What’s cooking, with Bare Bones Broth X @Sweatsandthecity?

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Creating meaningful relationships with influencers is more important now than ever before. 2019 was the year that saw Instagram become too over-saturated with “one and done” influencer partners, trying to promote different products seemingly on a daily basis. That’s why as a social agency, we seek out long-term, authentic relationships with influencers who give honest feedback about their favorite products and can be a true partner and collaborator. These are much more valuable than an influencer who poses once with your product in hand, but never really becomes a customer or a fan. 2020 should be all about depth!

Recently one of our clients, Bare Bones Broth, an organic line of high-protein, Keto-friendly Bone Broth teamed up with fitness & wellness experts, Elizabeth and Dale of @sweatsandthecity for a three-month partnership. Their first in-feed post included an extremely thoughtful caption by Dale explaining the four ways she loves to enjoy the product. Elizabeth and Dale are the perfect partners for this brand because they talk about all things wellness, fitness, beauty, and food-related and have a large and engaged audience base. Their fans have diverse interests and this client wants to cast a wider net than just strictly speaking to super healthy eaters, making this a perfect pairing.

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When creating long-lasting, meaningful relationships with influencer partners, it’s important to show the authenticity of that relationship to your fans and followers in more ways than an Instagram post. We suggest that brands think outside of the box and look for creative ways to bring value to their audience. To that end, as part of this partnership, we had them create a blog post that we felt would better explain the product and the relationship. This is an excellent format to answer potential questions and is good fodder that can be used as part of the content marketing and sales journey on the brand’s domain.

Here we allowed our fan base to learn more about who we’ve chosen as a partner and why they’re such a great fit. To show this, we conducted a Q+A with Elizabeth and Dale found here! They answered a bunch of great questions and even highlighted their own personal, favorite products:

What are each of your favorite products from Bare Bones?

We are both huge fans of the Organic Chicken Bone Broth and Rosemary & Lemon. They have so much flavor!

 

 

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OMG! – Magnesium is magnificent!

When launching with a new client at Sircle Media, we make sure to focus our efforts on developing a strong foundation for success. When a brand starts out with little to no social media presence, it’s important to be very strategic in your efforts early on. This might include promoting e-commerce, partnering with large brands for giveaways, or striking up relationships with genuine, like-minded influencers.

One thing we see, especially in the CPG space, is that many influencers love to promote products that support a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you have a great product, that solves a real need, many influencers are willing to present it to their followers because they truly believe in it. This is gold for a brand that is truly functional and provides real benefits.

Recently we launched with OMG! Nutrition, a line of on-the-go, easy to mix vegan magnesium packets that help with a multitude of health concerns, such as stress, restless sleep, heart health, digestive concerns, immunity, bone support, nighttime cramps, and even muscle relaxation. OMG! Nutrition is also NSF Verified, meaning that their claims have been vetted by a third party. This is mission-critical with this type of product.

With supplements, it was very important we reached out to those who could speak on the validity of the product. We made sure we partnered with registered dietitians who have studied the benefits and uses of magnesium. Since it also helps with workout recovery, we wanted to partner with an influencer who could show the use of the product in their everyday life.

We eventually came across the perfect fit with @happystronghealthy.rd! Jenna is a well-respected dietitian with an online coaching business. She was the ideal influencer for this collaboration because she has the authority and qualifications to speak about OMG! Nutrition. Our partnership with Jenna started with an in-feed post using their Berry Blast product.

Her results were solid! Jenna is considered a micro-influencer because she has a smaller following, but we have found that most tend to get more engagement on their posts because they are truly connected with their audience. Jenna received 43 comments and 33 website link clicks on her first post, which is impressive.

She posted a very descriptive, well thought out caption speaking to the benefits, uses, and quality of the product and because Jenna is a dietitian, many of her followers are also dietitians, nutritionists, or those looking to improve their health. As a result, many in the health field commented on the post saying they also wanted to try OMG! Nutrition which only reinforces the value of the product to outsiders looking in the comments section.

      

Jenna was a pleasure to work with not only because she was the perfect fit for this collaboration, but because she went above and beyond to promote the product. Since her audience was our ideal target market, her followers truly appreciated her sharing OMG! Nutrition and we found some solid conversations to engage with while doing our follow up community management.

This really did provide much more depth than width, which we would argue is a better play for a product like this.  We plan to sircle back and double down on this strategy.  Stay tuned…

 

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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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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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#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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