HelloSociety Blog

Influencer-Powered Social Media Marketing

Tori Stark

October 25, 2016


HS-Logo-WhitepngThe holiday season is just around the corner, and it promises to be one of the biggest shopping seasons yet. According to PwC, spending is going up 10% this year, and both mobile and digital sales will be up about 25%. With more and more stores breaking tradition and closing on Thanksgiving this year, retailers and commerce companies are looking to digital to find holiday shoppers.

As brands ramp up advertising dollars for record-breaking holiday spending, HelloSociety wanted to take a look at how influencer engagement changes over the holidays and see which kind of influencers generate the most engagement.



We queried our database of proprietary campaign data to collect average likes, comments, mentions, tags and latest follower count for each Instagram influencer in a pool of approximately 300 HelloSociety Instagram users. The sum of likes, comments, mentions and tags (i.e. engagement) was then divided by followers to calculate engagement rates. Engagement rates were then averaged across different follower-size silos.

For this study, we defined the holiday season as November 1 through December 31. The rest of the year is defined as January 1 through October 31. Holiday data was taken in 2015 and non-holiday data was collected in 2016.


We found engagement with Instagram influencers increases during the holidays. During the non-holiday period, we saw an average engagement rate of 3.8%, which amplifies to 4.3% during the holiday time. This is of critical value for brands that are interested in boosting their presence among highly-engaged, and focused audiences during this specific time of year.

Most assume that an influencer with a bigger audience equals greater engagement with brands. When we explored the data, what we found was surprising: influencers with smaller followings created the most engagement. Influencers with 35k-500k followers generate between 2.3 and 2.5% engagement. When you look at influencers with more than 500,000 followers, that engagement drops to just 1.6% or less. The full findings are in the chart below:

graphs editable



HelloSociety campaigns stand out in the coveted 35K to 500K followers segment. This is a sweet spot for the industry because it brings in both a high number of impressions and a strong, well-engaged audience. Additionally, these influencers maintain high levels of interaction through likes, views, shares and conversations within the comments section to keep brand-to-consumer dialogue flowing.

With overall engagement set to spike during the holidays, now is the time for brands to consider investing in influencer marketing. Brands can benefit from working with influencers in these smaller audience-size ranges, because evidence shows that overall engagement during this time is higher.

Posted In - Influencer Marketing

, , , , , ,

Tori Stark

September 28, 2016


This month, our HelloStudio experts weighed in on their favorite ways to successfully edit and post exclusively on the iPhone. As blogging and Influencer marketing pick up steam as mainstream advertising avenues, more campaigns are being shot and styled on iPhone, and we spent the last month going through your questions about how to optimize that process. Below you’ll find all the details on the best lighting, apps, and accessories to make your iPhone pictures stand out.

Q: Are there any apps that are worth the money for editing and manipulating photos?

There are an overwhelming amount of photo apps for iPhone, and we totally understand being hesitant to lay down the fee and not get the features and tools you’re looking for. Here are some of our favorite photoshopping apps, along with the standout features on each one:

ColorStory: Buy the unlimited filter pack! These filters are all beautiful and fully adjustable. This is probably the best filter package on the market.

Facetune: This one has an amazing exposure tool to make your photos brighter and crisper.

Afterlight: Use this app when you need a great saturation tool that makes pictures more colorful and vibrant.

If you don’t want to buy a separate filter app, you can get a similar result using the Instagram app. Simply put your phone on airplane mode, edit the photo with the built in filters and adjustments, and hit post. The photo won’t be shared with your followers, but will be saved to your camera roll with your chosen adjustments. You can then repeat the process with the new version to layer different filters, exposure levels, etc.

Q: My pictures often come out with shadows that take away from the focal point of the image. Any tips on avoiding shadows and other lighting mistakes?

The worst lighting, and the hardest time to avoid harsh shadows, is 12 PM. We recommend avoiding shooting around noon if possible! If you absolutely must, be sure to step into a shaded area to soften or avoid shadows altogether.

You’ll find even, soft light around sunrise and for the few hours after. Another excellent shooting time, referred to as the ‘Golden Glow’, is from 3-6 PM. No matter what time you’re shooting, we recommend never using flash, as the iPhone flash is not high enough quality yet to affect the image in the way you want.

Q: Any insider tips for someone just starting out shooting on iPhone?

Experiment, experiment, experiment. One of the greatest advantages of digital photography over print is that you can save multiple versions of the same photo. If you’re taking images for a brand partnership, you can even send several versions and see which one they like, or which fits best with your aesthetic.

To submit questions for the next installment of HelloStudio Tips, send your questions to tori@hellosociety.com!

Posted In - Social Media Tips

, , , , , ,

Tori Stark

September 1, 2016


007_130724_Jillian_05_webJillian Tobher Leslie is the founder of Catch My Party, the web’s most popular party idea source. Her and her husband have successfully built a fun side project into a full-time business, and now share user-submitted photos and in-house party content with more than 600,000 followers on Pinterest and 94,000 on Instagram. Check out more of Jillian’s work here!

We took some time to chat with Jillian about the recent release of Instagram’s Stories feature, her strategy when it comes to managing more and more platforms, and how she got started as a full-time blogger. Check out what she had to say below!

For those who are just being introduced to you, can you share a little bit about yourself?

I founded Catch My Party in 2009 with my husband. We started it as a side project. I was a writer in Hollywood, and my husband was working at MySpace and we just came up with this idea and thought, “We’ll build this up on the side.” So we did it! We actually did it! And then at a certain point we said, “Hey, we think this could be a business. We could leave our jobs and do this full time.” And so we did, and so far we’ve made it work! We are based in Palo Alto, CA. We moved up here to be closer to technology culture.

Catch My Party is the largest party ideas site on the web. We have user generated content where people upload photos of their parties, and we also blog about party trends, party ideas, party recipes, and crafts. We give away collections of free printables to decorate your party, and there are over 50k parties that people have added to our site to show off.

With so many new social sharing platforms popping up these days, how do you stay on top of all the best ways to connect with your audience?

The biggest thing that we think about is, where is our audience already? Our audience is mainly women, 98%, typically 25-35 years old, and a lot of those women are moms. So what we try to think about is where those women are, and it’s really in 3 places. They are on Pinterest trying to get party ideas, and so we are on Pinterest. We have a big following because we really focused on growing it. They are on Instagram because they like looking at beautiful things, so we are on Instagram. And they are on Facebook, also, so we are on Facebook. We’re on everything- Twitter, Google+, Snapchat- but in terms of where we are focused, that’s really where we focus and we are intentional about the content we share.

We are also exploring Snapchat and trying to create a presence on Snapchat. The tricky thing about Snapchat is that our users are a little bit older than the typical user. However we believe Snapchat will also mature, and we want to be sure to stake out a presence there.

How do you see yourself using IG Stories and Snapchat for Catch My Party? Will you be using both, or do you prefer one over the other? Why?

I prefer Instagram Stories right now, for a few reasons. We have 90k followers on Instagram so we have an instant audience. If I want to reach people, it’s much easier to do there than Snapchat. Also, there is discoverability on Instagram. So you can search for people, they highlight people to follow, and it’s a lot easier to get your content to trickle out. On Snapchat, the way that the user interface is set up, it’s much harder to follow people. They either have to find our snapcode or type in our name, so it’s trickier to get followers onto the platform who aren’t already there. I believe that will change, and Snapchat will recognize that and integrate that functionality. But if I were trying to reach people today, it would be on Instagram Stories.

What’s your favorite kind of content to share on IG Stories? What kind of content keeps your audience most engaged?

It’s still very new, so I’m experimenting. And I recommend that everyone experiment, because everyone’s audiences are so different. What I find is that my audience is really busy moms. So yesterday I shared a really quick story about my daughter’s first day of fourth grade. But the truth of the matter is, people don’t care that much about that. What I try to share are things that I find in the world that I think are cool. Because if  think it’s cool maybe you’ll think it’s cool. I’m always thinking in terms of how can I provide value and not just make it a platform all about me.

How does your strategic approach when it comes to posting an image on IG differ from other platforms? What about a video?

I feel like Instagram now is two apps in one, and it doesn’t quite feel seamless. They’re very different experiences. Sharing beautiful photos in your stream and then a spur of the moment story. So when I go to Instagram now I’m of two minds – stream or story?

Every day I share 2-3 parties that have been added to Catch My Party to our Instagram feed, because I can tag [the person who submitted] and give a little bit of attention to them, and they can possibly grow their followings because I featured them and I can thank them for adding it to our site. So that’s how I think about our stream. If I make something beautiful for HelloSociety,  I will also put that on my IG feed. Really I think about our Instagram feed as showing off beautiful things.

Stories are much more casual. Again, I try not to make me the focus. I try to be a curator of interesting things. We’ll also show off that I posted a new blog post. I’ll put in my story saying “Hey guys, check out the Alice in Wonderland cake photo roundup that I just shared”, and I’ll put the link to my blog in the caption.

Do you have any advice when it comes to standing out in an ever-growing community of bloggers and Influencers?

I think it’s really important to understand what your brand is, and to really stick to it. Some advice I always gave people on Instagram before Stories was if you’re a food blogger that does desserts, I want to see photos of your desserts. I don’t want to see photos of your kids at the pool. Even though you have lovely children and a cool looking pool, I follow you because you make delicious desserts. So it’s really understanding the kind of value you’re putting out into the world, and going deep into that. It doesn’t mean that over time you can’t expand, like if you do desserts and want to do cocktails now too. But being a niche player is a better strategy than trying to do everything. Do everything intentionally and beautifully, and buy a DSLR camera and learn how to use it.

Posted In - Uncategorized

Emily Carrick

August 19, 2016


I have no idea how this happened: suddenly, it’s the end of August. Sadly, today is my last day as an intern here at HelloSociety, but instead of crying myself to sleep at the thought of saying goodbye, I’m writing this final blog post. Buying back-to-school gear is the only way to console myself about summertime ending. Whether you’re starting high school, entering your final year of college (like me!), or just looking for some September nostalgia, these five back-to-school essentials will make the transition smooth, fun, and easy.



Posted In - Top 5 social examples of the week

, , , , ,

Emily Carrick

August 12, 2016


S’mores are the perfect summer dessert—gooey, chocolatey, melt-in-your-mouth, and ideal for lazy summery nights outside. Biting into a burnt-black marshmallow never fails to remind me of my childhood growing up on the beach. But even if you’re not at a bonfire, s’mores are a delicious option for a sweet treat. With a few weeks left in summertime, it’s exactly the right time to try these recipes. Read on for 5 yummy twists on s’mores!



Posted In - Top 5 social examples of the week

, , , , ,

Jenna Handweiler

August 11, 2016


Laptop and coffee cup in girl’s hands sitting on a wooden floor

This month’s installment of HelloStudio Tips is about building relationships with brands. We’re covering everything from strategies that will help you land your dream collaboration, to the art of saying “no” without burning bridges. Read along as we answer your questions below and provide tips on navigating the tricky business of working with brands.

Q: I’ve been fortunate enough to partner with a lot of great brands, but there are still quite a few brands I’d like to work with that I can’t seem to secure. Do you have any advice for landing your dream collaboration?

A: One of the most effective ways to secure a collaboration is by getting the brand’s attention.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

· Demonstrate your loyalty – Brands want to work with Influencers who already use and feature their products, so consistency and loyalty goes a long way. It’s important to be mindful not to feature any brands or companies that might be direct competitors of the brand you’re hoping to work with.

· Connect via social media – Social media is one of the most effective ways to get on a brand’s radar. By consistently engaging with a brand and tagging their products, the brand is more likely to take note of you and your interest in them. Not only can this lead to a potential repost, but it can aid in building an organic relationship for future collaborations.

· Nurture your relationship and be patient – Building a relationship takes time, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t land a collaboration from the get-go. Taking a genuine interest in the brand over time builds trust and shows that you value the relationship, as opposed to a one-time business transaction.

· Communicate professionally – Whether the brand is approaching you or you’re proactively pitching to them, it’s important to communicate professionally. This means responding promptly, having a media kit that outlines your experience and brands you’ve previously worked with, blog and social stats, audience demographics, etc.

· Reach out to them – Create an offer they can’t refuse by establishing your value and the ways in which a collaboration will benefit them. Whether it’s providing them with content, driving exposure through your audience or helping to sell their product, highlight the ways in which they can benefit from you and your audience. If you’re struggling to find the right contact person, consider reaching out to the brand’s customer service department to connect you to the appropriate person.

· Produce high-quality content – Social media numbers and blog stats are important, but they aren’t everything. Compelling content is just as, if not more valuable. So even if your numbers aren’t where you want them to be, don’t get discouraged.

· Be flexible – If your dream collaboration comes your way, but the budget isn’t what you hoped it would be, being flexible with your rate and terms in the beginning can benefit you in the long run. Your willingness to negotiate and invest in the brand relationship can ultimately lead to more collaborations down the line.

Q: While I’m flattered to receive emails from brands and agencies that want to work with me, it can feel daunting to respond to all of them, especially when I’m not interested in the opportunity. Is there an effective way to say no without burning any bridges?

A: For many of us, learning to say no can be a challenge. We often say yes to things we’re not interested in for fear of being rude or letting others down. However, the problem with saying yes too willingly is that it often results in sacrificing our own needs and priorities.

As an influencer, you’ve probably found yourself in this very situation when being faced with an opportunity that just doesn’t suit you or your brand. Regardless of the reason, it’s still important to respond. Not only did this person take the time to reach out to you, but you never know if they might turn out to be a valuable contact for another opportunity down the line, so it’s important to maintain a good relationship with them.

A brief, polite response should do the trick. We suggest something like this:

Hi _____ ,

It’s so nice to hear from you, and thank you so much for reaching out!

Unfortunately I have to pass at this time due to _____ (timing, budget, not the right fit, etc.), but I really appreciate your consideration for this opportunity and hope we can collaborate in the future.

Thank you again, and best of luck with this campaign in the meantime!


To submit questions for the next installment of HelloStudio Tips, send your questions to tori@hellosociety.com!

Posted In - Social Media Tips

Emily Carrick

August 5, 2016


Summer is going by so quickly! With September just around the corner and school starting up again, plenty of people are moving into new houses. Whether your friends are getting their first Adult Apartments, moving in with significant others, or just changing addresses since their leases are up, housewarming gift ideas are always good to have in your back pocket. Read for five fun and easy DIY housewarming gifts!



Posted In - Top 5 Pinterest pins of the week, Top 5 social examples of the week

, , ,

Emily Carrick

July 29, 2016


I love women. All women. So let me assure you of the difficulty of narrowing down this list when I could make a top 100 list of every different shade of woman (Top 50 Latina Women Who Live in Venice and Like Braiding their Hair). Just know that there are a million other women that could be on this list.

Last night, I sat curled up on the couch watching Hillary Clinton’s historic DNC speech while my dad did the dishes in the kitchen. Women are doing amazing things all over the world. Feminism is alive and well and more complex than ever. Here are five incredible examples of inspiring women!



Posted In - Top 5 social examples of the week

, ,

Emily Carrick

July 22, 2016


I am a cat person. I grew up with (count ’em) nine different cats; it’s hard to escape that kind of immersion. However, in recent months, I have attempted to overcome my innate fear of dogs and prejudiced preference for cats. My endeavor to become a dog lover is mostly inspired by my dad’s new dog, Bailey, but it’s a universal phenomenon—I’ve started to embrace every dog I come across. (Shout out to HelloSociety’s own Stella, the most beautiful creature I have ever known.) Even my immediate physiological response to meeting dogs has changed recently: I see a dog and my instinct is to start cooing wildly. I try to tone it down for the sake of propriety.

In honor of the pure beauty of our canine friends, here are five adorable dog Vines. (Okay, and one extra. I couldn’t pick.)

1. Yamato

She’s so talented! Look at how great that jump is! She totally deserves that treat.


Posted In - Top 5 social examples of the week

, ,

Emily Carrick

July 15, 2016


I am not athletic. If you know me, this will not come as a surprise. However, I have recently started striving to present a semi-athletic aura to the outer world. Like, outdoorsy-chic. Like, I just bought $110 Chacos for the aesthetic. (I live in the South, okay.)

To help encourage this semi-athletic image, sometimes I go hiking. Key word: sometimes. And I always complain a lot. (I have low iron, all right, I get tired really easily.) For any other new hikers, here are five gorgeous, relatively easy LA hikes, as seen on Instagram.

1. Runyon Canyon

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 1.04.53 PM

Like any real LA native, I’ve never actually been to Runyon (also because I’m new to this athletic thing). But it’s definitely a location—purportedly great for celeb sightings, dog walks, and casual hikers. Views of the LA cityscape, Griffith Park, and the Hollywood Sign.

2. Will Rogers State Park

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 1.07.13 PM

I just went here with my friends and a tiny dog, and with a six-mile loop and great views of the Santa Monica coastline, it was beautiful and not very difficult. This locale features picnic tables near the parking lot and at the peak of the hike, Inspiration Point—so you can even have lunch if you think ahead.

3. Beachwood Canyon (Hollywood Sign)

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 1.04.20 PM

Shockingly, I have actually done this, when all of my friends and I said, Huh, we’ve lived in LA our entire lives and never even seen the Hollywood Sign. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a day it won’t be overcrowded with tourists, but it’s still worth trying once, especially if an out-of-town friend is visiting.

4. Point Dume

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 1.03.27 PM

I know it probably seems overhyped, but I genuinely love Malibu. I will find any excuse to drive on PCH. One great excuse is this beach hiking trail, which isn’t very long and provides breath-taking views of the Santa Monica Bay and Malibu coast. You literally feel like you’re on top of the ocean.

5. Eaton Canyon

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 1.15.05 PM

This four-mile hiking trail in Pasadena features a 40-foot waterfall. Need I say more?

Posted In - Top 5 social examples of the week

, ,