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February 4, 2018 Women in Digital

By Ashton Rigg

If ‘influencers’ was the marketing buzzword of 2017, ‘micro influencers’ is the next big thing.

The platform? Instagram, usually. The content? Less polished, more organic. And if you’re thinking you need to shill out thousands of dollars to work with influencers, think again! But first…

What exactly is a ‘micro influencer’?

Let’s break it down: a social media influencer is someone who shares their personal style, taste, opinions, or recommendations to an audience that follows their profile.

They’re storytellers. Sharers. Their audience relates to them, trusts them and eagerly interacts with them.

56% of respondents are more likely to purchase products after they’ve seen them featured in a relatable or positive photo from other customers (Olapic)

While there’s no magic number that makes you a ‘micro’ influencer, a social following of 3,000 to 10,000 is a good ballpark to play in.

If you think this kind of following is smallfry, you’re probably associating the ‘influencer’ label with the likes of Itsines, Hembrow, or Morello.

If this kind of captive audience seems lofty, this may be your first foray into the world of influencer marketing. You’re in for a wild ride.

Quality vs Quantity

So, you’re the tribute tasked with bringing an influencer campaign into the marketing mix. Congratulations! Be prepared to hear something like:

“We should work with {insert influencer name here} because they have a million followers.”

A million followers must mean a million people seeing our brand, which means more sales, right?

Unlikely. Less is more when it comes to smart influencer marketing. Not to mention micro influencers cost a fraction of the cost to work with!

When bigger isn’t better

Influencer A has 500,000 followers

Influencer B has 50,000 followers

Influencer C has 5,000 followers

How do you choose who to work with? It’s time to do a little digging.

You’re going to look at three things: their followers, the engagement on their posts (likes and comments), and what people are actually saying in the comments.

82% of consumers are ‘highly likely’ to follow a recommendation made by a micro–influencers (Experticity)

A bigger following usually means a broader following. Take a look at who’s following the account: Where are they? Are they ‘real’ accounts? Are they mostly male or female?

If your target market is women aged 25-45 in Brisbane with kids, the locally based ‘mummy blogger’ with 5,000 followers is likely to have a greater influence than the Sydney beauty account with 50,000 followers.

It’s all about engagement

Engagement should be the number one metric you use to measure the success of your influencer marketing activity.

What do we mean when we say engagement? It’s the amount of interaction on a post divided by the audience size (the influencer’s following).

To keep it simple, let’s say a ‘like’ is worth 1 and a comment is worth 3. If a post has 200 likes and 30 comments, that’s 312. The influencer we’re looking at has 5,000 followers:

312 / 5000 x 100 = 6.24%

Again, there’s no magic number to determine a ‘good’ engagement percentage. Generally speaking, 2-3% is a decent engagement, 4-5% is good, and anything in excess of 10% is great.

Finally, take a gander at past sponsored or partner content the influencer has posted. What are their followers saying? Are they interested in the product?

Above all else, you want to work with influencers who make an effort to create authentic content that is in line with their personal aesthetic, giving their honest ‘thumbs up’ about your brand to their audience.

Find these influencers, and you’ve uncovered the true value of influencer marketing.

Ashton is a digital marketer and content specialist based in sunny Brisbane. She gets her kicks developing content strategies, measuring social media ROI and ensuring every communication touchpoint is ‘on brand’. As a classically trained journalist, Ashton harnessed the power of words to segue into marketing and has never looked back, She is currently the Social Media and Content Manager at Youfoodz. Find her here, there and everywhere at @ashtonrigg. 


January 28, 2018 Women in Digital

By Sejal Jamnadas

You don’t suddenly have a mentor by asking someone to be your mentor. You don’t have a mentor by setting up monthly phone calls or writing timelines and goals. It’s also not enough to just latch onto one mentor to cry about all your woes and dreams. Artificial, formal mentoring relationships are like trying to squeeze the last drops of honey from a bottle, watching it drip down till it forms a small puddle near the mouth, but never actually making its way out to be useful.

A truly valuable mentoring relationship between the student and the mentor should be natural, like free-flowing honey from a bottle. Some of the best career advice I ever got was never from a formal mentor that I caught up with regularlyrather it was from one-off interactions in the office kitchen, on the way down the elevator, on the train or at office drinks. They’re one of those rare interactions where neither the student or mentor agree on any commitment, but share a degree of vulnerability and honesty which is mutually beneficial.

And every mentor will be differentdifferent to each other and definitely different to you. One senior executive at my organisation told me to “specialise” in a field, one told me to “just have fun”, another told me to “try different areas of the business”, and another suggested I “blog at least once a week”. The thing is, every professional will have a different story and a different level of vested interest in youbut regardless, you have the ability to take all their life experiences and make ‘informed’ decisions based on their advice and your own morals.

So how do you develop such enriching personal and professional relationships?

  1. Be honest and openshow your personality.
  2. If you’re genuinely curious, ask questions.
  3. Don’t have a pre-defined ‘mentor’ criteriayou’ll find mentors in people you’d least expect.
  4. Touch base in a couple of months.
  5. Don’t try too hard (please).

Also, a weird trick; but map all your ‘mentors’ on a page and cluster by where you met them, in what context and the area they pursue their work. Stick it on your wall as a reminder to call upon these mentors if you’re stuck on a particular issue or want to share a piece of work.

On another note, sometimes you’ll meet inspiring mentors that you might never see again and you will never be able to thank them. That is okay. Remember what they said, record it, and apply it. When the time is right, you’ll have the chance to pay it forward many more times.


January 19, 2018 Women in Digital

By Jeannine Meyer

If you are currently active in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) or have a hankering to explore and understand the depths of machine learning, then you have most probably heard of recent PhD graduate and co-founder of Brisbane’s own AI meetup, Natalie Rens. What is even more intriguing is how this South African born ballet dancer turned neuroscience extraordinaire came to be one of Australia’s most up and coming AI experts.

Upon entering university life, Natalie first saw herself as an adventurer who would take a trip to the Amazon, discover unknown exotic plants and ultimately create brand new pharmaceuticals out of them. As fate would have it, her travel log and academic journey would deviate from where it originally began upon the completion of her undergraduate in biomedical science in England. Natalie continued her studies by undertaking a Masters in neuroscience in Portugal and France, which then led her over to Australia where she continued to pursue her interest in neuroscience and thus began her PhD at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

So, how does one write and submit a thesis in which they combine the works of both neuroimaging with machine learning? Natalie explains that she was first introduced to machine learning through one of the new techniques that had come out in neuroscience called “multi-voxel pattern analysis” (a tool Natalie used throughout her own research) which is presented in the context of “brain reading” programs that showcase how certain mental states can be picked out and translated. Natalie’s first study was created within virtual environments that revealed where in our brain the information for upcoming complex decisions was actually stored – similar to how Alice in Wonderland is required to find the right lock that fits the tiny golden key! Her study (just published – showed widespread brain activity when individuals prepared to make their own choices, the opposite to when being told to follow instructions – (Bear with me I was just as astounded!).

Throughout Natalie’s next studies, she states she went more philosophical, saying she looked at whether you could decode whether somebody had another option available to them or not – with the idea, that if we navigate flexibly in our environment then we would store all the options available to us. Natalie found that she could decode whether an individual making a decision had alternative options available, but also, somewhat controversially, that the strength of this decoding correlated to how free they said they felt when making their decision.

After gaining some insight into Natalie’s studies, I wanted to immerse myself completely into her story. I personally find AI to be quite a specific yet complex area, and so I was curious as to what led Natalie here. She claims that while you are in academia you are in a bubble of theoretical knowledge of science, however one day she heard that a cohort from San Diego were visiting UQ and were talking about the future of emerging technologies, including AI. It was then that Natalie discovered how significant the impact would be as she came across a powerful discussion amongst the panel surrounding AI and how important it was for companies and society alike to be aware of the engineering and increase in computers that attempt to appear more human and thus, replicate human intelligence. Her fascination led her to Silicon Valley in 2016 where she became passionate about the idea that people needed to have an understanding about AI in order to not fall behind but to also be able to utilise it. As Natalie says, “it allows you to do everything, better”.

I wondered what the defining characteristics of the Australian AI market are and are there any top courses that a novice, someone like myself, could go to learn more about AI? Sadly, Natalie tells me, that in terms of AI courses here in Brisbane, it does not look too promising at the moment and that it is actually quite a problem as there are currently no tertiary institutions in Queensland that promote specialised AI programs, however Natalie recently spoke to some of the universities here who are looking at introducing programs in the near future. With the help of the established AI community, Natalie says they recently finished running the first Brisbane AI deep learning project course. In addition to developing their own projects, participants followed an online course from Fast.AI, a research institute dedicated to making deep learning more accessible, which is run by its democratic AI founders Australian data scientist Jeremy Howard and American academic Rachel Thomas. The 8-week project course just concluded, however she intends on expanding this into a series of courses this year, encouraging people to come along and learn.

Natalie explains that Australia is slightly disadvantaged in the way that “we don’t have the numbers that other countries do”. She goes on to say that, we do not have federal policy yet on AI development and technology start-ups here also struggle to find investment, in comparison to bigger hubs such as Silicon Valley. However, she says, “We can actually grow a good independent scene without having to necessarily face all the competition that they do”. She believes we have an advantage, especially in Queensland, which is home to a strong health community that boasts some of the best health research such as biofabrication research, robotics for healthcare and bionics research companies. With a confident tone, Natalie says Australia has the opportunity to just grow and start a niche start-up AI scene here – and that is exactly what Natalie has done by successfully establishing the first-ever Brisbane AI meetup.

The Brisbane AI meetup was created post attending a conference in California two years ago where Natalie asked the question, “There is this concern about the fact that if only technology companies really know what is going on and they are the only ones utilising this technology, what are we going to do?” Upon her return, Natalie attended a Brisbane robotics meetup where she spoke to Juxi, who would become future co-founder, about the idea of having a place where people could come together to learn about AI. The idea grew rapidly – to the point where they had 150 people attend their first ever meetup. The representation of females, however, within the Brisbane AI community is small, reflecting global numbers that stand at 13% – a percentage that Natalie hopes will increase as word gets out, as there is a huge demand for women in this area.

Natalie expresses that she knows there are many women out there in this environment and should you want to be involved in the community then simply reach out to Natalie or to anyone else in this space! “We are all there to support one another”. Natalie says she hopes to host another “Woman’s cocktail hour” before the next Brisbane AI meetup so that she can get more women together and form a consistent, ever-growing group of female AI leaders!

You can visit/contact Natalie Rens at the Brisbane AI website or sign up and head along to the next meetup –