Berlin – Everyone who has seen the documentary about Fyre Festival could witness how influencers and models with millions of followers were paid to promote ‘the cultural experience of the decade’ in a bikini on a beach. After Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Kendall Jenner and friends were paid millions to promote the famously failed music festival, the (non existing) festival sold out in hours. This is a perfect example of what you could achieve when paying influencers (yes, that is a word in the Cambridge Dictionary now) a lot of money to gain brand awareness.
We here at FSG do believe that collaborating with influencers should be part of a brand’s marketing strategy. But obviously, not the way Fyre Festival did. Verena Simons, head of FSG’s brand team, shares some important lessons we’ve learned about influencer marketing along the way.
Verena Simons, head of FSG’s brand team
There are thousands of brands nowadays that want to stand out, there’s (fake) news and there’s messages readers should not miss out on. This means information overload is making it harder and harder to stand out as a brand. Even when you have a great product, it’s hard to not be missed.
We believe that truly understanding what is important to fans and early adopters of your brand makes a huge difference. That’s why we built our first community program for one of our biggest clients, the skincare brand Paula’s Choice.
We built a private community program for German Paula’s Choice customers and asked them to share their story, questions and ideas. With that, we hoped to create credibility. The community is based on three easy and basic principles.
- We created a private platform on Facebook in German, where customers and fans could share their personal stories and ask questions. Their stories are authentic experiences and their questions are real. Their feedback can be positive and negative, and anything in between.
- The program is for fans of the brand, and by invitation only.
- We told the members of the group from the start that the platform is built for commercial use. When we are honest with our customers, they are honest with us.
Quite soon, 100 loyal customers were part of the group, they were all happy to join (and proud, too!). We started our collaboration with them by organizing small raffles and sending out questionnaires. Then we started to exclusively invite them to press events organized by Paula’s Choice. Here, Paula’s Choice’s founder Paula Begoun normally has round-table Q&A’s with journalists. This time, she also made time to meet some of the members of our German group. Paula Begoun shared her story, and listened to the story of the group members. Activities like this resulted in a massive amount of social posts and short stories by the members on their personal instagram feeds. We decided to integrate these stories on the website or in newsletters. According to these findings, 93 percent of influencer campaigns were run on Instagram in 2018, so seeing our group members communicate more actively on Instagram, was of huge importance to us.
When we saw that the private community was of value, we enthusiastically started producing our first community driven campaign in the spring of 2019. We decided to give the members of the Paula’s Choice community the lead in this campaign. Together with several media houses, we created professional video content starring our members. We published this piece on fashion and beauty website Desired. Our data shows that readers spent an average of almost 5 minutes on the landing page to read the content and see the video created by us. This led to a significant uptake of the brand-awareness of Paula’s Choice, as well as an increase in effective sessions to the website, and an increase in turnover.
With a little help from friends
Here’s what we saw while working with influencers with a large and a smaller audience: Nano influencers with around 100 followers can be of great meaning to your brand. Why? Because most likely, their 100-or-so followers are their family and friends. And we have seen that people are five times more likely to buy products after recommendations of friends compared to recommendations of (celebrity) influencers.
2019 all about Micro influencers?
Micro influencers are influencers with a following of anywhere between 2.000 and 100.000 followers. They, in our opinion, are useful because they know their audience and their niche, which makes their content authentic. Since the amount of influences is still on the rise, their price in increasing, too. Bigger influencers, with a following of over 100.000, nowadays can earn anything between 2.000 and 50.000 euros for one post. Micro-influencers can help you reach your specific target audience by engaging with them on a more personal level.
Make it real
Germany is a big country, with influencers big and small and everything in between. Knowing the German market and knowing the target audience helps a brand find the right influencer for the right content. When we collaborate with German influencers, we want to make sure that their footage is authentic. When we ask them to write a post, we ask them to be honest. We’ll tell them their personal experience is of value to us, no matter whether it’s positive or not. Usually the more an influencer loves a brand, the higher the turnover they gain. Plus: if we feel an influencer is doing it for the money, we here at FSG usually don’t work with them. Because whatever they’ll write, it won’t be authentic – it will just be content the influencer creates to pay the bills.
This is where Fyre perfectly showed us what can happen when you pay influencers to create content without thinking about the message they’ll send out. You can understand the online behaviour of your audience but if you don’t keep your promise as a brand, bad things can happen.
Build a relationship
The number one mistake that brands sometimes make is paying an influencer for a single post, and afterwards moving on to the next influencer. Our data supports that brands who work with influencers three times or more, see a significant increase in engagement.
That’s why we always try to build a relationship with influencers, and we only work with them when we truly feel they relate to our brand. In addition to standard measures, like the amount of followers an influencer has, and their engagement rates, we check their credibility, too. Our in-house brand team puts effort in hand selecting influencers for our brands. This involves in-person interviews and thoroughly analysing their content and audience in order to drive more brand loyalty and brand awareness.
After an influencer writes a post, we always follow up by calling them to hear how they feel about their post. And we try to stay in touch with them.
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Nowshine is a German influencer popular with skincare brands.
This one goes hand in hand with our point mentioned above. When influencers are willing to write three or more posts about your brand, it is worth investing in them. When we work with influencers, we brief them. We don’t tell them what to post exactly (again, because we want their content to be authentic). However, we hand them suggestions. We tell them what words and hashtags they could use, and we kindly ask them do double check spelling with us if they feel insecure about it Ever tried typing ethoxydiglycol with your eyes closed? That’s why.