On 28 March 2016, Instagram continued with its plans to change its photo and video feed model to one which is algorithm-based rather than organic. This is not on the cards just yet – the plan is to introduce it over the next few months – but for a platform which supersedes the others in terms of engagement and interaction, this move is very interesting indeed.
It is also one which is going to have a marked impact on brands, users and consumer behaviour. Like Facebook, this new structure will now see images slotted into streams based on user actions, not in reverse chronological order. For the A-List it probably means very little indeed. For the rest, well, there is a now almost dreaded ‘turn the notifications on’ post waiting for your eyes to land on it.
It’s probably not a good idea to tap that Follow Me unless you’re desperately keen to keep up with your favourite Jones’, there are enough pings and dings in our lives as it is. However, as a brand, you’re probably wondering what this is going to mean for you and your audience.
“The new Instagram algorithm is designed to focus on quality not quantity,” explains Kirsty Sharman, Head of Global Operations at Webfluential. “What it means is that brands are now required to focus on relevance to drive engagement, not just on volume. This is a powerful shift in how Instagram will play out for the brand and is the perfect opportunity to harness the right influencers in the Instagram market. There’s no need for the audience to tap the Follow Me button at all, they need only Like posts from their preferred Instagram personalities to see them recur in their feeds.”
Ultimately, as put forward by Instagram themselves, the goal here is to show the moments which map back to user interest and engagement. The optimised order means that if people frequently interact with a specific person or series of posts, then those are the ones they will see first. It’s simple – if a brand wants to be featured as part of the new algorithm they need to create posts which get more likes and audience engagement, or they need to work with the influencers that do that already.
It is the ideal time for brands to work together with influencers who understand the value of relationships and powerful content.
Webfluential has found that Instagram is one of the fastest-growing platforms for our brands and influencers with significant reach and superb results. These are not come about as a result of volume, but as a result of focus, quality and targeted user engagement. Brands should start aligning to the influencers that reach the audience they’re after – to get them to be a constant point of contact in the social feeds of their consumers.
“The best content is about to rise to the top and it will be that which truly captivates the user. Cream always rises to the top,” says Murray Legg, Head Of Strategy at Webfluential. “To truly harness the capabilities of Instagram and the influencer, you need a platform which recognises the value of content and connects the right influencers to your brand – that is the Webfluential technology we’re seeing do great things for brands.”
For now, however, mass panic can die down and hysterical ‘turn on notifications’ must stop. “This change is designed to make Instagram better for the end user, let’s use it as an opportunity to make us better marketers too,” says Kirsty Sharman.
You probably tip your waiter more than you pay for internet services
At Webfluential we’re all about giving you the tools to grow your influence and take your personal brand to the next level. With the launch of Booked By Webfluential, we’ve taken it one step further. Now brands can book you directly from your own website, using a slick-looking booking form that generates a quote for your work. Like other web-based booking tools, we charge a small service fee for each booking you accept – about 10%. What you’d usually tip your waiter.
Let’s talk about Airbnb, another online booking service. They’re the guys who changed the face of rental accommodation, convincing ordinary people to open their homes to local or foreign guests and make some extra cash at the same time. So, just like the local B&B or hotel – but at a more affordable rate. Today Airbnb is the best thing to have happened to the tourism industry world-wide.
But Airbnb isn’t alone. Freelancer.com and Upwork.com are two sites that have made a name for themselves as portals to cash for hardworking freelancers.
Then there’s our influencer marketing platform, reinventing the relationship between brands and influencers by making it easier than ever to connect and collaborate, with our Booked By Webfluential technology.
These sites all have one thing in common – we all charge a small percentage on a transaction or booking. Charging a fee makes business sense. It allows us to keep custom-developing useful tools to make your lives easier.
For Airbnb, Freelancer.com, Webfluential and Upwork, this percentage is determined by demand and value to both our customers and users.
The service is quick, easy and fun. Today you’re drinking a cup of tea in your backyard, tomorrow you’re under a brolly in London. Travellers pay a guest service fee, which can be anything from 6-12%. An additional 3% service fee is collected from the host for each reservation. That’s a percent on each side to ensure Airbnb delivers on the following guarantees and services:
Transaction fees covered by Airbnb
Personalised service and pretty impressive holiday experiences
Airbnb also charges VAT for hosts and guests in some regions and their own variable exchange rates. There’s quite a bit more happening behind the scenes than what appears on the surface, but still not as complicated or pricey as many other holiday booking sites.
Time saved: What’s a few percent when you’ve just saved hours scouring for deals on the internet and you get to live comfortably at a cheaper rate in someone else’s home for a few days?
Freelancer.com charges the client a small project fee dependent on the size of the project. Their table can be a little daunting and expects you to do a lot of reading in order to figure out how to get the best value for your bid. The site also charges a percentage fee in contest winnings by taking a 20% service fee from the total service price and a 15% project fee if a freelancer is awarded a recruiter project. What does it offer the user?
Anytime cancellation up to seven days from booking with a full refund
Protection of payment until work is done to specific standards
A project-based structure for cost-saving and broader reach
Access to a broad spread of work and opportunity for those who want it
Time saved: Need a competent freelancer without the hassle of emailing a thousand people referred by friends? Here you go.
Upwork has a service fee – 10% of the total amount charged to the client – which is paid by the freelancer. The client gets the freelancer and the contacts for free. The freelancer has to work out a final charge which can include the service fee as part of the overall price. What are the benefits?
Central location to find verified clients and work
A clearly outlined rate calculator and help system
Access to a pool of talent which is ready to grab and bid on a job
A well-established system which accesses a global market
Time saved: All of the freelancers in one space across multiple platforms. When it comes to cutting on time, this is a big one for both client and freelancer. Time saved is enough to take on a new commission and accept payment from an old one.
Webfluential’s booking form Booked By Webfluential is easy to use, plugs into WordPress, and gives you instant credibility as an influencer. The charge is 10% off the top, without any hidden agendas or secretive extras. And the value add?
Free and simple to install which allows a booking from anywhere, anytime by any brand
Brands get a professional quote instantly. You get to generate a quote easily
Pricing support that ensures that you stay in line with market demand or use your own structure
Get paid on time
Improved collaboration and reporting with everything from a one-on-one Chat Room function , to bookings, briefs and payments – all in one place
Time saved: One form. A thousand brands. You don’t need 1 000 forms with vendor details, agency lists, payment chasing and frustration. Time saved is enough to write another blog post, engage another reader and build on your influence.
Webfluential is a global Influencer Marketing platform which provides the smartest marketing technology for brands to connect to social influencers. The platform makes it easy for marketers to create, manage and track campaigns with credible influencers and provides influencers with the tools to market their services and monetise their audience.
Sit up, take notice and get connected, because Influencer Marketing is here to stay
Influencer Marketing is one of the most powerful ways to share your brand’s message, by using people who your audience already trust: individuals with immense personal reach and reader engagement. They make your brand the talking point of their conversations. It’s engaging. It’s credible. And it’s real.
People trust people.
When Aunt Zelda recommends the bistro on 7th Avenue, you know it’s worth checking out. When your best friend raves about a book she read and loved, you know it’ll grab you too. This is the power of personal persuasion and it can be harnessed by savvy brands.
Influencers can be incorporated into marketing strategies and play a pivotal role in how the brand is shaped and portrayed on social media. They can run an effective word-of-mouth campaign which starts conversations and, if done well, gets people talking about the brand across multiple platforms and markets.
So why use it?
Well, it’s not a growing trend just because it sounds nice. A McKinsey study found that word-of-mouth-inspired marketing delivers 37% greater customer retention rates and twice the sales when compared with paid advertising.
Furthermore, RhythmOne data shows that the average earned media value (EMV) of Influencer Marketing programmes in the United States were 1.4 times higher in the first half of 2015 than in 2014 altogether.
Add to this the fact that a Schlesinger Associates study found that 81% of marketers believe that influencer engagement is effective; that 92% of consumers say they trust earned media such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, and you’re onto a winner.
The flip side shows exactly why Influencer Marketing is growing in popularity at such a rapid rate. Brands are in desperate need of that next big breakthrough because consumers aren’t listening to the usual marketing channels anymore.
The Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2B and B2C Content Marketing Trend report revealed some sobering facts towards the end of last year. It found that although 78% of brands increased the content they produced, engagement with the brand dropped by 60%.
According to the report brand-generated content had the lowest engagement rates on social media. Improvements in ad-blocking technology, which consumers are readily adopting, are lowering brand reach as ads are stopped before they are even seen.
So, it’s pretty obvious why Influencer Marketing is enjoying such a strong and loyal following, while yielding impressive results in value and return on investment. And it’s not just for the chosen few or the lucky guy who happened to launch a campaign at just the right time (although that always works).
It’s ideal for any brand which is ready to engage with influencers using a clear brand strategy, an authentic voice and consistent messaging.
A robust Influencer Marketing strategy will know when to amplify your content, build credibility around your brand, reach new audiences, create and share relevant content and influence the path to purchase.
Now you just need to figure out which influencers are right for you and connect with them in the right ways.