Why a Boutique Agency is the Best Choice for Influencer Marketing

The Motherhood: an award-winning boutique agency

With brands of all sizes exploring influencer marketing as a way to seed authentic, searchable content that drives purchase over time, one of the first decisions is whether to manage it in-house or through a network or agency. We’ve discussed the benefits of using an influencer marketing agency, but the decision doesn’t end there.

When it comes to selecting a partner for influencer marketing efforts, brands are faced with the prospect of evaluating dozens of organizations: large influencer marketplaces, boutique networks, blogger-run collectives and numerous other operations. As a social media marketing agency that has pioneered and executed hundreds of award-winning influencer marketing campaigns, The Motherhood understands the unique benefits of engaging a boutique agency.

High-Tech vs. High-Touch

Many large influencer networks tout their marketplace of tens of thousands of influencers who are available to brands at the click of a mouse. Campaigns are run through slick-looking automated dashboards.

While on the surface a high degree of hands-off automation may seem like a benefit, the reality is that a high-tech approach will fall flat without a high-touch element, for a number of reasons.

Blogger Vetting Requires a Human Touch

The Motherhood: an award-winning boutique agency
We know that 75 percent of professionals consider identifying the right influencers to be the biggest challenge of a sponsored content campaign. Reviewing thousands of prospective influencers within a database — even after extensive filtering, sorting and filing — doesn’t take into account the very necessary human element to the selection process.

The Motherhood takes a personal, detailed approach to blogger vetting, considering things like:

  • past, present or future relationships with competitors
  • responsiveness of an individual influencer (critical for quick-turnaround campaigns)
  • strengths or talents on certain platforms (performance goes beyond numbers)
  • existing affinity for the brand
  • other special circumstances that aren’t able to be captured in a database (For example, if a blogger’s child was just diagnosed with lactose intolerance, that may exclude her from a dairy campaign; or if a blogger just announced a pregnancy, that could impact a recommendation for an OTC product campaign)

Additionally, we often recommend an up-and-coming blogger who loves the brand we’re vetting for and who has proven to deliver gorgeous content. While those types of influencers are often overlooked or overshadowed in a large database, the boutique agency approach allows us to present some true rising stars in the blogosphere who will generate significant conversion for the brand.

With The Motherhood campaigns, brands always have the opportunity to review a large selection of influencers and select their top choices for their campaign. The difference is that a boutique agency offers tremendous efficiency by delivering a carefully curated list of influencers who are excellent fits for the individual campaign and brand, taking into account many intangibles that a dashboard can’t. Working with a boutique agency to identify bloggers is like receiving a beautifully packaged gift selected just for you.

With Automation Comes Risk

The Motherhood: an award-winning boutique agency
Large networks often promote automation as a way to achieve scale. While that can sound attractive to busy marketers, we’ve observed within the industry at large more than a few scenarios in which automation caused (or could have caused) detriment to the brand. Consider the following:

  • An influencer marketplace employed an automated system in which it would identify high-performing blogger content and launch an amplification campaign. However, the content the system identified as a top post included the wrong campaign hashtag and inaccurate campaign messaging, which was not caught until days later. The result? Many, many hours of re-work from the account team, leading to lost momentum and an over-budget campaign.
  • On the flip side, a large team of influencers was working to publish content according to a very specific, immoveable deadline. However, just before the content was to go live, the brand’s landing page was inexplicably removed, resulting in a broken link. The Motherhood’s dedicated account team identified this in a way that an automated dashboard could not. By flagging the issue to the client and obtaining a tracking link to a new landing page within the hour, all coverage was still published on deadline without any of the re-work that would have been required if the dead link had made it into 75 blog posts and several hundred social media posts.

Better Engagement — But Not in the Way You Think

The Motherhood: an award-winning boutique agency
The debate on why engagement matters is alive and well, but we’re talking about a different kind of engagement. In this instance, the engagement we’re referring to relates to how invested an influencer is in a brand’s campaign, which we know to be much more easily and genuinely achieved with a boutique agency.

In any given influencer marketing campaign, there are dozens of touch points with prospective and confirmed bloggers. The journey could include any or all of the following:

  • The initial program ask
  • One or more rounds of negotiation
  • Contract signature or request for tax-related documents
  • Briefing the participants on the messaging, theme and approach
  • Copy review and approval
  • Coverage monitoring and reminders
  • Follow-up to request corrections
  • Results collection and reporting
  • Post-program wrap-up

With a boutique agency, influencers also receive on-call access to senior account directors who can answer their questions and provide quick-turnaround insights that help them deliver accurate, timely and creative content.

At The Motherhood, we view influencer marketing as a very human, very personal discipline. Each communications touch point is an opportunity — person to person, not person to dashboard — to endear an influencer to your brand and generate long-term affinity. By creating a human connection and putting a face behind the network and the brand, the influencer knows they are heard, valued and appreciated. We know this to be a powerful incentivize to bring their best selves and to produce high-quality content that moves the needle.

The Motherhood: A Boutique Agency Achieving Big Things

The Motherhood is the gold standard in influencer marketing, founded and run by seasoned PR professionals who, for more than a decade, have consistently produced exceptional, award-winning online content. We’ve been named the PR News Social Media Team of the Year, AMA Marketer of the Year, PRSA Agency of the Year and Best in Show and one of Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing marketing agencies. We’re also one of Pittsburgh’s coolest offices to boot!

To discuss ways our boutique agency can deliver value and impact for your influencer marketing campaigns, please email contact@themotherhood.com.

The Motherhood: an award-winning boutique agency

 

DIY Project Inspiration from Olympic Paints and Stains

Many of us have home or design projects we think about, plan for, visualize, but never actually bring to fruition. The year comes and goes, and projects are left unfinished.

2016 was not that year.

In fact, it was quite the opposite for a team of DIY-loving bloggers. In early April, The Motherhood connected with a team of inspired men and women and asked them to show us their vision, starting with a trip to the Olympic Paints and Stains Color Center.

Each created a vision board to illustrate what they wanted to make happen in 2016, and from there they got to work! Bathroom makeovers, office overhauls, refinished furniture and more; the team brought their vision boards to life using their favorite colors from Olympic Paints and Stains.

Olympic Paints

Photo: Mom Favorites

Yet as we round out the end of the year, there’s no shortage of inspiration, as the team has recently pulled together another round of incredible vision boards to showcase their next projects. Let the creativity flow!

Olympic Paints

Photo: Mom Favorites

Olympic Paints

Photo: Remaking June

Case Study: The Motherhood reaches 7.6 million people with Savings Challenge campaign

savings challenge

The Motherhood and a financial client shared easy ways to save $500 in seven days.

Recently, a financial non-profit organization approached The Motherhood to help amplify the conversation about the company, particularly around a promotional savings challenge it was launching: a free program featuring expert tips and tricks, advice, and daily challenges to help users save $500 in just one week.

The Motherhood organized, implemented and managed a five-person blog tour and social media campaign on behalf of the client with bloggers who expressed interest in personal savings and financial success.

In order to create engaging and authentic content, each blogger signed up for and completed the savings challenge, which provided them with daily emails containing vital information and tips for financial success that they could share with their readers.

All five bloggers were proud of their success with the program and encouraged their readers to check out the challenge to start saving. The bloggers’ communities, in turn, were highly engaged, as many shared their personal savings goals.
Overall, the five-blogger campaign garnered more than 7.6 million impressions and more than 1,150 social engagements (likes, comments, shares). The campaign also generated a 19.2x return on investment. The client reported that The Motherhood’s influencers drove roughly 3,000 clicks directly from the campaign, with nearly a 40 percent conversion rate during the promotional period alone.
With a recent study from The Halverson Group reporting that the lifespan of a blog post is approximately 24 times longer than the standard 30-day unique monthly view reporting metric, this campaign still has plenty of life left!

Create a #BrighterDifference with Neutrogena Naturals

Neutrogena Naturals

What are you doing to make a #brighterdifference in your life or the lives of those around you?

This is the question the Neutrogena brand posed when introducing Neutrogena® Naturals Brightening Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 25, and an incredible team of moms has responded by sharing how their families inspire others through eco-friendly practices both big and small, the earth-friendly habits they are instilling in their children, and surprising gestures that truly make a #brighterdifference.

Allison of All for the Boys shared her family’s plan to make a #brighterdifference – starting with their neighborhood.

Neutrogena Naturals

Photo Courtesy: All for the Boys

Allison created beautiful cards that she and her boys left with small gifts or treats for friends in their neighborhood.

Neutrogena Naturals

Photo Courtesy: All for the Boys

On the environmental front, Crystal of Surviving a Teacher’s Salary shared eco-friendly things she is doing personally to create a #brighterdifference – from conserving utilities (and using that effort as a teaching tool for her children) to using products such as Neutrogena Naturals, which offers a lightweight formula with 94 percent naturally derived ingredients.

Being earth-friendly can be fun for the whole family, too, as Carlee of Fun Learning Life demonstrated through a DIY project for a headband holder. She emphasized the importance of upcycling used objects to create practical yet creative projects, driving home the value of recycling while also spending quality time as a family.

Neutrogena Naturals

Photo Courtesy: Fun Learning Life

Want to know more about Neutrogena® Naturals Brightening Daily Moisturizer?

We love this product! The lightweight, fast-absorbing formula offers 94 percent naturally derived ingredients, providing moisturization while skin-brightening lemon peel, an effective bionutrient, works with your skin to even skin tone in just four weeks. It does not contain harsh chemical sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, dyes or phthalates, and it’s clinically proven to reduce the look of skin discoloration for visibly brighter, more even-toned skin – and no clogged pores! With 100 percent naturally derived sunscreens, the moisturizer provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection without the harsh chemicals.

And it gets better … The cartons that are used for packaging are made with 100 percent recycled paper with 60 percent post‐consumer recycled content. The recycled paperboard cartons use 75 percent less water in processing than virgin paperboard does. They also use up to 50 percent post-consumer recycled content in the bottles.

Now it’s your turn…

Tweet us at @TheMotherhood to share tips, photos and/or video using the hashtag #brighterdifference and tell us about the eco-friendly steps you’re taking to create a #brighterdifference in your life!

Featured Image Photo Credit: All for the Boys

This post was shared as part of an Influencer Activation with Neutrogena. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

This weekend: Yo-kai Watch special one-day movie event

For one day only, on Saturday, October 15, select theaters across the country will be showing a special screening of Yo-kai Watch: The Movie, an English-language film based on the popular Yo-kai Watch series currently airing on Disney XD.

Click here for more information about screenings in your area and to purchase tickets!

The show is about a boy named Nate Adams and his adventures with mischievous Yo-kai, invisible beings who are the source of life’s daily annoyances. After he gets a special watch (hence the name of the show, Yo-kai Watch), he is able to summon and befriend Yo-kai, working with them to solve everyday problems. In the movie, Nate and two of his Yo-kai friends time travel to the past to help his grandfather, Nathaniel, fight off evil Yo-kai and invent the Yo-kai Watch.

Yo-kai Watch: The Movie Event attendees will also have a chance to receive a limited edition Hovernyan YO-MOTION YO-KAI MEDAL, while supplies last. (Hovernyan is a new Yo-kai introduced during the movie – a heroic, floating blue cat who accompanies Nate during his travels.)

Yo-kai Watch

The Motherhood is working with a great group of bloggers on a campaign to help promote the movie. Caryn at Rockin’ Mama reported, “My kids can’t wait to see this. They are HUGE Yo-kai Watch fans!” and both Shell at Not Quite Susie Homemaker and Ashleigh at Living Off Love and Coffee have sons who are excited for the screening events.

If you need to catch up on this global phenomenon, the first season of the TV show Yo-kai Watch is currently available on Netflix, and you can also watch full episodes on the YouTube channel.

Interested in learning more? Join a Twitter party to discuss the movie on October 13 at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT / 10 a.m. PT). We’ll be using the hashtag #YoKaiWatchMovie and giving away five $50 gift cards! Click here to RSVP to the party and be eligible to win.

Blogger Spotlight: Scarlet, Family Focus Blog

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“I think the focus on good content that tells a story or shares a valuable idea is still key.” 

Scarlet of Family Focus Blog shared it all with us this month, starting with why good content will always be most important, why initial click-through rates are not an ideal measurement of success and what brands are doing right now.

In our October Blogger Spotlight, Scarlet also revealed which social media platform she’s been resisting, as well as her #1 piece of advice for those looking to launch a career in blogging.

Read on to learn more about Family Focus Blog, and give Scarlet a shout at @FamilyFocusBlog.

 

Family Focus Blog

Want to see more? Check out our most recent blogger spotlights, as well as our 2015 Blogger Spotlight Series.

How does the Blogger Spotlight Series work? Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top-performing 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 invite as our featured blogger. Stop back November 1 for the next blogger spotlight!

How Engagement with Influencer Marketing Can Support Business Goals

measuring influencer marketing engagement

The key to understanding the value of an engagement is to think about each engagement as a person joining a conversation, rather than a click or a view.

While digital ads and influencer marketing campaigns are each part of many brands’ marketing mix, they accomplish different objectives and should be measured accordingly. While engagement matters deeply in influencer marketing, it’s recently been categorized as a metric that doesn’t offer value, an assessment stemming from failure to differentiate influencer marketing from digital ad performance indicators. These tactics can and should be treated as separate: influencer marketing is not digital advertising, and therefore should not be measured using the same methods.



Influencer Marketing does not equal Digital Advertising



digital ad does not equal influencer

While digital ads and influencer marketing often fall within the same discipline, there are more differences than similarities between the two:

  • Whereas digital ads are a one-way touchpoint, influencer marketing creates a conversation between the brand and consumers.
  • A digital ad is gone forever the minute it ends, but influencer content lives on long after the end of a campaign.
  • Consumers are ignoring and blocking ads, but embracing friends’ and influencers’ opinions.
  • The key point of any ad is “sell sell sell,” and consumers know this. However, influencer content brings more meaningful experience to the consumer, garnering more attention, trust and authority.

Significantly, consumers spend almost 345 times longer engaging with branded content as compared to display ads that last on average 1.6 seconds. In addition, data from a Nielsen study shows 82 percent purchase intent among consumers after interactions with friends and family (influencers), as opposed to less than 50 percent purchase intent after viewing an ad.

Engagement matters

Engagement metrics often include comments and shares. When an influencer’s followers choose to read a post, and when they spend their time engaging with it in those ways, that is a strong indicator that they found it valuable. Comments require relatively more involvement from readers, indicating that they think the content is valuable enough to put forth that effort. When readers share content, they make it part of their own social stream, indicating they find the content really valuable and want their friends and followers to see it.

In any other type of communication, you’d be unlikely to dismiss a friend’s interest as something that’s of little value. Rather, adding to or bringing others into the discussion is an excellent indicator that the content is interesting, provocative and worthwhile.

With influencer marketing, engagement matters. The output of this kind of interaction cannot be measured the same as a click of a digital ad. 

How does engagement correspond with sales?

There are many reasons to measure engagement resulting from influencer marketing campaigns. While social media engagement is difficult to directly correlate to sales, it is a strong and direct indicator of campaign performance, giving marketers insight into what consumers respond favorably to and what really resonates with them, and it helps identify potential brand advocates and quality sales leads.

The priority of social media and blogs is not to sell directly, but to build brand advocates, open conversation channels and get people to places where conversions might happen, moving them along to the next step in the sales funnel. Only 10 percent of consumers buy an item within 24 hours of discovering it, and we can’t collapse that sales journey – but social media and influencers can make that initial introduction to get consumers to take the crucial first step toward converting awareness and interest to purchase.

It’s also important to note that the value of an influencer is in the dedicated community of followers that they’ve earned. Influence happens without regard to reach; a micro-influencer may influence a larger percentage of her followers than a celebrity-caliber influencer. If they’ve spent the time building a community and earning their trust by publishing authentic content, they’re going to wield a level of influence and often see greater levels of meaningful engagement.

Tell us why engagement matters to your brand!

How Influencer Campaigns Can Help Keep Brand Content Fresh

brand content

Did you know that creating brand content is the most time-intensive task for social media teams, taking up 18.5 percent of their work days, according to Social Fresh 2016?

If you are a brand content creator, you’re likely familiar with the challenge of constantly producing new posts and finding fresh angles for online content. Even the best writers can benefit from others’ creative inspiration.

Influencer campaigns are not only an excellent way to boost your brand’s awareness and increase conversation online; they can also serve as a mechanism for helping content creators avoid getting stuck on the same few topics. Here are five ways that an influencer campaign can help keep your online brand content fresh:

1. Partner with influencers to create new tips and share authentic stories to feature on your brand’s website or blog. 

The wonderful thing about influencers is how relatable their content can be; their communities follow them for that reason. When brands identify influencers who share their values and passion for products or experiences, and engage those influencers to advocate and create stories about their brand, the result is more authentic and human user-generated content (versus that created solely by a brand). Consider these stats on user-generated content (UGC):

  • Visitors to websites that include UGC galleries spend 90 percent more time on the site.
  • Social campaigns that incorporate UGC see a 50 percent lift in engagement.
  • Ads with UGC generate 5x greater click-through rates.

2. After running an influencer campaign, keep the momentum going by cross-promoting content on your brand’s social networks. 

Running out of things to tweet on an average Monday morning? After implementing an influencer campaign, your brand can potentially have a large number of blog posts or other content that remain relevant beyond the campaign period, providing prime content to share on your social channels on an ongoing basis – with attribution.

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Remember always to credit the influencer by tagging and linking to their original content. This not only gives proper credit to their work, but also helps increase your post engagement, as it will more than likely be retweeted or shared by the influencer and potentially their followers.

Acknowledging bloggers’ posts on brand channels is not limited to Twitter and Facebook! Consider creating a Pinterest board to host all of your influencers’ content about your brand. After a campaign is complete, simply re-pin your influencers’ graphics to one board on your brand account, capturing the big idea of the campaign (e.g., holiday tips, kid-friendly recipes, gift ideas). We recently partnered with Energizer for an influencer campaign that asked our bloggers to share fun, family activities for summertime using Energizer products. On an ongoing basis throughout the campaign, we pinned content to a #PoweringSummer board we had created to host all of our influencers’ ideas and graphics in one place.

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3. Team up with influencers to incorporate their photography (always with attribution) into your website, blog and social.

Posts with photos get 39 percent more interaction than posts without photos. If your brand is lacking visuals on your blog or social stream, consider partnering with bloggers who have a talent for photography to create some stunning images you can use. Photos and graphics help break up text and draw people in to read what you have to say.

Instagram can be another great place to feature influencer content — with permission from the blogger. Fashion brands do this often, but it can be applied to other industries as well. Maybe you’d like to feature a foodie blogger sharing her tips in an Instagram video, or share a tech-focused influencer’s photo featuring your product. Perhaps you need a photo of your product in action, being used by a real family. As an alternative to hiring professional photographers, why not engage influencers to tell an authentic, visual story on behalf of your brand?

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4. Use influencer campaigns to inspire future content angles. 

Don’t underestimate the valuable insights that can come out of an influencer campaign. Social media campaign posts encourage online conversation from which brands can continually learn. An average campaign by The Motherhood this year has received more than 200 comments across blogs and social media platforms. By diving into those comments, you’ll find consumers’ thoughts, opinions and feedback on how they are using youproduct. Perhaps your brand can learn a new way that consumers use your product or an undiscovered “hack” or feature. Previous campaigns’ conversation can help shape and position your brand’s future content.

5. Incorporate influencer content in your email marketing strategy. 

A recent study by Ascend2 showed that engagement is the top goal for 54 percent of email marketers. Again, readers want to consume and engage online with authentic, personal content. In fact, when user-generated content is used in email marketing, it drives a 73 percent increase in click-through rates! Consider using influencer campaign blog posts and photography in your next email newsletter (always with proper attribution). It’s easy to plug in a round-up of blog posts or perhaps even feature one blog post around a particular timely topic for your followers.

There are countless ways to use influencers’ content to keep your brand content fresh! How do you use influencer content for your brand?

Blogger Spotlight: Jessica McFadden, A Parent in America

Jessica McFadden

What has made click-throughs on one social media channel nearly obsolete?

What will steal the scene in lieu of toys this holiday season?

Where is engagement happening in 2016?

Jessica McFadden of A Parent in America and A Parent in Silver Spring has the answers, and we’re sharing them (and more!) with you in this month’s blogger spotlight.

Read on to learn more about why her blog is not her personal journal and what always results in a win when it comes to brands, bloggers and their readers. Give Jessica a shout-out at @JessicaMcFadd!

Jessica McFadden

Want to see more? Check out our most recent blogger spotlights, as well as our 2015 Blogger Spotlight Series.

How does the Blogger Spotlight Series work? Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top-performing 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 invite as our featured blogger. Stop back October 1 for the next blogger spotlight!

Celebrating the Incredible Results of The Motherhood’s Five-Year Partnership with the United Nations Foundation, Shot@Life and Blogust

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All of us at The Motherhood are so proud of our work with the UN Foundation and its key initiative Shot@Life over the last five years to help get vaccines to kids in need around the world. 

We care so much about Shot@Life’s mission because of this terrible statistic: In developing countries, one child — often before age five — dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. 

To help save these kids, every August for the last five years, we’ve teamed up with Shot@Life to run Blogust, a month-long “blog relay” during which stellar social media voices post to their social channels about Shot@Life and the importance of vaccines — and for every comment, like, share, tweet or re-tweet of their social posts, a life-saving vaccine is donated to a child in need. MAM sponsored Blogust 2016, with an initial goal of generating 30,000 vaccine donations.

Working closely with Shot@Life, The Motherhood invited 10 influential bloggers to become UN Foundation Social Fellows and join the Blogust 2016 Team.  To kick off the month and spread awareness of the initiative in real time, Shot@Life and The Motherhood hosted a #Blogust Twitter chat, resulting in more than 1,700 tweets and re-tweets — a great start to the month-long campaign. 

Each of the 10 bloggers, plus five participating United Nations Foundation blogger council members, published a blog or social media post on an assigned day during the month.

In their posts, bloggers shared milestones that they or their children experienced between birth and age five through #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT photos, raising awareness of the fact that millions of children in developing countries contract vaccine-preventable diseases and die before their fifth birthdays.

Nearly 40 alumni from prior Blogust campaigns joined in, posting to their blogs and Instagram and rallying their loyal followers throughout the month.

Incredibly, by mid-month, the full team of Blogust influencers generated 30,000 social media comments, likes and shares.  Thanks to the generosity of MAM, Shot@Life was able to set a new goal of 60,000 social actions.

By month’s end, the final Blogust tally was 65,223 social actions, triggering a total donation of 60,000 vaccines, doubling the original goal and spreading awareness of the global need for life-saving vaccines.

Congratulations to the UN Foundation, to Shot@Life and to the incredible #Blogust team! We are honored to get to work with you on this important and groundbreaking campaign for the last five years, and are thrilled with the tremendous results.

Featured image courtesy of Silvia, Mama Latina Tips.

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