Should Brands Engage on OnlyFans and Patreon?

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

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

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

A Home for Sex Workers

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

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

Brands Use OF for Charitable Fundraising, While Connecting with Consumers

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

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

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

Celebrities on OnlyFans

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

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

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

Some popular Swiss OF accounts include:

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

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

Connecting with Consumers, Not Earning Revenue

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

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

The Risks of Brands Offering Paid Subscription

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

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

Low Reach, High Engagement on OnlyFans

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

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

Influencer Marketing on OnlyFans?

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

More Ways for Content Creators to Earn

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

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

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

Growth for All

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

Pros and Cons for Brands to Engage on OnlyFans

Unlike Instagram and YouTube, OF allows sexually explicit content.

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

The thorny issue of charging subscription fees.

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

Engagement is high and the platform feels authentic.

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

Few brands are already on OF.

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

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Pride Month 2021 is Over, Now What?

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

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

Where Does Switzerland Stand on LGBTQ+ Equality?

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

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

What Exactly is Pinkwashing?

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

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

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

Scandals and Missteps of This Year’s Pride Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Now the Don’ts

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

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

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

Conscious Influence Hub

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

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

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Managing Metrics – How to Know if Your Social Media Efforts are Working

It’s now possible to measure marketing more precisely and efficiently than in decades past. Measuring outcomes is also much less expensive. No need to bring in consumers for focus groups. Social media platforms and Google Analytics give you insights for free.

So how do you know if your SoMe efforts are successful and why/not? Figuring out how you are doing and what is working and what isn’t is important to get the most out of your social media activities.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and social media “success” is in the judgment of the brand. There is no single set of benchmarks that explicitly define success, but Kingfluencers has provided some frameworks and guidance below.

We’ve seen too many brands, even established, global brands, lacking a real strategy for their social media. The execution of tactics, such as making posts, doesn’t imply the presence of a strategy behind them. Instead, the tactics are often ad hoc and random, sometimes even outdated and detrimental, leading to negative consequences and missed opportunities. But brands can move in the right direction by leveraging expertise to establish objectives and build structured plans to achieve targeted goals. 

Consider Your Goals

Measure SoMe results against your unique goals. You may want to drive a specific and measurable action, such as email signups or purchases. On the other hand, your social media campaigns may be driving awareness and thus your goals may be impressions and reach.

Consider the Platforms

If your content naturally lends itself to amusing posts and you’re targeting a younger generation, you may find more success on TikTok. For example, Ceylor Switzerland, the most popular condom company here in Switzerland, uses humor accompanied by pop music to inform the public of the importance of safe sex.

However, if you offer something that’s inherently visual, such as fashion or home decor, Instagram might be your best fit. Instagram is also used more heavily by women, making products such as makeup more likely to thrive on the platform.

This is not to say that you should eliminate other platforms from your efforts. Rather, make a distinction between your core platforms on which you focus investment, and moderate your expectations for any ‘add on’ platforms that don’t align as closely. 

Consider Your Peers

If you’re a clothing boutique with a single location, don’t compare yourself to a large chain like H&M, Chicorée, or Tally Weijl. If you’re a niche kitchen tool, such as the AeroPress, don’t compare yourself to a mega-brand like KitchenAid. Look for benchmarks for your particular industry, and consider what most closely matches your business. In the end, monitoring progress is the most important thing. Gather data to establish a baseline so you can begin to measure changes.

Compare Yourself to Yourself

It is always important to track your metrics over time and see where you are heading. If your metrics are trending in a positive direction in response to your efforts, then you should feel good about that progress and if possible reinforce the factors that contributed to this. Trends and progress are extremely important metrics of success and tell you that your efforts are having an impact.

And when you view trends moving in the opposite direction, investigate and look at the whole picture. Maybe your reach declined, but if the engagement went up, that could be a success. It simply depends on your goals. Of course, it could indicate a failure, such as a message that didn’t resonate, but even then, you’ve gained real-world data to back up your hypotheses and know what to avoid moving forward. The crucial aspect here is not just understanding in which direction you are evolving, but especially why and what the impact on your business is likely to be. Once you understand those things you can take corrective action when needed. 

Sometimes it also helps to look back at past successes and failures and see if perhaps you have seen certain patterns before and what you were able to learn from then or how you were able to take control. 

The Wrong Metrics for Social Media

Kingfluencers’ contributing author Megan Bozman gave us a great example to illustrate this point: “One of my clients paid a SoMe consultant who was regularly getting their Twitter account locked due to following and unfollowing large quantities of accounts. Twitter places technical limits on how many Twitter accounts you can follow.

“That seemed like a red flag, so I dug deeper and discovered that, despite posting on behalf of a B2B tech firm, she was following accounts as varied as adult nightclubs, individuals selling soap, and accounts dedicated to political rants. While these ‘follow for follow back’ techniques did indeed increase the number of followers on Twitter as well as Instagram, this couldn’t reasonably be considered successful. And that was clearly revealed when I suggested we look at engagement and click-through rates.”

The moral of the story is quite simple – When you measure the wrong metrics or measure the right ones but from the wrong point of view, for example by focusing on quantity versus quality, it really does not tell you much about your performance. In fact you might believe you are on the right track while in fact you are doing the opposite or even causing damage to your brand. 

The Need to Align on Proper Metrics

There are many other facets of marketing in which the wrong metrics can masquerade as the correct ones, and thus fool businesses into thinking marketing activities are advantageous. For example, when considering website traffic, total visitors is indeed important, but also consider metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, returning visitors, and pages per visit. A high and growing click-through-rate is also important, but additionally look at subsequent conversion rates. It’s not so great to have many people clicking your ads if none of them ever buy.

SoMe teams can’t merely tick the box of “followers.” Make sure you measure success based on metrics that actually have an correlation with and impact on your relevant business performance. Often absolute numbers or topline metrics like ‘followers’ or ‘website visitors’ tell you very little about how you are really performing. A more nuanced measurement is required involving qualitative and quantitative angles combined. 

Metrics You Might Not Have Thought Of

We’ve already mentioned a few of the most common social media metrics that are definitely worth monitoring, including:

One of the most important metrics here is definitely engagement. Although one might argue that engagement is over-used and ask what it really means, chances are big that when a person has actually engaged with your content they have absorbed the message you were trying to get across or at least part of it and hence the content has created a ‘moment’ between your brand and the person. Those moments matter because the more positive moments you achieve, the more people will feel connected to your brand. 

But we suggest you also consider a few different Key Performance Indicators to assess social media performance. Some are difficult to quantify, but still worth monitoring. Here are some suggestions: 

Follower Community Composition: Consider the composition of the follower community. Ideally, they’ll closely align with the target audience you want to connect with and nurture, so they’re likely to ‘convert’ to customers or donors, in accordance with your goals.

Platform Customization: As noted, while some platforms might be a better fit, you don’t need to abandon those which don’t align perfectly. Are you customizing your content to adapt to each platform where you post?

User-Generated Content (UGC): It’s great to have loyal fans, but are they engaged and how many are mentioning your brand? Are you making use of UGC? Content generated by brand fans and advocates can be very valuable and boost community engagement.

Campaign Results: Evaluate standard metrics, but on an individual campaign/contest- basis.

Creativity & Variety: Evaluate your efforts for variety and ensure it’s not all one-note. Are you experimenting with a wide variety of attributes, such as:

  • Themes: Current events, holidays, leisure activities
  • Topics: Individuality, environmental sustainability, social justice
  • Media: Text, videos, images
  • Social media formats: Lives, stories, IG TV, TikTok and Reels videos, interactive polls, forums
  • Interactivity: Engage audiences through challenges, contests, polls, debates, etc.

Brand Consistency Across Channels:  Are you staying consistent with your brand values and messaging, including when taking other channels into consideration? Research shows that keeping your brand message consistent across channels increases brand trust and purchase intention significantly. The importance of brand consistency is often very wrongfully understated. 

Agility and Alignment: Are you successfully synchronizing social media with your entire marketing mix and channels (e.g. newsletters, website, events, promos, etc.)? Are you responding swiftly to new trends and incoming comments? Are you repurposing content to maximize value? Are you effectively executing new campaign ideas within a reasonable timeframe? When done properly social media can greatly reinforce your marketing activities in other areas, such as boosting sales and conversion campaigns. Maintaining a holistic view has many benefits by exploiting naturally occurring synergies between marketing areas. 

Internal Participation: How many employees are advocating your brand publicly? CEOs and other leaders are part of the face of your brand. You should channel and grow their enthusiasm.

It’s All About Perception! 

You might ask yourself, ‘why do these things really matter? What is the consequence of all this when I get it right?’ There are a bunch of reasons but probably the most important one is that all this has an effect on how your brand or organization is perceived online. Do you generate a positive perception of your brand? Are consumers’ perceptions of your brand in line with what you’re communicating? Are your social media efforts perceived as authentic? Brand perception is key to making sure people respect and trust your brand and ultimately intend to buy it. By getting the points above right chances are that you will create the brand perception that reinforces your desired positioning and helps you get your message across. Once that is achieved, a big part of your marketing task is achieved and your social media activities are actually generating real impact for your business. 

Some Extra Tips to Meet Your Objectives 

Once all the above is settled and you are measuring your performance in the right way, it’s time to evaluate how your social media efforts are really performing and where you might need to improve. If you see that your social media activities are not reaching your goals, you can take a series of actions to improve, such as: 

  • Establish a clear and diversified social media content strategy and calendar 
  • Use the right content formats in order to capture people’s attention
  • Tell a story – don’t just post stuff, tell stories, create storylines and keep them going over time. Involve customers, employees, people in general, and bring in some emotion where possible
  • Work with variety of content creators that can boost how your brand is perceived, including social media takeovers by influencers and content creators
  • Have a purpose and be vocal about it – support society and local communities
  • Boost content so that even people that are not yet within your direct reach see your content and feel inclined to follow you or find out more about your brand
  • Work with a social media agency to achieve your goals in the most cost-effective and hassle-free way possible

Create a Framework for Your Brand and Team

One way to evaluate your social media performance using the right metrics is by creating an evaluation framework for your organization. Don’t know where to get started? Below is an example that can be used to do a first topline qualitative evaluation of how you are doing and where you might need to improve, before diving into the nitty-gritty numbers. 

Increase Revenue & Strengthen Consumer Loyalty While Driving Excellent ROI

A variety of social media analytics tools are available to help. Social media marketing, and influencer marketing in particular, are powerful tools that can empower your brand to forge emotional connections, increase revenue, and strengthen consumer loyalty. With a structured approach, you can optimize each part of your campaigns and drive excellent ROI. Working with an agency such as Kingfluencers can boost your efficiency by accessing expertise and innovative technology.

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

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

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

Humans are Tribal in Nature

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

Social media only amplifies this tribal nature.

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

What Do Your Social Media Habits Reveal?

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

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

Increasing Segmentation

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

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

Content Houses Combine Influencers into Clans

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

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

Tulant, Simone, Eric, and friends

Kris, Malwyn, Franny and friends (Youngsters)

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

Carly, Leo, and friends (Western-Switzerland)

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

Battle of the Generations? 

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

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

Generation T (for TikTok, Of Course)

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

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

The Social Media Clans in a Nutshell  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Most Important Tribes are Online

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

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

Clans for Good

Based in Switzerland, the Conscious Influence Hub (CIH) is a non-profit NGO that encourages conscious behavior in influencer marketing.

Working together, Kingfluencers and the new CIH recently launched a new Code of Conduct that includes best-practice guidelines and examples. Initiatives from CIH included a pro-LGBT campaign and collaboration with major Swiss brands such as Zeki to use influence for good.

Translating to Revenue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing

Succeeding as an Influencer – Tips from Successful Swiss Influencers

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

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

Put the Work in and Be Passionate

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

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

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

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

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

Pick the Right Platforms

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

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

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

Create Value for Brands

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

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

– Antonella

“The value is in telling your own story and putting emotion behind it. Give the product a face and so people can relate. Share your unique story and opinion. A product alone is a picture, but with you and your story, it’s like a movie.
– Antonella
“Also, have longer-term collaborations rather than making just 1 or 2 posts. Brands get the most out of campaigns when they’re a longer-term partnership instead of one-offs.”
– Antonella
“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.
– Steven

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

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

Safeguard Authenticity and Engage with Your Community

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

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

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

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

What Responsibilities Do Influencers Have?

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

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

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

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

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

The Concern of Fake Followers

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

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

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

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.

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

What Not to Do

Loredana and Kilian suggest not to:

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

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

Influencer Best Practices Checklist

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

Author: Megan Bozman, Owner @Boz Content Marketing