As the online customer journey evolves across the beauty sphere, no area of digital marketing remains untouched – including influencer campaigns. Where YouTubers, Instagrammers, TikTokers and bloggers were once the ‘sure thing’, a guaranteed route to increased sales, brands are needing to be more scrupulous than ever when searching for the right talent to work with.
This is largely due to consumer perception. According to Trustpilot, 65% of shoppers in the UK describe their level of trust in influencers, particularly when it comes to health and beauty products, as ‘low’. But, far from this being a signal that the influencer ship is sailing, brands are still seeing a high return on investment from their campaigns, providing the partnership feels authentic.
As such, beauty’s digital disruptors are taking more tactical steps to approaching influencers, using data and granular filtering to validate their choices. Here’s how you can follow a similar strategy, and refine your own talent search to discover the top talent for your brand…
Step 1: Start by aligning on audience and values
To ensure content sits seamlessly within your chosen influencer’s channels, it’s important that their audience demographics, interests and values align with those of your brand. Many beauty power players seek the help of influencer-finding services to reach a shortlist, and with the right tool, creating a roster of suitable candidates becomes easy and efficient.
Choose a service that allows you to filter your search by audience age, gender and interests, ensuring your campaign is seen by consumers who fit the target demographic for the product you’re promoting. Many beauty brands are also seeing success when crossing into new sectors, such as lifestyle or sport, so consider a tool with an expansive database that covers a range of influencer categories.
The creative possibilities are endless; a pro swimmer promotes your next waterproof mascara, or an eco-conscious activist hails the benefits of your new sustainable packaging initiative. Your media messaging takes on a fresh meaning when the influencers you work with have an affinity with the unique selling points, so don’t be afraid to explore less traditional avenues.
Step 2: Analyse the brands they have worked with
Validate your shortlist of influencers by reviewing their existing content, and paying close attention to any beauty brands they have previously partnered with. If they’ve recently promoted a similar product or a competitor brand, any campaigns they undertake with your brand may come across as less authentic. Take a look at their organic content, too, to ensure they haven’t made any statements that might contradict with your values or your product’s unique selling points.
Step 3: Provide a clear brief for content
Once you’ve validated your choice of influencer(s), approach them with a tailored email that explains why you’d like to work with them, what you enjoy about their content, and why the campaign will be mutually beneficial. Just as you wish to work with influencers who are authentic, top talent has a reputation to uphold, and may be selective about the brands they work with in order to retain their image. Your email should also cover:
- Key messaging of the campaign;
- Number of expected deliverables;
- Any other campaign requirements, such as event appearances;
- Desired timelines, so they can ensure they have capacity.
Step 4: Encourage creative freedom
While your brief should be clear, it shouldn’t be limiting. Many influencers have their own signature style, and disrupting that with rigid campaign requirements defeats the purpose of employing their skills. Encourage them to take creative licence with the content they produce, and trust that they know what their audience likes and responds well to.
A great example is the partnership between comedy influencer Hayley Morris and women’s razor brand Estrid. Hayley filmed a skit about shaving (featuring her body part ‘alter egos’) and received scores of likes and comments from her highly engaged following. You can still have set guidelines for the content, such as dos and don’ts or messaging hierarchy, but creative freedom is crucial in order for campaigns to feel natural.
Step 5: Measure campaign performance
Before the campaign launches, ensure you have key performance indicators and the right tracking in place to measure the resulting output. Define your metrics ahead of the go-live date; this could be a specific reach figure or sales volume over a specific period of time.
Step 6: Refine future campaigns with data
The most digitally savvy beauty brands don’t simply measure their success; they gather robust data and channel it into their future influencer partnerships. Ensure you’re learning from campaign to campaign, and if a collaboration proves particularly impactful, consider a long-term relationship with the talent in question. This can further boost authenticity.
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