Positivity, innovation and agility in the face of adversity

Over the last few weeks, life as we know it has changed significantly and we have all had to swiftly adjust to this new ‘normal.’ Numerous businesses have quickly responded to the Coronavirus crisis, demonstrating how agile, resourceful and innovative they are. Many have responded to the change in consumer behaviour by creating new products, in turn supporting the community with their fresh creations.

Pai Skincare

Natural skincare brand Pai quickly responded to the shortage in hand sanitiser by creating their own version for £9. ‘Acton Spirit’ – named after the team and where they’re located (their offices are based in Acton, West London), Pai were able to bring a new product to market in just two weeks, showing that where there is a will there is a way! Pai have also limited customers to one hand sanitiser per person to reduce shortages and for each one that’s sold, they’ll give one away to a school, nursery or beauty bank charity.

Image Source

Brewdog

Independent brewer Brewdog have also launched their own hand sanitiser ‘Punk Sanitiser,’ which they are giving away to those who need it. Brewdog’s quick call to arms to help curb the shortage and the fact they are not charging for this product is a fantastic and inspiring demonstration of community spirit. They have also created a virtual pub quiz so even though you may not be able to go to the pub, you don’t have to miss out on the pub quiz action!

Image Source

Ben & Jerry’s

With staying in being the new going out and our Netflix viewing undoubtedly on the rise, Ben & Jerry’s expertly responded to this with their new Netflix and Chill’d flavoured ice-cream. A great example of a business quickly responding to consumer demand with a fun, light-hearted product.

Image Source

The Detox Kitchen

London-based catering business The Detox Kitchen, which creates delicious healthy meal plans delivered to your door, alongside their bricks and mortar cafes in the capital showed their ability to adapt during this uncertain time. Having to close the doors of their cafes, the Detox Kitchen responded to the lack of food available to buy in supermarkets by teaming up with their fruit and veg supplier 2-Serve to create a box that contains a variety of the highest quality produce, which feeds 2-4 people for a week!

The Body Coach

Other brands that have rallied round to help others are The Body Coach. With schools and nurseries now closed in the UK for the foreseeable future, ensuring your kids get regular exercise on top of trying to home-school them can prove challenging. Joe Wicks, founder of the Body Coach has taken it upon himself to teach the nation P.E. each day. Every morning at 9am from Monday – Friday Joe teaches a live 30-minute workout aimed at kids to get them moving, genius!

 

To all the brands and businesses out there who have adapted and are playing their part in helping us through this crisis, we salute you!

 

I’m not going to get into what makes a good or bad link in this post, lets just say by bad links I mean blog networks, obviously paid links, forum spam and pretty much all the stuff the majority of SEOs would hammer up until 2012/2013.

Recently I’ve seen a surge in tactics that were used over a decade ago, paid blog posts on barely readable websites and even whole networks reappearing to support low level cheap links. I’ve seen some that seem to be working effectively, developing top rankings in a very short space of time. However, is that it? Are these sort of tactics back in?

Probably should clarify at this point, connective3 don’t engage in these tactics, we don’t feel we need to as we can deliver quality and quantity without it; however I know lots of businesses and agencies still do. I make no judgement, I believe there are some pretty serious risks, but if both agency and client are transparent about it, best of luck.

I’ve been following a handful of businesses that were seemingly benefiting from these tactics, building a lot of links, fast, not necessarily using anchor text but across blog networks, forums and paid advertorials. (If you’ve worked in SEO spotting a paid/spam link isn’t hard).

Below is an example of one such site:-

As you can see there was a huge spike in visibility as these tactics started to kick in, around March 2018. However, by November the same year rankings started to decline massively, pretty much inline with Google’s core update. I know from speaking with the business that they panicked and tried to build even more links at this point using the same tactics. This produced a small increase but by April they were in the same position falling away again.

What’s interesting in April 2019 they tried to do it again, an influx of new links but using the same paid blog posts, blog network and forum strategies. This time the links just didn’t stick, even though they were on completely new websites/IPs. It’s almost like Google has got on top of it or decided this site won’t have links counted for a while based on quality.

This isn’t out of the ordinary, we’ve seen it across 4-5 different websites using similar tactics. 6-month spike in performance followed by a complete flat line. It’s for this reason I could never recommend this style of link building anymore, especially when digital PR and content marketing talent is so strong.

I have no doubt Google can still be manipulated, but I’m not seeing any longevity from it at all. Happy to see/hear otherwise though, and would love to hear from others with their opinions on this.

For many marketers link building is a necessary evil that they have to undertake in order to increase their organic visibility.

Link building, if we like it or not, is around to stay for the foreseeable future so brands need to prepare (even in challenging times like today).

I have worked agency side for eight years and in that time have worked with hundreds of clients. There are several key challenges I hear from clients before launching link building campaigns, these are the time required to launch the campaign is limited, the budget isn’t big enough (to build the campaigns), or they think that their brand is not ‘newsworthy’.

To address the last point on how ‘newsworthy’ a campaign is, I would like to say on record that any brand, working in any industry can build links – check out my interview on building links in hard to market industries for some inspiration.

When we address the challenge over time and money its worth noting that not every digital PR campaign needs to cost the world, in fact there are things you can do without any budget which will deliver you high authority links. I have detailed down five of these tactics below:

1. Newsjacking

“Newsjacking is the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”

– David Meerman Scott

Not every brand can newsjack, however for the majority of brands this is a legitimate tactic that should be used to gain high-tier, national relevant links.

Put simply, if you have an opinion on a planned topic or a breaking news story you could send it to journalists covering that topic and gain links back to your site.

You will need a spokesperson and some time to read the daily news, but that’s it! A great example of how a brand adopted this tactic and picked up some seriously good links (and visibility) was money.co.uk

Using their spokesperson they worked with the media on relevant topics such as house prices, Brexit and company updates to give the media and customers an insight into how these updates will impact consumer finances. Some examples of these links can be seen below:

https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/expert-says-debenhams-not-putting-2615161

https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/breaking-honda-set-close-entire-14015449

2. Unlinked Mentions

Unlinked mentions happen naturally as a journalist will often mention your brand without even considering a link.

As SEO’s we would love every mention to be linked, however we need to be aware that this won’t always be the case.

However if you do see an unlinked mention (about your brand) it may be worth asking the journalists to link to a relevant resource on your site.

Please note that you should never demand a link, ask for a link from a negative article, or ask when the link wouldn’t add any value. All in all it just takes common sense to work out which unlinked mentions could actually be turned into links.

The easiest way to find unlinked mentions is to:

  1. Set up alerts (via Google, Buzzsumo, ect…)
  2. Search Google for mentions of your brand. The best way to do this is to use search operators. For example if I was looking for mentions of connective3 I would need to ask Google to show me who, other than myself, has talked about the site. You can do this by running a search query [“connective3” -site:connective3.com]

This will show mentions of your brand but exclude your brand URL from the SERPs. Always make sure the mentions you are chasing are recent (you can do this by changing the date range within Google Search).

More information on how to find links can be seen at my recent post here.

3. Charity work or partnerships

Most brands have newsworthy content that they may not be aware of.

For example do you have a chosen charity? If so have you considered sending your charity news updates to sites such as fundraising.co.uk?  Or how about working with the charity itself and gaining links with their press office?

Or do you have partnerships/sponsorships? If so you should definitely be negotiating links on their sites as part of any contract agreement.

I understand this is not possible for all brands but for many it’s a quick win.

4. Local stores

I’ll caveat this point as this point only applies to brands with a store presence. f you work in a business that does not have brick and mortar stores you should probably move on to the next section 😊

If you do have physical locations then this tactic is a must for you.

Imagine you own a shop in a shopping centre, all you have to do to build links in this instance is contact the shopping centre website and ask for a link to the relevant store page.

Or imagine you own multiple entertainment outlets such as Bingo halls – you should certainly be working with local visitor sites such as Visit York or Visit Manchester (or the relevant local sites) to build links with them/

These sites will deliver high quality relevant links and support your local strategy. In fact, I previously did this for a client of mine and gained 60 links with no campaign.

5. Interviews and thought leaders

Everyone loves the limelight right? Well maybe not, but many people do so why not give it to them?

Your business is most likely filled with experts working in different fields such as HR, marketing, finance etc.

Well my link hungry friends, there is a wealth of really good sites that accept interview and thought leadership articles with these experts. Sites such as https://realbusiness.co.uk/ and https://www.entrepreneur.com often accept interview or opinion features – so make your colleagues famous and gain links at the same time.

Summary

Link building is hard, and its getting harder. This being said its our job to ensure we make our businesses as ‘digital as possible’ and make every web mention work harder and deliver more than just coverage.

Be creative, talk to different internal teams and I guarantee you will find link opportunities without running content campaigns.

 

Whether you love link building or loath it, there’s no denying that finding a new link pointing to your own or your client’s domain is an exhilarating feeling.

At connective3, our digital PR team run multiple link campaigns on a weekly basis. However, 95% of the journalists we email, tweet, or call don’t let us know if they cover the story.

Now, this isn’t a problem, but it certainly does raise one or two challenges.

Firstly, you will want to report on that link and show off the great work you have achieved. Secondly, the journalist may have covered the story with no link and on occasions (if relevant and appropriate) you may want to approach them to see if they will link to your site.

So, what is the best way of finding new backlinks? I have broken down my morning checklist to ensure you are seeing as much of the picture as possible when searching for links:Buzzsumo

1. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a great tool which allows users to input keywords and discover the top performing content surrounding your chosen keywords.

Buzzsumo also has a link index feature which allows you to look for new links pointing to a domain in the past 24 hours, the past week, 6-month, 1 year and 2 years.

Make sure you check this everyday to see new links pointing to your domain.

P.S also set up Buzzsumo alerts to receive emails every time a site mentions your client

Ahrefs logo

2. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a more complex SEO tool showing everything from organic visibility, top performing content and offering gap analysis.

Similar to Buzzsumo, Ahrefs has an impressive link index allowing you to see new links pointing to a chosen site or page.

 

3. Google Search operators

Going back to basics is sometimes the best option. Using manual searches in Google will bring up any new links and coverage.

Every morning I change my Google search settings to show only results from the past 24 hours and then use search operators to find mentions about my campaigns and clients.

Using search operators will allow you to be more specific with your searches. I recommend using the following two:

  • “”
    • If you search for keywords used within your campaigns or your clients name with speech marks around them, it will only bring back sites who have used those exact phrases. For example, “connective3” AND “Digital PR”.
  • -site:
    • When looking for coverage, often your client’s site will be presented to you. In order to exclude this from your search you can use the operator -site: (example -site:connective3.com)

 

4. Referral traffic

Google analytics is a great way to find new links. Often when a link is built you will receive referral traffic from it.

Using Google analytics, you can look at the overall traffic to your campaign page, add a secondary dimension titled ‘Full referrer’ and see all the links that have driven traffic.

 

5. Batch analysis

Batch analysis is a great function from Ahrefs. This cool little feature allows you to input up to 200 URLs and see how many referring links each of them have gained.

If you add the links, you have built into this you can see if journalists have read your coverage and linked to these pages instead of your campaign. Again, if appropriate and relevant you can approach them to update the link.

I’ll start by saying that I am very interested in anything that helps me to do my job faster or smarter. It’s also worth saying that I think a lot of tools that are described as being powered by AI are in fact simply automation tools. However, since they also help with doing work faster, I’m on board.

My first forays into using AI tools were pretty basic; things like social listening tools that use natural language processing to try to determine sentiment (pretty poorly at the time). But things have advanced since then and my eyes have been opened to a wealth of tools and applications of AI, particularly in journalism right now, that make me excited for future uses.

In my opinion the journalism industry seems far more advanced in its creation and application of AI than the PR industry. For this reason, most of the examples are journalistic applications however I believe, as I’ll come onto, that these also have use-cases for PR professionals.

One of the forces behind the ability for the journalism industry to invest in AI applications, especially within Europe, seems to be Google’s Digital News Innovation Fund (DNI).

The Digital News Innovation Fund (DNI Fund) is a European programme that’s part of the Google News Initiative, an effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age.

The DNI has funded a wealth of really interesting projects, some of which I’ll highlight in more detail. I’ll be honest running through them was a rabbit hole mission that I spent way too long on, so be warned in case the same happens to you!

Current applications

Fighting Fake News

The DNI has funded several projects which are aimed at ‘Battling misinformation’, a couple of interesting ones are below.

Full Fact is the UK’s independent fact checking charity which received two rounds of DNI funding. The first round was to support Full Fact’s automated fact checking abilities allowing them to fact check content at a much larger scale.

The second round is explained by its Head of Automated Fact Checking:

“The project will help us develop a set of standards for sharing fact checks and evaluate automated fact checking to ensure that the systems provide results in a consistently balanced way,” Mevan Babakar

From what I can see Full Fact started out mainly fact checking live broadcasts but now also investigates general news and, since January have announced they will now be fact checking Facebook posts:

Here’s a couple of examples:

 

Other projects that fall into the ‘Battling misinformation’ category are around verifying user generated content (UGC).

The Associated Press (AP) received a grant for the project AP Verify which utilises AI to verify UGC based on various criteria to see whether it is legitimate content worth including in a story or there are factors at play to indicate otherwise.

Verifeye Media is a similar project that received funding, journalists can upload photo or video content straight from their smartphone and receive a confidence indicator for whether the content is safe to use or requires further review.

Local news resurgence

Several DNI funded projects are aimed at helping journalists to tell hyper-localised stories, one example is Reporters and Data and Robots (RADAR).

RADAR is a partnership between the Press Association (PA) and Urbs Media that enables regional news titles access to stories jointly written by journalists and AI.

This uses open source data to generate localised stories; a journalist will write a template of the article and the AI uses natural language generation (NLG) to then generate individually localised stories based on the template and data set. RADAR enables around 250 stories to be generated from just one journalist-written template.

Driving efficiency

A non-DNI funded project this time, The Washington Post created its AI technology Heliograf which has been dubbed ‘robot reporting’ and writes short form articles and social media messages mainly reporting on sports. Examples of these can be seen here:

The Washington Post are certainly not alone in this though. The AP in the UK developed Wordsmith which has hugely increased their output vs manual efforts:

On another track, a DNI funded project Trint uses AI to transcribe and translate audio or video content. Some of the main benefits of this are:

  • Saving time – it can transcribe a 45-minute audio clip in less time than it takes to play
  • Saving money – it charges a flat fee far lower than most manual transcription services
  • The output is all time-coded meaning you can search within the transcript to find the right parts of the video/audio, click to listen to them, and edit as you wish.

This I see being hugely useful not just for journalists but also for PRs and all other content creators who are working with audio and video. Especially relevant with the explosion of Podcast popularity now.

Finally, news.bridge takes this even further than Trint allowing you not just to transcribe and translate your audio, but it’s AI will also produce voiceovers, subtitles and summaries of transcriptions and translate all of this into target languages for you.

Finding and making the news

Most of the examples in the previous section were utilising AI to produce fairly formulaic content based on data you find yourself and feed in, as opposed to necessarily helping you to find the story. However, there are some examples of publishers that using AI to do exactly that.

Reuters launched Lynx Insight which aims to suggest story ideas to journalists as oppose to write the copy, although it can also help with that. These snippets are taken from a Wired article:

Forbes announced a similar tool last year; Bertie:

BuzzFeed also notably used machine learning to create a story identifying spy planes:

Building bots

Its not just writing the content or suggesting topics that AI is being used for though, it’s also helping to create different formats for content.

The BBC’s bot builder has enabled journalists to transform long form content into more engaging and easier to consume content through in-article chat bots.

It’s not just chatbots either though, Chinese media outlet Xinhua went a step further and has created AI news anchors!

A few days ago, they now introduced the world’s first female AI news anchor as well:

Democratic accountability

As well as the tools I mentioned aimed at battling misinformation which can often be linked to politics and public bodies, the DNI has also funded projects such as Alveteli which has a suite of tools aimed at holding public representatives to account. Examples include:

What’s Google’s play?

If you’ve got to this point you might be thinking; what’s in it for Google? They’re investing all this money in all these projects so there must be something in it for them. As nice as it would be to think they are doing it simply to help the journalism industry, I believe they may benefit in other ways. A couple of examples being:

YouTube

As mentioned, a number of the projects involve video, which Google is very keen to push for YouTube’s sake and as such also has GNI YouTube Innovation funding with 87 projects funded across 23 countries. The obvious benefit for Google here being the more content being uploaded to YouTube, the more views they get and the more advertising revenue they can generate.

Assistant

Google has been heavily pushing its assistant and voice search over the last couple of years and a lot of the DNI projects also support this.

The projects that centre around translation and creation of localised voiceovers are certainly beneficial in this area.

The place for humans

As you’ll see from most of the projects I’ve mentioned, these are not centred around AI replacing human jobs, but complementing the jobs and reducing the repetitive or unnecessary tasks humans were previously performing that can be performed by machines to free up human time to be better spent.

There are certainly some areas that desperately require human monitoring and/or intervention for the foreseeable future.

Ethics

The first of those would be ethics and I think we have been able to see there are some staggering issues around AI and ethics. We definitely still need humans to decide the ethical considerations of the applications of this technology.

One of the most important elements of this is the transparency to consumers of how and when AI is being used.

Last year you may remember this story where a flawed algorithm led the UK government to deport thousands of students incorrectly. The reason for this was a BBC Panorama study that looked at how many students were being able to get study visas illegally, essentially by getting other people to fake their English proficiency test. The government then employed a firm to review these applications and identify ‘invalid’ results which they then served deportation notices to. The problem was the way in which the firm reviewed the test was using voice recognition software which was flawed and incorrectly marked tests as invalid (i.e. faked) when they weren’t. This meant thousands of students were incorrectly marked for deportation when they should not have been and sparked mass legal action against the government.

Editing and refining

As you can see from a lot of the examples that I’ve shown, the content that’s being generated using NLG is fairly basic. Human journalists are still needed for anything more in-depth than simply reporting on facts or figures.

So, the AI might be coming up with the story ideas; analysing data to provide the angles that are interesting, but it still takes a real human journalist and to craft that into a story that is compelling and engaging to read. I think even if we see some of these practices coming over into the PR world, again, it will still take a PR person to really find the right hook and to make it appeal to humans.

The Future?

So, what does the future hold for AI in the context of journalism and PR?

Better AI writing assistants

I think the AI writing assistants that we’ve already seen will continue to improve and I think we’ll start to see them coming through in other CMS, not just in journalism. I see assistants in CMS helping with things like; finding multimedia to insert, finding sources and facts that we might want to include in content, being able to click a button to factcheck in the background etc.  I think that’s going to continue and we’re just going to see more and more features being included in CMS platforms to help people produce content more efficiently.

Improving accessibility

I think we’re also going to see AI helping to improve accessibility in a lot more ways; I mean that both in terms of making content more accessible for people with disabilities and impairments, but also helping people in different countries to access content.

I think we’ll start to see not just recommendations from CMS/content systems on how to improve accessibility, but the ability for the system to just improve it for you.

I’ve mentioned the projects around automated transcription and translation services and I see that as really exciting for PRs and Content Marketers to have the ability to increase the reach of any piece of content or campaign much wider than previously possible due to budget constraints.

Fighting fake news and filter bubbles

I think the fighting of fake news and filter bubbles is only going to become more and more and important and relevant in the years to come. Especially as we have potentially a general election coming up in the next year or so and certainly the US presidential election in 2020. All the work combating fake news and filter bubbles is going to become more and more important and we’re seeing a lot of investment going into those areas, so I think it’s safe to say that we’ll see some exciting developments happening there.

Creating stories from data

I think we’re going to see a lot more tools being created and applications of AI that help us to find and create stories. Rather than us finding datasets ourselves and feeding them through and it suggesting stories, I think we’ll see AI being used to profile audiences better, understand what they’re interested in and then serve up potential stories based on that, without us having to specify and feed it data sets.

Consumer scepticism

I also think that we’re going to see a lot more consumer scepticism though, I think things like the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year and all the data breaches and scandals that have can you come out of the news with Facebook and Google have made people very wary of how they share their data. So, I think we’ll see people being a lot more reluctant to share their data which may in some cases slow down AI development and applications if the data is not available to feed the machine.

More data training/hiring

Finally, I think one of the other things it’s going to be so important for the future is going to be more training for journalists and PR professionals on how to find data and transform it into interesting visualisations and stories.

I also think in terms of journalism, but also the PR industry, we’ll see more hires of people that have the capabilities to use data and to develop AI technologies and data visualisation to support the roles that they’re doing.  I think that’s one area where PR is certainly lacking behind journalism right now.

What about PR?

The CIPR has the AI in PR panel who do some really great research into AI applications within PR. They conducted a great study looking at how AI is currently being used in PR and predicting what that my look like in five years.

The two diagrams below are taken from that report looking at the skills needed in PR and mapping against how AI can help.

As someone working in PR a lot of what I’ll be doing is keeping an eye on the tools that are being created and used by journalists and seeing if any of those come out of beta and are available to the PR industry too as there’ll be a lot of helpful cases for those.

For example, having technology that can help us to understand our client’s target audience, the stories that they’ll be interested in and the tools to gather information to generate those stories and angles is hugely valuable as a PR.

If the tools that currently exist aren’t made available more widely, I think we’re at a stage where those operating in the PR industry will have to start creating them themselves. We now know the technology is ready and capable to doing what we need it to do so replicating that for PRs will be key.

The Google DNI publishes a list of open source projects that can utilised so that is a really great place to start for developing our own tools.

This post ended up very long so congratulations if you actually made it to the end! I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’re currently seeing AI being used in journalism and PR and where you think the future’s going too.

I am obsessed with Instagram, mainly because I like to be nosy but also because I am amazed at how well it has grown and how brands use it as a marketing platform.

In the last five years, Instagram has gone from having 90 million users to one billion users. That is incredible growth, and if brands aren’t already using it to engage with customers they should be.

Source: Statista

But how do influencers manage to build themselves from nothing to signing big contracts, and why do brands want to work with people like this? I have broken it down by industry because each one does it slightly differently.

Health Industry

There are many reasons why working with influencers has been successful in the health industry but something I have especially noticed is the hunger for real-life stories. Gone are the times of product placement, consumers want to see real results to believe that something works.

A great example of this is Alice Liveing. She took to Instagram to log her progress for her new lifestyle change and by doing so she has created a following of 640k and now works with the likes of Women’s Health and Primark on a regular basis.

 

Brands know that Alice’s followers trust her, her followers grew because she was posting real, honest and personal content and people connected with what she was going through. Instead of taking advantage of free products that are sent to her, Alice works with brands she really believes in, so when she speaks about them to her followers it is taken in a ‘good advice from a friend’ kind of way.

When Alice isn’t posting about brands, she offers her followers free workouts and recipe ideas that they can use. For her, it has always been about helping others and because of this, consumers aren’t constantly bombarded with product placements, and when she is promoting a brand it’s because she loves it and believes it can help her followers.

Similarly, Healthy Chef Steph was started by Steph Elswood as a way to help her think positively about her body but now she has 205k followers and keeps them up to date with what she is doing on a regular basis. It gives a sense of lust to consumers and leaves people wanting what she has.

People want to go to the gym she does to achieve the same results, others want to visit the hotel she does to get the perfect picture she has and people want to buy the jacket she wears to look as good as her. It is all about lusting over a life they see and buying into a lifestyle.

 

The health industry has blown up over the last few years and Brits are more aware of their lifestyle choices. This has had a real impact on health brands and has helped influencers grow even quicker. Consumers want to follow people like this on Instagram to maintain a healthy lifestyle and remind themselves of what their end goal could also look like.

Fashion Industry

Influencers in the fashion industry are very different, I have noticed that smaller influencers are promoting products but the true success for this industry is working with emerging celebrities.

A brand that has understood how this can work well is In The Style, by working with a range of influencers from Binky Felstead, Sarah Ashcroft and now Dani Dyer they are reaching over 5 million target customers on Instagram alone.

All of these stars have their own clothing range, and all promote them online with regular links to what they are wearing. Both brand and influencer benefit from this partnership and consumers have a constant flow of outfit inspiration on a platform that they use regularly.

 

In a way, In The Style are much more forward-thinking than big brands like John Lewis. Although the big retailer captures the hearts of many during their Christmas campaigns, they don’t work with influencers in the same way.

Other brands like Very and New Look are starting to make similar decisions and working with the likes of Michelle Keegan and Rochelle Humes. Celebrities that are much more established in their careers but fit their target customer just the same.

Beauty Industry

When it comes to the beauty industry, YouTubers are still a popular choice for beauty addicts but Instagram stories are a great way for consumers to have a similar experience on this platform and get an insight to influencers lives. Influencers that are successful in this industry include Zoella, Pixiwoo, Dani Mansutti, and Estee Lalonde as well as other smaller influencers like Eltoria.

Consumers can relate to real people and Instagram helps to magnify this for the beauty industry. It creates another platform that beauty fanatics can find new brands or products to see snippets of reviews quickly and easily.

 

Instagram can be used as a search engine using hashtags. When I type in #lush, it brings up an option to ‘watch #lush videos’. A series of short videos that influencers, as well as ordinary people, have uploaded to their own profiles. An easy way to see a review of a product or brand.

So rather than using this platform to buy products, beauty consumers can use this platform to research and review products before buying through content from influencers.

Travel Industry

Instagram is the perfect place for any travel brand or influencer. Consumers are constantly seeing inspiring posts of their next holiday or travel adventure but rather than it being a space for promotion, similarly to the beauty industry, Instagram is more a research platform for Brits.

One of the best Instagram profiles to follow for this to see content that will make you want to travel is Marie Fe and Jack Snow. They are travelling the world, staying in amazing hotels and experiencing it all because of Instagram.

 

They met while on their travels and they decided to share the experience together on one Instagram profile. Now with 200k followers’ consumers are constantly following their journey and they are able to carry on travelling the world because they work with brands and hotels on a regular basis.

This works in the travel industry because consumers want to get the inspiration in a platform that they are using daily. Again, it is the sense of lust that keeps people following profiles like this.

Social Media is ever growing and has caused a shift in the way marketing and PR works. Brands and agencies are aware of this change and are adapting from the conventional methods and trying to evolve to an ever-changing world. First, it was to work with bloggers to gain exposure and now it is to work with Instagrammers because most brands’ target audiences are using this platform daily.

Almost 1 in 5 people between the ages of 18 and 34 are using Instagram regularly, which is why brands are too. Digital is shifting the way we will shop forever.

Source: Statista

Social Media has allowed consumers to have more of an insight into what is real and what is not and as long as brands and influencers don’t jeopardise this, consumers will continue to trust them.

Brands should be working with social influencers to create a good social presence because Instagram is going to continue to grow and it is the easiest way to connect with customers. Building your brand on social media is all about having a good relationship with consumers and knowing what they want to see, this should be your next step to understand what kind of influencers your target customer relates to and to find out how you can work with them in the future.

Something to note though, consumers have started to pick up on the #ad so how long will it be until the next shift starts?