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Influencer Marketing Strategy: “What’s In” with Coty & L'Oréal

Mar 13, 2024

“What’s in” for influencer marketing this year and beyond? 

We invited influencer marketing executives, Ashley Colom, Global Director of Communication Performance & Analytics at Coty, and Marc Duquesnoy, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at L'Oréal Benelux, to share their insights on where you should be focusing your influencer marketing efforts. 

Watch them discuss during the 2024 Influencer Marketing Predictions event here. 

The Influencer Marketing Strategies That Are “In”

Content is King and Video is Queen 

“Content is king and video is queen…and the queen is ruling of course!” - Marc Duquesnoy, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at L'Oréal Benelux

One thing that is not going away anytime soon is content, especially video content. In fact, in Traackr’s most recent Influencer Marketing Impact report, consumers rated short-form videos (~3 minutes) as the most engaging content type. 

That being said, Ashley and Marc both agree that the quality of content is more important than the platform you use to distribute it. It’s authentic storytelling that will actually set your brand apart. 

“We need to keep the next generations engaged. The way to do this is to speak in the language that they want to hear and want to be spoken to.” - Ashley Colom, Global Director of Communication Performance & Analytics at Coty

In order to “speak the language” of such a digitally native generation, you need to listen to your audience. A few ways to achieve this include, 

  • Be active in your comment section. Your next influencer campaign could be living in your posts' comments. For example, e.l.f  Criminal Cosmetics campaign took inspiration from the dozen comments mentioning a family member stealing their e.l.f product. Similarly, CeraVe partnered with Michael Cera after the team found dozens of comments mentioning Michael Cera should partner with CeraVe. 
  • Follow and engage your creators on social: More often than not, your creator partners are going to be more in the “know” than you. Stay up to date with their content or the trends they're using to stay relevant. Traackr’s Brand Buzz feature can help you consolidate all of your creator's content into one view, making it keep your finger on the pulse. 
  • Consume what your audience is consuming. Being tapped into pop culture is a necessary part of a marketer’s job, especially influencer marketing. Magic can happen when you react quickly and relate a trend to your brand, like Gap within their Linen Moves campaign. Gap featured both artist Tyla and dancer Will West who both reached Stardom with their rendition and dance to “Back in 74” respectively. 
“Media is science but influencer marketing is human science.” - Marc Duquesnoy, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at L'Oréal Benelux,

Organic and Paid Need to Work Together 

“Organic and paid need to work together for there to be success. The advocacy-driven conversations that come from organic can move consumers down the funnel, but you need a smart and strategic paid strategy for stealth storytelling that can drive conversion.” - Ashley Colom, Global Director of Communication Performance & Analytics at Coty

Our State of Influence report found that beauty brands have an increased portion of their social performance driven by sponsored content (as opposed to organic). 

When asked if this trend would continue, both Ashley and Marc mentioned that the pendulum would swing more towards organic but there needs to be a balance of organic and paid efforts. 

“This swing between organic and paid is also not new… it’s similar to the journey we had on search. You needed to work on both organic and paid [search] as they have a lot of benefits for each other. Social is the same!” — Marc Duquesnoy, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at L'Oréal Benelux

Marc says to think of your organic and paid influencer marketing efforts in a similar way that you think about search. You need both search engine optimization, or SEO (organic) and search engine marketing, or SEM (paid) to drive performance. Yes, you need to put in the work to win organic traffic (or influencer mentions), but you should always try to amplify your efforts through paid to spread the message and drive conversion. 

Both Ashley and Marc agreed that brands see more success from paid efforts if it is done authentically and transparently with creator partners. Ashley mentions that you should, 

  1. Start with your brand values to build the story you want to communicate with your audience. What does your brand stand for? Why else - other than the specific products - are your customers drawn to you? 
  2. Find creators who are credible experts or key opinion leaders in your industry who share similar values. Products come and go, but values are forever. Many consumers want to see that a brand aligns with what they care about, and creators can help bring this to light.
  3. Build the brief together to execute a story that will resonate with your audience. Creator partnerships should be collaborative — authenticity can’t be dictated, it needs to be carefully crafted and well thought through.

For more inspiration, check out these lists of top organic and sponsored content 

Social Commerce Is Expanding Its Reach 

“Social commerce across social media is continuing to expand. We’ve seen the APAC region perfect it, and now it’s moving westward. Social commerce might not be exactly how APAC has done it, but it’s still here and will only continue to expand.” - Ashley Colom, Global Director of Communication Performance & Analytics at Coty

From awareness to sales, influencer marketing has the power to impact all stages of the marketing funnel. This is because consumers trust influencers. 

According to Traackr’s Influencer Marketing Impact report, 61% of consumers feel that influencers' posts have some sway on their purchase decisions. If utilizing social commerce hasn’t been on your radar, it should be now. 

Both Marc and Ashley believe that social commerce will be expanding west (as it has had a major presence in APAC regions) but it’s unclear how it will officially unfold. Will influencers start selling products via live streams? Or will features like TikTok and Instagram Shop be enough?

What we do know is that Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Pinterest were the top social platforms consumers said they would buy products from. 

Top Social Media Platforms for Social Commerce

And brands can and have effectively used creators to drive purchases by finding the right partners. Authenticity plays a major role here too! 

Get the full guide to social commerce and influencer partnerships here.

The Creator Economy Has Space for both “Creators” and “Influencers”

Creators versus Influencers. Is it time to officially retire the term influencer and embrace creator? 

Both Ashley and Marc agree that there is room for both creators and influencers in your program. They are two different types of partners that should hold different places in your influencer marketing strategy and plan. 

Influencers as marketing partners

Ashley and her team at Coty partner with “influencers” to drive immediate consideration. As influencers are the experts on a specific topic, they can “influence” their audience to consider and buy by sharing key benefits of the product. Influencers are good at bringing “word-of-mouth” marketing into the digital world where consumers feel like they can get good and reliable recommendations from them. 

Creators as storytellers

On the other hand, creators, as Ashley puts it, can be thought of as partners that are best suited for building the “beautiful stories and extensions of your brand.”  Their strength lies in their ability to deeply connect with their audience and convey messages that your brand may not otherwise be able to tell. 

It’s also important to note that this distinction is not always so cut-and-dry. For example, a creator can have influence on product consideration or purchasing, making them an “influencer” as well. 

When it comes down to it, it’s perhaps most important to go back to basics and focus on aligning your influencer marketing objectives/goals to the types of partners you choose. Are your main goals around driving immediate sales? Do you want to improve customer loyalty by strengthening the perception of your brand values? Do you feel that your main challenge is simply awareness of your brand and products? How you answer these types of questions will impact the type of influencer and/or creators you choose to partner with. 

Want to hear more from Ashley and Marc? Watch the full video for more key takeaways!


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