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The Ins And Outs Of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing can improve your brand reputation, increase the visibility of your content, support new product releases or drive traffic to your website.

Monique Verduyn




The voice of the customer is louder than ever, thanks to that giant global PA system called social media.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Using Influencer Marketing

If you need a quick reminder of the power of social media, cast your mind back to Women’s Day when pen manufacturer Bic posted this celebratory message on its Facebook page: “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss #HappyWomensDay.”

The ad was swiftly condemned by South African tweeters and attracted global news coverage for its unfortunate messaging.

The incident highlights how the balance of power between brands and customers has been upended because consumers are paying more attention to peer reviews than marketing messages.

BIC-south-africa-think-like-a-girl-campaignA McKinsey study has shown that marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and there is a 37% higher customer retention rate.

Simply, when a customer has a positive experience with your brand, that word-of-mouth can influence purchasing decisions for other consumers.

Imagine what happens then, if that person is an influencer – a person who has above-average impact on a specific niche, such as consumer groups, industry associations or community tribes?

Defining influencer marketing

Mike StopforthInfluencer marketing is not a new thing; in the past, companies paid celebrities to endorse their products. “With the explosion of social media over the last decade, ordinary people have suddenly become ‘pseulebrities’,” says Mike Stopforth, CEO of communications agency Cerebra.

“It’s thanks to their ability to create and share content, and build audiences around that content on blogs, YouTube, SnapChat and Twitter. Companies of all sizes are seeing this relatively new channel as a cost-effective, highly measurable way to market themselves.”

Stopforth warns that social media audiences are smart, informed, and incredibly sceptical. They quickly switch off to messages that are clearly insincere or inauthentic.

Effective influencer marketing happens, Stopforth says, when a company:

  • Identifies existing and potential customers with a genuine interest in the product and a degree of authority as a social influencer on topics relating to that product.
  • Builds meaningful relationships with those customers, understanding their specific needs and requirements which extends beyond giving them free stuff.
  • Links those relationship-building efforts to measurable business objectives so that efficacy can be tracked and reported on.

Monetising social influence

Murray LeggMaking money from having built an audience is an influencer’s right. The trick, for both the influencer and the brand, is to ensure that the authenticity and credibility of both parties remain intact.

Murray Legg, co-founder of Webfluential, which connects influencers with brands and agencies to promote campaigns, takes the guesswork out of influencer marketing by linking popular influencers on a single platform, and then tracks and analyses traffic data from active social media accounts to connect them with marketing agencies.

It’s not an entirely new concept, but provides a portal for both influencers and marketers to connect.

How it works

Legg says people who have built a solid online community and are trusted by their followers deserve fair reward for giving brands leverage.

“It’s an opportunity for people to turn their passion for social media into a revenue stream, depending on how much time they have to devote to being an influencer. We give influencers the ability to accept or reject projects and brands according to their suitability. Detailed reports are provided for marketers so they can accurately measure ROI.”

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 11 Marketing Wizards Share Their Best Tricks

The key element is symbiosis between the company and the influencer. As Legg puts it, “One of our influencers reviewed the speed of an SD card in a high-end camera for a small niche audience of gadget freaks. As an expert user, the influencer maintains credibility, while the client gets to interact with exactly the right target market.”

Jacqui Mackway-WilsonJacqui Mackway-Wilson, MD of GoSocialSA, stresses that influence is not about how many followers you have.

“An avid fly fisher who has a few hundred followers who share that interest, is far more valuable to a specialist fly fishing retailer than a celebrity with thousands of fans. It’s a question of alignment, authenticity and credibility. As US social media marketing strategist Ted Rubin says, reputation is what people remember; it’s the trust you build that leads to loyalty. That is the ROI of social media.”

So where to for traditional marketing?

Companies that see influencers as a genuine opportunity for sincere dialogue and value exchange, are shifting traditional approaches to marketing.

“For them it’s changing marketing principles from broadcast to conversation, from prescription to inclusion, and from targeting to participation,” says Stopforth.

“It forces the entire business, from your most junior customer-facing staff to your most senior executive, to think about the impact of the customer’s voice on the organisation. Brands such as Amazon, Starbucks and Zappos show us every day just how effective this mentality can be.”

Does that signal the death knell for traditional marketing? Not at all. The key is to make sure that all budget spent has some measurable objective attached to it, and that all those different channels – print, TV, radio, digital, social – are working towards the same goal, with the same aligned brand message, and the same tone.

What about SMEs?

Legg sees the successes influencer marketing has achieved for big brands as a proving ground for SMEs.

“Smaller businesses are able to choose how much they are willing to invest in influencer marketing and tailor their campaigns in line with their budget.”

By building relationships and interacting with people who are influential in the online space, SMEs can get exposure to the markets they want to reach, says Mackway-Wilson. “It’s a lot like making friends with people, because in the online world reciprocity is key.”

She adds that although influencer marketing provides SMEs with an opportunity to reach large audiences with smaller budgets, the myth that social media is free must be dispelled. A campaign does not need to break the bank, but there are costs involved.

“Any social media campaign must be integrated into an overarching PR strategy,” she adds.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: How Mike Silver Became The Next Best Brand And Marketing Guy

“Whether you want to build brand awareness or increase foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar store will determine how much you have to spend. If you are targeting the upper LSMs, a digital campaign is great. If your target market is township-based, traditional media will be far more effective.”

Be in it for the long-haul

Reputation building is a marathon, not a sprint. Just as in the offline world, people have many facets to them. The only way to find out if you or your brand will resonate with an influencer is to strike up a conversation.

If you’re a florist, engage with influencers in the wedding space. Liron Segey, TheTechieGuy, has a mere
5 600 followers on Twitter, but if you run an IT business, he’s a specialist you’ll want on your side.

Mackway-Wilson cautions against using the same people over and over.

“There’s a limited number of influencers because we are a small market, but it’s advisable for businesses to engage with people that really fit into their niche.”

And one more word of advice: She’s come across quite a few celebrity accounts where a large number of followers have been purchased and are fake.

“We wondered why we were not getting the reach and impressions we expected after engaging with some sports celebrities, so we ran a Twitter audit, which can be done free, and found that half the followers were fake. If you are going to pay influencers for a campaign, make sure that you are getting what you pay for.”

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

Online Marketing

I Built A Social Media Following Of 1 Million In 30 Days. Here’s How You Can, Too

By applying these social strategies you can build a huge following with high levels of engagement.

Brendan Kane




Many people want to share messages with the masses to gain exposure for their brand, product or service on social media. But, with over 60 billion messages shared each day on mobile platforms alone, most content gets lost in the noise. For the last 10 years I’ve worked on improving online strategies for people like Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Disney. I’ve learned how to optimise analytics, data and paid media to help companies achieve massive growth.

When I set out to gain my own One Million Followers, I was aware that the people I work with had the advantage of fame and influence. But, I wanted to see if I could use what I’d learned to build an audience for someone unknown – someone building a following from scratch. That way I could gain validation and credibility for anyone that wanted to achieve their dreams. So, in June of 2017 I put into practice all my tools and by July of 2017 I had a million Facebook followers.

The experience changed my life and now hopefully it can impact yours. If, as an unknown digital strategist, I can create this type of social following so can you. By applying the social strategies below you can build a huge following with high levels of engagement. For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on strategies for Facebook, but many of the tactics can be applied to the other social channels as well.

Related: 4 Key Social Media Mistakes You Might Be Making – And How To Avoid Them

1. Hypothesise and test

Aim to create shareable content with your audience. Do research about what gets people to share and come up with a hypothesis about the type of content to create. Identify a format or theme that will engage your audience around a specific message. Then create a low-cost proof and test it.

When I built my following, I used a lot of picture quotes. They are fast and easy to create and are highly shareable. However, if you have the means to create short videos, between 30 seconds and four minutes, they usually perform the best.

2. Learn from your tests and pivot when necessary

My ability to learn from the tests I conducted was essential in reaching a million followers. Take the time to understand why certain content works and why other content doesn’t. Be very specific with your tests – I tested thousands of variations of content and segmented out as the variables to truly learn what was optimising performance. I also didn’t waste time; as soon as I saw that something wasn’t getting the engagement I desired I pivoted. For example, I posted viral videos of dogs and kittens performing cute and funny actions as well as prank videos. Although they all performed really well, I decided to pivot because they didn’t align with my brand’s theme of thought leadership.

Analyse the results from your tests and allow them to drive both your short and long-term content strategy. Test until you find a format or theme that truly works.

Related: Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips

3. Find a hooking headline

Imagine walking by a newsstand in the supermarket. What is it that makes you stop and stare at an article in a magazine? Usually it’s a headline that communicates the story’s hook-point in a succinct and exciting way. It’s a short sentence or phrase that stands out, grabs attention and leaves your audience wanting more. A good headline helps communicate what makes your brand, message or content different and valuable to your customers.

When creating the headline be specific and find relevancy to your audience’s lives. Linking content to celebrities or current events is a great way to grab people’s attention.

4. Target the right audience

You can have great content, but without reaching the right audience you won’t develop a following or find the people who will champion your message for you. As Nike‘s CEO Mark Parker explains, “It’s our obsession with serving the consumer that sharpens our focus and drives our growth.”

One of the benefits of using the Facebook ad platform is the level of niche targeting it provides to find your ideal consumer. When creating ads, segment out your targeting by: Gender, age, location, interests, lifestyle (married, single, occupation, yearly income and products or brands they like) and target some of your competitors’ fans.

Related: Why You Should Sort Your Social Media Policy (Like NOW!)

5. Invest the time and money necessary to reach your goals

Reaching a million followers has gotten me opportunities to speak at conferences, but getting to a million isn’t necessary for everyone. Gaining a following requires an investment of time and money. Where you put your energy depends on how quickly you want to grow.

To determine how much you need to invest, analyse the benefits you want to receive from building a large following – the return on investment (ROI). Imagine your end goal and work backward. Sometimes the ROI isn’t a dollar amount – instead, it’s more validation or credibility that gets you into a meeting with a casting director, modelling agency a music producer or an investor. Ask yourself how many followers you truly need and invest what’s necessary to reach those goals.

We live in a digital world and social following numbers matter. Hope to see your content on Facebook soon.

This article was originally posted here on

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Online Marketing

5 Steps To Grow Your YouTube Channel In 2019

As you make your strategic plans for 2019, look no further than YouTube.




With over 1.9 billion active users per month – nearly the size of Facebook – YouTube is one of the most visited websites online and second only to parent company Google among the most searched websites today.

On the surface, one might look at YouTube as a place to watch music videos, stream video games online and tune in to one’s favourite vlogger.

However, YouTube is an untapped goldmine for small businesses and creators to make money – and it’s easy.

Whether you’re a real estate agent, photographer, website developer or a local coffee shop, maintaining an active presence on YouTube can help you gain precious website visits and drive leads as a result of the videos that you post. As an added benefit, your YouTube videos are discoverable via Google search also.

Because Google owns YouTube, you have a higher likelihood of being discovered through a video that you upload to YouTube related to your topic or subject matter expertise than a traditional Google search which crawls the entire internet.

For example, a quick search on YouTube for “Social Media Keynote” will pull up many videos from Gary Vaynerchuk and myself which dominate the first page of search results.

As a public speaker, YouTube has been critical in growing my business over the last year, which is why I have invested in having my keynote presentations recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Besides having excellent SEO ranking, YouTube also offers me a resource to host my video content as a digital portfolio so whenever a potential conference organiser reaches out to inquire about the services that I provide I can point them directly to my YouTube channel.

As you make your strategic plans for 2019, look no further than YouTube where 35-plus and 55-plus age groups are the fastest growing demographic.

From sports to music to business news, YouTube is the new cable television. Below are five tips for beginners on how to grow on YouTube when you’re just starting.

Related: 10 YouTube Channels Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

1. Have a purpose

As shown in the video above, I began my channel in 2014 and have created over 500 videos to date despite only recently hitting the coveted 10,000 subscriber milestone. YouTube growth is slower than other social networks. Therefore, you should have a clear objective or purpose for why you want to create video content.

In 2014, while working a full-time job, I started my channel to vlog my life, which to be candid isn’t all that exciting, and gave up after not seeing a significant number of views. It wasn’t until I began to record social media how-to, tutorial style videos like the ones you see today that my purpose became clear. So, what’s your purpose for being on YouTube?

2. Optimise video titles and descriptions

Think of YouTube as a video library meets the Google search engine. To get video views and subsequent subscriptions on your channel, you should research what else exists in the same genre or category. My process for creating videos on YouTube involves writing out the titles of topics that I am passionate about teaching and then researching both Google and YouTube to see what currently exists and what the top-ranking titles are.

Also, your description will contain critical keywords and phrases to help your video become discovered in search and also in Google’s algorithm. For example, if you’re creating a video on website optimisation titled “5 Ways to Rank High on Google!” you will also want to add in your description “Discover how to rank high in Google search,” “How do you rank high in Google search results?” and “Watch to learn how to rank high in Google search results with these easy tips.” The more times that you use a combination of phrases with keywords in your description the higher chance you have of your video being found.

3. Use TubeBuddy and VidIQ for tags

Similar to descriptions, you will want to ensure that your videos have keywords as tags to improve discoverability. Two tools which I use and recommend are TubeBuddy and VidIQ. Both tools offer a free and premium version and can be downloaded as a Google Chrome plug-in. With TubeBuddy and VidIQ you can get recommendations on what tags to insert into your videos as well as see how your videos rank in search results for set tags.

Going back to the “Social Media Keynote” search example, the reason why my videos rank high in search is that I have optimised the tags using TubeBuddy and also have the tags as phrases in the descriptions of my videos. The same methodology can be applied for any video or genre.

4. Teach your audience with how-to tutorials

I work with a lot of real estate agents and often advise them to start a YouTube channel dedicated to all of the things people can do in their city or town versus the traditional approach of sharing listings and home tours.

The same is true for most industries and professions. What are you able to teach that people are running a Google or YouTube search for (e.g., “How to do … “)? There are two reasons why people go on YouTube: to be entertained or educated.

Related: 3 Ways To Make Money On YouTube Without Adsense

5. Outsource what you cannot do alone

The most common objections that I hear from business professionals who want to dive into YouTube to create but don’t are access to equipment, lack of expertise for editing and time. In the beginning, a lot of my YouTube content was recorded with a handheld camera that I would carry around with me and prop up using a table tripod for how-to videos. I learned how to use iMovie and edited 200-plus videos – albeit not the best quality edits, but I taught myself a new skillset. Eventually, I began to outsource recording and editing to save myself time so that I wouldn’t be “in the weeds.”

Today, you can hire a videographer on TaskRabbit or Thumbtack for anywhere from $150 to $300 for the day. If you run a small business and need content, consider hiring someone who can shoot and edit and bring that person in every week. During your shooting sessions, have her record enough material for at least three or four YouTube videos which can then be turned into short-form, 60-second videos for Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Following this formula, you would have over 200 YouTube videos in a year if you’re starting from zero and looking at or less than $10,000 of an investment to ensure that whenever someone runs a search for your industry, service or subject matter you are the person who appears and not your competition.

This article was originally posted here on

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Online Marketing

How To Know Whether Your Social Media Strategy Is Working?

Most business owners and marketers by now know that social media provides a huge opportunity for growing a business.

Jandre de Beer




In a previous article I broke down how our online marketing agency Version Eight went from 0 to R1m in sales in 6 months with the help of digital marketing.

It’s a fact that the strategies provided in the above article might not necessarily work for everyone, however, another fact is that social media gives us the ability to build an audience, high quality traffic to our website, engagement with potential customers and lastly, but most importantly, it allows us to drive more sales.

The sad thing is that only 43% of marketers measure their digital marketing return on investment (ROI), and the main reason for this is because it can get quite tricky to measure the success of a strategy if you are not sure what to look for.

Similar to billboards and radio ads, social media is not a linear marketing channel. Yes, you can set up the necessary tracking scripts to show money in vs money out if your business revolves online, however, it’s a bit more complicated than that if your business has a physical footprint.

So, How Do You Measure the Success of Your Social Media Strategy?

1. Fan and Followers Growth

Because social media is not a linear line, we do have to include some “vanity” metrics into our reporting.

The main reason for this is because before someone becomes a customer, they first have to discover your brand and understand what you are all about.

Believe it or not, it’s never a bad idea to build your own audience on a channel like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or YouTube.

Yes, organic reach on these platforms are declining, but there is still a huge amount of value in building an audience.

For one, it helps you lower your cost per mile over time. On Facebook, small to medium sized pages can still get up to 10% reach.

This means if you have a 1000 followers on your business page, posting something will get approx. 100 people to see it free of charge, given if the quality of the post is good enough of course.

On Instagram some business pages are reporting a 30% reach!

So, the first thing that you should actively be tracking is your fan growth. Not necessarily your overall growth, but most importantly you’re your total amount of new fans per week.

Also make sure you are measuring the difference between organic and paid growth, as this will give you an indication on whether your paid strategy is actually working.

For those looking for some advanced tips and tricks to grow your Instagram business account, make sure to read our article on How to Grow Your Instagram Account for Free.

Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing

2. Engagement

After discovering your business, the next step would be to get these prospects to engage. By measuring your overall engagement rate you will get a clear indication on whether you are building a quality audience.

An average engagement rate on a platform like Instagram would be around 2-5%. This means that if you have 10k followers on Instagram, approx. 200-500 of them should be engaging with your content.

On Facebook the engagement rate will be a lot less, but it’s essential to measure your engagement rate so that you can get an idea on whether your audience is engaged with your brand or not.

If they are, then it becomes a lot easier to turn them into new and long-term customers.

3. Traffic to Your Website

Using Google Analytics (GA) you can track how whether people are actually taking the time to learn more about your business.

GA can help you dissect between organic, referral, email, social media traffic. Ideally you want to see an increase in social media traffic if you are spending money on social media.

Also, ensure to measure the bounce rate and time on site of your social media traffic as this is usually a strong indicator on whether you are reaching the right people on these networks.

Lastly, by using UTM links you can actually measure what social channels are driving the most traffic. The reason I would advise using a tracking link is because GA isn’t usually that accurate when it comes to differentiating between Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc.

By using a tracking link you will just be gathering more accurate data.

4. Repeat Visitors

Again similar to a billboard and radio ad, it’s about putting your brand in front of people all the time. This is why tracking repeat visitors, as well as where they are coming from is so important.

If someone has visited your site for a second, or third time in a period of a month, then it’s a good chance that he or she might convert into a customer once pay day arrives or once you launch that promo you’ve been thinking about.

Related: The Seven Rules Of Social Media

5. And Finally, Sales

If you’re an online business, then it’s a lot easier to measure your ROI from channels like Facebook and Instagram, as by having a Facebook Pixel installed on your website you will be able to track how many purchases have come from your social media ads.

This will give you a clear indication of money in vs money out.

However, if you are a physical store it might be a bit more tricky. Facebook launch offline conversions a few years ago and has been approving on the functionality of the feature.

By using Facebook offline event tracking you can request your customer to provide his or her email address and if you import that into Facebook it can identify whether or not that customer has seen one of your social media ads.

Now, that doesn’t always mean the person became a customer because of your advertising, but at least it’s a metric that can help you sleep better at night knowing your ad potentially had impact on an in-store sale.

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