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What are Virtual Influencers, and What Do They Mean for Influencer Marketing?

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Virtual Influencers

Influencer marketing strategies always indicate that we need to find the most humane aspect of our campaign: to inspire and motivate, to create stories, to engage personally through different channels … all with the goal of engaging our followers. All this is going to happen as the virtual has emerged as influential.

As its name suggests, social networks are conceived as a digital space where we can connect with other people, change attitudes, seek advice, learn more about our culture.

And it is in this ecosystem that some very influential individuals emerge. Especially those people who have been able to attract the attention of thousands or even millions of followers around the world because of their knowledge of certain subjects and charisma. An image that marketing experts know how to “humanize your brands” or how to take advantage of it by still creating a collective campaign.

What is a virtual influencer? 

The term “virtual influencer” is only very recent. What does it compare to? Where did this trend come from and how did it spread? We will cover all these points in this article.

Meaning 

“Virtual influencers” refer to entirely fictional characters representing a brand, a company, or others. This consists of filming or photographing a human face and capturing its movements in order to reproduce them on the character in 3D. Perfectly modeled, some of them. They would even be confused with real people.

Virtual influencers could dethrone human influencers

The growing popularity of virtual influencers is bringing great change. These artificially generated models gain a lot of followers on social networks every day, especially on Instagram. But how are these generated? And above all, why do they gain so much acceptance and trust among users?

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First, virtual influencers are almost impossible to recognize from their rivals, human influencers. The raw beginnings of human representation in 3D are far behind and some of them have structural cartoon elements but they are apparently quite interesting.

The data published by the social analysis ensures that the performance of virtual influencers can pale any of their human colleagues.

According to the study, ” virtual influencers have almost three times more engagement than” real “influencers. This means that followers are more committed to the content of virtual influencers. “

This is a trend that never comes as a surprise, especially when we consider what it means for the future of influencer marketing. If these searches are correct, and virtual influencers are experiencing such a significant increase, logically more brands will follow this trend.

New influence … new regulations?

In addition, we must consider that virtual influencers are available free of charge, neutral, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. According to this study, they are obviously extremely popular, especially among women aged 18 to 24 years.

As we said before, the characters range from hyper-realistic presentations to cartoons, which does not discourage his followers. In fact, the virtual influential chief is Lilmicella, with 1.7 million followers, followed by a Bratz doll-like character named Nunouri with 332,000 followers. By country, 23% of the audience for virtual influencers is concentrated in the United States. Below are countries like Brazil (9%) or Russia (5%).

So far, many of these profiles have reported that it is a virtual influencer. But it would be interesting to see if these brands would be controlled in the future without identifying them as real.

For now, creating such realistic 3D models is expensive. At least more expensive than the integration of real influencers. But with the advancement of technology, these costs will decrease. And it will open the door for companies looking to use them.

READ MORE:   Top Tips To Broadcast A Better Social Media Live

What is influencer marketing and how can it help you to promote your brand?

Influencers marketing is a novel marketing strategy. It is effective to achieve a series of partnerships between brands and companies. And those with high visibility and prominence on the Internet, which is known as  ‘influencers’.

The internet and especially social networks have created the presence of a series of people who can be the equivalent of celebrities or celebrities in the conventional media, who have become the reference of a huge number of users.

This influential virtual world is characterized by having many hooks and charisma. Some, like YouTubers, have several thousand (and in some cases even millions) subscribers and followers.

Clearly, these national social networks are fairly real diamonds for brands, either because of their presence to criticize a particular product or simply because of the use of a clothing brand. Or any other item may go above the integer of many of the popular acceptance of a particular brand and it may increase sales like foam.

The advantages of influencer marketing

The main benefits of using influencer marketing techniques in our campaigns are the following:

  • They manage to amplify the positive messages of our brand or company.
  • Much conversation is generated online about our products or services.
  • Traffic to our website or the landing page of our campaign is increased.
  • Influencers are perfectly followed by a huge purchasing power and very consumerist: the target audience with thousands of generations.
  • If designed well, a campaign with influencers does not have to be very expensive. And a satisfactory and profitable return on investment (ROI) can be achieved.
  • The brand gains reputation and prestige.

How to design an influencer marketing campaign?

To design a good influencer marketing strategy to fit into our overall marketing campaign, we must follow these steps:

  • All we need to do first is to identify the most relevant influencers. And, above all, the most suitable for our products and the values of our brand or organization.
  • Once we have identified the influencers (or influencers) who are interested in our promotion, we need to get a favorable attitude from them towards their products or services.
  • We have to get positive reviews of our brand or product from the influencer.
  • Another option is to keep the presence (content) of these advertisers more or less hidden.
  • We can also invite them to launch our products in order to promote them.
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What do marketing professionals think?

Most marketing and advertising professionals (about 70% according to various surveys) are in favor of this type of promotion because they consider it effective. As such, a survey has confirmed that many companies are investing up to 20% of their budget in such effective marketing campaigns and want to increase spending on this item.

The ethical question

The use of influencer marketing sometimes leads to conflicts of ethical nature and professionalism. The bottom line is that many times influencers are dedicated to publicizing certain brands or their products or to talking for a fee or consideration of some kind.

The problem is that many times there is not enough transparency. It goes without saying that the influencer is criticizing a product because it is his real opinion, ignoring that he actually does it in exchange for something. In this case, their followers may be talking about a lack of honesty and a certain kind of deception, whose commercial interests of brands and companies do not need to know that their leader’s opinion is secret.

If you have been interested in this article on influencer marketing, you can read this post to know more about it. Hope you can apply so many tactics with the strategies for your business growth.

Alex likes to write about anything related to technology, marketing and gadgets. He sometimes reviews the latest tech and also writes on other blogs.

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Top Tips To Broadcast A Better Social Media Live

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Gone are the days when we used to stick to our television screen to not miss out on a live event. Now we get notified for it. 

Over the years, live-videos (aka live-streaming) have not only become more popular but also a more powerful tool for businesses. 

Source: Social Media Examiner

Live-streaming on social media came into being in 2011 with the app YouNow. Eventually, we saw other platforms acquiring similar features. In 2015, Twitter launched its live-streaming app Periscope, followed by Facebook launching Facebook Live in 2016, and so on.

With the help of early-adopters like Gary Vaynerchuck, this type of content became even more popular among marketers and now we see almost every business planning a live-video strategy. 

Various Benefits Of Live-Streaming

Real-Time

Live-streaming on social media creates a direct connection between you and your audience. This is where you can have a one-on-one conversation and get real-time engagement.  

Live-streaming also provides real-time information. For example, if you read a blog or watch a video online, you are consuming content of the past. You don’t know if the information is relevant now. With live streaming, you can easily provide (or get) the latest information. So much so that the global media channels use it to deliver first-hand news via go-live feature across all social media platforms.

Cost-Effective

Thankfully you don’t have to pay any given cost to go live. You can easily join, start, or publish live-stream videos for absolutely free!

An hour-long seminar to a quick-minute hack – your live videos can be as long or as short as you want. 

High-Reach

Platforms like Facebook and YouTube favour live-videos more than pre-recorded ones. 

Source: 99Firms

You can easily ask your audience to like and share the video to enhance reach. The more people/likes you have on your live video, the more chances are that it will appear in the search results feed. This means it will be seen by more people. 

Builds Your Brand

It doesn’t matter if your business is small or large, everyone can benefit from live-videos. When you live-stream, you not only personally reach out to your audience but also provide a face to your business – which eventually humanizes your brand. People love to interact with businesses like this.

Source: Livestream

Live-Video Tips And Tricks

Live-streaming is indeed a fun and simple way to get in touch with your audience – that too in no time. But there are a few things that you need to keep in mind before you hop-on to setting up one. 

Here are some tips to create a live-video that your audience will enjoy and fully engage with: 

Tip #1: Pick An Interest-Grabbing Title

Before you go live, you need to mention what topic your stream will be about. It’s very important since a title can either make or break your stream. The audience makes up their mind to join a live-video after seeing the title – so make sure you pick a compelling one. 

For example, a title for someone who owns a bookstore can be “10 Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life”.

READ MORE:   Top Tips To Broadcast A Better Social Media Live

The idea is to create the title and description of your live-video as captivating and attractive as possible.

Tip #2: Create A ‘Hook’

The first 10-15 seconds of your live-video decides if your audience will stay watching the video or not. That is why it is called a ‘hook’. 

A hook is nothing but the beginning sentence or two that catches people’s attention.

So, before you jump right on your topic make sure you introduce yourself to your audience. This is important because chances are new people might be joining in and they’d want to see the video from the very beginning. If they liked your content, they might also give you a follow or a ‘like’. 

Tip #3: Engage!

People do not join a live-video to see a person constantly talking to themselves – they’d rather watch a pre-recorded one instead!

The whole purpose behind a live video is to engage with your audience in real-time. Make sure, you ask them questions, answer some of theirs, reply to comments, etc. Don’t forget to do that at regular intervals!

You can also ask your audience to like and share the video. As mentioned above, the more likes and comments you will have on your live-video, the more the platform will increase your reach. 

Tip #4: Talk Of Something That Adds Value

Now that you have your audience’s attention with the title and the hook, it’s safe to jump on to the most important part – the content. 

Your content needs to be concise, add some value, and is actionable. This is where you do justice to your title that promised your audience to click on the video. 

Remember that on a live-video there are no edits or re-takes for people to not notice your mistakes. That’s why we’d suggest you take rough notes before you plan out to hit the ‘live’ button. 

These quick notes or pointers will help you to not stutter in between and create a smooth live-session. 

Tip #5: Add A Call-To-Action

What do you want your audience to do after watching your live video? Do you want them to visit your website? Buy the next seminar ticket? Buy your product? 

Whatever it is, make sure you mention it before saying ‘Good-bye’. 

A call-to-action is an opportunity you cannot miss if you are expecting your audience to do something after they exit your live-session. So, remind them!

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These were just some simple tips and tricks that you need to keep in mind before you hit your next broadcast. So what are you waiting for? Your audience might be willing to see a live-video from you soon, make sure you plan one. 

But what kind of live-videos can you make? 

You cannot be more wrong if you think live-videos are only meant to answer questions from your audience. You can do an ample amount of things with a live video!

Live-Video Examples

Let’s take a look at some of these different examples so you can choose what may work the best for you: 

Behind The Scenes

‘Behind the scene’ videos are always the best way to connect your audience to your brand. 

People are curious to know how a business functions, what all goes behind, the real interaction between employees, the stories, etc. What better way than to show it through a live video?

Source: Livestream

In 2019, Amazon went live on Facebook and Twitch from one of their fulfilment centres. They toured the whole place showcasing the technology and the people that work behind the packaging process.

Q&A Sessions

Trying a Q&A format is great to get some high-level attraction and engagement in your live sessions. 

People might have a lot of questions they want you to answer maybe about your business, product, or industry. This type of valuable information that people get real-time is not the same when compared to blog posts or pre-recorded videos. 

Source: Livestream

Call up influencers and industry specialists from your niche and do a Q&A session with them! 

For instance, Audible partnered with author Mel Robbins for an hour-long Q&A on LinkedIn to promote her new book.  The live-stream generated a thousand views. 

Announcements 

There is no better way to announce the launch of a new product or collaboration than through a live video. 

Try and tease the announcement through a post and see how you build anticipation among your audience. 

Chevrolet’s live stream unveiling the all-electric 2017 Bolt EV at the CES 2016 attracted over 58,000 views. This is a perfect example of how live-stream can be leveraged effectively for a new product launch. 

Cover Events

You leave a lasting and positive brand impression when you include your audience to something as special as a brand event. 

But unfortunately, not everybody gets to attend it. Live streams, therefore, help you reach those people you miss out on. 

This is what Apple does. All of the company’s launch events are live-streamed and published on various platforms for everybody to be a part of it.

READ MORE:   The Importance Of Instagram Videos And How To Use Them For Your Business

Conclusion

Live-streaming is a great way if you are looking to boost your brand awareness and engagement. 

The best way to use a live-video is to make it more interesting and compelling. Doing so, you open doors for several opportunities for your business – be it reaching new prospects, engaging current audiences, etc. 

We hope we brought some clarity about the basics of something as broad as live-stream. 

Do let us know your thoughts about it in the comments below! Which platforms do you use for live-streaming?

Submitted by Aayush Narang who is the founder of Spark Eighteen Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd a Digital Marketing Agency in Delhi. He is a Startup Evangelist. Entrepreneur. Business and Tech Enthusiast.

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Losing Instagram Followers for no reason? Here are 8 Reasons why

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One fine morning in the sweltering summer heat of May, I noticed something odd on Instagram. I had lost 45 Followers, dropping my total following to a measly 356. It’s true, I was randomly losing followers for the last couple of weeks. But with this large drop, all my hopes of an aspiring career as an Instagram influencer came to a halt.

To be fair, I posted on Instagram once a month and most of my followers were friends and acquaintances. So this isn’t a huge loss. But unlike me,  you might be a content creator who depends on Instagram for business. In which case, it is fair to worry about why you’re losing Instagram followers.

For most Instagrammers their first instinct might be to recall on the great purge of 2014 and ask:

Is Instagram deleting my followers?

It is not unheard of for Instagram to delete your followers. In fact, back in 2014, Justin Bieber lost more than 3.5 million of his 23 million followers. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian lost 1.3 million of her 23 million followers and Beyoncé lost more than 800,000.

In all fairness, the 2014 algorithm update resulted in a deletion of paid followers only.

Instagram has warned users that it will be cracking down on inauthentic followers. This includes bots, inactive accounts, and third-party apps.

But good news, is that unless you’ve been using shady tactics, your account is safe.

Here are some examples of black-hat practices to avoid.

  1. Buying Followers

Buying followers are the quickest way of losing Instagram followers. If the purge is any sign, Instagram dislikes third-party apps and paying for followers.

But could you be paying for followers without knowing about it?

The answer is yes. Do you have a marketing agency managing your account? Could it be possible that they’ve used black-hat tactics like buying followers?

Steer away from shady companies who promise to get you, 10,000 followers for $10. If the offer sounds too good to be true it most certainly is.

  1. Using Bots and Third-party apps

As I write this, I understand that I could be putting in all the wrong ideas in your head. But I guarantee you these shady tactics will get you banned.

Instagram has banned chatbots that reach out to people and encourage follow-backs. In recent years, several third-party bots/apps have had to close their operations.

READ MORE:   9 Social Media Marketing Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

So here’s a brain teaser – Did everyone who loses Instagram followers pay for their followers? Well, I didn’t. I never paid for an app or hired a firm to manage my account but I still lost followers. The hard truth is that sometimes you might be doing everything by the books and still lose followers.

Here are 8 reasons why you might be losing Instagram followers

1. Your follower’s preferences have changed.

Its been almost 10 years since Instagram launched and the platform is anything but new. In the 10 years we’ve been on Instagram, people have graduated from school, got married, and had kids. We’ve all done a lot of growing and it’s safe to say that we’re not the same person we were 10 years ago. 

The downside of being on Instagram for a long time is that your followers have changed. And as they grow as individuals they’re also growing out of old habits.

As an influencer or business owner, you too should grow in how you create content. If you’re interested in keeping followers, find out what they currently like, and cater to their needs. At the same time, you should also realize that some of these followers are never coming back. It would be better to find a new base of followers who are more relevant to the type of content you create.

2. You’ve changed too and some people don’t like that.

Growth is not exclusive to your followers. As a content creator, you too have grown and your tastes have changed as well. But even though growth is a good thing, it’s worth examining if the new you agree with your followers.

Often, as we get older and more experienced, we tend to be more cautious. It’s not uncommon for brands to be rebellious in their early days and dial it down later down the line. Most brands that follow this path alienate their core fan base and lose them in the process. 

3. Your followers haven’t heard from you in a long time.

We know that post frequency matters. But could posting less actually influence people to unfollow?

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The answer is a definite yes. Most users on the platform are conscious about who they follow. As a brand, if you’re not creating new content, your users don’t have a reason to keep following you.

3. You are posting content too frequently.

Posting too much can be as big a crime as posting too little. As a victim of brands and influences who constantly bombard me with their content – I can say that it can be overwhelming and invasive. 

When we post too often, we deprive them of novelty that comes with consuming content from different creators. Naturally, when your followers realize that their feed is being bombarded by one creator, they’ll remove them to make room for others.

4. Your content is not differentiated.

As human beings, we are wired to seek out novelty. Our brain is designed to flood our neural networks with dopamine, a hormone responsible for giving us the sensation of happiness and satisfaction when we enjoy a snack, get good grades or hear good news.

But, the brain’s dopamine delivery system is severely flawed. As we rely on the same stimulation to provide us with a hit, our neural networks demand more stimulation to get the same amount of dopamine.

That is why we never feel the same satisfaction when eating our twelfth slice of pizza as much as we received while biting into the first one.

Content is no different. We get satisfaction and fulfilment from the content we choose to consume. But when content creators keep creating the same content as everyone else, our thirst for novelty remains unquenched. This is why many people stop following creators. Instead, they look for other creators who can offer something different.

5. Your content is too spammy, too pushy, and too sales oriented.

In other words, your content is self-serving and adds little value to your followers. 

Back in the day, commercials came in the way of consuming content on TV. This resulted in Youtube democratizing content and bringing interruption free content to people. When Youtube started spamming people with Ads. They moved over to Netflix.

When creators focus too much on ads and too little on value-added content, followers also exercise their power. They move on to content creators who can balance between self-service and fan-service.

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6. You might be losing inauthentic followers.

Not everyone who follows you does so because they love your content. Following other people in hopes of getting a  follow back is a common practice. Once their strategy succeeds, these people don’t stick around for long.

Additionally, your account might also consist of spam, bots, and fake accounts. These accounts are periodically purged by Instagram and can result in a sudden drop in followers. 

There is no sure-fire way of knowing if you’re losing fake followers. but if you see a sudden drop, especially after an algorithm update, then chances are you’re just seeing Instagram cleaning out the trash.

8. You’re not gaining new followers.

Maintaining your follower count is difficult. You’ll win some of these battles and lose others. It is important to understand that you must always focus on reaching out to new followers as well. Without new followers to replace the ones you lose, your follower count will drop with time.

 

Instagram insights display daily net gains. Keep track of your followers by checking insights on a weekly basis. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few parting words

Instagram is changing, so is social media. New algorithm updates are burying organic reach in favor of paid ads. At the same time, competition is looming large for Instagram and its counterparts. For example, video-sharing platform Tiktok has already overtaken Instagram as the most downloaded app. You can now use TikTok Analytics to see which influencers have the most followers and likes. Which will inevitably lead to people spending lesser time on Instagram.

 As creators, this could mean challenging times lie ahead. It’s entirely possible, we’ll never get some followers back. Some of us will see engagement and reach drop.  

We should be ready for the worse and explore all avenues that connect us to our followers.

Before I finish this article, I will leave you with one last piece of borrowed wisdom:

Accept the things you can’t change, change the things you can, and know the difference between the two.

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