Recently, we have been talking about how Boohoo is working with Instagram celebrities to break into the US market and how Outdoor Voices and Glossier are using social media to build their businesses.
So, what are some of the experiences of people working with social media ‘influencers’?
Here’s Digiday reporting from its own Glossy Summit, relaying some quotes overheard at the event for the fashion industry:
“The microinfluencer space is known as the wild, wild west. You have to know what your goal is and give them direction, rather than just jumping on the trend.”
“We use a lot of smaller influencers, and they’re a huge opening for user-generated content, and that helps a business generate content quickly. We can then see the return on our investment in them. That gives us metrics to prove impact.”
“If you’re trying to drive traffic at a store in Macy’s in Kentucky, it’s important to work with the local community, and that’s not always going to be [influencers with] the biggest following.”
“What’s worked well for us is giving the little guys a chance, too, and bringing them together to talk about the same thing. Building a community is what Instagram is about.”
“The influencer community is so fragmented, the big ones don’t have the same impact anymore.”
Those last three quotes are important. It is essential to realise that working with popular social media personalities is not like working with, say, TV stations. The long tail nature of the Internet necessitates a very different approach. In fact, understand your own goals and the nature of the long tail and you have a shot at successfully leveraging Instagram et al.
That is also why “the influencer community” is an oxymoron. This ‘community’, this imagined entity, exists as much as a “society community”. It makes no sense to think about this space in this way. (hence the perceived fragmentation)
Here is a fascinating quote hinting at the huge shift in relationships between brands and retailers that is well underway:
“I just launched an exclusive brand with a retailer, and they wouldn’t share the data, even though they were my only data point. Now the brand is about to die. I launched it nine years ago, right before there was social media. If I were to do it again, I’d go direct-to-consumer. I wouldn’t even launch a wholesale brand. It’s so hard to build a brand through retailers at this point, because they’re not good partners. I think it’s a broken system. If you don’t own the customer, there’s no way to find out who the customer is.”
Samina Virk, head of U.S., Vestiaire Collective
I’ve heard a lot about what’s been happening in influencer marketing, and that it’s not effective. It’s not as impactful as it was three years, ago but it’s still important when you’re identifying a trend and making a recommendation, that’s valuable. There’s a valuable on the microinfluencer side and the big influencer side. We launched in the U.S. and breaking it down by city and region and tapping the local communities of bloggers was really effective. Then the large influencers, like a Kim Kardashian, that really helps with awareness.
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