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6 ways to spot a fake social media influencer (Instagram)

How do you spot a fake social media influencer on Instagram who has bought their likes and followers and duped companies into putting their reputation into their entirely inexperienced hands?

Influencer marketing on Instagram can be a huge drain on your resources and a massive waste of time – or it can be one of the best marketing tactics you’ve ever used. If you’re going to work with an Instagram influencer, here’s what you need to do before sealing the deal:

1. Evaluate their engagement rate

It’s easy to make snap judgments on the qualification of an influencer by looking at their follower numbers, likes, and comments, and it’s true that all of these can give you some helpful insights – but only when you also look at engagement rate as well.

If you can see thousands of followers but not many likes per post, that’s not a good sign. If there’s an impressive number of likes on the post your potential influencer posted yesterday, but only 5-10 on the posts from a month or so back, those likes have probably been bought from a dodgy site selling fake engagement from bot accounts.

Accounts with weird names including numbers (e.g. Born2018SXT) or a lot of accounts that have no profile pictures, it means those followers/likers were bought.

2. Check if their community is active

Community is key when evaluating an influencer profile. You want to make sure that there’s a real conversation happening between the influencer and the community with a more personal message than “thanks.”. This means that majority of comments from the influencer’s followers are genuine (and not two-word, spam comments or obscure emojis).

If comments aren’t referring to what’s actually going on in the post, you can assume that they’re automated by bots. And an audience of bot accounts is not going to bring you any joy (money). Big accounts are bound to attract some spam, notwithstanding the influencer in question is not a fake, but you’ll be able to authenticate an account from the comments.

3. Make sure their follower growth is steady

The same rule applies to follower growth as to account activity such as likes and comments. A sudden and significant spike in followers over one day? They’re sure as hell not real. Sudden and significant drop in followers (we’re talking thousands) over one day? It could be the result of Instagram cleaning out blacklisted, bot accounts that the ‘influencer’ previously bought.

Bot accounts can’t be influenced, and fake engagement can’t be monetized, so walk away now. Besides, it’s not just about numbers: 5000 engaged followers are more valuable than 500,000 bot accounts. As with everything, quality beats quantity.

It is possible to gain a lot of followers organically, but difficult ever since Instagram stopped showing posts chronologically in the feed. Normally follower growth of a real influencer should be steady and fairly consistent.

4. Do some snooping on Google

A quick Google search is pretty much the answer to everything. Well, kind of. If you search your influencer’s name, you can get a good idea of their authority outside of Instagram too, which can also be useful when deciding who to collaborate with. Are they present on other channels? Do they have a loyal following on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube?

Check out their earned media value, which can include mentions and backlinks from other brands and influencers. It might be that their following off Instagram isn’t as big, but having an online presence that goes beyond Instagram alone can be a good indicator of authenticity.

5. Look into what they’re promoting

Look for posts tagged with #spon, #sponsored or #ad in their feed, and check out who they’ve collaborated with previously. Are the products they promote consistent with their personal brand or do they put their name behind literally anything, from toothpaste to car tires? If it’s the latter – avoid!

A good influencer will be selective with what they promote because they value their personal brand and they know their audience. No self-respecting influencer would promote something that their audience wouldn’t be interested in (or even actively against) for fear of alienating them and damaging the relationship they’ve worked tirelessly to build up. You can also check out the posts they’ve been tagged in to see which brands collaborate with or endorse them, or even just repost their content.

6. Ask for proof  

Finally, it doesn’t hurt to ask what results they generated from previous collabs with other brands. Fair enough, the responsibility to evaluate a campaign doesn’t lie exclusively with the influencer – it’s also up to brands to make sure the success of a campaign is measurable, by providing specific discount and tracking codes, among other things.

A good influencer should be able to back up their worth with some basic stats at the least, such as how many followers were gained for the brand they promoted throughout their campaign, how much referral traffic was generated to external sites, and so on.

So, those are the basics. If you check off each point from this list before entering into an influencer collaboration, it will be a sure-fire success…well, pretty much.

Guest post from Godfrey Omanga, LinkedIn.

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Why you need a website in 2018

So… maybe you’re a small business owner, you’ve launched your startup company or you do freelance work, and you want to know how to make the best impact online. You have all your requisite social media profiles but I’m pretty sure it has crossed your mind a few times, “do I need a website?” In a word, yes. Here’s why.

#1 – An Online Portfolio Speak Volumes

Why spend cash printing brochures and flyers and then paying to distribute them to show off your products or services? You eliminate this by having a website and you also widen your potential reach. Potential customers can find out about you, your products and services, and contact you directly. It’s also an easy way to update your existing customers on what’s new. Having a website is a perfect home base for all your work, and it’s only a click away from your social media pages! Engage on social media, then when your followers need to know more, hook them with your well-developed site.

#2 – Websites Attract More Customers

Right now as I’m writing this there are over 3.5 billion users accessing the internet and it’s climbing by the millisecond. Chances are, most of your clients have internet access. So by not having a website, you automatically miss out a huge piece of the pie. It’s that simple.

#3 – Websites Build Business Value and Credibility

A friend of mine tried getting a grant recently, the grant officer asked to see their website, they had none. This may or may not have been a determining factor, but having a website, and good one, automatically increases your business value in everyone’s eyes, especially your customers. Nowadays, not having a website is worse than not having an office. Websites add legitimacy.

#4 – Websites Increase Your Influence

Having a website potentially means thousands of people will see it (remember that large number I quoted above?). This allows you to influence people’s decisions and educate them with your content. Consider adding a blog to your website, this will further establish you as an expert in your field.

#5 – Marketing

Thanks to the internet, global walls have been broken down, and a new world of marketing now exists. Having a website can attract new business by using different marketing techniques which are even more compelling when combined with the power of social media.

You need to have a website, and a killer one at that. It should be pretty clear why a website is relevant in 2018, and for years to come. Now the question you should be asking yourself at this point is: “where do I start?

Check out our article on How to choose the type of website your business needs. Then contact Mark & Ryse, we’ll not only build you a professional looking site, but we also have the know-how to help you achieve all the things on our list.

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Generation Z is coming of age, is your business ready for them?

Most Generation Z’s (youth born between 1995 and early 2000s) have most probably never posted a letter, read a newspaper, used a library referencing system, looked up a number in a telephone directory, rented a VCR, endured a broadcaster’s choice of viewing schedule, bought or used a CD, used a mobile phone with a numeric keypad or built-in camera.

They’ve never known life without the internet or social media.

Technology has empowered them to do things that no other generations before them could. Access to information online has reduced their dependency on traditional teaching methods and entertainment.

They ‘hang out’ on social media, fall in love online via dating apps, shop online, get news online and learn online.

They’re responsible for disruption in almost every industry you can think of.

But despite all this, few businesses actually focus on Generation Z. They see them as consumers of the future while neglecting their influence over purchasing decisions in their households today.

When buying Gen Z’s trust internet reviews far more than advice from friends or family.

They prefer to live at home with their parents and put off significant milestones in life like marriage and children. Gen Z’s are reluctant to buy items such as cars, music and luxury goods and instead prefer to rent them or find other ways to use them without owning them.

Gen Z’s are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.

So what’s your business doing to ensure you capture their attention?

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How to style individual categories differently in WordPress

Do you want to style categories differently in WordPress? Most WordPress themes use the same style for all category archive pages. However, if you run a content rich website, then you can style each category differently to maximize their potential. In this article, we will show you how to easily style categories differently in WordPress.

Why Style Categories Differently in WordPress?

As we said earlier, most WordPress themes use the same template for each category archive page. That’s because theme developers don’t know how you will be using the categories on your website and what those categories will be.

However, if you are running a content rich site, then changing the layout of a category archive page can have a dramatic impact on how users engage with the content on that page.

For example, if you run a news or magazine site, then you can have local ads displayed on the local news category. You can show weather information, show most popular stories in that category, and so on.

Having said that, let’s see how to easily style individual categories differently in WordPress.

Styling Individual Categories Differently in WordPress

There are multiple ways to style categories in WordPress. We will show you two different methods to style categories, and you can choose the one that best suits your needs and skill level.

Using Single Category Template in WordPress Theme

WordPress themes follow a standard template hierarchy. Depending on a template file name, WordPress can automatically pick the right template to display a page.

For example, it looks for category.php file to display category archive pages.

WordPress also allows you to create templates for individual categories as well. Let’s suppose you want to style the ‘Apple’ category differently. You can do that by adding a new template file to your theme and naming it category-apple.php.

Connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client and then go to /wp-content/themes/your-current-theme/ folder and create a new file category-apple.php. Don’t forget to replace apple with your own category name.

You can use your theme’s category.php file as a starting point. Simply edit and copy all of its content. Now edit your newly created category-apple.php file and paste the code inside it.

After that you can start making changes to your individual category template. You can create and use a different sidebar for this category, make it a full-width page, add a welcome message, or anything else you want.

Style Individual Categories in WordPress Using CSS

WordPress automatically adds CSS classes to different elements throughout your website. These include both the body class and the post class.

For example, if you view a category archive page and then use the Inspect Tool, you will notice category and category-name CSS classes in the body tag.

You can use this CSS class to style each individual category differently by adding custom CSS.

Here is some example CSS that you can use as a starting point.

body.category-apple {
background-color:#EEE;
background:url(“http://example.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/background.jpg”) no-repeat fixed;
color:#FFFFFF;
}
.category-apple .site {
background:#232323;
}
.category-apple a {
color:#CCCCCC;
}

Don’t forget to change the category name in the CSS class with your own category name.

Google to tone down on display ads so you can browse faster

Google is on a quest to make online ads less obnoxious, which makes sense for a company that makes its living on web-based advertising. People hate videos that play automatically, glaring slogans, and ads that suck down bandwidth and slow down the browsing experience, and Google is serious about making a fix.

The company will be officially blocking some kinds of ads in its industry-dominating Chrome browser starting in 2018, and it’s already stopping ads that try to pop up in new tabs. Google is also taking steps to make its own ads less unruly, as ZDNet reports.

It’s doing all this by applying compression to its display ads using the Brotli compression algorithm. This specific compression scheme promises to reduce the size of Google’s ads by 15 percent compared to gzip compression, with a more than 40 percent reduction in some ads. While not every Google ad will enjoy this level of compression, Google says it’s applying Brotli compression “whenever possible.”

Google display ads have historically been heavy on browser resources

The benefits from putting its ads on a diet can be significant. As Michael Burns, a software engineer on Google’s Publisher Tagging and Ads Latency Team says: “[The use of compression] reduces the amount of data sent to end users by tens of thousands of gigabytes every day.” What that means for individual users is faster page loads, better overall performance, and, ultimately, lower battery consumption.

The Brotli compression algorithm is supported in the top web browsers today, including Chrome, Microsoft’s new Edge browser that’s featured in Windows 10, and Firefox. Only Apple’s Safari browser doesn’t support the new tool, which superseded the earlier Zopfli algorithm and provides up to 26 percent better compression.

In 2018, Google Chrome will start blocking any ads that don’t conform to the new Initial Better Ads Standards defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, including its own display ads. That means that users should gain a tremendous boost in their ability to enjoy the browsing experience without being subjected to the most obnoxious ads. In the meantime, Google will be working to make the ads that do show up just a little more efficient.