What is an Instagram influencer, and how can influencer marketing benefit my brand? You don’t need Kylie Jenner

What is an Instagram influencer?

An Instagram influencer is someone who has a large following on the social media platform (Instagram) and has built up a large fan base by engaging and encouraging others to get involved on their page. An Instagram influencer has a virtual group of people who watch their videos and like their posts regularly. These followers trust the influencer’s opinion and are often strongly influenced by their decisions, hence the term ‘influencer’.

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For many influencers, this is their full-time job and can make a large amount of money doing so. Due to their large and loyal following, they promote and sell various products.

Influencers can work for lots of different companies or brands, and get paid to promote certain products. A key way this is done is through the use of discount codes, and the influencer will then receive a proportion from the sales generated.

In the last five years, there has been an increase in the number of people that have taken up the influencer lifestyle. Influencer marketing is on track to become an £8 billion industry by the end of 2020. Due to the increase in online activity, there are now different categories of influencers, and they go up in stages based on how many followers they have.

People with 1,000 – 10,000 followers are called Nano-influencers. The next level up is the people with 10,000 – 100,000, who are called micro-influencers, and lastly, the people with way over 100,000 and into the millions are called mega-influencers.

It is really important to know the difference when it comes to influencer marketing and looking at how your business can benefit.

How can influencer marketing help my business?

Whether you own a small business or a multimillion-pound business, Instagram influencer marketing is a great way to spread awareness for your products. Having an influencer with a large following to promote your products and give them a good review, increases the opportunity for others who have never heard of your business before to buy your products and follow your brand.

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When you are choosing which influencer to contact, try to find someone who already supports similar products to yours. This can act as a key advantage, as they will already have a following that is already interested in that specific area or market.

An example of this could be vegan food. If an influencer has made it clear they are vegan and on their profile, they promote vegan bars, they are very likely to have a large vegan following. This would be a really useful boost if you were running a vegan business or sell vegan products.

If you’re just starting up a business, giving free samples to nano-influencers or micro-influencers could increase sales. This is because they have the highest engagement rate of all the categories.

This means even though they have the least amount of followers, the followers they do have are normally more loyal and active on the account. You are more likely to reach a higher percentage of active followers from ten posts on a micro-influencers account than with one post on a mega-influencers account.

It also means that you won’t have to pay them to sample and review your products, as they are less likely to require payment over some of the bigger influencer names such as Molly-Mae Hague or Bretman Rock. There are a lot of people on Instagram as it is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world.

If you can get your products posted on multiple pages then it’s going to gain a lot more traction. The more times people and potential customers see your product the more times they will look into it and think about purchasing it.

The key is to make your business as big and as spread out across as many different groups of followers as you can, this gives the illusion to people your product is being used and promoted everywhere.

Things to know before getting involved in influencer marketing

Before getting involved in influencer marketing there are a few things you need to be aware of; for example, not all influencers will be willing to give reviews for certain products. Therefore, to avoid wasting time, do lots of research into their page before asking them to partner with or promote your brand.

One of the main things to look into is how many likes and comments they get, this is to see if they have a high engagement level on their page. Another thing to look into is to see what kind of following they have and if they have a specific target audience. If their target audience is clear make sure that it matches the audience your product is designed for.

This could be any group from those who enjoy reading and love cats, to teenagers passionate about make-up and concerts. More factors to consider include: do the influences have the image that you are looking, do they speak the language that is important for you, are they the right age, the right gender and do they live in the right location.

These are all factors to think about before deciding. The influencer you chose will then be the face for your product and brand, so making sure that person is what you want is important.

One of the things that businesses must do before deciding who they are going to ask, is to look into how many other promotions they have done and see if they were successful.

Reading the comments is so important as it allows you to see if their followers still trust their opinion and if their following is also actively buying the products.

This also allows you to see if the influencer is positive and active at answering the questions people may ask them, as that could help increase sales as lots of more information could be given.

Once you’ve found the influencer or influencers who you believe could help increase interest and raise the sales of your products the last step to take is making sure that if you agree to pay them, you are paying a fair price for the service they can provide.

Having an agreement such as posting one promotion every month can allow for you to see how much you are gaining from having an influencer marketing your products. Therefore, you can see if its working and then you can look into hiring another person.

However, if you don’t think it’s working and benefiting your business, you can stop. It’s a very easy and potentially cheaper type of marketing, that you can get into and benefit from.

If you are interested in Instagram influencer marketing check out our Insta Business book on Amazon for more guidance and tips to making it on Instagram.

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InstaBusiness available from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/InstaBusiness-Quick-Start-Making-Instagram/dp/B085K7X3NQ/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=instabusiness&qid=1591367485&sr=8-1

Do people really believe the 5G coronavirus (COVID-19) conspiracy theory?

As social distancing continues and covid-19 patients self-isolate, there are many coronavirus conspiracy theories which have been spreading on social media platforms. One of them has been falsely claiming that 5g technology has been responsible for the spread of the virus.

Other conspiracy theories have traced the origin of the virus to the Chinese government as a biological weapon. Australia hit back at the United States for the link that put a connection between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and COVID-19, and the New York Times noted that China Lab rejected the claims.

Fact checking has been more important than ever as there are other 10 current conspiracy theories, for instance, see this article COVID: Top 10 current conspiracy theories and one of them involves Bill Gates as a scapegoat. The World Health organisation has noted that during the coronavirus pandemic a battle against false information has also been taking place. Fact-checking has been more important than ever during the covid-19 pandemic. As conspiracy theorists run rampant across the digital landscape.

It has become more important to rapidly analyse content from social media platforms to understand the drivers of false news and to develop strategies to fight misinformation. In our latest studies published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) entitled COVID-19 and the 5G Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data we analyse the 5G Covid-19 conspiracy theory. More specifically, we set out to investigate which Twitter users and Web sources were influential.

We found that Infowars and other fake news websites were influential and Twitter users linked to YouTube videos which argued for the link between 5G and COVID-19. We also found that an individual account was set up to spread the conspiracy theory which should have been taken down by Twitter much sooner.

Overall we found that only a handful of users truly believed the conspiracy theory (35%), and others users inadvertently raised its profile to make it a trending topic on Twitter. We recommend that other Twitter users report such misinformation rather than engage and/or amplify it.

Our paper full paper can be read here: https://www.jmir.org/2020/5/e19458/

Dangerous Messages or Satire? Analysing the Conspiracy Theory Linking 5G to COVID-19 through Social Network Analysis

Our pre-peer review preprint is now online for Journal of Medical Internet Research:

(https://www.jmir.org/preprint/19458)

ABSTRACT

Background:

Since the beginning of December 2019 COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world which has led to increased discussions across online platforms. These conversations have also included various conspiracies shared by social media users. Amongst them a popular theory has linked 5G to the spread of COVID-19 leading to misinformation and the burning of 5G towers in the United Kingdom. The understanding of the drivers of fake news and quick policies oriented to isolate and rebate misinformation are key to combating it.

Objective:

To develop an understanding of the drivers of the 5G COVID-19 conspiracy theory and strategies to deal with such misinformation

Methods:

This paper performs a Social Network Analysis and Content Analysis of Twitter data from a 7-day period in which the #5GCoronavirus hashtag was trending on Twitter. Influential users are analyzed through social network graph clusters. The size of the nodes is ranked by their betweenness centrality score and the graph’s vertices are grouped by cluster using the Clauset-Newman-Moore algorithm. Topics and Web sources utilized by users are examined.

Results:

Social Network Analysis identified that the two largest network structures consisted of an isolates group and a broadcast group. The analysis also reveals that there was a lack of authority figure who was actively combating such misinformation. Content analysis reveals that only 35% of individual tweets contained views that 5G and COVID-19 were linked whereas 32% denounced the conspiracy theory and 33% were general tweets not expressing any personal views or opinions. Thus, 65% of tweets derived from non-conspiracy theory supporters which suggests that although the topic attracted high volume only a handful of users genuinely believed the conspiracy. This paper also shows that fake news websites were the most popular Web-source shared by users although YouTube videos were also shared. The study also identified an account whose sole aim was to spread the conspiracy theory on Twitter.

Conclusions:

The combination of quick targeted interventions oriented to delegitimize the sources of fake information are key to reducing their impact. Those users voicing their views against the conspiracy theory, link-baiting, or sharing humorous tweets inadvertently raised the profile of the topic, suggesting that policymakers should insist in the efforts of isolating opinions which are based on fake news. Many social media platforms provide users with the ability to report inappropriate content. This study is the first to analyse the 5G conspiracy theory in the context of COVID-19 on Twitter offering practical guidance to health authorities in how, in the context of a pandemic, rumors may be combated in the future.

Find the preprint here: https://www.jmir.org/preprint/19458

The Constellation of Joe Wicks

Dr Wasim Ahmed, University of Newcastle, UK; Dr Opeoluwa Aiyenitaju, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK; Professor Simon Chadwick, Emlyon Business School, France; Dr Alex Fenton, University of Salford, UK.

Joe Wicks, the British fitness coach who initially shot to prominence on Instagram, is continuing to engage children and fitness fanatics across the world. With many people either social isolating or locked down, Wicks’ daily P.E. workouts delivered via YouTube have become a staple of household routines.

In an earlier article, we noted how Wicks’ workouts have driven the development of a huge social media communications network. This includes via platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. We are still monitoring Wicks and his influence in a research project that uses mixed methods research.

The questions underpinning our analysis are: What is the nature of the health and well-being content being generated by this influencer? How is it moving through social media networks? And what is user sentiment towards this content?

Following our latest analysis of communications posted by and about Joe Wicks, we have identified that they appear in a form that is something akin to a constellation (Figure 1). In this pattern of communications, Wicks is the big influencer star, although he is surrounded by a host of other influencer stars albeit ones that shine less brightly in this context.

Figure 1: The Joe Wicks social media constellation

A closer examination of the constellation (which we refer to as the #Wicksophere) reveals the identities of other influencer stars in the constellation. Among these are television personality and journalist Piers Morgan, and writer and journalist Caitlin Moran (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Star influencers in the Joe Wicks constellation

This observation is consistent with our earlier findings that Wicks constitutes the focal node in a broadcast network form, but that content about him is in turn driven by a series of other high profile, often famous personalities and influencers.

However, in this iteration of our study we employed a measure of betweenness centrality — a measure of the ‘influence of a vertex over the flow of information between every pair of vertices under the assumption that information primarily flows over the shortest paths between them’.

This revealed a significant influencer over the last week or so has been an individual tweeting via the account @fliceverett (see Figure 3). This person is neither famous nor an established social media influencer. Instead, she impacted upon the flow of communications about Joe Wicks following a posting set in the context of peoples’ Covid-19 coping strategies (see Figure 4).

Figure 3: Flic Everett as a social media influencer
Figure 4: Flic Everett’s influencer posting on Twitter

Nevertheless, when we switched the nodes and labels associated with Wicks’ constellation to rank by number of followers rather than betweenness centrality, perhaps a slightly more stable view of the universe emerged (see Figure 5).

It is interesting to note that in this version of the constellation, planets such as comedian Stephen Fry and footballer Sergio Aguero are orbiting the suns of YouTube, CNN and Instagram. One can still see the space dust trajectory around Joe Wicks and Flic Everett, but one needs a more powerful telescope to zoom in and see them.

Figure 5: Wicks’ constellation with nodes ranked by number of followers

Our work examining Joe Wicks, social influencers and public health policy continues. Hence, we will be reporting again soon via this and our other digital channels. For the time-being, we nevertheless conclude that Wicks continues to be a significant public health influencer during this period when schools and other institutions are in lockdown.

We also note the space dust glitterati of influencers congregated around Wicks. However, we now also note that the meteor shower of influencers from within the general population may also periodically shoot through social media constellations.

Furthermore, it is clear from our initial work here that how one employs techniques of social network analysis also influences how collectively we view people such as Joe Wicks, Flic Everett and Piers Morgan.

This blog was originally posted on Professor Simon Chadwick’s Medium blog

Jennifer Aniston And Cristiano Ronaldo Use It, Now Its Your Turn To Achieve Success on Instagram

Major A-List stars use it to further extend their personal brand, shouldn’t you also? We believe that brands across various industries and of all sizes can use Instagram to further expand their reach. But for the uninitiated, what is Instagram?

Instagram is an American photo and video-sharing social networking service which is owned by Facebook. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 on iOS. On April 9, 2012.

However, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger sold Instagram, to Facebook. Facebook purchased the photo filter app 18 months after its launch for $1 billion: $300 million in cash, the rest in Facebook stock. That’s not a typo! Indeed, it was sold for $1 billion. This staggering amount of money should tell you to take this platform seriously.

One of the key features of Instagram compared to other social media sites was is its visual nature. The key premise on Instagram is to share pictures. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users which provides social media marketing agencies the ability to target a vast amount of people.

Social media advertising has now become a part of an organisations marketing budget. The famous Instagram logo is recognised all over the world. When Instagram is down, users tend to flock onto other platforms such as Twitter and cause a world-wide trend. Social media platforms are designed to be addictive. The more the public use Instagram converts to more ad-revenue for brands.

But how can you as a brand benefit from Instagram? One rule to follow is 80% faces. This means that every 8 in 10 posts should contain at least one human face. Our brains are hard-wired to engage most with images containing faces.

Users gauge how authentic a profile is through very complex subconscious signaling reading human emotions and body language. Never-ending posts of your product or services without the human element is a waste of your time. Instagram is all about personality, promoting your brand’s personality is impossible without images of your people!

Give users a behind-the-scenes look at how your business functions, images from the office , corporate days out and how your products are made are a good starting point.

Be as creative as possible as you want to stand out from the millions of images that are posted to the platform every day. Capitalise on the interactions you as a business owner or marketing professional make on a daily basis. Just had a great meeting with a supplier? Snap a picture. Remember to get permission from whoever is in the image too.

Are you interested in learning more about Instagram?

We are pleased to report that we have written extensively on this topic and our newest book:

InstaBusiness: The Quick Start Guide to Making it on Instagram is available exclusively on Amazon.

Interested in other social media platforms? Be sure to check out our tips on TikTok:

Why Generation Z Loves TikTok: Brands Shouldn’t be Afraid, You Don’t Have to Be Justin Bieber

Why Generation Z Loves TikTok: Brands Shouldn’t be Afraid, You Don’t Have to Be Justin Bieber

Social media marketing has been an effective way to target younger generations over the previous 10 years or so. Back in the day, brands could trust on using social media sites such as Facebook to reach a younger demographic. However, it was inevitable that through the evolution of social media platforms a newer competitor would arise.

TikTok has emerged out of nowhere with extreme popularity, but what is TikTok? TikTok is a Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is used to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. The app was launched in 2017 for iOS and Android in markets outside of China.

TikTok already has a number of social media influencers and is being utilised for social media marketing purposes. Essentially TikTok videos tend to be short video clips with a short sound track, typically under 10 seconds. TikTok songs can be selected by a user themselves.

Social media addiction is a real phenomenon and by nature TikTok is much more addictive than other platforms. We have found that users can easily expend hours a day browsing though TikTok videos. This is bad news for parents, but good news for social media advertisers as increased time on the platform leads to better ad potential.

As compared to static Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts TikTok is designed to be more appealing. The user-experience is stream-lined with audio and visual video elements combined with use of more of our senses when engaging with TikTok videos. Social media marketing agencies are already catching onto the popularity of the platform.

There is no such thing as normal on TikTok. Unlike Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, there is no etiquette. What is clear, however, is that all content should have a human face to it. Overly pushy marketing content will be reprimanded through TikTok’s use of AI and algorithmic decision-making.

You should create demand rather than look to make direct sales. TikTok is all about building a following through content that actually inspires some reaction out of the user. Remember that TikTok has 800 million active users worldwide and is growing!

TikTok also has a native ads platform, allowing you to pay your way into user feeds. Unlike Facebook, however, direct ads are wholly ineffective. All of the ad formats center around engagement rather than leads and sales. The native in-feed ad format resembles YouTube’s video ads before and during videos.

Crucially, these ads can be skipped after a few seconds, so engagement is key. Given the fact that your ad is being shown before they can watch content they actually want to view, engaging them enough to actually keep watching your ad beyond the point at which they are allowed to skip, is no easy feat.

Are you interested in learning more about TikTok?

We are pleased to report that we have written extensively on this topic and our newest book:

TikTok: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing to GEN Z is available exclusively on Amazon.

New output! (*Open Access*) Contextualising the 2019 E-Cigarette Health Scare: Insights from Twitter

Great to see our fully open access journal article go online today which aims to build an understanding of how social media may play a role in the global dissemination of amateur and unfounded speculation against accepted medical research. This research is significant because we find medical studies being socially challenged by various social media networks at an increasing rate.
Entitled: ‘Contextualising the 2019 E-Cigarette Health Scare: Insights from Twitter’ link below.

https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/7/2236?fbclid=IwAR2M3gnhkv2BbaDA1aTvY9TnlrmLmCGNppQ8Yd9xmBN6-J0DlrHVP_LTtVE

Keywords: electronic nicotine delivery systems; social media; smoking; twitter