6 Proven Ways Social Media and Ecommerce Can Boost Sales

Over the past decade, social media platforms have experienced tremendous growth in ways that not many people could have predicted. Today, these platforms have become avenues for marketers and business owners around the world to foster relationships with their audience and boost their brand exposure.

In addition to growing brand image and building relationships with customers, you can also leverage the power of social media and ecommerce to increase your online sales. So what are the best social media and ecommerce tactics that can be used to increase sales?

Why advertise on social media?

Advertising has been around for a much longer period of time than social media. It has been reaching consumers via TV, radio, even billboards for decades now. So why is advertising on social media so integral to a business’ success now?

The main factor behind the sudden growth in social media advertising is quite an obvious one. The vast growth of the platform means that more and more of a brand’s target audience are available in one place. However, this isn’t the only element pushing brand’s towards an online advertising campaign.

Another decisive factor is the specificness of social media advertising. People willingly give social media large quantities of information on their background and daily lives. This means it is easier for a business to target the exact type of person they want to reach with an advert, and tends to lead to increased success at the same time. This is especially true when you leverage social proof marketing.

In fact, social media ads are possibly some of the most refined there has ever been, reaching customers in niches never previously thought of. And with each platform offering different ways to connect with consumers, social media advertising is well worth taking advantage of.

Know the right networks to target

When social media is mentioned, most people think of Facebook. However, Facebook is not the only platform you can promote your online business on; there are other networks with high volumes of users you should consider too.

Knowing the platform where your audience spends most of their time will help you come up with a marketing strategy that suits the network. It will also help you to directly engage with your main social media audience, and improve the relationship between your brand and your customers.

Here are the main networks and their suitable audience:

Facebook

As one of the largest platforms in terms of customer base, Facebook is great for brand recognition, especially with younger generations. It is a platform that allows your ads to be seen by the most substantial numbers, whilst it also allows you to interact with customers with ease through messenger and your page.

Online businesses can benefit from Facebook by focusing on strategies that help them improve their brand exposure. In addition, you can also boost sales by using retargeting ads and advertise to those who have previously shown interest in your brand or your products.

Instagram

Instagram is ideal for brands who priotorize visual advertising, due to its focus on images, videos and other visual content. It is also the perfect platform for bridging the gap between consumer and brand, due to the interactivity of the site. You can communicate with customers through various mediums on Instagram, including stories, your page, and influencers.

Through influencers, Instagram allows you to make extensive use of celebrity endorsement. Influencers can give your products the extra boost they need during an ad campaign, to really push sales through the roof. You just have to make sure you choose an influencer that is truly representative of your brand and product, otherwise their use could end up having a detrimental effect on your brand, and campaign.

Twitter

Twitter is great for growing your brand name thanks to the popularity of hashtag usage. You can use it to run competitions such as giveaways, or simply to draw attention to your campaigns.

In addition to hashtag campaigns, you can also run standard feed advertising campaigns. These campaigns can be used alongside the hashtag campaigns to maximise their effectiveness.

Pinterest

This is a great platform for brands that sell beauty products. This is because research has shown the majority of Pinterest’s frequent users are women. Similar to Instagram, Pinterest allows brands to focus on the visual side of advertising so a detailed use of images is vital for success.

As you can see, different platforms attract a type of audience, thus requiring a different approach with your marketing strategy. Prior to deciding where to market your products, it is important that you learn where your audience is most active when online. Once you have this information, you can come up with a marketing strategy that will boost your online presence, sales, and brand recognition.

Use the right ads

There are a wide range of advertisement possibilities when it comes to social media marketing. And with each platform offering different capabilities, it is important to find the right way to reach your audience.

A good example of the variety of options on offer, is Facebook. Facebook offers extensive detail in their targeted ads, which is for finding new prospects who fit your demographics.

However, Facebook doesn’t offer this in one form. You can choose to use an ad in a video, within the users feed, or even use sponsored posts.

Instagram, which is now run by Facebook, also offers a wide range of options. Stories are a fantastic way to draw your audience closer to your brand, and allow you to use engagement techniques through video, polls, and more. If you want to show your audience what goes on behind the scenes, and the products you offer, stories are ideal.

On the other hand, Instagram also offers standard feed posts similar to that of Facebook, or sponsored content within posts, such as an influencer wearing a jacket from a brand that is then tagged.

One of the most effective advertising tactics to use across platforms is retargeting advertising.

Retargeted advertising is essential reaching back out to customers who come to your website but do not finish performing an action. For instance, a customer might have added a product to their cart, but failed to finalise that purchase.

Retargeted ads encourage your prospect to get return to a store, or website and complete their purchases. Big draws for customers tend to be limited promotional offers, or discounts.

Remember to check out how your retargeted ads are performing on each platform and make adjustments appropriately.

To create a successful social media campaign, you need to think carefully about the ads that are more likely to appeal to your prospects. Each brand will have a different audience, therefore there is no perfect strategy that covers every brand.

Use relevant hashtags

It’s with the help of hashtags that most platforms classify a wide range of posts into different sections. Using relevant hashtags will improve your website’s organic traffic as more of your target audience will come into contact with your posts.

With hashtags, the important thing to do is to spot what’s trending in your niche, and integrate those hashtags into your posts.

While this is a great way of expanding your brands reach, do not overdo it. You may incorporate a few hashtags in your posts, and they will have a largely positive effect. However, if you overdo it, you risk being labelled as spam. This will have a detrimental effect in both long term and short term.

Hashtags can also be implemented within your advertising campaigns. They can help to give your posts a clear narrative for your customers to follow. In addition, they can also draw one person into the entire campaign, even if they only come across one hashtag, and choose to click it.

All in all, hashtags can be a great way to depict your brand through social media. They can help to highlight your brand values, whilst taking up very little budget. They can also help your campaigns to increase in longevity and impact.

Use giveaways

Who doesn’t like free things? Giveaways and competitions are a fantastic way to draw in the crowds to your website. Contests can get people interested in your brand with just one short campaign, and also give you an opportunity to get people signed on to your newsletter.

By encouraging people to sign on to a newsletter, or to enter their details when joining a campaign, you can collect all important customer information. This could allow you to retarget them with offers in the future, or simply to remind them to join further initiatives that could create further interest.

Pro tip: Remember to make sure that any individual who stands to win must like or follow your page. This will expose them to the brands posts in the future.

Work with influencers

In most cases, influencers are people who have a sizable following on social media. You can use these influential people to promote your product to their audience online.

When deciding on which influencers to reach out to, it is important that you consider whether or not their following fit your target audience demographics.

For instance, if you are in the men’s clothing brand, ideally you will want to look for male influencers who discuss fashion, or similar products. Whilst you wouldn’t want to target a female gaming influencer, as her following would likely be the opposite of what you need.

It is also worth considering whether you want to work with micro-influencers, who generally do not have a mass following, or someone with a much larger group of followers.

It is worth noting that influencers with larger followings tend to have less specific demographics. You may be exposed to more engagements and clicks, but it is less likely that they will be relevant. Conversely, micro-influencers tend to have a more specific audience who share similar interests, which means they may have a better ROI.

Encourage your customers to leave reviews on social media

Social media is rapidly turning into a platform where people go to search for reviews of products and brands, prior to making a decision on a purchase.

A recent study showed that 91% of respondents were influenced to buy something by positive online reviews. This shows the importance of encouraging happy customers to post their reviews regarding your store on your social media profiles. It also highlights how a positive review could be the difference between someone buying, and someone not buying a product from you.

However, this is not an overnight task. You have to actively encourage customers to share their experience after buying from you.

Many customers will choose not to leave reviews, even with your encouragement. Therefore, it could also be worthwhile to offer something in return for a review, such as a discount on a future purchase, or early access to new products. Incentives can not only get you the review you were seeking out, they may also encourage a customer to use your brand again, especially if their review is actually positive.

You can also make reviewing easier for customers by embedding a share button on your thank you page or even a note with the delivery of their purchase. By making it easier to review the product, customer reviews will become more frequent, and brand engagement may even increase.

Final thoughts on Social Media and Ecommerce

If you are looking to improve your social media advertising, following these six tactics will help you on your way to success. By building brand recognition, trust and general awareness you will be able to bridge the gap between your brand and the customer. This will encourage purchases in both the short term, and the long term, whilst also helping you to better understand those who show interest in your brand.

Once your social media efforts are paying off, it’s time to measure your results and see how you can improve your online presence and sales even more. Jamie’s article does a great job in explaining how you can get started with tracking and measuring your social media ROI. Check it out!

Jacques van der Wilt

 

By: Jacques van der Wilt

Jacques van der Wilt is the founder and CEO of DataFeedWatch, a leading global feed management and optimization solution that helps online merchants optimize their product listings for 1,000+ ecommerce channels in more than 50 countries.

Source: 6 Proven Ways Social Media and Ecommerce can Boost Sales | Bulkly

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How Brands Can Better & Effectively Use Influencers

https://miro.medium.com/max/1200/0*uPEXSSv59uAYEmc7

Influencer marketing isn’t as simple as choosing an influencer with a high number of followers to post an ad for you. In 2019, there have been a multitude of changes that have taken place in the influencer marketing world which brands need to factor into their strategies to get the most ROI.Consumer expectations around authenticity, an increase in influencers making it harder to reach their target market, and the need for solid evidence of the success of a campaign or post are the key trends we’re seeing shape the changes this year.

Below is a list of things to remember before engaging an influencer for your brand, to ensure the highest success rate.

  1. Influencers are people too

It’s clear that brands need to identify an influencer that suits their image and has an audience appropriate to them, as it’s obvious it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Think of the basic advertising and marketing principles such as brand consistency across its messaging, imagery, stunts etc. All of these principles also apply when it comes to selecting influencers.

For effective market penetration in the influencer space, brands need to change the way they see influencers. It can feel a little strange at first because we’re so used to having our own perception of them through a screen, but brands need to challenge themselves and stop being transactional and start building genuine relationships.

Doing this, not only will your brand foster beneficial relationships for future activity, but the synchronicity between the influencer, brand and audience is the key driver to the most genuine engagement and success of the campaign.

Of course, there is always the irony when it comes to using influencers since brands pay for influencers to post an ad, so it can be perceived as anything but genuine. Therefore, it is important to be mindful that influencer marketing is actually a partnership and when working together, both reputations are on the line.

2. Video is the new black

Like all key moments in pop culture, trends come and go but some stick so well that they stay popular through the generations. The 20s had smoking and flapper dresses, the 60s had the flare pants and tie-dye, the 80s had the boombox and the 90s had the blackberry.

In 2019’s digital climate, the legacy that millennials and Gen Zs have left is the ubiquitous use of social media. This demographic has propelled the amount of user-generated content full of memes, live streaming of stories and videos, which is why video is currently on trend.

Since 90% of Gen Z and 83% of millennials are spending at least two or three hours a day watching videos on their smartphones, brands need to capitalise on creating fun video content and memes that can be easily shared with their peers as it resonates well with this generation more than any other form of media.

3. Authenticity is key

When followers feel like influencers are real people they can relate to and even share similar experiences with, that’s when the magic happens. The most successful influencers have a highly captivated audience because of their ability to produce authentic and relatable content.

Since millennials and Gen Z’s are digital natives to social media and advertising across these platforms, they are naturally more switched on when it comes to recognising when they are being overtly marketed to.

According to a study by Deloitte, 72% of millennials use social media as a good way to stay connected to news and topics that are important to them, while 65% of millennials said that they are happy to receive targeted content if it aligns with their interests – proving they are savvy when it comes to their consuming of digital content.

If businesses want to engage an influencer to market to this demographic, they need to be mindful about content that’s not consistent with the influencer’s audience and brand.

Brands need to change their thinking to view their relationships with influencers as adding a ‘human element’ to their marketing approach, as opposed to looking to influencer marketing as another means to just sell their products.

4. Data is king

Influencer marketing has always been seen as an enigma, with traditional marketers often questioning whether it can yield actual commercial results.

The reality of it is that it can. One of the best examples is homegrown company Hi-Smile. Founders Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic started the company with $20,000 of their own savings using solely influencer marketing, which then grew the company into a $40M business with over 100,000 customers across the globe in just three years.

Measuring ROI and using data to track the success of a campaign is important, not just because you can say with authority that investing the marketing budget into the influencer space was a wise move, but so you can optimise your campaigns.

Influencer marketing is still relatively new and there’s a huge potential to lead the market.

5. Talking to Gen Z

By next year, Gen Z’s are expected to account for about 40 percent of all consumers, not to mention social media has become one of the key driving forces for this generation to purchase products, accounting for 80% of purchases.

Instagram (44%), Snapchat (21%) and YouTube (32%) are the core outlets making the biggest impact in this space and influence everything from purchasing decisions, lifestyle choices and even political perspectives.

After almost a decade of focusing on millennials and Gen Y, brands that haven’t started factoring Gen Z into their strategies are shooting themselves in the foot.

Given Gen Z’s have an attention span of about 8 seconds, capturing their attention requires authentic and engaging content that they can contribute to, interact with, or be a part of. They want to feel like they are part of an actual community attached to authentic causes.

Despite the digital landscape’s challenges, there’s an opportunity for brands and businesses to market to consumers in a more flexible way to adapt to this new digital era. With so many opportunities for brands to utilise this generation of social media lovers to their benefit, remember the five key tips to ensure success and tap into a savvy, yet highly engaged type of audience.


Nathan Ruff is the co-founder and CEO of Hoozu, a data driven content creation business that uses creators and content to convert sales for its clients. Nathan has a wealth of specialist knowledge across industry trends, managing risk and ensuring accountability in a relatively unregulated space. He has also successfully founded five companies, including Market Engine, Urban Geek Media and VOLT Media. Nathan has been instrumental in helping to disrupt the influencer marketing industry and bringing accountability to the discipline.

Source: How brands can better and effectively use influencers – Dynamic Business

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Want Influence? Use Intelligent Curiosity

One of the most beneficial skills entrepreneurs can develop is how to apply intelligent curiosity to everyday situations. Even better is to develop situational awareness alongside the skill of intelligent curiosity. Situational awareness is commonly taught in law enforcement. It’s where you are consciously aware of what’s going on around you. It’s a 360-degree awareness of both threats and opportunities. An example of this strategy is to sit with your back to a wall or in a position where you can see everything and everyone around you.

With a high level of awareness, you are more prepared to recognize opportunities others will walk right past. However, “seeing” opportunities is not enough. Being curious enough to investigate those opportunities is where entrepreneurial success is often found. This is where the application of intelligent curiosity comes into play.

Intelligent curiosity is directed, focused, strategic, and intentional. It is not conventional curiosity where we find things to be “interesting.” It’s where we become deeply interested in not only what’s directly in front of us, but pay attention to the periphery — the edges around the focus of our desire that very likely impact or influence it. This is called edge learning, and intelligent curiosity is a key element of it.

Related: Curiosity Is the Key to Discovering Your Next Breakthrough Idea

As an example, an entrepreneur’s focus might be on the development of a single product or service. An edge learner widens their lens to see what other opportunities this product or service might create or what threats there may be against the development of the product or its need in the marketplace. This wide-angle lens creates situational awareness. Are there accessories that might make the product or service more useful such as protective cases for mobile phones? Are there other uses for the product that requires a different type of marketing? 

Proctor & Gamble launched Febreze as a spray that could remove bad smells such as cigarette smoke or pet odors from fabric. It bombed. People who live with bad smells every day aren’t often aware of them. Developers decided instead to add a perfume to the product and market it as a spray to be used after cleaning. Instead of an “odor eliminator,” it sold well as an “air freshener.”  

Those who develop and use intelligent curiosity are more successful entrepreneurs and they often become recognized as thought leaders. Having worked with and studied dozens of thought leaders in today’s marketplace, I’ve noted their high levels of intelligent curiosity. They’re always asking questions, seeking knowledge from everyone they encounter. No matter their industry or level of financial success, they’re always on the alert. They tune in to what I call their “frequency of greatness,” their ability to dial into the problems and solutions, and ask questions such as, “What caused that to happen?” “Why was that the best solution?” “Who or what was impacted by that situation and in what ways?” 

Legendary thought leaders like master sales trainer Tom Hopkins and business expert Sharon Lechter dispense volumes of wisdom to entrepreneurs worldwide, but when I first sat down with them, they wanted to know about my experiences and what I was focused on and why. They exercise intelligent curiosity in every encounter. Working with Tom taught me that he practices what he teaches, “When you’re speaking, you can only deliver what you already know. When you ask questions of others, you are learning — gaining new knowledge that allows you to better understand them and their needs.”

Implementing strategies of intelligent curiosity can help entrepreneurs more fully enjoy the roller coaster ride of business. It allows them to open their minds to new ideas, to pivot, transition and adapt as the marketplace requires. In fact, the edge learning skill of intelligent curiosity will lead them to celebrate the inevitable challenges or failures and capitalize on them. 

Rather than walking away from stumbling blocks, they’ll learn who put the blocks there and why. The knowledge gained from intelligent curiosity will help them to move the blocks out of the way, climb over them or, on some occasions, choose an entirely different path. 

As a former private investigator, intelligent curiosity was instrumental in my success. When I would get a case, I would work diligently to explore multiple avenues to get the answers I needed. I’d allow myself to fall down the occasional rabbit hole in doing so. Being open to many different possibilities helped me to uncover the truth. My law-enforcement background taught me to tune in to valuable information through my eyes and ears. I discovered more through listening and through what is known as kinesthetic sense — how our muscles and organs of our bodies react. Heightening awareness allows us to quickly understand much about how others are feeling and how they might react to situations.

Intelligent curiosity is a learnable skill; it requires a commitment to the craft and ongoing practice. But do not mistake it for an add-on or luxury skill. It’s vital to your success in all areas of life. It provides the insights necessary for envisioning innovation. It will help you recognize when to put ideas across, when to act and when not to act.  

Related: Cultivating Curiosity Is What Drives Innovation

Intelligent curiosity goes against the grain of our own tendencies because of the depths it can take us to. Our innate curiosity desires quick answers and simple solutions. But that is not often what’s required of success. More often, success is not a product of doing what everyone else would do — success is mutant behavior. You cannot follow normal processes and become largely successful. Those processes may work for a short time, but without constant innovation, they will inevitably become outdated and fail or fade over time. Intelligent curiosity drives people to act and think creatively, be more attentive and thereby create new ways of knowing. Ultimately, the results of intelligent curiosity are the origin of success. 

By: Lisa Patrick Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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What Vans Can Teach Us About Influencer Marketing

Brothers Paul and Jim Van Doren opened up a storefront at 704 E. Broadway in Anaheim, California, on March 16, 1966. They manufactured shoes right out of their shop and named their fledgling business the Van Doren Rubber Company. 

On opening day they sold 12 pairs. And 50 years later, that company is better known as Vans, and it’s generating $11.8 billion a year in revenue.

This is the story of how they became one of largest shoe brands on the planet and what marketers can learn from them.

Related: Stop Overthinking Your Advertising Creative

The formula for a successful influencer program

In the early ’70s, a group of surf rats were redefining the emerging sport of skateboarding. They were known as the Z Boys — their nickname derived from the Zephyr Surf Shop in Santa Monica, which sponsored them in surf contests. Comprising 12 core members, the Z Boys began dominating skate competitions with their innovative take on the sport. They took their surf style to the cement, doing airs and carves. 

They wore out their shoes constantly — until they got their hands on Van Doren Rubber Company shoes. Because of the shoes’ sturdiness, they became indispensable to skateboarders. In the Z Boys, the Van Dorens saw opportunity. They began sponsoring them.

Their first endorsement deal was with Stacy Peralta, a young standout who later went on to found the Powell-Peralta skateboard company. He was given $300 to wear the shoes exclusively during contests. 

It’s the greatest $300 endorsement deal of all time.

Vans didn’t stop there. The brothers wanted to make the best shoe possible for skaters. Their #95 shoe was reimagined with input from Peralta and fellow team rider Tony Alva. A thicker sole was added to help soften landings. They reinforced the heel, added padding around the collar, and put in extra rubber across the toes.

The modified #95 is known today as the Vans Era. It has gone virtually unchanged for over 30 years. 

The Era is the first shoe designed by, and made for, skateboarders.

Vans collaborated with its team’s riders and developed signature shoes. The company promoted the team with full page ads. Peralta and his compatriots became superstars. Skateboarding went from counterculture to mainstream, with Vans along with it. 

The Van Doren’s marketing genius lay in their investment in the influencers of their time (ie, athletes). Sponsoring athletes and influencers wasn’t new. How the Van Dorens approached it was. They partnered with the most relevant influencers and then collaborated with them on everything from products to advertising.

The formula was simple: Target relevance + long term collaboration = successful influencer program.

Related: Are Influencers Worth Your Money? We Went Undercover to Find Out

Relevance

Vans was a small company. The big celebrities of the era were professional baseball or football players and actors. These were people Vans could never have afforded, nor would it have been a wise investment. The company would have been competing with a sea of other sports brands for the same target.

In skateboarding, Vans recognized something before anyone else did: an underserved niche — one that happened to be passionate about their product. They were brave enough to risk their small marketing budget and invest in skateboarding’s emerging stars.

Let’s do an exercise by taking a look at another category with roots in the action sports world that targets a similar demographic: energy drinks.

When you think of energy drinks, what names come to mind? You probably thought of Red Bull and Monster. You may have remembered Rockstar. 

These three brands have dominated the category for the last two decades. They’ve also been running the same advertising playbook. They sponsor the biggest names in extreme sports. They make awe-inspiring content and advertise like hell to guys in their teens and twenties.

So where is the opportunity to implement the formula that Vans applied? 

Target relevance + long term collaboration = successful influencer program.

Let’s start with the target. Ask yourself, “Who is most relevant to teens and twenty somethings today?”

It’s not extreme sports, not anymore. Today, it’s esports. Gaming is exploding in popularity. There are half a billion people who identify as esports fans or enthusiasts. Video game revenue in the U.S. is forecasted to reach $230 billion by 2022.

One upstart in the energy drink category identified this gap between what teens are interested in today and where the incumbent energy drink companies are advertising.

That company is GFuel. The New York–based company launched in 2014 and works with the most credible names in the space. They’ve created their own Z Boys in the form of Team Gamma, their exclusive roster of gamers.

Team Gamma is the crème de la crème of the esports and influencer world. It includes PewDiewPie, the largest YouTube channel run by an individual. PewDiePie, best known for his “play with me” style videos, has over 106 billion YouTube subscribers and nearly 27 billion views worldwide.

GFuel developed an entire product line with FaZe Clan, one of the most dominant esports teams. FaZe clan has turned gaming into a lifestyle brand. The team’s players live together in a mansion in L.A., each with massive YouTube channels and rubbing elbows with celebrities. FaZe Clan counts pro athletes, rappers and even Lady Gaga’s former manager Troy Carter as investors.

Team Gamma has nearly 100 other members with equally impressive pedigrees, massive audiences and credibility in esports. 

Both Vans and GFuel identified the most credible personalities relevant to their audience. They both took it a step further as well.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Influence Is More Important Than Brand Awareness

Collaboration

Vans was farsighted when it partnered with skaters. Peralta didn’t wear Vans in one contest or one ad — he wore them at all his contests. Vans didn’t ask skaters only to promote its products but instead to co-develop them.

The Van Dorens took feedback from Peralta and Alva, developing signature shoes for their team riders. They intertwined the brand with the personalities driving the sport.

Would you take input from an influencer? Would you build a product around them the way Vans did? 

GFuel is doing this with Team Gamma.

In collaborating with FaZe clan, GFuel launched a pineapple flavored, powdered drink mix called FaZe Clan’s Battle Juice, as well as four ready-to-drink flavors. In collaboration with PewDiewPie, GFuel launched PewDiePie Lingonberry featuring his branding on the can. The company worked with British YouTuber/Gamer/Boxer/Musician KSI to launch a new Strawberry Banana flavor. At the start of 2020, GFuel partnered with one of the most popular streamers, Dr Disrespect, to launch the Black on Blackberry GFuel can. The list goes on — GFuel has partnered with influencers to create myriad other flavors and products.

Related: How to Position Your Product in a Niche Market

Team Gamma is paying off. The strategy has turned GFuel into the fastest growing energy drink company as interest has exploded. 

GFuel applied the same strategy as Vans in deciding not to opt for a one-off endorsement or a single ad with one big influencer. The people at GFuel partnered with the members of Team Gamma to create exclusive product lines. They reinterpreted what worked for Vans in the ’70s for today’s digital landscape.

Where would Vans be today if it had paid Peralta to wear the company’s shoes in just one contest or do just one ad? Vans benefited from Peralta and other skaters’ star power to the point that skateboarding and Vans became synonymous with one another.

I can’t imagine Vans could have become an $11.8 billion a year brand any other way.

Much of the ad industry has recognized influencers as an advertising channel. However, most advertisers pay influencers to do one post and then move on. There’s a failure to apply the formula we know works.

So as you go and develop your own influencer programs, ask yourself: “Am I thinking about this long-term? Am I applying the formula that’s worked so well for other brands?” 

That formula again: Target relevance + long term collaboration = successful influencer program.

By: Brendan Gahan – Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor / Partner & Chief Social Officer At Mekanism

From the first pair of Vans in 1966, to countless pairs of Vans in 2016, Steve Van Doren, the Godfather of Vans, has been putting his staple on Vans footwear since he started working for his father’s company 50 years ago. His dedicated led to the production of the first-ever skateboarding shoe. Get a glimpse into the past and take a tour of what goes into making a pair of Vans shoe with Steve and Vans Skate Legend Christian Hosoi. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/1aIFFTY Connect with Vans: http://bit.ly/1uPubcu Facebook: http://bit.ly/29CDdc4 Twitter: http://bit.ly/29AT0Gz Instagram: http://bit.ly/29wXHB5 Snapchat: http://bit.ly/29tPZpI Pinterest: http://bit.ly/29tf1Gs Tumblr: http://bit.ly/1Rjvlt7 Vine: http://bit.ly/29HDMRB Google+: http://bit.ly/29ASVTm About Vans: Vans®, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is the original action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans® authentic collections are sold in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans® has over 2,000 retail locations globally including owned, concession and partnership doors. The Vans® brand promotes creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture and delivers progressive platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, Vans Pool Party, Vans Custom Culture, and Vans’ cultural hub and international music venue, House of Vans. Vans Top Athletes: Anthony Van Engelen, Geoff Rowley, Kyle Walker, Chima Ferguson, Gilbert Crocket, Tony Trujillo, Elijah Berle, Rowan Zorilla, Lizzie Armanto, Joel Tudor, Leila Hurst, Nathan Fletcher, Dane Gudauskas, Tanner Gudauskas, Patrick Gudauskas, Mikey February, Dakota Roche, Scotty Cranmer, Kevin Peraza, Dennis Enarson, Larry Edgar, Angie Marino, Jake Kuzyk, Hana Beaman, Mary Rand. How to Make Vans Footwear with Steve Van Doren and Christian Hosoi | 50th Anniversary | VANS https://www.youtube.com/user/VansShoes66

20 Ways to Make Money as a Social Media Influencer

Mike Schmidt Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer Founder home August 31, 2020 8 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many people think we’re at the peak of the “creator economy,” pointing to supply saturation, overvalued tech startups and creator burnout as their central arguments. But I think we’re at the beginning. After building a technical product that has facilitated thousands of influencer marketing activations, I can assure you that technology has a long way to go to help existing and aspiring creators achieve their financial goals.

One-third of kids between the ages of 8 and 12 aspire to be either a vlogger or a Youtuber. Kids are no longer aspiring to be doctors, lawyers, engineers; many kids want to become creators on social media. Social media exposure seems to be influencing kids’ future career aspirations.

Pair that with the facts that Youtube made $15 billion last year, with nearly half of that going to content creators. Youtube is the social content forerunner; whenever there is economic opportunity, creators will go. It’s no surprise that Tiktok unveiled a $200 million fund for creators and Instagram is going to start sharing revenue with creators on IGTV. That said, Instagram has a long way to go given that they made $20 billion in revenue last year and barely shared any with creators.

Related: 10 Ways to Kick Start Your Career As Beauty Influencer

The barriers to entry are nearly zero. Networks reward content creation and more macroeconomic trends such as ecommerce support the growing digital economy.

Here are 20 strategies to help you grow your career as a content creator.

1. Put keywords that can help identify your interests in your bio so that search engines pick up your profile

There are a lot of influencer and publisher search engines, including more prominent platforms like Google. Search engines aren’t magic; they need something to anchor their decisions. If you help them index your page, you will show up when brands are looking for you. If you’re a mom with three kids, put that in your bio! Do you have a French bulldog? Put that in, too! Imagine if you’re a brand or agency. PR teams look for specific things and they will use tools to search for particular keywords.

2. Don’t buy followers or pay for likes on your posts

This one should be straightforward, but a majority of brands have bot detection services at their disposal. If they determine that your account has a lot of bots following you or engaging with your content, it will be too much risk for them to partner with you.

3. Pick a category that has a lot of ad dollars and optimize your content for that category

PR managers and talent managers are continually searching for new talent to prospect and pitch. If you’re in a popular category, it’s likely to get more results. The most desired influencer advertising categories are animals, lifestyle, travel, beauty and fitness. 

Related: How to Become a Travel Influencer on Instagram?

4. Delete old branded content 

Many brands look for conflict of interests and brand saturation in your feed. You’ll want to remove old branded content. Modern influencer marketing tools can also tell brands and agencies the percentage of how much sponsored content you have. If you have a double-digit percentage of sponsored content in your feed, it could be a major turn-off.

5. Tag and show other influencer friends in posts 

Brands and agencies love when you know other influencers — they see it as a two-for-one deal. You also benefit from getting more shares and organic traffic.

6. Run ads to gain followers

Many aspiring creators don’t have a lot of followers in the beginning. Instead of doing the follow and unfollow trick or buying likes, followers and comments, buy targeted ads to get your channel to at least 3,000 followers.

Many search engines don’t track influencers with less than 3,000 followers. You’ll need to pay to play here, but rest assured that creators who do this well eventually make money. If your career is to be a social influencer, invest in your business.

7. Include your pet

The animal category is the highest sought-after category for influencer marketing. Most brands lean on the pet and animal category to hit their growth targets when numbers are sluggish. Pet content gets the most clicks and PR specialists know that. You’ll notice many brands like Ford sprinkle in a dog here and there — now you know why.

Related: 10 Ways How Brands and Influencers Can Grow Their Social Media Presence

8. Make your content consistent

Brands love predictability. Use the same filters, styling and story formats. If you’re looking to work with big brands and agencies, they like to know you are safe to market with. Think about what brands want. They want to drive sales and awareness, so work backward on what you think will make your content appealing in these scenarios.

9. If you’re new to the content game, create at least 20 posts

PR reps will be very scrutinous when evaluating your page and longevity is something they’re looking for. If you’re starting fresh, post frequently at the start. When you cross the 20-posts milestone, start staggering your posts so you don’t come across as spammy. If you’re cleaning up your feed, delete anything that’s not on spec.

10. Remove any NSFW content

Some of the largest spenders in the influencer marketing category are consumer packaged goods brands, and they have strict brand safety guidelines. One post that doesn’t align with their philosophies will get you vetoed from their upcoming campaigns.

11. Create a business account on Instagram

Brands and agencies can often only see your posts if you have a business account. You may lose out on a potential deal if you don’t have one. Furthermore, if you do get a deal, they will likely ask you to connect your account with an analytics service and in doing so you will need to create a professional account.

Related: The Future of Influencer Marketing Post Covid-19

12. Make sure your contact information, including a business email, is in your bio

Search engines index text on your page and parse our email addresses. The more information you put here, the easier it will be for brands to reach out to you. Search engines also show accounts higher if they have contact information. This is so brands and agencies can have a better experience when reaching out.

13. Reach out to influencer marketing platforms

Find influencer marketing platforms and reach out to them to ensure your data is displayed correctly. A lot of deals are passing through these tech platforms and you want to make sure you are appropriately represented. Many modern platforms will let you connect your accounts, fill in personal details and more.

14. Put your birthday month or your horoscope in your bio 

Ecommerce teams love to send influencers gifts. It’s a very strategic move for creators to include their birthday month or a horoscope in their bio because brands often look for unique ways of engaging influencers. Remember, brands are trying to get in touch with you as much as you are trying to get in touch with them.

15. Have a secondary social channel

Having more than one channel to promote on will help you in the long run, but the main reasons you want to invest in this early on is because brands love when you have a multi-channel strategy. Another benefit is that search engines parse this data and link your other social connections to their databases. The best channels to invest in are Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube and blogs.

Related: Now Is the Ideal Time to Invest in Influencer Marketing

16. Find a niche and be different

Do research, create a spreadsheet of creators in your space and be unique. Update your competitive sheet every month.

17. Survey your audience every month

Learn about what your audience loves and be customer-obsessed. Engage with your customers in new ways and try to connect with them. The hardest thing for creators being more disciplined in this category. It’s not just responding to comments — it’s jumping on a videoconference and asking your fans when they love about your content.

18. Go live

Nearly every digital platform is trying to disintermediate TV. Live content is the toughest to produce and therefore the most sought-after. Social platforms will do everything they can to promote it. If you were a product manager at Facebook, what would you do? Send more notifications? Promote more content? Host AMAs, do live contests and have giveaways. It doesn’t need to be fancy — just try something!

19. Be nice

This seems obvious, but creators lose deals with brands because they aren’t easy to work with. This doesn’t mean you have to do everything that brands ask all the time. It just means that creators should engage in business matters professionally — after all, this could be your job!

20. Don’t use hashtags

Unless you’re working on a campaign with an instructed hashtag, avoid it. People know what spam tagging looks like and it looks desperate.

Related: 6 Ways How Entrepreneurs and Influencers Can Work Together to Build A Powerful Brand

By: Mike Schmidt – Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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