Influencer marketing is the terminology used to describe the marketing channel opened up by bloggers and social media influencers. It’s disrupting the face of digital marketing and has opened so many doors to me.Since I started blogging 3 years ago I’ve been on influencer/blogging trips to Singapore when I won the Big Blog Exchange, to Mallorca to cycle Mallorca 312, to Paris with GoPro for the Tour De France, to Austria to climb mountains with Adidas and last weekend to Atlanta, Georgia for Sitsum conference. Before the end of the year I’m also heading to America and South America.
How has this all come about? By building and nurturing an online community through my blog and social media platforms which helps facilitate my adventures.
I spent 48 hours in Atlanta with 80 of my peers; bloggers and social media influencers. I learnt so much, had a lot of fun and returned to London bursting with ideas. By the time I boarded my flight to return to London, I couldn’t believe how little time I had spent in Atlanta and how much I’d experienced and learnt. My mind has been buzzing ever since!
I feel now, moreso than ever, that I’m on the right track with how I’ve built my business and the foundations I’ve set in place. Being armed with confidence and the right skills are the keys to success in any line of work and I feel so grateful for everyone who has given me the chance to learn from them.
First I up listened to Danica Kombal share her inspiring stories on how she uses social influencer networks to drive change in the world. CEO of Everywhere Agency, she brings together companies with grassroots projects that impact the lives of people who need support on a global scale.
Key message: use your influence to inspire action, change and sustainability and mobilise a community around these messages.
The second talk was by Martin Stoll from Sparkloft Media, an agency that works with brands to source influencers as marketers. He shared the key metrics brands look for when they work with us; numbers of followers, platforms, video/photo, enagement rates, special niche, what we’re like to work with.
Key message: It’s not all about number of followers – engagement and how easy an influencer is to work with/reliability are both more important than hard numbers. Also, they are most interested to work with influencers that are on the cusp of breaking through!
This was a great boost for me because even though my number of followers might not be huge, (currently 32K across twitter,instagram and facebook) my engagement rates are high - averaging 8% on instagram. I put a lot of effort into responding with my followers as I care about you, want to help with the questions you ask me and build this community. It’s encouraging to know brands see value in this.
The average click through rate - CTR (engagement rate) across all digital advertising is 0.06%.
This means less than one person engages per 1000 who see the ad. On my channels it's 80 per 1000!
The third talk was from Stefanie Michalels, aka Adventure Girl who has 1.3 million followers on Twitter. Her talk was designed to help us get ahead of the game. She said that the time between any social media network being picked up by early adopters and becoming mainstream is about 5 years.
Key message: join Flipagram! An app that enables users to create short videos from photo and video content and match it to royalty free music. Come find me there…
Our final talk was from Chris Curley who works with Sherry Heyl at Sensei Project. Sherry was the person who invited me and made my trip happen – thank you! Sensei Project is similar to Sparkloft Media in that they are a social media agency working with companies to develop their own strategies and find the right influencers to work with. Chris gave us the tools to know how to pitch and present ourselves, to value the work we do and to speak the language of marketers.
Key message: own your niche, show your creativity, authenticy and passion as this is what brands cannot get from traditional advertising.
After reading this you might think – what am I talking about, what is a social media influencer and why do brands need them?
Influencer marketing is becoming THE way that brands market their business. Traditional forms of digital marketing (display advertising, paid search, email marketing etc…) are on the decline because we are simply not responding to ads.
90% of customers trust peer recommendations, only 33% trust ads (Nielson)
When was the last time you clicked on one? On the other hand, when was the last time you read a recommendation in a blog about a place to visit or a piece of kit to buy and trusted the experience and opinion of the person writing the blog?
I get emails and comments every day from people asking for my advice about bikes, kit, courses, training, travel. It works and it’s a rapidly growing world which I learn more and more about every day.
I have a growing community of 32K+ followers and thousands more through my blog readership that I have built and curated myself over the last 3 years and there’s huge value in that. When I post something it illicits an emotional response and enables me to connect with people all over the world in a way that an ad can’t.
Importance of values
I am extremely selective over the brands I align myself with because my integrity and authenticity are more important to me than any amount of money. So don’t worry, I’m not about to start plastering my blog or social media channels with anything you don’t want to see. My priority is for my values to shine through in everything I do. You are what’s important.
When we weren’t getting our social media minds blown through the talks in Atlanta, there were a huge range of fun activities for us organised and hosted by the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. Everything from food tours, bike tour, civil rights tour and the one I had the most fun on; the micro-brewery tour hosted by Southern Beer Tours!
Thank you so much to everyone who made my trip to Atlanta possible, educational and a lot of fun. I can’t wait to come back!