Influencer POV with Sircle Media Influencer Marketing Director, Michelle Paltan

 

As Instagram continues to grow and evolve, so does the influencer landscape. Influencers have proven to be especially important during this global pandemic as brands need to create more awareness and storytelling around their messages before people go to stores and to help facilitate online sales during a big uptick in at-home shopping. We sat down with Sircle Media Influencer Marketing Director, Michelle Paltan to give us the dish on all things influencer marketing, during our current pandemic, and how brands can choose partners that are the perfect fit for their message and goals.

What’s the most common misconception when it comes to influencer marketing?

That there’s only one type of influencer that works for your brand. Influencers are people, and just like your customers who are also people, they are multi-faceted and could be looking for a product just like yours even if their feed may not show it. The brands that are doing it right, aren’t staying in just one niche. It’s a balance between your main target consumer and your actual consumer who is buying the product.

How have you seen influencer marketing change since the start of COVID, and even with the rise of Black Lives Matter? 

The main change I’ve seen with both COVID and Black Lives Matter is the increased demand to work with authentic influencers who are able to relate to the state of the world but are also accountable. “Authenticity” has always been a word that was thrown around by brands and influencers, but with the rise of these two topics on social media, it’s become essential to fully understand the true meaning behind it. Just behind that, is accountability. Consumers are holding brands and influencers accountable to make the right decisions on social media which means both sides really need to do their research and make sure they are moving forward in this new world in the right way.

What size (follower count wise) influencers do you think work best for brands?

There’s no one size fits all for influencer marketing. The best way to go about it is to have influencers of all sizes talking about your brand. Different sized influencers might be geared toward specific KPI’s, but they also all have the potential to achieve your marketing goals. I love to use Vital Proteins as an example for this; if you really take a look–they are not pigeonholing themselves to one group over another therefore they are getting constant awareness and visibility.

How can influencer marketing translate to actual sales for a brand?

This is probably the most frequently asked question I get and the answer isn’t simple. First, remove the idea that your first at bat working with an influencer MUST show sales. More often than not, it won’t happen–it’s not impossible but it’s not likely as the influencer’s audience is first learning about your brand. It’s like making a cold call and expecting to close a deal on the first conversation. Brands will start to see ROI through long-term relationships. The sales cycle with an influencer isn’t always easy to track, but over time, you’ll see patterns that show the awareness + engagement that they have brought to your brand will turn into future customers. Adding elements like affiliate programs, paid support through the branded content ads, and again, leveraging the relationship for more then just one post will help lead to ROI faster.

What is something brands should be doing more of, to attract more influencers to their brand?

Adding a contact form or an application on your website for influencers to directly reach out to your brand is a simple, but impactful step. Any area where you can include more touchpoints for influencers that are already interested in your brand to engage and get a hold of you is a major plus in my book.

Where do you think influencer marketing will be a year from now?

If I had a crystal ball…I would say that we’re on the path to even more authentic influencer relationships, which will lead to more education of the brand prior to influencers posting about them. Brands should already be thinking this way and the influencer should be like an extension of your brand. So to make partnerships come from a real, authentic place, you need to act like they are part of your company and provide as much insight as possible so influencers can bring your product to their audience in a way that makes sense and works.

With the increased usage of Instagram, more influencers appear. What do you think about the overwhelming number of influencers, and how do you choose one that is right for a brand?

There’s no such thing as too many, in my opinion. I think it’s great that there are more influencers out there because there’s space for everyone and niches waiting to be tapped into. There are also new brands popping up every day too! However, choosing the right influencer takes a decent amount of research and development. At Sircle, we have come up with a formula that takes into account your brand goals and looks for specific metrics that help us narrow this down. The “right influencer” for your brand can be ever-evolving, as is your brand on social media. At the end of the day, keep in mind who your target consumer is and when considering influencers,  make sure they represent that audience.

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Meet Our Newest Intern, Hannah!

Name: Hannah Moran

Hometown: Long Island, New York

University and Major: Boston College- Communications major with a minor in Management and Leadership

Year: Junior

What do you love to do outside of your internship?: Outside of this internship, I have a passion for cooking and being outdoors. I love experimenting with simple and creative recipes, but also enjoy spending time running or going to the beach.

Beach or Forest?:  The beach! I love warm weather and relaxing in the Summer.

Why Sircle Media?: Social media is such an integral part of everyone’s lives today. It is important that we think about how we consume information day to day. Sircle Media gives me the opportunity to understand how to leverage social media not only for myself, but for businesses and brands to grow. This internship offers hands-on experience that allows me to expand my creative skills to the next level.

What is one social media skill or topic you’ve been working on during your internship?: Working with new brands that Sircle represents and helping them launch social media strategies to build brand awareness to other consumers. I’ve become well-versed in developing social media strategies across all platforms as well as exploring influencers that match a client’s content creation. I really enjoy the entrepreneurial and innovative aspects behind the work Sircle does.

What is one skill or topic you hope to learn more about?: I hope to learn more about managing client relationships and understanding how to solve their targeted needs.

Favorite client to work on?: Gutzy Organic! I love their message of living confidently and fearlessly to achieve your goals.

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Meet Sircle’s Newest Content Creator, Kourtney!

Here at Sircle we love to improve our team by expanding and bringing on new talent! We recently sat down with our newest hire, Kourtney Mack to learn a bit more about her. While interviewing, her drive, creativity, and positive spirit really stood out and we knew right away that she would be the perfect addition to the squad. Without further ado, let’s meet her!

Full Name: Kourtney Mack

Current Position at Sircle: Content Creator

Winter or Summer?: Can’t beat summer, especially in NYC.

What was your journey to finding Sircle Media?: I was working as a studio product photographer in e-commerce for about three and a half years and I was looking to branch out and grow in my career. I knew that I would love to incorporate more food and people into the product work that I was doing. When researching Sircle Media, I saw that they worked with a lot of food and beverage companies which was exactly what I was hoping for! Everything seemed to align after talking with Adam and Sara. I am very happy to be on such a creative team and look forward to the work that I get to create.

What has been your impression of Sircle so far?: My first impression of Sircle is that it is a very fast-paced, well-oiled machine. Some other words are: smart, down-to-earth, scrappy, kind and motivating.

What can you say about your co-workers?: Everyone is very close-knit and it truly feels like a family and/or genuine friends that I get to work with.

What can you say about Adam?: Adam is very inspiring and passionate, thoughtful and considerate. I love the company culture that he has created at Sircle Media. It’s been a joy so far.

What are you most looking forward to at Sircle?: I look forward to really honing different styles as a photographer and becoming more confident in my role.

How do you think Sircle Media stands out from other agencies?: Sircle Media gets right down to business. Once we sign a client, we make it our mission to service them and their needs right away and we look to produce solid results as quickly as possible.

What is your favorite activity/thing to do outside of work?: When it comes down to it, I really love connecting with people which can take on many forms. I love activities such as going out to eat at a new restaurant, board game nights, and book clubs, just to name a few. One hobby that I have is salsa dancing and have been taking lessons recently. I love trying to get better at something just for the sake of improvement.

Kourtney sure does bring great energy to our team and we look forward to watching her career blossom at the agency. Keep an eye out for some of her excellent work!

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Welcome to the Sircle Squad, Wyatt!

Recently, we sat down to get to know one of our newest hires, Wyatt Davis! We were connected with Wyatt through another Sircle Media employee and immediately saw a perfect fit. We know that her creativity, drive, and positivity will be a huge contributor to our future success! Without further ado, let’s meet her!

Full Name/Nickname: Wyatt Davis. Some people call me “Wy” or “Wyty”!

Current Position: Social Media Manager

Beach or Mountains?: This is SO tough, I love a balance of both but I’d probably have to say the beach.

What was your journey to finding Sircle Media?: It’s a funny story actually. I was job hunting after working in Paid Social for 3 years and had worked with Lexi Levy (a current Sircle employee) on an account and we stayed in touch. She mentioned Sircle and talked about how much she loves it, and I personally don’t know anyone who even likes their job, so I knew she was on to something. After my first interview, I was sold.

What was your reason for choosing a Social agency?: The main reason I wanted to come to a company like Sircle was to do something more creative within the social media realm after being in paid social for 3 years and having a brief stint on our creative team there. Working with Lexi in the past was a huge help!

What has been your impression of Sircle so far?: Scrappy, creative, smart, innovative, fast-acting, driven, organized, and caring are the words that come to mind.

What can you tell us about Adam?: He’s a big part of the reason that I chose to work at Sircle. He’s incredibly intelligent and cares so much about the company and his employees which means a lot to me. He’s fostered a great community with the team and our clients.

What can you tell us about your team?: Beyond cool and friendly. I’m 4 weeks into the job and I couldn’t feel more welcomed. Everyone is really diverse but comes together in a great way.

How do you think Sircle Media stands out from other agencies?: In so many ways. There’s consistent support, you’re not worked to the bone, morale is high, company culture is great, the content we create is beautiful and professional and done by a small team. Adam is our main salesperson, and we’re able to be picky about who our clients are.

What is your favorite activity to do outside of work?: I would have to say it is finding new restaurants. I’m a huge foodie and living in NYC is a foodie’s dream. I also love seeing live music and bingeing true crime shows.

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Happy 5 Year Anniversary, Jenna!

Jenna-Blog

This week, our senior photographer Jenna Ruocco celebrates her 5 year anniversary with Sircle Media. This is an important milestone, especially for someone working at their first job straight out of college. We sat down with her to ask some questions and get her POV after a half-decade working full-time on the squad. Enjoy.

How did your journey with Sircle Media begin?

My journey here began back in December 2013, as an intern during my senior year of college. CRAZY!!! Two of my sorority sisters worked for Sircle and they had asked if I wanted to start an internship. I said yes with no hesitation and started as a remote intern. Adam later asked if I wanted to continue interning post-grad, and of course, I said yes as I truly loved what I was doing and wanted to continue to be a part of it!  I continued to intern for a few months in the office, then started working part-time for a short stint and eventually moved up to full-time on January 5th, 2015. The rest is history!

What have been some of your biggest milestones while working at Sircle?

In college, I was a dual concentration in Graphic Design and Photography.  Early on though, there wasn’t much need for a photographer at Sircle because it was much more about graphics. As a result, I began here as a Graphic Design intern and never really touched a camera. So I would say my biggest milestone, was when we moved to more reliance on taking photos and I became the first photographer for the agency. Fast forward and now we have developed a department that is one of the agency’s biggest strengths. We have grown tremendously since our early days when I used to shoot simple product shots at my desk or around NYC. Nowadays, we have a full studio, on-site photoshoots, and three more photographers working alongside me. Working my way up from intern, to part-time, to full-time and now finally to Senior Photographer, has been a series of great milestones for me.

How have you seen your skills progress over your time here?

Coming in, I was very much an abstract/film photo photographer, but at Sircle, it is mostly product photography, food/spirit photography and model/lifestyle photography. Product photography is very different than anything I had done in college or even in my free time. I had to jump right in and learn quickly and I am constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of the many clients Sircle services. We are always shooting something new so it keeps things very interesting! 

How has the company changed for the better in your 5 years?

Sircle has grown tremendously since I first started back in 2013. What was just 5 employees back then, has ballooned to 19, across multiple departments and our client list is ever-growing! I have seen quite a bit of change over the years. From coworkers to clients, to office space AND I have to say that where we are right now, is the best and strongest Sircle has ever been. I am proud to be a part of it and pumped about all that is on the horizon.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from working with Adam?

It’s hard to narrow down the biggest lesson as I am always learning from him. This may sound cliche, but I would say Adam has taught me how to be the best employee/coworker I can be. He is always guiding us and making sure we are always putting forth our best selves with our coworkers and with our clients. We are truly a family here at Sircle and that is made possible through the foundation Adam has built and the values he instills in us each and every day.

What has been your favorite product or client to work with and why?

I would say Michter’s Whiskey has been my favorite client for sure. It’s the account I have worked on the longest and was one of the first spirit brands I’ve ever photographed. I have developed a very strong relationship with them over the years and I have even been down to Kentucky to shoot at their distillery, which was awesome. They are an amazing brand and I love helping them tell their story.

What do you look forward to in the future at Sircle Media?

There are SO many things I am looking forward to. Mainly, our ever-growing team and new coworkers I get to crush life with every day. I am excited to continue to meet and shoot for new clients and products and further develop my skills. This year I am focused on expanding my management skills and growing my department, so that should be a rewarding challenge.

I’m excited to watch this company continue to grow and to know that am such an integral part of that progress. I’m so grateful to be a part of an amazing team and company!

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Sircle Squad Intern: Claire

Name: Claire Anzalone

Hometown: I hail from the land of Austin, Texas.

University and Major: I attended Austin Community College to major in 2D animation!

Year: I graduated in spring 2019.

Favorite Movie/Book: My Favorite Movie is currently Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I love the combination of 3D and 2D animation in this movie, and the uniqueness it creates.

Beach or Forest?: I would choose the Forest. I love the scenery and all the different animals that you can find!

Why Sircle Media?: I chose Sircle Media because I thought it would be great experience to learn how motion graphics are done for social media.

What is one social media skill or topic you’ve been working on during your internship?: Creating entertaining and informing videos for Instagram posts.

What is one skill or topic you hope to learn more about?: I’d love to learn more about effects on After Effects, and the possibilities they offer.

Favorite client to work on?: Currently, my favorite client to work on is Rethink. I love drawing and coloring their characters and animating their products.

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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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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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