A photo of an influencer in the middle of a desert road

As a small business, influencer marketing can be a quick and easy way to get your product in front of audiences who may not have known about you before. However, when many companies begin their influencer marketing, they go into it without having a solid idea of what a good influencer for their campaign is, simply accepting everyone that asks them for a free product. In order to assess whether or not an influencer is good for your campaign, ask the following questions:

  1. Does that influencer represent my buyer niche?
  2. Is the influencer using “cheats” to inflate their following or engagement?
  3. Is their photo quality representative of something that I would want to post on my page?
  4. Can I afford the influencer if they ask to be paid?

1. Does that influencer represent my buyer niche?

An influencer is not going to convert if you do not have a good knowledge of your current customers. One mistake I made when I was initially recruiting influencers for a campaign was I was targeting the correct niche, but the wrong age of influencer who would be purchasing the product. Once I began pursuing older influencers with an older following, I went from having single posts with no conversions, to influencers who posted with double digit conversions – and no change in follower count or engagement rate.

2. Is the influencer using “cheats” to inflate their following or engagement?

It can be relatively easy to figure out which influencers have fake followings and engagement with a little bit of looking. Social Blade is a great place to figure out whether or not an instagram profile has a fake follower account, because you can see their daily follower/following stats. If there’s an uncharacteristically large surge in followers on one day, or you see consistent following and unfollow amounts in the hundreds, then you can hedge your bets on that account using bots to increase their following or paying for their following.

Another quick thing to notice is whether or not they have an uncharacteristically large amount of comments on their posts for their following (say 1k followers with 100 comments). That could indicate the use of engagement pods, which is another way that influencers artificially inflate engagement.

3. Is their photo quality representative of something that I would want to post on my page?

Definitely check out similar influencer content on their page to determine if their quality is worth recruiting them. If they’re simply taking selfies with the product, this may mean that they’re less skilled at photography shots or do not have good camera equipment. As an influencer myself, I had to learn this the hard way.

Make sure your influencers know how to take advantage of lighting, photo editing apps, and tripods so that the posts that they make are good enough for you to repurpose into your feed. I would go so far as to say that the photo quality of an influencer’s page is more important than follower count, because there are things that you can do (like whitelisting) to promote influencer posts that do not require a high follower count for conversions.

4. Can I afford the influencer if they ask to be paid?

This question is also highly based on the MSRP of what you are offering to influencers for collaboration. If your product retails for $500, then it’s more likely that people are going to be willing to do in-kind partnerships. Conversely, if you’re only going to send $20 worth of product, then you can prepare for influencers to ask to be paid. Especially for higher-quality photos and content, many influencers charge for posts.

That being said, most influencers are going to usually upsell themselves at their first quote. To figure out whether the price they’re offering is fair based on their following, search this Instagram money calculator. I regularly use this when I’m negotiating with influencers for payment.

What other questions should brands be asking to evaluate influencers? Let me know in the comments. If you are currently working on revamping your influencer marketing strategy, send me an email – I’d love to work with you!

All of us have lived through economic downturns before (unless you were born in 2010), but none of us have lived through a global pandemic. Some economists have said that not only were we overdue for an economic recession, but with COVID-19 being a “black swan” event, they have no idea exactly how the rest of the year – or the years to come – will unfold.

Studies have shown that brands (and thereby influencers) who continue advertising during tough times end up faring significantly better than companies who withdraw and cut their marketing budget. For example, during the Great Depression, there were two main cereal brands: Kellogg’s and Post. They each had very different strategies: Post cut their advertising budget significantly and Kellogg’s doubled their ad budget. By the late 30’s, Kellogg’s profits had grown 30% and they became the industry leader they are today.

This is why remaining relevant as a brand is more important than ever – and if you’re an influencer, consider yourself a brand as well. Many social media accounts, whether they are businesses or creators, are taking hiatuses from their Instagram accounts at this time. This can be for a lot of different reasons – lack of content, the need to detox from social media, needing to prioritize other things, or simply lacking the motivation to post at all. All of these reasons are valid, but they come at a cost – you potentially lose your social media market share.

I recently took a week-long break from Instagram to focus on myself and other professional pursuits, as well as to see if people would still follow me and engage if I wasn’t posting new content. I went from gaining an average of 40 followers a day to actually losing followers. And that was after just 48 hours of not posting and engaging with other accounts. After the week was up, I went back to engaging and posting as before, but my engagement took a significant hit – my impressions were significantly lower, mostly due to a decrease in hashtag views.

It all comes back to staying relevant in tough economic times. With more people on social media for longer periods of time, NOW is the time to amp up your digital advertising strategy! How can you provide value to your followers during this time? Can you keep them informed about what your brand is doing to help out during the crisis? Can you distract them with funny or entertaining content? Can you inspire them to try a new recipe or hobby? Consumers and businesses will remember how you responded during the COVID-19 crisis. What do you want them to think of when they hear or read your name?

Are you going to be a brand that brings your community together and engages, or are you going to stay silent, potentially facing the consequences of not posting during this hour of need?

If you’re interested in upping your Instagram game, feel free to shoot me an email and we can set up a time to chat!

A plate of peanut butter cookies with a jar of vanilla protein powder behind it

Quarantine baking. We’ve all been doing it. Whether you’re experimenting with sourdough starter from scratch or whipping up some Tollhouse cookies, baked goods are one of the things that seem to be keeping people sane these days.

Well, I had a cookie craving the other day, and I whipped these up with pantry items that you most likely already have in your house! They were ready in about 20 minutes and were so good that the whole batch was gone by the end of the day!

The best part? These cookies aren’t just tasty, they’re good for you, too. The secret ingredient in these cookies is vanilla protein powder! I use Preferred Keto’s KEYTO Collagen, not only because of the quality of ingredients, but also because of the unparalleled taste. While this particular recipe is not ketogenic, you could easily keto-fy it with a few easy substitutions.

Things you will need:
1. 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
2. 1/2 cup Preferred Keto KEYTO Vanilla Collagen Powder
3. 1 egg
4. 1/4 cup of sugar
5. 1 tsp cinnamon
6. ~1/4 cup flour of your choice

To Bake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix wet ingredients (peanut butter, egg, sugar) in a bowl until well combined.
3. Add cinnamon and protein powder, incorporating thoroughly. Slowly incorporate flour bit by bit until it reaches a play-dough texture.
4. Roll into small balls, place on a greased baking sheet, and flatten with a fork.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes.

How easy is that? Let me know what you’ve been baking recently! I’ve been itching to try some new things! If you’re interested in Preferred Keto’s collagen, use code KITTYKATHEALTH for 10% off your order!

I’ve written before about how important it is to support local restaurants at this time. Some restaurants have experienced as much as a 75% reduction in sales simply because they cannot serve dining room customers, and that has had a drastic impact on our economy. I’ve been ordering delivery at least once a week, and so far, here are my top places for each cuisine:

Mexican: Taqueria Gloria

Taqueria Gloria is my absolute #1 go-to for any kind of Mexican food cravings. After living in Los Angles for 5 years, I’ve become extremely picky about Hispanic food and have tried all of the Jersey City recommendations that the East Coast natives swear by. Nothing comes close to Taqueria Gloria for price, authenticity, and taste. I’ve never had a dish there that I disliked, but my go-to is always their nachos, whether they’re with carne asada or carnitas. To drink, I always get a jamaica, which is a beloved hibiscus drink that very few east coast restaurants get right. If I could pick only one restaurant from which to order for the duration of quarantine, it would be this Taqueria Gloria.

Pizza: Prince of Pizza

If you’re looking for the best NY slice on this side of the Hudson, Prince of Pizza has to be it. I fell in love with them for their vodka margherita pizza, but stayed for their supreme slice, which tastes even better reheated the day after. With a perfect chewy crust, and an extremely flavorful sauce, Prince of Pizza is always in our delivery rotation.

Chinese: King Szechuan Palace

King Szechuan Palace is a recent addition to my list, but they quickly climbed the ranks with every delicious bite. Both the Americanized Chinese classics, as well as the authentic dishes, are big hits. Pictured here is their General Tso’s chicken, which was perfectly crisp, saucy, with just the right amount of heat from the chili peppers.

Healthy Eats: Shaka Bowl

While technically not in Jersey City, Shaka Bowl holds a special place in my heart for their delicious breakfast and lunch options. Their build-your-own poke bowls are to die for, and their customer service is excellent. I highly recommend their Pineapple-A-Day bowl, with delicious ahi tuna, fresh pineapple, avocado, crispy onions, and much, much more.

Weekly Meal Plans: Whealth Kitchen

I’ve already written about how amazing Whealth’s cafe is, but because of COVID-19, Whealth has pivoted to affordable, delicious, farm-to-table meal delivery service. Not only are the portions in their delivery meals generous enough to last a week, but they’re incredibly versatile and can be either eaten by themselves or with other pantry staples from your home. Whealth also donates two meals to families in need for every meal plan purchased, meaning you’re giving back to the community, supporting local farms and supporting small business.

If you’re local to Jersey City and Hoboken, where are you ordering delivery from right now? Let me know in the comments!