Influencer marketing is having its moment.
Whether it’s a tagged pair of shoes in an Instagram post, or an “unboxing” video on Snapchat, brands are fighting hard to get their products into the hands of social media celebs who can move the needle on their sales numbers.
The Rise of Influencer Marketing
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, over one-third of marketers have a standalone budget for influencers in 2017.
It’s easy to see the appeal as influencer marketing can deliver 11 times higher ROI than traditional brand marketing. As influencer–brand partnerships begin to reach mass adoption, what metrics should markets be looking at? Today’s infographic is good primer on the state of influencer marketing.
At first glance, influencer marketing sounds like a strange concept, but it’s a natural evolution of content marketing over social media platforms. To understand influencer marketing, it helps if we step back and look at the big picture of how content marketing actually works.
Content Marketing: Fighting for Feed Space
Most social media platforms have the same format – content posted by people is arranged into a customized “feed” for you to consume. Content marketing is simply the process of getting users to follow your brand on platforms so your content appears in their feeds.
In the earlier days of social media marketing, people were more actively seeking out accounts to follow, including brand accounts. Today though, many platforms have hit a growth plateau, so unless your brand already has a large, engaged audience, it can tough to gain any traction. To add a layer of difficulty, many platforms (particularly in the Facebook ecosystem) now restrict the reach of brand accounts in an effort to get them to spend money on advertising.
In short, reaching people (including your opt-in audience) is much harder than it used to be.
The Human Connection
The algorithms that rank posts in your feed are looking for something specific: engagement. And let’s face it, a brand posting about their product is not going to be as exciting as a well-connected personality showcasing their life. It’s the latter example that shows up first in social feeds, and that’s one major benefit to working with an influencer.
As well, peer opinion is a powerful force in purchase decisions. If a content creator is truly influential, they can provide a massive boost to a brand’s profile that would be very difficult to manufacture through other marketing methods.
We see these creators as partners of the brand helping us to build deeper connections with the young millennials who look up to them.
– Obioma Enyia, Head of Brand Marketing at PepsiCo
Smart marketers are always looking for ways to target the right demographics to maximize the efficiency of their spend. Because influencers already have a measurable and observable audience, you can hone in on a specific type of consumer. If you find similar influencers in other regions, you can scale out a campaign in a very effective way.
Bigger brand are often looking for macro impact, and shell out big bucks to work with top tier celebrity influencers, but brands can take a more grassroots approach and partner with content creators at the city or even neighborhood level (often for a fraction of the spend). This is referred to as “micro-influence”, and is a fast-growing segment of influencer marketing.
How Does Compensation Work?
Compensation can take a few forms, but many influencers work on a pay-per-post basis. Experienced influencers will often be happy to receive compensation through referrals, particularly on platforms that have e-commerce integration.
How Do You Measure This Stuff?
Measuring the effectiveness of a campaign always comes down to sales in the end, but an influencer’s contribution to that can take different forms. Some brands are simply looking to align their brand with a “cool personality” who fits with their target audience. Other times, it will make sense to work with people who can drive traffic – and ultimately conversions – to their shopping cart.
Many agencies are skeptical of the influencer marketing trend.
Since there is no industry standard for reporting results, and because certain platforms (e.g. Snapchat) offer scant analytics, it can be tough to calculate ROI or trust the numbers in post-campaign reports.
I have very strong opinions about micro-influencers. It’s basically the biggest scam…
– Anonymous marketing executive (The full interview)
Along with dubious analytics, marketers should watch for fake followers and engagement. Keeping track of average engagement rates and doing a proper qualitative analysis on an influencer’s account should be the first step before working together.
The Evolution of Sponsored Posts
There will be an estimated 14.5 million* sponsored posts in 2017, and by 2019 that number could mushroom to 35 million. This spike in popularity is prompting concerns that we’re reaching a saturation point for influencer marketing, and that consumers will begin to tune out sponsored posts.
One thing is for certain, social media personalities are amassing sizable audiences for their content and are commanding serious marketing dollars in the process. It remains to be seen whether sponsored posts become a ubiquitous part of the social media landscape, or whether it will become a hackneyed tactic.
*This estimate only accounts for tagged, public posts
10 Ways You Can Build Leadership Communities in a Hybrid World of Work
Feeling disconnected? This infographic teaches you how to build strong leadership communities in your organization in a hybrid working world.
The world has never been more connected. Yet many of us feel more disconnected than ever before.
In particular, CEOs and managers can often feel isolated from their peers, and therefore crave a greater sense of community and belonging. This lack of social connection can have a detrimental impact on both them and their team—putting the future of their company at risk.
Leading in a Hybrid World of Work
This infographic from bestselling author Vince Molinaro dives into the ways you can build a strong community of leaders in your organization, enabling you to more successfully execute on strategy, drive growth, and deliver results.
The Critical Need for Leadership Communities
In today’s world, many leaders have been conditioned to work and lead in a way that is individualistic and hyper-competitive, which leads to problematic outcomes including:
- Limiting innovative ideas
- Causing overwhelm and stress
- Limiting diversity and a sense of inclusion
- Promoting a macho culture
- Creating heroes and zeros in organizations
This outdated model breeds a weak leadership culture. Even though leadership expectations are higher than ever, very few companies boast a strong leadership culture. In fact, just 15% of companies have the culture they need to succeed.
What does a weak leadership look like?
Weak Leadership Cultures
When leaders demonstrate the following behaviors, organizations are at risk of developing a weak leadership culture:
- They lack clarity around strategic priorities.
- They fail to inspire the people they lead.
- They tolerate ineffective and mediocre leadership.
- They demonstrate animosity for the success of other leads, teams, and departments.
- They work at cross-purposes with each other.
- They prop themselves up while downplaying the contribution of others.
- They don’t engage stakeholders.
- They regularly badmouth others and throw colleagues under the bus.
- They withhold information as a way to retain power over their peers.
- They act as bystanders when colleagues need help.
When these negative dynamics become apparent, organizations pay a significant price. According to a report from Qualtrics, 40% of managers see a decline in their mental health, while another study shows that 66% of leaders have checked out entirely.
It is clear that building a strong community of leaders has become critical as the world continues to become even more complex and uncertain. Let’s dive into some of the ways you can build a greater sense of belonging in your organization today.
The Characteristics of Leadership Communities
Here are the 10 characteristics and behaviors that promote a strong community of leaders. Does this describe your organization’s leadership culture?
|1. Have clarity on the strategic direction of the organization||Be determined to deliver on the most important strategic outcomes for the company|
|2. Create excitement about the future||Spread optimism about the company, even through adversity|
|3. Share a common aspiration to be great as leaders||Commit to their roles as leaders and help other leaders thrive|
|4. Lead with a united front and a one-company mindset||Lead in the best interest of the whole organization|
|5. Hold each other accountable by calling out unproductive leadership behavior||Demonstrate the courage to call out misaligned and unacceptable behaviors|
|6. Celebrate success and key milestones||Ignite passion by recognizing others and showing progress towards goals|
|7. Break down silos and collaborate effectively||Identify accountability gaps that weaken the leadership culture|
|8. Keep internal politics and personal agendas to a minimum||Behave in a direct and transparent manner with peers|
|9. Demonstrate resilience and resolve in the face of adversity||Turn to each other while navigating tough challenges|
|10. Support one another and have each other’s backs||Build high-trust relationships with one another|
Most leaders want to be in an environment where there is real clarity, alignment, commitment, and mutual support—it just takes one accountable leader to make it happen.
The Benefits to Creating a Strong Community of Leaders
If done right, the effects of building a strong community of leaders can be extraordinary:
- Promotes a stronger sense of belonging.
- Allows for greater knowledge sharing.
- Encourages higher levels of performance.
- Creates a culture of accountability.
- Improves employee engagement.
Moreover, research shows that employee engagement is directly linked to a company’s culture and value system. In fact, employee engagement levels can reach up to 72% when managers work well with each other.
With the working world transforming before our very eyes, it’s time to establish a new leadership contract so that CEOs and managers can lead their organizations successfully into the future.
Do you have what it takes to be a community builder? Download your Ebook to discover practical strategies you can apply today.
Animated Map: Visualizing Earth’s Seasons
This map visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how our planet’s Arctic sea ice and vegetation changes throughout the year.
Animated Map: Visualizing Earth’s Seasons
Why does Earth have seasons?
Many people think the seasons are dictated by Earth’s proximity to the Sun, but this isn’t the case. It’s the Earth’s tilt, not its closeness to the Sun, that influences our seasons.
This animated map by Eleanor Lutz visualizes Earth’s seasons, showing how the temperature changes impact ice levels in the Arctic as well as vegetation more broadly. It also highlights the cloud cover and sunlight each hemisphere receives throughout the year, with each frame in the animation representing a month of time.
Why is Earth Tilted?
Unlike some of the planets that sit completely upright and rotate perpendicularly, Earth rotates on a 23.5-degree axis.
But why? A commonly accepted theory among the scientific community is the giant impact hypothesis. According to this theory, a celestial object called Theia collided with Earth many years ago, when the planet was still forming. This collision not only knocked Earth into its tilted position—some believe that the dust and debris from this impact ended up forming our moon.
Ever since, our planet has been rotating with a slight tilt (which itself is not fixed, as it “wobbles” in cycles), giving us our varying seasons throughout the year.
How Earth’s Tilt Influences our Seasons
As our planet orbits the Sun, it’s always leaning in the same direction. Because of its tilt, the different hemispheres receive varying amounts of sunlight at different times of the year.
In December, Earth is technically closer to the Sun than it is in June or July. However, because the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun during December, that part of the planet experiences winter during that time.
The graphic above by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) visualizes Earth’s orbit throughout the year, showing when each hemisphere receives the most direct sunlight (and thus, experiences summer).
The Climate Change Impact
While our seasons have always varied, it’s worth noting that climate change has impacted our seasons, and changed how much Arctic ice we lose each summer.
In the past, millions of miles of ice remained frozen throughout the summer months. In the 1980s, there were 3.8 million square miles of ice in July—that’s roughly the same size as Australia.
Over the years, Arctic ice cover has steadily declined. In July 2020, the ice cover was only 2.8 million square miles—a million less than the amount four decades ago.
Some scientists are predicting that we could lose our summer sea ice entirely by 2035, which would have a devastating impact on the Artic’s wildlife and the indigenous people who live there.
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