Last week, our CEO Matthew Myers spoke at MRY’s “The New Breed of Influencer Marketing” panel to celebrate Social Media Day 2015. Also on the panel was Andrew Steinthal (co-founder of The Infatuation), artist and designer Mike Perry, and "Curator of Cool," Ashley Outrageous.
With the recent and ever-growing trend of brands reaching out to influencers for content to better target their audiences, Ali DiEmido, Supervisor of Influencer Marketing at MRY, led the panel covering some frequently asked questions from both the creator and brand perspectives.
Here are five key takeaways from the conversation:
1. "A lot of it comes down to pure hustle" – Matthew Myers, CEO of Tidal
When searching for partnerships and traction—hustle. This applies to both to influencers looking to gain traction, as well as brands looking to partner with influencers. Influencers must work on building their brand by gaining a social following, and then reaching out to brands that fit for partnerships. On the flip side, brands must continue building awareness by finding influencers that fit their image.
2. "As long as I get to do my thing and someone wants to write me a check for it, I'm all about it." – Mike Perry, Broad City Designer
Trust the creator. The reason you’ve chosen to work with that specific creator is because you want to reach their audience. Their audience is loyal to the brand that the creator built, so you want to allow the creator to be authentic to their brand to reach them.
If what you’re asking the influencer to do isn’t authentic to the brand that they’ve built, then chances are your partnership won’t be successful. Encourage and support influencers in sharing your brand story with their voice.
— Matthew Myers (@MattMyers) June 30, 2015
3. "We try to be platform agnostic, because we’ve done campaigns, hundreds of them. We’re trying to rethink it. It’s going to be an evolution out of necessity." – Matthew Myers
We all know about the existing traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter; we’re familiar with them and they work. But there’s a lot of up-and-coming platforms to explore like Periscope, Snapchat, and well, our tech at Tidal. Using new platforms may give you the chance to engage with a different target audience.
SEE ALSO: Interview—Rebecca Smeyne Talks Branded Content from a Creator's Perspective
4. "Numbers are hollow. It's all about community and involvement" – Andrew Steinthal of The Infatuation
Brands are always asking for a quantifiable KPI, but social reach is not the sole, nor most important, measurement of a successful message delivery. Engagement may be more difficult to measure, but a creator engaging with their audience and the audience engaging with the creator’s content is important when trying to sell to them.
5. "I don't need to be inauthentic to my brand just for a check. I need to be true to my brand." - Ashley Outrageous (@aoutrageous)
Ashley, who caters to a hip-hop audience where authenticity is crucial, values staying true to her creative vision above all else. This is a refreshing take in a space dominated by vanity metrics and follower counts. But the fact that her success is driven by an authenticity speaks volumes about where the influencer marketing industry is headed.
Final Thoughts: In the rapidly changing digital marketing space, brands lean more on influencers to reach target segments. Quantifiable KPI’s like follower count matter, but as we build a "creator-first era," we’re learning that reach may not be the most important factor in an influencer-brand partnership.
Creator authenticity (as Ashley Outrageous put it) and audience engagement, though not as quantifiable of a KPI, are now the key components of the new breed of influencer marketing.