This past week, Olapic took the stage alongside fashion brand, and client, AllSaints for a session about the power of user-generated content, at London’s Festival of Marketing. Over a hundred delegates joined the event to discover why and how leveraging consumer images successfully impacted the iconic retailer’s bottom line with its #ItsUpToYou multichannel campaign.
Over the two-day conference, 200+ speakers shared their expertise and insights to thousands of marketers keen to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Influencer marketing was certainly one of the recurring themes that stole the show, and here at Olapic we are delighted to share some of the key takeaways and best practises to develop a robust and successful influencer marketing programme:
Invest your energy in strategy
Hugh Pile, UK Chief Marketing Officer of L’Oréal, highlighted the importance for brands to be crystal clear about their objectives and defining what goals they want to achieve when working with influencers. Suggesting that everyone ask the question: What are the immediate and longer term objectives of using an influencer? Thinking through these desired results is the first step, and equally as important as the planning and tactics through which you will achieve them.
Similarly, brands should make sure they identify and select the correct KPIs to measure their influencer marketing efforts in order to better guarantee they select the right ambassadors for their brand. Additionally, it’s important for companies to realise that the reach of an influencer (their likes, shares, and comments) might not be the only driver that will power a brand’s particular programme. There are other, softer factors, that should also be considered such as the ability to create content that will conform with brand guidelines, the tone of voice they use, and the long-term potential to grow the brand and influencer relationship. It’s only through combining sales and social metrics with awareness and branding objectives that the results for your brand will be relevant and exemplify whether your approach is working. Paying close attention to your brand’s strategy and minor details will enable you to iterate on these experiences and allow you to re-adjust your tactics accordingly for influencer campaign success.
Think beyond the large influencer groups
Cass Gowing, Global Social Media Manager at AllSaints, described how her brand worked with a selection of influencers to kick start their earned content campaign to later motivate and leverage authentic content from everyday consumers through this type of initial outreach. Indeed, the potential to tap into great creative assets and on-brand visual content, doesn’t just dwell with the most popular bloggers and social media personalities – There is also an army of brand ambassadors and fans who produce relevant content that engage and influence online shoppers equally as well. Collecting, curating, and deploying user-generated, or earned, content can produce results that should not be underestimated, thanks to the authenticity and honesty they deliver to today’s critical and informed consumers. Influencers undoubtedly reach more customers online, but due to regulations also need to disclose their partnership with brands (through the #AD and #SP hashtags), whereas everyday consumers genuinely show their appreciation for a brand, organically. Given the authentic-nature of this consumer-generated content, brands with the right technology can aggregate and display these images across multiple marketing channels, which upon customer interaction, may even lead to an increased amount of trust from users exposed to this type of content.
Make the most of your tech to unleash the potential of your consumers & influencers
L’Oréal’s CMO mentioned that they partner with an influencer platform to identify, analyse, and categorise those that would be the best fit for their brand. Through this example they reiterated the importance that technology has in the influencer equation because it provides brands valuable information like the products influencers engage with, what an influencer’s reach is, and the overall sentiment and relationship an influencer can have on theL’Oréal brand.
By using technology to gather this type of information, a brand can then better tier influencers, allocate budgets, and develop programmes to ensure that their resources are being used in an efficient way from both a financial and branding perspective. AllSaints, on the other hand, used technology in a different way: To collect, curate, request the rights, and implement their user-generated content on site. This approach allowed their brand to receive a steady flow of consumer imagery to authentically engage with their audience, drive website visits, and increase their brand’s visual marketing assets.
Ultimately, whether you’re using high-profile influencers or consumers for your imagery, the possibilities to roll out effective content strategies are endless. From our perspective, there is room for both influencers and UGC; And, if you do it right, a healthy mix of both can create a feedback loop that will only benefit your brand with more dynamic content to reach a diverse set of audiences. In today’s always-on world, online shoppers are exposed to brand advertising at every turn, so ensuring you nail your strategy from the start is key. Given what we learned, if you set measurable goals, form the right influencer relationships, and lean on your loyal customers for content all while using the right technology and targeting – the insights your brand will gain will be invaluable and help you stand out in a busy digital marketing landscape.
To learn more about AllSaints success using consumers’ content, download their case study here.