#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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Uplift Food + Influencer Blocking and Tackling Work = Success!

Influencers help move product, plain and simple.  Statistics show that 49% of consumers rely on influencers for product recommendations, while 40% of consumers say they purchase products or services after seeing them on Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube.

Because influencer marketing has become one of the main ways for brands to reach new audiences, 59% of marketers plan to increase their use of influencers. Here at Sircle Media, we believe deeply in the benefits of not just influencer marketing, but meaningful influencer partnerships that take things a bit deeper than one time collaborations.

Creating authentic, long-term partnerships with influencers fosters trust between a brand and consumers. When an influencer truly believes in your brand, their followers will believe in it too, especially when the influencer is authentic and true to themselves. This makes selecting the right ones, very important. It might seem like a daunting task, especially when a company is young and might be new to the social media game; though there are certain tactics a brand can use to implement long-term partnerships early on.

One of our clients, Uplift Food, has recently begun to deploy paid partnerships with true believers in their product. They focus on gut nourishing, prebiotic fiber with vitamin D and magnesium to help boost your mood. Uplift was founded by well known Registered Dietitian named Kara Landau, also known as @thetravelingdietitian. She was adamant about only working with fans and consumers and not just empty paid partnerships with people who dont use her product or believe in the company.

One of the strategies Uplift has used for creating influencer relationships is gifting in exchange for recipe posts. This is when newer or smaller brands pitch influencers that they trust will resonate with their product. An influencer then agrees to create a post featuring the product, and the hope is that when they discover that they love it, they continue to post with it because they truly believe in the benefits. Gifting can create incredible ROI, and in Uplift’s case, will also provide great user-generated recipes and content to use for their blog and Instagram account.

Because Uplift prides itself on the mood-boosting aspect of their product, on their feed you’ll find smiling faces of soon-to-be Registered Dietitians, health coaches, foodies, nutritionists, etc. With Uplift being a newer brand, we’ve found micro-influencers to be extremely beneficial. Micro-influencers (between 1-10K followers) might have a smaller following, but typically have much more engagement, and cost less, when it comes to paying for posts/endorsements of a product. Working with micro-influencers, when they have a smaller following allows partnerships to be more authentic. Not only have we been able to see success with these followers, but we have been able to make meaningful connections with them. The founder, Kara is in personal contact with all of these influencers and enjoys getting to know each of them to create a community.

When reaching out to micro-influencers for Uplift, we found success with college students studying nutrition, or soon-to-be Dietitians. We chose this specific audience to work with because they are the up-and-coming experts in this field and love to educate themselves on proper diet and nutrition. With a Founder like Kara in tow, we are one step ahead of the competition, because she is a rock star in this space.

One micro-influencer that we have seen great success with is the incredible Hannah, also known as @wholesomely_hannah. Hannah is studying food science at Penn State and loves all things health and wellness related. Her feed is loaded with recipes from sweet to savory. Back in April, we gifted her a bag of our product and asked her to give it a try. At the time, Hannah was studying the microbiome, so Uplift really resonated with her. After creating her first recipe, she absolutely loved the product! About a month later, she created an in-feed recipe post including the Uplift powder.

As Hannah continued to make delicious recipes using Uplift in her Stories and feed, our relationship grew, and she even created a testimonial video explaining how much she loves the product.

Another great example of the success that comes from gifting influencers is our partnership with @paiges_plates! Paige is a recent graduate of the Dietetics program at the University of Delaware and has just started the next step in her journey to becoming a Registered Dietitian at Rutgers University. Like Hannah’s, Paige’s feed is full of delicious recipes. For some time, Paige has followed and seen great success with the F-Factor diet which emphasizes the use of fiber, making her the perfect spokesperson for Uplift. Because we saw great success with Paige’s recipe posts and because she loves the product, we decided to do a giveaway for Memorial Day.

As our relationship grew, she also created a testimonial video explaining how much she loves Uplift. This was an unsolicited asset and one that helped us both. Not only has Paige enjoyed the functionality of Uplift, but being able to post about the product has helped grow her portfolio as a future RD. Win-Win!

Another successful influencer marketing tactic that brands utilize are long-term paid partnerships. In Uplift’s case, one of our new and paid long-term partnerships with Krista, also known as @frozen_bananas_, began as a gifted, unpaid partnership. Krista also makes mouthwatering recipes on both Instagram and her blog.

Krista’s first post was a delicious Peanut Butter Cup recipe using Uplift. The recipe was well-received by her audience, and she continued to use Uplift in many more of her posts and Stories. When we first started working with Krista, she was considered a micro-influencer but has grown over time to 13.9K followers. As her page gained momentum, we thought she would be the perfect influencer to begin a long-term paid partnership with.

Long-term partnerships create more visibility and authentic, meaningful relationships between an influencer and brand. In addition to creating meaningful relationships with influencers, Uplift loves to make connections with followers of those influencers by engaging consistently with their posts. We do that heavy lifting for our clients to make sure they stay engaged in those conversations.

When recipe maker Nicole, also known as @lashesandlemons, posted a recipe including the Uplift powder at the beginning of August, we made sure to engage with every earned comment from her followers. Following up with potential customers shows that you truly care about your relationships and want to develop a community. The whole point of social!

While Uplift is still a young and relatively unknown brand, they are playing the game right and have a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon. Our influencer partners and their followers will certainly be the first to know!

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Bare Bones + @ADashofdolly = A perfect partnership!

Selecting the right partners for your social media influencer strategy takes skill and savvy and when you choose wisely, great things will come from it. Recently, we saw this play out with one of our clients, Bare Bones, who brings all time-honored benefits of bone broth and collagen in a convenient and ready-to-use package. Recently, they partnered with an influencer named Dolly Sengsavang (@adashofdolly) who has expertise in creating delicious Whole30 recipes and spreading self-love and positivity. So not only is she a well-versed authority in our space but given her energy, she is also the type of brand alliance that is favorable for the client.

On Dolly’s feed, you will see beautiful photos of her food creations along with their respective recipes on her blog. She used to be a Whole30 certified coach and has highlighted the use of liquid broths in the past. The Whole30 diet is similar to the paleo diet, which encourages eating unprocessed meats as a source of protein. This background made her a perfect pairing for our client.

This collaboration began with a giveaway on Dolly’s Instagram account, as well as a takeover on Bare Bones’ Instagram Stories, signaling the launch of the product in all Whole Foods stores nationwide! The giveaway included four pouches of Bare Bones liquid broths, as well as their Collagen Peptides. In the giveaway post, Dolly explained how Bare Bones liquid broths are Whole30 approved and went into detail about all of its incredible benefits. She also shared the creative ways she loves to use bone broth by featuring a mashed potato recipe right on the Instagram Story.

Dolly doing a takeover on a Bare Bones Instagram Story made the followers aware of the giveaway and drove traffic to Dolly’s page showcasing all of her amazing recipes. Because she is an expert on the Whole30 diet which incorporates bone broth, Dolly can speak authentically about the usefulness of those Whole30 approved products. Her audience trusts her to be an expert and trusts that she’ll only recommend products she believes in.

Not only has Dolly been a great ambassador for the product, but she has also contributed creative ways to incorporate Bare Bones in the recipes she creates on her feed and on her blog. For avid readers of her blog, this gives even more exposure to the brand and shows the functionality of the product in Whole30 approved recipes.

Because her audience is niche and pairs so nicely with Bare Bones, her recipes and posts have generated earned comments by new potential customers, sparking up a conversation around the brand.

 

Earned Comments:

What we really love about Dolly, is that she puts in the work when it comes to comments. We say it all the time, that it is one thing to just post about brands and another to go deep in the comments. Not all influencers do that, so make sure you investigate before engaging one. Here she facilitates a conversation and we jumped in there too, to create a deeper connection with our newest fan.

Choosing the right influencers for your brand can create so many possibilities. In this case, Dolly, a well-educated Whole30 expert, was able to speak authentically about the use of Bare Bones, to create recipes that entice her followers to put the product to use AND helped facilitate sales. This is a real win for all parties and the reason we will be working with @ADashofDolly again, real soon. :)

 

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Snapbac + Santia Deck = Influencer Gold.

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As we’ve stated many times before, at Sircle Media, we love to forge partnerships with thoughtful, authentic influencers. Recently one of our clients, Snapbac, (a line of compression-based sportswear that helps you warm up, work out and recover, all in one garment with revolutionary heat and ice therapy pods) partnered up with the incredible Santia Deck, an Olympic USA rugby hopeful and USA flag football athlete. Not only does Santia have a following of 328,000+, but many of them are real athletes who love to engage with her posts. Meaning she has width and depth.

The partnership consisted of some Instagram feed posts and Instagram Stories each month over many months. On Santia’s feed, she went above and beyond the terms of the contract, because she really found value in the product. This is such an important, though often overlooked ingredient to true collaboration with people of influence. Many get paid to promote products they don’t even use, to be honest, and that is just not the real deal. Santia sported their gear organically during her sprinting exercises and rugby workouts because they help her perform at her best, which is the intent of the product in the first place. These posts resonated well with her audience and she was the “featured actress” and Snapbac was just the supporting cast.

She also did a Story takeover and she discussed the benefits of the heat and ice therapy pods as well as why she loves the compression on both the top and bottom part of the body. Before the takeover, she announced that she would be doing so on her own Instagram Story. During the takeover, Santia did not post on her own feed, so it felt like she was genuinely taking over the Snapbac account for the day.

Her takeover offered real content from a fitness maven, explaining exactly how to use our product (=content Gold) and it also provided 2-3X the amount of impression consumption on each Story (in comparison to 200-300 which is the norm). We also had a spike of 100 followers that day along with DMs about our product and pricing (=buying questions!).

Santia Deck has been such an incredible influencer to work with. She is awesome, a real inspiration in fitness and a great partner. Not only did she wear Snapbac’s apparel in posts directed towards the brand, but she also wore the apparel in posts where she was advertising for other brands (=added value).

Working together with influencers that resonate with your brand and understand how to represent the product is what makes the right partnerships so successful. This is why Sircle believes in the power of a fully integrated partnership with real influencers who wield actual influence AND know how to play the game and really collaborate with their brand partners. Just another reason, why @trackbaby001 is a star!

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Influencer Marketing: Look for transformational relationships over transactional ones!

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When working with influencers, seek out true partnerships over “one and done” post relationships. Of course, a singular post with your product in hand can earn tons of impressions and potentially a bunch of likes and engagements too. However, if you want to really move the needle, you should look to integrate into their life and routine.

If an influencer really has a captive audience that actually pays attention to their recommendations and guidance, as is the case with @sweatsandthecity, then you should look to create a transformational relationship vs. a transactional one. Here she talks about a 9-month journey, to try and get her gut health back in line after a battle with diverticulitis. She credits meditation, cutting out foods found to be an issue in an Alcat Test, Acupuncture AND our client Terra Origin’s Healthy Gut product, as the steps to getting there. What an amazing endorsement!

If you have a great product and believe in it, look for partners who can convey that message for you. It can be the benefit, the clean label and/or the taste that stands out. Have them help you package that story and speak to something they have personally used or consumed and actually appreciate. Then let them do the storytelling in their own way and look at the depth (engagements, actual words in the comments and chances for a dialogue) even more so than the width (impressions and follower count). That is much more likely to INFLUENCE consideration and trial from their audience, which is the whole point of it all, isn’t it?

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As if Amazon didn’t already have enough influence…

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Hi, my name is Leah Hammer and I am a Senior at The University of Delaware and a Social Media Manager Intern this semester.  This is my first blog post for Sircle Media and I chose to write about Amazon’s influencer platform. I hope you enjoy it!

There’s no doubt that influencers have become a key component in promoting products in the digital realm. Brands have long been searching for well-known, reputable influencers to advocate for and promote their products, and for good reason. According to an article by David Bloom at Forbes, a recent study showed that 13 million influencers generated $7 billion in revenue last year. Staggering numbers!

Instagram has seen the most action with these influencers, with 93% of all influencer campaigns happening on their platform. Bigger influencers are typically paid anywhere between $3,000-$5,000 per post, and sometimes even more per campaign.

About a year ago, Amazon created their own influencer program which offers a link for those who participate to publicize on other social media sites. The link then directs to a user profile made up of personalized “lists”, where influencers showcase their favorite products. With every purchase bought from an influencers link, the influencer can receive up to 10% of that sale. This hybrid affiliate program is very smart and will allow all parties to win financially.

Amazon accounts for more than 50% of e-commerce in the United States. With ferocious price wars, consumers are looking to Amazon for the best possible prices. “That’s helping drive Amazon’s growing share of the U.S. advertising business, and now third behind the Duopoly,” says Bloom. Marketers are now predicting that Amazon will gain almost 9% of 2019’s digital ad market. Amazon has already experienced meteoric growth in the marketing space and can go even further, faster by incorporating influencers.

Influencers with a large following will be essential in the new program’s success, but so will micro-influencers. Many brands have looked to these power users because of their devoted fans and followers. Micro-influencers have between 1,000-100,000 followers and are typically more approachable and affordable in comparison to those who might only have a limited number of partnerships available. Because micro-influencers have smaller, more intimate fanbases, they are often seen as more real, approachable and sincere, which makes them more credible to their followers. Finding the right micro-influencers within Amazon’s ecosystem will create a whole new opportunity for businesses, and influencers too.

When searching for the best possible influencer to promote your product, it’s important to search through the ‘explore’ page on Amazon. This page will lead you to popular and commonly viewed lists. Through these lists, you can find influencers who are part of Amazon’s influencer program and willing to work with brands. When searching for the right influencer for your product, remember to keep in mind your audience and target demo and then check to see if the influencer has endorsed competitors in the past.

As an example, for one of our clients, Modern Oats, who creates on the go, organic oatmeal, we could perhaps choose to reach out to Laura Fuentes, an Instagram influencer with 14.2K followers.  She is a mother who loves to travel and share her favorite foods. Laura recently joined Amazon’s influencer program and has already created lists of her favorite products.

As influencer marketing continues to take over the digital realm, taking advantage of Amazon’s new influencer program will be essential in increasing those e-commerce sales. Get in the game and try it for yourself. If you have any positive or negative experiences on the platform, be sure to let us know. We would love to hear some real-life feedback

See you out on the field!

 

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POV: 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report

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The team at Relatable recently put out a report on the state of influencer marketing for 2019. They partnered up with 350 brands and agencies to source comprehensive data and insights to help hone in on the current situation.

This study showed that influencer marketing is not about earned media and shipping out free products anymore, it is now about working with the right and relevant influential individual that can help companies reach their target audience. Although, 95% of respondents believe that influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing, 24% of them have zero experience with influencer marketing in their company and 8 out of 10 brands will have a dedicated influencer marketing budget in 2019.

Marketing teams are tending to launch monthly and quarterly campaigns, combined with an always-on program, while about 1 in 4 are limiting their executions to when they’re launching new products. 82% of respondents stated that their company is currently advertising on Facebook and 7 out of 10 marketers agree that their Facebook Ads are getting increasingly more expensive and harder to optimize. 76% of marketing teams are operating their influencer marketing manually, without any tools, and although there is no lack of platforms, tools, and technologies available for those who are looking to take their influencer marketing to the next level, many are still not leveraging them.

Half of the marketing teams think finding influencers to participate is a very big challenge. They also fear a lack of control on message and need to make sure that the influencer’s creation(s) will resonate with their audience and will authentically connect with new and existing consumers. On top of this, 75% of marketing teams are concerned about fraud and bots that mess with results.

Awareness and consideration were the most common marketing objectives when running an influencer marketing campaign with only 50% being sales.  Fewer and fewer brands are using follower growth as a KPI, which is good to see.  There is a clear opportunity to combine influencer marketing efforts and content marketing budgets to increase return on advertising dollars.

With 80% of brands allocating a budget to influencer marketing and nearly 1 out of 4 lacking the necessary experience to manage these campaigns, there is a real need for education and support. Influencers should not be in a silo and most likely not run by your PR firm. Your social media manager should project manage the relationships and either grind it out manually or, if the budget permits, they should leverage tools or 3rd party agencies to help do some of the heavy lifting.

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Influencer Spotlight: @Headstandsandheels

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At Sircle Media, a big part of what we do for brands is managing relationships and strategic partnerships with influencers. These days, a lot of people are faking it in the influencer space, so it is really important to analyze and understand what makes one great.

We recently partnered with an amazing young woman, who goes by @headstandsandheels on Instagram. First off, I like the handle selection, as it doesnt pigeonhole her as much as others because she can toe the like between health and fashion. She is not a macro influencer with 100K+ followers, but she provides so much more depth than many of those profiles. To me, it is about strategically finding underpriced attention, rather than reaching for overpriced partners that often lack the punch their numbers imply.

We prefer to look for brand ambassador type engagements over one and done relationships that are all too common these days on social. We contacted Melanie and together came up with a multi-dimensional partnership to be run over the next few months for our client, Terra Origin. It involves many posts, online content, offline events and a really comprehensive collaboration that allows her to really get to know and experience the brand and products and provide her take on how they make her feel or perform in general. In order to really wield influence and opine on their value, she had to immerse herself in them. This way she can provide honest and truthful information (the whole point of “influence”) and our client (who of course, believes deeply in their products) gets to show off their wares to someone who is a bullseye target.

Plenty of influencers strike these types of partnerships every day, so this alone is not a differentiator.  What makes her special is that she is a wonderful soul and a pleasure to work with. So many influencers lack business acumen and are hard to deal with. Others don’t actually have influence and are selling follower count over everything else and not willing to put in the work. Melanie acted like a business person and really sat down and negotiated with us to help get us to terms (financial/logistical/creative) that work for both parties.

I also want to point out how she engages with her community. Many influencers post content that is beautiful (and even accomplishes the reach desired from the relationship) but I find that so many don’t engage in their comments on those photos. They treat the relationship like PR (one-way presentation) and don’t get into the weeds and conversation with their followers. To me, an influencer who does not do that religiously is leaving opportunity on the table and extremely vulnerable to losing their influence as platforms evolve. She is in there, having a conversation and providing depth in addition to her width. This makes her a great partner.

Bonus: In the image here, she is wearing Sweaty Betty which is a brand Terra Origin would love to be associated with. I know some marketing folks who would be annoyed that they were underwriting the relationship and another brand was stealing some of the thunder.  I personally love the association upside it brings with it. I look at it as her being authentic and living her life and she is bringing value to that other brand too in the process. To me, it means she either worked with them before and as a truthful influencer, continues to bring value to a brand she had a relationship with because she genuinely likes the product. OR it is a brand she just loves (and has such a solid brand profile, that you could argue it actually raises her street cred) and that brand should pay attention and come work with her. Regardless of the spirit, I love and applaud the hustle and tactic.

Big fan Melanie, big fan!

 

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