Who is to blame when influencers endorse dodgy products?

Who is to blame when influencers endorse dodgy products?

Being asked to take part in a paid campaign is an exciting milestone for many content creators, but promoting products or services you know little about can leave you vulnerable to criticism. We investigate whether brands or influencers are to blame when potentially dangerous products are endorsed on social media.

As a content creator, working with your dream brands on social media content can be the best part of the job. Most creators will only promote a product or service that they truly believe in and wouldn’t dream of featuring something that could do harm to their followers. Yet detox teas, supplements and ‘contraception alternatives’ still frequently appear on our Instagram feeds, and the influencers saying yes to these partnerships are damaging the community’s reputation as a whole.

Last week Lauren Goodger tried to defend being caught on camera agreeing to promote a fake drink that had cyanide listed as one of the ingredients. Lauren claimed that she was under the impression that it was just a vitamin water, and that the words she read out to endorse the product were unknown to her. Her willingness to endorse a product without doing any research into its ingredients caused concern on social media, and we decided to investigate whether you feel brands or influencers are more to blame for the promotion of dodgy products.

When it comes to promoting potentially harmful products on social media, 72% of people felt influencers are to blame, rather than the brands who create the products. If influencers do promote potentially harmful products, 85% of people would definitely lose faith in them, with only 3% saying they wouldn’t lose faith in them at all. This shows that it is crucial for creators to do their research before saying yes to collaborations, and put themselves in their followers’ shoes before agreeing to promote products or services that could cause issues for some.

“The data shows that consumers invest trust in influencers to be genuine about the products they’ve tried and recommend,” says Adam Walker, a style blogger and digital marketer.

“Breaking that trust deals a huge blow to how consumers think of the influencer, but not necessarily the brand. For consumers, a brand is a logo but an influencer is a human and that kind of connection is fragile.”

Our data backs this up, with only 67% of people saying they would lose a lot of faith in a brand if they worked with irresponsible influencers and 33% saying they would only lose a little bit of faith in them. As a creator it’s important to always put the connection with your followers first, rather than prioritising what you may want from your content and influence. A brand may face some backlash if they work with the wrong people, but if creators work with the wrong brand they face alienating their audience and damaging their reputations beyond repair.

Interestingly, 10% of those who answered our poll said they have promoted a product or destination without doing any research into potential harm it may cause. This suggests that we may continue to see influencers blindly promoting products and services in the future, putting their audience at risk.

Adam feels it is important that we speak out when influencers endorse potentially dangerous products or services to protect the community and combat the assumption that all creators have the same lack of morals.

“Influencers need to be more vigilant about calling out this kind of bad behaviour from other influencers, otherwise they’ll find themselves tarred with the same brush.”

Want to take your content to the next level? Buy your tickets NOW for BorderlessLive2020!

Meet our speakers: CapitalCraig, TikTok creator

Meet our speakers: CapitalCraig, TikTok creator

Craig Castle, known as CapitalCraig online, is a TikTok verified creator. He’s built an audience of 1.2 million on the platform and says it’s been “one hell of a ride”. Craig fills us in on his favourite TikTok challenge, the types of videos he enjoys filming and what it takes to build a loyal following…

Why did you first start posting TikTok videos?

I started posting on TikTok because I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh, or at least trying to make them laugh! The message I try to portray in my videos is to have fun, live life to the fullest and don’t let anything hold you back.

What do you like most about being a TikTok creator?

I really enjoy inspiring others through comedy and sentimental videos, it’s the reason I love being a creator on the platform. If I can pick someone up when they’re having a bad day, that’s a great feeling.

How can people build a loyal following on the platform?

It’s simple: be yourself, have fun and be consistent. The rest will happen if you stick to that. When you’re enjoying what you’re doing, it’s clear through your videos.

Which has been your favourite video to create and why? 

I’ve enjoyed creating all of my videos, it’s a hobby and a passion all in one. I especially enjoy making the kind of videos that make people think, with a strong story line. They’re the type of video that hits deep.

What trends have you enjoyed most on TikTok?

Trends aren’t something I tend to get involved in, however, there are some that I have done for fun. The microwave challenge was a great one!

What are you looking forward to most at BorderlessLive?

Honestly? The entire experience. Meeting new people, meeting the team, it’s all very exciting and I feel privileged to be a part of it.

Want to hear Craig speak at BorderlessLive 2020? Make sure you get your ticket now so you don’t miss out!

Is Instagram’s popularity bubble about to burst?

Is Instagram’s popularity bubble about to burst?

In October last year Instagram introduced their @Creators account, a platform that sought to inspire, teach and connect creatives. For a moment it seemed they were finally investing back into talent on their platform, but do the lack of organic growth and sporadic success rates of boosting posts put the social media network at risk of having its popularity crushed by TikTok?…

I noticed something interesting last week – my ‘promote this post’ button had changed. I already have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the post boosting options Instagram offers, but the change I saw intrigued me and suggested that Instagram may *finally* be interested in helping creatives to build their audience on the platform. My button now said ‘Grow audience’.

Excited by the prospect of a new way to rise above the social media noise, I quickly clicked through only to be presented with the same options I usually would when boosting a post. So Instagram weren’t actually offering a new way to grow, but they were trying to entice us creatives into boosting our posts once again. I felt a bit cheated by the audience growth bluff, and I have to admit it did (once again) lessen my love for the platform. Most importantly it got me thinking about the future of Instagram and, with the surging popularity of TikTok, whether their limits on organic growth and patchy performance of boosted posts could be a nail in their coffin.

Organic growth at a snail’s pace

It’s no secret that organic growth on Instagram is either a miracle, the result of intense hours of engaging daily on the platform or a thing of the past for most users. In fact, Instagram themselves stated that the organic reach of posts is limited to give priority to branded ads last June. So, where does that leave small businesses and creators looking to build an engaged audience on the platform?

The frustrations about Instagram’s approach to organic content are definitely felt by those who put hours of work into each of their posts, and when a post you’re really passionate about is tanking the temptation can be to either stop spending as much time on the platform or pay to boost each post. Instagram are always keen to nudge us to pay to promote our posts, but the question is: when we do invest in the platform, what return do we get? And how does it make us feel about the value this service provides?

To boost or not to boost?

After spotting my post boosting button had changed to ‘Grow audience’ I was interested to find out if my audience were just as disengaged with Instagram’s promotional opportunities as I was. So, I did what any good writer would do and ran a poll on my Stories. With nearly 100 responses, it was one of the most engaging polls I’ve run and the results were sadly as I expected. Of the 66% of people who had previously paid to boost a post, 80% did not feel it helped to grow their account and 72% would not boost a post in the future.

As much as Instagram tries to show support for creators, and encourage us to use their promotional tools, there’s a real lack of trust when it comes to these paid options and with TikTok championing organic content (and offering real opportunity for engaged audiences to be built quickly) Instagram may find they have to quickly change their tune to stay popular and relevant when it comes to influencer marketing and providing value to their users.

Is Instagram losing the popularity game?

While it may be too early to say whether Instagram will lose a significant amount of active users to TikTok this year, the lack of opportunity for organic reach and growth could become a real issue for them. That said, it’s unlikely we will see a mass exodus of influencer marketers from Instagram to TikTok anytime soon due to the stats required to measure campaign impact.

As mentioned in one of our Influencer Weekly Updates, the drop in engagement rates on Instagram could actually be a good thing for marketers as it discourages them from relying on vanity metrics to measure impact. Instagram allows those with business accounts to have access to detailed insights for each of their posts, especially if they are boosted, which gives brands a real measure of who is seeing what content (and how they feel about it).

Until TikTok starts to offer similar insights for their users I don’t think Instagram has anything to worry about, no matter how frustrating the platform can be.

Want to take your content to the next level? Buy your tickets NOW for BorderlessLive2020!

Influencer weekly update – #3

Influencer weekly update – #3

Welcome to our weekly update on all things influencer marketing, social media and content creation. We like to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to influencer-related things, and instead of keeping all of our findings to ourselves we thought we would share the stories, reports and announcements that we find most fascinating each week.

This week the World Health Organisation uses TikTok to combat misinformation about coronavirus, how influencer marketing could save the high street and the social network where everyone is an influencer. Carrying on reading to find out more…

Could influencer marketing save the high street?

It’s well known that the rise of influencer marketing has helped online brands to establish themselves and even grow loyal social media followings of their own, but could the same success be found for our struggling high street shops? Lois Bellamy, Sales Manager at Influencer, suggests four ways the high street could use influencers to boost their sales.

TikTok creators tell people to stop using the app

Before you think some kind of rebellion is afoot, this is actually a campaign run by TikTok via their @TikTokTips account. Determined not to make the same mistakes as platforms such as YouTube, the app is putting users’ health and wellbeing at the centre of this campaign and encouraging people to take breaks from the constant stream of videos that can be hard to resist.

Bespoke matchmaking is key to influencer campaign success

Whalar shared the results, and some of the content created, from their year-long 2019 Boots campaign with an emphasis placed on selecting the right creators for each element of the campaign. Influencer marketing is no longer about product endorsements, it’s about the story each brand wants to tell, with the most successful campaigns championing diversity and allowing creators to be authentic.

World Health Organisation joins TikTok to combat misinformation about coronavirus

It’s been dominating our newsfeeds this week, and the panic about coronavirus isn’t likely to slow anytime soon. However, the World Health Organisation are making an effort to combat some of the misinformation by jumping on TikTok. They’re using the app to provide public health advice on how to protect against the virus and whether or not masks are effective.

The social network where everyone’s an influencer

Say hello to Botnet, a platform populated entirely by adoring bots to mimic the positive aspects of being a celebrity. Sounds crazy, right? Arielle Pardes gave it a go for herself and reported back on some of the weird and wonderful features available (including the option to turn on ‘troll bots’…)

“The adoration was immediate, and powerful; several bots, each with its own algorithmically generated username, wrote, ‘I love you Arielle.’ Other comments eluded my understanding. ‘I’m going to be so sad when she gets in the shower’.” Read the full story on Wired.

Want to connect with some of the UK’s best influencers and learn more about how to make your mark on social media? Find out how you can showcase at BorderlessLive 2020

Meet our speakers: Tommie Eaton, @BambuuBrush co-founder

Meet our speakers: Tommie Eaton, @BambuuBrush co-founder

Tommie created the concept for @BambuuBrush with his partner Rebecca after travelling for seven years around the globe and seeing the devastating effects plastic pollution has on our oceans, environment and ourselves as humans. With six billion people brushing their teeth every morning and night with a plastic toothbrush, @BambuuBrush believe that we can all change the world in a positive way by making simple changes away from plastic and working together to educate and inspire others.

Why did you decide to co-found @BambuuBrush?

After living and working abroad for a combined total of 14 years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of plastic pollution destroying our beautiful world and having detrimental impacts on the health and wellbeing of people in developing countries. We had already built up our own social media following through travel and wanted to use the power of social media in a positive way to educate and inspire people with what we have witnessed.

How can social media be used to influence positive change?

Education is key – we have been lucky/unlucky enough see the impact plastic pollution is having on our planet. We’ve recorded personal drone footage of turtles biting into plastic bags, children living in what can only be described as landfills and a child who has recurring nosebleeds that the parents and locals can only link to the burning of plastic in the area due to not having waste management facilities. Social media gives you a platform where you can share your experiences, there are lots of negatives around it but it is such a powerfully positive tool if used in the correct way.

What role can influencers play in encouraging sustainability?

Firstly, educating themselves on environmental issues (especially around travel). We all know that travel is not great for the environment but instead of shying away from the negatives, let’s address them and educate ourselves on what we can do and then use the power of social media to inspire others to implement positive actions.

How does @BambuuBrush use social media to promote the brand (and your ethics)?

@BambuuBrush launched in Feb 2019 with our #1millionby2020 campaign which used the power of social media in a positive way to educate and inspire 1 million people to swap from a plastic toothbrush to a @BambuuBrush before the turn of the new decade. We hit that within eight months of launching and to date we have sold 1.5million bamboo toothbrushes. We used social media to create a movement based around people sharing photos of them holding their @BambuuBrush. This helped to spread awareness on plastic pollution to the people who follow them and attracted more people back to our page.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a more sustainable lifestyle?

Educate yourself! Don’t try and go full “No-Flying, Vegan, Extinction Rebellion, Zero-Waste, Plastic-Free, All Natural” super eco-warrior all at once! Let’s start with simple changes, learn more about sustainability and then use your platforms on and offline to educate others on making those changes! Also we should try and make eco cool, we have such a great opportunity right now to use social media in a positive way and make it trendy, so let’s do it.

What are you most looking forward to at BorderlessLive?

To be completely honest, I get so excited to tell our story, so I am really looking forward to meeting everyone at the event and hopefully it will inspire more people to use social media positively and feel empowered that we can make a change to our planet if we all work as one.

Want to hear Tommie speak at BorderlessLive 2020? Make sure you get your ticket now so you don’t miss out!

Influencer weekly update – #2

Influencer weekly update – #2

Welcome to our weekly update on all things influencer marketing, social media and content creation. We like to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to influencer-related things, and instead of keeping all of our findings to ourselves we thought we would share the stories, reports and announcements that we find most fascinating each week.

This week Yorkshire Tea hit back at trolls, influencers put up paywalls and Instagram just keep on winning. Carrying on reading to find out more…

Gen Z and Insta-shopping

60% of US Gen Z shoppers use Instagram to discover new brands and products, making the platform essential for fashion/beauty brands looking to gain a cult following and loyal customers. In fact, new brands are more likely to see success from Insta-shopping than already established brands and the platform adds ease to the shopping process. Do you buy products you’ve discovered via Instagram? What would put you off purchasing from a brand via the platform?

Yorkshire Tea hit back at trolls

The Yorkshire Tea twitter account was attacked by trolls this week after a politician posed with a bag of their teabags. Their social media manager hit back at the comments made, urging people to remember that there are people behind brand social media accounts and that being trolled can be upsetting and overwhelming. After Caroline Flack’s tragic death a couple of weeks ago, does this incident prove that abuse on social media (sadly) isn’t going anywhere?

Are influencer ‘paywalls’ a good thing?

Established influencers are putting up their own versions of paywalls so they can charge their fans for exclusive content. While this may seem like bad news for the brands they previously relied on for an income, if they’re successful it does allow creators to focus on delivering high quality content. This means they can place more value on what their audience wants and enjoys, rather than on what pays the bills.

“What I do provides value and I should be compensated for that service, just like anyone else” – Caroline Calloway

Instagram will keep on winning with creators

From a unified aesthetic experience to the ability to really get to know creators via their video content, Instagram is still king when it comes to social media platforms. 40% of millennials say that their favourite content creators understand them better than their friends, which explains why the platform is still so heavily used (despite dropping engagement rates). Ben Jeffries shares more of his thoughts on why Instagram still reigns supreme in this post on The Drum.

Are you a LinkedIn influencer?

LinkedIn is no longer just about job vacancies and promotions, have a scroll through your feed and you will probably find some inspiring videos, interesting deep dive articles and motivational updates from entrepreneurs. Want to make your mark on the platform? This article gives some helpful tips on how to build your audience and engagement on the app.

Want to connect with some of the UK’s best influencers and learn more about how to make your mark on social media? Find out how you can showcase at BorderlessLive 2020

Five reasons to jump on the TikTok bandwagon

Five reasons to jump on the TikTok bandwagon

TikTok has rapidly risen in popularity over the past year, in fact it’s the second most downloaded app in the Apple app store (source). But, how do you decide if the platform is for you and how to create regular content for it? Here’s a few reasons why we love the platform, how to create compelling content for it (and maybe even go viral)!

The content feels more authentic

If you miss the early days of Instagram, when everyone was posting grainy photos of their ice cream and hashtags *actually* worked for growing your following then you’re going to LOVE TikTok. The app is still fairly new and content really is king. From people filming dance challenges in their bedrooms to viral funny clips, the content on TikTok feels far less curated and ‘perfect’ than other social media platforms. This gives creators (like you!) a unique opportunity to get back to basics and share content that they truly love, with huge rewards if it ends up going viral. There’s general hashtags you can use (#ukvlog #ukbeauty #ukcomedy to name a few) to get your content seen, but also the opportunity to create your own hashtags alongside them to build an audience for your particular niche.

Challenges are easy to take part in

Challenges are probably the most fun aspect of TikTok. These can be found on the discover tab and tend to change weekly (although some stick around for longer if they’re really popular). Taking part in challenges (and using the relevant hashtags for them) is probably the best way to grow rapidly on the platform. There’s a lot of eyeballs on those hashtags, so if your content is on point (whether it’s inspiring, funny, informative or creative) you’re sure to find your account quickly gaining followers and before you know it you’ll have an engaged TikTok audience eager for your next video.

Niche content is rewarded

As mentioned above, TikTok content feels very authentic and real which leaves space for extremely niche content to gain popularity quickly (and even influence trends on the platform). From #FarmRushHour (yep, that’s farm animals being let out of their pens in the morning) to sped up cake decorating, to people impersonating their primary school teachers – you really can’t be too specific with your style of content. So if you have a niche interest, or a character you think would be a hit, this is the platform to trial it on.

Organic growth still exists!

We touched on this earlier, but it’s worth reiterating. Organic growth is alive and well on TikTok! While users on other platforms have seen their engagement rates dwindle and organic growth slow to almost a complete stop, TikTok users are racing full steam ahead. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a user to strike gold with their videos and gain thousands of followers within a matter of days. This is great for those of us fed up with investing time into high quality content that barely gets seen on other platforms. Stay consistent with your upload schedule, jump on trends and offer something unique and it’s likely your account will grow rapidly.

You can collaborate with other creators

This is something that a lot of other platforms don’t allow you to do (although YouTube did allow video responses many years ago). Having the option to respond to viral videos, and even take part in challenges set up by other creators, makes the platform really social and just generally fun to create content for. We suggest following some of the biggest creators on the platform (and featured creators) to find videos you can respond to.

Want to take your content to the next level? Buy your tickets NOW for BorderlessLive2020!

Influencer weekly update – #1

Influencer weekly update – #1

Welcome to a brand new feature on our blog – a weekly update on all things influencer marketing, social media and content creation. We like to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to influencer-related things, and instead of keeping all of our findings to ourselves we thought we would share the stories, reports and announcements that we found most fascinating each week.

This week YouTube turned 15, Instagrans (yep, grannies on Instagram) were in the spotlight and engagement rates (once again) plummeted. Carrying on reading to find out more…

YouTube turns 15

What started with a video of Karim at the San Diego zoo is now a massive video platform with 500 hours of footage uploaded every minute and 2 billion monthly users, can you believe the platform is only 15 years old? This Guardian article explores what happened to some of the platform’s early stars and how their relationship with the platform has evolved.

“I thought it would be easy, but I quickly learned it was a grind. You had to get your own content out, have your own ideas, develop your own personality.” – Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Brown

Are the updated ASA guidelines impractical?

The ASA and CMA seem to update their guidelines for paid and gifted influencer partnerships every few months, and with the most recent overhaul there are worries that it could make disclosing more complex relationships between influencers and brands difficult. 96% of people in the UK saying they do not trust influencers, so making sure guidelines are easy to follow (and clear to the audience) is crucial to the future success of the influencer industry.

The world needs Instagrans

When it comes to social media, most people mistakenly believe it’s a young person’s world. How wrong they are! From Baddie Winkle, to Suzi Grant to Sarah Jane Adams, Instagrans are taking over our favourite social media platform and breathing new life into the fashion industry. This BBC video dives into the impact social media can have on the older generation, helping them to develop cognitive skills and build social connections.

The Value of Contracted Influencer Marketing Campaigns in Travel

User generated content and recommendations from trusted influencers can be incredibly powerful for the travel industry, turning lesser known destinations into hotspots practically overnight. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Influencer have suggested that contracted influencer marketing campaigns should be used more frequently. Introducing a contract into travel campaigns gives brands more creative control, the ability to build long-term relationships, a guarantee of traffic being driven to their pages and the chance to work with higher quality creators.

Plummeting engagement rates on Instagram

Since the introduction of an algorithm to Instagram in 2016 a lot of users feel the reach of their posts has been dramatically reduced. As each algorithm update or new feature comes along, there’s a collective groan as engagement rates plummet. But it’s not all doom and gloom, in fact Ogilvy UK head of influence, Rahul Titus, believes the drop in engagement is a good thing as it discourages brands from relying on vanity metrics to determine the success of each campaign.

Want to connect with some of the UK’s best influencers and learn more about how to make your mark on social media? Find out how you can showcase at BorderlessLive 2020

Why influencer marketing is defining how brands communicate in 2020

Why influencer marketing is defining how brands communicate in 2020

As we begin a new decade, the world of influencer marketing is shifting (with high quality and emotive content taking centre stage). Fresh attitudes and a new breed of influencers are dictating the way people engage with brands. Customers are increasingly ignoring traditional advertising and instead placing more value in authentic, personal voices.

The numbers back this up. 60% of consumers see their peers as a credible source of information on products and services (source) and 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations (source).

Businesses are making $5.20 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing (source). It’s a popular channel that offers a strong return on investment, and gives brands a direct line to very specific niches.

Want to take your content to the next level? Buy your tickets NOW for BorderlessLive2020!

The rise of the influencer

Like any new channel, people are still working out the specifics. A few years ago brands would simply shower influencers with gifts and free trips and expect to see an immediate uplift in sales. Some products went viral. Some flopped. Working with influencers felt like a roll of the dice.

Fast-forward to today and the approach is more focused and increasingly sophisticated. Brands are hunting out the right partners; looking for genuine voices whose followers have a real connection to their stories. That might mean foodie photographers posting about ingredients you can only find in Liguria. Professional skiers raving about the slopes in a Swiss resort. Or plus-size travellers seeking out providers who cater to their exact needs for a tour in Bali.

BorderlessLive is a social media conference and show that’s all about forging these connections. Let’s look at some of the connection stories from last year’s show, and what we can learn from them.

Photography by Kaye Ford

The creator story

Kirsty Leanne (@kirstyleanneuk) is a travel blogger with a unique niche: she focuses on plus-size travellers. And the combination of this niche with the networking opportunities at BorderlessLive was a winning mix for her last year.

“I started out blogging about six years ago now. I originally blogged about travel and then specifically plus-size travel. It’s very, very niche.”

Kirsty’s journey shows an approach that bears consistent results: find your niche and really concentrate on it. There are plenty of influencers posting white sand beaches and instagrammable cocktails, but this non-specific imagery doesn’t tend to engage followers with more specific interests and needs.

Kirsty says that talking to this audience means they’re much closer to making a buying decision. Rather than thinking ‘I’d like a holiday,’ they’re thinking, ‘Where can I go with a hotel that gives me exactly what I want.’

This is something brands are starting to realise. Kirsty says, “If I pitch a plus-size idea, brands can’t always see why they need it: they often just want the pretty pictures, the ‘look at this beautiful place.’ But when I explain it, they see ‘Here are people with a genuine interest in plus-size travel – and they’re ready to book’.”

Staying specific and knowing her niche helped Kirsty make a success of BorderlessLive 2019. She told us, “At the show, I didn’t speak to many people at all. Everyone was going to every stand, talking to everyone. Instead, I had a list of people who I knew I wanted to talk to. I spoke to three people altogether, and one of them was someone I already work with.”

From that focused planning, she arranged a collaboration to run a specific plus-size trip with her followers. Working with G Adventures, she’s checked that every single aspect of the trip is plus-size friendly – from transport and accommodation to destinations and locations. And the online buzz is already starting among her followers.

Photography by Kaye Ford

The brand story

Just a Drop exhibited at BorderlessLive last year. The charity has worked in 32 different countries to help communities get access to safer, cleaner water and better hygiene and sanitation – and social channels are essential to that effort.

Alice Mellar, partnership manager for the charity, told us about how a visit to BorderlessLive helped them reach more people. “Before BorderlessLive we’d never really worked with influencers. We weren’t entirely sure what we’d signed up to with the show, but we thought they were a good fit for our charity. We wanted to increase our reach, and that meant finding people in the travel space who had a lot of followers, and who could put our campaigns out and share our solutions in a relatable way.”

The show was hectic, but they started to make contact with influencers whose followers were interested in what the charity was doing.

The clearest example is Michael Gerber (@mcsgerber). With 190,000+ global travel-loving Instagram followers, the team at Just a Drop were really interested in collaborating with the Swiss vlogger. Together they created a video about the charity’s work, which engaged people they would never have reached otherwise.

“With Michael, it was a real opportunity to connect with a new audience,” said Alice. “His followers are people we would never reach normally. When we were talking about travel, we were talking about people in the travel industry – tour operators, destinations, that sort of area. Michael was talking to young people with an interest in travel. The sort of projects we support – like sand dams to store water for the dry season – are difficult to explain. Working with Michael made it simple to understand. It was a personal voice across things.”

With this success under their belt, Just a Drop are looking to build on it for the 2020 show. Alice says, “This year we’ll go in with more of an understanding of how we work with influencers and what we want from them. Our strategy is to build an influencer group and help people who are visiting our communities to showcase our work.”

Photography by Kaye Ford

The industry perspective

We spoke to Albertine Brandon, who gave a talk and hosted a panel on behalf of Blogosphere at BorderlessLive 2019. She explained the crucial role physical events can play in connecting brands and influencers, and providing inspiration for content:

“You get insight from people who’ve been in the industry for quite a while and have really seen it grow,” she told us. “You’re being taught about how to take your content to the next level, or make sure it’s nominated for an award.”

As well as the opportunity to learn, she says the networking opportunities are unmissable. “My advice? Go to the talks and the panels. One hundred percent. It’s your chance not just to hear from the experts in the industry, but also to talk to them afterwards. You can ask them your burning questions directly.”

“Everything in our world is online, and when you’re working alone you don’t always get the chance to meet people. At BorderlessLive, you can be there and build those connections with people who are influential within the industry.”

Influencers are only one half of the equation, though. Albertine also says the show can be a game-changer for brands.

“For brands, it’s about finding the right people to work with,” she says. “Everyone wants to travel, so there’s this feeling that influencers are just looking for a free holiday. As a brand, you’re worried you might say yes and all you get is a zero-return Instagram story.”

“But when you partner with the right people your destination or hotel can go viral. Look at Santorini. Marrakesh. Bali. Some people can go and then post, then everyone wants to go. BorderlessLive gives you the chance to meet the right influencers, to talk to them about how they work and what their aesthetic is. It’s so much better than just googling ‘top UK travel bloggers’.”

Photography by Kaye Ford

Making your connection

BorderlessLive is all about making the right connections between brands and influencers – and helping both improve their social engagement.

The influencer marketing conference and show brings together a broad-ranging mix of brands – from travel to food, and from lifestyle to fashion. They’re looking for collaborations that hit their specific audience niches, and this is the perfect context for influencers to pitch to them. Rather than sending an email into the abyss, the atmosphere encourages face-to-face conversations.

BorderlessLive has an in-depth programme for influencers, experts and brands to share their expertise. How do you measure engagement? Which channels are your customers using? What sort of content builds awareness, and what drives sales? Industry experts can help brands answer these questions and many more.

And of course, the show offers many different networking opportunities: on the show floor, in workshops and Q&As, and during networking events. It’s a chance to build connections for both brands and influencers.

It can only be a good thing that real, meaningful human connections are finally setting the agenda for marketing. Borderless Live is here to celebrate the moment — and the future. We hope you’ll join us for Borderless Live in London on 11-12 September 2020 and be part of marketing’s incredible new journey.

Want to join us at BorderlessLive2020? You can save up to 50% off tickets if you book today!

How can we use Social Media as a Force for Good?

How can we use Social Media as a Force for Good?

In recent years social media has started to have a positive impact on the feminist movement. Modern day feminism is far from the outdated stereotype of a man-hating crusade, but instead a global drive for gender equality and advocacy of women’s rights. Whilst women are still seen to be underrepresented in traditional media, the rise of social media has encouraged women from all backgrounds to speak up and to be heard.


With many celebrities and digital influencers publicly embracing what it is to be a feminist, online movements are gaining greater momentum. From raising awareness of sexual harassment with the #MeToo hashtag, highlighting the reality of sexist experiences in the #everydaysexism project, to providing women with confidence through promoting body positivity. Social media is progressively being used as a force for good in the new feminist age.


And yet, despite this idea of community and empowerment across social media, we are still under pressure to conform to unrealistic ideals. Platforms remain plagued by individuals tearing one another down. Celebrities are trolled on a daily basis, some receiving death threats. Body positive models are criticized for promoting obesity, whilst runway models are slated for being too thin. We are quick to ‘like’ a complete stranger’s over-edited photo but scroll straight past a post from one of our peers. Whilst social comparison is at an all-time high, we must ask ourselves – what can we do to minimize the negative impacts that come with living in the digital age? And how can we ensure we are using social media in a positive way?


Start following accounts that focus on building each other up rather than bringing our confidence down. Get involved with influencer’s who provide an online community amongst their followers. Be more open to complimenting friends with uplifting comments. Actively share, post and engage with educational and empowering content to help create awareness of key global issues. And each time you visit social media, remember you have the ability to be that person who uses it as a force for good.