The Beginning of Influencer Marketing
Think back to 2002 when shiny billboards would captivate you and steal all of your attention. 2002 is around the same time that marketers and data analysts predicted us living in an advertisers society by 2012. Marketers used to think that we would not even be able to walk down the street without encountering a billboard, moving or otherwise, selling us a product. While they weren’t right in their assumptions, they weren’t necessarily wrong either. This day and age big brands reach us in a new way. Entirely repulsed by the idea of a blatant ad or billboard on the highway, advertisers have come up with tactics to reach us in our homes. Initially, they were able to do this brilliantly through social media. What used to be used to network and connect with family members in different states is now used to sell us virtually everything.
Who Are These Influencers?
It started with a brand taking the traditional concept of buying ad space on your favorite social media outlet; similar to how you would purchase ad space in a newspaper or through a commercial. Then, out of nowhere, there was this shift, and the consumer told the market that we did not want to a sales team in our face constantly. When this happened, companies both big and small had to start thinking a little harder about how they would reach us. Thus, influencer marketing was born. An influencer
is someone who has some credibility in a particular industry with an audience that trusts their opinion. This trust enables the influencer to impact the decisions of their audience when it comes to their industry of choice. There are a few different categories when it comes to influencers:
- Industry experts and thought leaders
- Content creators
Finding the Right One
In regards to your hair brand, the concept of influencer marketing
is a sure fire way to make sales. If you tap the right beauty influencer to model and endorse your product, you can benefit from their following. ‘How?’ do you ask? Well, by selling your hair to their audience, using their reach. Regardless of the fact that a lot of us follow the accounts of people who we don't know on social media, there is a distinct group of people who can influence our buying decisions. Whether it be for small purchases or large purchases, smart companies capitalize off of our want to connect and imitate. However, there is an art to this. You cannot just pick a random social media user with a high follower count to model for your hair company. Keep reading to ensure that your business gets exposed to your predetermined target market via the right hair model.
Determine Your Target Customer & Pick Your Platform
Whatever you do, do not try to use a hair model to capture customers on all platforms. Think of the demo you are trying to reach. For example, if your hair brand caters to:
- African American or mixed race females
- Over the age of 25
- Who is living in the city
- Who have disposable income
You have to think of where they go for their social media needs and find an influencer there. Unfortunately, all campaigns do not translate well across all social media platforms. As a hair brand, you may be better off focusing on an influencer that has a strong visual social presence. Something like Snapchat may not translate to your customer. Snapchat is made for a younger generation that may or may not have the income to purchase your product by themselves. Snapchat also deals in a different medium than IG; clips dissolve so you cannot successfully launch a full campaign that will stay up for longer than 24 hours. With the investment that you are making, whether that be product or payment, I am sure you want the exposure for longer than that!
Create a Model/Campaign Budget
Set a budget
for your model! Take into account what you want your model to bring to the table. Base your budget off of those expectations and build that into the marketing portion of your overall budget. If you are interested in more visits to your website, more visits to your IG page or a boost in your internet sales realize that you may have to spend a few hundred dollars. Free product may not cut it for what you want to accomplish. For example, you may end up targeting a model who has less than 100,000 followers. A model with a follower account of that caliber will charge in the ballpark of $300. A real campaign with someone who has a more extensive reach could cost you thousands of dollars.
The Models YOUR hair brand should Target
You want to find a social media expert who not only models but also creates content. If you were to pick a person who just models you would have to wait for them to find a team after they install the hair so that they can coordinate a shoot. However, if you seek someone who currently creates niche beauty based content, you will have a model and a production crew in one package. A combination of skills like this can get your campaign to the masses quickly. The fantastic thing about the current influencer is the fact that they can create content on one thing, be it beauty (hair, make up, or both), food, entertainment, or entrepreneurship. Their audience goes to them for content in these specific areas. As a hair business who is just starting their campaign, it would be beneficial to target your product to a particular audience by reaching out to a model who is a micro-influencer and or a blogger
with their own platform.
A blogger can be a great model for your hair company for many reasons. The main one being that bloggers with a large enough following have managed to gain the respect and the loyalty of their readers. Readers both new and old come to their site because they know the content is consistent and relatively truthful. You can use that to your advantage by sending a blogger with a big enough following a pitch to model for your hair brand in exchange for free product. Because bloggers are always on the lookout out for new content, they will probably respond by not only wearing the product but also by posting a favorable review of your hair on their blog site. To make this worth your while it would be beneficial to look into fashion, hair, and beauty bloggers. Most bloggers write about specific topics, and you want to make sure that a post about your hair will reach the audience that is already hunting for more information on that topic.
Another way you can get your hair posted on a blog is by guest posting. You could send the blogger your product for free in exchange for pictures and then write your own blog post
for their blog. You can then control the content that is being created for your brand and make sure that all of the critical information like pricing and is in the post while still making use of the blogger’s audience. Depending on the size of the blog, some bloggers may also ask you to purchase a sponsored post if you would like them to model for you. The sponsored post will have more overt mentions of your company than the traditional product post because you are paying to be on the blog. It will also be noted that the post is sponsored on the actual blog page, but do not be alarmed. Not very many people care about the SPONSORED tag put on the post because the content aligns with the theme of the website. An advantage of using a beauty blogger or content creator as a hair model is how they can repurpose the content. Both bloggers and vloggers cultivate their audiences; however, their content still needs to be promoted. A lot of the time they will screenshot or take clips of their articles or videos and post them on all forms of social media. Promoting in this way let’s potential readers and viewers know of new content and can be a way for you to grow your hair company’s social media
handles if you provide them with your handles. Content creators who promote this way are often considered micro-influencers as well because their social media presence mirrors the branding on their blogs or vlogs.
The micro-influencer will produce more content in categories such as finance, health, beauty, entertainment, or travel, but the content will cater to a specific demographic in those categories. For example, a micro-beauty influencer could have a particular interest in natural hair. So their audience looks for their content to give them natural hair inspiration. As a hair company, you could take advantage of their reach by supplying them with kinky style extensions
in different styles to create different forms of content. All of this content would is authentic because it already aligns with the influencer’s brand and relevant to both of your platforms.
What Your Models Need
You may think that the most important factor to consider when working with a hair brand model is their follower count. You would be wrong! The most important thing to consider when choosing a model for your brand is their previously posted content. Make sure that whatever they have a history of posting to their audience is what you should be to aligning your brand with. For example, if you see someone on IG is into fitness and you are the owner of an organic juice bar you may want to reach out to them. At first glance, you may feel that both of you are promoting a similar lifestyle. However, if you click on their account and scroll through their posts you may see that they post their workouts, but they also post pictures of soul food and non-organic dishes. They may not be the model for your business! Check out what you potential model may be buying and look to see if their personality is in tune with your brand. If they make a lot of product posts and only wear hair extensions
on their birthday, it would make no sense for them to be a hair model because they do not traditionally wear hair. Your partnership would look like an ad, and that is something that you do not want. It should not be easy to point out that your model is posting irrelevant content to their feed and to their audience. Think about it:
- If your hair brand is promoting affordability, is your model budget conscious? You could tap a fashion or beauty influencer who is known to thrift and do DIY projects.
- Does your hair brand want to capture moms who brand themselves with the idea that they are more than a mother? The model you reach out to should have a child.
- Is your target customer an overall glamorous person? Your model should have a feed full of editorial like pictures that convey who you want wearing your extensions.
I wish that I could scream this from a mountaintop. The follower count of your hair model should not be what you base your final selection. Yes, their following is a factor. However, if you only take a look at unique visitors or how many followers the account has then you may get distracted by that number. Focus on the number of people that truly follow the content. Remember, a large following means nothing if your target audience is not in that following. You want to pick your hair model based on how invested their audience is in their content. You want engagement.
When thinking of engagement
and where it lands on the scale of importance when selecting your hair model, remember this quote: “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis The engagement factor is vital to the hair model that you select because it speaks to the relationship that your model has with the audience you are trying to impact. Engagement measures how interactive followers are with the content. Engagement is essential when you start thinking about how many clicks your site has received once promoted by this hair model. You want to ensure that your hair model posts their content fairly regularly. Bloggers or content creators that are on a schedule or at least post systematically create something that their audience, your customer, can count on. You want to ensure that the hair model you choose posts high-quality content on the weekly basis before you commit to giving them a product or paying them for content, so you know that people will go to the platform to see it. For example, a lot of hair vloggers will post a product review once a week. As they build a following their audience knows to return to their channel on Youtube at least once towards the end of the week to get caught up on new content, favorite it to find the product later, or share it. Scientifically, a customer is going to buy something they have seen multiple times. Taking that same logic, they will buy from someone they have seen do numerous reviews and fostered loyalty through consistency.
Look for content creators and micro-influencers who do not have a lot of sponsored hair posts. I realize that this may be against everything you thought you needed to find in a hair model, but you have to look at it from your customer’s eyes. The less sponsored content someone may have the more you think they like the product because they are not being paid to do it. If you can get your model to create a campaign that works the hair into her everyday life or special event it will make her review of the hair more authentic. You also don't want a generic hair post. The audience should not have to differentiate between you and the hair company who sponsored last week. You can prevent this by sponsoring a hair texture that your blogger will like but does not typically wear. You want a real story involving the hair. Tactics to incorporate the sponsored product into the model’s content like that will seem less like a sale pitch to the customer. That will garner interest and clicks to your site.
Prepare A Campaign
Once you can determine that your hair model possesses the five things listed above you should reach out to them and pitch them your brand. You can leave it up to her to pitch you the campaign ideas, but they have to say yes first! There is nothing worse than you trying to force your view of quality content onto someone else’s audience! When you get into executing the campaign, make sure the content is shareable! If possible can you turn the model’s three or four pictures into a promo video with some cool music and repurpose it for your website?! Make sure you can get the bang for your buck, and all of the formattings is optimal for different social media platforms. It may be beneficial to ask if the model would run a contest on her platform to engage her following even more and boost your social media statistics. If your model agrees to share her platform in this way you can gift a member of her following with free bundles and request a review from them to add to your site. Be creative in the ways that you use your model and increase engagement.
Report And Analyze
A strong campaign that starts with the idea of using a particular hair model can turn into something more permanent once you get the numbers. Take note of where your social media stats are before the posting of your content. Remember, different social platforms will prompt different reactions, and depending on the follower engagement you may be able to ask for a follow in the caption. Meaning, Facebook may leave you with likes on an image, Youtube
may leave you with a lot of views and some website hits, and Instagram might get you your first sale. Your stats will read differently depending on the model’s engagement secured on that platform. If you like how your numbers are looking or you have secured a few sales, you may want to ask the model to be a spokesperson for your brand. This can give your brand a face and identity. A brand with a look will help you to build credibility and gain an instant follower base because that influencers following will port over to your brand.
Finding the Right Hair Model Takes Time
Taking all things into consideration, finding the perfect model for your hair brand may take a few weeks. After you have determined your platform of choice and investigated that platform's options, take the time to look into the things that will make the investment worth it. In the midst of determining the model’s relevance, reach, engagement, frequency, and authenticity you may find more than one model to reach out to, and that is okay! Reach out to everyone you deem the right fight for you and your brand. Finding a model may seem inconsequential, but it is a handy marketing tool. The right model can help you to connect with a bigger customer base that is in line with your ideal buyer. Have you found your perfect hair model? Comment below what enabled you to make your decision!