Digital influencers have become a major force in online marketing in recent years. Brands turn to celebrities and other influencers to engage audiences and sway purchase decisions in influencer marketing campaigns. A new study by Fullscreen and Shareablee shows that these influencers have a strong impact on their followers’ behaviour.
The study looks at four levels of digital stars:
Celebrities – 20 million followers or more
Trailblazers – online stars with 1 million or more followers
Emerging voices and rising stars – digital creators with 250k – 999k followers
Micro influencers – social media stars with less than 250k followers
Young people are influenced by social media stars
In the study, consumers aged 18-34 were asked whether they had taken any action as a result of seeing social media posts from digital influencers. Not surprising, many of them had and it turned out that celebrities were least effective in swaying consumer behaviour.
Micro influencers and “rising stars” are most effective in getting consumers to try one of their recommendations. As many as 45% of consumers report that they had done that.
“Digital trailblazers” are very effective at getting followers to purchase an item that they talked about in social media. Influencers with less than a million followers are almost as effective, while one in five consumers report that they had made a purchase as a result of a celebrity post.
Instagram creates most engagement for influencers
Among the social platforms that digital influencers use (Snapchat not included), Instagram creates the most engagement. This is especially true for micro influencers who see 86% of total engagement take place on Instagram.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that for example Youtube is not important. For many influencers, Youtube generates millions of views, so it all depends on how you define engagement. Also, I would have liked to see how much blogs affect consumer behaviour. At least in Sweden, many high profile bloggers generate massive sales for brands in campaigns that include a combination of blogs, Instagram and Youtube.
Instagram now shows you when your contacts were last active on the app. If you look under the direct messages, it states how many minutes, hours or days since the other users were last active.
That of course means that they can see your status as well.
If you find this intrusive, fear not, there is a way to shut it off. Here’s how to do it.
Go to your profile and click on the settings gearwheel. Scroll down to Show Activity Status and slide to turn it off. Once you remove this feature, you will not be able to see others’ status and they will not see yours.
Instagram might be getting rid of the Top 9 images for hashtags that normally are placed on top of the screen under each tag. Getting into the top 9 has been a great way to get your posts exposed to people who are not among your regular followers.
One of of my Instagram accounts I noticed today that the Top 9 posts are gone. In that place there are now two tabs and two feeds for each hashtag:
The left tab shows top posts under this hashtag and there is no limit in terms of number. So there are more than 9 posts, you can scroll down to find as many as you like.
The right tab shows the most recent posts under this hashtag.
What does this mean?
There has been a lot of speculation as to whether hashtags are becoming less important or not. Some say they see less reach from hashtags and then there is the entire issue of the infamous shadow ban. But I believe that hashtags will continue to be an important tool, since Instagram recently added the ability to follow hashtags.
A new tab with a feed of the top post will show more high quality photos or videos, that Instagram assumes you will like. So hashtags will continue to be important as a means to reach non followers.
Brands have been using social media influencers in marketing campaigns for a long time. As the practice has grown over the years, many individuals have become celebrities with millions of followers and they can charge thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for a social media campaign or even a single Instagram post.
As influencer marketing has become more expensive and sometimes less effective, many brands look at micro influencers as partners in online campaigns.
So how can brands use micro influencers to increase engagement online? In this webinar, digital marketing consultant Shane Barker goes through the process of finding, contacting and using micro influencers to drive engagement.
His definition of micro influencers is that they are:
Social media users with 1,000 to 100,000 followers
Specializing in a certain niche
Could be everyday consumers (they are very genuine, more down to earth, more like ourselves)
Some of the advantages of using micro influencers is their ability to engage, since their engagement rate normally is higher than for an influencer with a larger following:
Average engagement rate for influencers with fewer than 2,000 followers is 10.7% (source: influence.co)
Average engagement rate for influencers with 100k to 150k followers is 2.5%
Average engagement rate for influencers with more than 1 million followers is 1.5%
Watch the video above to learn more about how to use micro influencers in digital marketing campaigns.
I recently blogged about the shadow ban that hit many Instagram users, especially after the hack that forced many users to verify their accounts with a code. My account @kullin was hit by the ban, which in short meant that only my followers would see my photos under the hashtags I used. No-one else could see them and I could not reach any new followers.
The ban, which many still hesitate exists, affected my account for a little more than two weeks. I had not engaged in any suspicious activities on that account, so why the ban hit my account is still a mystery. I did not use any bots, nor did I use the follow/unfollow method. The only reason I can suspect is that I used some hashtags too frequently.
Lost many followers
The effect of the shadow ban was that I lost a lot of followers. I gained some, but not to the extent that is “normal” for my account. In this graph you can see exactly the result of the ban during the first two weeks of September (click on image to enlarge). Organic growth completely died when the ban struck and growth has been negative of flat ever since.
Now that my photos are visible again on hashtags, I hope that engagement on my account will go back to normal. If you want to follow, I’m @kullin on Instagram.
The concept of a shadow ban on Instagram is a much debated topic, and a controversial one. There is no real evidence that it exists and Instagram has never verified that there is such a thing. The shadow ban is a term used by the Instagram community as a description for when a user’s posts is not showing up under hashtags, which it would normally do. The “shadow” label is due to the fact that to the user, everything looks normal, but if you look at the posts from a non-following account, suddenly posts do not appear. If this “ban” has hit you, only your followers can see your posts, resulting in a significantly lower engagement.
There are basically two different explanations to why this happens. 1) Instagram is banning your posts because you have been engaging in some practice that Instagram defines as spammy. Like using the same hashtags over and over again, or using third party apps or bots to like or follow/unfollow hundreds of accounts. 2) It’s a glitch in the algorithm and you are just unfortunate to be affected.
Thousands are banned from Instagram hashtags
But about two weeks ago, the discussion around the shadow ban reached new levels. That was when many accounts got a message that they had to verify their telephone number to be able to access the account. Many even lost their accounts after this verification incident, others reported that suddenly months of posts were completely gone.
Suddenly hundreds if not thousands of users reported that their photos were completely blocked from hashtags, for no apparent reason. I’ve seen users with very small number of followers, up to one account that has 219.000 followers, all affected by this. And it happened to me too. I noticed on the image below that only my followers were liking and commenting. So I looked at the photo from an account that doesn’t follow me, and that’s when I realized that I had been banned from these hashtags.
Ett inlägg delat av Hans Kullin ✈︎ Travel (@kullin)
That’s nine days ago, and I’m still banned. Here’s how my latest photo appears under a hashtag with my name (#hanskullin). Below is how it appears to me, the photo is visible under the hashtag. Above is how it appears from a non following account. The photo is now gone.
Petition to fix the hashtag ban For many users who have spent countless hours perfecting their Instagram presence, this is a real blow. It is now practically impossible to increase the reach of your content or account. And since Instagram is not addressing the issue, users have started a petition called “Fix The Glitch! Innocent Instagram Users Are Banned From Using Hashtags!”
Petition initiator Adele Giles writes:
“From our understanding, normal ‘shadow banning’ is lifted within a few days. This has not been the case for us. This is not a typical shadow banning for users abusing the terms and conditions, this is a glitch that is affecting those who do not deserve it. We have checked if we are using banned hashtags, we have tried not posting or using Instagram for long periods of time, we have tried all that we can but this is in Instagram’s hands. We need you, Instagram, to help us innocent users get our content registering in hashtags.”
So far more than 700 people have signed the petition that will be delivered to Facebook and Instagram founders Mark Zuckerberg and Kevin Systom. Let’s at least hope that Instagram will acknowledge that there is a problem affecting innocent users and that they will find a solution.