Influencers provide eyeballs and content, but do they produce revenue?

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Creating memorable content is so important when trying to convey to a user how your product might perform. When it comes to food, performance is best conveyed through taste and usage cases, such as recipes. Influencers are an excellent resource to rely on for compelling content, especially since they are the ultimate customer and can convey a more authentic narrative to other users and potential buyers of your product.

When it comes to influencers, we think some are great for influence (providing eyeballs) and some are great for content (food stylists and/or photographers) and the best ones provide both. The truly special partners are those who are judicious in their brand selection and therefore are deemed more reliable than others who seemingly date a different brand every day. These ingredients (pun intended) are what makes Ashley Cuoco (@ashcuoco) one of the best in the game. You cant overuse her because she is selective and ultra-authentic, but when you have a good pairing, as we do with our client Mutti, you have a truly special partnership.

Not only has she produced wonderful content and exposed their brand to other impassioned foodies on Instagram, but it has also opened up a number of great opportunities to have a conversation within the comments.  While community management is the least sexy component of social media, it is probably the most important. Remember, that this is an uncontrolled communications medium and you want to engage in a dialogue with consumers. This is what makes it “social” in the first place and differentiates the efforts from traditional, controlled media, such as PR and branding. Having a true fan of your brand as your influencer partner activates solid word of mouth activity and can directly lead to new business.

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Some brands sleep on the comments and are even completely unresponsive at times. They are happy (sometimes) with the awareness and/or the photo they received, but ironically it is the comments that will most likely lead to actual sales. All brands want to see increases in revenue and that’s why our team pays close attention to the comments section – it’s where the business happens.

We see this especially when a brand works with an influencer that people actually respect and are influenced by. When they post about your product it will often directly lead to questions such as “where can I find this?” or “what are the ingredients?” These are literal buying questions and give you the opportunity for a sale right then and there. Rather than telling and selling, you are responding and facilitating. This is a much better position to be in for a brand.

Below you can see an example of this in action. In May, Ashley posted about a Tomato Confit recipe using Mutti’s Canned Tomatoes. The asset was beautiful and it opened up a dialogue with various users.

Another micro-influencer, @gatherweekly, commented on Ashley’s post and the influencer and brand both responded quickly and provided ways to secure the product through various distribution channels. This is excellent ammunition for the client’s salespeople, especially in retail, to showcase demand.

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The lesson here is that you should be working with authentic influencers that can provide you with both content and influence. If you do, it is then mission-critical to be in the weeds on the comments on both their profile and your own. Marketers are obsessed with scale and volume metrics (like impressions and reach) as well as ROAS analytics (Spent X and made Y) but these types of small ball activities are perhaps the most valuable and underrated. We spend quite a bit of time here for our clients and although it is a lot of work, it is certainly worth it.

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Boost Brand Awareness with Facebook’s CBO!

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Over time, we’ve seen organic reach become non-existent on social. These days it really is a paid social ecosystem and if you know what you are doing and you are committed to testing and experimenting it can bear a lot of fruit. Not only do you want your product in front of new eyes, but you want your product in front of the right eyes.

Creating your own, solid branded content is important and while it doesn’t need to be your entire diet (we actually believe it should be about 50-60% of your content mix) it should be a significant portion of it. Once made, if you want that content to be seen you need to pay to make that happen. Then, when you boost content, you need to target the right audience for better results.

That’s why we’ve been utilizing Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) within the Facebook Ad Platform. CBO takes your top audiences and puts dollars behind posts that perform the best organically. CBO creates higher reach, engagement, and even follows.

In order to utilize CBO to its fullest, boosted posts should be high quality and have engaging captions so your target audience is as responsive as possible. This is one of the many reasons we believe in investing in quality content as well as experimentation. You want to make sure the asset is powerful so that if it does get seen, it is memorable and then you also need to try out different tactics to see what resonates. It is very important to not just sit back and play it safe.

One of our clients, Driftwood Jeans, is a unique denim line with chic embroideries that has been seeing incredible results from CBO. For the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with this tactic on many of their posts. First, we created four audiences to be assigned to Driftwood’s top-performing organic posts. Facebook then pushes funds to whichever audience AND post perform best. Then, at the beginning of each month, we swap out those audiences and continue experimenting with new ones.

We created a specific audience, one of many that we have created for this client, (that we cannot share here) that has really stood out. Then, CBO paired it with one of our PFC (Product Front and Center) video posts.

This was an engaging video and had an interactive caption. Because the post was also targeted to the perfect audience, we saw 568 likes, 32 comments, and most importantly, 24,956 video views. For a nominal investment, this asset packed quite a punch!

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Organic reach is nearly zero and less relevant than ever before. It is so important to have someone on your side that is well versed in paid social and not just acquisition experts looking for the best possible ROAS. If you are in the social media game, then you need to be creating content at scale, experimenting with different types, styles, cadence, and captions and then putting funds behind guaranteed delivery of that content to a variety of audiences.  If you stay the course and use tools such as CBO, then sometimes things catch fire.

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Sircle Squad Intern: D-Jai

Name: D-Jai Kosiyabong

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand.

University and Major: Pratt Institute, Majoring in Photography with a double minor in Psychology and Art History.

Year: Senior

Favorite Move/Book?: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Beach or Forest?: Definitely forest!

Why Sircle Media?: I just love the way Sircle creates such innovative and compelling content. I also really like our work environment and how everyone is super communicative and how we are given solid feedback about our work. I was really surprised how much trust they put in the interns and how on my first day I was able to shoot with them. The amazing environment and amount of trust are really what makes Sircle such a good place to work!

What is one social media skill or topic you’ve been working on during your internship?: I’ve been working on honing my skills when it comes to retouching and how to edit packaging in a certain way. Jenna and Ticha have really given me such good feedback and have taught me tips and tricks in order to save time and make the end result great.

What is one skill or topic you hope to learn more about?: I am hoping to learn more about how to talk and communicate with clients!

Favorite client to work on?: There are so many! But right now, it would have to be Terra Origin!

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Sircle Squad Intern: Cameron

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Name: Cameron Scotland

Hometown: Brooklyn

University and Major: CUNY New York City College of Technology / Communication Design

Year: Third Year Student

Most Likely To?: Most likely to laugh at a bad joke

Why Sircle Media?: I wanted hands-on work experience and an opportunity to build my portfolio, and Sircle Media looked perfect for that. So far I have done quite a bit of work and seeing it go live on a client’s social network has felt very rewarding!

What is one social media skill or topic you’ve been working on during your internship?: Creating templates for my work when I have the opportunity to is something I’ve been doing; It’s helped guide me, and also allow me to work more efficiently all while keeping client’s content cohesive

What is one skill or topic you hope to learn more about?: One skill/topic I want to learn more about is rebranding

Favorite client to work on?: TravelStore has been my favorite client to work on, I’ve been doing a lot of graphics for them!

 

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A Day of Giving Back at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

At Sircle, we feel that it is very important to take a moment and provide help to those less fortunate. To that end, the Sircle Squad recently spent an afternoon at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen for an extremely rewarding volunteer event.

This is New York’s largest food program (and the 2nd largest in the nation) with the mission to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted, seek justice for the homeless, and provide a sense of hope and opportunity to those in need. Holy Apostles serves a free lunch 5 days per week, Monday-Friday from 10:30AM-12:30PM and we joined in to lend a hand at one of those lunches last Friday.

Before getting started, the staff gave us an informational orientation to learn a bit more about who we would be serving as well as the very impressive history of this amazing program. Afterward, the team hopped into a “soup soul train” to show off our best moves and get our bodies moving and ready for the day. We won’t share the videos here, but we can confirm it was a lot of fun.

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We were reminded during orientation that those coming through the doors for lunch are our guests, and we are their accommodating hosts. The people in attendance are just like the rest of us and are only there because some circumstances in their life put them in a tough spot. They spend most of their days stressed, on the move and feeling uncertain and our objective was to deliver a warm meal and experience to make their day a little more enjoyable.

Each squad member was then assigned to a position in either the kitchen or dining area to help cook and serve the meal for that day. We suited up in our aprons, gloves, and hairnets and got to work. Throughout the day we exchanged smiles, laughs, and even made a few new friends in the process.sircle media action shot 3

 

In New York City there are 61,000+ homeless people, many of whom don’t have access to adequate nutrition. We spend a lot of our time working with better for you CPG and beverage brands and it is easy to lose site of the fact that many people dont have any idea when their next meal will be, let alone how to get one that is good for you. Throughout the day we were reminded that homelessness and food insecurity can happen to anyone, anywhere, even us.

Dedicating our afternoon to give back at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen was extremely eye-opening and rewarding. As an agency based in Manhattan, we strongly believe in giving back to our local community. Service reminds us of our company values of compassion and humility and we were all humbled by the experience. Lending a hand also shows us that although we live in a crazy world, one can always take action to make a difference in the lives of others. Even if it is just serving one meal, it means more to some than others.

As Sircle Media, we will always see the value in pausing, rolling up our sleeves, gaining perspective, and being grateful for all of the amazing things and people who surround us. We encourage anyone who can, to do the same.

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Truth Nutrition X @Stellathelight = Influencer Collaboration Success!

When a great brand and influencer pair together, what you see are quick results. Recently one of our clients, Truth Nutrition, an all natural, vegan pre-workout supplement, and influencer @stellathelight, came together for an epic giveaway collaboration.

 Stella, who is a plant-based health coach and fitness enthusiast, was not only a perfect fit for our client, but was also a positive, and professional partner. For the giveaway, Stella was asked to create a post promoting Truth Nutrition’s Vegan BCCA and she truly exceeded our expectations!

Instead of a simple in-feed post for the giveaway, Stella stepped it up and created a well-directed video showing how she incorporates Truth Nutrition into her diet and in the caption, explained all of the benefits of the product. Her motivation to do a stellar job for the giveaway showed that she is a hard-working partner, and someone we’d like to collaborate with in the future.


Not only did Stella provide excellent feedback and create good quality work, but it also produced great results! Our client saw an uptick of 200 followers, which is significant for an unknown brand and from a single post. This giveaway also earned a reach of 16,861 users and 397 profile visits which represents some solid visibility. The fact that she presented it in a fun and simple usage case, made that even more impactful. This served as an excellent advertisement for how and when to use the product. = Win!

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Because Instagram is now saturated with influencers, it has become more and more difficult to find partners who will settle on a reasonable and accurate market price and also provide very solid work. Sircle is always on the hunt for value plays in this arena and this partnership with @stellathelight provided just that. We will most certainly be working with her again!

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Sircle Squad Intern: Morgan

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Full name: Morgan Forrest

Hometown: Marlton, NJ

University and Major: University of Delaware – Marketing major with a double minor in Advertising and Professional Selling

Year: Junior

Why Sircle Media?: Interning at Sircle Media has given me the unique opportunity to utilize my passion for social media in a real world environment. Capturing the voice of the brand and allowing them to tell their story and showcase their personality through social media is unlike anything I have done before. In my few months here so far, I have gained more valuable knowledge and experience in the field of social media marketing than I thought possible and I am so grateful to have this learning experience.

What do you look forward to during your internship?: Getting to work alongside my Social Media Manager, Lexi. She has so much knowledge and experience to share with me and I love having the opportunity to learn new things in the world of social media every single day!

What is one topic/skill that you’ve improved on so far during your internship?: During my internship I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about influencer marketing and the thought process that goes into selecting appropriate influencers for each individual brand. This is my first experience working with influencers and I’ve gained valuable hands on knowledge and experience that can be applied to my daily intern activities.

Most Likely To?: be online shopping

Favorite Move/Book?: Sweet Home Alabama

Appetizer or Dessert?: Dessert

Beach or Forest?: Beach

Favorite Client to Work On?: Real Food From The Ground Up

 

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Stop, Collaborate & Listen!

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Over the years we have managed countless examples of successful collaborations between like-minded brands. They are proven winners with regards to improved awareness, increased followers/reach/email captures and they just really add to and augment overall metrics for a brand’s social strategy.

One of the most common ways for brands to collaborate is through a giveaway. The most common formula we like to deploy is to have two or more brands give a prize to a random winner who follows all brands included, leaves a comment on the giveaway post, and tags a friend in the comments. This alone immediately increases followers, engagement, and reach.

Sometimes we will loop in an additional brand that might be outside of the vertical but still appeal to a similar consumer. Just this week, one of our clients, Simply Tera’s, a line of organic and deliciously flavored whey and plant-based protein powder, teamed up with well-known healthy CPG brand Carrington Farms, as well as the outdoor equipment brand Yeti, for an epic giveaway.

The giveaway offered a prize of Simply’s Tera’s Chocolate Organic Whey Protein, Carrington Farms’ Coconut Oil Go Packs, and a Yeti insulated mug to create the perfect cup of joe for #NationalCoffeeDay, a popular social media-based “holiday.”  These types of days add extra juice to collaborations because the hashtag is trending and there is already a conversation around it. Add in a nice piece of creative and a solid prize and you have a winning formula.

Tera’s was acquired by Carrington Farms, back in March of 2018 and became a Sircle client soon after. As a way to grow each brand’s following and pair the two together in the minds of consumers, they began partnering in a series of collabs in June of this year.

Not only was it important to cross-pollinate a bit, but it was just as important to appeal to new audiences too. To help with this, we decided to loop in a 3rd brand in each giveaway to guarantee even more reach and engagement among new eyeballs.

The first giveaway launched in June with a Keto theme, which included a prize of Tera’s Simply Whey Vanilla Protein, Carrington Farms MCT Liquid Coconut Oil, and a sampler pack of the delicious Keto Bars.

The giveaway received an uptick in 100+ followers with extremely high engagement on all brands’ posts.

Their next collaboration launched in July and featured the popular blender brand, Ninja. The collaboration included a smoothie bowl recipe using Tera’s and Carrington’s products, and a blender included as an extra incentive! This giveaway was posted on July 10th and ran until the end of the month, creating a longer-runway for entries. When giveaways run for a longer period of time, there’s even more opportunity to advertise the giveaway through Stories, paid social, email and WOM, which affords users more time and entry points, to follow all brands, engage and enter! Running this longer giveaway created an influx of 200 new followers throughout the month.

Our team has mastered the art of a successful giveaway and to do so you need to double down on the tried and true, while also always be willing to experiment with the new. When collaborating, it’s important to think outside the box and create giveaways you believe your audience will love. Try to pair with like-minded brands, create assets that are compelling (VERY IMPORTANT) and make sure you’re promoting your giveaways via as many tactics as you can to improve your results.

If any brand wants to collaborate, we are all ears!

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Creating a Community With Facebook Groups

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At Sircle Media, we believe in three key categories for a successful social media strategy; content, engagement, and growth. Engagement is often the least focused on, but we believe it is the most important of the three pillars.  The whole point of social media is to be just that, social. You need to post content with the hopes of striking up a conversation and then be ready to continue the dialogue when a person takes action. When you actively respond to comments, customer concerns, etc., you show your customers you care about creating a relationship based on trust and respect.

A great way to foster a community is with Facebook Groups. In 2018, the new Facebook algorithm made groups more noticeable on the feed. Nowadays, Facebook Groups operate more like fan pages did a few years ago and they offer the only real organic opportunities on the social network. If you create a group that is properly centered around your brand and what it stands for, you give users the opportunity to move from loyalty to advocacy. You do this by sharing experiences, giving customer support, testing products and services, generating feedback from group users, and much, much more. These groups give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and display dedication to your customers.

Here are some best practices that we found worked best for our client, Rethink Water, when we created their Facebook Group, called Project MOM-entum. This is where brand ambassadors share photos of their children drinking Rethink and then take part in a small, but active community of like-minded parents.

Facebook Group Best Practices

Give your group a catchy and effective name

Choosing the right name is one of the most important steps when creating your Facebook Group. Make sure your group name reflects the people who will be engaging with it every day.

Define the What and the Who of your group.

What is it?: A community? A hangout? A support group?

Who is it for?: Fitness experts? Personal trainers? Dietitians?

Make sure to include keywords geared towards your niche audience, because Facebook acts almost like a search engine with this. For Rethink, we decided to name their group Project MOM-entum that would be a place for moms to come and share content and stories about their favorite topic, their kids!

Understand your target audience 

What are they passionate about? What do they have in common? What are their goals, dreams, and aspirations? What would make them feel like they’re part of a community? Knowing all of this early on will help guide you when posting and engaging with your group members. Make them feel like the group is about THEM.

Engage as frequently as possible 

It’s not enough to just know who your audience is, but you also need to give them attention and show that you care. Answer customer questions, generate feedback and improve the customer experience every day.

Post your best content 

Yes, a Facebook Group is a community, but it can also be a visual platform. Not only should you post your own “best-of” content to start a discussion, but you can also collect user-generated content from your group members and share, share, share.

Push the community agenda 

Make sure that your customers, influencers, brand ambassadors and even new prospects know about the group. Don’t be shy about spreading the word and then make sure to add value to your members so they feel compelled to do the same. You want people to want to be insiders and then partake as much as possible.

The goal is here is more about depth than width. Meaning you want to harvest real loyalists, more than just focusing on boosting vanity metrics. It isn’t about maximum members, but more about highly engaged members.

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#TastesSoFresh: A Mutti Pomodoro Influencer Success Story!

At Sircle we believe influencer marketing is a must-have component of your social media strategy. One of the best ways to generate exposure for your brand is working with influencers on a calculated social marketing plan. Last October, one of our long-time clients Mutti Pomodoro, launched their #TastesSoFresh campaign. Mutti worked with 16 foodie influencers who authentically paired very well with the brand to promote the freshness of their finely chopped tomatoes.

Mutti Pomodoro is a Parma-based company that produces 100% Italian grown and produced, non-GMO tomatoes in a variety of forms. Mutti is the self-proclaimed guardian of authentic Italian tomatoes and honors a rich history while investing in innovation and leading sustainability practices. When finding influencers for a brand like Mutti Pomodoro, it’s important to search for those who are interested in creating delicious recipes and can genuinely speak about why their products taste so amazing.

The foodie influencers we carefully selected for the campaign shared videos of themselves eating their freshly chopped tomatoes straight from the can. Not only did this create great exposure for the product, but also gave them excellent user-generated content for their Instagram Stories and feed. This plan, therefore, nailed each of Sircle’s core pillars; growth (followers, impressions, reach and emails), engagement (captions, comments and lots of buzz from influencer followers) and content (really nice, influencer produced UGC).

Because Mutti is a very traditional brand, it can seem a bit more difficult to make their campaigns seem trendy in a social media space. That’s why searching for the most compatible influencers such as @madelinemhall, and @meatballssmama was essential for this niche brand. What is unique about working with true foodie influencers, is that many of them never show their faces in their posts. Once we found influencers that truly resonated with what our client is all about and got them to actually try the product, nearly all of them showed their faces in their posts. This is significant, as it assigns a deeper stamp of approval from these tastemakers AND it ties in nicely with Mutti’s marketing philosophy, which is that it is about the “chefs” as well as the food. If you love to cook and use great products, this really is the brand for you. This came across well thru this campaign.

Throughout the #TastesSoFresh campaign, we posted an influencer regram every two days to keep the buzz and momentum going and to show that Mutti tomatoes are perfect just the way they are; just tomatoes and salt. Once all of the influencers posted their videos, Mutti created a compilation video to send to email subscribers, creating even more exposure and interest in the product and helping create excitement among their growing community.

This campaign was a huge success and didn’t require a big financial commitment. It was more about hustle, finding good, smart partners and believing in our client’s awesome product(s). We will be running something similar back in the coming months, so be sure to go and check out Mutti and keep an eye out.

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