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3 Tips for Building a Sophisticated Influencer Marketing Strategy

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Remember social media, circa 2019? Beauty and lifestyle influencers filled Instagram feeds with filtered photos in monochrome outfits, flawless skin, and perfected wavy mermaid hair. These influencers appeared glamorous and gorgeous 24/7 — encouraging consumers to buy anything that these influencers used. 

But in late 2020, social media trends started to change at a faster pace than ever before. Influencers had to get creative, authentic, and educational in order to earn engagement and compete in an increasingly crowded space. Brands also needed to overhaul their strategies since the types of influencer partners, strategies, and content types that worked two years ago suddenly felt outdated and clunky.

If you’re a beauty or lifestyle brand that is having a hard time getting out of the 2019 rut, here are three tips to make your influencer marketing program more sophisticated. 

Create for an educated audience

If you’re one of the plethora of brands that are targeting older Gen Z and younger Millennial consumers, know that you’re targeting an educated audience. It’s highly likely that your consumer has been buying products online since their early teens…which means that they have most likely been exposed to beauty content for 10+ years. 

In 2022, beauty consumers:

  • Are extremely educated. They aren’t afraid to seek out new products and conduct extensive research — in fact they source new trends at an incredibly fast pace. 
  • Understand complexity. They know that good (not perfect) results are achieved through a personalized routine, not a single miracle product. 
  • Are brand agnostic. They know that they need to tailor their routines to their specific needs and goals, and care less about sticking to a product line from a single brand. Many consumers are likely to mix and match products, depending on their needs!

In essence, the modern beauty and lifestyle consumer is intelligent, knowledgeable, and deciphering. So treat them as such! Encourage influencers to provide educational facts about a product’s ingredients instead of just relying on aesthetics, develop products that solve specific problems, and don’t try to fool your consumer into thinking your brand is something that it’s not. 

Tip: Walmart and P&G are doing this particular thing well. Read what two of their executives had to say about how they designed for young, educated consumers with their latest hair care line, NOU.

Keep your content timely

The lifecycle of a product or content trend lasts a maximum of five months in this era of social media. Influencers always want to stay current, because their audience gets bored of seeing the same trend at a quicker rate than in years past. So, a few guidelines:

  • Don’t plan so far ahead. If you’re planning content six months in advance, you’re working with too long of a lead time. 
  • Know when to drop a trend. If you’re asking influencers to use a trend that was popular a month ago, you might risk their relationship with their audience, resulting in  misused budget or poor campaign results. 
  • Look to your partners to know what’s “in”. Influencers know what their audiences want, so they are always looking for the next hot trend. Instead of dictating content, try asking them what they would like to talk about. This way, the influencer stays current, you build a stronger relationship with that influencer, their audience grows, and your partnership performs well. 
  • Prioritize growth over virality. Believe it or not, success is  not always about viral products! If you want to stay relevant, but fear you can’t create a viral product out of thin air, focus on high growth influencers, content style trends, and catchy songs. This way, the focus is on consistent performance, rather than off-the-chart months that come and go with the lifecycle of a viral trend. 

Find influencers who are doing something new

Smaller influencers are often at the heart of new trends because they have less to lose, and they’re willing to take risks and see what sticks. To find these experimental influencers, try evaluating past content performance by engagement rate. Many Traackr customers discovered influencer Tijera Fleming using this method. Here’s why it works:

  1. Engagement rates can reveal compelling content.  Since engagement rate = engagements/ total follower count, the engagement rate for a small influencer with high performing content will rocket up. So, if a smaller influencer tries out a new trend that gets picked up by Instagram or TikTok’s algorithm, that person may garner unusually high engagements for an influencer their size  — resulting in a high engagement rate. If you’re a Traackr customer, you can easily find influencers with high engagement rates by sorting by ER in the market benchmark feature. 
  1. Engagement rates can reveal influencer follower growth. Sometimes an engagement rate will be high because the influencer’s audience is growing at high rates, not because of content performance. For our customers, the cool thing about measuring engagement rates in Traackr is that the total follower count is registered at the exact time the content was posted. So, if the influencer is growing in followers quickly, their engagements will reflect their new, larger audience, while their follower count will reflect their old, smaller audience. Hence, high engagement rate. 

Traackr’s influencer marketing platform helps you do this kind of analysis on a case-by-case basis. If you aren’t a Traackr customer, you can try comparing the influencer you’re evaluating against an Engagement Rate Benchmark. It won’t be a perfect science but it will give you a starting point!

If you’re interested in learning more about successful influencer marketing strategies, check out this briefing where I talk through brands like Colourpop, Pantene, Matrix, and Viktor & Rolf Fragrance. I come in around the 7:06 mark!

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