By the time Instagram launched in 2010, the term “social media” was relatively in its infancy, however, digital marketing was soon to take new shape and form with opportunities that would extend well onto its future landscape. And while this landscape was changing, digital marketing strategist Julianne Fraser was graduating college from the Fashion Institute Technology (FIT) and set to enter the field.
Then in 2013, Fraser developed one of the industry’s first-ever hotel influencer marketing campaigns for Ian Schrager Hotels at the very prime of, as she recalls, the “influencer renaissance.” Following this experience, she held a role at Lacoste as North American Digital Communications Manager and moved over to supporting major marketing agencies where she oversaw influencer and partnership strategies for a wide variety of brands.
From this time Fraser shares: “I was fortunate to be able to ‘test and try’ digital strategies while building online communities for the iconic portfolio of brands, from Delano, to Mondrian and Hudson. My career catapulted quickly as the importance of digital marketing took off, but I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to grow and develop through trial and error, something not possible for digital marketers entering the field today.”
To support digital marketers entering the field today and the thriving brands they aim to serve, Fraser founded Dialogue NYC, an influencer marketing agency that works with a number of luxury and lifestyle brands from health and wellness companies like Sakara Life to fashion and beauty brands like Grailed and home goods brands like Brooklinen. Given this experience, she shares a few tips on understanding the influencer marketing halo effect and leveraging marketing strategies that leave a lasting impact.
The Halo Effect of Influencer Marketing
During Fraser’s early days crafting social media strategies for a hotel portfolio, she began to recognize that certain creatives were quickly growing large followings on their platforms that included blogs, Facebook, Instagram, or Myspace accounts. This came during a time where promoted posts or Instagram’s complex algorithm—that today challenges talented creatives to capture their audiences with more interesting points of view—had not yet existed.
However, as the landscape broadened, so too did its complexity leading to concepts such as the “halo effect of influencer marketing.” The halo effect of influencer marketing refers to the idea that if there is someone a consumer likes, even if it is one aspect of this person, a consumer may unconsciously base assumptions on their other attributes and/or the reliability of the products they use even if unrelated.
Through her experience, Fraser notes that the halo effect is formed through a layered strategy that engages numerous influencers from content creators to tastemakers and converters. She believes that the key in engaging a diverse group of collaborators is to understand their interests and voices in order to effectually craft a campaign that speaks authentically to their audience(s). Engaging a high volume of diverse collaborators with a long-term relationship roadmap in mind, Fraser says is the key to moving the needle.
She shares: “We refer to our work as an influencer marketing “halo effect” because influencers impact all elements of the marketing mix. When done correctly, an influencer marketing program will: 1) support the creative team’s content needs, 2) act as a powerful brand awareness tool, 3) aid in promoting events and retail marketing strategies and 4) drive concrete and impactful revenue.”
Leveraging Influencer Marketing to Attune to Unique Communities
“A successful marketing strategy is rooted in listening, above all else,” Fraser notes.
After having witnessed the sharp rise in direct-to-consumer brands over her career, she has noticed a surge in brands taking similar marketing approaches that have led to menial results. These “bland results” as she refers to have curated minimal return for the organizations. To approach influencer marketing from a more iterative and integrative model, Fraser generally recommends starting with a deep dive into the ethos of a brand and stresses the importance of analyzing the intricacies of its target consumer(s).
Following review of a brand’s target consumer demographics, she shares that it can be easiest to identify the influencers that best speak to these individuals and the platforms and messaging that will leave a lasting impact. “In an industry that moves at warp speed, it’s important to slow down and do the work upfront before diving into a strategy that may have worked for a competitor, but won’t work for your brand,” Fraser reiterates. The results of not doing so can be crippling.
Seven Influencer Marketing Strategies That Lead to Lasting Impacts
Fraser shares the following influencer marketing strategies that have enabled her campaigns and their inspirational brands to thrive in their fields:
- Identify, does Influencer Marketing Make Sense for Your Brand? – “The first question I ask all prospective clients is whether or not influencer marketing is the right tactic to achieve their goals. Influencer marketing is a long-term commitment and does not make sense for all brands, especially depending on the stage of business they are in. While it’s a trending tactic that’s only growing in importance, it’s important to recognize if it makes sense to leverage before diving in.”
- Define Influence – “With hundreds of thousands of influencers to align with, it’s important to start by defining the influencers that are relevant to your brand, as they vary greatly. We typically define influence by content creators (individuals who craft engaging and high-quality social content), tastemakers (individuals with full-time careers, such as entrepreneurs, activists, athletes, who have amassed a social following as a result of their passion) and experts (depending on the industry this can vary greatly from buyers and stylists to doctors and nutritionists). Clearly these categories of influencers must be approached differently, each with a unique approach.”
- Craft a creative campaign message – “In order to pierce through the social noise, a campaign must be creative and capture the attention of your target audience. Take time to develop a unique and engaging campaign angle that will not only inspire your influencer partners, but stand out amongst the many #ad posts, which flood the feed.”
- Curation is Key – “Once you’ve crafted a catchy campaign message, it’s vital to curate the right partners to interpret and communicate your brand message. Develop a curation checklist that ensures all partners represent your brand’s ethos and have genuinely engaged and authentic audiences.”
- Volume is Crucial – “A brand campaign that engages a small group of influencers will not drive impact. We engage around 50+ influencers for all of our clients, each and every month. This always-on social approach ensures that our client’s brands consistently blanket the feeds of their target consumers.”
- Work with Performance Teams to Track Results – “Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing has been a topic widely debated throughout my career. Consumer behavior is complex, requiring several brand touch points before conversion, so relying on promo codes and tracked links (while valuable) are limiting. It’s important to work closely with client’s performance marketing teams to analyze how your work impacts the greater paid strategy, from enhancement in ad performance to spikes in web traffic, improvements in SEO, and more.”
- Establish a Relationship Roadmap – “Develop a roadmap for influencer relationships that will ensure you re-engage and strengthen the relationships over time. Influencer marketing is not a short-term tactic and the “halo” effect is achieved by investing in relationships over time.”