Looking at the title of this guide, you might be thinking: trends come and go as fast as Instagram Stories. Why should my brand keep up with social media/influencer marketing trends?
As Facebook (now Meta) founder Mark Zuckerberg once said, “If we can figure out what the next big trends are, we’ll know what to focus on.” Predicting upcoming trends can be one of the most important factors in planning your next digital marketing campaigns. Kingfluencers experts and their content creators have selected the top 13 social media trends brands should pay attention to.
13 Social Media & Influencer Marketing Trends to Look For Now
Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing and here for our social media services.
A Story of How Omni-Channel Storytelling Makes Objectives Meet
The Myth of Storytelling
While the terminology may differ, storytelling is vital to both fiction and marketing. Successful brands tell stories across the digital ecosystem in a holistic manner, pulling their message together across channels and formats in a way that’s impactful and helps them get through to people and be more successful. Although the term storytelling is (over)used non stop in marketing circles, it sometimes feels like speaking of a mythical creature many talk about but few ever really see. One think we know is that stories work. People have been telling each other stories from before they even invented the words to shape them. Cut to modern times and marketing and the question is: so what is storytelling all about and how to do it effectively and efficiently in today’s omni-channel digital world?
All About the Hero
Great stories encourage the listener’s active imagination, prompting them to emotionally connect with the characters. In the case of brands, stories help consumers imagine their own experience wearing a pair of shoes, improving their health with plant-based foods, or enjoying a stay in a luxurious hotel. The Hero’s Journey is the foundation of many compelling stories and brands should view customers as heroes of their own story. When people do feel like the hero, even if briefly, empowered by your brand, a little bit of magic happens …
Brand perception, for one, is key to making sure people respect and trust your brand and ultimately buy it. With effective storytelling through mechanisms such as influencer marketing (IM), you can forge emotional connections and reinforce your desired positioning, driving revenue and strengthening consumer loyalty.
But it isn’t always easy to know where to start the journey. Social media is a great way to establish interaction and the perfect place to start or expand the journey. Effective use of this channel can enable you to change how consumers view your brand and broader issues surrounding it. That is one element of ‘social influence’. Often, brands are unaware of the influence they could generate through digital storytelling on social media and beyond. And the more this storytelling is incorporated across your marketing, communication and channel mix, the bigger the potential impact becomes.
But what are the secrets behind achieving good storytelling that captivates your audiences and how to make them the hero of the story?
Which Types of Heroes Do Your Clients Desire to Be?
A very important question is which types of heroes your target audience wants to be. Which superpowers would they wish they had that you can help them with? Whether they wanna have the perfect smile, a clean and safe home, or be taken on a culinary adventure, your clients look to you to make them the protagonist in small and big ways and moments. So how can you make it clear to people that you are the one that will do exactly that for them? How to make sure they tune into what you are saying and absorb your message? Your guessed it: with great storytelling.
In order to do great storytelling a few base pillars need to be kept in mind. These principles serve like the foundation to build upon, with the story itself being everything you build on top. But without a solid foundation whatever you build will either be unstable and thus not very credible or interesting, or simply collapse sooner or later. The four main pillars are purpose, emotion, relevance and continuity.
1. Purpose: Start With Mission and Vision
Start from your brand’s mission, vision, and values and make sure all marketing initiatives align consistently with these. Bring every story back to your purpose; why do you exist as a brand and what are you all about. By doing so consistently you create a common thread that allows people to get to know your brand better and get an idea of who you are and why they (should) like or even love you.
2. Emotion: Be Authentic and Forge Emotional Connection
When you say people you say emotion. Simple. Successful brands connect with consumers and create a relationship. Connection leads to short-term conversions, as well as long-term loyalty and even brand advocacy. The best way to stand out from the crowds and connect is with emotion, empathy, and authenticity. Brands can cultivate brand love by engaging in people-driven, creative, storytelling that unlocks emotion.
3. Relevance: Help Audiences See Themselves With You
Consider how your product or service impacts various members of your target audience and draw connections so your posts are relatable. The more your audiences can see themselves in the situations and contexts you describe in your stories, the more likely they are to connect and engage with your brand ad ultimately buy your products.
4. Continuity: Progress Over Time
Stories should progress over time, rather than pushing out multiple random posts, take the audience on an on-going journey that makes them want to see what you will do or bring next as a brand. Solid, ongoing storylines can captivate your audience, create engagement, and make them seek out what’s next.
Example – Corona Beer: The Swiss Limetrack
Some brands are more than a provider of products, they represent a lifestyle, a mindset, a philosophy. Corona is one of those exceptional brands with a powerful identity and strong message.
To strengthen its presence in the Swiss market, Corona engaged with Kingfluencers to create an influencer marketing campaign boosting local appeal and connecting to Swiss consumers on an emotional level.
Kingfluencers assembled an influencer team, The Limetrack squad, and built a sequence of creative activities and steps that allowed the influencers to tell a rich and captivating story over 3.5 months. Serving as protagonists, the Limetrack Squad took the audience on a magnificent summer journey, which included allowing every consumer to become the hero of their own story by following the influencer’s footsteps and giving away dozens of Corona kits via interactive challenges and contests – getting the winners ready to start their own adventures.
Give Your Brand a Voice, Create Dialogue, Generate More Brand Love
Brands can boost their emotional appeal by engaging in people-driven, creative, storytelling and advertising that unlocks emotion. Leveraging brand advocates and influencer marketing to tell stories gives your brand a face that people can relate to and creates more emotional connections. Influencers can tell their own unique stories with emotion, giving products a face people can relate to.
What’s more is that social media and influencer marketing provide agile, real-time communication channels with consumers. Brands should engage with consumers and aim for effective two-way communication. You can turn storytelling from brand monologues into conversations by encouraging participation and interaction, as well as incorporating user-generated content. A great way to elevate and enrich your storytelling. Influencer marketing has excellent potential for interactive campaigns. The close connection influencers have with their communities is ideal for engaging audiences.
Whereas influencers are a great vehicle to lift your storytelling to the next level, it can help to include a variety of storytellers in the form of different people. While a brand’s marketing team must serve as the primary authors of the brand’s key messages, consider the important contributions ofvarious storytellers, including employees, partners, and even consumers. According to the Swiss Influencer Marketing Report 2020, about half of the marketing managers surveyed estimate the return on investment of their influencer campaigns to date to be higher than with alternative forms of advertising.
Example – Various Storytellers Collaborate on the 1st Swiss Music Video Specifically for Tiktok
Building on themes of freshness and authenticity, Evian-Volvic Switzerland worked with Kingfluencers to leverage various storytellers to create the first Swiss music video specifically for TikTok. The video “Volli Kiste,” has received more than a million clicks as of 2 September. With tailored rap lyrics, it features a line-up of Swiss TikTok stars from dance and comedy, including Eastern Swiss comedian “Kiko.”
“Because the Volvic teas, unlike other tea-based soft drinks, are much more natural, have no additives and are much lower in sugar, authenticity was twice as important to us in this project,” said Nina Heller, Head of Marketing, Evian-Volvic. Kiko added, “The whole project has to be just as fresh as the Iced Tea: from the song to the video to the people… I see the project as a kind of cultural promotion with advertising.”
Omnichannel Storytelling: Be Smart, Consistent & Connect the Dots
Omnichannel storytelling is not without its dangers. A core principle is that the brand identity and messages should be consistent throughout your mix of channels, storytellers, and themes. Brands must make connections not only between channels, such as website and Instagram, but also stories. Even in separate posts, across different channels, your posts should function as ongoing conversations in a segmented but connected way.
Stories also reinforce your brand message, and research shows that keeping your brand message consistent across channels increases brand trust and purchase intention significantly. Content can be fine-tuned to better suit different channels but must still maintain an underlying core consistency.
Repurposing content is another way to connect the dots across channels. For example, you can take content created for one purpose, such as an influencer campaign, and revive it for a second lifecycle across various channels. Repurposing content not only helps achieve your goals of creating ongoing storylines, but also saves money.
Over recent years influencer marketing has seen a huge boom as brands have been discovering the benefits of the practice and benefitting from the positive returns it can generate for them. In 2021 Nearly two-thirds of marketers said they will increase their spending on influencer marketing significantly, compared to only 39% stating the same in 2018. One of many signs that this fresh marketing tactic is no longer standing on the sidelines but has become central to brand’s go-to-market approach. One main reason behind this is that IM return on investment has become a lot easier to measure and track. That being said, in new 2021 studies, 89% of marketers say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.
It is thus no surprise that IM has been seeing its popularity rise exponentially and whereas the global advertising market might be undergoing some turbulations, we see that the social media advertising and influencer marketing spending of companies is rising sharply, with the projected year on year increase in global influencer marketing revenue expected to continue to reach double digits for the next foreseeable years – according to renowned market research firms the expected CAGR will be around 32%. Meanwhile 17% of marketers claim they will spend 50% or more of their marketing budget on IM. Do we need to say more?
But of course influencer marketing is more attractive for some sectors than for others and every industry also has its own dynamics that is reflected in how intensively – if anything – marketers adopt IM as a solid part of their marketing strategy. Within the influencer industry, the five most popular categories with a share of 57% were lifestyle, travel, food, parenting, and fashion and beauty. Often even within the sector we see different stakeholders have a heterogenic approach to influencer marketing among the main actors. That is definitely the case for the travel and tourism industry where we see different industry players apply influencer marketing in different ways as part of their marketing strategy.
The case for IM in the travel industry
It is fair to say that all the positive aspects that make IM effective and popular in general apply to the travel industry, and perhaps even more than to others. Why? For starters in travel word-of-mouth is potentially even more important as a decision making factor for those people deciding where to go, how to get there and where to stay than in any other sector. Peer-to-peer reviews are almost nowhere as important and decisive for consumer decisions as in the travel industry. Therefore inspiring trust by means of authentic influencer reviews and recommendations can provide a significant sales push by boosting a brand’s image and triggering positive purchasing or booking decisions. The closer the influencer is to their community the bigger this impact will be. This type of gentle but effective push is hard or impossible to achieve with any other form of communication or advertising. Moreover, it has been shown in studies on consumer decision processes that travel is one of the areas in which consumers most turn to influencers to get inspired. There is a very aspirational component to travel and seeing the people one looks up to visiting certain locations and gaining memorable experiences with the brands that make it possible. Whether you are looking for full-on glamour or back to basics nature experiences, when an influencer promotes your destination or service, those with similar lifestyle aspirations seeking for certain experiences are bound to feel inclined to follow in the influencer’s footsteps.
Newly emerging IM champions in the sector
The travel and tourism industry is made up of many different actors such as passenger transportation and airline companies, hotels, intermediaries (traditional and online travel agencies) and leisure experience providers. These players have typically showed a somewhat fragmented approach to their usage of influencer marketing. One of the surprising evolutions that we have witnessed gaining strength over the past years has been the involvement of travel and tourism associations and destinations, where they have been taking control to gain appeal in the eyes of consumers. One of the already famous examples from this year has been the ‘no drama’ campaign from Schweizer Tourismus which included Roger Federer – in terms of an influencer it does not get much better – and actor Robert De Niro. The campaign has been widely recognized as a massive success and even won multiple awards, including in Cannes. In order to give their campaign even more firing power they have engaged a real influencer squad to further spread the message towards a wide audience and achieve positive outcomes.
New opportunities for the ‘underdogs’
When it comes to the leading actors in the industry – passenger transportation, hotels / hospitality and travel agents – we see pretty much a similar pattern when it comes to influencer marketing spending compared to other forms of advertising. But there are some clear differences. The similarities lay in the fact that just like with traditional advertising the big players – traditional travel agencies aside as they have seen their markets and budgets shrink dramatically due to online competition – in general have the bigger budgets to spend on influencer marketing and can therefor work with top influencers, content creators and professional agencies and have even dedicated resources to plan and execute their IM strategies and tactics. But the more relevant part is probably where IM offer a different picture than what we saw before. For starters despite online travel agencies investing a lot in digital marketing and advertising, especially search, display and on social media advertising, we see them being less active in IM working with social-media-made influencers. Instead we see them working more often with celebrity endorsements, which is for many also considered influencer marketing.
But more importantly by working directly with influencers smaller brands like small hotel chains or individual establishments now also have the power to tap into an effective marketing resource that has proven to yield positive results and return on investment. Interviews with single hotel or small hotel chain employees have taught us that very often these organizations do not even have dedicated marketing professionals or teams and so elaborate marketing actions are nearly impossible for them to manage. However working with influencers is ‘easy’ because by just choosing the right people to work with and giving them a clear briefing, the influencer does most of the work such as content creations and promotion for them. This is a huge game-changer and gives these brands access to a marketing power they did not have before. Often hotels get approached by influencers who pro-actively reach out in an effort to create win-win deals, allowing the hotel to investigate if the influencer is a fit or not without having to spend time scouting through social media, and if there is a fit it is usually cost-effective to book them as often remuneration is a mix between cash payments and in-kind payments – mainly free hotel stays. That means IM has the power to democratize the hospitality sector’s marketing power a little bit.
Another factor where IM plays a role is through the fact that for a hotel it’s much more lucrative to get direct bookings as receiving bookings via agencies (offline and online) is usually a lot less profitable due to the high commissions paid. Working with influencers has been proven to generate sales / bookings and by directing people to the hotel website to book directly, IM can contribute to a higher profitability .
Travelfluencers and the win-win-win
Contrary to what critics might say or wish to believe, travel influencer is a real job. And a rewarding one when done properly, no matter if we speak about macro or micro-influencers. Whether main occupation of side occupation, it requires investment in time, effort and yes resources along with a good dose of creativity, content creation skills and more in order to provide both brands and consumers with what they are looking for. Many travel influencers are skilled photographers, videographers, etc and spend ample time in researching the places they go, and creating the perfect shot that tells a story like no other. What is important for travel influencers is to always remain authentic and honest in order not to betray the trust of their community. It is thus always a tough task for influencers to choose the brands and organization they actually genuinely feel comfortable working with and promoting , while at the same time giving truthful and balanced feedback towards their audience. When done successfully this creates a win-win-win. Often influencer receive benefits such as some form of payment and other perks, the brand benefits from the generated visibility and image-boost, and the audience gets valuable insights that help them make consumer / travel decisions helping them avoid disappointing mistakes and guarantee that the trip will be worth the effort, and money spent.
Go micro, and other tips
By now it has become common knowledge that in order to achieve positive results and return on investment it is not necessary to work with the most famous influencers or those with the biggest audience – so called macro influencers. Especially for the hospitality sector it has been proven to be very rewarding and cost-effective to work with micro and even nano influencers. Often these influencers have an even better and closer relationship with their community which makes that their recommendations carry even more value towards those audiences. Especially in the travel and hospitality industry where this aspect of trust and word-of-mouth is so crucial this ‘closeness’ generates more impact and directly affects people’s decisions, resulting in revenue generation for the brand. Smaller influencers usually also have a more defines audience and homogenous follower community, making them the perfect vehicle to target specific communities effectively. Their communities are usually also more engaged, resulting in higher interaction with your brand based on the posts they do and a higher incidence of call-to-action uptake or conversion as a consequence. As their influencer fees are also generally lower than for bigger influencers, it is possible to work with more influencers in one campaign, thereby expanding the reach and combining reach in numbers with the objective of having a focused reach zooming in on exactly those people you want to engage.
Other tips for travel brands include:
When working with influencers go for long term collaboration because the benefits of doing so are significant: not only will you be able to negotiate better deals with the influencers but the influencer will also become more of a brand ambassador for you and as people start recognizing this over time, they will associate the person with your brand and vice versa and their endorsements will generate more positive impact
Work with video as much as possible as this is the preferred medium these days as well as the most impactful one
Choose the right influencers, based on their image, value lifestyle and especially their community – always do your due diligence
Although Instagram is the most popular platforms for travel influencer campaigns, it is worthwhile looking into other platforms like TikTok as well, although these do require a different approach and so it is always useful to look at benchmarks first and explore the options
Focus on creatine interaction with the audience and engagement above anything else
It’s all about experience and inspiration so when collaborating with the influencers go for the route that really inspires people to the max
Track your performance and set goals, IM is no longer just about awareness and top of the funnel but also more and more about actual conversion and generating sales / direct revenue
Social responsibility is a big topic, but it no longer just includes sustainability in covid-times – take this into account to avoid risks of public backlash
Don’t forget Covid
The pandemic has had a disproportionally strong impact on the travel industry in comparison to any other industry. Even with gradually lowering restrictions and glimmer of hope that things are slowly going back to ‘normal’, it has to be taken into account that that normal is no longer defined the way it was before. Not only did the hospitality sector need to change the way it operates – check initiatives life the well health safety seal in the US and beyond, but it also has tremendous consequences for influencers and influencer marketing. What was previously easy and simple or no-brainer can now unlock serious repercussions in the form of reactions from the public when not thought of. Influencers need to show that they take the necessary safety precautions when traveling in order to set the example and also to offend anyone in their community (and beyond). At the same time they also need to showcase this aspect of safety and health concerns more than ever when they create content about their experiences on certain journeys and with certain brands as people will be looking out for this and will want to know if certain airlines hotels, restaurants, etc can be considered ‘safe places’, meaning they minimize the risk of covid infections to the maximum. More than ever the aspect of social responsibility has expanded from aspects such as sustainability and employee well-being to include public health-measures. Click here to find out more about our influencer marketing services.
Subscription-based social media sites are becoming increasingly popular. In 2021, for example, Twitter introduced Super Follows, which allows users to pay for access to additional content, and a Tip Jar, which makes it easier for users to send money to posters. Patreon is a platform that offers influencers and creators a way to generate income directly from fans or “patrons” rather than through sponsored posts.
But perhaps the best-known subscription-based platform is OnlyFans. OnlyFans was launched in 2016 with the vision of developing a website where creators could monetize their content free of advertising. Creators can set their own monthly subscription price, and unlike Instagram and YouTube, the platform allows sexually explicit content. OnlyFans grew steadily and then experienced explosive growth when the 2020 pandemic broke out and the number of content creators more than doubled.
Edit 8/26/2021: Subscription service OnlyFans announced last week it would block sexually explicit photos and videos starting in October, but suspended the policy change scheduled for Oct. 1 after receiving backlash from Creators.
“A Home for Sex Workers”
OnlyFans is widely viewed as a portal specifically designed for “sex workers” to share adult content. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote about people working in the hospitality or entertainment industry whose jobs were completely eliminated due to the COVID-19 blocks, and OnlyFans enabled them to “monetize themselves.” One of the content creators interviewed stated, “I think OnlyFans has a lot of appeal because it feels very authentisc
The ability to generate income directly from followers offers influencers flexibility, as they don’t have to change their content to comply with brand or platform guidelines for sponsored posts.
Brands use OF for charitable giving while connecting with consumers
Many brands may be hesitant to publish their content on a shared platform that includes pornography, but others recognize the opportunity and benefits of positioning their brand as a supporter of the OF hype and content creator.
Fly by Jing, the maker of Sichuan chili sauce, for example, has opened an OF account “to have a space to show you everything behind the scenes, answer your questions, and experiment with food and flavors. Less Not Safe For Instagram and More Not Right For Instagram.” In an admirable pun, the brand mentions sharing a “bowl of noodz.”
Das Konto ist kostenlos, und für jeden Abonnenten spendet die Marke monatlich 1 Dollar an eine Basisorganisation, die sich für die Rechte und die Sicherheit von “Sex Workers” einsetzt.
Prominente auf OnlyFans
A recent Page Six article states, “OnlyFans is not just for porn stars.” The list of celebrities includes, in order of frequency:
Rappers and singers
Actors, including former Disney actress Bella Thorne, who earned $1 million after just 24 hours on the platform and briefly crashed the site
Wife of an NBA star
Winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Celebrities don’t just open OF accounts, they talk about them. In the track “Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé)” by Megan Thee Stallion, Beyoncé raps, “Hips TikTok when I dance/ On that Demon Time, she might start an OnlyFans.” OnlyFans tweeted a response befitting the enormity of Beyoncé’s name recognition.
Some popular Swiss OF accounts are:
Singer Bastian Baker
Ex-Bachelor candidate Bellydah Rivera
Ex-Germany’s Next Top Model contestant Laura Baumgärtner
Bachelor winner Francesca Morgese
With the exception of Bastian Baker, all publish explicit content.
Connect with consumers, not generate revenue
New York-based fast-casual restaurant Sticky’s Finger Joint has released a YouTube video announcing that it is featured on OnlyFans. The video implies that the content is intended for adults and features more people than chicken. That implication is repeated on the OnlyFans page, which says the goal is to “introduce you to a juicier side of the brand!” Subscriptions are free, and tips unlock secret menu items, with all proceeds donated to ROAR, a relief fund that helps restaurant workers affected by COVID-19.
Jon Sherman, founder of Sticky’s, told Modern Retail that the marketing decision was made to reach “hardcore fans” in an unconventional way. We see ourselves as a fun and quirky food brand,” Sherman said. “So we thought it would be a fun platform to post silly content… He cited millennials and Gen Z, who tend to engage with ‘food porn,’ as a big target audience.”
The risks of brands offering paid subscriptions
Some brands charge subscription fees. American fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff, for example, streamed its A/W 21 show on the platform. Fans of the brand could pay between $5 and $25 to access exclusive content and even chat with Minkoff herself.
There has been criticism that celebrities are taking subscribers away from “sex workers” who rely on the platform as their only reliable source of income. Fly by Jing has also acknowledged this problem, stating, “I want to be respectful to the people who use this platform to make a living. So you don’t have to cut back on your other subscriptions to join us.”
Low reach, high engagement on OnlyFans
OnlyFans boasts “the strongest engagement stats in social media!”. When a:e Creators posts something, over 60% of their fans see and interact with the content. Over 80% of direct messages sent by Creators are seen and opened.”
The percentage share is indeed impressive, but the total volume is low compared to other platforms. For expensive products and services with high revenue per customer, high customer acquisition costs are sustainable and appropriate. However, for many products, such as Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), this may not be appropriate.
Influencer Marketing on OnlyFans?
Influencer marketing on OnlyFans is a new territory. However, fans are paying for exclusive, ad-free content, so we should expect them to be rather averse to obvious sales pitches. While this doesn’t mean OF is off limits, it does mean a cautious approach is needed. After all, consumers:inside paid for “cable TV” years ago, which promised to be ad-free, unlike network TV. Commercials eventually caught on and were accepted. Working with an agency like Kingfluencers can help you maximize campaign success while avoiding mistakes.
More earning opportunities for content creators
A Patreon blog describes 6 business models, 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.” Other models include educational content and gated content, and the “Fan Relationship Model,” defined as increased interaction with, access to, or recognition by the creator.
Jack Conte, co-founder and CEO of Patreon, said, “This is a great time for creators. Creator:ins now have an incredible impact that they haven’t had in many years because these platforms have been so focused on driving content production rather than paying creator:ins…. We’re fully focused on providing the business infrastructure that allows creators to successfully grow and run their businesses.”
Competition for content creators is still very tough. Patreon offers content creators a way to receive payments directly from their fans. As a result, Patreon is under threat from a number of other technology platforms and services that could start offering competing solutions. According to TechCrunch, “A number of B2B software companies, blockchain projects, or even Hollywood agencies could decide to target Patreon’s core customers, creator:ins.”
Growth for all
The increasing earning opportunities for content creators should in turn contribute to additional growth in the number of influencers and the total amount of content. Brands will also benefit from this, as they will have a wider choice of influencers to effectively reach their target audiences.
Advantages and disadvantages for brands that want 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.
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“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-Pacificrecently 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.
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.
According to the Swiss Influencer Marketing Report 2020, about half of the marketing managers surveyed estimate the return on investment of their influencer campaigns to date to be higher than with alternative forms of advertising. Influencer- and user-generated content are among eMarkterer’s transformative developments that ought to be on your radar in 2021.
Influencer marketing can make people feel closer to your brand and develop a strong preference for it.
92% of consumers trust an influencer more than any form of advertising
87% of consumers made purchases based on influencer recommendations
How to make influencer marketing work for your brand
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13 Social Media & Influencer Marketing Trends to Look For Now
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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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Incorporate UGC into retargeting
Offer an incentive to promote social media shares of your limited-time promotion
Work with influencers to create seasonal content
Use retargeting to promote your contests
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
Finding the right influencers
Creating a great and inspiring briefing
Finding the influencers‘ information to send the products
Logistics (shipping out products, keeping track, etc.)
Follow up with influencers to maximise uptake (yes it helps to have a relationship with them already)
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.
The term “social media” has been used as far back as 1997, which predates the release of the major platforms we think of today. In part 1 of this series, we’ll look at the established giants as well as emerging players. In parts 2 and 3, we’ll cover trends and what makes each platform best suited for different objectives. Follow Kingfluencers on IG and Linkedin to catch upcoming articles.
Emergence and Growth of Social Media Platforms
We’ll move chronologically with some key stats on the giants. The oldest of our established giants, LinkedIn officially launched on May 5, 2003. There were originally many technical professionals active on the platform, and savvy marketing people discovered we could hop on and easily find our targets for free. (We probably annoyed them back then; sorry about that.) But it made sense to emerge as a place for professionals in all industries to share their work experience, network, and find new work opportunities and new employees. 60.1% of LinkedIn users are 25-34 years old, followed by 18-24 year olds at 19.2%, and 35-54 at 17.5%, and, reflective of the workforce, only 3.3% are 55+.
Famous LinkedIn Posters: The top influencers of the year on LinkedIn, as ranked by engagement and more, start with Bill Gates, followed by Richard Branson, Mohamed El-Erian, James Altucher, and Bernard Marr.
The first version of Facebook was launched in 2004 and it currently has the following distinctions:
monthly active users
social media reach
most visited website
most downloaded app after TikTok
Facebook’s largest audience segment by age is 25-34 years old at 32.4% of Facebook users. The next largest group is aged 18-24, representing 23.5% of Facebook’s audience.
Famous Facebook Users: Funny, but unlike other platforms, ‘Facebookers’ hasn’t become a common term. As far as the most popular accounts, the Facebook platform itself comes in first, followed by Samsung, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CV, Coca-Cola, and FC Barcelona.
Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 B and it now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. YouTube has over 2B users, which amounts to almost one-third of the Internet.
Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 B and it now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. YouTube has over 2B users, which amounts to almost one-third of the Internet.
As evidence of their investment in creators, the number of channels earning six figures per year on YouTube grew more than 40% year over year. YouTube is the world’s second-most visited website, used by 77% of 15–35 year-olds, as well as 73% of Americans aged 36 to 45. Unlike with many other platforms, use does not drop off with age. YouTube is still used by 70% of those aged 46 to 55 and 67% of those 56 and older.
of 15-35 year olds
most visited website
of 46-55 year olds
Cognizant of the huge impact of user-generated content, in 2006, the Time Magazine “Person of the Year” was ‘You’. “It’s a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It’s about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people’s network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace.”
Famous Youtubers: In first place is PewDiePie, known for video game commentary videos as well as coverage of internet memes and viral videos. Next are Kids Diana Show, Like Nastya, and Vlad and Niki, all of which feature children playing with toys and going on adventures. In fifth place is Dude Perfect with videos of trick shots, famous athletes, and comedy.
Claiming the accolade of, “The Homepage of the Internet,” Reddit was founded in 2005. The ability to upvote both posts and comments within posts enables the best content to rise to the top. The approach is appealing and has been proposed for other scenarios. With over 52 million daily active users and 50 billion monthly views across 100K communities, it’s the 12th most popular site worldwide. Quirky humor abounds, such as the fact that the subreddit r/trees is all about marijuana while the subreddit r/marijuanaenthusiasts is “the go-to subreddit for all things dendrologic!”
Famous Redditors: Redditors notoriously don’t reveal their real names. Anonymity is an appealing feature of the platform. Celebrities occasionally participate in an “AMA,” Ask Me Anything, which resulted in this wonderfully wholesome, uplifting quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger. One of the most famous Redditors, instrumental in the January 2021 disruption to the stock GameStop, is known as, “Space-peanut.”
First described as a “microblogging service,” Twitter debuted in March 2007. Tweets were originally limited to 140 characters, which was doubled to 280 on Nov 8 2017. Twitter also has one of the oldest audiences with 63% of users between 35 and 65 years old. At 353m monthly active users, the platform sits below Reddit and above LinkedIn in popularity.
Famous Twitter Posters: While an individual post on Twitter is called a “tweet,” those making tweets aren’t referred to as “tweeters.” Former US President Barack Obama is the most popular with 127.9m followers. Justin Bieber is next, followed by Katy Perry, Rihanna, Cristiano Ronaldo. Former US President Donald Trump hit a peak follower count of nearly 89m on Nov 17, 2020, before seeing a decline in followers, and being permanently suspended on January 8, 2021.
Instagram officially launched in 2010 and, although it’s primarily used through a mobile app, Instagram is the sixth-most visited website. Over 1 billion people use Instagram every month.
Instagram officially launched in 2010 and, although it’s primarily used through a mobile app, Instagram is the sixth-most visited website. Over 1 billion people use Instagram every month.
81% of people use Instagram to help research products and services, and 2 in 3 people say the network helps foster interactions with brands. Like Facebook, the largest user segment is 25 to 34 years old, at 33.1 percent of U.S. Instagram users. The second-largest user group is 18- to 24-year-olds.
Doing it “for the ‘gram” has become such a ubiquitous concept, it’s mentioned in the chorus of the Iggy Azalea’s latest song, “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching.”
people use Instagram to research products and services
2 in 3 people
say it helps foster interactions with brands
is 25 – 34 years old
growth in 2020
Famous Instagrammers: Like Facebook, Instagram itself is the most followed account, with 2nd place held by footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, followed by Ariana Grande, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez, and Kim Kardashian West.
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 US-based TikTokers are 10-19 years old. The next largest segment is aged 20-29 – 29.5%, followed by 30-39 at 16.4%. Looking for tips on how to succeed on TikTok as a creator? Check our our previous article here.
TikTok was strategic at 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.”
Famous TikTokers: The two most followed TikTok accounts are dancers, 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio with 100.2m followers, followed by Addison Rae. In third is magician Zach King. The actual platform itself comes in fifth with 43.6m followers.
I confess, I went straight to a subject-matter-expert here: my 12-year-old son who loves video games. He said Twitch is the best platform for vid-gamers to stream their play. You can subscribe to your favorite streamers and even win in-game prizes for watching in games such as Rocket League (a name I kept forgetting and calling it, “Car Soccer.”) However, the tech doesn’t enforce that you actively watch. Running in the background is adequate.
Twitch is operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. There are both free and paid versions as well. With over 9 million active broadcasters, it’s not exclusively gaming, but all of the top 5 are gamers.
Other Emerging Platforms
Clubhouse is an exclusive, audio-based social media app that’s by invitation-only. Users share audio clips instead of text posts. In May 2020, the company was valued at around $100 million. In a recent article, Mashable described it as, “something akin to a live, free-flowing podcast. You can simply listen or choose to throw in your thoughts. Imagine a cocktail party or, clubhouse.”
Clubhouse is popular with celebrities including Oprah, Kevin Hart, Drake, Chris Rock, and Ashton Kutcher.
There’s a rule that conversations can’t be recorded, and they’re not saved. Although I have my doubts that we’ll never hear some scandal revealed from the app.
Triller is a video-making and social networking service that allows users to automatically edit and synchronize their videos to background tracks using AI.
New Players Overthrowing Established Platforms?
People sometimes claim Facebook is dead and deleting it has been trendy. There’s even an entire website dedicated to encouraging deletion, addressing how it fosters toxicity and polarization as well as exploits our biases. Social media breaks, such as in January, are also popular for instance.
With the emergence of new players, there are concerns established platforms will be abandoned. For example, MySpace was an early xpioneer and it made me genuinely surprised to see that it’s still live, however I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s relevant. And Vine has languished. Is TikTok to blame? It probably didn’t help. Join us for part 2, where we address competition between platforms and more.