What the Facebook Branded Content Tool Means for Bloggers and Blogger Marketing Networks (Updated April 2017)

facebook branded content tool

Disclaimer: Information shared below represents our findings to date. We will continue to update this post as we learn more.

In April 2016, Facebook announced the release of a new tool for branded content on verified pages to create easier collaboration on sponsored posts between Pages and brands.

The initial reaction to the announcement was mostly confusion about what exactly these new guidelines meant for brands and bloggers. This was especially the case for social media influencer marketing agencies, including The Motherhood, since we work with a network of “micro influencers” who promote sponsored content on their Facebook pages frequently.

According to Markerly, marketers are seeing higher engagement results with “micro influencers,” meaning those smaller-in-reach pages produce high value for brands through their devoted and active Facebook audience.

Before we answer what this tool means for marketers running influencer campaigns, let’s back up:

What is the Facebook branded content tool?

It’s a tool integrated into Facebook that allows pages and profiles to mark content that includes a third party, brand, or sponsor.

Branded content can be a post, Instant Article, link, photo, or video. Through the branded content tool, publishers of these posts tag the marketer or sponsor’s page. The marketer who is tagged will get a notification and receive access to insights on that post (such as the number of people who have seen it, click-throughs, etc.).

Facebook wants sponsored content to be marked clearly, therefore updating the branded tool this month to include the word “Paid” in the post.

Photo credit: Facebook

Do all influencers have to use the Facebook Branded Content Tool?

When the Branded Content Tool originally was launched in April 2016, Facebook only allowed verified pages (and then later, verified profiles) to access the branded content tool. However, Facebook recently announced that they are making the tool more widely available and offering it to non-verified pages, as well.

Starting in April 2017, for users on iOS and the web (and Android in the near future), any non-verified page can submit an application to access to the branded content tool. Facebook will begin to offer the tool on a rolling basis to non-verified pages that it predicts are most likely to use it. Pages will get a notification in Facebook if they are selected for the branded content tool.

We recommend that influencers apply for the Branded Content Tool. Once you are approved for tool (it usually only takes up to two days), you can easily mark which posts are sponsored by clicking the handshake icon when composing a new post. If you have any questions about using the Branded Content Tool within your current campaign with The Motherhood, feel free to reach out to your account manager to discuss.

Tips for sponsoring content on Facebook moving forward:

  • If you have not already, request access to the Branded Content Tool here.
  • Even with the tool, still disclose when a post is sponsored by a brand by using “ad” or “sponsored” in the post.
  • If a post is flagged as not complying with their branded content policies, Facebook will notify the publisher and the post will not appear in the News Feed until fixed.
  • If you are a brand or company reaching out to influencers to share branded content on their Facebook pages, we highly suggest consulting a marketing agency that has knowledge on the subject and is up-to-date on all policies. You can contact The Motherhood with inquiries at contact@themotherhood.com.

In our research since publishing this post, we have come across interesting articles on the topic that we would also like to share with you:

We are still following the news on the Facebook branded content tool and related topics, and we will be sure to keep our readers updated as the situation evolves — which, as many social media marketers know, is bound to happen! We welcome any feedback.

Updated: April 13, 2017

Managing Risks with Influencer Marketing

Don’t be the next case study on an influencer partnership gone awry. The Motherhood shares ways to mitigate risks of influencer marketing.

In this day and age, when social media influencers can have more clout than Hollywood A-listers, it’s vital to a brand’s well-being to ensure that potential brand ambassadors are properly vetted to minimize influencer marketing risks. That goes well beyond a skim of their blog/social channel or eyeballing their reach. It means getting to really know the influencer – what drives, motivates, moves and excites him or her. It means poring over every social post for hints of questionable behavior. It means relying on human intuition and not just automated searches.

Just as talent agencies and PR firms sign off on a prospective celebrity that a brand wants to endorse, when it comes to influencer marketing, it’s crucial to ensure someone is doing the due diligence that comes with engaging an influencer on behalf of your brand.

While there are dozens of influencer marketing companies cropping up weekly, can you be sure that the one you’re using is properly vetting your next spokesperson? If it’s an automated dashboard, without a human-touch element, the answer is likely “no.”

At The Motherhood, we take the time to get to know our influencers. We have more than a decade of experience in this sector, and we’ve formed personal relationships with hundreds of influencers over the years. It’s not always easy to determine if an influencer is truly a fit for a brand based on a quick review of their latest blog content, but when you engage an agency who puts their reputation on the line to ensure that their clients are working with the most target-right influencers in their space, you are more likely to mitigate the risks associated with influencer marketing.

Want to learn more about our process? Email us at contact@themotherhood.com.

Spotlight Blogger: Stefanie with Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too

As a working mom of four and rockstar influencer, Stefanie of Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too, sat down with us (virtually) to explain what inspires her and what informs and drives the content that she shares with her readers. We love Stefanie for her ability to deliver content that helps connect us with others and their experiences, her professionalism and her sharp influencer marketing insights — and that’s why we’re featuring her as our April Spotlight Blogger!

Here’s what we heard from Stefanie on topics ranging from working with brands to answering her readers’ questions:

What do you feel is the #1 trend for influencer marketing in 2017? 

Incorporating Facebook Live more frequently. Many people, including myself, don’t feel comfortable with Facebook Live just yet, but it’s a growing trend that brands seem to favor!

What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?

I’m a mom to four kids, and many of my readers have children, too. Any content related to parenthood or kids always does well on my blog. Moms love to discover great new products, recipes and ideas! 

What are your thoughts on working with a brand on multiple occasions (vs. one-off programs)? 

I’ve worked with several brands on multiple occasions, and our professional relationship gets stronger with each program/campaign. If a brand asks a blogger to work with them again, it means they valued the work the blogger did for them previously, and that definitely says a lot! When I work with a brand repeatedly, I feel like my content is more authentic each time.

What are your thoughts on programs measured by initial click-through rates? 

At first, I was a big fan of click campaigns, but after about a year, I realized it was turning readers away. Honestly, they can be a bit too stressful for me. I’m always worried about reaching my quota, and after a while, it feels like I’m spamming my followers with the same tweets and Facebook posts. Over the past few months, I cut back on click campaigns, and focused on working with brands that just want a thorough review. It’s a much more positive experience for me!

What is your favorite space to engage with your readers?

I take a LOT of pictures, so Instagram is my favorite platform! I love to get a little glimpse into the everyday lives of some of my favorite bloggers. I’m also introduced to a lot of amazing products on Instagram!

Where do you find inspiration for new blog posts?

I come up with most of my ideas after speaking to other moms! Listening to their struggles and wishes can really help form content that can be helpful to many others who feel the same way.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a blog?

Do it for yourself and stay authentic! Always remember why you started your blog. Making money is a bonus of blogging, but creating meaningful content and remaining true to yourself should be the most important thing!

Tell us why you blog. 

I’ve been blogging for eight and a half years! I originally started my blog to journal my life with my first two children. It was a way to document our days and keep family members who lived far away involved in our lives. At that time, blogging was strictly for journaling and socializing with other bloggers. It wasn’t until the past few years that blogging became more of a business! I’m not going to lie. There are times when I miss how blogging used to be, but just like everything else in life, it was time to progress. Even though I now offer more sponsored content, I don’t believe I should be a walking advertisement. I try to balance out my blog content by posting one real life post for every sponsored post. I never want to lose sight of why I started my blog in the first place: Sharing my life with my kids and socializing with other bloggers!

Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?

I absolutely loved working with Chick-fil-A! I partnered with them for three programs, and it was an amazing experience each time. It’s definitely a brand I feel passionate about, so creating authentic content was very easy for me!

Where do you see the most engagement with your content?

My engagement tends to be very strong on my blog and on Instagram. Pinterest, however, brings the most traffic to my blog! I always make sure I have a graphic that can be pinned with each post.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by your readers, and what’s your answer?

Three and a half years ago, I gave birth to my fourth son, and he was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after birth. All of the tests and ultrasounds were normal, so we had no idea! I get several emails each week from my readers asking questions about the diagnosis, how it could possibly happen and about life with Down syndrome. I’m not strictly a Down syndrome blogger, but I never mind answering questions that people have. That’s how people learn, and open conversation helps break all the misconceptions there are about Down syndrome.

What are brands doing right when working with bloggers?

The majority of brands are amazing to work with! They realize that bloggers and social media influencers are valuable, and they work hard to establish a strong, professional relationship. Most brands are very generous, and even the smaller brands, who can’t afford to compensate financially, tend to be generous with the products they send for review. Brands work really hard to make programs and campaigns a success, and it’s often a very positive experience for everyone involved!

What should brands start doing (better) when working with bloggers?

Over the past year, I was approached by several big brands who wanted a blog post, but offered absolutely nothing in return. While most brands are very generous to bloggers, there are some brands that need to realize that blogging is a job. Nobody wants to work without compensation of some kind. It takes thought and time to craft a thorough post, and our work is valuable!

Interested in learning more about Stefanie? Visit her blog or check out this self-proclaimed mamarazzi in action on Instagram!


More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.

Take a look at our other featured influencers here, and stop by in May for the next Spotlight Blogger!

 

Wheelbarrows, Customer-Led Growth and H.J. Heinz

We’ve been told The Motherhood’s office in Sharpsburg, PA sits on land that was once part of the H.J. Heinz family farm.

In the years we’ve been in this building, I’ve also heard many other stories about Sharpsburg’s most famous son. This is the one that’s most stuck with me (as told by Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine):

Sharpsburg’s residents tended gardens, and the Heinz family’s garden was sufficiently fecund to feed their children (soon to be eight) and provide extra for selling. In 1852, at the age of eight, first-born son H.J. began peddling the surplus in baskets door-to-door in the neighborhood. Two years later his parents gave him his own three-quarters of an acre and he began using a wheelbarrow to deliver produce. By the age of twelve, he had enlarged his tract to three-and-a-half acres and purchased a horse and cart to sell to customers.

Imagine that young Henry John (and how YOUNG he was!) farming and bottling, mostly horseradish, and going door-to-door selling from a wheelbarrow, right here, in our neighborhood.

What was H.J. thinking as he visited the neighbors, building the foundation of what became one of the world’s most well-known brands and biggest corporations?

In 1904, the house where H.J. Heinz founded his company was floated down the Allegheny River from Sharpsburg to Pittsburgh. Photo credit: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/businessnews/2013/02/15/history-of-heinz-it-all-began-with-his-mom-s-garden/201302150279

Of course, it comes back to his mother.

According to this article, H.J.’s mother, Anna, would tell him, “Always remember to place yourself in the other person’s shoes.”

Putting himself in the customer’s shoes, one of the things H.J. must have learned going door-to-door was that families – who were for the most part growing and preparing food themselves – demanded any food they bought from somewhere else had to be up to the families’ highest standards. From Explore PA History:

To convince prospective customers that his horseradish was pure and wholesome – just like homemade – Heinz used clear bottles, instead of the traditional green, to show customers that his was “unadulterated” horseradish that contained no leaves, grated turnip, sawdust, small chunks of wood, or other foreign substances that unscrupulous manufacturers often added. Consumers quickly recognized the quality of his product and soon sales of Heinz’s expanded line of horseradish, pickles, sauerkraut, and vinegar were brisk.

Young H.J. was obviously on to something. He listened to his customers and had a relationship with them, he innovated accordingly, based on what he heard from his customers, and he implemented those innovations, even expanding on them — and then repeated the process again and again.

Photo credit: https://artmap.com/wattis/exhibition/americana-pennsylvania-2011

Customer-led growth is a buzz word now, but it’s proven to be critical for any successful brand. H.J. Heinz planted the roots for not only customer-led growth, but also for what’s best in how brands and organizations use social media to connect and communicate with their customers.

What are some other lessons from H.J. Heinz on customer listening and relationship building that we can apply in the age of social media?

Build Trust by Being Transparent

Just as he aimed to be transparent in selling his own product in clear bottles, H.J. was a driving force in passing the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, a consumer protection law that aimed to prevent the sale or labeling of harmful foods and medicines – and an act that many other food manufacturers of the time opposed. This commitment to product safety and purity helped garner trust among his customers, and it boosted sales for his brand (source).

Transparency is a requisite for any successful brand. It applies to all aspects of a business – from leadership communicating with employees, to ensuring ethical business practices (like properly disclosing partnerships) and communicating successes or failures in an honest way to your stakeholders. In this day and age of interconnectivity and social media, it’s immediately apparent when brands are lacking transparency.

Show and Tell: Communicating Your Value

In the late 1800s, Heinz offered factory tours to demonstrate just how safe and clean his manufacturing process was. The tours highlighted how well he treated his employees through comfortable working conditions and instructing managers to listen to employee concerns. Visitors were also given samples of his products and a pickle pin on the tours. This was such a successful tactic that other companies soon started following suit (source).

H.J. was quoted as saying: “To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.” It’s commonplace for brands to demonstrate the benefits of a product or service. But doing it exceptionally well – communicating your value in a strategic way that breaks through the clutter – is what drives brand loyalty and spurs positive word of mouth.

Photo credit: http://explorepahistory.com/displayimage.php?imgId=1-2-125C

The quote above, “Heart Power is Better than Horsepower,” is the principle on which H.J. founded his business, and defined how he treated his employees (source).

While there is a need to create efficiency and a role for automation in nearly all industries, without that human touch, so much is lost. That human element is critical to process and respond thoughtfully to the concerns of your customers, or your employees.

Listening to Customers

H.J. not only applied his mother’s advice of placing yourself in the other person’s shoes to ensure fair treatment for his employees, but for his customers as well.

Listening is becoming increasingly important, as consumers are quicker than ever to share their unfiltered experiences via social media. Brands that listen – and respond (whether that’s actually responding or using those insights to shape future practices) – to their customers’ concerns reap short- and long-term benefits.

In fact, customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly three times more likely to recommend a brand (source). When companies engage and respond to customer requests over social media, those customers spend 20-40 percent more money with the company than other customers do (source).

Today I watched a boy skateboard around our building’s parking lot and wondered what might happen if H.J. Heinz had been that boy today. Imagine what he’d build with the help of social media, imagine what he would do with the power to connect “one-on-one” with his customers, but at scale. He’d no doubt build something that changed everything, this time with a smartphone instead of a wheelbarrow, because he carried with him fundamental lessons from his mom — that empathy, understanding, listening and placing yourself in the other person’s shoes are at the heart of all true success.

Top photo credit: http://historicpittsburgh.org/collection/hj-heinz-company-photographs?page=8

In Celebration of Single Parents Everywhere

Photo credit: Football, Food & Motherhood

March 21 is #SingleParentsDay. Join us and Angel Soft in celebrating these amazing parents!

Top photo credit: Football, Food & Motherhood

Did you know that every day, more than 12 million moms and dads are raising their kids as single parents? Eighty-four percent of those single-parent households are single mother families, and 16 percent are single father families. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

Whether it’s the result of an unexpected pregnancy, death or divorce, or if the path to single parenthood is by choice, single parents assume an incredible amount of responsibility in raising their kids, fulfilling the role of two parents. They’re often solely responsible for the well-being and upbringing of these children, and — in the process of juggling their own careers, finances, childcare, homework and more — are often stigmatized and face misconceptions about single parenting.

That’s why we’re working with Angel Soft to recognize these incredible everyday heroes. Take a look at their heartwarming tribute to single parents here:

Together with Angel Soft, we’ve worked to recognized a group of influencers who are truly doing it all as single parents or understand the significance of the role as they were raised by a single parent. Here are some of life lessons they’ve learned:

Shanaka, A Blender Mom: “There were some people that actually told me as a child that I was doomed in life because I came from a broken home. I proudly declared my house was not broken and my Mom was all I needed. Divorced family kids or kids raised by one parent aren’t as messed up as some seem to think. I think I function in society just as well as those who come from a ‘traditional’ family. I know that my single mom raised me all right on her own and that’s all that matters. She had no child support from my bio dad. She was great at hiding the tired eyes of being both mom and dad for me. My childhood is proof that you can thrive with just one parent. She didn’t set out to be a single parent, she just wanted to be the best parent for me and that’s exactly what she was and is.

Sharon, Discover Explore Learn: “For every rough day, there are many more fantastic ones. Life with kids, whether you’re parenting alone or with a partner, is full of challenges, as well as joy and laughter. Children are inspiring, and they truly make life worth living. The hard days, which are few and far between, are easily forgotten when you focus on all the good times.”

Nicole, Pretty Opinionated: “I think as single parents, we try really hard to be both the best mom AND the best dad a kid could ever have. We spread ourselves super thin, overcompensate, send mixed signals to our kids and end up feeling like we have split personalities at times. Here’s the thing: you’re never going to take the place of the absent parent, and that’s okay.”

Jessica, A Southern Mother: “Helping out a single parent and honoring them on National Single Parent’s Day is simple. You could encourage a single parent by volunteering an afternoon of childcare, helping with errands, host a play date, or even something as simple as a cooking dinner. Many single parents who don’t have family living close by are grateful for any help or assistance that they can get.”

Maria, Sammy Makes Six: “As hard as being a single parent was, I would not trade a single second of it. Those years are the ones that shaped me into the person that I am today, those are the years where I found out my worth as a person … even though we struggled at first, we never stopped living. We had our yearly trips to Disney, we were always out on weekends, and I was able to spoil them later for what they lacked those first years. I was not, still am not, the perfect parent — but I have always tried my best. My oldest girls are now all over the age of 21, we made it! When I see a young single mom or dad, I think back to my days in their position and wish I could tell them that it’s going to be ok, I want to tell them that they are doing a great job. I don’t think single parents hear that enough.”

Are you or do you have a single parent in your life? Be sure to recognize how amazing they are on #SingleParentsDay!

Social Media Week NYC Takeaways | Using Data to Inform Social Media Content

This post on data-driven social content is the second of two blog posts in The Motherhood’s recap of Social Media Week NYC. Click here to read the first post, covering the evolution of influencer marketing and video.

We recently had the opportunity to virtually attend Social Media Week NYC 2017 (#SMWNYC), where social media experts shared industry news, trends, best practices and insights. When it comes to producing engaging and effective social content, many speakers at Social Media Week NYC shared their formulas for success. A common theme among them? They incorporate data-driven social content into their programming. Here are some of our favorite highlights:

Define and follow success: Michelle Kempner, Buzzfeed’s VP of Operations, noted that Buzzfeed’s video producers follow successes and don’t lament over videos that didn’t work. They examine the performance of their videos after 24 hours, which determines their video plan for the week. When evaluating the performance of their content, producers focus on shares specifically, since that action indicates the user taking a purposeful, extra step.

Invest in content strategy: Ensuring you have a team dedicated to producing data-driven social content and determining when and where that content will live on the customer journey is critical to success. Percolate issued a report in which they surveyed senior marketers about how they spend their money, and in 2016, they saw a six percent uptick in content spend, and on average, high-performing brands invested even more in content than their peers. According to Noah Brier, the CEO of Percolate, 70 percent of brands expect to increase their social content budget, which is critical since there is a demand for more high-quality content.

Empathy reigns: Jason Carmel, Chief Data Officer of POSSIBLE, reiterated the value of using data to inform content before pushing it live. In order to build relationships with target audiences, human-centered data is key. With this data, brands can become empathetic to their audiences and can extract what they’re thinking and feeling, which in turn, allows brands to better connect with them.

What’s old is new: Brit Morin, CEO and Founder of Brit + Co, explained that her team examines what’s trending on various platforms and creates content to capitalize on those trends and determine which direction to go next. Morin said that because much of her site’s content is evergreen, they have data-driven social content for the next several years. Brit + Co.’s top-performing posts are from 2013, so they don’t always need to create new content – rather, they think about how and when to re-socialize that information, based on the data on when that content historically trends.

Consideration, not (necessarily) transactions: Evan Neufeld, Vice President of Intelligence at L2, stated that currently, one in four American adults block ads, but by the end of 2017, that will rise to one in three. Neufeld explained that video and social media are leading the way in digital media spending worldwide, and that it’s less about social commerce transactions than it is social media having a key role in the discovery and consideration process (a topic we’ve discussed, as well!).

 

Data-driven social content insights from Social Media Week NYC

Take a look at our other recap of Social Media Week NYC here, where we share insights on influencer marketing and video. Were you at the event? Tell us your biggest takeaways in the comments!

Skin Care Solutions: #GONOLO with The Motherhood & Simple Sugars!

If you have sensitive skin, dry skin, psoriasis or eczema, or if you are just looking for ways to streamline your skincare routine with one great solution, keep reading.

Try Simple Sugars, an all-natural skincare line specially formulated for people with sensitive skin.

When The Motherhood heard about a skincare line that could replace lotion and cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize in one easy step, we were excited to give it a try. Within a couple of weeks, we were all hooked on Simple Sugars and have gone “no-lo” (that’s no lotion, folks)! Full disclosure: In addition to being customers and fans of the brand, we are currently working with Simple Sugars to coordinate an influencer campaign.

So what is Simple Sugars? It’s an all-natural skincare line specially formulated for people with sensitive skin. This very convenient, super-effective skincare solution is made with nothing but the finest, purest, natural ingredients. They happen to smell amazing, too! Even better — Simple Sugars facial scrubs, body scrubs and foot scrubs are handmade right here in Pittsburgh (home of The Motherhood’s headquarters) by Lani Lazzari, who – shortly after graduating from high school – appeared on the hit show Shark Tank and secured an investment from billionaire Mark Cuban.

We recently shared the delight of Simple Sugars with a group of influencers in our network, and they are loving the products. Here are some of their thoughts:

Try Simple Sugars, an all-natural skincare line specially formulated for people with sensitive skin.

“These natural scrubs gently exfoliate and moisturize, in fact I was able to skip body lotion after using the body scrub! These products are gentle enough for daily use, even on sensitive skin like mine. I used my facial scrub each morning on clean skin, and loved the effect it had. My skin cleared up, it looked brighter, and I found that my other products (primer, etc.) applied more evenly.”
– Carly, Lipgloss and Crayons

Try Simple Sugars, an all-natural skincare line specially formulated for people with sensitive skin.

“When Simple Sugars contacted me and asked if I knew anyone who could benefit from an all-natural skincare line that could tackle dry, damaged skin in one step, without using lotion – boy, was I ready. I was a little skeptical, I admit. After all, I’d been trying for years. The results from Simple Sugars blew my mind.”
– Kenda, MomSkoop!

Try Simple Sugars, an all-natural skincare line specially formulated for people with sensitive skin.

“My skin is brighter, smoother, and I feel more confident. My makeup applies smoother because of the gentle exfoliation. You guys, I don’t know if I could ever not have these products in my life. I never apply lotion out of the shower now and my alligator skin is gone! I like to enjoy my scrub while I’m conditioning my hair. Like I said, I’m all about saving time right now.”
– Andrea, Glam Hungry Mom

Try Simple Sugars, an all-natural skincare line specially formulated for people with sensitive skin.

“My son tried the Coconut Body Scrub the other night. After his shower, the first thing he did was come downstairs and say ‘feel my arms, I’m so smooth!’ Even better? No irritation! I highly recommend buying a flip-top lid (sold on Simple Sugars’ website) for scrubs that you plan to use in the shower. Makes it so much easier to open and get what you need. I also recommend putting a shower’s worth in a small cup (like those little cups you put ketchup in when you go to a restaurant) and giving that to your child.”
– Nicole, Pretty Opinionated

Try Simple Sugars, an all-natural skincare line specially formulated for people with sensitive skin.

“I was shocked to see these results just after three days of using the Simple Sugars strawberry scrub! These photos have not been touched up, lightened or darkened. I’ve never been so excited to share a product with you guys. I know so many mothers’ that have to deal with their children’s eczema. Simple Sugars is the truth! I’m amazed at the quick results.”
– Trina, Baby Shopaholic

Want to learn more? Join us on Thursday, March 16 at 8 p.m. on the Simple Sugars Facebook page for a LIVE broadcast with founder Lani Lazzari! She’ll be talking all about her skincare line and answering questions from participants, and you might even have a chance to win a jar of Simple Sugars to try for yourself.

And don’t forget to check out the rest of our team who joined the #GONOLO revolution (and learn how you can get a rare, exclusive discount on your order through April 15, 2017):
Becky, My Sparkling Life
Chrystal, Happy Mothering
Kelly, Live. Love. Texas.
Kristin, Take Time For Style
Stacey, theSIMPLEmoms

Social Media Week NYC Takeaways | The Evolution of Influencer Marketing and Video

Last week, The Motherhood’s team had the opportunity to virtually attend Social Media Week NYC 2017 (#SMWNYC), where social media experts shared industry news, trends, best practices and insights. Here, we recap some of the most talked-about topics during the event: influencer marketing and video.

How Influencer Marketing is Evolving

It’s no surprise that we firmly believe in the effectiveness of influencer marketing – a billion-dollar industry in the U.S. that is estimated to climb to $5-10 billion by 2020. The evolution of this discipline was a much-discussed topic at Social Media Week NYC.

Maximizing Spend with Micro-influencers: While many marketers continue to prioritize reach, savvy brands and agencies have begun to recognize the significant impact that micro-influencers (those with smaller reach but greater audience trust) have on engagement – and engagement with the right audience, too.

We believe greatly in the power of working with micro-influencers at scale, and we were thrilled to see this approach reinforced at Social Media Week NYC. Giordano Contestabile, CEO, Bloglovin’, shared an interesting case study that compared the performance of 25 micro-influencers versus one top-tier influencer. The two groups had the same overall reach, but the group of 25 micro-influencers produced double the number of likes and comments on their sponsored content compared to the one top-tier influencer.

Defining Measurement/ROI: Many speakers noted the challenge of capturing the efficacy of influencer marketing in existing industry terms. While there are formulas to translate influencer marketing metrics into familiar forms of measurement for other forms of media, it’s up to industry leaders to help articulate and define the value proposition of influencers. Measurement even varies by social platform. Nikhil Sethi, Co-Founder and CEO of Adaptly, shared that what “counts” as a view is even different across platforms.

Takeaways from Social Media Week NYC

Experimenting with Engagement: Ken Blom, Buzzfeed’s Director of Branded Content Distribution, explained that for so long, social networks have been oriented in a “north-south” (up-and-down) manner. Now, with the introduction of Instagram’s galleries, there is an attempt to stop users in their feeds to swipe in an “east-west” or left-to-right manner.

Investing in Pay-for-Play: As social media platforms’ algorithms change and organic content becomes less visible, brands and influencers are putting more dollars behind their content in order to compete for views. Meg Shedding, Director of Product Marketing for Fullscreen, illustrated this shift clearly:

Takeaways from Social Media Week NYC

Looking into the Future of Video

Across every major social platform, video consumption continues to rise. In fact, Cisco predicts that by 2019, video content will be the driving factor behind 85 percent of search traffic in the U.S. A number of speakers at #SMWNYC shared interesting insights on the prevalence of video:

  • 600 million people use Instagram monthly, and the consumption of video on mobile has jumped from 15 percent in 2013 to 50 percent in 2016 (Jeff Taylor, Instagram’s Regional Product Marketing Manager).
  • Consumers spend 45 minutes a day viewing video on smartphones (Nikhil Sethi, Co-Founder and CEO of Adaptly).
  • Any time Brit + Co embeds a 30-second video near a product on their site, they see 300 percent more conversion on that product or service (Brit Morin, CEO and Founder, Brit + Co).
  • Social is going head-to-head with TV for ad dollars:
    • Snapchat reached 41 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S., compared to just six percent by the average TV channel, and 60 percent of people prefer online video platforms to live TV (Nikhil Sethi, Co-Founder and CEO of Adaptly).
    • YouTube has surpassed one billion hours viewed per day. TV viewership has flat lined; digital video has become the primary use case for anything that moves for advertisers. (Ian Schafer, Founder and Chairman, Deep Focus).

Industry leaders shared their thoughts on some changes coming to video technology, too. According to Ian Schafer, YouTube has plans to roll out unskippable pre-roll ads, and Facebook will soon introduce mid-roll ads, ensuring that advertisers fully reach their intended audience.

On the flip side, Brit Morin explained that her company is creating an adjuster-controlled technology that will allow a user to slow down or speed up a vertical video on mobile so the user can better control the experience to suit his or her needs.

Stay tuned for more insights from Social Media Week NYC that we’ll share next week!

A #BeBoldForChange Profile for International Women’s Day: Chaton Turner

Today is International Women’s Day 2017 and the theme this year is #BeBoldForChange — to forge a better working world and work toward a more inclusive, gender equal world. In honor of IWD17, we’d like to share with you an inspiring woman and influencer we’ve known, worked with and admired for many years, and someone who represents all those things. She is bold and works for a better world, every single day: Chaton Turner.

Chaton, an attorney for one of Pittsburgh’s largest organizations, who has published her blog, Chaton’s World, for 10 years, has dedicated her life to issues affecting gender equity, workplace fairness and women’s rights. Over the years, I’ve had conversations with Chaton that stayed with me long afterward. She thinks in ways that are broad in scope, thorough and big picture, but laser focused on the specifics of the issues she cares passionately about, and always with an eye on how she can be most helpful.

Chaton is driven to share with her community what she has to say. I asked her where she thought that came from, and Chaton told me about her grandmother.

International Women's Day Quote

Growing up, Chaton’s grandmother was sought after by community organizations and local churches because nobody else came close to being able to mobilize for a cause, a charity event or even sell tickets to a fundraiser like her. Watching the impact of her grandmother’s civic involvement, and how much her grandmother’s dedication made a difference, taught Chaton that even as an individual, you can significantly impact your community and the world around you.

Becoming an attorney gave Chaton the added confidence that what she had to say had value.

And then, becoming a mother crystallized for Chaton the issues affecting women that she fights for to this day.

Chaton told me that, as an employment lawyer, she understood workplace issues such as pay equity, paid leave and workplace flexibility from a policy standpoint, but once she became a mom, she lived those issues in a way that was wholly tangible and real. She also immediately realized that being a corporate lawyer, the benefits she received were not common for most women.

So Chaton took action, writing and speaking about paid leave, workplace fairness and other key issues women and girls face, and joining local organizations that dedicate themselves to equity and women’s rights. In her role as a board member of the Women and Girls Foundation, Chaton is working with the organization on the PA Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, a campaign for paid family and medical leave in Pennsylvania. You can sign up to get involved here.

One of the things that struck me most from our remarkable conversations is the thoughtfulness and care Chaton puts into every idea, message or challenge she voices. Chaton said, “In my job, I focus on conflict resolution and my goal is to make every situation better, if possible. What I’ve learned in resolving conflicts is the outcome is what matters most. It is not ego or pride, it’s the outcome. So, that’s always my approach, even for my blog. I’m thoughtful about what I post or share, to nurture a healthy conversation and positive outcome around the issues being discussed.”

I kept thinking to myself: the world needs viewpoints and approaches like Chaton’s now more than ever. In the online community of mothers, built over the last decade, we need each other — and Chaton’s dedication to this “neighborhood,” not unlike her grandmother’s, makes us all better informed and hopefully, more willing to #BeBoldForChange.

After we finished our last call, Chaton sent me a note with a final thought. As we celebrate IWD17, I’d like to share Chaton’s beautiful words with you. Thank you, Chaton (and your grandma), for living #BeBoldForChange and inspiring us all to make a difference for women and girls in our community and in our world.

Spotlight Blogger: Kayla Aimee Writes

Kayla Aimee

At The Motherhood, we find the power of stories and words to be invaluable. That’s one of the many reasons that we love Kayla Aimee of Kayla Aimee Writes, our March Spotlight Blogger! As a published author, mom, speaker and top influencer, she has a beautiful way of sharing her stories and perspective that engages her readers time after time.

Take a look at our interview with her below and see for yourself!

What do you feel is the #1 trend in influencer marketing in 2017? 
Social stories, such as Facebook Live, seem to be gaining good traction and are a fun and engaging way to interact with your audience. Plus, I know they are effective because I just cannot stop watching those darn pearl parties!

What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?
My goal with every piece of writing is to engage my readers by providing something that is encouraging or equipping for them. So it meets a need for them by either providing them with an uplifting, hope and humor-filled read or by giving them the confidence to tackle a problem area in their life. My most popular pieces of content are largely those that provide solutions.

What are your thoughts on working with a brand on multiple occasions (vs. one-off programs)? 
This is actually my preference! I am a girl who shops with brand loyalty, so I prefer that to carry through on my campaigns since it is more authentic to my daily life.

I also think it helps build trust in an online era where you sometimes see people promote products back-to-back that are in direct competition with one another. When my readers see my own long-term relationship with a brand, they have more assurance that my recommendations are genuine and preference-based, rather than monetarily driven.

What are your thoughts on programs measured by initial click-through rates? 
I’m not a huge fan of them because I’ve seen how they can be manipulated, so I don’t think it’s a completely accurate measurement. In addition, I think that what a good campaign benefits from is exposure to a new audience from a trusted source.

This is another reason that long-term programs are preferable because I think people are more apt to click after seeing something more than once. Sort of like how my baby book says that you have to offer your baby the same food seven different times before they like it. Unrelated: someone please come test this theory out on my ten-month-old, who mostly just insists on throwing all of his food on the floor.

What is your favorite space to engage with your readers?
I miss the days when the comments section of a blog post was all abuzz! Right now the majority of my blog community conversation happens on Facebook, but my favorite is actually my email list. I love the more intimate format of writing weekly letters, and I really enjoy it when readers reply back to my newsletter!

Tell us why you blog. 
My blog has really evolved over the years from its inception as an online journal and currently serves first and foremost as a platform for me to serve readers in support of my traditional publishing efforts. My first book, Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, released last year and my second book will come out in 2018. My blog is a wonderful way to introduce potential readers to my writing and allow me to connect with readers on a more personal level. Publishers expect authors to have an established platform these days, so I focus on using my blog to develop my writing skills and complement the marketing for my book. Blogging is seeing a life-long dream of being a writer come to fruition.

The secondary focus of my blog is to help provide monetarily so that I can pursue writing as a career while staying home with my children. I love the flexibility it provides while allowing me to stretch myself creatively.

What’s your greatest challenge when working with brands?
Convincing them to drop traditional marketing language in favor of a narrative that is true to my voice.

Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?
I loved working on the March of Dimes campaign because it was a cause close to my heart as my daughter was born at 25 weeks. I loved being able to partner with The Motherhood and the March of Dimes to spread more social awareness and amplify a message that I feel so passionate about.

But my very favorite program was the OshKosh B’Gosh Forever Summer campaign. OshKosh is one of our go-to brands for kids’ clothing, so it was a great fit, and the creativity of the campaign was really fantastic. We put a GoPro camera on my three-year-old to make a video of summertime from her perspective and it was such a fun, unique concept to get to execute. I really loved capturing that vision.

What are your thoughts on Snapchat?
My little sister is constantly sending me snaps that crack me up, but other than that, I am just not at all into Snapchat. I think it’s easy for bloggers to get spread too thin by trying to master every social platform, so I have scaled back and decided to focus my efforts more heavily on the platforms in which I have the most engagement and that I enjoy. While I’ve seen Snapchat done very well by other people … it’s an area that I’ve consciously decided not to invest in for now.

Where do you see the most engagement with your content?
Pinterest is still one of my top referrers, and posts that are designed to be pin-friendly still generate a lot of traffic and re-pins across the platform. I invest heavily in re-sharing high-performing pins seasonally. After that, Facebook is still the best place for conversation happening around my content and where I spend most of my time chatting with readers.

What’s the #1 question you’re asked by brands, and what’s your answer?
It’s usually “How big is your audience?” which is unfortunate because while I am blessed to have a fairly large readership, I think the more important question is “WHO is your audience?”

What are brands doing right when working with bloggers?
In recent years I’ve noticed there is more of a conversation happening between brands and bloggers that allows for more of an individualized collaboration rather than a standard set of campaign requirements across the board. I love this approach and think it is a win-win for not only brands and bloggers but for the audience they are serving.

What should brands start doing (better) when working with influencers?
Creating a sponsored post is more than just the analytics of audience engagement. For me, the enjoyment is in the creative process but executing that well is time-consuming! It involves not only conceptualizing but constructing a unique narrative, styling a well-shot photo shoot, and creating supporting social media spots. I prefer to work with brands that negotiate a program based on what I can create for them as opposed to audience size metrics.

Additionally, certain topics lend themselves better to different social platforms, so I appreciate being able to focus on what will perform well, such as a targeted Pinterest campaign, rather than being conscripted into sharing something on every social platform when I know it won’t translate as well on Twitter as it would on Instagram.

I love working with brands that give me a lot of creative autonomy to design something with my audience in mind. I’m always wanting to serve my readers well, and I think it’s important for brands to remember that the reason people like to read certain blogs is for their voice and authenticity, so imposing specific marketing language actually doesn’t translate well.

You can learn more about Kayla Aimee by visiting her blog, or check her out on Facebook or Instagram!


More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.

Check out our previous featured influencers here, and stop by in April for the next Spotlight Blogger!

Kayla Aimee

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