Instagram Responds to Uproar over News Feed Changes, But is Change All Bad?

instagram, influencer, influencer marketing

On March 15, Instagram announced that it would be adding an algorithm to display news feed posts according to what users “care about most,” rather than streaming posts in chronological order. After receiving a negative response from some Instagram influencers and brands, the social network has replied to the uproar.

instagram, instagram marketing, instagram influencer

Instagram news feed changes are on their way.

“We’re listening and we assure you nothing is changing with your feed right now,” Instagram stated on March 28. “We promise to let you know when changes roll out broadly.”

However, the development of the algorithm hasn’t stopped users from protesting. In fact, a petition has been created on Change.org, titled “Keep Instagram Chronological.” It has a growing list of more than 333,000 supporters, and it encourages users to voice their opposition, assuming Instagram is listening to their feedback.

“After what happened when Facebook switched to algorithm-based feeds, it’s certainly not something that small business’ will want!” writes Sarah Heard, petition creator. “At the very least, shouldn’t the community be able to opt-in, rather than having it mandated that this is how we will now see our feed?”

The algorithm has not been officially recalled, which means that Instagram marketing professionals will need to work a bit harder to ensure that their audience stays engaged. That being said, this is no easy task, but influencer advertising can help.

The Instagram algorithm is making brands rethink the type of content they are putting out — is it engaging? What makes followers want to click and comment? Through influencer advertising, brands can work with individuals who are always creating content catered to their audiences. This inevitably drives engagement, and makes the investment worth it for brands.

In the end, the algorithm change may not negatively impact brands, assuming they adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. Brands also need to take a hard look at how they pay influencers. Performance-based pay models become more important because it incentivizes influencers to maximize creativity and create quality content their followers love.

To learn how you can team up with influencers to create a winning marketing strategy, contact Fullbottle for more information today!

Mindshare Before Marketshare: 2 Reasons Influencer Marketing Offsets the Rising Costs of Attention

Influencer marketing, instagram, marketing

The average tenure for CMOs has doubled to 48 months in the last ten years. It’s no surprise considering that cost of consumer attention has risen seven-to-nine fold during the same period of time. However, implementing influencer marketing can help CMOs develop a Blue Ocean Strategy with a Lean Advertising Methodology at it’s core.

As the Microsoft Corp study pointed out, “No longer can we (consumers) boast 12 seconds of coherent thought (less than a goldfish).”

We live in a world where turning to our smartphones for tasks is a natural condition – to text a friend, to check Instagram, to find a car, to check a price (consumer funnel is dead).

But CMOs can use this dynamic to their advantage and offset the rising costs to achieve eight seconds of our attention.

CREATE A BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY

For starters, they must shift the paradigm and make marketing a vital operating function within their organization. As CMO Beth Comstok demonstrated at GE, marketing must become a source of innovation whose efforts are as creative and valuable as the products coming out of R&D.

Sadly, most brands (and their CMOs) are stuck in a Red Ocean strategy, racing to beat the competition by building a defensible position within the existing industry order. Few brands like GE have embraced the “blue ocean” opportunity of acquiring non-customers on emerging networks like Instagram. I’m still amazed by the number of executives who don’t have an Instagram account.

CMOs must focus on value innovation, which is the alignment of innovation with utility, price, and cost positions. Influencer marketing helps brands execute this strategy by pursuing a new segment of consumers using media costs (compared to TV, print, and digital display) simultaneously.

LEAN ADVERTISING METHODOLOGY

I often recommend brands of all sizes follow the template that GE or Coke executes with amazing success. But these examples are consistently met with rebuttals, such as, “But we’re not Coke,” and “We don’t have their war chest of resources.” You don’t need their war chest to execute a similar influencer marketing strategy.

For example, a brand can implement the Lean Advertising Methodology using Instagram advertising by influencers to outsource content creation and media distribution. It’s the only media option that allows brands to collapse the cost of content creation and media distribution while scaling and simultaneously market testing their message with potential consumers. Thales S. Teixiera provided an excellent overview of this approach in the Harvard Business Review.

Coke’s Wendy Clark detailed aspects of Coke’s strategy – content, scale, spread in real-time, with or without us. Core to Coke’s strategy is a readily accepted approach called the “70-20-10 rule.” Seventy percent of a brand’s marketing investment focuses on programs that have proven successful. Twenty percent of a brand’s investment targets emerging trends, such as emojis and mobile messaging. The remaining 10 percent gambles on “untested” programs with minimal traction.

INSTAGRAM ADVERTISING: SCALE CONTENT CREATION AND MEDIA DISTRIBUTION
Here’s the rub; many CMOs still consider influencer marketing in the 20 percent bucket (emerging trend), or worse. But this is not the case for brands in the middle-to-lower end of the market.

These brands must adopt lean methods to compete with the Fortune 100 brands. For example, @MarkandEstel recently shared with us that Instagram advertising was quickly becoming the most valuable medium available to them. Why? They are able to remove the cost of marketing agencies or standard media costs e.g. TV :30 inventory and substitute it with an army of influencers that produce content and promote their brand.

All of this is done with a team of two – not the Coke empire.

To learn how you can expand upon your influencer marketing strategy, contact Fullbottle today for more information!

4 Signs that You Need to Tap into the Benefits of Influencer Marketing

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Whether you promote a big brand or a small business, influencer marketing can benefit you in many ways. That being said, not everyone is familiar with the advantages associated with this type of marketing. Here are four signs that influencer advertising could be perfect for your brand or business.

…You Want to Reduce the Length of Your Sales Cycle.
If you’re bringing in prospects but the majority of them fail to convert, your sales cycle might be lengthy and ineffective. Working with influencers can ensure that you’re bringing in prospects mid-funnel (or lower) who are more likely to convert. In turn, you’ll shorten your sales cycle.

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Working with influencers gives you a wider audience.

…You Want to Authenticate Your Brand.
Ever want to be in a thought leadership position in your industry? Teaming up with well-known influencers can improve your reputation and help you exhibit the knowledge you have of the business world.

…You Want to Increase Awareness.
The biggest benefit of influencer marketing is having the opportunity to raise brand awareness. Because influencers have large audiences, you can increase your business’ notoriety through these individuals and their social networks. Think of influencers as ambassadors who are spreading the good word about your brand.

…You Want a More Focused Marketing Plan.
Instead of beginning marketing initiatives in multiple areas, honing in your efforts on influencer marketing can help you save time and money. Because you’ll be working with influencers who already have an established audience, you can ensure that you’re reaching out to as many prospects as possible. Just be mindful of your target audience prior to choosing an influencer for your marketing efforts. Ideally, you want to work with influencers who are established in your specific industry.

Research has shown that 81 percent of marketers who have executed an influencer marketing campaign believe that they’ve been effective. For more information on how you can launch an own influencer marketing strategy, contact Fullbottle today!

How Can Your Brand Benefit from Influencer Marketing?

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Brands constantly need to work toward raising awareness of their products and services, and reaching out to a large audience can help. For this reason, social media has become a critical component of many companies’ advertising strategies. However, creating a profile on a network like Facebook or Twitter doesn’t guarantee success. To enhance their efforts, more brands are turning to influencer marketing, and for good reason.

Influencer marketing and advertising can extend a brand’s reach. Because influencers have massive audiences, companies can immediately benefit from the wide exposure. Here is what you need to know about teaming up with an influencer for marketing purposes.

Influencer Marketing Can Increase Engagement.
If you’re struggling with engagement, influencer marketing can help. After a prospect sees your content marketed by an influencer, he or she may be encouraged to go the extra step and engage with one of your posts. Additionally, an existing customer might be influenced to comment or like your posts after seeing you advertised by an influencer. This gives you more opportunities to market your products and services.

It’s an Ideal Way to Break into Your Industry.
By teaming up with an influencer who works within your specific industry, you can access his or her audience, which may subsequently be your own target market.

instagram, influencer marketing, influencer advertisingYou Can Test Your Brand Messaging.
If you want to gauge how responsive a large crowd may be to a new brand message, you can execute it through your influencer marketing strategy.

Influencer Marketing Can Enhance Lead Generation.
Because you can communicate your products and services through influencer advertising, you’ll have new opportunities to generate leads. You may also gain more targeted leads, assuming your influencer’s audience consists of your ideal prospects and customers.

You Can Gain More Credibility in Your Industry.
When you work with an influencer, he or she is vouching for your products, services, and brand messages. This can not only raise awareness of your company, but improve your reputation in the eyes of prospects who already know your business.

Influencer Marketing Can Help You with the Top of the Funnel.
If you’ve been stuck in terms of marketing to the top of your sales funnel, influencer marketing can help. By working with an influencer, you can reach out to prospects through channels they trust most, whether it’s a social network or email.

To learn how influencer marketing can benefit your brand, contact Fullbottle today for more information!

To Filter or Not to Filter: An Instagram Marketing Dilemma

instagram marketing, instagram influencers, marketing

One of the most endearing qualities of Instagram is that it allows you to apply a filter to your snapshots. This means that you can make virtually any photo look like it was professionally taken. For brands and Instagram influencers alike, filters have become a key component of successful marketing.

For example, research conducted by TrackMaven has shown that brands that use the Hefe filter receive 5.6 percent more engagement than the average Instagram post. The Lo-fi filter drives 5.2 percent additional engagement, while Brannan reels in 5.1 percent.

Whether you’ve always believed in using filters or you want to start enhancing your account with them today, you need to strategize to see an ROI from these features.

instagram marketing, marketing, instagram influencersChoosing the Right Filter for Instagram Marketing
Regardless of what your brand is marketing, it’s best to narrow down the list of Instagram filters you’ll use before launching your campaign.

“Choose one filter or a set of filters that you will use for the majority, if not all of your photos,” recommends Evan LePage, blog specialist for HootSuite. “By using the same filters over and over, you establish a style that will become recognizable to your followers.”

The goal is to get your audience to pause when they recognize your posts by the filter. In turn, you’ll have a better shot at raising brand awareness and increasing engagement.

Know When to Use a Filter
A quick Google search of “Instagram filters and business” will bring you a slew of websites discussing how and when to use each filter. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to go “naked” sometimes, especially when your photo is already enticing.

“When your image looks great as it is, don’t be afraid to post it ‘naked,’” says Kiera Stein, digital marketing consultant. “Images with no filter are more realistic, and your audience will appreciate enjoying your experiences undistorted, just like you did.”

Whether you want to begin incorporating filters or just tweak your existing filter strategy, there’s no better time to start than now. With Instagram adoption at 85 percent among top brands, it’s critical to use every tactic available to run with the competition.

To learn more about how you can enhance your Instagram marketing strategy, contact Fullbottle today!

How Can Analytics Help Instagram Marketing Professionals Measure ROI?

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As marketers turn to networks like Instagram to reach their target audiences, they are dedicating more of their money toward social media. The CMO Survey found that social media spending is expected to rise to a 20.9 percent share of all marketing budgets within the next five years. However, not everyone has seen their investment in social media pay off thus far, despite their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram marketing efforts.

instagram marketing, analytics, instagram advertisingThe survey results discovered that 40 percent of marketers claim social media has a “below average” contribution to their firm’s performance. About 50 percent stated that social media’s impact has been “average.”

“Companies are spending a lot on social media right now, but demonstrating its contribution depends on more than investment in analytics, though that will help,” said Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey.

Analytics and Instagram Marketing
When you launch an Instagram advertising campaign, you’ll immediately gain an abundance of data that you can assess to determine your ROI. Key performance indicators, such as “Likes,” comments and number of followers, can help you gauge the progress of your Instagram marketing strategy.

Keeping tabs on your KPIs over time will also help you determine if your social media marketing investments are paying off. For example, a rise in “Likes” may be a sign of strong posts and resonance with your target audience. However, this isn’t the only step you can take to give your Instagram marketing strategy the best chance at success.

“Firms must also take other steps to integrate social with the rest of the company’s marketing strategies,” Moorman continued. “This will require changes to where social media is located, its involvement in the planning process, and consideration of how the firm’s customer and brand assets are managed in social media.”

Are you interested in learning how you can refine your Instagram marketing strategy? Contact Fullbottle for more information today!

4 Instagram Marketing Tips for Rebounding After Christmas

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Christmas makes for the most wonderful time of the year, but what do you do once the holidays have come and gone? After all of the gifts have been opened, you can start thinking about how you’ll head into the New Year with a strong Instagram marketing campaign. Here are four key tips for keeping your Instagram marketing strategy running efficiently after Christmas.

calendar, christmas, instagram marketing, instagram influencers1. Find Ways to Thank Your Followers
Did you get a big boom in engagement on Instagram over the holidays? A simple “Thank you” can go a long way heading into the New Year. You may also want to use the opportunity to preview what you have in store for 2016, whether it’s more video content or meet-and-greets. This can encourage your audience to continue engaging with you in the coming months.

2. Host a Contest
Right after Christmas, you’ll still have a hold on the attention of your followers. Join the other Instagram influencers who use this time to host a contest. Not only will it drive engagement, but it can potentially raise awareness of your account and brand.

3. Team Up with a Charity
Christmas is a time for giving, and it doesn’t stop just because the 25th has come and gone. To show you want to do more this holiday season, Social Media Examiner recommends teaming up with your favorite charity or nonprofit organization. Doing so can bring attention to your brand while encouraging others to donate to a good cause.

4. Keep It Authentic
Regardless of what you’re doing after Christmas, it helps to show your “down to earth” side during the holidays, even once Santa has left the building. Make a point to share photos and videos of any post-holiday traditions you have, along with some fun hashtags. Some of your posts may resonate with your followers and encourage even more engagement beyond Christmas.

Although it’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the cheer of the holiday season, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t last forever. With this in mind, it’s never too soon to be thinking about the Instagram marketing strategies you’re going to use after you’ve taken down your Christmas lights.

Photo or Video: Which is Best for Your Instagram Marketing Campaign?

Touchscreen

instagram, instagram marketing, instagram advertising

When it comes to creating an effective Instagram marketing campaign, using both videos and photos can give you the best shot at resonating with your followers. However, we did a little digging to find out if one type of media has leverage over the other. Here are some stats stats we found in our pool of data, which may have you tweaking your Instagram advertising strategy.

Out of 132,000 Instagram posts, the average “Like” rates for photos and video were 2.9 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively. In short, the difference is relatively small, showing that Instagram users may actually just “like” a little bit of everything when they log in.

About 88 percent of posts we analyzed were photos. Furthermore, every Instagram influencer we looked at had at least one image post. Out of 156 influencers, 23 percent had no video posts. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t include these assets in your own Instagram marketing campaign – especially when the engagement and “Likes” averages were neck-and-neck.

As a brand, it’s critical to trust Instagram influencers who know their audience, as well as what drives engagement. Under a performance pricing model, influencers have the incentive to upload posts that resonate with their audience and encourage activity. Furthermore, they only pay for posts that encourage interaction, meaning influencers need to know their followers in order to tap into their Instagram habits.

By trusting influencers and their expertise, you can make strides with their Instagram marketing campaigns, regardless of whether you use photos or videos to promote your brand.

This data was collected on Oct. 15, 2015. A total of 681 influencers were analyzed, along with 132,370 posts across Instagram.

Visit Florida Shows Off the Sunshine State in Its Instagram Marketing Campaign [Interview]

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If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Sunshine State, VisitFlorida.org is all about giving you a reason to put it at the top of your to-do list. The website, which provides information on all things Florida, also has a successful influencer marketing campaign that spreads the word to Instagrammers looking for some R&R. We had a chance to speak to Stephen Kubiak, Visit Florida’s social media representative, to learn more about their Instagram marketing strategy.

Fullbottle: How has your Instagram strategy evolved as the platform has changed over time?

instagram, instagram marketing, influencer marketingStephen Kubiak: “We’ve evolved with the platform. When we first started using Instagram, you had to take the photos within the app and you could only tag your photos ‘on location’ if you wanted to add a geo-target. Once Instagram allowed you to upload any photo, I decided that we should start using user-generated content (UCG) as a way to grow our community and to curate these great photos were taking of the state. We typically find photos that use #LoveFL, which is our ongoing campaign hashtag that we use, and photos that people tag us in. We also always ask permission to use any piece of UGC with a one-to-one ask, nothing automated. I’ve found that this opens a dialogue between our brand and the content creators. People seem to appreciate the give and take. The strategy is clearly working as we’ve seen our account explode in engagement numbers with over 1,000 likes on posts and 20,000 new followers in three months.”

FB: Which types of posts generate the most traction for you on Instagram?

SK: “The most successful photos have been of beaches, sunset/sunrise shots, and animal (e.g., dolphin, manatee) shots in terms of ‘Likes,’ but it’s the comments that really stand out at times. We might share a photo of a hidden gem location like Devil’s Den or Bahia Honda State Park and you see great engagement because people want to know more about the location.”

FB: How do you use Instagram to resonate VisitFlorida’s message with your target audience?

SK: “Our goal with our content and social programs is to inform and inspire our audience about Florida and Instagram is an easy way to that. Each photo is its own story and the Instagram audience helps shape that story with their comments, tags and likes. A picture is truly worth 1,000 words to our Instagram community.”

FB: What would you personally identify as the keys to being a successful Instagram influencer?

SK: “Engagement beyond likes and follows is key to being an Instagram influencer. I think that one-on-one interaction is key, meaning responding the questions and comments, providing links to more information, etc. Social media is a two-way street – you have to be able to have a little give and take with the people you are engaging with. If you appreciate your audience by showing it through your engagement with them, they are more likely to engage with you in the future.”

FB: Do you have any tips for encouraging engagement with your Instagram followers?

SK: “Talk to your audience. Use UGC. Make ‘the ask’ – whether it’s asking them to tag or use certain hashtags or asking for advice about something. Encourage your audience be a part of the conversation by the way you engage with them.”

You can learn more about Visit Florida by visiting VisitFlorida.org, or checking out their Instagram page (@VisitFlorida).

Weekend Wrap-Up: Instagram Influencers Are Ready for the Holidays

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Instagram influencers gave one last hurrah for Halloween over the weekend of Oct. 30 while watching the Kansas City Royals win the World Series. As you chow down on the remainder of your Halloween candy, let’s recap all of the eye-catching Instagram marketing campaigns you might have missed while trick-or-treating.

Halloween and Instagram Advertising
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Needless to say, Instagram influencers were more than ready to celebrate Halloween over the weekend with spooky, click-worthy posts. Forever 21 received more than 99,000 “Likes” on a post that asked its followers to share their plans for Halloween. Hollister posted a short video of a ghost cartoon that attracted more than 61,000 “Likes” of its own. Even the Harpoon Brewery got into the holiday spirit with a photo of pumpkin beer next to a bowl of Halloween candy.

Instagram Influencers Salute the Royals
The Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets to win this year’s World Series on Sunday night, and Instagram influencers used the opportunity to show their love of baseball. ClassicCarsUsa, the classic car retailer, is one example of an influencer that celebrated the Royals’ victory. One photo posted in the middle of the game raked in more than 1,000 “Likes,” exhibiting the power of timeliness on Instagram. The Gold Gods, a jewelry retailer, made a post in honor of the Royals’ win with the hashtag, “#KansasCityRoyals,” reeling in 1,200 “Likes.” Timing is everything when it comes to taking advantage of live events, and it can be the difference between a post with 10 “Likes” and 1,000 “Likes.”

The #RedCupContest Has Begun
If it seems a little early to be thinking about Christmas, Starbucks is here to remind you that it’s not. The coffee company has launched an influencer marketing campaign that may have you saying “Ho Ho Ho!” before Thanksgiving. Instagram was flooded over the weekend with photos including the hashtag, “#RedCupContest.” Starbucks is now giving away cash prizes to followers who use the hashtag to show themselves drinking a Starbucks beverage in a seasonal red cup. With more than 17,000 posts including the hashtag as of Nov. 2, it’s easy to say that the contest is already taking off.

As Starbucks shows, it’s never too early to start marketing for the holiday season. If you missed the chance to post during the World Series or Halloween, you’ll have more opportunities as Thanksgiving lurks around the corner.