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PS&M’s Social Media Director, Sarah Dearing, had the pleasure of attending Adweek’s 2018 “Elevate” series focused on how influencers are becoming an increasingly important tool for brands to leverage when effectively engaging audiences and increasing brand loyalty.

From industry leaders to a Generation Z’s prediction on the future–here are the key takeaways from the day that PS&M is making a priority with their clients:

An Influencer’s Perspective: Zach King

Zack King, the “king” of short video, kicked off the conversation with his backstory and how he keeps his 21 million (and counting) followers steadily engaged.

How? The importance of storytelling. His process begins with a creative brainstorm (something as simple as writing words on a chalkboard), then moves into a storyboard to ensure the story begins with a problem and ends with a solution, and wraps up the “magical twist” element to make his videos unique (see examples here).

Next up…

Influencer Fraud & The Future

Leah Logan (VP of Media Products & Community Growth at Collective Bias) and Alexandra Kirsch (Manager of Social Media at Henkel) talked through the realities of influencer fraud, bots, and the cold, hard truth. Every account on Instagram is going to have some percentage of bots or fake profiles, so it’s crucial to do your research when seeking the right influencer for your brand.

One thing Leah and Alexandra stressed? Ask yourself, “Does the content match the data?” Most of the time, there’s blind allegiance to the number of followers and quality engagements are overlooked. Always compare the numbers.

Next up…

I'm With the Brand: How Marketers Leverage Influencers and Make Bank

Speakers of this fireside chat, otherwise known as the “Influencer Whisperers”, included Ricky Ray Butler (CEO at BEN), Luke Droulez (CMO at Parachute), Hannah Forbes (Strategy Director at R/GA) and Brian Toombs (VP of Digital at Funny or Die).

The four speakers equally emphasized there is a fundamental lack of understanding how big and impactful influencer marketing truly is. Specifically, the most valuable step of the process, influencer onboarding – the relationship you establish with an influencer and how you introduce your brand. Once an influencer feels confrontable with your brand, let them handle the creative and produce something spectacular that will ultimately drive sales.

At the end of the day, it’s all about relationship management, trust and authenticity.

And finally…

Gen Z on Gen Z: The Kids School Brand Marketers on Authenticity and What's B.S.

In case you didn’t know, Generation Z is the demographic consisting of ages 15-21.

Some of the youngest and most brilliant minds in the room, including Tiffany Zhong (Founder & CEO of Zebra Intelligence), Drake Rehfeld (CEO of Demeanor.co) and Connor Blakley (Founder & CEO of The Campus Agency, YouthLogic) wrapped up the discussion with what is and what isn’t working for brands on social media.

So, what is working for these young entrepreneurs? INFLUENCERS and INSTAGRAM. Gen Z is more likely to buy into something (a product, service, etc.) if an influencer has it and is marketing it.

What’s not working for Gen Z? Brands pursing MEME trends, uninteresting or long videos, and IGTV. They urged brands get completely aligned with the culture and optimize towards efficiency by pursuing Instagram, Instagram stories and streaming services like Apple TV, because these platforms are the future in Gen Z’s eyes.

So What’s Our Top Takeaway:

We are living in the era of content creation – so go create something! But remember, to be impactful, content should be meaningful and unique to your target audience.