the total cost is higher, you can reach millions of people, and therefore achieve a lower Cost Per Million (CPM). Because macro influencers are highly sought after, they may have fewer openings in their schedule and are less able to be agile and launch campaigns quickly, so advance-planning becomes even more important. 

On the other hand, Cost per Engagement (CPE) tends to be lower with niche influencers. The rates of engagement are often higher than with macro influencers, making them a more cost-effective strategy for generating engagement. Smaller influencers generally have a closer connection to their relatively smaller community, driving higher engagement levels and resulting in an overall lower CPE.

Both attributes can be valuable, and brands need to build a strategy to achieve the delicate balance that fits each individual campaign. Finally, all influencers want to protect the following they’ve built, and that requires limiting paid promotions to retain authenticity and not exhaust or irritate the audience.

Focus on Targeted Engagement

Similar to hosting a smaller party in your home, influencers with smaller followings have a higher degree of engagement. It’s possible for them to cater to the preferences of their community and engage in discussions with a higher percentage of people. These higher levels of engagement drive loyalty and make the audience relatively more likely to consider the advice provided by the influencer. According to Social Bakers, “Micro influencer accounts boast up to a 60% increased engagement rate compared to macro influencers.”

Niche influencers are considered experts in their specific niches and earn the trust and respect of their followers. Having developed the audience’s trust and connection, they can add a personal touch. For example, Eau Thermale Avène worked with Kingfluencers on a campaign in which influencers shared what they’d say to their younger selves. The campaign promoting PhysioLift Anti-Age products and included 13 micro, 5 mid-tier, and 2 macro-influencers publishingon Instagram and Facebook. Impressions were 40% higher than forecasted, with 74% higher engagement, and a total engagement rate of 3.4%. Influencer Valentine said, “I loved the idea of giving advice to the young me! I think it was personal and my followers love when I talk intimately with them.”

The Value of Nano Influencers in Creating Content with a Personal Touch

While influencers are an effective vehicle for connecting to your audience, they can also contribute their subject matter expertise and collaborate with you to develop creative campaign ideas. Most influencers have a profession with a high degree of specialized expertise, and as subject matter experts, they can help your brand be more creative, and bring fresh, creative ideas.

Nano and micro influencers won’t have the reach to drive mass awareness that macro influencers do, but they’re particularly effective at creating content in their own specific style and with great eye for detail. Nano influencers’ high level of engagement makes them skilled at generating content that resonates with their audience.

During the toughest pandemic moments, Sunrise, the largest non-state-controlled telecommunications company in Switzerland, wanted to spread positivity and inspire people to look to the future. Working with Kingfluencers, Sunrise launched a campaign working with 5 influencers; one micro, two small, and two macro. Impressions were 129% higher than forecasted, and the campaign achieved 1,276 link clicks, and 3,215 sticker taps.

Consider the Differences Between Platforms

Influencers are generally focused on a specific area, but niche influencers often take a narrower focus. For example, many influencers focus on travel and beauty, but niche influencers may focus on traveling with children or embracing natural hair. Instagram influencers, in particular, often have a dedicated focus. However, the lines are more blurred on TikTok, and comedy is a big driver. Whereas those following an Instagram beauty influencer may not expect humor, on TikTok a humorous approach is common across a range of topics.

TikTok’s Unique Approach to Users’ Feeds

TikTok’s algorithms are very different from Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. When users open the app, the TikTok ‘For You’ feed shows videos personalized to their individual interests. In June 2020, TikTok detailed the factors that contribute to the For You feed, as well as what it’s doing to ensure the system isn’t creating homogeneous filter bubbles. The app takes into account the videos you like or share, the accounts you follow, the comments you post, and the content you create, as well as if you watch a longer video from beginning to end. 

TikTok explains, “To that end, sometimes you may come across a video in your feed that doesn’t appear to be relevant to your expressed interests or have amassed a huge number of likes. This is an important and intentional component of our approach to recommendation: bringing a diversity of videos into your For You feed gives you additional opportunities to stumble upon new content categories, discover new creators, and experience new perspectives and ideas as you scroll through your feed.”

This more discovery-based approach means TikTok posts by niche influencers have the opportunity to go viral.

Influencers of all sizes can benefit your brand in numerous ways. The most important thing is to select influencers that are a great fit with your brand and can help you achieve specific campaign goals. Contact Kingfluencers for help establishing campaign goals and finding your best matches for influencer marketing and TikTok services.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Businesses Want To Make Money, Consumers Want To Feel Like Heroes

A Story of How Omni-Channel Storytelling Makes Objectives Meet

The Myth of Storytelling 

While the terminology may differ, storytelling is vital to both fiction and marketing. Successful brands tell stories across the digital ecosystem in a holistic manner, pulling their message together across channels and formats in a way that’s impactful and helps them get through to people and be more successful. Although the term storytelling is (over)used non stop in marketing circles, it sometimes feels like speaking of a mythical creature many talk about but few ever really see. One think we know is that stories work. People have been telling each other stories from before they even invented the words to shape them. Cut to modern times and marketing and the question is: so what is storytelling all about and how to do it effectively and efficiently in today’s omni-channel digital world? 

All About the Hero

Great stories encourage the listener’s active imagination, prompting them to emotionally connect with the characters. In the case of brands, stories help consumers imagine their own experience wearing a pair of shoes, improving their health with plant-based foods, or enjoying a stay in a luxurious hotel. The Hero’s Journey is the foundation of many compelling stories and brands should view customers as heroes of their own story. When people do feel like the hero, even if briefly, empowered by your brand, a little bit of magic happens … 

All-About-the-Hero

Brand perception, for one, is key to making sure people respect and trust your brand and ultimately buy it. With effective storytelling through mechanisms such as influencer marketing (IM), you can forge emotional connections and reinforce your desired positioning, driving revenue and strengthening consumer loyalty. 

But it isn’t always easy to know where to start the journey. Social media is a great way to establish interaction and the perfect place to start or expand the journey. Effective use of this channel can enable you to change how consumers view your brand and broader issues surrounding it. That is one element of ‘social influence’. Often, brands are unaware of the influence they could generate through digital storytelling on social media and beyond. And the more this storytelling is incorporated across your marketing, communication and channel mix, the bigger the potential impact becomes.

But what are the secrets behind achieving good storytelling that captivates your audiences and how to make them the hero of the story? 

Which Types of Heroes Do Your Clients Desire to Be? 

A very important question is which types of heroes your target audience wants to be. Which superpowers would they wish they had that you can help them with? Whether they wanna have the perfect smile, a clean and safe home, or be taken on a culinary adventure, your clients look to you to make them the protagonist in small and big ways and moments. So how can you make it clear to people that you are the one that will do exactly that for them? How to make sure they tune into what you are saying and absorb your message? Your guessed it: with great storytelling.

In order to do great storytelling a few base pillars need to be kept in mind. These principles serve like the foundation to build upon, with the story itself being everything you build on top. But without a solid foundation whatever you build will either be unstable and thus not very credible or interesting, or simply collapse sooner or later. The four main pillars are purpose, emotion, relevance and continuity.

1. Purpose: Start With Mission and Vision

Start from your brand’s mission, vision, and values and make sure all marketing initiatives align consistently with these. Bring every story back to your purpose; why do you exist as a brand and what are you all about. By doing so consistently you create a common thread that allows people to get to know your brand better and get an idea of who you are and why they (should) like or even love you. 

2. Emotion: Be Authentic and Forge Emotional Connection

When you say people you say emotion. Simple. Successful brands connect with consumers and create a relationship. Connection leads to short-term conversions, as well as long-term loyalty and even brand advocacy. The best way to stand out from the crowds and connect is with emotion, empathy, and authenticity. Brands can cultivate brand love by engaging in people-driven, creative, storytelling that unlocks emotion. 

3. Relevance: Help Audiences See Themselves With You 

Consider how your product or service impacts various members of your target audience and draw connections so your posts are relatable. The more your audiences can see themselves in the situations and contexts you describe in your stories, the more likely they are to connect and engage with your brand ad ultimately buy your products.

4. Continuity: Progress Over Time

Stories should progress over time, rather than pushing out multiple random posts, take the audience on an on-going journey that makes them want to see what you will do or bring next as a brand. Solid, ongoing storylines can captivate your audience, create engagement, and make them seek out what’s next.

Example – Corona Beer: The Swiss Limetrack 

Corona-Beer-The-Swiss-Limetrack

Some brands are more than a provider of products, they represent a lifestyle, a mindset, a philosophy. Corona is one of those exceptional brands with a powerful identity and strong message.

To strengthen its presence in the Swiss market, Corona engaged with Kingfluencers to create an influencer marketing campaign boosting local appeal and connecting to Swiss consumers on an emotional level.

Kingfluencers assembled an influencer team, The Limetrack squad, and built a sequence of creative activities and steps that allowed the influencers to tell a rich and captivating story over 3.5 months. Serving as protagonists, the Limetrack Squad took the audience on a magnificent summer journey, which included allowing every consumer to become the hero of their own story by following the influencer’s footsteps and giving away dozens of Corona kits via interactive challenges and contests – getting the winners ready to start their own adventures.

Picture: @matsview for the Corona campaign

Give Your Brand a Voice, Create Dialogue, Generate More Brand Love 

Brands can boost their emotional appeal by engaging in people-driven, creative, storytelling and advertising that unlocks emotion. Leveraging brand advocates and influencer marketing to tell stories gives your brand a face that people can relate to and creates more emotional connections. Influencers can tell their own unique stories with emotion, giving products a face people can relate to. 

What’s more is that social media and influencer marketing provide agile, real-time communication channels with consumers. Brands should engage with consumers and aim for effective two-way communication. You can turn storytelling from brand monologues into conversations by encouraging participation and interaction, as well as incorporating user-generated content. A great way to elevate and enrich your storytelling. Influencer marketing has excellent potential for interactive campaigns. The close connection influencers have with their communities is ideal for engaging audiences

Whereas influencers are a great vehicle to lift your storytelling to the next level, it can help to include a variety of storytellers in the form of different people. While a brand’s marketing team must serve as the primary authors of the brand’s key messages, consider the important contributions of various storytellers, including employees, partners, and even consumers. According to the Swiss Influencer Marketing Report 2020, about half of the marketing managers surveyed estimate the return on investment of their influencer campaigns to date to be higher than with alternative forms of advertising. 

Example – Various Storytellers Collaborate on the 1st Swiss Music Video Specifically for Tiktok

Building on themes of freshness and authenticity, Evian-Volvic Switzerland worked with Kingfluencers to leverage various storytellers to create the first Swiss music video specifically for TikTok. The video “Volli Kiste,” has received more than a million clicks as of 2 September. With tailored rap lyrics, it features a line-up of Swiss TikTok stars from dance and comedy, including Eastern Swiss comedian “Kiko.”

“Because the Volvic teas, unlike other tea-based soft drinks, are much more natural, have no additives and are much lower in sugar, authenticity was twice as important to us in this project,” said Nina Heller, Head of Marketing, Evian-Volvic. Kiko added, “The whole project has to be just as fresh as the Iced Tea: from the song to the video to the people… I see the project as a kind of cultural promotion with advertising.”

@kikomedy

omg – zuuu nice:-) wennt de Song fühlsch, mach grad dis eigene Video & tag mi! #VolvicTee #VolvicRecords #VolliKiste #AllesNatürlich #OhniSchissdräck

♬ Volli Kiste – Volvic Records feat. Kiko

Omnichannel Storytelling: Be Smart, Consistent & Connect the Dots

Omnichannel storytelling is not without its dangers. A core principle is that the brand identity and messages should be consistent throughout your mix of channels, storytellers, and themes. Brands must make connections not only between channels, such as website and Instagram, but also stories. Even in separate posts, across different channels, your posts should function as ongoing conversations in a segmented but connected way. 

Stories also reinforce your brand message, and research shows that keeping your brand message consistent across channels increases brand trust and purchase intention significantly. Content can be fine-tuned to better suit different channels but must still maintain an underlying core consistency. 

Repurposing content is another way to connect the dots across channels. For example, you can take content created for one purpose, such as an influencer campaign, and revive it for a second lifecycle across various channels. Repurposing content not only helps achieve your goals of creating ongoing storylines, but also saves money.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

IM and the Travel Industry

Over recent years influencer marketing has seen a huge boom as brands have been discovering the benefits of the practice and benefitting from the positive returns it can generate for them. In 2021 Nearly two-thirds of marketers said they will increase their spending on influencer marketing significantly, compared to only 39% stating the same in 2018. One of many signs that this fresh marketing tactic is no longer standing on the sidelines but has become central to brand’s go-to-market approach. One main reason behind this is that IM return on investment has become a lot easier to measure and track. That being said, in new 2021 studies, 89% of marketers say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.

It is thus no surprise that IM has been seeing its popularity rise exponentially and whereas the global advertising market might be undergoing some turbulations, we see that the social media advertising and influencer marketing spending of companies is rising sharply, with the projected year on year increase in global influencer marketing revenue expected to continue to reach double digits for the next foreseeable years – according to renowned market research firms the expected CAGR will be around 32%. Meanwhile 17% of marketers claim they will spend 50% or more of their marketing budget on IM. Do we need to say more?

But of course influencer marketing is more attractive for some sectors than for others and every industry also has its own dynamics that is reflected in how intensively – if anything – marketers adopt IM as a solid part of their marketing strategy. Within the influencer industry, the five most popular categories with a share of 57% were lifestyle, travel, food, parenting, and fashion and beauty. Often even within the sector we see different stakeholders have a heterogenic approach to influencer marketing among the main actors. That is definitely the case for the travel and tourism industry where we see different industry players apply influencer marketing in different ways as part of their marketing strategy.

The case for IM in the travel industry

It is fair to say that all the positive aspects that make IM effective and popular in general apply to the travel industry, and perhaps even more than to others. Why? For starters in travel word-of-mouth is potentially even more important as a decision making factor for those people deciding where to go, how to get there and where to stay than in any other sector. Peer-to-peer reviews are almost nowhere as important and decisive for consumer decisions as in the travel industry. Therefore inspiring trust by means of authentic influencer reviews and recommendations can provide a significant sales push by boosting a brand’s image and triggering positive purchasing or booking decisions. The closer the influencer is to their community the bigger this impact will be. This type of gentle but effective push is hard or impossible to achieve with any other form of communication or advertising. Moreover, it has been shown in studies on consumer decision processes that travel is one of the areas in which consumers most turn to influencers to get inspired. There is a very aspirational component to travel and seeing the people one looks up to visiting certain locations and gaining memorable experiences with the brands that make it possible. Whether you are looking for full-on glamour or back to basics nature experiences, when an influencer promotes your destination or service, those with similar lifestyle aspirations seeking for certain experiences are bound to feel inclined to follow in the influencer’s footsteps.

Newly emerging IM champions in the sector

The travel and tourism industry is made up of many different actors such as passenger transportation and airline companies, hotels, intermediaries (traditional and online travel agencies) and leisure experience providers. These players have typically showed a somewhat fragmented approach to their usage of influencer marketing. One of the surprising evolutions that we have witnessed gaining strength over the past years has been the involvement of travel and tourism associations and destinations, where they have been taking control to gain appeal in the eyes of consumers. One of the already famous examples from this year has been the ‘no drama’ campaign from Schweizer Tourismus which included Roger Federer – in terms of an influencer it does not get much better – and actor Robert De Niro. The campaign has been widely recognized as a massive success and even won multiple awards, including in Cannes. In order to give their campaign even more firing power they have engaged a real influencer squad to further spread the message towards a wide audience and achieve positive outcomes.

New opportunities for the ‘underdogs’

When it comes to the leading actors in the industry – passenger transportation, hotels / hospitality and travel agents – we see pretty much a similar pattern when it comes to influencer marketing spending compared to other forms of advertising. But there are some clear differences. The similarities lay in the fact that just like with traditional advertising the big players – traditional travel agencies aside as they have seen their markets and budgets shrink dramatically due to online competition – in general have the bigger budgets to spend on influencer marketing and can therefor work with top influencers, content creators and professional agencies and have even dedicated resources to plan and execute their IM strategies and tactics. But the more relevant part is probably where IM offer a different picture than what we saw before. For starters despite online travel agencies investing a lot in digital marketing and advertising, especially search, display and on social media advertising, we see them being less active in IM working with social-media-made influencers. Instead we see them working more often with celebrity endorsements, which is for many also considered influencer marketing.

But more importantly by working directly with influencers smaller brands like small hotel chains or individual establishments now also have the power to tap into an effective marketing resource that has proven to yield positive results and return on investment. Interviews with single hotel or small hotel chain employees have taught us that very often these organizations do not even have dedicated marketing professionals or teams and so elaborate marketing actions are nearly impossible for them to manage. However working with influencers is ‘easy’ because by just choosing the right people to work with and giving them a clear briefing, the influencer does most of the work such as content creations and promotion for them. This is a huge game-changer and gives these brands access to a marketing power they did not have before. Often hotels get approached by influencers who pro-actively reach out in an effort to create win-win deals, allowing the hotel to investigate if the influencer is a fit or not without having to spend time scouting through social media, and if there is a fit it is usually cost-effective to book them as often remuneration is a mix between cash payments and in-kind payments – mainly free hotel stays. That means IM has the power to democratize the hospitality sector’s marketing power a little bit.

Another factor where IM plays a role is through the fact that for a hotel it’s much more lucrative to get direct bookings as receiving bookings via agencies (offline and online) is usually a lot less profitable due to the high commissions paid. Working with influencers has been proven to generate sales / bookings and by directing people to the hotel website to book directly, IM can contribute to a higher profitability .

Travelfluencers and the win-win-win

Contrary to what critics might say or wish to believe, travel influencer is a real job. And a rewarding one when done properly, no matter if we speak about macro or micro-influencers. Whether main occupation of side occupation, it requires investment in time, effort and yes resources along with a good dose of creativity, content creation skills and more in order to provide both brands and consumers with what they are looking for. Many travel influencers are skilled photographers, videographers, etc and spend ample time in researching the places they go, and creating the perfect shot that tells a story like no other. What is important for travel influencers is to always remain authentic and honest in order not to betray the trust of their community. It is thus always a tough task for influencers to choose the brands and organization they actually genuinely feel comfortable working with and promoting , while at the same time giving truthful and balanced feedback towards their audience. When done successfully this creates a win-win-win. Often influencer receive benefits such as some form of payment and other perks, the brand benefits from the generated visibility and image-boost, and the audience gets valuable insights that help them make consumer / travel decisions helping them avoid disappointing mistakes and guarantee that the trip will be worth the effort, and money spent.

Go micro, and other tips

By now it has become common knowledge that in order to achieve positive results and return on investment it is not necessary to work with the most famous influencers or those with the biggest audience – so called macro influencers. Especially for the hospitality sector it has been proven to be very rewarding and cost-effective to work with micro and even nano influencers. Often these influencers have an even better and closer relationship with their community which makes that their recommendations carry even more value towards those audiences. Especially in the travel and hospitality industry where this aspect of trust and word-of-mouth is so crucial this ‘closeness’ generates more impact and directly affects people’s decisions, resulting in revenue generation for the brand. Smaller influencers usually also have a more defines audience and homogenous follower community, making them the perfect vehicle to target specific communities effectively. Their communities are usually also more engaged, resulting in higher interaction with your brand based on the posts they do and a higher incidence of call-to-action uptake or conversion as a consequence. As their influencer fees are also generally lower than for bigger influencers, it is possible to work with more influencers in one campaign, thereby expanding the reach and combining reach in numbers with the objective of having a focused reach zooming in on exactly those people you want to engage.

Other tips for travel brands include:

  • When working with influencers go for long term collaboration because the benefits of doing so are significant: not only will you be able to negotiate better deals with the influencers but the influencer will also become more of a brand ambassador for you and as people start recognizing this over time, they will associate the person with your brand and vice versa and their endorsements will generate more positive impact
  • Work with video as much as possible as this is the preferred medium these days as well as the most impactful one
  • Choose the right influencers, based on their image, value lifestyle and especially their community – always do your due diligence
  • Although Instagram is the most popular platforms for travel influencer campaigns, it is worthwhile looking into other platforms like TikTok as well, although these do require a different approach and so it is always useful to look at benchmarks first and explore the options
  • Focus on creatine interaction with the audience and engagement above anything else
  • It’s all about experience and inspiration so when collaborating with the influencers go for the route that really inspires people to the max
  • Track your performance and set goals, IM is no longer just about awareness and top of the funnel but also more and more about actual conversion and generating sales / direct revenue
  • Social responsibility is a big topic, but it no longer just includes sustainability in covid-times – take this into account to avoid risks of public backlash

Don’t forget Covid

The pandemic has had a disproportionally strong impact on the travel industry in comparison to any other industry. Even with gradually lowering restrictions and glimmer of hope that things are slowly going back to ‘normal’, it has to be taken into account that that normal is no longer defined the way it was before. Not only did the hospitality sector need to change the way it operates – check initiatives life the well health safety seal in the US and beyond, but it also has tremendous consequences for influencers and influencer marketing. What was previously easy and simple or no-brainer can now unlock serious repercussions in the form of reactions from the public when not thought of. Influencers need to show that they take the necessary safety precautions when traveling in order to set the example and also to offend anyone in their community (and beyond). At the same time they also need to showcase this aspect of safety and health concerns more than ever when they create content about their experiences on certain journeys and with certain brands as people will be looking out for this and will want to know if certain airlines hotels, restaurants, etc can be considered ‘safe places’, meaning they minimize the risk of covid infections to the maximum. More than ever the aspect of social responsibility has expanded from aspects such as sustainability and employee well-being to include public health-measures. Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing services.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Why You Need to Get Started Now to Achieve Success During the Holidays

Many challenging endeavors require long-term, dedicated efforts in order to succeed. Whether climbing a tall mountain, defending a PhD thesis, or embarking on a new career, preparation efforts can’t be crammed into a weekend – or even a handful of weekends. Months of planning and dedicated effort must precede such achievements.

And if your brand wants to succeed and earn revenue throughout the holiday season, September and early October is the time to get started.

Work Now to Achieve a Successful Holiday Shopping Season

Spikes in sales don’t occur immediately at the exact time as ad spend, and ads take time to be created. Many brands also have longer sales cycles, resulting in further deferrals between campaign launch and revenue generation. Again, the time to act is now.  

According to TikTok Internal data, DE, Oct 2020 – Feb 2021, TikTok users embrace shopping content around key holiday moments and build up anticipation for Black Friday and Christmas way ahead of time. To achieve a successful holiday season, Kingfluencers advises setting the foundations for long term success in the early fall season.  

For brands who are prepared, there are numerous opportunities to boost revenue this coming holiday season. 86% of consumers have delayed big purchases such as a car, vacation, or home appliances over the last year. Additionally, many are engaging in ‘revenge shopping,’trying to make up for the consumption they missed during the pandemic and lockdowns by spending extra on things they want – a trend that is expected to continue throughout the end of this year. So as a brand make sure you capture these consumers’ attention and check in part of that spending as revenue.  

Making Wise Marketing Investments

As September has drawn to a close, brands are embarking on the fall/ winter season, which includes many key shopping milestones. Testing and iterating now will set up your brand for success. Brainstorm, develop fresh content, test campaigns, and optimize so you can ramp up and build momentum through Christmas and New Year’s.

Influencer Marketing (IM) has the power to help brands generate awareness and earn consumer loyalty throughout different phases. It’s authentic and impactful and has excellent potential for interactive, engaging campaigns. With influencer marketing showcasing best-in-class ROI figures, it is becoming increasingly attractive for companies. IM has proven to be an efficient way to reach your target audience, and a powerful tool to help your brand get even closer to consumers.

With a holistic approach in the industry and the help of in-house AI-based technology, Kingfluencers is able to run influencer marketing campaigns that not only provide impressive reach but also drive conversions through continuous optimization in four phases:

  • Phase 1 (Sept – Early Oct) – Connect & Create
    This month is the time for brainstorming and developing fresh ideas, both internally as well as selecting influencers and content creators to partner with.

  • Phase 2 (Mid Oct – Halloween) – Build & Execute
    Build campaigns, and begin placing ads so you can gather the data needed to test.

  • Phase 3 (Nov Through Black Friday) – Test & Optimize
    As you accrue data, test additional variables and make improvements. 

  • Phase 4 (Dec Through New Years) – Reap Rewards… & Repeat
    Making investments and building towards success can drive increased revenue through December, but the process of optimizing campaigns should also be repeated continuously.

Phase 1 – Create New Campaigns & Leverage Influencer Marketing to Connect with Audiences

As you begin to brainstorm new campaigns, leverage a variety of sources for fresh ideas. Influencers are often viewed as a vehicle for connecting to your audience. While they can do so effectively, they can also contribute their subject matter expertise and collaborate with you to develop creative campaign ideas. As subject matter experts, influencers are uniquely qualified to help your brand be more creative, bringing fresh, creative ideas no one else inside your organization may have thought of before.

Consumers use social media to discover products and services, and make purchasing decisions, often with the help of influencers as reliable sources of information. 87% of consumers made purchases based on influencer recommendations. When it comes to brands, products, and services to buy, consumers seem to trust shopping recommendations more from influencers than from family and friends according to a study from gen.video.

Getting started with IM and storytelling by partnering with the right influencers are vital tactics for connecting with your audience. The ability to select specific influencers provides exceptional targeting capabilities, although it can be a challenging process. Influencer choice must align with your brand’s message and values, as well as your campaign objectives. As you build an influencer squad, consider the following:

  • Conduct due diligence
  • Find the right match with the platforms of choice
  • Seek authenticity
  • Find the right degree of creativity
  • Aim for long-terms collaborations
  • Consider various influencer roles

Working with an influencer marketing agency can also help you make ideal matches. Because Kingfluencers has existing relationships with multiple influencers, we can also ensure your brand collaborates with reliable, trustworthy professionals. Contact us at Kingfluencers.

Example – Corona Beer: The Swiss Limetrack

To strengthen its presence in the Swiss market, Corona engaged with Kingfluencers to create an influencer marketing campaign boosting local appeal and connecting to Swiss consumers on an emotional level.

Kingfluencers assembled an influencer team, The Limetrack squad, and built a sequence of creative activities and steps that allowed the influencers to tell a rich and captivating story over 3.5 months. Serving as protagonists, the Limetrack Squad took the audience on a magnificent summer journey, which included allowing every consumer to become the hero of their own story by following the influencer’s footsteps and giving away dozens of Corona kits via interactive challenges and contests – getting the winners ready to start their own adventures.

Picture: @fabiozingg for the Corona Beer campaign

Phase 2 – Build & Execute

Once you’ve established strategies, October is the time to get started with implementation and testing elements like messaging, influencers, and imagery. Halloween is a great occasion to feature, as the first fall/winter holiday in the ramp-up to Christmas.

Establish your unique goals, then measure SoMe results against them. You may want to drive a specific and measurable action, such as email signups or purchases. On the other hand, your social media campaigns may be driving awareness and thus your goals may be impressions and reach. The guidance of experts can help you determine where to get started, establish goals, and build structured plans to achieve targeted goals.

It’s important for brands to assess the outcome of campaigns and continually adjust to keep moving in the right direction as they work to build their funnel. Throughout October, continually gather data to establish a baseline so you can begin to measure changes. If your metrics are trending in a positive direction in response to your efforts, reinforce the factors that contributed to this. And when you view trends moving in the opposite direction, investigate and look at the whole picture. Initiatives that fall short are still important lessons learned.

Phase 3 – Test & Optimize, Which Takes Time

Black Friday is the time to capitalize on what you’ve learned in October and test further to optimize your campaigns in the runup to Christmas and New Years. Knowing which of your messages your target audience responds to enables you to dedicate marketing investments to the tactics that yield the best return on investment. And the only way to reach those conclusions is to test. 

At Kingfluencers, our team of experts help brands put together and implement their ideal optimization strategies to maximize ROI.

A/B testing is a wonderful tool that lets marketers replace opinion with fact. When 2 distinct marketing tactics are executed, and 1 outperforms the other, brands can declare a clear winner and adapt future campaigns accordingly. However, you can only test 1 variable at a time. Conducting tests takes time to gauge results and there are limitations on how much you can condense this vital process. Much like training for a marathon, the preparations required for success simply cannot be crammed into a few weekends.

Based on insights gained in phase 2, you’ll be able to build an ideal influencer profile for your brand and better determine your audience’s preferences. This enables you to optimize overall costs by removing the lowest performing influencers and selecting additional ones that match your objectives. In phase 3, your influencer squad can unleash their creativity and experiment with new concepts such as topics, imagery, and calls to action.

Phase 4 – Reap Rewards… & Repeat

Making investments through the fall sets your brand up for success and drives increased revenue through the end of the year. As you’ve dedicated the efforts needed to sharpen messaging, build a solid influencer squad, and develop confidence in your squad’s ability to engage your audience, you’ll be able to reap rewards. You’ll be set up to launch campaigns during the holidays to drive revenue – at optimized costs. For example, have influencers lead live events that encompass memorable, consumer-engaging brand experiences, and even sampling actions for new products.

Of course consumer interests and trends change, making it important to continuously repeat the processes of optimizing campaigns.

Contact us at Kingfluencers to get started now by putting a winning end-of-year strategy together that will help your brand boost sales throughout key consumer moments between October and new year.

BONUS: Solutions to Test During October and November

Rather than throwing something at the wall to see what sticks there are many sources of expert guidance you can consider as you begin creating campaigns. TikTok, in particular, provides extensive information to brands based on their own research. Things users want include:

  1. More Fun

According to TikTok, users want to see fun videos (e.g. discounts presented with trendy transitions or in collaboration with a comedy creator). Creatives tailored for Tik Tok are the winning strategy. On Instagram, add fun with filters and stories, which also bring a sense of urgency.

  1. Creator Content

A survey by CivicScience found that nearly half of daily Instagram users have made a purchase because of an influencer recommendation. TikTok users want to see creators sharing branded challenges.

Evian-Volvic Switzerland worked with Kingfluencers to assemble a line-up of musicians and Swiss TikTok stars from dance and comedy to create the first Swiss music video specifically for TikTok. The video “Volli Kiste,” features tailored rap lyrics and has received more than a million clicks as of 2 September.

  1. Discounts

Danielle Bernstein, founder of @WeWoreWhat, posted a survey to her 2.5 million Insta followers asking whether they would be interested in “discount codes for her larger partnerships.” 93% of respondents voted yes. 46% of TikTok users say coupons and discounts increase their likelihood of buying a product.

  1. Visual Appeal

Many top social media channels, such as Instagram, are visual mediums, so your posts must look great. Hootsuite advises, “You don’t need professional photography equipment, but your photos and videos do need to be sharp, well-lit, well-composed, and in focus, at a minimum… Great photos are nice, but if they don’t tell a story, or get viewers excited, they’re not going to engage followers.”

  1. All the Key Info

Include it all within a single video: price, discount, where to get it. 

  1. Social Commerce

90% of online shoppers are also using social networks today. You can optimize by including clever shoppable features and working with brand advocates to boost reach. Shoppable features on social media are helping drive an ongoing rapid rise in social commerce, particularly with younger generations. Social commerce differs from social media marketing in that users are able to make purchases directly through social media networks, rather than being redirected to an online store. With features like swipe up, linked shoppable product catalogues, livestream shopping, and temporary flash promotions, it has become increasingly easier to make the link between social media storytelling and revenue generation.

  1. Inspiration

For many consumers, social media has grown to become the predominant source of inspiration and guidance. Social media and influencers are now where people turn for new products to try, fashion trends, and hot new tech. In terms of what makes people buy a product, recommendations from friends and family have declined in importance, dropping to the third place.

Author: Yoeri Callebaut, Co-CEO and Chief Growth & Marketing Officer @ Kingfluencers
Yoeri has been a strategist and marketer for over 14 years and worked for the most part of it for B2B brands, focusing on starting new ventures or pushing young organizations to their next development stage.

The Healing Role of Influencers – Especially in Post-Pandemic Times

It’s no secret that the pandemic and lockdowns have had far-reaching, long-term, devastating consequences worldwide. From damaged mental health, delayed cancer treatments, and weight gain, to economic devastation and loss of education. As the world moves toward recovery, influencers and influencer marketing can play a variety of helpful roles.

Influencers as Role Models

Influencers are important community voices in society, and they function as role models whether they want to or not. In particular, influencers are often voices of the young community and an effective means for connecting with young people.

Influencers’ behavior reflects their community. Throughout the pandemic, they’ve been able to set a positive example by being careful to obey the rules and restrictions and taking care of their own health.

Modeling Healthy and Active Lives

Many influencers are focused on healthy living, and exemplifying such behavior is particularly important during and after the pandemic. Exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep all help strengthen people’s immune systems to fight off a variety of infections when needed.

The term “active lifestyle” typically refers to fitness, but influencers can also support post-pandemic recovery by leading active social lives. As communities see them engaging in travel, dining, social happenings, and more, influencers can provide inspiration and reassurance of the safety of such activities – taking into account the official safety guidelines to do so responsibly, of course. 

As people ease back into active social lives and attend increasingly large gatherings, influencers can serve as trail blazers and help ‘new’ normality seem less scary and intimidating. By exhibiting these behaviors, influencers can help socializing to become more relatable and a good path for people to follow.

Supporting Economic Growth

The economic devastation of lockdowns hit some industries much harder than others. The global economy could lose over $4 trillion due to COVID-19’s impact on tourism alone. Travel has always been a popular theme on many social media platforms. Influencers can set a positive example by actively traveling and enjoying hotels, restaurants, and tourist destinations while still respecting the countries’ guidelines and regulations for the pandemic. 

Additionally, while many jobs were eliminated by lockdowns, labor shortages exist in some regions. Influencers could also serve to inform young people of openings in various jobs they might not have considered, further driving recruitment and economic recovery.

People enjoy using social media to stay in touch with activities in their local community. By bringing awareness to local businesses, influencers can direct their support to the businesses most in need that they have personal connections with. For example, the Family of 5 (F05) Travel Blog offered support to the many small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Encouraging Vaccination While Private Issues Become Increasingly Public

These numbers change rapidly, but currently 52.51% of the population of Switzerland is fully vaccinated. In the US the percentage stands at 53.55%. While more people continue to get vaccinated, the rates in the US and Europe have slowed, and public health organizations are working to encourage continued uptake.

While some influencers are hesitant to engage on an issue that has become political, plenty have made the choice to publicly share their support for vaccination. Health has often been a private matter, but now we must recognize the change as many choose to make certain facets of their health status public. In particular, influencers can serve as effective touch points with young

Influencer Marketing is The Right Tool

Influencer marketing is the right tool because young people take it seriously and see it often more than other media and ads. Many people are more trusting of influencers than traditional marketing. For example, 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. The Swiss government hired a marketing agency to help educate the public about the pandemic. The agency first invested in traditional ads and, fortunately, they’ve recently started to work with influencers as well.

We’ve seen a variety of effective campaigns with influencers, such as Aditotoro’s TikTok interview with Swiss politician Alain Berset, which was shared on TikTok and YouTube. Berset answered questions and clarified the importance of the existing lockdowns and restrictions. 

The Role of Comedians and Podcasts

When people need information about infectious disease, they don’t usually turn to comedians. However, comedians have played an interesting, helpful role in the pandemic. Zeki made many jokes about both COVID-19 and Swiss politician Alain Berset, and he did so in a good-natured, inoffensive way. Humor is a constructive way of coping with a variety of challenges. Zweiammorge, a comedy and meme channel, also brought much-needed brevity to social media.

In the first wave of the pandemic, podcasts served as one of the main sources of information and have continued to be a useful social media tool for scientists. For example, Stefan Besser spoke with politicians and government epidemiologists. Influencers serve as community voices and, by hosting interviews with experts, provide important info to their audiences.

Influencers Helping with Society’s Challenges

While influencers generally put out messages that others may follow, they can also serve as an outlet for followers to express their views. Influencers can help communities work through difficult issues and provide a voice to younger people. Many Swiss influencers have interviewed and surveyed people on the street, generating interesting insights. For example, TikToker Joung Gustav met with people at Stadelhofen during the lockdown and made videos with them, revealing a closer look at their points of view. Such posts can provide an unfiltered platform for a broader group of people and expand beyond the voices featured on news media. 

Anja Lapčević, Kingfluencers’ Chief Influence Officer and Co-CEO, recognizes that people active on social media have a degree of responsibility. Her vision to encourage conscious behavior in influencer marketing prompted her to co-found Conscious Influence Hub (CIH), a non-profit NGO. 

Many Influencers can Serve as a Source of Inspiration 

Many of the top influencers are big superstars, but those with a smaller following can still serve as sources of inspiration, healing, and support. Often such micro-influencers have closer connections to their communities, leading to a greater impact. Unlike big stars, they are normal people living lives we can relate to, with the power to inspire by showing that we can all achieve great things. Influencers encourage people to not be shy in revealing their own creativity and imagination, whether in a funny way or serious way. We all deserve a platform and the opportunity to share our ideas with the world.

If you’d like to team up with influencers to support post-pandemic recovery, contact Kingfluencers for help making a perfect influencer match and structuring campaigns to meet your goals.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing