No, Gen Z doesn’t Equal “Gen TikTok”

If you’re a casual observer of social media, you might believe the common myth that “TikToker” and “Gen Z” are synonymous. The myth is common among many marketers and brands and seems to be widespread overall. Googling, “TikTok Gen X” yields results about… Gen Z. (I had to confirm I’d typed in the right term!)

To be fair, the platform was initially more popular among the group born between 1997 and 2012, currently aged between 12 and 25. But the truth is that the popularity of the app is increasing among a range of demographics.

Being most popular among Gen Z is decidedly not the same as being not popular with other generations. The percentage of users might be highest in Gen Z, but plenty of others still love it.

Just because Gen Z may have led the way doesn’t mean other generations haven’t also moved to embrace TikTok.

TikTok is the first non-Meta app (and the fifth app of all time) to surpass 3 billion downloads. In 2021, the platform remained the most-download app globally, with 656 million downloads.

Source: Forbes, 2021

No app grows to this phenomenal level of popularity by having a narrow appeal.

For example, some popular Swiss TikTokers on the cusp of GenX and millennials include _ohheyvivi_, who posts about fashion, beauty, food, sports, and being a mom, and soleil_fatima, who posts about sports, women’s issues, health, and fashion. Jonny Fischer shares his attempts at trends enjoyed by younger TikTokers, as well as amusing juxtapositions between youthful partying and his godfather role of Manu’s young kids aka his comedian partner from famous Cabaret Divertimento. Doris Flury posts healthy recipes, including vegan and gluten-free cookies.

Millennial TikTokers are among our “Swiss Influencers & Content Creators to Keep an Eye On.” Eric Lüthi creates comedy content on his own or with his friend T-Ronimo, where they often present two female characters, Bresha and Selina, in funny situations.

The hashtag #genX has 6.6B views and includes posts on parenting teens, nostalgic memories from the ‘90s, and aging. Popular GenX posters include Jack Black, a comedian whose WAP dance earned more than 5 million views. Finance expert Marie shares line dance tutorials and recreates ‘80s and ’90s dance moves with her friends and family, including her Gen Z and millennial kids.

TikTok Plays a Role in The Lives of Gen Zers

TikTok appears to be the go-to search engine for Gen Z. Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior Vice President who runs Google’s Knowledge & Information organization, said, “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

Stanford scholar describes Gen Z as a highly collaborative cohort that cares deeply about others. Their social justice advocacy extends to TikTok. A coalition of top Gen Z TikTok stars is pledging to cease all work with Amazon until the company meets the demands of the Amazon Labor Union. The group of 70 TikTok creators boasts a combined following of over 51 million.

Different Generations Use TikTok Differently

Plenty of older people also enjoy dance videos, and who doesn’t love a silly animal video? My Gen Z son showed Gen X me this funny parrot one recently and I very much enjoyed it. AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons) outlined some ways in which use for older people may differ. “Some older adults join TikTok to bond with their kids and grandkids… TikTok is full of diversions that may help older folks, or people of any age, feel less bored or lonely.”

According to the Deloitte Digital Media Trends Survey 15th Edition, 84% of all consumers say they use social media platforms, although there are generational distinctions. 27% of Gen Z likes to watch TV shows and movies via social media, as does 23% of Gen X. However, only 25% of Gen X listens to music, whereas 44% of Gen Z does.

Older generations use social media differently than Gen Z… but they still use it.

TikTok, in particular, is used by 10% of Gen Xers, and 5% of baby boomers, according to a study conducted by Fortune and SurveyMonkey, but is rising fast. 40% of Baby Boomers view social media as an essential part of their lives. Engaging on social platforms is a top 3 entertainment activity for 17% of Gen X and 11% of Boomers. Kingfluencers has also worked with numerous influencers including and beyond Gen Z, such as CorEstilo Style, to build successful collaborations for L’Oréal.

TikTok is About Communities & Connection

NPR recently wrote that Facebook is making radical changes to keep up with TikTok. “TikTok’s got one fundamental thing that Facebook doesn’t have, TikTok is cool. And it’s very hard to recreate cool,” said Matt Navarra, a social media consultant, and analyst.

As users continue to spend a lot of time on the app, TikTok promotes a variety of positive, uplifting activities. TikTok also offers extensive support to content creators – even those creators who author content that’s consumed outside of the platform. Most recently, TikTok has partnered with Barnes & Noble and their creator community to launch the #BookTokChallenge, which encourages people to read new books and authors, and then share their reactions.

Even TikTok ads are enjoyed by a wide audience. Kantar’s latest Media Reactions Report ranked TikTok #1 for “ad equity,” a measurement of the audience’s attitude and preference towards ads. “TikTok’s branded solutions aren’t perceived as just “ads” by audiences. In fact, TikTok tops the list for delivering branded content that actually resonates with online consumers.”

Building a Strong TikTok Presence

Back in May 2021, TikTok was insisting that no platform has that reach without “something for everyone”  while pitching marketers and looking to shake up perception that it’s a Gen Z phenomenon. TikTok’s continuing growth in global popularity reveals just how untrue it is to claim the platform is the exclusive domain of Gen Z.

Kingfluencers works with brands to build a strong TikTok presence. Contact us to get started developing and implementing a successful TikTok strategy that will generate multiple benefits, today and in the future.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

How Can We Fix Toxic Beauty Standards on Social Media?

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

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

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

Well, we have some ideas.

Growing Recognition of Social Media’s Mental Health Impacts 

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

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

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

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

Does Low Self-Confidence Drive Increased Beauty Purchases? 

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

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

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

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

Where Does the Responsibility Lie?

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

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

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

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

Government Efforts to Combat Toxic Beauty Ideals

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

A well-intentioned goal, to be sure.

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

Brands Promoting Healthy Beauty Ideals

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

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

Influencers Embodying Natural Beauty

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

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

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

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

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

A Code of Conduct to Guide Responsible Influence

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

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

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

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

Top Tips for Brands to Promote Healthy Beauty Ideals

1. Work with influencers who vary in appearance.

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

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

2. Be transparent about your policies.

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

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

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

4. Actively encourage mental health & wellness.

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

Cultivate Positivity and Brand Love for Longterm Revenue

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

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

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

Next Steps for Brands?

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

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

What is a Social Media Influencer? Full Definition 2022

Table of Contents

  • The definition of “influential”
  • Who we could define as the first paid influencer
  • The definition of the modern influencer on social media
  • What qualifies someone as an influencer?
  • What is an example of a social media influencer?
  • The power of social media influencers – defined
  • What exactly does a social media influencer do?
  • Is being a social media influencer defined as a job?
  • Do influencers make a lot of money?
  • How influencers wield their influence: A definition
  • Defining the different categories of influencers
  • Influencers as defined by social media platform
  • Defining the most popular fields influencers work in
  • Conclusion

The term “influencer” is everywhere now, and it seems like every kid (even many adults!) wants to “work as an influencer” today.

But, is there any substance behind that term?

Or is “influencer” just another buzzword from the young generation? 

Let’s get rid of the ambiguity surrounding that word.

We’ll take a deep dive into the definition, what an influencer is, what they do, and how it all works.

Diving in… 

Who is an influencer? Broadly speaking, you’re considered an influencer if you have authority on a given topic. People listen to you and they’ll even emulate you because they respect and look up to you.

The definition of “influential”

What you do when you influence someone is “to cause someone to adopt or change a behavior, belief, or opinion.” 

When you’re an influential person, you can have this effect on a considerable number of people. You could call them your followers.

This influence can be used for many purposes. An influencer can steer his or her followers to take certain actions, start thinking in a certain way, or start taking out their wallets.

You can use influence for good or bad. While many influential people are ethical and responsible, some are not, and they can lead their followers to make bad decisions

Who we could define as the first paid influencer

While influencer marketing has been booming in recent years – its market size shot up from CHF1.7 Billion in 2016 to CHF13.8 Billion in 2021, the concept has been around for a very long time. The first recorded paid celebrity endorsement, what we could call the first case of influencer marketing in modern times, was Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, who got hired to publicly endorse the Turkish cigarette brand Murad, in the year 1905.

The definition of the modern influencer on social media

The nature of media and celebrity has since transformed – but influencer marketing is going stronger than ever.

Nowadays, it’s no longer just celebrities who are acting as influencers endorsing products to their fans. Today influencers come in all shapes and sizes (as we’ll talk about later). Anyone with a sizable audience on social media who is trusted for their expertise, or even just liked for entertainment value, holds the power to change minds and should be considered an influencer. 

They can steer people’s opinions and buying decisions – because they are liked, and/or have authority in their niche. 

Brands love influencers, because their endorsements are a great way to generate awareness and build trust with an audience they might not otherwise be able to reach as easily and convincingly.

This has opened up great opportunities for those willing to put in the work to become social media influencers. Today, many have the goal of working in this unique type of “job.”

What qualifies someone as an influencer?

Anyone with at least a few hundred followers on social media, whose posts get good engagement from their audience, can be considered an influencer. Also, their content should be focused on a specific topic which they build authority around. 

This way, their audience knows to trust their opinion on this specific topic.

What is an example of a social media influencer?

Every niche has influencers. For example, Taulant aka T-Ronimo is doing comedy and entertainment with passion on Instagram.

The power of social media influencers – defined

Influencers can do for a brand what a regular ad can’t do as easily. They can give an authentic endorsement that their audience will actually trust and follow.

“We want to do business with people or brands that we like and have forged a bond with over the years.” – Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

This is why more and more brands are realizing the power of influencer marketing.

Alex Bolen, the chief executive of Oscar De La Renta, said: “It would not be an exaggeration to say that our handbag business has taken off through our engagement with the influencer community. Our production has doubled.”

Influencers get people to act – namely, to pull out their wallets in good faith. And that makes them very powerful. Even if they only have a modest-sized following.

What exactly does a social media influencer do?

It might look easy from the outside. Just take selfies with some products and rake in the money! Right? 

But there’s a lot that has to happen behind the scenes when you’re an influencer:

  • They create and manage their personal brand and their accounts
  • They craft their strategy and plan content
  • They prepare for shooting video and images – clothes, make-up, lighting, choosing the right locations and angles
  • They’re constantly engaging with their audience
  • They deal with existing brand partners and acquire new ones
  • In short: They run a legitimate, full-time business, often with multiple employees

Is being a social media influencer defined as a job?

If we’re being precise, influencers are not employees, but rather entrepreneurs. They are their own small, or in some cases, mid-sized, business. They themselves are responsible for creating everything surrounding their brand, managing it, and growing it. 

Even if they’re working with an agency or in a long-term contract with a brand, they have more responsibilities than many traditional employees. 

In this case, they are acting as a business that is contracting with another. 

Do influencers make a lot of money?

In many cases, yes. Typically, different-sized influencers make between CHF 200 and CHF 100,000 per post. A-list celebrities can even make up to CHF1 Million for one social media post! 

How much exactly they make depends on the niche, audience size, the influencer’s likeability and ability to sell, content quality and frequency, and what kinds of contracts they manage to get from brands.

Four ways influencers can make money

1. Doing affiliate marketing

The influencer endorses a product in their content, and they receive a percentage of any resulting sales.

This type of commission-based marketing is also performance-based.

The more sales the influencer drives, the more they earn for themselves. This is often done through giving out promo codes to their followers that they can enter to get a discount with a brand. The sale is then tied to the influencer’s affiliate account. 

Another way to do this is by providing a special link for the audience, but this works better on some social media platforms than others.

2. Getting money for each post

You can also come to an agreement where the brand is paying for each “sponsored post” published on your account. The difficulty here is to settle on a price beforehand. This depends on the size of the influencer’s reach, their ability to negotiate and the brand’s budget.

3. Entering into long-term contracts with brands

These relationships can last a year or more. 

The influencer agrees on a certain number of campaigns, pieces of content, mentions etc. and receives payments in return for the duration of the contract

This can be a nice stable income, which in many cases is quite welcome for the influencer who has to always be hustling for next week’s deal.

4. Receiving free products

One of the perks of the social media influencer lifestyle: 

You often get free products to try out and possibly recommend to your followers. In most cases, these products will be yours to keep.

How influencers wield their influence: A definition

Here’s how an influencer’s influence actually plays out in the real world:

Influencers are connectors

They are like nodes in a network that bring together their followers, fellow influencers, and brands.

Because they are experts and leaders in their industry, their power to connect others is immense

This comes with a lot of responsibility on the part of the influencer, by the way. If they start burning the people who trust them by repeatedly giving bad recommendations, their status as an influencer could become permanently damaged.

Influencers are informers

It’s what the internet has been all about since the beginning – efficiently spreading relevant information. 

Today, social media influencers play an important role in spreading information: They keep their fans up to date with new items, developments, and even breaking news. Usually the information being spread by individual influencers is organic and more trustworthy than corporate sources. 

According to a recent survey, influencers are the most trusted source of information and the most influential in the decision-making process, even more so than trade exhibitions or word-of-mouth recommendations.

Moreover, they curate information from different sources to make it more digestible for their audience.

And so, these influencers play a key role in spreading information and relevant messages!

Influencers shape opinions

While engaging and informing are vital aspects of an influencer’s job, ultimately wielding power is about influencing people’s opinions. And influencers are great at it. They’re charismatic, authoritative, and persuasive. 

Their influence on the audience’s opinions can be immense, particularly if they stay timely, knowledgeable and relevant, make good content, and are careful to not misuse their followers’ trust.

Defining the different categories of influencers

Nano-influencer: Under 5000 followers

You can be a nano-influencer with some hundred social media followers, without much celebrity status. 

These influencers are still a welcome business partner for certain brands, because they don’t command high payouts, or are happy just to receive free products in return for endorsements. This means they can hire many nano-influencers for the price of one macro-influencer.

More importantly, their audience, often made up of mostly their close friends and family, are extremely engaged and trust their opinion greatly. When they recommend something, it holds a lot of weight!

Micro-influencer: 5k-100k followers

We know that bigger isn’t better with influencer marketing, and working with a micro-influencer is a sweet spot between authenticity and affordability on one side and popularity and reach on the other. 

Also, these small types of influencers are usually more available. While most of them do get a fair number of offers, they are usually not overwhelmed with brand deals flooding their inboxes. 

Micro-influencers are the definition of niche authorities. They are experts in their topic of choice and educate their modest following on everything surrounding it. Again, engagement is very high with these micro-influencers, because their audience feels more like a family than a huge disjointed crowd, as big celebrity accounts often do.

Macro-influencer: 100k-1m followers

This is where we get into the territory of massive reach. If a macro-influencer recommends your product, you can be sure that it’ll hit hundreds of thousands of eyeballs. Accordingly, macro-influencers have higher prices, less availability, and higher standards than smaller accounts.

But, crafting the right campaign with a macro-influencer can drive serious awareness and sales, so – done right – it can be an amazing vehicle for business growth.

Mega-influencer: Over 1 million followers

These are actors, musicians, and other A-list celebrities. 

Celebrities might have a huge audience, but often have less influence than smaller influencers: They appear less authentic and often don’t have as much authority and expertise in niche topics.

They are also picky, often difficult to work with, and very expensive. Many brands therefore prefer to work with multiple smaller influencers instead of one mega-influencer.

Influencers as defined by social media platform

Bloggers

The original online experts. Bloggers go deep on their chosen niche topic, and people rely on them for research and product reviews. Some blogs grow so authoritative that they turn into publishing companies rather than simple websites.

Yet, in the beginning, was the single influencer – the one you go to find out the latest and best information around the topic they’re an expert in.

YouTubers

YouTubers use the visual and auditory channel to do a similar thing to bloggers: Educate and inform their audience. But, YouTube videos also usually have more entertainment value than blogs – and influencers use that power to build huge, loyal followings. YouTube videos are usually longer than videos on TikTok and Instagram.

Brand sponsorship can take different forms: Brands can simply get a shoutout at the start and end of the video. In some cases, the influencer will make an entire video testing a product or incorporating a product into the story of the video. 

There are many opportunities for brands to appear – and they love it!

Podcasters

With podcasts being the longest form of online content, they draw a very interested and loyal audience. Hence, sponsoring a show can be very valuable for brands.

Instagrammers

The advent of Instagram’s platform for sharing images and short-form videos is when influencer marketing really blew up as a business.

Viral Instagram Reels are flashy, fancy, and engaging. A strategic product placement or endorsement by the influencer can do wonders for a brand’s marketing efforts

Sponsored Instagram posts are also a great way for influencers to get paid – often handsomely. 

So today most young people aspire to become influencers themselves because they see the cash and status it can bring.

TikTokers

This is the hot young platform, and home to a lot of up-and-coming social media influencers. While TikTok is a more fast-paced platform, people still grow to love and associate with their favorite creators. This opens the door to brand endorsements and influencer sponsorships, similar to other platforms.

Defining the most popular fields influencers work in

Here are some of the niches that influencers choose – most of these are trending, have a large audience, and can be very profitable to create content around.

1. The Business and Money-Making niche

Many people want to be an influencer in this niche, and their quality and ethics are on a spectrum. You can make a lot of money by teaching others about money. There are endless resources and tools to recommend that you can earn substantial commissions for.

2. The Beauty niche

One of the most popular niches for young, often female content creators to be an influencer in. But also becoming more and more important for male creators.  

3. The Fitness and Health niche

This niche is always going strong. It’s also competitive. Many different people have the goal of being health and fitness influencers. Fitness is also a very visual topic, so is well suited to social media.

4.The Cooking and Food niche

People love to look at recipes and cooking videos online – and influencers will provide! Some of these food and cooking accounts grow to millions of followers.

5. The Tech niche

There are always new and expensive products to review. This niche is quite competitive, but can offer great payouts to influencers.

6. The Travel niche

Travel seems to be an evergreen niche that is coming back in 2022 and beyond. Influencers can partner with tour companies, airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies to turn documenting their travels into a money-making activity.

7. The Fashion niche

Fashion modeling nowadays happens more on social media than it does at fashion shows or in print magazines. Consequently, there is good money to be made for influencers representing luxury clothing brands or as affiliates selling accessories, for example.

8. The Parenting niche

This niche is growing as more people get their information from trusted online influencers than from books or other traditional sources, even on topics such as parenting.

9. The Lifestyle niche

A broad, and popular niche. Creators can pick from a number of topics. Although it takes something special to stand out in this niche. An influencer has to be charismatic, successful, creative, or a combination of those in order to make it in this niche.

10. The Pet niche

It seems like cute kitten pictures and videos have always been the most popular thing on the internet. It now goes so much further. Pets have their own Instagram accounts, dog training gurus are everywhere. The growing pet niche is still a good niche to get into.

Conclusion

We hope this helped clear up the question of what an influencer really is! 
If you’re thinking about becoming an influencer yourself – or you’re a business curious about if using influencer marketing might be a good idea for your business – feel free to check out our other articles on these topics or join the email list to receive the latest news and trends around influencers and influencer marketing.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

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

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

Responsibility

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

(Excerpts from the Conscious Influence Hub Code of Conduct)

Check then post

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

(Excerpts from the Conscious Influence Hub Code of Conduct)

Protect privacy

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

(Excerpts from the Conscious Influence Hub Code of Conduct)

(Advertising) Break

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

Full attention

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

We are human beings

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

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

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

Author: Anja Lapčević, Co-CEO Kingfluencers

How To Choose The Right Influencer Marketing Agency In 2022

So, you’ve decided to use influencer marketing to grow your business, and you want the support of an agency. Influencer marketing is a wise choice. 89% of companies say their ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.

The right agency will certainly be able to get you impressive results with influencer marketing. Now in 2022, there are numerous agencies to choose from. All of them are promising to be the perfect fit for you. Many claim they can help you achieve your goals – guaranteed!

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Not every agency is equally professional and effective. Even some that are excellent still might not be a good fit for your business, for different reasons.

Influencer Marketing Agency Red Flags

No brand wants to work with a service provider that isn’t capable of getting beneficial results. You obviously don’t want to risk launching campaigns not backed by a proven process, with a high risk of failure.

If an agency is focused more on their own revenue streams than understanding your business’ unique situation and needs, the campaigns they run for you might fall flat.

Another issue to consider is chemistry. If the process of collaborating with the agency is unpleasant and filled with friction, you can end up very frustrated. You want to be working with humans who are open, who care, and who you can talk to and contact with your concerns at any time.

Likewise, you don’t want to end up working with someone who doesn’t use the latest technology and is unable to capture all the analytics that are required for running effective social media marketing campaigns.

After all, when you hire an influencer marketing agency, you are making an investment that’s supposed to pay off – you don’t want to be burning money and time on something that ends up being ineffective. Learn more about effective influencer marketing campaigns here. It’s worth putting the work in up front to evaluate influencer marketing agencies, so you can pick exactly the right fit out of the high-quality agencies out there.

We have created this guide to help you in that process, so you can make the right choice and experience the amazing results that influencer marketing can create for your business, while avoiding pitfalls.

Let’s dive in.

1. Get clear on what exactly you need from them

If you know what you are looking for, the chance of finding it increases significantly. This saying holds true for influencer marketing agencies too!

Every influencer marketing agency has different specialties, budget, and project size requirements. This is exactly why you should know your marketing goals and the goals you want to achieve together with the agency.

Once you have defined your goals, you can evaluate agencies through that framework, see how well they fulfill your criteria, and rank them accordingly.


The right agency will also be able to show you exactly how they are going to help you achieve your goals and do so convincingly. Find tips from Universal how to make influencer marketing work here.

2. Get to know their team

You can learn more about a company’s team by visiting the team section on agency websites, and viewing agency staff on LinkedIn.

During the consultation, you can ask who exactly would be working on your project.

Do they have the experience? And the ‘people skills’?


Look for team members who have relevant experience in running the types of influencer marketing campaigns you will be requesting. The goal here is to find an agency whose team is both qualified and pleasant to work with – this includes the human aspect of the relationship.

3. Examine their process

Now, you want to have a deeper look at exactly how the influencer marketing agency you’re looking conducts their work. Their approach to any new project will tell you a lot about how successful they will be once they’re working for your brand.

How do influencer marketing agencies evaluate a project?

Find out how the agency treats any new customer’s project. Look for signs that you will get a strategy that’s not cookie-cutter, but uniquely tailored to your brand. A good agency is supposed to be very creative in adapting their process to you in a way that makes sense.

How are agencies kept accountable?

An important piece of information to know is if the agency has senior professionals supervise your project. It’s fine if some newer people are going to also work on your campaign – as long as they are being checked by those with more experience. At Kingfluencers, every client is supported by at least one senior professional, with over five years of experience in social media and influencer marketing, to balance the diligent efforts of our newer marketers.

When and for how long are agencies available to you each week?

Also, you want them to be available and accountable to you directly. This means you can reach them easily and there’s always space in their schedule to discuss matters with you. At Kingfluencers, we respond to client emails within the same or the next day, the latest.

Are agencies readily sharing this info with you? Will they be able to make their process work for your needs?


If an agency is being very opaque about what working with them looks like, that could be a red flag. It probably means they will – in spite of their promises – not be able to take your unique needs into account and craft a strategy that will actually get you the results.

4. Study their strategies

The best influencer marketing agencies use strategies that work.

What does that mean?
Are they planning for the long term?

Yes, a one-off influencer marketing initiative can be impactful. But the best agencies also specialize in running long-term campaigns that get your brand to the next level, and make sure it stays there sustainably. Obviously this depends on your goals and budget. 

But brand strategists who have experience creating more comprehensive strategies are always at least considering the long-term impact of any campaign they’re involved in, which is definitely a plus. 

Do they consider the big picture, or is your campaign going to be working in isolation?

Influencer marketing should not be a stand-alone measure. Social media touchpoints should lead to specific actions taken in the context of your campaign. 

A holistic, or integrated, approach is key and vastly superior to isolated strategies.

Does the influencer marketing agency in question commit to combining different outlets and marketing strategies in order to serve you best, or is there no mention of such an approach? Read about Kingfluencers focus on holistic, omnichannel storytelling.

Are they creative, hip to trends, and versatile in their tactics?

Influencer marketing is evolving quickly. New trends are popping up all the time. Anyone playing in this field must be highly creative and adaptive. The best agencies show they can capitalize on these trends, and are always finding the right kinds of messages and campaigns that fit the times. Constant reinvention is the name of the game in influencer marketing. 

You can gauge which agency possesses these qualities by reading their marketing materials and looking into their history and portfolio. For example, the best influencer marketing agencies are creating influencer partnerships that are even more interactive and collaborative than typical social media content – they are encouraging the audience to participate in new and fun ways.

Are they using the power of storytelling to full effect?

Again, you can tell by looking at how an influencer marketing agency talks about what they do. Do they grasp the vital importance of good, creative storytelling?
Effective influencer marketing evokes the right emotions and creates a special connection with the audience, which is best done through telling captivating stories. In order to do that, the content produced for you must be both creative and authentic – not feeling disingenuous in the slightest. The right influencer marketing agency is doing just that, and creating a precious opportunity for your brand to be connected with an engaged audience, leading to the result that you came for.

5. Screen their technology

What is their campaign management like?

Starting a campaign for you is one thing – managing it successfully is another. Check out how the agency in question is going to handle managing your project. If they are doing it right, they will be using sophisticated technology in order to keep up with and manage your influencer campaign.

They should have the latest technologies and best practices at their fingertips. Digital marketing agencies need to be familiar with the latest software, because tools such as Upfluence, Modash or Creator IQ, for example, are useful to achieve faster results through deep insights. At Kingfluencers, we have our own developed tools with which we can simplify our work, because we do everything within the system, from influencer research and sourcing, to campaign reporting and beyond predicting ROI. Thanks to the advantage that our system is based on data truth – e.g., through creating automated briefings and analysis – both, influencers and clients, share and get insights, so every process and crucial step is happening within our system based on the included real-time data.

Are they performance driven?

This means they are paying attention to and tracking the correct metrics – and have processes and strategies in place to learn from these analytics and use their learnings to adjust and improve your initiative.

Familiarity with other third-party data sources and creative tools is also helpful. Ultimately, this helps your brand gain more popularity through better campaigns – both in terms of creativity and effectiveness.

6. Learn about their network of influencers

Technology, team, and tactics aside, what can really make or break your influencer marketing campaign is what kind of influencers you end up working with.

Of course, picking the right influencers for you should be a core competency of an influencer marketing agency!

But there is a little more to it.

Here’s how you can evaluate whether they will be able to connect you with the best people for the job, or whether there is a chance they’ll leave you with a mismatch that’ll end up hurting your marketing efforts:

How large of a network do they have?

While this does not directly ensure the quality of those contacts, a decent-sized network at least means that the agency has put in the work of creating many connections and has been working in this field for a good amount of time already. If the network they are working with isn’t large, they won’t have as many choices of influencers to find exactly the right ones for you. 

Are all the influencers carefully vetted? What’s their vetting process like?

It’s true, people trust influencers – but only those who have shown to actually be deserving of their trust. It’s the agency’s job to filter for influencers with integrity and who are not just out to make a quick buck while carelessly disrespecting their audience and the brands they represent.

A good influencer marketing agency will take the time to get to know each and every one of their content creators. They might accomplish that task with personal onboardings, influencer trainings, and co-creation workshops. That way they’ll make sure to connect you only with quality, committed, and authentic people to represent your brand.

Will they be able to pick the right type of influencer for the job?

Do they have access to nano-, micro- and macro-influencers and can they offer the type of channel that is right for your goals? For example, while nano- and micro-influencers have a much smaller following, they are able to create a much closer connection between your brand and their community, because they are highly trusted and their audience engagement is typically much higher.

When an influencer and their following are a great fit for your brand, you have the chance to create amazing content that leads to extraordinary results.

How do they ensure quality control and accountability for their influencers?

This requires functional working relationships with their network, as well as processes for managing the workflow. See if you can find out about their process for ensuring influencer accountability.

7. Review their portfolio & skills

The influencer marketing agency you hire should have the skills you need to achieve your goals, whether it’s generating more quality leads, increasing online sales, increasing store visits, or getting more website visitors.

Do they demonstrate a deep understanding of the relevant platforms and what good content looks like?

The only way to get results is to hire an agency that has mastered the art of creating engaging and targeted influencer marketing campaigns.

You can make sure this is the case by checking out the content they’ve produced in the past.

8. Check their social proof

The best way for you to check if the agency is reputable and gets results is to look at their history and portfolio of past work. Finished work, after all, is the best demonstration of skills – far superior to any marketing promises.

Do they have a high-caliber, diverse portfolio?

The portfolio is the ideal way for the agency to showcase their best work. This will help you get an idea of ​​what type of work they do and what type of clients they select.

What do their testimonials say?

Over 90% of clients look at testimonials before hiring an agency. Social proof is therefore an effective tactic for agencies to convert prospects into buyers. If you can’t find any testimonials on websites, it likely means:

  • The company may not have any previous customers
  • They are not the experts they claim to be

Good testimonials indicate that future customers may have a similar experience. Plus, agencies with happy clients shouldn’t have a hard time getting testimonials.

Be aware that testimonials on online review sites are easy to fake. Look for testimonials of past clients prominently featured on the agency’s website – they can’t afford to fake those!

Social proofs like testimonials and previous client reviews can be a great way to gain insight into an influencer agency’s work ethic.

Another great way to further vet an agency and ensure good collaboration is to get an idea of ​​the agency’s past customers. Get in touch with them and ask them about their experience working with the agency. In addition to helping you choose the right agency, these discussions could also give you insight into best practices to copy.

9. Discuss their prices

Finally, be sure to discuss prices and deliverables. This is the final piece of information that will tell you if an influencer agency can give you what you are looking for, in the right way, and at the right price.

It’s crucial to find the target groups that are most likely to be interested in your offer in order to keep the advertising costs per new customer as low as possible and thus win the most new customers for your budget.

Will they be able to align with your expectations regarding budget and deliverables?

Conclusion

Starting influencer marketing in your business can be a daunting task. If you don’t first get to really know the influencer marketing agency you’re going to work with, your efforts could end up being in vain and losses could occur.

It pays to hire the best, most experienced influencer marketing experts to help you achieve your goals. You need someone who can create exciting influencer campaigns and deliver them accurately to convert your audience into customers.

To keep up in a dynamic field like social media marketing and successfully work with third parties influencers, it’s best to work with an agency with proven expertise.

Check out our blog and follow Kingfluencers for our upcoming articles.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

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

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

Influencers as Role Models

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

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

Modeling Healthy and Active Lives

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

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

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

Supporting Economic Growth

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

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

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

Encouraging Vaccination While Private Issues Become Increasingly Public

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

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

Influencer Marketing is The Right Tool

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

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

The Role of Comedians and Podcasts

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

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

Influencers Helping with Society’s Challenges

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

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

Many Influencers can Serve as a Source of Inspiration 

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

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

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Influencers and Politics: Should they Speak Up


Social media is used for more than posting holiday pictures or the outfit of the day. Many users, including influencers, are also bringing awareness to sociopolitical topics and encouraging their followers to take actions such as voting or participating in protests. What are the pros and cons of taking a stance, versus keeping politically neutral? 

Whether you like it or not, politics is all around us and impacts our daily lives in many direct and indirect ways. It is a topic of discussion amongst family and friends. Compared to our neighboring countries, talking politics is still somewhat taboo in Switzerland. This phenomenon can be witnessed online as well, including in the behaviours of influencers. A good example is voting. Every few months, during initiative season, more and more creators and influencers are sharing information about the different initiatives. Many don’t share any pro or con information, but rather encourage their audience to vote. It is also clear to many, especially now, that politics does impact our daily lives. “Especially now, when the pandemic affected all of us, it is clear for all that politics has a huge impact on our personal lives,” according to Andri Silberschmidt, member of the Swiss National Council (FDP).

Influencers can have significant impacts on the outcomes of votes. For example, one might even say that the referendum for same-sex marriage and adoption rights, which was held on 26 September 2021, may have been overwhelmingly approved by Swiss voters thanks to the Komitee Ehe Für Alle’s marketing campaigns and social media. Many Swiss influencers, including those who normally don’t engage in sociopolitical dialogue, like Steven Epprecht, have stepped up and encouraged their community to vote “yes.” Also, content creators and casual social media users alike have voiced their opinions and shown their support. Even normally politically neutral brands like Ikea Switzerland have shown their support for the referendum both online and off. 

Should Influencers Take a Stand on Sociopolitical Issues?

On the one hand, just like many of us, most influencers are not political experts. On the other hand, influencers do have the power and an indirect responsibility to use their large reach and bring awareness to certain topics. This debate has gone on for years and was highlighted in last year’s Black Lives Matter movement where many influencers and content creators worldwide, with large and small communities, have spoken up. The fact is, whether influencers talk about political issues or choose not to, they get criticized.

Of course, influencers are not obligated to talk about political issues, just as politicians are not obligated to “run a lifestyle blog or write travelogues,” as Michael Walter put it nicely. As a rule of thumb, Andri Silberschmidt recommends that only those who are enthusiastic about it should get involved online. Everyone does have the right and privilege to form their own opinion and vote in Switzerland. 

The Benefits of Influencers Taking a Stand on Sociopolitical Issues

Influencers have a large reach and can influence the perception of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people. If they can influence their audiences to buy a product, why shouldn’t they influence their audience to make positive changes in the world and discuss political issues? As lifestyle blogger and digital entrepreneur, Slavia Karlen, said: “Not speaking out on political issues is a missed opportunity to engage in political dialogue.” Swiss politician and member of the Swiss National Council, Andri Silberschmidt, agrees with this statement: “I think it’s cool and I’m always happy when influencers participate in political discourse. Even if they don’t have the same opinion as I do, it’s still enriching because it encourages discussion.” 

Another reason why influencers should be involved in sociopolitical issues, especially if they are passionate about certain topics, is that they can change the world in positive ways. As musician and outspoken influencer Moo Malika said in our Clubhouse talk in April 2021, “I actually always think to myself, angry people have changed the world. It wasn’t those who didn’t dare to say something, but those who spoke out and took to the streets. I am of the opinion that one must draw attention to wrongdoings.” Generation Z in particular, doesn’t necessarily listen to politicians or traditional celebrities, but they can be swayed by their favorite influencers. 

Influencers have a unique position to inform and educate, and must act responsibly in wielding that power. Influencers can provide a platform to their communities and amplify their voices for causes that are near to their hearts. 

Of nearly 5.5 million Swiss residents who are eligible to vote, in the year 2020, 49.3% have participated in votes. According to the Department of Swiss Youth Parliaments, almost half of Swiss voters between the ages of 66 and 75 always vote, whereas nearly two-thirds of voters between the ages of 18 and 35 either never vote or seldomly. Younger voters tend to vote selectively, only participating in initiatives that they truly care about. As observed in recent Swiss initiatives, like the referendum for same-sex marriage and adoption rights in September 2021, social media has made a huge impact and significantly increased the participation of young voters. Influencers, content creators, and casual social media users alike have encouraged their communities to go to the ballot box and it worked: The participation rate of eligible Swiss voters has increased to 52.6% and 64.10% have voted yes.

The Downsides of Influencer Involvement

On the other hand, if not carefully managed and properly communicated, voicing one’s opinion can lead to something that many influencers fear: being canceled. This happened, for example, with ex-freestyle skier Miriam Jäger, who still has her comments limited to this day due to her stories in June 2020 where she spoke critically about the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in numerous major Swiss cities. This also cost her an influencer deal with Swiss Post

One plain reason why influencers should not be involved in political issues is the fact that they are not political experts. As beauty and lifestyle content creator Anastasia Casaluci said: “That’s what politicians are for. We can’t do it all. Many people simply don’t know enough about the subject, and I think that certain things should simply be left to the experts in the fields.” 

Furthermore, influencers have more than their community watching their every move. Important stakeholders such as agencies, employers, and the press always stay up-to-date with their influencers’ online activities. One wrong move and an influencer’s career can be negatively impacted. This is why entrepreneur, model, and content creator Michael Walter usually keeps a distance when it comes to speaking out about sociopolitical issues: “I keep asking myself how far I should go on social media and to what extent I should express my opinion on sociopolitical issues.”

Another simple reason why influencers don’t get involved in political issues is the fact that they lead very busy lives with multiple jobs and the different hats they wear as influencers, i. e. administrator, bookkeeper, marketer, writer, photographer etc. Most influencers in Switzerland work part-time as influencers. Being an influencer consists of more than posting images and videos and answering comments on social media. There are a lot of hours of work that goes behind one post. “And with (a) job(s), family, dog, etc. — there is not much time left to politicize”, as digital creator Fabio Zerzuben has said frankly.  

Who’s Right About Being Right?

Talk quickly about the fact that one big question is: what is RIGHT?  For example you might think that Donald Trump is a bad person and should not win elections because his program is bad but this is all very personal, universal values aside, and for someone else he might be the right choice. Or abortion might seem murder to you, but not to a rape victim … so one very crucial point to take into account is that before speaking up and influencing people you better be 100% certain you’re on the right side of history and if not or or if you don’t have all the info to make a very informed statement should you even be influencing people as someone with the power to do so ? ethical question to be considered ! 

Throughout history, powerful people have acted in ways that have been revealed to be misinformed and even dangerous, such as doctors promoting cigarette smoking. When influencers consider taking a stand on an issue, it’s important they’re well-informed. From an ethical standpoint, influencers wield power and must be certain they’re acting responsibly.

Tips and Tricks Direct from The Influencers 

If you do choose to dialogue about sociopolitical issues, we have listed some tips for influencers as well as everyone engaging on social media. The following are exclusive tips from our influencers, as well as Andri Silberschmidt, along with guidance from the Conscious Influence Hub (CIH).

  1. Be informed before publicizing your opinion

TikToker wemmse stated: “Online, I only comment on a topic when I feel well informed and confident in my position. But I often put enlightening posts in my story so that those who want to inform themselves can do so.”

Always fact check. Check your information sources and educate yourself before informing others.

  1. Add humor

Consider adding humor, particularly if you don’t usually post serious content. Satirist Hamza Raya says: “Indirectly, I participate by contributing to the formation of opinion as a satirist.”

  1. Remember words can have consequences

As an influencer, your words could have consequences if you don’t watch out. Blogger and sustainability activist Anina Mutter has set some ground rules for herself from the beginning of her career as a blogger: “My basic rules are that I only express myself when I am actually sure that I can stand behind my statement and that I know what I am talking about (of course, I can be wrong there, too). I also seek advice from experts when I am unsure. Or I just allow myself (for the time being) not to say anything if I am not sure.” Slavia warns: “You have to be careful what you say, because if you have even a minimally different opinion, this can unfortunately very quickly end in a shitstorm.”

  1. Leave people their own opinions.

Educate and suggest, but don’t impose. Understand that what’s right for you might not be right for someone else irrespective of their motives.

  1. Emphasize facts over emotion

Speak mostly with facts rather than emotion. Speak with emotion only when the objective facts support your claims.

  1. Avoid aggression

Don’t aggressively attack or offen. While respecting everyone’s opinion, be constructive in finding common ground rather than fighting. 

Andri Silberschmidt’s exclusive ground rules for all social media users:

  1. Be respectful and maintain decorum

There is no such thing as a wrong opinion. Even when disagreeing, act with good manners and propriety.

  1. Listen to your counterparts

Even if they don’t have the same opinions as you.

  1. Be transparent with your vested interests

For example, if you are an influencer for an organic farmer and have a clear opinion for environmental protection, say so from the beginning instead of someone finding out later and not taking your opinion seriously afterward. It must be clear that you are expressing your opinion for ideological reasons and not for financial ones. 

  1. Promote discussions

Don’t use the platforms to just announce your opinion, but to promote discussions and find solutions.

What Initiatives are Coming Up?

On 28 November, we will vote on the Judge initiative and the Nursing initiative, which many nurses and healthcare professionals are advocating on social media for people to vote YES. A vote will also be held on the amendment of the COVID-19 act. The act is highly controversial and widely discussed on social media, and even billboards.

Conclusion

There are many pros and cons to engaging in political debates, and it’s ultimately a personal decision. It’s reasonable for influencers to want to stay out of the fray, but for those who boldly enter, it’s vital to do so responsibly and ethically. They must be cognizant of the potential impact of their actions, and remain respectful of differing views.

And to all Swiss people out there – your vote is your voice, so go vote! Although it might feel like your vote won’t really matter, it will always make a difference.

Author: Sherriene Redha, Junior Social Media and Community Manager

Co-Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Creator Portraits – Bad-Vibes – 20min collab

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

Meet sustainability blogger Anina Mutter

Meet TikToker Kirs8an

Meet YouTuber Nathistyle

Meet TikToker Almost.Cesca

Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing.

Succeeding as an Influencer – Tips from Successful Swiss Influencers

Based on the GFM — Kingfluencers webinar from 9.12.2020

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

Put the Work in and Be Passionate

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

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

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

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

Create Value for Brands

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

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

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

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

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

Swiss Influencer Antonella Patitucci

Safeguard Authenticity

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

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

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

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

Steven Epprecht, a swiss influencer in Zurich

Move with Marketing Trends

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

Influencer Best Practices Checklist

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

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

Based on the GFM — Kingfluencers webinar from 9.12.2020

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

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

Incorporate Influencer Marketing into the Marketing Mix

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

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

Campaigns to Enable Connections

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

Synchronize Influencer Marketing

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

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

A Second Life for Content

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

The Importance of Good Matches

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

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

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

Influencer Marketing Best Practices List

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

1. Make the Perfect Match

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

2. Access Expertise

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

3. See the Content Creator, Not the Platform

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

4. Influencers are Not a Media Buy

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

5. Let Influencers Do What They Do Best

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

6. Be Creative and Be Bold

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

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing