Influencer engagement trumps reach:
The representatives from Moet & Chandon and trendy luggage brand Away both spoke about how they use influencers to help tell their brand story vs. “just selling luggage.” They look for content creators who share their brand ethos, can help build a lifestyle story and have strong engagement. When identifying influencers to partner with, they look at their social media engagement (are their followers fanatic about what they have to say?) as well as their saturation (are they sharing branded content too often?). Are they working with other brands that align with yours? An influencer on the same panel also said when she begins conversations with potential brand partners, she always asks them “Why do you want to work with me?” and stresses brands should come up with a better answer than “because you have 1 million followers.”
Creative ways to work with influencer partners:
Throughout the two-day conference, influencers and brands shared several ways they’ve partnered that were more creative than a standard agreement to post once or twice on Instagram. Some examples include:
Consider “owned” platforms:
- Moet & Chandon worked with Jamie Chung for the 75th annual Golden Globes to create the official cocktail for the ceremony and then pitched that recipe to media.
- Away entered the European market with pop-ups in select cities and collaborated with local style experts, who were also in-store frequently to entice shoppers.
- Away also recently launched its first Times Square billboard with exclusively user- and influencer-generated content. It then invited the influencers who were featured on a trip to NYC to see the billboard and create additional travel-related content for the brand.
- Influencers themselves noted they are more regularly banding together to go on trips or do photo shoots as a group, increasing the likelihood for brand partnerships. For example, MomTrends took a group of parenting influencers to a resort in Tulum and featured a swimsuit brand in all of its beach content. The swimsuit brand didn’t sponsor the trip but as a result, did begin working in a paid relationship with two of the influencers.
An influencer humorously asked the audience if we remembered Tila Tequila. She said Tila became a huge sensation on MySpace, but then became rather obsolete when the MySpace platform did. All to say, keep the platforms that you own strong – your blog, your email newsletter. Instagram may be hot right now, but who knows what could happen. And, in the end, those are just channels where you “share” content vs. “own” it. Furthermore, brands should focus more on asking for their partnership content to be created and shared on the influencer’s owned channels.
Facebook monetization updates:
There are new Facebook products available and in the works that support influencer marketing. Of course, there’s the branded content tool that allows influencers to share and disclose their collaborations. There’s also the Brand Collabs Manager
, which is a way for brands and creators to connect. Currently being tested in the United States, the tool allows content creators to showcase their work (can apply if you have 20,000 followers or more) and for advertisers to search for and discover influencers based on their content, data and demographics. Facebook is also testing ad revenue products for content creators. First, an ad revenue-sharing feature is in the works – allowing creators to include a brand’s ad spot within their own video and Facebook will share the revenue with the creator when someone watches the ad. For now, they believe longer videos will be able to be monetized (three minutes or longer). Secondly, they mentioned a fan subscription model where, for a fee such as $4.99, fans can sign up to receive exclusive content from influencers.
Lucy Arnold is a Digital Director in the New York office focused on influencer marketing and social media strategy.