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So influencer marketing is a thing, but HOW do you find an influencer?

Successfully targeting an audience of likeminded people that follow an influencer because they trust their opinion, share similar interests and often, are inspired by their posts.

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Word gets around: The impact of digital influencers

The challenge of every entrepreneur is to get their product or service noticed. Just who notices and who is the challenge. The benefit of social media – in theory anyway – is that we have an enormous cyber-community of millions and millions of people that can be reached with just the click of a mouse or a swipe of an app. It doesn’t always happen that way and, besides, what we really want is for our next best thing to be noticed by people that count. That’s where Whalar comes in.

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But first…

Whalar, by its own design, was created with the idea of collaborating with digital influencers. In this case the digital platform is Instagram. So what does that mean? According to Whalar, Instagram influencer marketing is “when a brand utilizes the audience of an online influencer that best matches the brand and the message it wants to spread.” The brand can then engage with their target audience through a personal recommendation from the trusted influencer. What’s an “influencer?” It’s someone with enough clout that the public accepts their advice/recommendation/idea without hesitation. That’s what Instagram influencer marketing is: Targeting an audience of likeminded people that follow an influencer because they trust their opinion, share similar interests and often, are inspired by their posts.

whalar

By choosing to work with an influencer a brand can have unprecedented success with the right person and their respective audience. Working with influencers not only spreads the word about a brand but it will also grow the brand’s social channels through the implementation of tags and hashtags. Influencer marketing is consequently fast becoming the most effective medium for online brand expansion, advertisement and marketing.

Not just about followers

Whalar points out that it’s not just be the number of followers that makes for a successful campaign. Think about it: While a large number of followers mean a large audience, the audience may not be engaged with the content. A focus of the Whalar platform is to calculate the engagement level of every Instagram influencer’s audience that is registered to the site. That way they can showcase to brands which influencers would be the best to work with on a successful campaign.

Takes money to make money

The potential for Whalar to take your product to the next level is vast but it comes with a price. Potential clients need to have a budget of at least $25,000 for an influencer marketing campaign.

Whalar explains that “bychoosing to work with an influencer a brand can have unprecedented success with the right person and their respective audience. Working with influencers not only spreads the word about a brand but it will also grow the brand’s social channels through the implementation of tags and hashtags. Influencer marketing is consequently fast becoming the most effective medium for online brand expansion, advertisement and marketing.”

I’m sold on the fact that Digital Influencers are the key to marketing success. That said, I think it’s less about the ‘celebrity’ status of an influencer and the amount of followers they have, but all about creating amazing quality content and storytelling. Whalar just happens to feel the same way which is why this is a startup in particular and a phenomenon I general that is worth keeping an eye on.

#Whalar

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Niko Croskery

    March 17, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Gary

    Niko Croskery (COO of Whalar) here. Thanks for featuring us! I just wanted to clear one thing up – while there is a $25,000 minimum budget for a managed campaign, brands are able to use Whalar as a self service platform with no minimum budget whatsoever.

    I also wanted to let you know that we’ve recently released a free tool which allows you to find and compare your engagement rate, average likes per photo and other stats on Instagram. It’s available at https://whalar.com/labs

    Many thanks
    Niko

  2. Benjamin Uhlmann

    March 18, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Nice website but where are the advantages to other platforms like klout or influencerdb.net? How many influencers are listed in whaler?

  3. Dominique

    March 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Benjamin,

    Thanks for your comment.

    With regards to the difference between us and the other platforms you’ve mentioned, our platform is structured using a campaign work flow structure, which means you can create, execute and report on an entire social campaign from start to finish. Klout simply suggests sharable content and gives you a number out of 100 that represents how influential you are on social media. Influencer DB is an insight-driven platform which is able to provide with monitoring and analysis of your content.

    In comparison, Whalar is a digital platform where you can create a campaign, invite influencers to collaborate on it, negotiate a cost with them, make payments, approve their work and finally, track the results of the campaign, to include the likes, shares and engagement. All of the influencers on our platform are signed up to be there, and have been carefully selected for their exceptional quality of content. Currently, we have 400-500 influencers on our platform, with over 2,000 subscribed and held in a database, ready to be moved onto the platform when the number of brands using our platform increases even further. We purposefully scale the amount of influencers to the amount of brands on the platform, to ensure that influencers are getting a reasonable amount of work.

    I think you’ll agree that we are a very user-friendly and straightforward platform for executing social campaigns.

    Many thanks,
    Dominique
    Head of Biz Development for Whalar

    • Lani Rosales

      March 23, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Dominique 🙂

  4. Amy

    May 17, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    This is brilliant. I love seeing the new business models that come out of the wood work as social media and content marketing mature. Out with the old, and in with the new!

    Our small start-up has just begun looking into our marketing and advertising avenues, moving away from the idea of much printed advertising and leaning towards influencers; it’s how I came across this article. I love that Whalar is free to sign up, and works on a contract basis between the brands and influencers. I look forward to trying the service.

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  6. Pingback: Niche Media News: New Platforms, Markets and Strategies for Success! - Niche Media

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Business Marketing

TINA.org is helping the FTC crack down on Kardashian-esque influencers

(MARKETING NEWS) The Kardashians are just five of the seemingly endless amounts of influencers companies are using for marketing but TINA.org is over their tactics.

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A brand could find no better influencers than the Kardashians – the family who proved that you can get famous just for, well, being famous. Each Kardashian sister has an astronomical number of followers, making them obvious trendsetters.

That’s why brands pay the Kardashian sisters – Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall, and Kylie — tens of thousands of dollars a pop to post pictures of themselves on social media using their products.

Perhaps you find it hard to believe that the Kardashians stop by Popeye’s Chicken to grab a to-go meal before boarding their private jet. Regardless, the Kardashians, and the brands who pay them to pump their products, would prefer that you believe that these endorsements reflect the Kardashian’s actual preferences, rather than the paychecks they receive for posting them.

The Kardashians have been attempting to make their endorsements seem more “authentic” by totally disregarding Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules that require influencers to disclose when their posts are paid endorsements.

In August of 2016, Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) filed a complaint about the Kardashians to the FTC, saying that the (in)famous sisters had “failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose material connections to brands or the fact that the posts were paid ads, as required by federal law.”

After receiving a finger-wagging from the FTC, the Kardashian sisters corrected less than half of the posts, generally by adding #ad to the post. The remaining posts, according to a recent TINA.org follow-up investigation, either have not been edited at all, or contain “insufficient disclosures.”

For example, some posts now read #sp to indicated “sponsored” – as if anyone knows that reference. In another tactic that also got Warner Brothers and YouTube influencer PewDiePie in trouble with the FTC, the Kardashians are posting their disclosure information at the bottom of a long post so that users will only see it if they click “see more.”

The Kardashians have also been posting disclosures, but only days after the original post. Considering that the vast majority of viewers comment on or like posts within the first ten hours after it’s published, most of them will never see the disclosure when it’s tacked on days later.

Some of the “repeat offender” brands, who came up both in last year’s complaint and in the recent review, include Puma, Manuka Doctor, Jet Lux, Fit Tea, and Sugar Bear Hair. This time around, the Kardashians have also failed to disclose sponsorship on posts promoting Adidas, Lyft, Diff Eyewear, and Alexander Wang.

TINA.org found over 200 posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat where products are promoted without the Kardashians letting on that their raking in big bucks in exchange. The organization has notified the Kardashians, the brands they represent, and the FTC.

The FTC has recently been cracking down on deceptive influencer marketing, targeting not only the brands, but the influencers themselves.

In April, the FTC sent letters to 46 social media stars reminding them of their legal obligations to disclose, and followed up with 21 letters in September warning the influencers that they had until the end of the month to disclose sponsorships, or face legal consequences.

“The Kardashian/Jenner sisters are masterful marketers who are making millions of dollars from companies willing to turn a blind eye to the women’s misleading and deceptive social media marketing practices,” says TINA.org’s Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “It’s time the Kardashians were held accountable for their misdeeds.”

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Business Marketing

Dove dropped the olive branch with new ad campaign

(MARKETING NEWS) With any ad campaign there will be misses but take a note from Dove’s playbook and learn how to not repeat mistakes.

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Dove’s latest Facebook ad really hit the mark for whitewashing in advertising. The ad, since removed, essentially implied their soap could turn a black woman into a clean white woman.

In a three-second video on the company’s Facebook page, three women transformed into the next when they removed their shirts. The first transition caused an uproar: a woman of color lifting a brown top over her head to reveal a different woman, who is very, very white.

Although the white woman then lifts her shirt to reveal another woman with darker hair and a darker skin tone, the initial transformation is problematic in its implications of whiteness as cleanliness.

Dove has since removed the ad and issued an apology, stating in a tweet “In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we’ll use it to guide us in the future.”

Wait, haven’t we been here before? At this point you’d think skin care companies would have realized a little more delicacy is required when rolling out ad campaigns. Remember Nivea’s disastrous, short-lived “White is Purity” mishap? How about Dove’s other blunder in their 2011 VisibleCare ad?

These featured another series of three women standing in front of close-ups of skin, with the darker skinned woman in front of the “before” label, and the woman with the lightest skin by the “after” picture. Although Dove didn’t intend to imply white skin is cleaner, oops, that’s what happened anyways.

While Dove has gotten many things right in terms of inclusivity and featuring models of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, there have also been several instances of intentional racist missteps. Let’s use this as a teachable moment for handling marketing mishaps.

Whenever an ad campaign offends people, the company’s response can make or break the business. If you find yourself in the midst of a marketing crisis, you can take some mindful steps to manage the situation and begin repairing your public image.

First, acknowledge the problem and issue a genuine apology that gets to the core of what your audience is saying. Dove recognized they upset people, and instead of taking a defensive “sorry you felt offended” stance, took responsibility for their actions. Once an apology is issued, explain the original intent to provide context for the situation.

Dove meant to create an inclusive campaign featuring a diverse cast of women. Lola Ogunyemi, the first model featured in the now controversial shirt ad, has even defended the ad. She stated, “I can see how the snapshots that are circulating the web have been misinterpreted, considering the fact that Dove has faced a backlash in the past for the exact same issue. There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage.”

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Business Marketing

Aori helps you pack a punch with AdWords

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Aori is the newest tool designed to help anyone using AdWords to kick more butt.

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Search ad campaign managers constantly wrestle with the best way to organize their keywords into campaigns. Most of these decisions strive to balance the time needed to manage the campaign with efficiency of campaign expenditures.

Take the SKAGs strategy, for example. The SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Group) system is setup to trigger a unique ad for every single keyword by placing each keyword in its own group.

There’s lots of literature touting the benefits of the SKAG system. Generally, the hyper-specific match between ads and keywords improves click-through rates.

This leads to higher quality scores, which leads to lower costs for click, which leads to lower costs per conversion. The tradeoff with this system is the setup. You could be looking at hundreds of keyword groups to set up and maintain, and that’s a lot of work for a small business or startup.

This is where Aori comes in.

Their system helps to automate the process of setting up a SKAG system for your AdWords campaigns.

According to the website, the tool’s primary function is to automate keyword generation. Users enter a set of “root keywords” and common keyword extensions, and Aori will automatically generate all possible combinations of those keywords for your campaigns.

Additionally, through Aori, users can create ad templates using a “dynamic keyword insertion tool,” to enable you to utilize the strongest ad copy across multiple phrases.

In what is the least clear value point of the whole pitch, Aori also uses what they call a “unique bid-optimization algorithm.”

There is almost no detail to be found on how the algorithm works. If the tool handles all bid management for you, this could be a handy tool for PPC novices who are less familiar with the process and lack the time to learn it.

Aori appears to run cheaper than the others we know of, but that may be due to the level of automation available. For example, Aori requires the user to feed it keyword inputs, both root and extension words.

It’s also important to understand where a SKAG system can and can’t work. It is likely a better system for smaller campaigns where ad testing wouldn’t yield statistically meaningful results.

Because every keyword group targets one phrase, you can’t readily say that improvements in ad copy will translate to other campaigns.

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