Tag Archive for: social media strategy
Successful Influencer Campaigns Aren’t Unicorns
PR has a number of tools in its tool belt, one of them is successful influencer campaigns & partnerships.
In consumer goods, influencer marketing is establishing a significant place in the mix. When we see some of these campaigns, a little part of our PR soul dies. Frankly, some of them are brand-damaging and unlikely to have an influence on sales. When working with influencers, you’re already taking a risk that there’s a past or future PR fiasco that could affect your brand reputation. Influencer marketing should be considered paid media and owned media and just like you wouldn’t put out an ad or other content that damages your brand, nor should you execute an influencer campaign without consideration. Some people seem to think so long as you’re getting your product in someone’s IG story that’s all that matters, we disagree.
We believe all consumer goods PR should be executed with strategy and thought. While influencer campaigns aren’t exactly the same as ads, we take insight from advertising research to inform our recommendations.
On average, it takes 21 brand exposures to bring someone to the purchase phase.
5-9 brand exposures to create brand awareness
more than 10 exposures during the consideration phase
While influencer campaigns are a paid opportunity (influencer rate range from product exchange to $1 million per post), there are public relations and brand opportunities and implications as well. While you might not be able to spend $1,500 per post, you should seriously balance the PR and brand implications.
Working with an influencer is NOT the same as placing an ad, so we also wanted to share our best practices for a influencer campaign.
Get Crystal Clear on Your KPIs BEFORE Reaching Out to Influencers
If your consumer goods influencer campaign objective is SEO value as opposed to brand awareness, those are actually very different campaigns. They are both relevant. Who you work with will be different. The number of influencers you work with will be different. How you CHOOSE the influencers might be different. But even if you’re doing an influencer campaign for SEO value, we beg you to consider the brand implications.
For many CPG brands, their brand may be their most valuable asset, so treating the brand with long-term implications in mind is essential to the longevity or value of the brand. From a brand building and cannabis PR perspective, for MOST brands, our perspective is to go deep, rather than wide with cannabis social media influencers. The biggest reason this is our typical approach is because of the importance of repeated exposure. This is PARTICULARLY important to emerging CPG brands whose other marketing initiatives are constrained.
Influencer Campaign Success #1: Choose Your Influencer Partners Carefully
No matter what strategy you apply to your influencer campaign, align with influencers who align with your brand. If you’re a wellness brand, maybe partnering with an influencer whose feed is about their last party isn’t natural synergy, the influencer’s audience may not receive your product well.
Why is a wellness driven product doing an influencer campaign with influencers aligned with party culture? Why not align with a nurse, a yogi, and a marathon runner? It’s jarring for customers to see inconsistent messages and creates brand confusion. Getting brand awareness is hard enough to do when you act with brand clarity, why make it harder on yourself?
Instead of looking at followers, look at engagement & reply rates. But dig a little deeper on those engagement rates, they should be consistent with typical engagement. If your influencer has 10,000 followers and 3,000 likes and 1,500 comments, that’s a red flag and suggests automation. On the other hand, if your influencer has 700 posts and 35 million followers, that’s disjointed as well. For context, as of this writing Kylie Jenner has 42M U.S. followers (164M globally), of which 1.2M are evaluated as authentic U.S. engagers, according to HypeAuditor. Is it POSSIBLE that they reached 35 million followers over 700 posts? Yes, but there must have been a viral trigger, so look to see what that could be.
Take a careful look at the other brands the influencer has worked with and see how they align with you. Have they worked with your competitors? Is that an advantage or a disadvantage?
Since this is likely a paid relationship, you should also be evaluating their overall professionalism. How thoughtful and eye-catching is the content, how professional is their response to your inquiry?
Ruthlessly review their past content for any red flags that could cause your brand problems, and also consider ways to mutually separate in case of a brand clash in the future.
If you follow the other steps below, this stage is incredibly important.
Build a Relationship with the Influencer Before Your Influencer Campaign
Note I keep referring to social media influencers as partners. Treat them as such, treat them as humans. Social media influencers will have an emotional response to how they are treated and no matter how professional they are, how you treat them impacts the outcome. That’s because the POWER of influencers is in the PERSONAL.
Why undermine the most valuable part of the partnership? Why not turn that influencer into an actual advocate?
By inspiring your cannabis influencer, you can bet they’ll have an easier time inspiring their followers and creating content that’s consistent for both brands. Meet with the influencer if you can, engage with them as they’re experiencing the product for the first time.
Explain your favorite aspects of the product/brand and discuss your brand values and vision, so the influencer can align their value systems and genuinely connect with the brand.
This more personal relationship approach is something 90% of influencer campaigns lack, and it shows.
Another reason to build a relationship with a brand influencer is to review how you’ll mutually handle it if the account is shut down during the campaign or afterward.
Allow The Influencer Creative Freedom & Voice
Effective influencers have their own style of content and voice, you’re likely attracted to that style and voice – let then keep it. Influencers are master content creators, they see the world through a lens that sparks enthusiasm by their followers. A great influencer will happily develop content ideas that meet your objectives, while also reinforcing both brands. This content will put a fresh spin on your brand.
Collaboration magic happens when two brands align in such a way that it seems absolutely natural. Collaborating WITH the influencer on content as opposed to directing or scripting the content enables to you leverage the influencer’s own brand while also enhancing yours.
Know FTC Guidelines
Make sure to review FTC guidelines on disclosure. This is especially important because it’s almost always the brand who the FTC investigates. The brand has more skin in the game, so the brand needs to be the enforcer.
Cannabis CEOs have challenging jobs. You’re in the fast-moving cannabis business, so you’re also in the business of understanding trends and our industry. For that reason, we put together a shortlist of our favorite cannabis Twitter accounts, tailored for the time-constrained cannabis CEO and C-suite.
Twitter is an extremely useful listening tool, so we’ve curated the list intentionally for listening and we did throw in a few personal favorites as well because even cannabis CEOs need a breather now and then. But overall, the list we’ve put together is highly curated and designed to give you what you need at the moment without overwhelming executives with chatter and nonsense. Hey, we love the nonsense too, but the point of a Twitter list is to create a curated experience and that’s what we’ve done.
We love Twitter because it’s such a great place to glean insights. We’ve already written about how we utilize Twitter for media relations. While we certainly use Twitter to engage our entire community, we do much more listening on Twitter than we do posting – and that’s intentional. With that perspective in mind, when we developed this Twitter List for cannabis CEOs, we thought about the Twitter uses who stay on topic, talk business, and keep chaos to a minimum. At it’s best, Twitter is a feed of quick snippets of insight, and we think these Twitter feeds embody that perspective.
Make things easy on yourself by subscribing to our Twitter list. In no particular order, here are our inclusions for 2020.
Cannabis Journalists & News Twitter Accounts
Jeremy Berke @jberke
One of the first national business writers to cover the cannabis space from Business Insider, Jeremy’s feed is straightforward and no bull. From his Twitter profile, you can also subscribe to his weekly email newsletter which is a must-read of the week’s news.
Alan Brochstein, CFO @invest420
If industry analysis is what you crave, Alan Brochstein and his site, New Cannabis Ventures are on it. As the industry has changed, so has NCV. Today the NCV focuses mostly on cannabis’ publically traded businesses. But since so many of the industry cues and trends start there, it’s a great feed to watch. Alan’s distinct mix of business trends and insights are unbeatable. From his Twitter, you can also subscribe to his weekly newsletter, which is filled with investor insight and cannabis industry predictions.
David George-Cosh @itsdgc
David primarily covers Canada’s legal cannabis market, which means he covers some of the world’s largest publically traded cannabis companies. Hailing from the Wall Street Journal, David gets to the heart of the matter with pertinent business issues from unionization to M&A.
AxisWire is a newswire dedicated to the cannabis industry. It’s an easy to digest spot to catch up on the industry, by zeroing in on the latest press releases, from product announcements to industry events, it’s a good at-a-glance feed.
Hosted by Alex Halperin, a long-time cannabis journalist and Donny Alexander of public radio and ESPN, these two have a knack for being early adopters to industry trends, with a keen eye on what it means to consumers. Cannabis CEO and C-Suite executives will enjoy the thoughtful, no-drama approach of Halperin and Alexander while benefitting from their insightful guests.
Cannabis Business & Thought Leader Twitter Accounts
By sparking your imagination, but these accounts are must-follows for cannabis industry CEOs for their broad perspectives on the overall health of the industry.
Andrew DeAngelo @Andrew_DeAngelo
Andrew might not be as well known as his brother, Steve, but these days he’s coming out from behind his operational role at the pioneering Oakland-based dispensary, Harborside, and sharing his opinions with his distinct rebellious flourish. Andrew’s thought-provoking perspective is cannabis industry-focused, with an emphasis on California and its regulatory environment.
Emily Paxhia @empax1
As a woman in the VC world, Emily is already a notable follow, but as a cannabis VC, watching Emily’s tweets is interesting insight into the headspace of a cannabis VC. As co-founder of Poseidon Asset Management, Emily has been an active investor since 2014. Poseidon has invested in Pax, Juul and Canopy Growth. On Twitter, she’s a positive advocate for the industry, while maintaining a 360-degree view on the cannabis industry’s trends and future, including international expansion and legalization.
It’s always interesting to see who is hiring for what. Great CEOs can read between the lines when they see their competitors hiring – or not. Take a gander at the jobs posted and you’ll see a list of who’s growing and who isn’t.
Cannabis Advocacy & Industry Twitter Accounts
We’ve come a long way, but we’re not finished. Both THC and CBD leaders should keep a close on the announcements from these accounts.
From research to legislative initiatives, NORML is the OG of cannabis advocacy and consumer accessibility. NORML’s Twitter feed is highly curated and includes information from state chapters too. A quick glance will get you immediately up to speed on today’s THC-related news.
US Hemp Roundtable @HempRoundtable
The US Hemp Roundtable was formed to take a proactive role in hemp normalization and legislation. Many in the hemp industry credit the 2018 Farm Act to the US Hemp Roundtable. If you’re in the business of CBD or hemp, you’ve got to keep your eye on these tweets.
National Cannabis Industry Association @NCIAorg
As a cannabis industry representative at the federal legislative level, NCIA has a national presence and state chapters. The feed is filled with legislative updates affecting cannabis business owners as well as events, podcasts and blog posts written by the industry’s leading thought leaders.
Minority Cannabis @MinCannBusAssoc
If you’re looking for an inclusive perspective, and eh-em, you should be, then look no further than Minority Cannabis who share their perspectives and the latest diversity and inclusion news specific to the cannabis industry. As this movement continues within cannabis, this Twitter feed provides considerations and insights CEOs find helpful when developing diversity and inclusion policies and procedures.
What social media platforms are right for your business?
Choosing social media platforms. I get asked which social platform is right every single day. The answer is: “it depends.” It’s common today to launch on a platform because it’s “hot” or to question your presence on a platform because someone says the platform its “dying” but this isn’t a particularly effective strategy.
Here’s why- there is a (large) audience on many social media sites. Your goal is to get the right message in front of the right audience then engage with that audience through content and conversation.
Set the goals and strategies that work for YOU, don’t worry about what your competitor is doing. Choose your strategy and work it, work it, work it.
For the average business, it isn’t necessary to be on every single social platform, invest in a couple and do them well.
Let’s understand something: failures in social media are almost never the “platform’s fault.” The platform doesn’t “suck,” because it doesn’t work for you. Choosing your social media platforms is a balance between content, audience, and goals. Regardless of social media platform, there are spectacular successes and flaming failures.
social media success happens for 3 reasons:
1) absolute audience clarity
2) commitment to goal and objective clarity
3) content creation that matches the audience’s motivations
That’s it. It’s that simple and it’s that complicated.
With that in mind, here are some considerations for choosing the right social platform for your business.
Objectives & Goals
You probably have numerous strategies for social media-now its up to you to decide which social media platforms are right for your business. It’s not enough to say “we’re on social media,” because everything you do hinges on knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. It could
It’s not enough to say “we’re on social media,” because everything you do hinges on knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. It could eyeballs (branding), engagement (building community and fans) or it could be website click-thru’s (conversions), all those things are possible on social media, but they require a deep understanding of how and why your audience participates with the platform and what kind of content they engage with.
Be sure your platforms, goals and metrics are all aligned.
One platform might be a better branding platform, another might be a better engagement platform. Engagement might vary by audience on the same platform. I’ll give you an example, in broad strokes, millennials are ON Facebook, but not highly engaged, except millennials with kids, they’re pretty engaged with the right content. Yet, I just did a campaign where our content was so spot on, millennials (with and without kids) engaged on Facebook and the brand wasn’t even on Snapchat (we break rules over here sometimes). My point is – whatever broad strokes we point to, based on the rest of the considerations, there’s always an exception to be made.
Set clear goals and expectations and use content and the right platforms to meet those goals.
Yes, the number of active users matters, but let me put it in context for you. The 2017 Superbowl drew 111 million viewers, making it the 5th most watched Superbowl in history. It cost approximately $5M-$5.5M to run an ad during the Superbowl, and that’s just for the airtime, not including commercial conceptualization, production, etc.
So with that in mind, may I present some of the ACTIVE USER NUMBERS for social media platforms as of January 2017:
Facebook: 1,871 Million
WeChat: 846 Million
Instagram: 600 Million
Twitter: 317 Million
Snapchat: 300 Million
Snapchat, the darling of the social media world has only slightly fewer daily users than Twitter, which is occasionally called a “dying social channel.” Neither of them comes close to the number of people on WeChat. What gives? Why do people say Twitter is dying and Snapchat is hopping and no one in the US is developing WeChat content?
There are some serious problems on Twitter (bots, trolls) which Snapchat isn’t suffering from, and as Snapchat gets some of the “new shiny toy” glow, but let’s put that aside for a moment. On BOTH platforms there is an audience of an extremely sizeable daily audience – 3X the size of the Superbowl. Facebook’s daily audience size is 100X the size of the Superbowl.
So when someone tells you “no one is on that platform,” go ahead and unleash your side-eye.
Audience size matters, but quality over quantity- let’s really consider whether the platform has YOUR audience, whether your audience is engaged there.
First and foremost, you’ve got to consider what motivates your audience to engage with content. Do they want to be entertained or informed? Highly shareable content tends to be something that your audience feels reflects their self-story, so if you want your content to be shared, consider your audience’s self-perceptions of themselves. People share content because they feel it reflects the story they want others to know about them. Someone who considers themselves geeky interacts with different content than someone who considers themselves artistic.
Do they want to be entertained or informed? Highly shareable content tends to be something that your audience feels reflects their self-story, so if you want your content to be shared, consider your audience’s self-perceptions of themselves. People share content because they feel it reflects the story they want others to know about them. Someone who considers themselves geeky interacts with different content than someone who considers themselves artistic.
Highly shareable content tends to be something that your audience feels reflects their self-story, so if you want your content to be shared, consider your audience’s self-perceptions of themselves. People share content because they feel it reflects the story they want others to know about them. Someone who considers themselves geeky interacts with different content than someone who considers themselves artistic.
Almost all platforms are diving headfirst into video and livestreaming. In platforms (like Facebook and Instagram) where video is prioritized in the feed, you’ll see video almost always out-performs other types of content, so be sure you’re considering video in the mix – especially short video. Social media has made our attention spans so incredibly brief – you have about half of a second to engage the viewer and hook them.
Regardless of content type, the key is to create content that’s in the sweet spot of your brand story and your audience’s self-story.
In short, choosing the right platforms depends on your specific mix of objectives, audiences and content. Trust me, there’s a sweet spot for you on social media, whatever platforms you choose when you “get” your audience and create the right content.
Bet your starting to think about next year’s social media marketing plan. And as importantly, where will social media marketing fall into the mix? Will there be more? Less? The latest Advertising Trust report from Neilsen may offer some insights to help you in your planning process.
One of the strongest reasons to increase your social media is the the number one source of consumer trust and action is “Recommendations from people I know”. Trust and action are often hand in hand, and we can’t discount the value of trust, but its also hard to measure. However, what creates trust and what creates action can be different. For example, consumers report that humorous ads resonate most with them. We know that humor is a powerful tool, especially in social media. It might be more powerful than cats, dare I say (GASP). However, humor is rarely what makes people take ACTION.
The action taking piece is the one I’m always most interested in looking at more closely. And its really no surprise that word of mouth leads the pack. Ads on social networks have a lower trust score than they do action score. That’s actually true for several advertising types. With respect to social media, there are two key take aways:
1) Use social to build trust and be very aware of what motivations exist for taking action.
2) The power of your tribe: when they share what you’ve got, its a more credible source. So be very aware of what and why people share on social. Tribes deeply impact our actions.
Now, the challenge with a report like this is that these results are all self-reported. The challenge with self-reporting is that people don’t always really know why they do what they do. I know, YOU always know why you do what you do. Or do you? Your motivations may not always be clear even to you. That’s why I started Captivation Motivation Training.
Just remember, what type of message you use impacts trust and action. Decide what you’re trying to establish in every single post. Be purposeful in your social media practice and you’ll find that you can actually be more human.
PS: If you’d like to download the Neilsen Report for yourself: click here
This post originally appeared on Akamai Marketing