Thursday, 22 March 2018

First Festival Of The Year - Hogsozzle 2018

Does anyone else feel like this winter has gone on for several hundred years? I've forgotten what sunshine feels like on my skin and I can't remember the last time I drank rum out of a grass-filled plastic cup. Honestly, these last few weeks of Arctic weather and cloudy skies has kind of taken it out of me.

So, finally, the Eternal Winter is over and SPRING is on the horizon. That means it's time for the band to start booking up festivals, yay! For the last three years I've been lucky enough to go to Hogsozzle in Hertford during the last bank holiday in May with our friends, an 11-piece band called The Turner Brothers - all my posts about the band and their gigs are linked here.  This year the fun starts on the 25th of May and goes on until 27th - get your ticket by clicking here!

I've shared so many pictures of Hogsozzle over the last few years that some of these may be familiar if you have ever read one of my festival roundups, but I've grouped my all time favourite pics by year throughout this post anyway, because you can't have enough festival throwback pics on freezing Spring days, right?

Hogsozzle 2015...

...more 2015

As the band have played the festival for the last four years running, they aren't on the line-up this year, but I'm hoping this won't stop us heading over yonder hill to the custom built festival site (the guys run Wilkestock from the same site later in the Summer!) and getting ridiculous - we've seen several of the same people year in, year out so I'm looking forward to reconnecting with all the friends we've met over the years.

Hogsozzle is a small festival with a friendly vibe and a serious focus on looking and being as silly as possible. My favourite thing to do there is to sit on one of the huge torn sofas perched on top of the hill and just watch the craziness happening all around.

 ...2016 continued
 Every year the staples of what makes this a joyful start to the festival season stay the same. A glorious powdered paint fight, a couple of huge sizzling Hogs (included in your ticket price) and a line-up of some seriously awesome dance and entertainment acts as well as some of the best fancy dress we've seen in the last few years - and it's one of the cheapest around too. You can snap up tickets on their official site by clicking here.

Hogsozzle 2017...

...more 2017

I would love to try out their luxury camping this time round, each year we've have created our own little campsite area with gazebos and lights but I think trying the luxury camping would be super fun - there's bell tents for hire and the whole thing is set up ready when you get there. I'll be doing some camping and festival essential guides in the coming weeks as we dig our kit out from under the Christmas tree and everything else we've piled on top and I'm always looking for recommendations and gadgets to take camping. This year my essentials are going to include a solar powered fan, some kind of non-heavy, easy to carry chair situation and a battery charger that doesn't blow my phone battery with two uses - please do pop your recommendations below.

The line-up is looking pretty sweet too, no word yet on whether our dance tent favourites Mirrored Theory are going to be playing a set but I do know that Scratch Perverts have a slot and there's a DJ set by Dub Pistols which I can't wait to get down to but the biggest draw for me is the fancy dress. This years theme is pretty generic and I think you could probably dress up as basically whatever you wanted if you put a bit of thought into your backstory - Fantasies & Fairytales. Don't forget my shopping and inspiration guides if you are stuck for fancy dress ideas, just click the images below.

Will you be coming to Hogsozzle this year, or any other boutique festivals? Buy your Hogsozzle ticket here and let me know you are coming, I'd love to join you for a dance in the Pig Pen! I'd be interested to hear about more small, friendly weekends we can get booked in for the summer. After the last few months of snow, ice and staying in I'm definitely ready to start planning an epic summer. Don't forget to drop a comment down below if you've read this far, it really means a lot to me when people comment on my blog posts :)

Friday, 2 February 2018

Why Do Brands Take Influencers On Expensive PR Trips?

What a week for new beauty releases! I've seen the most insane PR packages and trips. I honestly love how fast-paced the beauty industry is moving at the moment. I spotted 4 separate 'blogger' or launch events happening yesterday across my social media feeds and they each looked their own kind of incredible.

When launching a new product or store, introducing a new face or having a rebranding, the current preference for glitzy, no-holds-barred events is a part of a trend called Experiential Marketing. It's been predicted as being 'big' for several years on digital and tech blogs but it's taken some time for brands to get used to spending their budgets in this way and so we are just starting to see something really awesome happening in the sphere of Influencers. Brands are beginning to understand that not every aspect of marketing can be measured in a quantifiable way. Experiential Marketing is about giving consumers an experience that will increase their propensity to purchase, even become an advocate for, the brand. In turn a wider audience is then exposed to positive feelings about the product. This snowball effect is extremely valuable!

At the Benefit Cosmetics #raiseabrow event last year

I was inspired to write this post after I saw quite a bit of moaning on Twitter. Two nights in a country hotel for a new cleanser?  The Maldives? For a MASCARA?  How can this possibly be beneficial for the brand and why are they splashing out thousands on a very small minority and then charging a high price for the product when us mortals have to purchase them?

Brace yourself, sensitive snowflakes.

If you are going to work in social media, expect brands to pay you for your content and ideas and promote yourself as an expert in the subject, you need to know your shit.

I'm really surprised by some of the people I've seen negatively commenting on bloggers attending events, especially when the general mood of the blogosphere finally seems to be turning in a 'support each other' kind of direction.  So I've written below some of the ways that these launches can benefit the brand in a much wider way than just promoting the individual product and how it benefits you too.

Brands have had to completely change the way that their marketing budget is allocated in the last three years. From point blank refusing to pay bloggers to signing up content creators on £100,000 contracts, things have gone from zero to hero for those of us that love to write about and photograph our lives. When I first started working in Influencer marketing, I was convincing decision-makers of the three ways that working with Influencers could help to grow their business.
  • Increasing the number of followers their brand accounts had
  • Raising general awareness of the brands existence
  • Direct sales (became a lot more relevant with the advent of Instagram Stories 'swipe-up' function)
All three of these are measurable to some extent. You can watch a brand's follower count go up when you see an influencer posting about them. Brand awareness can be measured in tags and mentions and direct sales are counted by total sales, of course. A combination of this data should help a brand target the Influencers to keep working with, the type of content that works for them and so on. This ability to use the data to hone future campaigns is a secondary benefit which works infinitely better online than it can do in print as you can test different content and users easily with A/B testing. This is where you trial something on a selection of your potential audience, and something else on another group.

At the launch for Deciem x ASOS

Each of these desired results has certain ways it can be achieved - for example, if you want to increase your follower count then running a contest that involves following that account would be an ideal way to achieve it.

So, we have all these ways of creating campaigns, mixing and matching your desired results with A/B testing of audiences and content. Brands usually have to select what they want from a campaign.

Experiential marketing does all of this and more.

But what brands really want these days is for their fans and users to be creating content for them, independently. This is the holy grail of online marketing in the current climate. Imagine you are launching a product and you've given it a kooky hashtag. If you check that hashtag daily, you want to see people tagging your product in their images. In the case of beauty brands, this is so valuable because of the possibility of using so many different products in one images. You could easily feature 15 or so brands in one picture of your made-up face and tagging with the brands individual hashtags is the first step towards getting that brand to notice you. If they notice you and your image is of a high quality, you might get shared on their page. Boom, 4 million people are looking at your photo, This can have an earth-shattering impact on your own follower count.

 If a brand seems to be sharing a lot of Influencer's content to their audience, sending out amazing PR packages and taking bloggers on holidays that most people can only dream of, it becomes aspirational to be noticed and featured by these brands. This in turn makes their products more desirable, as you aren't going to be featured on Kylie Cosmetics page wearing a knock-off dupe liquid lip. For those bloggers that don't actually take pictures of their face but create elaborate flatlays and studio set-ups - the same goes. They need to buy the product to create the content. Then their followers see them buying and recommending the product and go out and buy it too - this is where micro-influencers fit in and play their part in the campaign. Essentially, creating content on a brand's behalf in exchange for a potential feature.

This is the crux of Experiential Marketing - for the cost of hiring an aquarium for the day and giving away some of your product in mermaid packaging, you can create an experience that gets shared millions of times, something that isn't always possible to get when paying individuals to create content - although that's obviously incredibly valuable too!

One of the negatives I've seen so far is that EM is more difficult to measure. I don't know how brands are going to be analysing whether the thousands and thousands they spend on events with spaceships coming from the roof, covetable merchandise (who else wanted a Too Faced sunhat last summer?) and masterclasses added to their sales. This will be really interesting to watch and research. I'll be keeping an eye on new launch hashtags and how long it takes content to start getting created by aspiring make-up artists and micro-influencers.

The Boohoo Spring/Summer Press Day 2017

I LOVE the movement towards this type of promotion and PR. It means brands have the opportunity to really infuse their personality and their ethos into launches, making it an exciting time to work in the beauty (and fashion and lifestyle and fitness...) industries. Once the longer term effects on sales and brand awareness can be measured I believe there will develop a whole secondary industry dedicated to putting on these type of events with the most success. In the meantime, the only way anyone gets to be involved, whether it's an all-expenses paid trip to Bali or a pool party in central London, is to create amazing content - moaning about it on Twitter won't get you anywhere at all.

I hope this has given some background as to why brands are creating these experiences, I would love your comments below on amazing events you have been to and how they made you feel about a product or brand - please do leave a comment.

I'm currently available for consultation and digital content projects. You can email me on katycloudsofficial[at] or tweet on [at]katy_clouds

Thursday, 11 January 2018

New Years Eve at the Ceridwen Centre with Sweetcornbread

I was dreading NYE this time round. The last few years had been underwhelming, my bank account was empty after Christmas and to be brutally honest, our plan to spend the weekend halfway up a mountain in Wales did not fill me with excitement. How stupid I was!

The idea was for Sweetcornbread to play a five hour set at the Ceridwen Centre's Alternative New Year's party, which was being held on their farm in Carmarthenshire. They had played there before as the band have friends that live and work at the venue. For once, I didn't have the usual pre-gig strops from my bassist boyfriend, this should have been my first clear indicator that it was going to be a little special.

The five hour drive was killer, I'm not going to lie. Most of it was in the dark and being squashed up in the back with the instruments and our supplies for the weekend didn't do much for comfort. At one point we stopped at a Welsh service station and I feel like I could be forgiven for thinking we had landed on Mars - who knew Mcdonalds chips could get any thinner? Why do they have a completely different version of the cheese bites? We arrived at the Pen-Y-Blanc farm in the pitch darkness - all I knew was there was a lot of steep hills to traverse and we were going to be staying in The Old Dairy.

We were welcomed warmly and shown to our space. I've shared with the whole band and their girlfriends before and it was tight and noisy with a very intimate feel to the toilet so I was expecting the worst. I needn't have worried! The Old Dairy had lots of room for us, the farm owners bought double mattresses and there was water, snacks, tea and coffee on tap as well as under floor heating and some beautifully equipped, far-away-from-the-living-area washing and toilet facilities. I wish I had taken a picture of the ENORMOUS stack of giant floor cushions in the room because they were literally the cosiest thing ever!

I started to notice other little things. The signs in the toilet, the biodegradable toiletries, the recycling bag - the farm operates on an extremely green basis and they have a green septic tank - I fell a little in love. I had a brief chat with the owners son-in-law and he said  the farm has solar panels and various recycling and green facilities and continue to work to improve their sustainability.

We spent the first evening in a local pub, the John Y Gwas. I have to say our hosts were a dream and the pub itself was exactly as you may expect from a village that seemed to cling on to the side of a mountain. The toilets were something out of Stephen King's It and the locks were on the outside of the doors - only in Wales! We made plans to visit the beach the following day and retired to our cosy Dairy.

I took quite a few photos at Poppit but my favourite part of the beach trip was the 20 minute drive through tight, winding Welsh villages. At the time we went my phone was out of action but I must make a note to try harder to get candid snaps of things I want to blog about - a goal for 2018!

Back at the farm and we got ourselves ready for the night, with the band resting and some of them downing double Lemsips to counteract the bastard flu everyone seems to have now we are back (I've avoided it so far, but I tend to be the last to the party anyway) At the Dairy, wafts of the most fragrant lamb tagine were starting to drift over from the kitchens and I set upon a large bottle of gin - it's a blur from then onwards...

Dodgy panorama of the band trying to sort out their set list, mostly I've included this because Jim's head looks hilarious.

One of these individuals was determined not to have a nice picture with the band *eyeroll*

The party went down beautifully and the band were a smash - despite a slightly awkward countdown for midnight itself which started way too early! The band played a set of covers and original tracks and got the tipi rocking!

We loved the photobooth - I got pretty attached to this red wig at one point.

 I've popped some photos of some of the farm and accomodations below but their website is definitely worth a look  if you are looking for a green (or just beautiful) venue for your wedding - click here. They have all the facilities you could possibly want for your big day - including a stunningly private mountainside wooden hot tub, fired by logs and with incredible views over the valley. I really wanted to give it a go but we didn't start the fire off early enough and we had to leave - I would have been more than happy to spend another few days soaking in the cooked breakfasts, fresh air and genuine warmth of Simone and Roger and everyone at Ceridwen. Thank you so much for showing me that New Years Eve doesn't have to be rubbish when you step out of your comfort zone.

 The hot tub of dreams

Gypsy caravan under winter storage - I believe this is used for the bridal suite for weddings - so romantic.

My favourite - a lovingly restored bus with all mod cons, position overlooking the beautiful valley.

Thank you all at the Ceridwen Centre for an amazing weekend!

Katy x

Monday, 25 September 2017

Picmonkey Free Has Gone

I have advocated Picmonkey for years. I love the fun, fresh interface, the fonts, the overlays and most of all how  kept developing and growing it until it became almost invaluable to a huge number of people who haven't had the time, money or inclination to develop skills in other major design programs.

Over the years, I've written a bunch of articles about the free features on Picmonkey - some of those posts have been shared on the Picmonkey site and one of them is my highest-viewed blog post of all time. It still get's hits, despite being an old and completely redundant way of making your avatar a circle for social media - I still get questions on the post!

Despite all my tutorials featuring only the free elements of the program, I've paid for membership on several occasions, once for a significant number of months. I was also gifted a year long membership at one point as a thank you for the tutorials that I was writing. I strongly believe in supporting independent businesses in the technology industry and I completely understand that not everything can be free.

Last week I saw the title of the announcement email and my heart sank. I knew straight away that it was likely that something was going to changing at Picmonkey and I crossed my fingers it would be something positive. I couldn't believe it when I read that as of that moment, there would be no free access at all, other than a 7 day free trial which required credit card details. This obviously cuts the majority of students and young people who have relied on Picmonkey when their parents won't splash out on design software for adding fonts, overlays and filters to their online content.

The most irritating thing about the change is that because a long, long, long time ago, I've had a free trial which then turned into a subscription to access the Royale features (which are amazing, in particular the addition of the Hub) I am now not entitled to a free trial of the incredible new features that Picmonkey has obviously spent time and money in developing that now needs recouping. I ended up using someone else's card, with permission obviously, as I had just taken on a small freelance project that required a basic graphic. I was overwhelmed with all the new Royale features, especially the Hub, which offers a way of saving the layers in your images. This is going to make it really easy for me to whip up images for my blog, which are all just a background with two white rectangles at different degrees of Fade. The text effects are pretty good too - I'm grateful to finally have drop shadow.

Picmonkey said they wanted feedback and that they were listening but they didn't respond to my several tweets asking them to reset the system so you could have another trial if you had already had one in 2013 or something - so I've done what bloggers do best and vent these issues here - but I'm anxious to make it clear I absolutely think it's worth the money and I will be continuing to subscribe. I love the interface without the ads and the addition of new overlays that can be used in millions of different ways is fab too.

I hope they listen to feedback and provide some way of showing off their brilliant features without needing a credit card.

Katy x

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Copyright And Using Music In Your Content

Instagram deactivated my account! What’s a copyright warning? What music can I use on my Instagram videos?

These have been the burning issues in my inbox this week and I’ve been doing a LOT of research, so I wanted to share in one place everything I’ve learnt about the situation.

I work with a range of influencers in my day job – many of them, especially in our ‘beauty’ category, utilise music in videos that they create for collaborations and organically-generated content.

I'm not a legal expert, so my advice here is focused on the specifics of avoiding issues with Instagram and YouTube when it comes to using music that you don't have specific permission to use - I've included links below for various sources of more information regarding the legalities, what is classed as 'Fair Use' and what else you can do to keep your account safe.

Here is everything we know so far, and if you are just here to find out where you can obtain Royalty-Free and Copyright Free music for your own videos and content, scroll down to the bottom for the links.

Facebook now owns Instagram and this has meant a number of changes to both platforms. The ridiculous and useless integration of Instagram Stories into Facebook’s mobile app is one of them (seriously, do you have ANY friends that use it? I don’t.)

One of the more behind the scenes changes has been that Facebook as implemented a cross-platform music-tracking algorithm with a pretty high level of sensitivity. What this means for the average user is that even if you have music on in the background of your videos you could still be issued with a copyright warning and even account deactivation. We aren’t currently sure how far this extends and there’s no evidence that it applies to Instagram Stories, but I’d strongly recommend erring on the side of caution and not using music that you don’t have the rights to anywhere on either platform, especially if Instagram is a source of income for you as you could potentially be accused of using music without a license for commercial use 

I've spoken directly to several employees of Instagram and I have quite a bit of information about what is and isn't okay.
  • Don't use music you have purchased from iTunes on your Instagram videos or YouTube content. The permissions granted to you in downloading music in this way do not cover use as background to your digital content.
  • Do find royalty-free music through a third-party website - you'll probably have to pay a fee and make sure to read the terms and conditions properly - it might be okay for you to use a track for personal videos, but not okay for commercial use, which usually carries a higher licence fee that for personal use. Commercial use covers creating content for brands, by the way.
  • Don't think you'll be okay if you credit the artist - attribution is not a way out of respecting an artists copyright.
  • Do connect with upcoming artists that might grant you permission to use their music in exchange for a credit on your posts and definitely get their permission in writing and take a screenshot of the message, you can use this if an issue does arise to prove you have permission to use the track.
  • Don't try and get round the rules by 'putting music on in the background and pretending not to realise that counted - Instagram won't care and their software is clever enough to put up even small snippets of music
  • Do make sure you check the email address associated with your Instagram account, that's where any warnings about copyright violation will go to.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking that old content won't be spotted - you need to remove any content you have up that has music that you don't have specific permission to use for your account to be completely safe.
  • Do tag any artist that gives you permission to use their product and write "Music by @soandso, used with permission from the artist"
  • Do check out this list (click here) of permissions granted by artists for their music to be used in YouTube videos

(This section refers only to Instagram as I haven't got experience in regaining accounts on other platforms)

If one video gets taken down, get permission to use a piece of music and put it back up. If you suddenly find yourself with an inbox of copyright violations, don't panic. If your account is still active (or even if it's not, see below), it's salvageable.  Go through and archive all of your content that has music playing. This might seem like a pain but it's nothing compared with regaining those 8, 12, 20 or 100K followers back will be.

Steer completely clear of using music for a few days and then make sure you read through the resources below to start building a library of music that you have permission to use.

If your account has been deactivated - there are still things you can do to regain control. Firstly, try and make a note of what you think might be causing the issue (Do you have old videos with Rihanna songs way back on your feed? Can you hear an Ed Sheeran track in the background of your prank video?)

Head here:

Fill in the form. My advice is stay concise, explain what you think is causing the issue and apologise. Make it clear you understand why your account was removed and will do everything to rectify the situation and it won't happen again. Steer clear of emotional pleas because they get thousands of requests a day. The team at Instagram's Intellectual Property department will review your case within a few days and hopefully will give you another chance - if they do reactivate your account, be aware that it will still have a flag on it that indicates to the platform that you have been caught violating copyright. You won't get your account back if you do it again.

If none of this works and you aren't getting anywhere with the form - I do have several email address for the IP department at Instagram and would be happy to pass one over - you can email me by clicking here and I'll tell you my most current contact information.

I'm going to add to this post regularly when I find further links, resources and information on this subject, so I'll try to keep the below up to date. Please do feel free to add a link to your favourite resource, royalty-free music, artists looking to connect with content creators etc in the comments and I'll be happy to add them here.

Here is a list of places that you might consider obtaining music that you have the correct permissions to use

I hope this has helped, I'm happy to answer any questions to the best of my knowledge and please do leave a comment if this post as been beneficial to you.

Katy xx

Friday, 15 September 2017

What is an Echo Chamber and Am I In One?

An Echo Chamber, when referring to the online community describes how you will hear your own views validated, amplified and reinforced. It leads to a dangerous thought process – “everyone feels the same as me” – to put it bluntly, they don’t.

Think about the people you follow and interact with online. If you are in a metaphorical Echo Chamber, most of the individuals that you interact and engage with on a regular basis fall into the follow categories. People you admire. People who inspire you. People who have similar jobs, social economic backgrounds and lives as you. People who have similar views. These people probably feel the same as you about the big issues of the day. Feminism, Terrorism, Racism, Equality, Global Warming. All big issues and most people have a strong enough view that they will openly admit they come down on one side of the fence. I haven’t met anyone who is ‘on the fence’ about global warming. I have met people who think it doesn’t exist and people who dedicate their lives to protecting the environment. These issues encourage strong views.

The problem is, the current climate on the internet is building to one of an almost fanatical intolerance towards any sort of debate or disagreement. I was recently blocked from a popular feminist’s Twitter feed because I stated (and I still believe, rightly) that it was ridiculous to try and ban the word ‘Feminine’ in relation to feminine hygiene products. Personally, I’d rather spend the time campaigning for girls who have to skip school because of their period in this county (this happens – google it) than trying to get yet another part of our standard lexicon banned – I don’t agree that seeing the word should ‘trigger’ anyone and I personally think that if it does, they should grow a fucking backbone – don’t worry, I know this is a #unpopularopinion but I’m still entitled to it. I’m #sorrynotsorry if that triggers you.

Deleting and blocking people who have different views to you isn’t going to help you accept and be tolerate of the world around you. It paints a false picture, that everyone feels the same way and you are on some sort of crusade together against the trolls that disagree.

If all of your friends are super-liberal, middle class white people around the same age, how are you ever going to be able to understand and interact with anyone not in that socio-economic group? If you are blazing through your life thinking that you are right and that’s it, because the group you surround yourself with completely agrees with you and anyone who doesn’t is triggering some sort of anxiety in you so deep that you feel the need to erase their terrible opinion completely from your mind and vision, you need to branch out. Not everyone is the same and not everyone will always agree with you and that is a beautiful thing that the most intelligent, successful and happy people in the world are able to understand.

Beware the Echo Chamber. It can convince you that everyone is in the same boat, that everyone thinks the same. It can encourage normalisation of behaviours that are not accepted in wider society. If every single person you know smokes Cannabis and talks about smoking Cannabis and treats it very normally, does this mean society as a whole is accepting legalisation? Nope, it just means you have surrounded yourself with people whose moral compass points the same way on this factor. Try going to a Woman’s Institute tea party and having a discussion about using CDB oil to treat rheumatoid arthritis. You won’t get very far.

This isn’t a dig to anyone who does delete people who disagree with them. You might want you online space to be all fairies and rainbows and happiness and butt-licking, but it’s vital to be aware that in doing so, you are creating a false and fragile community that doesn’t offer a real reflection of the world, in the wider scheme of things, you are doing something even more dangerous to your own mind – convincing yourself of a false reality and closing yourself off the a diverse and beautiful world of opinion, debate and disagreements.

I want your opinion on this post – negative, positive, on the fence, you don’t like my hair, whatever. All opinions are valid here – I don’t want to be in an Echo Chamber. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Affiliate Marketing Doesn't Pay You For All Of Your Work

What do bloggers and influencers get paid? Since I started working in this industry, I get asked this question several times a day. What should I be charging to feature brands on my blog? How much should I be getting from my affiliate links? The blogging industry has no pricing or fee standardisation, people tend to keep their earnings close to their chests and there has been more than several occasions I can think of where an Influencer has implied they got paid for something that they didn’t. There’s also a bunch of examples of influencers pretending they didn’t get paid, but that’s a completely different post.

As head of the Influencer department at a major agency, I have had to pick my way through this minefield with very little information to go on. How much should we be charging? How much is everyone else charging? Should we do affiliate schemes or just upfront payments? I feel very strongly that Affiliate marketing, while having it’s place when it comes to paying bloggers a percentage for organic links in their blog, shouldn’t form a major part of your Instagram collaboration strategy.

Affiliate marketing is a way of crediting you financially for sales that your influence has generated. This could be a percentage, or a flat rate per sale, download or sign-up. You know the ones – “We’ll pay you 10% of the sales that you generate” or, “You’ll get 40% of the profits from the link in your bio” Bear in mind that 40% of profits isn’t usually a huge amount, the fee you should get is from the total sale and not the brands profit, unless they are willing to disclose their profit margin, which I doubt they will be.  Profit margins tend to be around 25% if the business is running well. This means 40% of the profits if you contributed to £100 worth of sales would be £10, 10% of the full amount. Make sure you know these stats before you agree to anything.

Follower Acquisition: Any brand that a true influencer features, reviews or mentions gains followers to their own account. This is incredibly valuable, because whenever the brand posts an image, offer or product, they are pitching to more people, if you have chosen an Influencer with a similar demographic to your target audience, this is even more valuable, as they were obviously interested in your product. This could generate an immediate sale, or they might spot something months down the line on your feed and make an impulse purchase then. This sale won’t be attributed to the Influencer you worked with.

Brand Awareness: You need to see something in a positive light three times before you are driven to make a purchase, if you are susceptible to marketing tricks or just an impulse purchaser in general. You might see your favourite blogger promoting a new face mask. You are vaguely interested and it looks good, their caption seems positive. You give it post a like. You then see the mask in a magazine the next day. The following day, a second Influencer is offering a discount code of the mask through a site such as Beauty Bay. It’s payday, so you make a purchase. This purchase hasn’t been attributed to the beauty blogger although they piqued your initial interest, they never benefit from that influence.

Direct Sales: Here’s the big one, sadly still the thing most brands measure the success of their Instagram collaborations against – I’m still certain that Follower Acquisitions is the more profitable benefit in the longer term, but the industry doesn’t agree with me. Even if you have been the sole driver of an impulse purchase, someone has seen your picture of some new heels from an upcoming online shoe brand and rushed straight to the site to make a purchase, quite a number of these people are very likely to google the best discount code they can find and will often not use your link – especially since Instagram still isn’t allowing clickable links in their captions.

In short, I don’t know. I believe that Affiliate marketing works in one place only – in posts on your blog that feature products from online retailers. In these cases, people may love how you look in that amazing pair of sunglasses that you featured organically, without being contacted by the brand or sent the item for free, in a blog post and want to buy some – there is no harm in providing a link to the sunglasses, and if that link pays you a percentage, there’s no harm done, no extra energy on your part. You aren’t working for the brand, you are working for yourself and that deserves rewarding.

However, if a brand contacts you via email or DM and says something like “Hi, we LOVE your work, you are seriously amazing! We’d love to send you some of our new make-up range, in exchange for 2 x Instagram posts and 1x Instagram Story – we’ll also give you a link to put in your bio, which we will pay you 10% of the profits on!! Let me know your address and which pieces you would like from our site and I’ll send over a contract!” – this isn’t acceptable. You get paid for less than a third of the work you have done and the brand gets away again with not paying influencers properly. The only fair way to work with an influencer is to pay an upfront fee. This fee covers not only the use of the influencers platform to promote a product, but also the time, energy and dedication that has gone into building and developing their following to the point where a brand want to collaborate with them as they think they will be able to drive sales – the definition of a genuine Influencer (in the commerce sense of the word anyway)

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