What You Need to Know About Influencer Marketing

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Partnerships with brands are the top source of income for digital content creators today, and more brands are buying in. 2017 saw an increase in both social-only and sampling programs, with brands allowing influencers more creative freedom to integrate brand messaging into their content. So, what is influencer marketing? How can it help your business? Find out below!

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing pairs social media influencers, who have large trusted audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., with businesses looking to promote their products to new and existing customers through the influencers channels. 

What does a social media influencer do?

Social media influencers collaborate with business to create campaigns that increase brand awareness and drive sales by promoting a brand or product to their social audience. Typically an influencer will:

  • Create value-added content about a product or service to share with their blog readers and/or social channels
  • Post product reviews, contests, giveaways, coupons, personal stories about products or services, videos, and more
  • Share content across multiple channels to increase awareness of the brand, product, or service

What to look for in an influencer

Finding the right influencer is a challenge, but clear goals help. Establish clear goals and KPIs to identify the right mix of influencers.

  • High Engagement - You want influencers that are not only active online but work to gain the trust of their followers
  • High-Quality Content - An influencer should produce and share top-notch content that you can't find anywhere on the Internet
  • Match Your Brand - You want an influencer that matches your brand's tone, style, and mission

How do influencers make money?

Businesses compensate influencers monetarily and/or with free samples of a product. Influencers and brands are in a position to mutually benefit from each other. There are more than one-way brands can provide value, but cash is king. 

Below is a graph from Collectively that represents partnership prices across a group of influencers with a total digital audience size of 100-150k.

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2017 saw massive growth for the social influence industry, and major platform shifts that impact our work. Are you ready to try your first influencer campaign? Contact us to start the conversation!

4 Tools to Create Instagram Stories Like a Pro

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We all want our Instagram stories to stand out from the rest, right? Many businesses find it hard to create Instagram Stories because they don't have the time. These 4 tools can make your stories unique by adding awesome features that will allow you to go beyond just using the Instagram features already within the app.

Easil's Stories Templates

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Whether you're using Instagram Stories for behind the scenes content, fan photos, product announcements, or breaking news, Easil offers you a wide range of templates that can easily edit and personalize. The design platform is similar to Canva's desktop-based 'drag-n-drop' concept. But the biggest difference is that no premium elements or in-template purchases are tucked into their standard designs. Instead, Easil is free to use, and they'll even gift you a free 30 day upgrade to our Plus plan (no credit card required) - just click here.

Font Candy

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Font Candy puts you in the creator's chair and allows you to produce custom designs in seconds. Add quotes, artwork, filters, colors, and even layer multiple images. 

You choose from a curated collection of fonts or add your own to overlay beautiful text on your photos. Get creative and add intricate designs using shapes, symbols, or emojis. Whether you are looking to create some amazing artwork, celebrate a special occasion, make the next #trending meme, or design a custom iPhone case Font Candy is for you!

Hype Type

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Hype Type allows you to add animated text to your photos or video. Film or snap with the handy story-ready cam. The app handles multiple clips, Vine-style (R.I.P) or single photos. The app hosts different animated text styles and color schemes to use. Hype Type also provides easy-to-use editing tools for speeding up, slowing down, flipping, or reversing your videos. This means you’ll have more opportunity for your stories to stand out beyond motion typography.

Adobe Spark

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Adobe Spark Video helps you create compelling video stories in no time at all. You can add and trim video clips that will stand out on within your Instagram stories. The themes can add cinema-quality animation to your video. No design experience needed and if you’d rather upgrade to the premium version, you can add your company logo to create branded content.

Ready to take your Instagram stories to the next level? Shoot us a message to chat with us about our social media marketing services!

5 Entrepreneur Podcasts to Listen to Now

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Entrepreneurs are always looking for resources to help spark their next great idea, and increasingly, podcasts have become a great source for that. Podcast consumption is now reaching 46 million Americans weekly. Whether the focus is on tech or startups, the volume of educational podcasts has increased in the past few years as business owners search for actionable advice on the go. Here is a list of the best podcasts available to help improve yourself in many aspects of your business journey. 

1. How to Start a Startup

How to Start a Startup is a collection of free podcasts that can help you succeed in starting a company. Initially, a class taught at Stanford, these videos include ideas from 9 experts on how to do sales and marketing, how to hire, how to raise money, company culture, operations and management, business strategy, and more!

2. How I Built This

How I Built This is a podcast where the host, Guy Raz, talks to innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, about the stories behind the movements they built. These stories are told by the founders of some of the world's best-known companies and brands. Listen on NPR or iTunes.

3.  Entrepreneurs on Fire

EOFire was created for entrepreneurs like you. If you're looking for actionable advice during your daily routine, this is a great place to start. The award-winning podcast chats with today's most successful entrepreneurs who share their best and worst entrepreneurial moments and lessons learned.

4. Mixergy

Mixergy is a place where successful people teach ambitious upstarts. The speakers are business people who take time out of their schedules to help teach others what they learned from their own experiences. These interviews introduce you to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you. Mixergy offers podcasts and free courses that encourage you to have a mission, not just a startup. 

5. The Tim Feriss Show

The Tim Feriss Show is the first business/interview podcast to pass 100 million downloads, and it has been selected as "Best of iTunes" for three years running. Each episode, he deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, business, pro sports, etc.), digging deep to find the tools, tactics, and tricks that listeners can use. 

Is there a go-to podcast you listen to frequently? What's the best tip you've received from it? Let us know the in comments below!

5 Instagram Statistics That Every Marketer Should Know

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The latest Instagram statistics show that there are currently more than 800 million monthly active users and 500 million of those are daily active users. That's more than twice as much as Twitter and three times as much as Snapchat.

With the introduction of Stories, target advertising, and business pages, Instagram has created a more dynamic marketing opportunity for marketers. So, if you're not already on Instagram, now's the time. Check out the list of Instagram statistics that every marketer should know below:

1. Instagram Mobile Ad Revenue 

According to data from Statista, Instagram ad revenue is expected to hit nearly $7 billion in 2018. As Instagram continues to roll out new advertising methods, at least 30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.

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Instagram Shopping is a great example of this. Shopping Tags enable brands to augment their photos with product information and links to buy the items on their sites. Users will see "Tap to view products" notification in the bottom left of the image, revealing tags overlaid on the post and product information. 

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2. Location Tagging Tied to Engagement Growth

Location tagging gives Instagram users another way to find content. Posts tagged with a location receive 79% higher engagement. Not only does post engagement skyrocket, users that click your location or establishment would then be able to view all posts on Instagram that have been tagged with your location. This is a great way for them to see what others are raving about (hopefully).

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3. Video Views Increased by 80% in 2017

Video content is one of the few types of visuals that provides the value, relevance and flexibility consumers want. Today, businesses are looking to take advantage of this opportunity to better connect with consumers, engage with them and convert them into paying customers. 

Time spent watching video on Instagram is up more than 80% year over year. With the emergence of innovative mobile video formats like Instagram Stories and Live, businesses are finding more opportunities to connect with their audiences, whether on-the-go or in the moment.

4. Instagram Engagement is Higher on Weekdays

Sprout Social found that Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. were by far the safest days to post to maximize engagement. Other findings include:

  • Thursday has the highest amount of engagement in the week.
  • Sunday has the weakest engagement of the week.
  • The most recommended times are Wednesday at 3 p.m., Thursday at 5 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 to 4 p.m. and Friday at 5 a.m.
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5. 65% of the Highest Performing Posts Feature Products

A high engagement rate is a great sign that your followers know what they like. This is particularly important for brands that may wish to introduce their products to your audience. More surprisingly, product posts beat lifestyle(43%) and celebrity(29%) content when it came to engagement. 

But before you start flooding your feed with product shots, dig this. Many brands are following the 80/20 rule that states approximately 80% of your content should be focused on education, enlightening and engaging your audience, and only 20% should be self-promotional.

3 Instagram Features That Will Raise Your Content Game

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Type Mode in Stories

Got something to say? With Instagram's 'Type Mode,' users can share whatever is on their minds in Stories, without the need of a photo or video. The feature is similar in design to the Facebook option that lets you accentuate text-only posts with large fonts and colorful backgrounds.

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When you open the camera, you'll see "Type" next to "Normal" under the record button. Swipe over to "Type," tap the screen to open the keyboard. and write whatever comes to mind. Tap the colorful circle on the left side of the screen to play around with the available background colors and fonts. Finish up by adding stickers, GIFs, or a background photo via the camera icon. Like anything else in stories, content made with "Type Mode" will disappear after 24 hours.

Focus

A little behind with the newest smartphone technology? TechCrunch confirmed that Instagram is testing a new camera format called "Focus." Instagram states that they are "testing a camera format that lets you easily capture artistic quality photos and video, as another way to improve the experience on Instagram and make it easier to share everyday moments with the people that matter to you." 

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Many phones like newer age iPhone's and Google's Pixel 2 have a portrait mode built into the camera. Focus gives users the power and capabilities of these cameras from any device. To access it (rolled out to a small number of users in Stories,) open your Instagram camera and swipe over to "Focus" mode. Users are then asked to start by centering the camera on the subject. Then, the background will blur and you can capture the image. 

Saved Posts/Collections

Stumble upon an amazing photo or piece of content that you don't want to forget? Or maybe you could use some inspirational ideas or moods that can help you do a better job. Instagram's "Bookmark" feature lets you save posts that you'd like to revisit later. 

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To use it, just tap the bookmark image at the bottom right of any post and it will be stored in your 'Saved' section of your profile (also a bookmark icon). You can also add any bookmark to your "Collections" tab (a great place to organize your content,) located in the "Saved" section of your profile. 

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Meet Communications Specialist - Beth Booker

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BIG NEWS! We’re thrilled to announce a new member of the Social Ape team, Beth Booker. Beth is our newest Communications Specialist and will be working closely with clients to help increase their brand awareness through public relations and events.

We asked Beth a few questions so that you can get to know her a bit better. Welcome to the team, Beth!

So, Beth, where are you from? How long have you lived in Charlotte and what do you like most about living here?

I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA (Here We Go, Steelers!) but moved to Charlotte after living in Fort Myers, FL for six years. I have been in Charlotte for almost four years and my favorite thing about living here is that even though Charlotte has so much new energy with various new businesses and restaurants, it has the integrity of being such an old southern city.

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Tell us about what you like to do in your free time.

In my free time, I can be found eating my way through the Queen City, writing about mom life on my blog, binge-watching Netflix, spending time with my husband, my son and my two rescue pups, Beau and Rooney, and prepping for my new baby boy who is arriving this July.

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Awesome. What are your top 3 favorite restaurants/breweries in Charlotte?

Soul Gastrolounge

The Crêpe Cellar

Mama Ricotta’s

All good choices! So what do you love most about working in marketing and communications?

I love that it’s never the same day back to back and that it’s a field that is constantly evolving so there’s always new tactics and practices to learn. I also get the opportunity to write (which I love) and work with some awesome people in a wonderful city, can’t beat that.  

If you could meet one celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be?

Chrissy Teigen. I absolutely love her candor about her life, especially marriage and motherhood.

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Want to learn more about Beth? Check out her official Bio below.  

Beth Booker has over five years of experience in Communications spanning from the music industry to event planning and from academia to public relations. After receiving a B.A. in Communications and Public Relations from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida, Beth moved to Charlotte where she earned her M.A. in Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

As someone who has a passion for lifelong learning, Beth loves the ever-evolving landscape of the Communications and Public Relations world and learning the newest practices and tactics. Prior to taking on her role as a Communications Specialist for Social Ape Marketing, Beth worked as a Public Relations Specialist where she handled media relations, social media and event planning for multiple culinary clients. Through her role at Social Ape Marketing, she is excited to continue building relationships within the Charlotte media-scape, planning events, launching public relations campaigns and working closely to achieve the public relations goals of her clients.

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Despite the fact that she can't cook, she considers herself a self-proclaimed professional foodie, she owns too many pairs of shoes, is incredibly handy with an iPhone camera and most often, in her free time can be found eating her way through the Queen City, writing about mom life on her blog, re-watching Grey’s Anatomy or spending time with her guys: her husband, her son, her two rescue pups, Beau and Rooney and soon, a new baby boy this July.

4 Tips For Better Facebook Video Engagement

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Facebook videos have become an important and powerful medium for both people and businesses. With over 100 million hours of video being watched every day, now's the time to take a closer look at Facebook videos and how to use them to engage more fans. Here are a few tips and practices for better video engagement on Facebook:

1. Find the right audience

People are more likely to pay attention to content that's relevant to their interests. Consider the options that Facebook has to help you share your videos with the most relevant audience.

Once your video is uploaded, there's an option in the lower-left corner to set your Preferred Audience (before you publish). This allows you to reach people based on their interests and the Pages they've liked. Another helpful feature is the Audience Restrictions option, which allows you to limit who sees your videos. 

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2. Highlight key moments in your copy

Facebook recommends “pulling out a key quote or moment from the video as the text component of your post” in order to set up the expectations of what will be seen in the video. This is a great way to grab people's attention as they scroll through their News Feed. Check out the examples below.

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3. Keep mobile in mind

With more than 92% of Facebook users using the platform on their mobile every day, it's important that your video format is suited to mobile, such as a vertical or square video. If you want people to watch the end of your video, recent studies have proved that creating short videos of 15 seconds or less can significantly drive up video completions. 

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4. Tell your story without sound

Many Facebook users still watch videos with sound off, so consider adding captions to help people better understand your video, otherwise, you're likely to lose that viewer. When you're uploading your video to Facebook, there's an option to upload an SRT file of your caption or add them manually by editing the video.  

4 Reasons to Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing

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While the concept isn't that new, social media influencers gained a whole lot of popularity in 2017.

Influencer marketing is proving itself as one of the best ways to reach a targeted audience and drive business results. In this crowded social landscape, the rise of the social media influencer creates a world of possibilities. It also allows brands to connect with their audience more directly and organically when compared to traditional forms of digital advertising. Here are a few reasons why brands are leveraging social media influencers to drive results.

Find out why you should be taking advantage of influencer marketing below!

1. Consumers Are Tired of Paid Ads

People are exposed to hundreds of ads a day so, it's no surprise that they're starting to tune out traditional ads online. With so many ad interruptions these days, consumers are turning to software like Adblock that take ads out of your media experience. Unfortunately, even if your content is great and conversions are high, some people will never see them.

2. It's Powerful

For brands that sell products that thrive off what's trendy and cool, working with influencers can help communicate to the market that your product is the next best thing. Last year, Lord & Taylor got 50 Instagram influencers to wear the same dress and post a picture. Soon after, the dress was sold out. 

 Image via Lord & Taylor

Image via Lord & Taylor

3. It Comes With Credibility

When teaming up with an influencer, it's important that you're selective and choose the right individuals who have a strong personal brand that aligns with your product. Personalities on social media tend to have more substantial relationships with their followers, increasing the chances that consumers see your product and trust that someone they follow and like is endorsing it.

 Image via Twitter

Image via Twitter

4. Boosts SEO

As influencers have a massive following and significant reach on their own, they can automatically improve your visibility when they share your content or engage with it. Customers who seek information on social media will also use search engines during their decision-making process. Social shares, in terms of both quality and quantity, is one of the top nine ranking factors.

Want to get started with an influencer marketing campaign of your own? We can help! Contact us HERE.

How to Manage an Event on Social Media

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One of the biggest advantages of social media event marketing is how much it can increase awareness, engagement and attendance without having to dedicate too much time or breaking the bank.

Here are some tips on how to make your event a successful one using social media.

Before the Event

Studies by EventBrite and other large event management companies show that just as many people are talking about the event before it happens as they are during it. This means that you have a lot of time to work your way into the conversation and make sure that your targeted audience is talking about your event. There are countless ways to do this, but here are some suggestions.

  1. Post often about any event details to make sure that those who want to attend know when and where to get tickets, wristbands, etc. If there are registration dates or giveaways, make sure your followers know exactly when they are!

  2. Reveal special guests, surprises or headliners in creative ways. This adds anticipation around the event. Also, countdowns are a great way to get people excited about the event. This will also help to increase shares and conversation around the content of the event.

  3. Share behind-the-scenes pictures, interviews and info about what's happening before the event. Sharing this kind of insight will make fans feel like insiders and entice them to share their excitement with their friends on social media.

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During the Event

Making an event social media friendly is a great way to ensure that people will continue engaging on social media while they are at the event.

  1. Continue with behind-the-scenes posts. This inside look shouldn't end with just setting up for the event. Show speakers and performers getting ready, perform behind-the-scenes interviews or live performances to attendees. Your followers will love getting a better idea of what to expect during the event to make them feel like an insider!
     
  2. Invest in a photo-booth. Make sure the photo-booth details are perfect, like the background of the booth and the accessories used in the booth. People will share their fun photos from the booth which will increase brand awareness of your event as well as show its success. 
     
  3. Create a Snapchat Geofilter. Everyone loves to use Snapchat Geofilters to show their friends where they are and what they're doing. This is a surefire way to increase brand awareness and reach during and after the event. 

After the event

What event attendees are saying after your event might be just as important as what they said before and during the event. This is especially true if the event is reoccurring.  Here are a few tips to inrease attendee engagement after the show is over.

  1. Respond to feedback. Share any positive feedback but also respond to the negative feedback as well. If someone tweets something that could be improved, let them know you appreciate their attendance and that their opinion is important to you.

  2. Share press coverage. This is an opportunity to brag of the accomplishments of your event. Was your event featured in the local or national media? Continue the conversation about your event and get people excited for the next one by posting those articles or media mentions.

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Need help with planning or promoting your next big event? Contact us to see how we can make your event a success!

How to View Insights From Your Instagram Stories

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If you are using Instagram business profile and want an easy way track the data behind your Stories, a feature right on the platform can help! Insights give users the ability to review analytics, optimize story posts, and increase your brand's visibility right in the platform! Find out how to take advantage of this valuable data below. 

Haven't converted your account to a Business Profile?

Here's how:

  1. Make sure your profile is set to Public -- you cannot make the switch with a private account
  2. Go to your profile and tap the gear shift icon
  3. Tap Switch to Business Profile
  4. When prompted, select the Facebook Page you'd like to associate with your Business Profile with. If you don't have a Page, you will get the option to create one. 
  5. Review and edit any contact information on the Set Up Your Business Profile page, and tap Done.

Now, you'll now have access to Instagram Insights.

View Insights from your Instagram Stories

It's no secret that Instagram Stories have become an essential tool for brands to add some authenticity to their content. While 300 million people are consuming Stories, you need to know what's working and how your audience is reacting to those Stories.

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First, tap the Insights icon on the top right of your Instagram business profile. Scroll down to the Stories section and you'll be able to see data for older stories, or from ones that have not yet expired. Insights from your Stories will be available for up to 14 days after they're created. Next, we'll dive into each specific Insight you can explore. 
 

Impressions & Daily Reach

Impressions represent how many times your Story has been seen. Keep in mind that Instagram only counts your entire Story having received one impression even if you have multiple photos or videos added. Reach tells you how many unique users saw your story on any given day. A good indicator that your Story is performing well is a high impressions-to-reach ratio.
 

Taps Forward / Taps Back

Taps Forward indicate the number of times someone taps to skip to the next piece of Stories content. This can represent that either your content (video) is too lengthy or the content isn't engaging. Taps Backward indicate the number of times your audience taps to go back to a piece of Stories content. This may be a reflection that your media was engaging enough for someone to view again, or maybe they missed a CTA.
 

Replies

The Replies insight reflects the number of times your audience sends messages through the "Send Message" text box on your Story. These DM's are associated with your story and hang out in your DM inbox, making it a great time to engage with users.
 

Swipe Away / Exits

Swipe Away indicates the number of times a user swipes to skip to the next account's Story, not to be confused with 'tap forward' which skips to the next piece of your content. Exits represent the number of times someone leaves the Stories section entirely to return to their feed. This means a user has decided not to make it all the way through your Story. 

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Have questions about setting up a Business Page on Instagram? Shoot us an email! We're here to help!

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