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Why & How To Use The Right Influencers For Your Brand

By: Alexandra Rabbitte

I was recently listening to a podcast on how the direct to consumer beauty brand Glossier had changed the beauty industry forever. Started by Emily Weiss in 2014, it grew to a $400 million dollar company without ever having a storefront. The short story is that Weiss started with a beauty blog called Into the Gloss (reaching 10 million visitors per month) which lead her to launch her beauty brand, Glossier. It's a classic influencer Cinderella story of how she used her platform to build a relationship with her audience, and how she used that audience to build a cult following in the beauty space.

The world of influencer marketing has a tendency to be met with hesitation around its legitimacy compared to traditional forms of paid media due to the lack of standardized regulation and the fear of fraud. Like any “new” media it’s all about educating yourself and demanding transparency from your partner’s (both publishers and influencers) so you can evaluate if it makes sense for your brand to enter the space and how you can do so in a way that will have traction and drive ROI.

So how does a brand do influencer marketing properly? After working as a creator, and now working in the influencer marketing space I wanted to share some of my takeaways for influencer campaign success:

Use creators to educate

Something that stood out to me in how Glossier was able to use influencers to grow their brand was that they also used their creators to get a deeper understanding of what people think about their brand. They have a slack group with 10,000 Glossier ambassadors who share feedback about the brand, how their skin reacts to the products, how they wear it, and how they style it.

Glossier then takes this crowd-sourced market research and incorporates it into how they speak to consumers about their various products when posting about their products.

These ambassadors also took to their own platforms, and showed their followers how the product looks on various skin tones, they shared tips and tricks on how to use it, and educated their audiences about what made this brand great. This is a great example of how brands can leverage creators in the same way we would train and teach a department store sales rep.

Use creators that actually love your brand

On the note of using influencers to educate, its crucial that you use influencers who *actually* love your brand and what your company is about. I can't tell you how many campaigns offers I've had as a creator that are completely not relevant to who I am, what I care about, or what my audience engages with. When reaching out to a creator, investigate what brands they organically post about, and what other brands they follow and engage with on social media.

Use creators with relevant audiences & trust their input on the brief

One of the most common mistakes I've seen both as a creator and from working in media is the number of brands that use influencers without a relevant audience, or brands that disregard the creators audience in general. If your goal is to reach a new audience- find ways to make sure that campaign is relevant to that creators existing audience, and ask the creator for input. Ask them what kind of content typically does well for them, and let them add their voice to captions and stories. You want to use creators that are genuine in sharing with their audience what they love about your brand.

Use content you can repurpose for paid media

On top of all the above, ensure that the content you are getting out of your influencer campaigns can be repurposed for your own channels and that you can amplify in other ways. As a creator, I'm always more inclined to create content if I know that it will be shared across their platforms (just don’t offer to pay them in exposure only). Reach out to creators whose content actually visually aligns with your brand, and again, work with the creator on a brief that outlines expectations clearly- this will save everyone time, money and the frustrations of having to re shoot content. Make sure the brand guidelines are clear and agreed upon well in advance of day the post needs to be live.

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