Mishu & I share Influencer marketing and branding tips for businesses
I am the creator of Dear Mishu, a dog character that gives underdog advice to humans on social media. I originally built the account to learn about influencers and how they work. Over time, the account grew and Dear Mishu became a real social media influencer with a community of followers who ask her for advice. I use this experience and my 20 years of marketing experience to help brands understand how to reach their goals through Influencer Marketing and Social media branding.
Social Media influencers work hard – very hard. They need any edge they can get, and they need tools that can save them time, and can help them with faster, smarter and yet super sophisticated, customized deliveries. Here are a list of the 11 best Google Chrome extensions that I use for my Mishu.Underdog :
I use this tool many times a day to see where I am!
The No. 1 KPI for SMI* is engagement rate, which is usually calculated as the quantity of your followers, divided by the quantity of Likes and Comments per post.
As a SMI you want to keep the engagement rate UP up up so the social platform algorithm will make sure you show up in their users’ feeds. Socialpeeks is tool that I choose to display my account engagement rate, in real-time. All you need is to login once to their server, and from then on, clicking on their icon on the Chrome toolbar will display this:
Mishu uses Crowdfire for scheduling and publishing content on social media channels. With Crowdfire there is no platform that you cannot post to – whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok, Blog – anything, and in a simple, fast way (you can re-publish too). You can fully customize each post if you’d like – the number of words, the wording, media attached, etc.
Admittedly there are many tools and chrome extensions to schedule content. I believe I got my hands on this tool through a special holiday promotion, and have liked what I’ve seen since then. Yes the price was right, but the functionality is awesome too.
Price: 0-$75 – the more accounts, the higher the price is (yet they often have special pricing for the holidays).
I don’t use RiteTag too often, as I love to find interesting hashtags manually (it’s like finding a treasure – one can be very creative with those hashtags). But sometimes, when I have no clue which hashtag to attach to Mishu’s posts, I will take RiteTag’s advice. RiteTag has hashtag suggestions for text and images, which is cool:
SMI use emojis allllll the time. Emoji Keyboard is the Chrome extension I use to insert emojis into anything through Chrome – Instagram comments, emails, docs, blog posts, etc. It’s so simple to use – click on the tool icon on the browser toolbar and either reuse an emoji you previously used, or enter a search and find a new one, like 🧤 !
Asana is my main database, as well as my go-to detailed productive tool. I enter everything there – potential partners, amazing Cortado coffeeshops, videos to create, content ideas, licenses, ideas for the future, potential conferences to speak at – all is possible!
Asana’s Chrome extension is wonderful, because you can bookmark the webpage you are on, and associate with to a project that you are working on about to work on, and – if interested – associate it with a date to do, without leaving the page. Very productive!
Price: Free for unlimited awesome basic. $11/Mo and above for larger team.
If Asana is my productive project management tool for details and databases, WorkFlowy is like an orchestra conductor for it all. It shows me the light, for both private and business purposes…
I believe most of you haven’t heard of WorkFlowy, and what a pity that is. WorkFlowy – available on all possible platforms – is a web-based or app tool. It helps me organize my thoughts, ideas, directions, priorities, almost anything, in a minimalist, and very pragmatic way:
You can draw your plan for the week.
You can add a calendar
Once you write a certain goal, you can associate tasks to someone from your team (or to yourself, don’t be a snob…) right from it.
You can add a web clip to ANYTHING that you’ve written so far (for example a blog post about Chrome extensions on a Chrome extensions initiative).
Want to associate a date to an item? A file embedded in it? That’s possible too.
Tagging? Of course, tagging and searching something fast is one of the best parts of WorkFlowy. As you can see I love it a lot…!
Unfortunately Pinterest is not a social media platform. However, I do use it often to catalog images and videos- it’s so helpful! Examples: pin pix you want to publish, or success stories from your content or visuals to explain a concept:
Bitwarden is available on all platforms, all OSs, and so it’s really nice to have it doing the task for me of remembering Mishu’s user names and passwords on all those millions of influencer-brand matching services and websites (most of them useless – read here) :-), I highly appreciate the work Bitwarden did for us all.
You’re an influencer, famous even. People want to know you, they want to talk to you, and make an appointment with you… You may like to use Skype, Meet from Microsoft, or Instagram rooms to speak with people, but those are not as common as Zoom. Everyone is on Zoom now, and that’s the main way to communicate via video online noways.
The Zoom scheduler Chrome extension lets you schedule fast and conveniently Zoom meeting sessions for your week and year, as well as start a meeting. This is done by clicking on its extension icon on the tool bar, in just few clicks, without leaving the browser. How convenient is that!?
It’s just as hard for SMI to do multi tasking as it is for anyone else. We explore so many Instagram posts, important industry articles, webpages, images, etc., and we have to bookmark them somewhere, so we can get back to them. Pocket – a forever tool to save anything (almost) is here to help. You save those items to the app, so you can read it (offline is possible) later.
I also like the read for me feature on Pocket – where it can read you articles, while you are closing your eyes, or walking with your dog.
Using it is very simple – anything you want to save you just click on the Pocket icon and boom, that’s it, it is saved. Then, opening the Pocket app on your phone (or browser) will let you read the articles anytime, anywhere.
Good luck my influencer heroes!
Disclaimer – Use with caution – I like and use those apps and services for my Mishu. However, Chrome is made by Google and please don’t consider this my endorsement or recommendation of Google and its platforms. Its products still have severe privacy, tracking and censorship issues to work so… so use with caution.
Hire niche SMI* with the sole objective of getting feedback for samples received from the factory before placing a minimum quantity order with your manufacturer, and definitely before sending a new product to the Amazon (or Walmart) warehouse.
I have been there. I was an Amazon Vendor and really enjoyed it. What a journey it is! It’s exciting to build a small empire, your own legacy, with your own brand and various products and creations that you have envisioned.
There is so much competition on both the Walmart.com and Amazon (or eBay) marketplaces, and their tools have their limits in terms of showing you which new product will do well.
Before you hit the market with a new product (a brand, or a concept) for your Amazon store. Before you put so many hours sourcing something new. Before you invest in a trip to China (and unlimited different time zone hours on WeChat, Skype and Alibaba interviewing partners). Before you invest your money in hundreds of sample fees, and then on minimum quantity orders. Before all that… make a reliable, stable, conservative test, to eliminate some of the risks. It will save you a lot. And here is my advice:
I. Hire SMI with the sole objective of getting feedback.
Social Media Influencer (SMI) is: (1) Someone who owns a social media account (min. 50 followers), such as on Tiktok, IG, YouTube, etc.
And – very important too –
(2) Uses it for great – no, amazing – relationship building AND/OR content sharing with their followers.
So you know by now the boost you can get by hiring a good SMI, right? You can get instant gratification – people visit your website, you get attention, you get access to new communities you haven’t dream of, gain recognition, etc. Today though we will focus on you hiring the Influencers with a different goal: getting feedback.
From interviews we’ve conducted with various pets suppliers, the most interesting revelation was that most brands got really surprising, unexpected feedback from SMIs. Here are some examples:
The treat is too big, with low moisture. It’s hard to chew for small dogs, and so the focus should only be on dogs above 10 pounds.
The treat is intellectually stimulating (!!) for the dog because he spent 40 mins on the treat. He was intrigued about how to best eat the treat!
Yes, pet SMI are cute but unless a human is involved, we don’t look for for advice…
One influencer had dachshunds and we found out that they can chew only half the size of our desserts!
An SMI said that he is seeing more poop bags left on trails, possibly because people are walking more often. Unlike before when it was annoying and inconsiderate, it’s now an actual threat to health as well as the environment.
II. Ask the SMI for all kinds of feedback that you need
The feedback can be on your new product idea, new logo, new slogan, web-page, packaging, etc.
Ask the SMI to give you feedback on ANYTHING YOU NEED OR MAY NEED to make your product decision. Here are some ideas:
Did you find any missing components?
Does it speak the language (some products with Chinese language only…)?
Is it “foreign” to understand? If yes, why?
Could you use it < x times/days (the idea is to find out if it’s getting ruined easily or not)?
Will your community love it? Why?
Is it Instagramable/Ticktokble (today that’s how new products sell – if they fit well into Instagram or Tiktok video/picture/visuals or not)?
Do you think you should add something to it, such as new features, colors, logo, attitude, plastics, etc? If yes, what?
Perhaps ask the infuencer or their followers to rank the product 1-5 (or 1-10…), and leave space for notes:
Package look & feel
Shipment time or arrival
Do they like the logo?
How much did they LOVE it?
Many don’t get it but SMI can be the best consultants! They know your community the best, they know how to tell a story, they know how to convince, they know how TO INFLUENCE, they really do. They’ve done so much A/B testing, and tried so many methods in marketing, publishing, UX, human behavior, emotional triggering, and unbelievable creative out-of-the-box of CTAs (Call-to-Actions), that you’d be kind of a fool not to take advantage of their experience. Their knowledge of your target audience is priceless and… real.
So, ask them:
If it was them, would THEY have sold this product to their community?
What would be THEIR strategy if they were you to bring the message of this new product/idea/etc?
If you hire them to recommend this to their followers, can they tell you how they plan to do it (and their costs)?
IIII. Who’s a good SMI for feedback giving?
Of course, not every SMI can- deliver such feedback. Hire those that are:
RELATED: Find SMI that are related to what you do – if you want them to give feedback on dog collars, they should own at least one dog. Someone that has cats only might not be suitable. PS/sometimes there are surprises in terms of relevancy that you haven’t thought about – read about the Orange People…
LOVE: this is really important – make 100% sure that the SMI is someone who is CRAZY about what you do. Otherwise, it will be apparent and it won’t come truthful.
RESPECTED by their community – go over past few months of the SMI social media post. Look at their followers’ comments – how involved are they? How much they care about the SMI requests and opinions? If not at all, then that’s not your candidate.
From time to time brands launch media PR campaigns to complain that the influencers they hired “were fake.” For example, the following was promoted and mentioned on Google 255,000 times (that’s a quarter million!).
And Casper – the mattress company – stated in their S-1 filing, under “risk factors” that one of Casper’s disclosed risks is “the network of social media influencers it uses to advertise.”
For me, this is equivalent to them saying something like: “I’m making a decision to choose bad partners, and my partners – therefore – are a risk to my company.”
So, here is the question that needs to be asked (and let the debate began):
The influencers you hired are unethical – they did dishonest things (e.g. buying votes, sorry … followers)
You partnered with unethical.
Are you asking yourself why you hired unethical people/partners in the first place? Perhaps you should take a hard look at your hiring/contracting process and make the changes so it will not happen again.
Here are 5 things to look into and fix that can help you do it right next time:
Review your vetting process. Find out what you did wrong in the past and how you can avoid repeating it. I’m happy to advise you on vetting influencers.
Your name, your brand is EVERYTHING. And yet you entrusted it to unethical people. Consider putting a policy in place and a better process for external people who handle your brand messages.
Review your company social media account on Insta/LinkedIn/Twitter/etc and your BSMP. Do each of your company posts have at least 10 comments? If not, it’s a sign that your story is boring and people probably spend less than 3 seconds on your posts. It’s time to rethink your strategy and, if you can’t come up with a more creative one consider hiring someone new who can or taking a break from social. Don’t maintain social media accounts for the sake of having them if they don’t do anything for your brand.
And a word about “fake”… influencers are community leaders and so they mirror their communities and they mirror you, since you selected them. So, consider this: a. Are you leading by example on that topic? It is known that most brands have fake followers, including bots, and that they are possibly purchased. Is your brand on top of that? Do you regularly remove your fake followers, comments, and likes? Before you attack influencers, you should look at your own followers before you ask influencers to do the same. Because if you don’t do it, your community sees that and influencers see your behavior as an example! b. Are you using (or about to use) virtual CGI-generated influencers? Those are very cool and most of them are very successful in achieving results. But…they are “fake”… have you thought about that? In other words, be the leader in fighting fake, not by fighting influencers but taking care of your own accounts first.
Review the rest of your practices: Is it easy for people to remove themselves from your mailing list and email list? When you we visit your site do you invade our privacy by tracking our web activities? Are you transparent enough? Are you really caring? Do you celebrate your customers? Do you treat people as a means to an end? When people contact you on website, do you answer with an automated template or as a human? Lead by example.
Because, if you don’t answer those questions, if you don’t fix the problems, after your PR campaign against “the bad influencers” winds down, your company will still need to break through, and it won’t be able to.
Takeaway: Instead of hiring media to announce that “you hired bad influencers and you will fight against that” >>
Indeed, and this is not only the First Commandment for any social media-ist. Every time engagers are going out of their way from their daily activities and bothering to engage with you on your social media account, engage back. Such attention is so appreciated in today’s world and is really the essence of building lasting relationships on social media.
We all have at least one engager on social media, and those people are so important. But wait…
Everyone wants to be an influencer because they confuse influencers with the beautiful celebs who sail on beautiful yachts… It’s not the same thing though. Most SMI* are unknown to the public and yet they influence. The job requires so many working hours a day of content creation, photography, editing, re-editing, publishing, marketing and – yes – engaging all day long…
Brands: So we know by now that not having a presence on social media is like you… do not exist, since that’s where your audience is. Your social media account is your business card, your face, your talking point, your front-line, your border, your mom and pop, your puppy too.
Once you choose the right social media platform for the audience you want to reach, and you activate it, it’s…YOU. Make sure that from then on it reflects … YOU indeed.
Your communication with your audience should now be via social media. And so – for example – if someone sends you a DM instead of calling your phone, it means that they want a response via DM (= direct messages) and they most definitely do not want to call you. So make sure you address that.