Recently, I was in the market for a curling iron; the perfect tool to transform straight, flat hair into the bouncing, beauteous locks of a Disney princess or a Kardashian.
In doing my research, I discovered there are many different types of modern curling irons, which can vary by diameter, material, shape of barrel and the type of handle. I also needed to know what type of curls I was going for: did I want tight, tiny twists that when brushed out would give my hair the look of a wild lioness? Or was I going for loose, dreamy waves that give me the beachy look? Upon narrowing down my selection of curling tools, I faced another conundrum: how to use the tool to get my desired look.
I searched Google for how-tos and found 21 year-old YouTuber “Made You Look By Lex,” a licensed cosmetologist and makeup artist with a brand (YouTube: 832,615; Instagram 169,000; Facebook 262,975). In the 4:30 video (118,000 views) she showed me how to use the “NuMe Magic Wand” to get my va va voom locks. I was thrilled, and I was sold.
This got me thinking about the power that influencers have over the marketing funnel.
The Phenomenon of Microcelebrity
Lex has created her brand by refining her identity, tone and voice using social channels and platforms that bring her authentic story to the masses. She knows what’s cool and has an engaged community the size of San Francisco to prove it. She is a microcelebrity.
Millennials grew up watching YouTube and reality TV stars, making it seamlessly easy to feel entitled to becoming a star themselves. Jon Murray, the creator of The Real World and Keeping Up With The Kardashians says that “seeing regular people celebrated on TV gives millennials confidence. They are going after what they want.” Kim Kardashian readily admits that she has no particular talent, but she also knows why she appeals to her peers. “They like that I share a lot of myself and that I’ve always been honest about the way I live my life. They want relationships with businesses and celebrities.”
This notion of blurring lines between celebrity and “regular people” is ubiquitous in social media. Millennials know how to turn themselves into brands, and for those who do this well enough on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, become microcelebrities.
The Impact of Influencers
In the New York Times article “Turning Microcelebrity Into a Business,” Oliver Luckett, CEO of the social-media publishing company theAudience, recognizes the massive power of micro celebrities. Pacing to do $30 Million in revenue, the bulk of theAudience’s business stems from some “6000 Influencers, ranging from Vine actors to YouTube singers to Instagram models.”
It turns out; the microcelebrities have just as much pull as the Charlize Therons, if not more. They create more engagement among their audience, and are more relatable and willing to incorporate a brand into their social media.
Lex represents the microcelebrity phenomenon at its best. In October, Lex’s Facebook page pulled in an average of:
In contrast, during the same time period NuMe averaged:
According to Socialbakers, the average post engagement for a brand with 100k-499k Facebook fans is 0.19%, well below Lex’s threshold.
This scenario underscores Lex’s ability to authentically captivate and connect with her audience at scale with far greater success than the brand, and it is for this reason Influencers are more valuable than ever.
HOW BRANDS CAN PARTNER WITH INFLUENCERS
Find An Authentic Voice.
For many brands, borrowed equity is critical. The recommendations and products they choose to align with mean something to their followers. Identify a network of Influencers that share similar passion points and interests and that best align with your brand. Understand their unique aesthetics, skillsets, and areas of influence.
Develop A Strategy.
In partnership with your Influencer, create content that is tied together by a common theme. The result is an authentic and naturally compelling campaign that resonates with the Influencer’s audience while delivering a big payoff for the brand.
Distribute Your Content.
Seed your Influencer network with beautifully curated content. You can share your content through pins on “Pinterest Storyboards” created by your Influencer. The Storyboard is a blend of unique pins that visually tell a story to your followers and the Influencer’s engaged audience.
Part 2: In part two of this blog, I will show a case study or two where an Influencer partnership campaign delivered successful results.