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Using ‘The Four R’s’ to determine whether an influencer is right for you

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Using ‘The Four R’s’ to determine whether an influencer is right for you

By Anne Malambo, head of PR and outreach at contact lens retailer Feel Good Contacts

From 1986 to 2011, Oprah Winfrey ran one of the most successful talk shows of all time.

Not only did she interview more than 37,000 people during her 25 years (by her count), she also helped to launch careers and boost the sales of many businesses in what soon came to be known as ‘The Oprah Effect’.

In the era of social media, you don’t have to be a celebrity powerhouse like Oprah or have a TV show to capture an audience or to become an influencer, in fact, studies show that people are just as, if not more likely, to make purchasing decisions based on recommendations from friends or peers.

This has opened up a whole new marketing avenue for businesses to explore, as they seek to leverage the popularity of bloggers and social media influencers, and the trust that their followers have in them, in order to improve their brand awareness and boost traffic and sales.

Influencer marketing can become a very successful component of any business’ digital marketing strategy, but brands must be careful to pick the right people to work with. Targeting those with the highest number of followers is ill-advised, instead, brands should use a four-point system to determine whether an influencer would fit their company image and messaging, and provide them with a good ROI.

We take this approach at Feel Good Contacts, by measuring influencers based on what I like to call ‘The Four R’s’: Relevance, Reach, Reputation and Rapport.

Relevance

It sounds like common sense, but brands should first and foremost consider whether an influencer is relevant. With an abundance of research tools on the market, there’s no excuse for not finding the most appropriate targets. An ideal influencer will talk about the topic you’re already pitching, or at least something very similar. In some cases, there is room for crossover. Perhaps you’re a fashion brand that wants a travel blogger to snap themselves in one of your of your outfits while on an adventure, in which case, collaboration would work well.

You should also gain a good understanding of an influencer’s target audience, to determine whether it aligns with your own. Upon contact, most will provide a ‘media kit/pack’ or at least a basic breakdown of their audience profile, by gender and age.

Don’t be afraid to delve deeper by asking the influencer to send a list of similar businesses they’ve worked with, including a few examples of their work (if you can’t find it easily enough on site).

Reach

Once you’ve determined whether an audience is relevant, it’s time to look at the audience itself. It’s no secret that social media platforms are rife with fake accounts and that influencers are spending money to artificially boost their follower count. In fact, one recent study found that while influencer budgets are on the up, 12% of Instagrammers are still buying fake followers. 96% of respondents in the same study cited ‘quality of followers’ as a top priority when selecting creators to work with.

Luckily, there are a number of tools available that can help you determine whether an influencer’s followers are fake. Other giveaways include accounts without a profile picture, dodgy sounding account names, bios that are very generic or similar to other profiles and accounts with a disproportionate number of followers to those that person is following.

Another good way of measuring the legitimacy of an audience is to look at engagement levels. Do a lot of people comment on the influencer’s blogs? Do they get a lot of likes, comments and shares on social media? Does their audience seem interested in their competitions/giveaways, and genuinely interested in striking up a conversation with the blogger/vlogger/Instagrammer? Influencers that regularly interact with their followers is a bonus.

Top tip: Don’t discount smaller, ‘micro’ influencers – they often have higher levels of engagement. Keep in contact with them as their following grows!

Reputation

An influencer with a bad reputation is going to ruin your reputation. It is also important to do some due diligence on bloggers to make sure their behaviour is in line with your brand’s values – even if it’s just a case of scrolling through their social feeds and checking whether they’ve been mentioned in the news. There have been many cases of bloggers saying/doing controversial things and this can severely ruin a business’ credibility, or force them to terminate the collaboration, wasting both time and money.

Another thing brands must consider is the quality of an influencer’s work. What is the quality of their images and videos, are they taking them on a smartphone or a highly pixelated digital camera? Are they well edited? Is what they’re producing – whether it’s video, images or text – engaging their followers and getting a response? Is the overall design and layout of their website/feed professional?

Rapport

Once you’ve found the right influencer, you’ll want to introduce yourself. The best thing to do is to write an email that’s personalised – it’s fine to have a standard template, but there should be parts of it that can be left open to customisation.

While it’s good to strike up a friendly conversation, it’s equally important to get to the point by providing an overview of what you are expecting from the influencer and asking them to provide a media pack/price list if they have one.

When negotiating, take into account the influencer’s overall following, engagement, quality of work and authority before settling on a final price. It is highly advisable to have a blogger’s agreement that outlines both the responsibilities of the blogger and the brand. This way there is little room for miscommunication and disagreements on both sides.

Measuring success

Google Analytics is your best friend when it comes to measuring success from influencer marketing. This platform gives you access to a whole host of information, including statistics on total and referral traffic, new users, time on site and goal completions/conversions. An increase in followers on your own social media channels could also be another KPI.

A word to the wise – influencer marketing isn’t for you if your only KPI is to increase your organic search rankings through SEO. Google guidelines state that where payment or products are given in exchange for editorial, any subsequent links must be given the ‘no-follow’ attribute. Most bloggers should be aware of this, but it is your responsibility to ask them to change it if you detect otherwise. Using the NoFollow Chrome Extension makes this task a breeze.

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Half of UK’s finance sector confirms diversity should be more of a priority in the workplace, with calls for action across the industry

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Half of UK’s finance sector confirms diversity should be more of a priority in the workplace, with calls for action across the industry 1

Almost half (45%) of Britain’s banking/financial services workforce think their employer could do more when it comes to diversity, according to a report from UK-based tech-for-good developer, Culture Shift.

Despite 74% of employees in the sector confirming that working somewhere with a diverse workforce is an important factor for their happiness at work, almost half (46%) think diversity seems like less of a priority in the workplace currently, with 52% stating it should be more of a priority. The same report also uncovered that 53% of employees in banking and financial services said their employer makes token gestures that feel surface level when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion have long been key factors for ensuring a positive and happy work environment, however the events of recent months, such as the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, have resulted in these climbing up the agenda of many employers.

“The insights on diversity and inclusion uncovered in Culture Shift’s report really do resonate with me, as they shine a light on the lack of true representation across the UK’s positions of power. Employees are calling for their employers to focus on recruiting people from more diverse backgrounds, while providing training to the workforce on diversity and inclusion, confirming action really does need to be taken.

“If organisations want to create a happy work environment then they should take heed, as most employees confirmed working somewhere with a diverse workforce was an important factor to their happiness at work,” comments Olive Strachan MBE, founder of Olive Strachan Resources Ltd, global business woman and diversity and inclusion specialist.

The research found that fostering a diverse workforce representative of reality is a key factor for creating a positive culture and a key component for most employees’ happiness at work. With many calling for more to be done when it comes to ensuring that not only do under-represented groups have a presence in businesses, but also a seat at the table and a voice, there are various factors organisations should be keeping front on mind whilst planning for the future.

On fostering a diverse workforce, representative of reality, the research revealed that:

  • 80% of employees in banking/financial services said working at a company with a strong ethical background was important to them, with 84% stating that working at a company with a good reputation for treating employees fairly was integral to their happiness at work
  • Almost one-fifth (18%) said their employer could improve workplace culture by recruiting more people from BAME backgrounds, while one-quarter (25%) said by providing training to the workforce on diversity and inclusion
  • 15% said their employer could improve its culture and be more inclusive by recruiting more people from LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) backgrounds
  • More than one-quarter (26%) said their employer could improve its culture by recruiting more people of varying abilities; while 21% said by recruiting a better gender balance
  • One-quarter (25%) said their employer could improve its culture by recruiting more people of different religions/faiths
  • 15% said their employer should prioritise the promotion of people from minority and marginalised backgrounds to improve its workplace culture

“To create an empowering culture for all employees, it’s absolutely essential for organisations to be diverse, inclusive and showcase true representation across all levels of the business. Not only do recruitment processes need to be inclusive, but promotion opportunities too, and employees from marginalised backgrounds need to be supported through their career, as well as other employees.

“We firmly believe this is an incredibly important conversation to have and the insights uncovered in our research solidify that we’re not alone in believing more action needs to be taken by those at the top. It’s a shift that won’t happen overnight, but there needs to be clear intent from employers to keep diversity and inclusion at the top of their agenda,” adds Gemma McCall, CEO, Culture Shift.

Culture Shift exists to lead positive change in organisational culture, through building products that empower them to tackle harassment and bullying.

“We hope the insights uncovered in our report, combined with the fact that diverse workforces are consistently proven to be more successful, result in employers making some tangible changes across the board to ensure their teams are truly representative of reality,” concludes Gemma.

To see more insights uncovered by the research or to download the full ‘Maintaining workplace culture in a rapidly changing environment’ report, visit info.culture-shift.co.uk/maintaining-workplace-culture.

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American Express and Amazon Business Launch Co-branded Credit Cards for Small Businesses in the UK

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American Express and Amazon Business Launch Co-branded Credit Cards for Small Businesses in the UK 2

The co-branded Cards offer flexible benefits and payment optionality by allowing small businesses to decide between earning rewards or adjusting payment terms on eligible purchases

UK small business Card launch builds on American Express and Amazon’s long-term relationship and co-branded Card programme in the US

American Express (NYSE: AXP) today announced the launch of the new Amazon Business American Express® Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express® Card for small businesses in the UK. The Cards offer a host of rich rewards and payment flexibility designed to help businesses better manage their cash flow and gain greater insight into their spending.

The Cards provide an enhanced check-out experience on Amazon Business UK and Amazon.co.uk that gives Cardmembers the option to earn reward points or select a deferred payment term for each transaction, enabling them to make the best payment choice for their finances. Reward points can be earned anywhere American Express Cards are accepted and redeemed toward future Amazon purchases or applied to the balance of their monthly Card statement. This new Card programme in the UK has been developed as part of the on-going relationship between American Express and Amazon which includes a co-branded programme in the US and a global Card acceptance relationship.

This launch comes at a time when 63% of British small businesses say cash flow issues have led them to delay purchasing goods and services they need to run their business, according to new research from American Express and YouGov1. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the survey participants said they have put off ‘bigger ticket’ purchases over the last six months until they have funds available, and 38% of them are only buying the ‘essentials’ they need to keep their business operating.

Commenting on the new Card launch, Colin O’Flaherty, General Manager of UK Global Commercial Services at American Express, said: “We have been serving small businesses for over 60 years, and are passionate about helping our small business customers effectively run and grow their businesses, especially during this challenging period. With many UK SMEs facing financial hardships, we want to make it easier for businesses to manage their finances and continue accessing the goods and products they need with more options to pay. We know that a vast number of the UK’s businesses rely on Amazon’s wide-ranging products and services and are excited to launch this powerful and flexible new payment tool that will allow small businesses to select how to pay, purchase by purchase.”

Dave Brittain, Director of Amazon Business UK, said “Working with American Express to launch the small business credit Card was a natural decision for Amazon, given our shared long-standing commitment to helping small businesses flourish globally. We’re incredibly proud to launch this Card programme as it offers small business owners and entrepreneurs the best of both companies: the convenience and value they have come to know and love from Amazon, underpinned by the world-class service, benefits, access and security of American Express. These benefits have never been more important at a time when businesses are navigating the challenges and uncertainty which Covid-19 has presented.”

Amazon Business American Express Cardmembers and Amazon Business Prime American Express Cardmembers will have access to the following key benefits:

  • 2% Amazon Rewards points on the first £120,000 in purchases at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Business UK and Whole Foods Market UK each calendar year, 1% thereafter or 90-day payment terms on such purchases for Cardmembers who are Business Prime members on Amazon Business UK
  • 1.5% Amazon Rewards points on the first £120,000 in purchases at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Business UK and Whole Foods Market UK each calendar year, 1% thereafter or 60-day payment terms on such purchases for all other Cardmembers
  • 0.5% Amazon Rewards points on all other purchases for all Cardmembers

Both Cards come with a £50 annual fee, however, this is waived for new Business Prime American Express Cardmembers in the first year. Upon approval, new Cardmembers who are Business Prime members will receive an Amazon gift card with £50 value, and all other Cardmembers will receive a £25 Amazon gift card. As an added benefit for Amazon Business Prime American Express Cardmembers, their Cards will feature a unique vertical design that is composed of metal.

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Go Global To Expand Your Revenue Stream

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Go Global To Expand Your Revenue Stream 3

By Christian Spaltenstein, Managing Director, AFEX Americas

Banking and financial operations have evolved immensely in the past few years. Innovation in banking technology has set new standards for businesses, with multiple players actively participating in the journey to make financial services transparent, accessible and secure. In a globalized economy, where borders dissolve and even a micro-business can build an international footprint, a global payments offering is the magical key for any business to thrive. With competition from digital-first challengers, businesses are now realizing the importance of enhancing their product offerings to flourish in today’s internet based marketplace.

The pandemic has certainly played a massive role in forcing businesses to re-think strategies and optimize their operating model to suit the needs of the present economy. Ensuring business continuity is top-of-mind for many businesses who are struggling to remain afloat.

Expanding your revenue stream, especially during these challenging times, can be tough but profitable. A primary area of focus for many businesses today is to have an efficient and reliable supply chain. That could mean exploring unfamiliar markets and sourcing new service providers. Some businesses are also adapting their product lines to accommodate new needs in the market.

As other businesses effect digital transformations and find new ways of working, hacking is on the rise. Customers today want everything over the web; ensuring your systems are secure and efficient is even more important during these challenging times.

Businesses that are unable to cope with these increasing demands suffer the challenge of surviving and remaining relevant.

Companies that have been able to implement API solutions have observed proven success in achieving a multitude of business objectives. Automating financial operations with advanced technology solutions can help you not just differentiate your business, but also capture market share in today’s economy. It can add operational efficiency and help enhance your organization’s productivity—and as a result, revenues.

A trusted API solutions partner for global payments with an efficient banking and payments infrastructure can open your business to opportunities to grow internationally. It can also help your business to adapt to changing customer needs and offer services that can help you stay at the top of your game. Here are a few ways such solutions can help your business thrive and go global:

1. Currency risk management

Uncertainty due to ongoing market volatility can have adverse effects on your business’ profits. The ability to create forward contracts enables businesses to lock in a favorable rate and ensure financing certainty for their future currency needs.

2. Entrance into new markets

Introducing a business into new markets, or sourcing new services, comes with a host of challenges, the biggest being currency and payments. API solutions can support a business’ expansion plan today, tomorrow and in the future, with seamless scalability ready when it’s needed.

3. New revenue streams

A global payments API solution can help your business operate more efficiently. It offers a competitive edge, which can transform FX from a cost to a strategic advantage. As a business grows, so should its revenue.

4. Product growth and competitive advantage

An efficient FX and payments system can help businesses to steal an advantage in the market. Many business functions depend on either incoming or outgoing payments, and integration of these basic features into a business’ product can represent exponential growth in new users and wallet share.

5. Data is gold –

In today’s changing environment, protecting yourself and your customers’ data is a necessity. A secure and stable infrastructure to keep data safe helps you avoid financial and reputational damage— adding to your peace of mind—and increases customers’ trust.

Christian Spaltenstein

Christian Spaltenstein

A global payments partner can certainly help expand your revenue stream and strengthen your value proposition. However, it is critical to analyze your core competencies. Taking a look at your own cost structure and restructuring your delivery channels to best suit the needs of your end customer is essential. Using tools like AI can help you draw better conclusions about customer behavior, guiding you to choose the right enhancements. The objective for any expansion should be to improve the business ecosystem you operate in.

Your global payments partner should also be able to understand your target market and your business goals to better help you navigate risks and mitigate market volatility.

In evaluating a partner, key considerations include:

  1. Product knowledge and demand: Choose a partner with experience with companies like yours and the ability to adapt their solutions to your needs.
  2. Regulatory set-up: Make sure your partner is licensed and fully compliant across the world, and has robust cybersecurity protocols in place.
  3. Infrastructure: A well-developed, stable global payments infrastructure and robust payment rails saves you the time and resource you’d need to build your own.
  4. Cultural understanding for expansion: Communication and business practices vary across the world. A partner with a sizeable global footprint can help you navigate efficiently in new markets.

Times of crisis often produce innovation in processes and practices. The digital transformation of financial services has been extensively accelerated by COVID-19. Companies are seeking new ways to keep costs down while they weigh opportunities to expand internationally. Adapting to survive and ensure business continuity, especially during the ongoing pandemic is critical for businesses.

In times of uncertainty it’s important to keep both feet on the ground and ensure your operations are smooth and your data secure. Automating your global payments process is an important step in digital transformation. Adding efficiency and reducing errors can boost your profitability and can help you scale for the future.

 

This is a Sponsored Feature.

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