Six Degrees of Influence….Bringing Brands and Digital Influencers Together to Impact the World…
Posted by: In: Blog 29 Aug 2017 0 comments

Even when following the FTC’s new rules

Aimee Song delivered great data results recently for the carmaker.

During Volvo’s June campaign with music and fashion influencer Aimee Song,each one of her Instagram followers was worth more than $1 in media exposure for Volvo, Adweek has learned. The social media star, who is also a New York Times Best Seller, evidently generated $5 million worth of media exposure for the carmaker by sharing three posts and a story with her 4.6 million followers on the popular mobile app.

“We partnered with Aimee because she is one of the leading fashion and lifestyle influencers in the world,” said John Militello, director of marketing at Volvo Car USA. “She is an interior architect by trade, which is why she was drawn to the luxurious and human-centric design of our cars. Aimee’s background in interior design also lends authority to her passion for and endorsement of Volvo, and she only works with products she truly believes in.”

The two-week campaign promoted the Volvo XC90 and was timed to recent changes to Instagram’s paid content policy and transparency rules, as per Federal Trade Commission guidelines, where “paid partnership with” appears in the location field of the post. Song added the #XC90 hashtag to three posts and Instagram Stories, demonstrating how the SUV fits in her everyday LA life.

Influencer marketing has been a contentious industry topic in recent months as some brands think it works while others aren’t so sure. Volvo likes what it saw while working with Brand Architects, which had Song post three times on Instagram and received not only $5 million worth of media, but also the following seven bits of data:

  1. Average Instagram Stories views: 400,000
  2. Total likes: 113,500
  3. Total comments: 728
  4. Total number of people who saved Song’s posts: 1,009
  5. Total impressions: 2.14 million
  6. Total reach: 1.7 million
  7. Total engagement: 115,200

“Volvo believes there is a very specific way to work with influencers,” Militello explained. “When you put in the time and effort to build relationships with influencers and align strategically and build trust, we can see great success.”

Karen Robinovitz, Digital Brand Architects’ co-founder and CCO, added, “When Instagram targeted Aimee Song as one of the creators to launch their paid sponsorship feature, we brought the opportunity to Volvo as it is not only the car she has been wanting to purchase and a brand she genuinely loves, but we knew it also fit with their social marketing strategy and focus on Instagram. It is always more interesting to partner brands with talent in unexpected ways than literal ones; a car brand and car influencer is obvious, but when you see the car in the everyday world of an aspirational and inspirational fashion, design, travel personality, it brings Volvo to life in a refreshing way.”

Below are Song’s trio of Instagram posts:


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Posted by: In: Blog 29 Aug 2017 0 comments

Traditionally companies relied only on celebrities to be their spokesperson. Social media has changed the game and given rise to the influencer.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

We’ve all seen them: retired football players hawking dieting meal plans, retired politicians pushing pharmaceuticals, and actors swearing by the latest sunscreen in television commercials. Celebrity spokespeople are as old as well, celebrities themselves. Even back in the 1700’s, the royal family was hyping Wedgwood china.

As marketing and advertising evolved, many companies started making up or even co-opting characters to sell their products. How many packs of soda bearing Santa Claus’ image does your grandma have stockpiled in her basement?

No matter what company it was or what celebrity or character they used to advertise their products they all had one thing in common until very recently, fame.

Recently in marketing history, though, marketers have realized they can get more bang for their buck getting a regular person to be their spokesperson. Sounds crazy, right? When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Almost 90% of consumers trust online recommendations almost as much as they trust recommendations made to them face-to-face, while 80% of teens think that YouTubers are more relatable than celebrities.YouTubers are more relatable than celebrities.

That’s right, regular folks are more relatable and trustworthy, and brands are starting to take notice.

Online advertising is having a tough time

You know all those annoying popup ads you work so hard to get rid of? Those are the things that pay for your favorite website’s day-to-day operations. When you install an ad blocker, those ad revenues go down, causing problems for sites and advertisers. Thanks to ad blocking software $12 billion in online ad revenue are projected to be lost by 2020. Here is where regular folks come in.

Most companies probably can’t afford to spend as much on paid celebrity endorsements, but they can spend small amounts on social media influencers and end up with a more authentic message.

Each social media platform has its niche

Facebook supports sponsored posts, video ads, and banner ads, while YouTube supports the latter two as well as paid celebrity videos. Instagram and Snapchat add stories to the mix, while Twitter is a great place for celebrity and sponsored tweets. Micro influencers on these platforms are four times more likely to get a comment or other interaction than celebrities.

There are endless opportunities for paid endorsements on social media, whether you hire a celebrity or not. There are, however, a few guidelines you will need to adhere to for legal reasons:

Influencers, whether they are celebrities or regular people, must state clearly that they are in a contract with a company

You can use hashtags like #ad #promoted #sponsored or something similar in a post to indicate to viewers they are watching an advertisement

Authenticity matters most

For social media influencers, authenticity is their strongest weapon. According to YouthLogic Founder Connor Blakley, “Following all the legal requirements is only half of what matters. As an influencer, making sure you believe in and can stand behind not only the product but the brand you promote is crucial to trust and credibility with an already skeptical audience.”

In other words, people can tell if you’re just making a post for a paycheck. Authenticity is crucial to making social media influencer marketing work. Both influencers and companies should enter into arrangements where there is mutual trust and belief in the same mission if it’s going to work and work well.

Or, as Facebook Marketing Expert Mari Smith puts it, “To quote Seth Godin, people can ‘smell the agenda of a leader.’ This has never been more true when it comes to influencer marketing. To maintain fiercely loyal fans, you must love and believe in what you’re endorsing.”

Still, marketers expect results

The space of influencer marketing is still evolving, and these days marketers expect measurable results. Just making posts and cashing the check isn’t going to work anymore – you have to have engagement, which all goes back to your level of authenticity online. Some marketers may even expect a measurable jump in sales directly related to influencer marketing, so be prepared to prove it.

“Gone are the days of blindly throwing money at top-funnel metrics like views, reach, and impressions,” says Viral Nation VP of Business Development Travis Hawley. “Influencer marketing may be buzzwords, but here’s the two that matter the most: bottom line.”

Thanks to social media, anyone can be an influencer

Social media has leveled the playing field in advertising like we’ve never seen before. People who are subject matter experts who can produce shareable content, have a lot of hustle and know how to leverage tech can become influential and potentially attract paid advertising gigs with brands. Advertisers no longer have to rely on celebrities to peddle their goods. They can take their message right to the people and engage in human to human conversations with customers. Learn more about the rise of the social media influencer from this infographic from NoGRE.

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Posted by: In: Blog 29 Aug 2017 0 comments

Two types of bloggers are quickly emerging — and there is little overlap.

Gal Meets Glam’s Julia Engel.

In the mushrooming world of social media, the industry is realizing there are two types of influencers: those who convert and those who don’t. And both are equally important.

Reaching the coveted million follower milestone is what once legitimized an influencer, giving them the cache, star power and ability to write their own tickets when it came to securing projects with brands that could elicit six, and sometimes even seven, figure fees.

But a new divide upon entry into this coveted club is taking shape.

Once a blogger attains a certain status they’re able to successfully drive sales or brand awareness — but rarely both. Many of the influencers with followers in the several millions don’t really move the needle when it comes to conversion, according to brands and industry experts. At the same time, a growing number of online talent with followings at just under or in the one million range are proving to have a selling power that trumps their peers with five to ten times that number of followers.

An individual employed by a brand that has worked with top influencers maintained that two of the biggest names in the fashion and beauty space — Chiara Ferragni and Kristina Bazan — just don’t convert. Another industry source mirrored that sentiment.

If a brand’s objective with a campaign is an uptick in sales, Ferragni and Bazan are not the talent you want to work with, this source said. They are, however, who a brand or designer might want to partner with for a brand awareness campaign.

Others with deep knowledge of the influencer landscape also labeled Aimee Song of Song of Style and Chriselle Lim of The Chriselle Factor as popular for brand awareness campaigns who could “go either way” when it comes to driving sales.

But low conversion rates are far from a blogger death sentence. All of the above are still in high demand, for example, because of their abilities to boost a brand’s awareness among consumers.

Just ask Bazan, who after almost two years still reportedly boasts the largest contract between a blogger and a brand to date. She was said to have inked a seven-figure deal with L’Oréal at the end of 2015 and renewed the partnership a year later with an even higher fee. Then there’s Ferragni, whose partnerships range from fronting Pantene for a reported $500,000 to working with SK-II earlier this year on a brand-building campaign supporting its hero Facial Treatment Essence for a reported multi-hundred thousand dollars.

“It’s interesting — there are certain girls people work with for brand awareness, and a lot of times it’s not the same people who convert. A lot of times [a brand] works with someone who drives brand awareness and someone who converts. There aren’t that many in this space that can do both,” said Jennifer Powell, president and founder of Jennifer Powell Inc., a firm that does branding and strategy for influencers such as Julie Sariñana of Sincerely Jules, Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What and Rumi Neely.

Powell, who declined to speak to the strengths of any specific influencer, believes that once someone hits 750,000 followers “they can truly move the needle” — from either an awareness or dollar standpoint.

“Sometimes I’ll be like, ‘This person has so many followers, why don’t they convert?’ It’s a surprise to me,” Powell continued. “When I would sell somebody who was maybe the biggest influencer, and then…they weren’t converting, it was a surprise.”

Surprise or not, both camps are proving to be equally successful.

Take Christine Andrew of Hello Fashion. The 31-year-old blogger isn’t a front-row fixture at fashion week or one of the influencers flown in by fashion houses like Dior or Chanel to attend their elaborate resort and pre-fall destination shows. She doesn’t even have one million followers (she has 940,000). She does, however, sell a ton of product.

Reportedly Andrew recently drove several hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales to in just ten days during the retailer’s annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Andrew declined to comment on dollar amounts or fees she incurred as a result of the sale. But based on an average commission of about 10 percent, Andrew got a nice cut from Nordstrom’s sales. When reached for comment, a Nordstrom spokeswoman said the retailer is “not in the practice of discussing details of our individual working relationships, nor do we discuss details of influencers’ sales generation.”

In an interview, Andrew said that any sales she might have driven during the above period weren’t part of an official partnership with Nordstrom. The brand did sponsor a post on Hello Fashion on July 24, which was unrelated to any content Andrews posted between July 13 and July 23.

According to Andrew, she drove a significantly higher amount of sales this year than she did during the same time last year. She attributed the spike in sales influenced by her content to the addition of Instagram Stories because of the ease of linking out and the ability for followers to just swipe up to buy a product.

From the looks of it, Andrew’s success is just part of Nordstrom’s multitiered influencer approach that spans collaborations of varying levels. Affiliates drive a quick buck, but the retailer is investing heavily in fostering deeper relationships with online talent. In September, Nordstrom will release an apparel collection co-designed by Arielle Charnas of Something Navy, who has already been documenting the process to her one million fans on Instagram. Charnas was reportedly paid a fee from the retailer up front and will also get a cut of sales once the line launches.

To Andrew, selling power is not a numbers game. It’s about the type of followers one has, not necessarily how many followers one has.

“I feel like my audience is a buying audience,” Andrew said. “Part of it, too, comes from transparency. I’ve bought stuff and said, ‘Hey, I told you about this product and I actually don’t like it [because] it made my skin break out.’ I’m honest when things don’t work. They trust me and respect my opinion and know I won’t BS about something I don’t really like.”

She pointed out that she has an unusual vantage point because she also has her own apparel line, Ily Couture, which launched a few months before Andrew started her Hello Fashion blog in 2012. She explained that her blog includes a combination of clothing from her own line and other brands based on “what she’s wearing at the time.” The breakdown isn’t calculated nor does she try to “balance out a percentage.”

“I see it from both sides from Ily [Couture] because we pay people to wear it…We’ve done sponsorships with top-tier bloggers — who have performed insanely and sometimes we have ones that didn’t. I really think it’s so varied to peoples’ audiences, and some people follow some accounts because they like to see what someone is doing and others follow because they want to know what someone is buying,” Andrew added.

The selling power influencers wield is far from news. Anyone with a smartphone knows that blogger selling power is growing — and fast. WWD previously reported that fellow Salt Lake City-based blogger Rachel Parcell of Pink Peonies was said to have driven $1 million in sales to during the holiday season in 2014, equivalent to the six-week period from Thanksgiving through the end of December.

But what is news is that bloggers are reaching these milestones quicker than ever, and in turn seeing their yearly earnings skyrocket.

Think about it: If Andrew has the power to influence several hundred thousand dollars in sales in 10 days, this could — if the rate is maintained — add up to nearly $2 million in a month, or $24 million in year. That’s a cut of roughly $2.4 million for Andrew (based on a commission fee of 10 percent). And that doesn’t include any of her other revenue channels, which range from advertising to Ily Couture, which has its own e-commerce site at

Karen Robinovitz, cofounder of influencer management firm Digital Brand Architects — which counts Andrew as one of its clients — compared the bloggersphere to Hollywood.

“Some people can open a movie, and it’s not always the same person who gets the Oscar. Cate Blanchett is a movie star but she’s not going to drive attention the way Jennifer Aniston might. There are blockbuster names and people who just deliver a performance,” Robinovitz said.

If a brand’s objective is sales, Robinovitz rattled off a list of influencers she works with whom she deemed “converters” to fit that bill. In addition to Andrew, the group includes Charnas, Extra Petite’s Jean Wang, Barefoot Blonde’s Amber Fillerup Clark, Mint Arrow’s Corrine Stokoe and Fashioned Chic’s Erica Hoida. She cited Aimee Song of Song of Style, who has 4.6 million followers on Instagram, as an influencer who would typically be commissioned for a brand awareness campaign.

If a brand is looking to boost sales but also raise its profile, then they have to take a layered approach, Robinovitz noted, which equates to collaborating with more than one blogger. There is a sales driver and a “brand awareness name” needed for positioning, adjacency and reach — and both are necessary to reach those end goals.

But when asked how a blogger becomes either a “converter” or a “brand-builder,” Robinovitz said it comes down to three words: inspirational, aspirational and attainable.

She explained: “They’re all creating inspiration…but typically, with someone who has a very high conversion rate, there is a reliability that you can not only look like that person in that outfit, but you can really have that life. Oftentimes, with brand awareness, [meaning] the people who get really huge, while still attainable — it’s not as aloof as a magazine editorial — but it feels too far-fetched for that to be the life you can have.”

Claire Collins Maysh, general manager of U.S. operations at digital talent management agency Gleam Futures, called 2017 “The Year of the Midtier Influencer.” While hard to define by an exact follower count, Collins Maysh said bloggers with “hundreds of thousands of followers” seems to be a sweet spot because they have a substantial audience without being so big that they lose the direct connection they have with fans.

She believes that an influencer’s involvement in a product they are promoting could affect conversion, too. She cited one of her own clients, Sun Kiss Alba (real name Alba Ramos), who has nearly 900,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel.

A recent case study from Gleam Futures reported that the natural beauty blogger’s conversion rates were standard — but this all changed when she cocreated a product with Derma E. Radiant Glow Face Oil by Sun Kiss Alba, sold at Ulta Beauty, Whole Foods, Amazon and on is doing “insanely well” (a quick look at showed that the $19.99 product is sold out), according to Collins Maysh.

“There are some campaigns I’ve seen [with bloggers] where I don’t believe that that person would be using that product…[But] she did her own product and was very involved…People feel that it’s hers rather than her hawking other people’s product. It’s something she cares about,” Collins Maysh said of Garcia’s turnaround in conversion rates.

That said, she agreed that there are two camps of bloggers, and brands are becoming savvier to what this looks like. She acknowledged that many bloggers and social media influencers produce “incredible content” but don’t necessarily have the ability to convert or evoke an interaction from their audience.

“The most they get might be ‘likes,’ but not really comments because their content doesn’t really require a response. Yes, you can appreciate it, but it doesn’t make someone want to shop it,” Collins Maysh said.

Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“In the same way that I’m not fully convinced that a big-time celebrity would convert — this person has the beauty and is on brand the way that maybe [a celebrity] might be — even if that doesn’t convert to sales it doesn’t matter. It might just be about getting attention for the campaigns,” Collins Maysh said.

She thinks the reason brands originally opted to work with influencers, “as opposed to working with a celeb like Selena Gomez,” is because this group was viewed as the “anticelebrity” who could foster a deeper connection with consumers. This is no longer the case on occasion as today’s social media landscape has given way to a blurring of the lines. More and more bloggers are reaching celebrity status, with some now the faces of major beauty brands and appearing on covers of leading global print publications, making them “less approachable.”

Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What, labeled by an industry source as one of those rare bloggers who can both raise brand awareness and drive sales, decided to launch Second Skin Overalls, her own line of overalls, as well as Archive Shoes, a footwear collection, after realizing her ability to move product. Bernstein has 1.7 million Instagram followers.

“Revolve was always telling me, ‘When you wear this we sell out of it right away.’ From Revolve to Asos, they told me that the second I post something they sell out of it immediately,” Bernstein said of what gave her confidence to launch not one, but two of her own brands since late last year (she also founded body jewelry brand Body Bauble three years ago with two close friends).

According to Bernstein, $70,000 worth of overalls were sold within the first three hours of launching in October 2016. During a second smaller “drop” of velvet styles earlier this year, Bernstein sold $15,000 worth of product in 30 minutes and nearly $26,000 in two-and-a-half-hours. Today she’s launching two of her best-selling overall styles in white on

Even though Charnas, who shot the campaign for her upcoming Nordstrom collection in New York City’s Madison Square Park last week, has a few months until her own line launches, she’s still busy helping retailers like Shopbop sell up-and-coming contemporary labels like Petersyn. Charnas posted a photo of herself wearing a Petersyn top and skirt two weekends ago and in two days, Shopbop sold $40,500 of tops and skirts combined.

An industry insider even went so far as to call Charnas “the East Coast Lauren Conrad” of the blogger set, comparing the 30-year-old influencer’s girl-next-door persona to that of Conrad’s, which propelled the latter into reality superstardom years before Instagram even existed. Minus the boyfriend drama and “Speidi,” of course.

Article Source: WWD

Posted by: In: Blog 29 Aug 2017 0 comments

Beauty brands are spending millions to tap into the loyal followings of the industry’s latest authorities: digital influencers. 

In early June, Arielle Charnas of Something Navy posted about the Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask on her Snapchat story. Then the frenzy happened: Within 24 hours after her story went live, the post was responsible for the sale of 502 masks, or $17,565 worth of product. Do the math: that’s equal to $123,000 in sales in a week, $527,000 in a month or almost $6.4 million in a year.

Nor was that a one-off. An Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking in Deep Black that Charnas snapped about in July moved 422 units in 24 hours, driving $13,500 in sales. That means she could sell $95,000 worth of mascara in a week, $405,000 in a month or $4.9 million in a year.

Article Source: WWD