Tips & Pitfalls to Avoid for Successful Swiss Influencer Marketing campaigns

Don’t forget the Swiss audience!

When building strategy and tactics for influencer marketing campaigns, it’s important to be aware of common pitfalls and to have plans in place if disaster should strike. After all, forewarned is forearmed. Knowledge is power. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into how to analyze and build an approach for success, to both achieve your goals and avoid stumbles.

Metrics to Monitor

There are many metrics you can review in order to assess the efficacy of your social media efforts. Building upon that foundation, we’ll address what to monitor specifically to look for red flags, so you can pull a circuit breaker and stop any campaigns that may be ineffective at best or damaging at worst.

Fake Followers: A high quantity of followers on social media means access to a large audience. Of course, not if that “high quantity” consists of fake bot followers. Unfortunately, fake followers, like spam, are inevitable. A few signs to help determine if followers are potentially bots include:

  • Globally dispersed followers
  • Lack of engagement
  • Comments that consist entirely of emojis
  • Generic comments such as, “I like this post”

However, don’t let the presence of some bot followers eliminate an influencer from your consideration. There’s no precise way to know with certainty if followers are bots, and there’s no specific formula to measure how many bots you should tolerate before rejecting an influencer.

Selected Influencers: Avoid IM landmines by making influencer matches as perfect as possible. Influencer choice must align with your brand’s message and values, as well as your campaign objectives. When you conduct due diligence, also be on the lookout for influencers who might have the potential to offend your audience, or who are prone to impulsive or deliberately shocking actions. Working with an influencer marketing agency can also help avoid disasters, since agencies conduct extensive research prior to doing business with any brand or influencer.

Target Audience: If you’re a Swiss business working to earn Swiss customers, it might go without saying that you need to reach a Swiss audience. Examine the followers of influencers you’re considering, and don’t just assume all influencers based in Switzerland have many Swiss followers. Additionally, look for an overlap between your target customer audience and the influencer’s followers, for demographics such as age group, background, and interests.

Languages: Swiss brands often need coverage of French, Italian, and German, depending on their objectives and focus. This creates important questions and decisions to be made for brands in terms of which languages to communicate in, where and when. What is crucial is to address your audiences in a way that they feel personally addressed and maintain a consistent approach over time.  Even when there’s shared language, there are still colloquialisms to consider. For example, “getting pissed,” has quite different connotations for Americans versus Brits, (angry versus drunk.)

Regionalization of Messaging: Knowledge of the local culture and history can help you be more impactful and successful, as well as avoid potential disasters. In most cases above points can be addressed to a degree by working with the right mix of influencers who have a focus on specific regions – perhaps because they are from or live in the region – and languages. 

Avoid Cultural Missteps

As described by Fast Company, “Say the words ‘Kendall Jenner’ and ‘Pepsi’ and people know… This is at the top of just about every Worst Ad list and will be for a long, long time.” Such catastrophes should be avoidable with a hearty dose of common sense, combined with a diversity of perspectives. Those perspectives should include plenty of local insight, both fluency in the local language and knowledge of local customs.

In May of 2020, Volkswagen posted a clip on Instagram of a black man who is pushed around by a white hand and finally flicked into a shop called “Petit Colon,” which translates to “Little Colonist.” The car maker was reluctant at first to recognize the error, but ultimately described the video as tasteless and promised to clarify the situation.

Swiss organic bratbutter Migros produced containers with the Italian text, “Burro per arrostire svizzeri,” which means something like “butter to fry the Swiss.” A tasty chop was depicted directly above this cannibalistic sentence.

Conduct Due Diligence

Making ideal influencer matches is an important step in avoiding trouble. Influencer choice must align with your brand’s message and values, as well as your campaign objectives. There must be a clear link between your brand and the person in order to keep your IM campaigns real. Authenticity is always a good best practice, and by working with credible influencers who use and genuinely like your products, you can drive engagement while avoiding backlash due to compromised trust.

When you conduct due diligence, also be on the lookout for influencers who might have the potential to offend your audience, or who are prone to impulsive or deliberately shocking actions. An agency can be particularly helpful in making influencer matches, as well as negotiating terms, executing contracts, and managing projects over time to ensure high quality and brand reputation.

In addition to the fit between your brand and an influencer, consider brands they’ve promoted in the past. A sustainability brand such as Greenpeace might want to avoid influencers who’ve previously collaborated with non-sustainable brands.

Give Influencers a Precise Briefing, But as Much Freedom as You Can

To make influencer marketing effective, it must align with your key brand messages. For your influencer partners to accomplish this, they must understand those messages. Success begins with giving influencers and content creators a clear briefing. Not only must they understand the messages, but the entire scope of the project, including the processes for approval prior to posting, and details such as hashtags and URLs to include.

Let influencers do what they do best. Give direction without putting them in a box. 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. As subject matter experts, they’re uniquely qualified to help your brand be more creative, bringing fresh, creative ideas.

Many Swiss brands tend to keep their marketing efforts centered on traditional initiatives. Influencer marketing can help serve as a catalyst to breathe fresh air into your marketing mix. Even those brands that already have a unique, creative approach have found influencer marketing to be a particularly successful addition.

Plan for Contingencies

Finally, make sure your influencers know your contingency plans if things go wrong. The only thing worse than bad news is bad news late. Influencers should know to immediately inform the brand of backlash so you can proceed with your existing crisis management plans.

Swiss-Specific Support

As a Swiss company, we also wanted to share some tips that are unique to Switzerland.

Remain Politically Neutral. Of course, this is safest since there’s no risk of alienating those with differing views, but it’s also considered polite to keep political views private. This is in stark contrast to the US, where all influencers and celebrities are expected to be left-oriented.

Express a Sense of Community. Many influencers are proud of the canton/area they’re from and freely express it. Such pride is common and also helps influencers connect with fellow canton residents.

Consider Varying Platform Popularity. The relative popularity of platforms in Switzerland doesn’t always align directly with global usage. For example, while Twitter is one of the “established giants,” it’s not widely used in Switzerland. Additionally, Twitch doesn’t have many Swiss users, although you may want to consider it to reach a niche audience.

Manage Expectations. The total population of Germany is nearly 10 times larger than that of Switzerland, and France is almost 8 times larger. It’s important to keep these numbers in mind, since the community size of Swiss influencers is therefore smaller. Fortunately, Swiss communities are very responsive and engaging, especially if the influencer speaks in their native dialect. The smaller quantity of Swiss influencers who offer high-quality content helps their audience remain engaged and loyal.

Keep your Eyes on Performance at all Times 

Too often brands measure the wrong metrics or measure the right ones but from the wrong point of view. Often absolute numbers or topline metrics like ‘followers’ or ‘website visitors’ tell you very little about how you are really performing. A more nuanced measurement is required involving qualitative and quantitative angles combined. The most common social media metrics that are worth monitoring include:

  • Total followers and audience growth 
  • Impressions & reach per post or campaign
  • Engagement (Likes, shares, comments, etc.)
  • Click-Through-Rate
  • Share of voice: volume and sentiment
  • ROI

Through it all, stay focused on how your metrics are trending, and how they compare to your individual goals. Pay close attention to engagement, which is one of the most important metrics. When a person has actually engaged with your content, they have absorbed your message and the content created a moment for them. Those moments matter because the more positive moments you achieve, the more people will feel connected to your brand.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Should Brands Engage on OnlyFans and Patreon?

Subscription-based social media sites have been gaining popularity. Thus far in 2021 Twitter has introduced Super Follows for example, which let users charge for access to additional content, and a Tip Jar that makes it easy for users to send money to posters. Patreon is a platform that provides influencers and creators with a way to generate income directly from fans or “patrons,” rather than via sponsored posts.

But perhaps the most notorious subscription-based platform is OnlyFans. OnlyFans launched in 2016 with the vision of developing a site where creators could monetize their content free of advertisers. Creators are able to set their monthly subscription price, and, unlike Instagram and YouTube, the platform allows sexually explicit content. OnlyFans grew steadily, then saw explosive growth when the pandemic hit in 2020, with the number of content creators more than doubling.

Edit 26.08.2021: The content subscription service OnlyFans announced plans last week to block sexually explicit photos and videos from October but promptly “suspended the planned 1 October policy change” after receiving backlash from the creators.

A Home for Sex Workers

OnlyFans is widely regarded as having been built specifically for sex workers to share X-rated content. San Francisco Chronicle wrote about people working in hospitality or entertainment whose jobs were entirely eliminated due to COVID-19 lockdowns and OnlyFans let them “monetize themselves.” One of the content creators interviewed stated, “I think OnlyFans has this huge appeal because it feels very authentic.”

The ability to generate income directly from followers provides influencers with flexibility, as opposed to needing to alter their content to adhere to brand or platform guidelines for sponsored posts.

Brands Use OF for Charitable Fundraising, While Connecting with Consumers

Many brands might be reluctant to have their content on a shared platform that also hosts pornography, but others recognize the opportunity and the benefits of positioning their brand as supportive of the OF hype and its content creators.

For example, Fly by Jing, makers of Sichuan chili sauce, opened an OF account, “to have a space to show you all the behind the scenes, answer your questions, and experiment with food and flavor. Less Not Safe For Instagram and more Not Right For Instagram.” In an admirable pun, the brand mentions sharing a, “bowl of noodz.”

The account is free to subscribe, and, for every subscriber, the brand will be donating $1 monthly to a grassroots organization supporting the rights and safety of sex workers.

Celebrities on OnlyFans

A recent Page Six article states, “OnlyFans isn’t only for porn stars.” The list of celebrities includes, in order of frequency:

  • Models
  • Rappers and singers
  • Reality stars
  • Actors, including former Disney actress Bella Thorne who earned $1 million after just 24 hours on the platform, briefly crashing the site
  • Wife of an NBA star
  • YouTube star
  • Winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

Celebrities aren’t just opening OF accounts, but also talking about it. Megan Thee Stallion’s track, “Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé)” includes Beyoncé’s rapping, “Hips TikTok when I dance/ On that Demon Time, she might start an OnlyFans.” OnlyFans tweeted a response appropriate to the enormity of being name-dropped by Beyoncé.

Some popular Swiss OF accounts include:

  • Singer Bastian Baker
  • ex-Bachelor candidate Bellydah Rivera
  • ex-Germany’s Next Top Model candidate Laura Baumgärtner
  • Bachelor winner Francesca Morgese

With the exception of Bastian Baker, all post explicit content.

Connecting with Consumers, Not Earning Revenue

NYC-based fast casual restaurant Sticky’s Finger Joint posted a YouTube video announcing they were on OnlyFans. The video implies the content is adult in nature and features more humans than chickens. The implication is repeated on their OnlyFans page, which states their objective is, “introducing you to a SAUCIER side of the brand!” Subscription is free, and tips unlock secret menu items, with all proceeds donated to ROAR, a relief fund helping restaurant workers affected by COVID-19. 

“Sticky’s founder Jon Sherman told Modern Retail the marketing decision was done to ‘reach hardcore fans’ in an out of the box fashion. ‘We think of ourselves as a fun and whimsical food brand,” Sherman said. “So we thought it was a fun platform for posting sillier content out there.’… He named millennial and Gen Z users, who tend to engage with ‘food porn,’ as a big demographic.”

The Risks of Brands Offering Paid Subscription

Some brands are charging subscription fees. For example, American fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff streamed its A/W 21 show on the platform. Fans of the brand could pay between $5-25 to access exclusive content and even converse with Minkoff herself.

There has been backlash that celebrities take subscribers away from sex workers who depend on the platform as their only reliable source of income. Fly by Jing also acknowledged this problem and stated, “I want to be respectful of the people who use this platform to sustain their living. So, you don’t need to cut back on your other subscriptions to join ours.”

Low Reach, High Engagement on OnlyFans

OnlyFans boasts “the strongest engagement stats on social media! When a creator posts, over 60% of their fans see and interact with the content. Over 80% of direct messages sent by creators are seen and opened.” 

Indeed, those engagement percentages are impressive, but overall volume is low, relative to other platforms. For expensive products and services with high revenue per customer, high customer acquisition costs are sustainable and reasonable. But this may not be a fit for many products, such as Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).

Influencer Marketing on OnlyFans?

Influencer marketing on OnlyFans is a green field. However, fans are paying for exclusive, ad-free content, and we should therefore expect them to be more resistant to obvious sales pitches. While that doesn’t mean OF is off-limits, it does mean that a careful approach is needed. After all, consumers paid for “cable” TV years ago, which promised to be ad-free, unlike broadcast network TV. Commercials made there way in eventually and were accepted. Working with an agency like Kingfluencers can help you maximize the success of your campaigns, while avoiding pitfalls.

More Ways for Content Creators to Earn

A Patreon blog describes 6 business models to use, but the focus is on content creators. For example, the first is “Community Model, defined as: Access to a community curated and moderated by the creator.” Others include educational and gated content, and the “fan relationship model,” defined as increased interaction with, access to, or recognition by the creator.

Patreon co-founder and CEO Jack Conte said, “This is such a great time to be a creative person. Creators have incredible leverage now that they haven’t had for many years because these platforms were so focused on driving content production instead of getting creators paid…. We’re hyper-focused on providing the business infrastructure to allow creators to be successful in growing and running their businesses.”

Competition for content creators remains fierce. Patreon offers content creators a means of collecting payments directly from their fans. As such, Patreon faces threats from a variety of other technology platforms and services that could begin to offer competitive solutions. According to TechCrunch, “A range of B2B software companies, blockchain projects, or even Hollywood agencies could decide to target Patreon’s core creator customer.”

Growth for All

The growth of ways for content creators to earn money should, in turn, contribute to additional growth in quantity of influencers and overall amount of content. And this will also benefit brands with a broader array of influencers to select from to effectively reach their target audiences.

Pros and Cons for Brands to Engage on OnlyFans

Unlike Instagram and YouTube, OF allows sexually explicit content.

  • Pro: Brands may benefit from positioning themselves as supportive of sex-workers. Some brands have taken a creative approach, discussing sharing “bowl of noodz” (noodles), and “introducing you to a SAUCIER side of the brand!”
  • Con: Some brands are reluctant to have their content on a platform shared with pornography.

The thorny issue of charging subscription fees.

  • Pros: Brands can charge a fee for access to exclusive content and the chance to connect with influencers.
    • Brands could donate funds generated through OF to charity
    • Finally, brands can create an OF and post content without charging any fees.
  • Con: Audiences might perceive brands charging fees as taking revenue from sex workers who depend on the platform as their only reliable source of income, a backlash faced by Bella Thorne.
    • Audiences will have high expectations for paid-subscriptions, potentially requiring brands to invest more in their content creation initiatives.

Engagement is high and the platform feels authentic.

  • Pro: Both excellent attributes.
  • Con: Overall volume is low, relative to other platforms.
    • Could be damaged by the expansion of brands and paid-promotions.

Few brands are already on OF.

  • Pro: Brand campaigns and influencer marketing on OnlyFans is a green field.
  • Con: Since fans are paying for exclusive content, we should expect them to be more resistant to obvious sales pitches.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Pride Month 2021 is Over, Now What?

“Pinkwashing” was one of the biggest buzz words of this year’s Pride month. Many global brands have been scrutinized by online comedians and memes due to their logos becoming ‘rainbow-fied’ temporarily for the month of June. Pride month originated in 1969 to commemorate the Stonewall riots in the United States and to celebrate, increase awareness, and promote equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Now, it’s seemingly become a month for brands to posture. Every June, we see websites and social media becoming rainbow-fied across many business sectors along with seasonal sales and rainbow-themed clothing, accessories, etc. Many consumers feel that companies are just taking advantage of this historic month to promote their own reputations.

In this article, Kingfluencers will examine the term “pinkwashing,” as well as highlights and missteps of this year’s Pride month, and do’s and don’ts for brands for Pride. 

Where Does Switzerland Stand on LGBTQ+ Equality?

The Swiss parliament passed a bill recognizing same-sex marriage in December 2020, several years later than most other western European states. Unfortunately, opponents of the law gathered the necessary signatures to call for a referendum. The federal chancellery will set a date for the vote, which would not be held before September. In a November 2020 poll by the LGBT umbrella organization Pink Cross, 82% of respondents expressed approval of same-sex marriage in strong or mild terms, which bodes well for the upcoming vote.

Switzerland is LGBTQ+-friendly in large cities and hubs of creative artists, similar to many nations. Travel guide Frommer’s states, “On the whole, Switzerland is tolerant and gay-friendly, especially in more urban and diverse areas. Zurich, Geneva, and Basel are the centers of gay life in Switzerland, although ski resorts such as Zermatt, Lenzerheide, and Arosa are also popular destinations (mostly in winter), even hosting gay ski weeks.” However, many rural areas of Switzerland remain conservative and less than friendly. This past May, 100 rainbow flags were torn down and destroyed in Buchs. A total of 61 cases of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes were reported throughout 2020.

What Exactly is Pinkwashing?

We’ve seen frequent cases of the term pinkwashing being used incorrectly. Wikipedia cites a New York Times article from 2011 in defining pinkwashing as, “the action of using gay-related issues in positive ways in order to distract attention from negative actions by an organization, country or government.”

What we’re referring to in this article is more accurately described as “rainbow capitalism,” or similarly “pink capitalism,” “homocapitalism,” or “gay capitalism.” Fem Magazine states, “Pinkwashing now commonly refers to the appropriation of the LGBTQIA+ movement to promote a particular corporate or political agenda. In other words, entities market themselves as “gay-friendly” to gain favor with progressives, while masking aspects that are violent and undemocratic…. Pinkwashing undermines efforts towards genuine justice, using divide-and-conquer tactics to individualize oppressions.”

“Karen Tongson, author and professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of Southern California, defines Rainbow Capitalism as the ‘commodification of things related to LGBT culture, especially the concept of gay pride’.”

Scandals and Missteps of This Year’s Pride Month

Euro 2020 organizer UEFA banned advertising using the LGBT rainbow colors at the quarter-final matches in Russia and Azerbaijan, citing local laws. Additionally, due to the organization’s need to stay politically neutral, UEFA prohibited players and stadiums from showing support. After facing a backlash, UEFA’s new position became: “Every partner can decide on their respective messages, artwork and activation activities and their decisions to transmit a message of tolerance and inclusion is fully supported by UEFA.” There had never been a ban on rainbow flags in the fan zone.

The Drum states, “UEFA has faced accusations of supporting Pride messaging when it is set to make a profit, rather than taking a clear position from the outset of the tournament to back diversity and inclusivity in line with its own Equal Game campaign.”

Retailer Target offers an extensive Pride collection which received compliments, criticism, and a bit of incredulity. In a “Rainbow Rant,” Joy Ellison reviewed the Target Pride collection and stated, “I wonder if some queer Target designer carefully created a few products but then slowly started to wonder what exactly they could get away with.” The author wrote about the “mostly tacky” line that includes some “baffling products,” and described one t-shirt as, “Virtue signaling as a fashion statement.”

Joy Ellison continues to point out the numerous social and environmental costs to the “fast fashion” Target sells, including the fact that fewer than 2% of fashion sector workers earn a living wage. 

Do’s and Don’ts for Brands – For 2022 Pride Month + All Year

Campaign Asia-Pacific recently asked agency executives for advice on how brands can authentically celebrate the movement and avoid pinkwashing. The excellent assortment of tips included:

  • Make it more of a year-round effort (mentioned by multiple execs)
  • Use Pride as an occasion to celebrate what your brand has done to support the community every day
  • Start by looking at how you support your LGBT staff, or cast a LGBT role in your regular ads
  • Design a good product but also donate part of your proceeds to support a LGBT cause. (RED) by Apple which supports HIV/AIDS programs is a good example that shows launching a product can benefit a community
  • Gravitate towards unity over divide, focusing on the universal values that we all share 

In a campaign that’s an excellent example of both influencer marketing and honoring Pride month, Reebok is launching its Reebok Collective program and handed creative control to its influencers. The sports brand gave activist Lazarus Lynch free reign on creating a short film, a move The Drum describes as, “challenging the status quo of traditional influencer-brand relationships.” Reebok will also donate $75K to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project in honor of transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex youth.

USA Today compiled a list of, “55 brands that are giving back for Pride Month 2021,” which included watch brand Fossil’s limited-edition Pride collection. 100% of the proceeds go to benefit The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth.

The Allianz Group has admirable, and extensive diversity initiatives, such as the Global Diversity Council, which ensures that initiatives to promote equality are implemented. “These range from the development of women’s talent pools, LGBTIQ + networks and the integration of people with disabilities to the creation of careers for people over 50.” Allianz Group recognizes the positive effect of employees from different backgrounds, and mentions not only gender and sexual orientation, but also age, origin, education, and physical or mental handicap.

A recent article in Persönlich also highlighted Boston Consulting as a role model. The business placed a full-page advertisement in the NZZ together with other companies, and illuminated their office in Pride colors at night during Pride week.

And Now the Don’ts

Examples of hypocritical, alleged support of LGBTQ+ rights abound. In 2020, American video game publisher Bethesda Softworks was called out for changing their regional Twitter account logos to rainbow versions… with the exceptions of Bethesda Middle East, Russia, and Turkey. This year, the brand changed the primary corporate account, but none of the regional accounts such as @Bethesda_IT and @Bethesda_DE, presumably expecting to avoid backlash. The same selective regionalization has been noted among numerous companies.

Brands with questionable global business practices, such as weapons manufacturer Raytheon and investment management firm BlackRock, seem to just invite additional criticism with their pinkwashing efforts. As Jawaharal Nehru  wrote on Twitter, “American LGBTQ people should have the right to oppress LGBTQ people in other countries just like everyone else!!”

Another highly questionable choice was British supermarket chain Marks and Spencer’s new “LGBT” sandwich, named for the fillings of Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon, and Tomato.

Conscious Influence Hub

The Conscious Influence Hub (CIH) shows solidarity with the queer community and aims to set an example and promote respect, tolerance, and empathy on social media with the campaign on the idahobit-day. The CIH podcast, “Conscious Talk,” recently recorded their first episode on the topic of discrimination and hostility towards the LGBTQ + community, with a discussion between Zeki Bulgurcu and Anna Rosenwasser.

The global infusion of rainbows that occurs in June can be affirming for queer and trans people. But executed poorly, Pride-themed marketing can make queer and trans people feel as though they’re being exploited, having a negative impact for brands. Like all messaging and campaigns, a well-structured approach is necessary. An agency like Kingfluencers can help, so reach out now if you’d like to discuss your approach.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

What to Do When Influencer Marketing Goes Wrong

Full disclosure: we’re a marketing services firm specializing in social media and influencer marketing. As such, we are convinced that influencer marketing is an authentic, innovative, and forward-looking form of advertising which suits many brands. More than advertising, it is a storytelling approach that generates real impact. 

But we’re not going to pretend sh*tstorms never happen. Instead, in this article, we’ll cover how to avoid problems, and what to do if they occur.

Avoid IM Landmines by Making Influencer Matches as Perfect as Possible 

The ability to select specific influencers provides exceptional targeting capabilities. Influencer choice must align with your brand’s message and values, as well as your campaign objectives. When you conduct due diligence, also be on the lookout for influencers who might have the potential to offend your audience, or who are prone to impulsive or deliberately shocking actions. 

Authenticity is always a good best practice, and by working with credible influencers who use and genuinely like your products, you can avoid backlash due to compromised trust. Many questioned the fit and authenticity of the 2005 Carl’s Jr ad featuring the very thin Paris Hilton eating a huge hamburger for example. Makes sense! Often common sense already goes a long way as well. There must be a clear link between your brand and the person in order to keep your IM campaigns real. People connect with people, not logos. So the more the audience can relate to the person, the higher the engagement factor.

Snack brand BiFi worked with Donna Adrienne in what was considered one of the most embarrassing influencer campaigns of the year 2018. One Instagram post featured the Heidelberg medical student naked in a bathtub, covered in bubbles, smiling while eating a mini salami. A Horizont article satirically stated, “Because it is so obvious and convenient to tear open a sausage pack during a relaxing bath and eat an oily salami.” While this is an example of influencer marketing gone wrong, it was not a paid promotion. BiFi sent Donna Adrienne free samples in response to her inquiry, but the promotion wasn’t discussed with BiFi and therefore didn’t align with their marketing strategy. Nevertheless as the audience and critics did not know this BiFi and Donna Adrienne were criticized for not indicating that the content was advertising and thus in violation of the guidelines surrounding influencer marketing. The lesson is to be very careful and apply the rules correctly at any time. When in doubt, rather take the road of caution and indicate that a post is part of a collaboration – independent of the exchange behind it. 

Additionally, with long-term collaborations, you establish an enduring relationship of trust between your brand and selected influencers. This creates real value by giving a credible face to your brand, such as Mujinga Kambundji, the fastest woman in Switzerland and Nike. By associating liked people to the brand, people feel closer to the brand and connect more to it, ultimately building positive brand preference.

As your relationship with the influencers grows stronger and they come to know the brand in detail, the risk of mistakes gets lower. Be aware however that at the same time these influencers become such a part of your brand that missteps can cause little shockwaves. It is thus important to continuously keep managing the relationship with your brand ambassadors and assure that they are aware of what is happening with the brand as well as the role they play in your success and how to play that role to their best abilities.

The closer you work with them the more positive the outcomes of your collaboration will be over time. Get the most out of these relationships by investing the time and effort, because it’s worth it.

Fit with Former Collaborations

In addition to the fit between a brand and an influencer, problems can arise when a single influencer promotes multiple brands with contradictory values.

For example, a health-conscious influencer might be a good fit for a campaign against alcohol, but make sure their feed doesn’t have a previous promotion of beer. A sustainability app such as Greenpeace might want to avoid influencers who’ve previously collaborated with non-sustainable brands.

An Experiment to Determine if Influencers Will Do Anything for Money

Recently, Marvin Wildhage, a German Youtuber, created a fake skincare product, Hydrohype, complete with a fake PR firm and attempted to convince influencers to promote it. The face cream was actually made out of personal lubricant and listed with fake ingredients, like uranium, asbestos, and “pipikaka seed oil.”

Spoiler alert – he succeeded, and a few well-known German influencers promoted Hydrohype in their Instagram stories. Martin told the story in a series of videos, with more to come.

It’s easy to dismiss these influencers as gullible and greedy, but we shouldn’t be too quick to condemn them for accepting payment in exchange for promoting a product. One solution is for influencers to work with an agency, that can protect them from this type of scam since professional influencer marketing agencies conduct extensive research prior to doing business with any brand. Rest assured the vast majority of influencers are highly trustworthy professionals adhering to clear ethical standards and taking their job very seriously. But for the few ‘rotten apples’ in the basket you can rest assure that industry professionals will shield you from those. Top agencies know exactly who is who in the influencer ecosystem and have a tested working relationships with influencers they engage with. 

Negotiate & Write Contracts Carefully

Like service agreements with any vendor, contracts with influencers must be written carefully. Of course, contracts must include details like payment terms and content rights. To help avoid disaster, also include clauses within the statement of work, such as: 

  • Process for approving posts for quality control before go live
  • Steps to take if they make mistakes, resulting in a negative backlash
  • Provisions and pricing for any re-work needed

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but still include crisis management procedures in your contracts in case the sickness should strike.

Give Influencers Creative Freedom, but Monitor Campaign Details Carefully

Kingfluencers consistently advises letting influencers do what they do best. Don’t use influencers strictly as a vehicle for connecting to your audience, but instead leverage their subject matter expertise and collaborate to develop creative campaign ideas. Give them a precise briefing and direction (including a creative concept for consistency and guidance), but as much freedom as you can at the same time.

That being said, once they bring fresh, creative ideas to the table, approve those posts prior to going live. While we encourage brands to resist the urge to simply tell influencers how to do their job, we do encourage you to supervise and grant final approval before messages are communicated out to your audience, at least for influencers you do not have a long standing relationship with yet.

Invest the time to monitor if you want to spot errors. Influencers must include many things in each post such as hashtags, swipe up links, tags, and tracking links. It’s a lot of work to check it all. Careful campaign management is another way in which an agency can be particularly helpful, such as providing quality control for posts and approval of content before it goes live.

When Precautious Fail & You’re Facing Backlash

Expect the best, but plan for the worst. While no brand begins an IM campaign expecting a crisis, it’s important to make plans and be prepared. Working with people always means mistakes can be made. No one is perfect, don’t forget that. Crisis management plans should include:

  • Affected stakeholders
  • Type of crisis
  • Crisis levels
  • Designated crisis communicator
  • Who to contact
  • Procedures, including reach out, remove the post, and apologize (if relevant)

Outline steps influencers must take if any content generates negative backlash, such as for example apologizing and engaging in activities necessary to remedy the damage, such as making additional posts.

  1. Delete the offending content
  2. Don’t pretend it was never online. Denial can lead to additional backlash!
  3. Own up to it and apologize where needed
  4. A statement from the influencer can also go a long way in smoothing things over 
  5. Determine the necessary actions and take them, this might include separating the influencer and terminating the working relationship
  6. Post an update letting your audience know the status

Even if the mistake was entirely on the influencer side, know that as a brand you always should pick up responsibility. That also means that trashing the influencer will not help in times of a crisis and might actually make you look bad. Keeping a positive and constructive posture always works best. Never go low as it could affect the way your brand is perceived. 

Based in Switzerland, 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. 

Some of the guidance which can help both brands and influencers avoid problems includes, “Stay factual and check your sources. Credibility is your greatest asset. Be honest and transparent. Respect the rules of the analogue world online.”

Mistakes are Opportunities to Learn

It’s important to remember that mistakes are also opportunities to learn and grow as an influencer and a brand. It can help you challenge yourself and your business, and make improvements. It is harmful to not learn from one’s own mistakes and those of others and simply carry on as nothing happened. Instead, one should draw lessons, define actions, and share the results. This is how one remains credible and human.

Work with Experts to Navigate and Remediate Safely

An agency like Kingfluencers has the expertise to help you navigate influencer marketing, work to avoid problems, and react quickly and effectively to mitigate damage in the event of an issue.

Having experts to rely on is always helpful, but particularly in a stressful crisis situation.

Zeki, one of the largest influencers in Switzerland, made fun of an attack on LGBTQ TikTokers which occurred earlier this year at a train station. Due to Kingfluencer’s reaction, he realized his mockery was wrong, and responded by apologizing and creating content for the CIH to raise awareness. This showcases how professionals can help guide the industry to its maximum potential and assure that social influence remains a source of information and information and a force for good and positive outcomes for brands and consumers alike.

CIH Campaign

Zeki, one of the largest influencers in Switzerland, made fun of an attack on LGBTQ TikTokers which occurred earlier this year at a train station. Due to Kingfluencer’s reaction, he realized his mockery was wrong, and responded by apologizing and creating content for the CIH to raise awareness.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

The Evolution of Social Media Part III: Social Media Tribes & Clans

In the Evolution of Social Media Part 2, we talked about innovations in social media technology, along with the battles among platforms. In part 3, we’re addressing how human evolution has impacted social media use. Specifically, tribalism… and the other way around, how social media is shaping the tribalism of the modern world.

Humans are Tribal in Nature

Saul Levine M.D., writes in Psychology Today, “We humans are a social species, tribal by nature. We’re given to gathering and communing in familiar groups. ‘Belonging,’ our capacity and need for empathy, compassion and communication, is in our DNA.”

Social media only amplifies this tribal nature.

Dr. Levine writes about the “dark side” we also have, consisting of tribal animosities. (You don’t need us to tell you that social media amplifies that too.)

What Do Your Social Media Habits Reveal?

Social media users often make posts revealing their values, interestings, and views. But what can we learn about users based purely on the platforms they frequent, without even looking at the content they post and engage with? Are instagrammers more lifestyle oriented, are twitchers cool nerds, and are TikTokers free minded cultural challengers? 

Forget the horoscopes or traditional personality tests. Tell us what platforms you’re on and we can identify some of your key traits. This is particularly useful for brands who want to reach and activate their user communities. Most platforms offer detailed demographics and interest filters that enable brands to effectively reach their target audiences in order to optimize spend. But by thinking beyond demographics and thinking ‘culture’, ‘mindset’ and ‘community’, a whole new world of consumer targeting opens up.

Increasing Segmentation

With the proliferation of platforms, there’s something -and somewhere- for everyone. Influencer Marketing Hub published a list of 103+ social media sites you need to know in 2021. As the sheer quantity of platforms continues to rise, social media audiences become increasingly segmented. This segmentation is increasingly based on mindset or social behaviors, making social media ‘tribes’ less about age and more about beliefs, lifestyle, values, and interests. Yes, mindset over demographics.

For example, Untappd gives beer drinkers a platform where they can rate beer, share pictures of beer, and review tap lists from venues nearby, and ReverbNation, which is dedicated to musicians and helps them build careers. So what if you run a brewery or supply musical gear? What better place to reach your community? 

Content Houses Combine Influencers into Clans

To drive additional value from content creators, some brands have launched “content houses,” in which influencers are given a luxury residence for a set period of time so they can use a product and create content. 

Gen Z fashion brand Finesse creased a house in LA from April to July, and esports team FaZe Clan was formed back in 2010. “Content house marketing can boost reach and also the relatability of branded content, says Tim Armoo, founder of Gen Z talent agency Fanbytes and the Byte House, the UK’s biggest TikTok house with up to 90 million views a week across its six creators.” 

Tulant, Simone, Eric, and friends

Kris, Malwyn, Franny and friends (Youngsters)

Aditotoro, Stucki, Nathi, and friends (the Youtubers)

Carly, Leo, and friends (Western-Switzerland)

Zeki, Rash Jr, Goustav, Ivan (the Comedy-Club)

Battle of the Generations? 

There are numerous memes mocking millennials and of course, the famous, “OK Boomer.” This is one of our favorite mockeries of the trend. Gen X seems to be forgotten in the middle, something we’re generally just fine with. Then there are claims that, “Generations are fake and it’s time for the industry to change this way of thinking,” as written in Talking Influence.

Still, there are some trends we can observe according to age. For example, App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report includes, “In the US and UK, Gen Z had the highest affinity for Snapchat and Twitch, respectively.”

Generation T (for TikTok, Of Course)

But there is one platform that is challenging this more and more. When it comes to TikTok, “Generation T is age-agnostic.… on TikTok, mindset trumps generations.” Talking Influence defines Gen T as valuing community building and having a thirst for knowledge along with an interest in connecting to subcultures. Although the TikTok audience is overwhelmingly made up of younger people, with 65% of users in Switzerland being between the ages of 13 and 24, other generations are also becoming more active on the platform. TikTok is investing actively to become seen as an age-agnostic platform for everyone. One is example is the growing mother community on TikTok with content focusing on cooking, household tips, children, or even leisure tips and much more. 

With TikTok in the lead, they’re undeniably setting trends. According to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report, “TikTok’s average monthly time spent per user grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, including 70% in the US and 80% in the UK – surpassing Facebook. TikTok is on track to hit 1.2 billion active users in 2021.”

The Social Media Clans in a Nutshell  

Instagrammers can be described as the selfie taker clan, focused on appearances, posting photos that make their face, hair, makeup, and physique all look flawless and pore-free like a Barbie doll. This “appearances clan” also carefully curates photos that make their lifestyle appear glamorous and fun.

The narcissism prevalent on platforms like Insta has given rise to a new platform, Poparazzi, which strives to be the antithesis of the selfie-obsession, maintaining the positive attributes of social media while eliminating the negatives. “Poparazzi is an app where you can’t post photos of yourself. Instead, you have to tag a friend. Selfies are persona non grata… While you can react to Pops with a range of emojis, the app takes a firm stance against the popularity competition. Profiles don’t show how many followers someone has.” Additionally, you can’t edit your pics.

TikTokers want to entertain and display their creativity. Many of the top TikTokers post dance videos… but no popular accounts post technical critiques of those dance videos. The focus is enjoyment and entertainment, not technical proficiency.  

While the population of people who “use” YouTube in terms of watching video encompasses practically everyone who has internet access, there are some similarities among YouTubers who actively create content. Many are educational, with tutorials on everything from improving your skills cornering on a mountain bike, to makeup, to building a guinea pig cage. If you can dream it, you can find a video tutorial for building it. One member of our team has uploaded choreography ideas for teaching step aerobics and cardio kickboxing.

For many users, Facebook retains a greater connection with the “IRL” world. Many users view and share local events, photos with friends and family, and discussions in community groups. Two-thirds of Facebook users visit a local business page weekly.

On Twitter, only the bravest speak. Kayvon Beykpour, the head of consumer product at Twitter, stated, “A lot of people are terrified to tweet. A lot of people don’t use Twitter for the creation side at all. They’re here to consume.” Data from Pew Research backs this up. “Adult Twitter users are younger and more likely to be Democrats than the general public in the US for example. Most users rarely tweet, but the most prolific 10% create 80% of tweets.”

Our Most Important Tribes are Online

Facebook recently worked with researchers from The Governance Lab at NYU to provide new insights into the importance of online communities. “Facebook groups are used by over 1.8 billion people every month, with more than half of all the people using Facebook now members of five or more groups. There are also 70 million people leading these groups as admins and moderators.”

To rank relative importance, respondents were asked whether the most important group they belonged to operated primarily online or offline, or both. “Overall, 77% of respondents indicated that the most important group they’re a part of now operates online,” either primarily or in combination with offline operations.

Clans for Good

Based in Switzerland, 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 that includes best-practice guidelines and examples. Initiatives from CIH included a pro-LGBT campaign and collaboration with major Swiss brands such as Zeki to use influence for good.

Translating to Revenue

Brands need to make choices about where they should be active based on where their audiences are. Investing in promotions and influencer marketing in the places your target audience frequents most will make your campaigns efficient, lowering costs. 

When building social media campaigns, consider the various clans as you make the following choices:

PlacesWhere: When deciding what platforms to use, review the demographics of each platform to see where your target audience is most active. “The Evolution of Social Media – Part I,” includes stats on the average ages of different platform users. Also consider what most of the users are doing on that platform. While it’s possible to stream a workout video on Twitch, clearly users expect video games. Your chances of building a following increase if you provide the type of content audiences are actively seeking and consuming.

Approaches: After selecting platforms, continue to consider the typical mindsets of users on those platforms. Comedy works best on TikTok, while style and glamour are a great fit for Instagram. On LinkedIn, appeal to authority is popular. The top two influencers are Bill Gates and Richard Branson, and posters often share the commentary and insights of such business thought-leaders.

Formats: Consider what each clan prefers and post accordingly. On Instagram, inspirational quotes, food, landscapes, and human faces (or the back of human heads with an arm pulling the viewer forward), are all popular content. On TikTok, people enjoy dance videos, lip-syncing, and challenges.

Resources: Ideally, brands both create their own content and partner with influencers, and in all cases, creative ideas are needed. You can then commit resources to adapting those ideas to each of your chosen platforms. Take a theme such as a “share your best summer experiences,” contest and encourage submission of imagery on Insta and funny videos on TikTok. All the while, always stay true to your brand values, be authentic, and prioritize the human.

Goals: Always start with a strong foundation, which includes clearly defining your messaging and setting goals, such as:

  •  Visibility and awareness
  • Increase social media followers and engagement
  • Increase website traffic
  • Conversions, such as email sign ups
  • Improve brand reputation
  • Generate revenue, and social selling

Social influence marketing delivers reach and real impact on consumer decisions. Rather than being blinded by vanity metrics such as big numbers of views and followers, remember to consider the quality of the connections within your target audience. Remember that influencer marketing can enable you to succeed with secondary or tertiary goals, such as generating press coverage.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

The Evolution of Social Media Part II – Battles for Platform Dominance

In the Evolution of Social Media – Part 1, we looked at the established giants as well as emerging players. In part 2 we’ll cover the various fronts in the ongoing battles for dominance. 

Change is the only constant in social media. We realize that by the time we finish proof-reading and uploading this article, things will have changed. For the brands and content creators, this means new opportunities emerge often, such as new platform green fields to earn followers. New challenges also pop up, like the need to climb learning curves. Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up to date.

Explore New Platforms & Stay Open-Minded

Just because a platform is the latest and greatest, doesn’t mean you have to jump on it. On the other hand, just because it’s new and trendy also doesn’t mean it’s a passing fad for kids and you should ignore it. Among constant change, some things remain prevalent, such as ongoing growth of total users. Even with such growth, each social media platform must still compete with the others for users’ time and attention. 

Stability Followed by Volatility

The oldest established giant, LinkedIn, officially launched in 2003. Facebook launched next in 2004, followed by YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, and finally Instagram in 2010. The platforms innovated, such as both Facebook and Instagram launching live video streaming in 2016. But overall, the social media landscape remained stable for several years – that is until TikTok became available worldwide in 2018.

In the end, all the platforms want eyeballs – more eyeballs and for longer – since that drives more revenue. We’ve broken it down into 5 important specific battlefronts in which leading platforms are currently trying to take the leader position.

1. Battle for Innovation

When I envision a “battle,” I think of opponents facing one another, each trying to outperform the other. But social media platforms competing to innovate are most accurately described as spying on one another and chasing behind. A consistent trend among social media platforms is to copy good ideas. 

  • SnapChat is known for FOMO-inducing content which disappeared, then Instagram launched “Stories,” described as a Snapchatty feature.
  • In April 2016, Facebook launched Facebook Live, a live video streaming service. Instagram launched live video November 21 of that same year.
  • TikTok is credited with having taken advantage of Vine’s departure. Vine was a very similar app which eventually fell due to difficulty monetizing videos.
  • Instagram released “Reels” in 2019, described as a direct competitor of TikTok. 
  • On 25 Feb 2021 Twitter announced paid Super Follows, which let users charge their followers for access to additional content. Other platforms with direct creator payment include Facebook, YouTube, and even GitHub.
  • “YouTube Shorts,” considered to be a rival offering to TikTok, launched in the US on 18 March 2021
  • Launched in late 2018, “Lasso” was widely regarded as Facebook’s TikTok clone. However, Facebook shut it down after only a year and a half, making that a swift surrender.
  • Twitter Spaces is a “Clubhouse-like” live audio feature

Getting dizzy yet? These are just a few examples but there are countless more, and new examples are appearing ever faster and more frequently as time passes and competition in the social media landscape sharpens. 

Whatever new functionality and user experience any social media platform launches, they can expect copycats. Still, there are fresh approaches, such as Facebook leveraging the Oculus VR platform to beta-test a virtual world that allows people to explore, connect with others, and play games.

2. Battle to Capture Creators

Content is still king. Each platform would be nothing without creators sharing content that draws users. For example, my favorite local gourmet deli only posts their specials on Facebook. For that alone, I must keep my account. No wonder Facebook has been focusing on the small and medium sized business segment to sustain current and future business revenue and growth. 

Creators are key to success in the social media world, since their unique, engaging content gets audiences hooked longer and coming back faster and more often. Recognizing this, TikTok was strategic at recruiting and compensating content creators. “TikTok has recently created a $1 Billion Creator Fund. This money will be paid by TikTok directly to its creators in an effort to further solidify its relationships with influencers.” TikTok describes an additional creator bonus, “The LIVE gifting feature allows viewers to show their appreciation to their favorite creators by sending them virtual gifts which will be taken into account by us in the calculation of the reward for the creator who is hosting a LIVE stream.”

TikTok’s algorithms also serve users the content they like, whether the platform makes money from it or not. Whereas on platforms like Instagram it might be more difficult to grow one’s audience as the platforms algorithms seem not to favour content creators to the same extent as others do. The expectation is that we might see changes in this positioning from Instagram in the future however.

Twitter announced paid Super Follows, which let users charge their followers for access to additional content. Kayvon Beykpour, the head of consumer product at Twitter, stated, “For Super Follows, our goal is not for Twitter to make money. Our goal is for creators to make money.” 

Described as an “answer to Substack Local,” Facebook will spend $5 million paying local reporters to join its news platform in an effort to maintain a strong content flow and appeal to the content consumer. 

Digitalisation has been speeding up the rate of content consumption by users and at the same time content shelf life is ever shorter. As a result all platforms and media providers are experiencing this ever growing need for content and thus the content creators who help provide it, and as such are experimenting in how to establish a strong creator pool and sustainable content flow.

3. Battle for Engagement

Among the 4 key reasons TikTok will grow and broaden its appeal in 2021, it’s the easiest platform algorithm for users to train to feed them content they love. Additionally, TikTok users are also 31% more likely to engage with brands than users of other platforms.  

“TikTok’s average monthly time spent per user grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, including 70% in the US and 80% in the UK – surpassing Facebook. TikTok is on track to hit 1.2 billion active users in 2021.”

Engagement is the new currency. Although engagement on its own might not be 100% key for users, it does indicate the degree to which users like the content and thus how the platform is succeeding in delivering content that users appreciate. In turn, this will be a driver of long-term success.

However, for brands the story around engagement is a little bit different. Engagement is one of the main metrics a brand should measure to evaluate the success of its marketing efforts. More engagement means more people have actually taken the time to absorb your content and who have thus heard your brand’s message. Therefore, the platform that provides more engagement becomes more interesting to invest time and effort in from a brand perspective. 

4. Battle for Spending and Social commerce

Platforms want both consumers to make purchases and brands to spend advertising money. Of course, these objectives are inextricably entwined, since the latter won’t happen without the former.

Many platforms are actively courting brands and helping them succeed. TikTok launched new tools to help SMBs use the platform to their advantage, including new promotions, ad tools, and education sessions. A TikTok announcement on May 4 states, “Business owners can also share their experience and give us a peek into their world. From packing orders and behind-the-scenes tutorials to business advice and motivation for the tough times, we are excited to see more business owners and their supporters interact with each other on TikTok.”

In the summer of 2020, TikTok gave small businesses $100 million in ad credits and launched TikTok for Business to help them connect with communities.

Facebook has been betting on small and medium sized business (SMBs) to drive growth and revenue generation. In late 2020, Facebook launched a “Season of Support” initiative which included free training, marketing support and insights to help small businesses capitalize on the holiday shopping season. The program also included support for Instagram.

70% of consumers search for products they need to buy on Instagram and Facebook. More than 50% of Millennials would buy through social media, figure that rises even faster for generation Z consumers.”

An even more important evolution is the growth of social commerce. Social commerce capabilities are another way platforms are working to help businesses drive revenue, as well as generate revenue for themselves. In 2021, 52% of socially-engaged shoppers have already made one or multiple purchases through a social platform. Instagram and Pinterest provide the most relevant social commerce experiences for brands today, but Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok are all expanding their offerings rapidly, investing heavily to try take the lead and capture a bigger share of this rapidly expanding business model, with (online) shopping expected to shift increasingly towards social commerce in coming years. Social commerce capabilities and features are evolving and advancing fast as a consequence. With Instagram Shoppable posts, you can sell products directly from shoppers’ feeds. “TikTok has invested more heavily in commerce capabilities, recently introducing tie-ups with retailers including Walmart that allow consumers to purchase products without leaving the app.” Social commerce accounted for about 44% of Southeast Asia’s $109 billion e-commerce market last year, according to Bain & Co. Meanwhile the number of US social commerce buyers accelerated 25.2% to 80.1 million in 2020 and will grow another 12.9% to 90.4 million in 2021. Total US social commerce value is expected to be over $ 36 billion in 2021. 

5. Battle for Screen Time

While platforms must continue to compete with one another for users, they’ve collectively succeeded at winning over traditional media. Time spent on mobile devices now actually surpasses time spent watching TV. According to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 report:

“The average American watched 3.7 hours of live TV a day, whereas they spent 4.0 hours on their mobile device in H2 2020.”

Of course, competition remains, such as the current battle to dominate audio streaming. 

So, What Next?

While these developments can be fascinating to observe, it’s tough to stay up to date when things change fast.
Following Kingfluencers can help you stay current.


Author: 
Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Don’t Make Counter-Productive Marketing Decisions in Summer! 10 Tips for Summertime Success

We don’t advocate working nonstop. Vacations are healthy and beneficial, and all workers need a break. But that doesn’t mean your brand should stop your efforts in social media and influencer marketing over the summer. Brands can continue to stay active during vacation times with some advance planning, staggering of employee vacations, and support from outside agencies or specialists. 

In this article we’ll address why it’s so important along with top tips for summertime success.

Users Connect and Engage More During Holiday Travel and Leisure

Social media engagement can be cumulative, and often builds on on-going momentum. The more you invest in good social media content, the more followers you earn, and the more engagement your brand can achieve. Unfortunately, it can also work in the opposite direction. If you stop engaging with your audience while your entire team takes a break, the other brands will fill the gap you’ve left in your audience’s feeds. Building your brand’s reputation is a long-term continuous effort and interruptions can make it harder to pick up again later and remain at the same level of impact.

It’s also worth remembering that, for those of us who are B2C marketing professionals, social media marketing is part of our work. But your audience engages when they’re shopping or enjoying themselves, in their free time.

Your work efforts = your customers’ leisure time.

A study from Sprout Social suggests that during holidays, consumers are significantly more likely to connect with brands through social media.

Don’t Miss Opportunities to Inspire

If you’re in the hospitality industry, we assume you don’t need us to tell you that your summer holidays aren’t a time to pause your social media efforts. In addition to researching and planning vacations, consumers use social media for inspiration on a variety of purchases, from travel and hospitality services to fashion, accessories and even certain electronics. 

Opportunities abound. According to Facebook insights, social posts increase by almost 30% in summer time. In fact, posts including the word ‘travel’ have been shown to spike by 46%.

Our always-on society never closes for business. And while overall technology use may decline in the summer, smartphone use increases, as does user social media activity. July and August are a good time to capture customers’ attention with compelling offers or simply to reinforce your brand image or boost product / service awareness. We think it’s also pretty safe to assume that there’s a good reason Amazon’s Prime Days are in late July. Consumers are more apt to purchase when they are relaxed and don’t feel stressed or rushed. For brands in most sectors it pays off to take advantage of these opportunities.

Top 10 Tips to Developing Summer Campaigns

Now that we’ve covered the why of summertime campaigns, here are some tips for success.

  1. Get Consumers Engaged Before Summer Travel and Leisure Time

For many brands, it can be advantageous to develop a summer journey campaign, with the payoff either near-term during summer months, or building momentum towards fall. Not doing so or dropping the ball can lead to loss of business over summer and the rest of the year. This is obvious in sectors like travel, leisure, and hospitality. It’s also important for businesses like homeware and gardening, fashion, and many others to get ahead of the curve in order not to lose out. If you want to push this a little further you could also start a new loyalty program to get consumers excited for the foreseeable future. A continuous communication and nurturing effort often pays off most.

  1. Run Summer-Themed Social Media Contests

Create contests like “share your best summer experiences,” and give consumers reasons to follow you throughout the summer. Austen at SocialToaster shared some great contest ideas:

  • “Captioning an image or video
  • Posting a fun word puzzle (scramble or anagram)
  • Asking your customers to fill-in-the-blank
  • Have your audience guess the context around an image”
  1. Make It Relevant to Your Audience

First, take the time to understand your audiences’ summer cadence. Consider how your product or service benefits them during this time and provide them with specific ideas and actions.

  • Video tutorials featuring recipes and home decor ideas for outdoor entertaining
  • Demonstrate the use of your product while traveling, such as a fashion brand that can be hand washed, then dry quickly on a hanger in a hotel room
  • Show how time spent in a rental car, plane, or train traveling to a vacation destination is more fun with unlimited, commercial-free streaming music, podcasts, or audio books

Another very effective way to make content and campaigns more relevant and appealing is the use of user generated content (UGC). UGC humanizes your brand and creates a sense of fun. It’s also proven to perform much better than brand created content. Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say user-generated content (UGC) is authentic compared to brand-created content for example and they engage a lot more with it. One way to achieve this is for example by stimulating people to share their experiences or favorite purchases in the format of images, short videos and reviews in a fun and creative way. Contests, challenges, and rewards can help to get people to share more.  

  1. Focus on Influencer Marketing

With more leisure time, consumers spend even more time on social media and, in turn, engage more with influencers. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with IM if you haven’t done so before. Influencers are also inspired during summer, and IM lets brands leverage that excitement around holidays, events, food & drink, seasonal trends, and travel destinations.

Audiences are ready to consume more social content and are consequently more receptive of marketing and sponsored posts. This means that not only do creators have even more reason to keep up a steady stream of posts, brands do too.

In Switzerland 65% of consumer follow influencers with the vast majority of consumers stating that they seek for influencer posts for inspiration on what to purchase.

Are your products targeted to specific audiences? Then don’t forget to include micro-influencers in your influencer strategy as they have dedicated, niche audiences who are specifically interested in their content and lifestyle. Typically, their followers are highly engaged, dedicated and ready to act on their recommendations, basically providing access to a pre-activated pool of potential customers for your brand.

  1. Create Seasonal Content for Travel, Leisure, etc.

Encourage ongoing engagement by “summer-izing” your content. Use fresh themes related to fun summer topics such as swimming, travel, and cooking and eating outdoors. For the hospitality industry, current photos will naturally show people eating outdoors in warm weather, but services like car rentals can make a point of featuring happy families en route to leisure destinations. 

Give your content engaging summer visuals and consider updating your cover photo as well. Seasonal summer-themed content will also make people connect more with the content during those months as it will seem more on-point and time-relevant.

  1. Switch on Shopping Functionality

After creating beautiful seasonal product imagery, make it even easier for your customers to buy by promoting on social media, such as through shoppable posts. For example, on Instagram, you can tag products the same way you can tag people, so users can tap a post they like and see the product name and price pop up. They are able to click through to the product page on your online store, and purchase via the shopping cart in the usual way.

  1. Promote Posts

Warmer weather can bring about warm emotions and positivity in people, and according to the Journal of Consumer Psychology, summer positivity extends to consumers’ thoughts of products. Consumers who ignored or disregarded a product during the colder months may be more open to trying it during the summer, leading to increased consumer spending during the summer.

By using sponsored posts, you can get in front of more prospective new customers and bring some of that warmth to your own brand.

  1. Offer a Limited-Time Promotion

Make use of FOMO by offering limited-time promotions such as two-for-one, 10% off new orders, or free shipping. You can create a discount code that can be shared in both organic and sponsored posts. Create a sense of urgency by highlighting the time limit.

  1. Take Advantage of Social Media Retargeting

Retargeting allows you to serve ads to people who’ve previously visited your website or used your mobile app. It’s a handy strategy that enables marketers to reach an audience that has already shown some level of interest, making your ads more efficient.

According to Facebook summertime content sharing on the platform through mobile devices increases by 26% over other seasons. The increase for video content is even higher at 43%. With retargeting, you can take advantage of the increased time on social media.

  1. Use a Content Calendar and Scheduling Tools

Having posts and promotions completed, approved, and scheduled in advance is a great objective, but we realize it’s difficult to consistently achieve. Now in the spring might be an ideal time to plan ahead, so you can simultaneously take advantage of summer opportunities while taking time off and relaxing.

Use tools like HubSpot, Hootsuite, Zoho, or even just spreadsheets to keep your team organized. That way when staffers go on holiday, an agency or their remaining colleagues can keep moving without missing a beat.

Bonus #11: Mix and Match

There is no one size fits all approach. Every organization, sector, and target community is different and for that reason it is important to find the ideal mix that works for your brand and yields the most benefits. The 10 tips above can easily be combined, for example in the following way:

If you need assistance getting started with your summer social media activities or influencer marketing, expanding your existing campaigns, or just handing off the work so you can relax on the beach, you can always work with flexible full-service providers like Kingfluencers to make it happen successfully.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

TikTok in Switzerland

According to Statista, TikTok’s user base in Switzerland amounts to around 1.7 million users in 2021 and is growing fast. The platform is known to be the place for brands to reach and connect to Gen Z audiences. We’ll cover best practices and what successful brands are doing.

What is TikTok?

Considering TikTok was the most popular and most downloaded app globally in 2020, and so far in 2021, you’ve probably already heard of it. TikTok was originally released in the Chinese market in September 2016 and became available worldwide after merging with another Chinese social media service, Musical.ly, on August 2, 2018. As the world’s most downloaded app in 2020, TikTok is available in over 150 countries and has over 1 billion users. TikTok users are younger, with 60% being Gen Zers. About one third, 32.5%, of U.S.-based TikTokers are 10-19 years old.

TikTok has been strategic in recruiting and compensating content creators, knowing that they’re key to the success of any platform.

TikTok has recently created a $1 Billion Creator Fund. This money will be paid by TikTok directly to its creators in an effort to further solidify its relationships with influencers.

TikTok’s Swiss Audience

The Swiss “import” most of the content they consume. Swiss creators account for only 23% of all video views in Switzerland.

Why TikTok for Brands?

TikTok empowers brands to communicate with younger generations in a way that captures their attention: through creative short videos. TikTokers are highly engaged. 

Some good news is that the high engagement rates include brands as well. Incoming engagement on brands’ social posts has increased during the pandemic, and TikTok users are increasingly active when interacting with brands online. The following average increases have occurred across all networks and industries:

  • 44 more engagements received per day
  • 7.3 more engagements per post per day

TikTok users are also 31% more likely to engage with brands than users of other platforms. 

TikTok‘s unique algorithm allows it to tailor content to the users‘ preferences in a detailed and accurate way. Among the 4 key reasons TikTok will grow and broaden its appeal in 2021, it’s the easiest platform algorithm for users to train to feed them content they love.  

Some excellent news is that not only are people present and active on TikTok, they’re not shying away from ads. According to Adweek,

Fortunately for advertisers, Gen Z doesn’t mind being advertised to—as long as campaigns demonstrate inherent entertainment and brand values they can get behind.

Not a day goes by that TikTok isn’t in the news. TikTok is also growing substantially, having grown 37.5% in the year 2020. The social media powerhouse is constantly releasing new features and functions.

What Can Brands Do on TikTok?

TikTok is the new battleground for the hearts and minds of consumers, now and for the future. While the platform may be particularly popular with a younger audience, brands of all kids are still striving to connect, including Porsche. 

TikTok is also the first digital entertainment platform to sponsor the UEFA EURO 2020 European Football Championship. “TikTok is looking to cement its position as the home for football fans to share their passion for the game, following a number of football clubs across the world signing up to the platform and creating content for its fans.”

For brands looking to connect and engage on TikTok, many of our social media tips apply, such as:

Keep it relevant

Make campaigns interactive

Prioritise the human

Display your values

How are Brands Getting Creative on TikTok?

For brands which are inherently visual, such as fashion or makeup, coming up with ideas for posts can be straightforward. But what would a bank post? Well, PostFinance, one of the largest banks in Switzerland, which belongs to Switzerland’s national post service, has found success on TikTok. They share a mix of funny home office videos and short videos showing their services. PostFinance has also shared many HR marketing videos, displaying their work environment, which should help position them as a sought-after employer. 

Ceylor Switzerland, the most popular condom company here in Switzerland, uses humor accompanied by current, pop music to inform the public of the importance of always practicing safe sex. This creative brand makes posts that are clear to non-German speakers that there’s no reason to avoid using these condoms because they might be too small.

How Can Brands Drive Conversions & Sales on TikTok?

In a recent study, about half of users said they discover new products through advertisements posted by a product or brand.

A large audience is great, and a large, engaged audience is even better. And best of all when the platform makes it easy for that audience to act and convert to customers within the platform <- That’s a formula to surpass other leading social media platforms.

The platform is investing heavily in its social commerce and features to help brands advertise. The TikTok Pixel, a small piece of code that you place on your website, helps you find new customers, optimize your campaigns and measure ad performance.

On 27 October, 2020, TikTok announced a global partnership with Shopify, an e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems, to help merchants create and run campaigns geared toward TikTokers. The partnership makes it easier for Shopify merchants to tap into the creativity of the TikTok community, be discovered, and optimize their marketing campaigns.

Some Surprising TikTok Trends

While TikTok’s largest demographic is Gen Z, older users are becoming increasingly active. TikTok shared new data on this growing trend. “Every day, millions of parents, teens, grandparents and in betweens come to TikTok to share snippets of their day-to-day life. Here’s what’s unique: often, the whole family participates together—even teens don’t shy away. It used to be a challenge getting everyone to sit still for a photo; now we see perfectly choreographed dance routines from the whole family, including grandma.”

TikTok also notes that parents are sharing “tips, tricks, and in-depth knowledge.”

How Can Brands Get Help? Kingfluencers’ Full-Service Approach

We are here for you – from strategy to execution and optimization, including: 

  • TikTok influencer marketing
  • TikTok ads/performance marketing
  • Social commerce optimization

Kingfluencers makes great brand + influencer matches, drives successful campaigns such as Joung Gustav posting for Samsung Switzerland’s #Samsungs21 campaign, achieving 346K views. Mimoza Lekaj shared a fun dance video for Dosenbach, retailer of trendy shoes, accessories, and budget-friendly sportswear, reaching 54K views.

#Samsung21 Campaign

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Grow your Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Brand with Digital Product Sampling

We’re pleased to open this article with some good news for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands, along with ideas for leveraging digital product sampling to engage and delight consumers in the absence of traditional product sampling. 

Ongoing Opportunities for FMCG Brands to Grow

Since the start of the pandemic, half of consumers are cooking more, and one in seven are watching more television as a form of self-care and snacking while they do it. New or increased consumer behaviors, such as cleaning and cooking more often, have contributed to a 14% increase in household grocery spending. It’s always nice to read some good news, and for consumer-packaged goods, these expanded purchasing rates are expected to continue.

Altered Shopping Experiences

There are many ways in which our shopping experiences are no longer as enjoyable post-pandemic. One change we might not have thought about was the small joy of getting free samples. Our local grocery store gave out cookies most days, and I had to remind my children not to sprint past the produce to see if any were available.

But free samples, like handshakes, are largely a relic of the past. Consumers miss out on the fun, free food, and opportunity to sample something new before committing to a purchase. FMCG brands also miss out on the opportunity to share their new offerings with their target audience and win over new customers.

When Traditional Offline Sampling Is Not an Option

People most often buy new products or special editions after hearing or seeing something about them in a very direct way, or having the opportunity to try them. That is one of the main reasons why sampling is so effective in successfully promoting new FMCG products. (Yes, on impulse, I grabbed the Lady Gaga Chromatica Oreos. The shimmery, hot pink package was quite eye-catching!)

Unfortunately, FMCG brands have also lost many other promotional opportunities such as festivals and bars. In some cases, these promotional events were great fun, such as Red Bull’s sponsored and created events and publicity stunts. Even when traditional sampling is possible, there are still disadvantages, such as the expense, lack of wide reach, and inability to accurately target your audiences.

But FMCG brands need to keep innovating, both developing and sharing novelties. People expect new tastes, variations, and flavors on a regular basis. Fun new products, and even limited-edition offerings, drive impulse purchases and revenue growth. 

The Need to Find New Ways to Launch Products

Brands that fail to inspire curiosity, pique interest, and delight consumers will lose to those that do. But launching new products or product variations is not enough. There is a long way to go between launch and success. Without the right approach, there is a high likelihood that your product innovation could be a commercial failure, no matter how exceptional the product itself is and how much it meets consumer tastes. This puts companies in front of a challenge.

Like most brands, consumer packaged goods have to get creative and find new ways to connect with consumers

So, with these very important marketing tactics currently unavailable to brands, what can they do to close the gap? Spending a fortune on traditional advertising is one option, although the effectiveness of this method has been dropping, especially for advertising-averse Generation Z. There are better, more cost-effective options, however. 

Get Your Product Noticed with Digital Sampling

Digital product sampling involves shipping your (new or improved) product to selected influencers, providing them the opportunity to try it and share their experience with their community. This not only puts it on the radar of people whose opinions often guide others, but also leverage the influencers’ networks.

Digital product sampling is a cost effective, inexpensive way to promote new products. When you can’t go to bars and supermarkets, it’s a particularly important tactic to include in your marketing mix. Digital sampling enables you to get your product noticed without spending as much money as hiring Lady Gaga, along with the following benefits:

Influencers provide reach and scale up product awareness. One sample can generate awareness towards thousands of consumers, both online and offline through word of mouth.

Influencers are trusted by their communities. Their product endorsements make people view the product favorably and can generate direct sales.

You can target audiences more precisely as well as reach communities that are otherwise hard or even impossible to reach.

 Influencer-based sampling campaigns are not limited to a narrow scope of physical locations and lack expensive operations and set up costs.

When trustworthy influencers like and promote your product, they can inspire and engage others to try it too. According to an FMCG study by Bazaarvoice, 57% of consumers say they bought certain products only because they first heard about them on social media.

6 Tips for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods to Get Digital Product Sampling Right 

Digital product sampling is effective, but not necessarily simple. The most common challenges to a successful product sampling campaign are:

1

Influencers

2

Briefing

3

Information

4

Logistics

5

Follow-up

6

Tracking

  1. Finding the right influencers
  2. Creating a great and inspiring briefing 
  3. Finding the influencers‘ information to send the products
  4. Logistics (shipping out products, keeping track, etc.)
  5. Follow up with influencers to maximise uptake (yes it helps to have a relationship with them already)
  6. Tracking results

It takes a coordinated effort to overcome those challenges and succeed. Kingfluencers has written more on selecting the right influencers to connect with your target market. Consider micro-influencers, who may have a smaller quantity of followers, but a more engaged community. You can also achieve a good reach by leveraging a higher quantity of micro-influencers in your budget, and zooming in on your target audiences, delivering an excellent cost-benefit ratio.

Kingfluencers’ Hassle-Free Digital Product Sampling Service

You can engage Kingfluencers to manage your campaign so you can stay focused on creating and marketing products that delight your customers. Our full-service approach makes the entire process effortless for your organization, while assuring the best results.

Kingfluencers has an extensive network of influencers, empowering us to help find perfect matches for your brand. Based on our ongoing relationships, influencers are interested in hearing our proposals for new opportunities. Next, we can work with your team to define the sampling package content, create influencer communications, and manage logistics. Kingfluencers also responses to Qs from influencers and presents you with reports on campaign outcomes.

Kingfluencers can get your campaign up and running in a matter of days. Contact us to see if we can help give your brand a quick boost, or check out our Digital Sampling page for more info on the service.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

How to Use Social Media to Connect & Engage

Sharing content is a core component of social media use. There’s certainly nothing wrong with posting selfies, but ideal use of social media involves building a relationship with your communities. Here are top tips for using social media to connect and engage.

Know your Audiences & Where to Find Them

There is no one “best” platform, influencer, or campaign format. You must invest time in researching options and making the selections that best help you achieve your objectives. Accurately identifying your target audience is a critical first step, followed by determining the best platforms for reaching them. Check our previous blog post about the evolution of social media platforms here.

For younger people interested in dance, TikTok is a given. 60% of users are Gen Zers and the two most followed TikTok accounts are young dancers.

Keep It Relevant

Consider what most of the users are doing on that platform. Your chances of successfully engaging increase if you provide the type of content audiences on the platform are actively seeking and consuming, such as video gaming on Twitch. The platform has over 9 million active broadcasters and all of the top 5 are gamers.

Drive relevance even further by segmenting your audience within each platform. For example, on Facebook, you can generate a custom list of people who have previously messaged your business and reengage prospects that have fizzled out.

Make Campaigns Interactive

Social influence marketing provides an agile, real-time communication channel with consumers. When doing IM, like social media in general, brands should engage with consumers and aim for effective two-way communication. Too often brands push out a stream of content to their audiences without bothering to also listen. But interactive campaigns lead to increased engagement, brand advocacy and likability, as well as more conversions and better customer loyalty.

Social media provides brands with the unique opportunity to make campaigns interactive and collaborative. You can turn campaigns from brand monologues into conversations by encouraging participation and interaction, as well as incorporating user-generated content. The close connection influencers have with their communities is ideal for engaging audiences in conversation and making campaigns interactive. Influencers can generate interaction in various ways, including:

Challenges

Contests

Polls

Q&A Sessions

Leverage the Latest Technologies

Technically, the concept of virtual reality (VR) isn’t new, but with the release of the Oculus Quest in May 2019, it has expanded in popularity. VR can enable people to interact with others across the globe, which is particularly important considering the ongoing need for social distancing. Facebook is leveraging the Oculus VR platform to beta-test a virtual world that allows people to explore, connect with others, and play games

Additionally, Augmented Reality (AR) is even more accessible, since it doesn’t require additional hardware beyond a smartphone. AR filters can be used to encourage fan interaction and promote new products. 

For example, popular chocolate brand Kinder’s “Jump into Africa” campaign enabled consumers to discover animated 3D safari animals while in the aisle of Tesco supermarkets in the UK.

Stay Up to Date on Your Chosen Social Media Platforms

Be sure to stay up to date on the various offerings of social media platforms since things change fast. Following Kingfluencers can help you stay current. For example, on 25 Feb 2021 Twitter announced paid Super Follows to let you charge for tweets. “YouTube Shorts,” considered to be a rival offering to TikTok, launched in the US on 18 March 2021.

“The YouTube Shorts product itself was first introduced in September and has been beta testing in India over the past several months, where it has since seen adoption triple.”

And TikTok has launched “TikTok For Business,” providing tips such as info on various elements of brand-building, including notes on creative elements, ad strategy, and key trends. Among the tools for brands is TikTok Ads Manager, a simple, self-serve tool where you can create and launch your ads directly into the TikTok feed.

Prioritize the Human & Use Stories

Human interest stories help the audience relate to your brand and drive engagement. Show people using your product, rather than photo or videos of the product alone. Stories can be powerful in creating emotional connection with your brand and driving purpose. A SocialInsider study found that images in Stories have a 5.65% higher tap-forward rate than videos. Imagery of people using your product within relatable situations can help users connect. Those humans could be hired actors, paid influencers, or happy customers – all of which are beneficial.

Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say user-generated content (UGC) is authentic compared to brand-created content. Additionally, your employees at all levels are likely advocating your brand already. You should channel and grow that enthusiasm. The people who build your product are highly credible sources.

Humans also like to see human faces. Research published in the Journal of Advertising Research shows, “Ads featuring human faces and ‘face-like’ (i.e., pareidolian) images capture greater attention and preference than other ads in short time lapses.”

Display your Values 

Consumers want to support brands that embody their own values. As written in Inc., Gen-Zers, “want to see authenticity in marketing, including proof and a culture to back up claims of strong company values.” 67 percent agreed that ‘being true to their values and beliefs makes a person cool,’ and they feel the same about brands.

74% of respondents in a Twitter survey want brands to showcase acts of kindness, and 77% feel more positively about brands that try to support society during this crisis.

While it’s tempting to focus on stats such as follows and likes, remember that engagement is a two-way street. Interacting with your community also helps build trust and credibility. 

Follow Kingfluencers for more tips on making your social media campaigns engaging.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing