Social media influencers are taking online marketing by storm
EDHEC second year BBA student and founder of a top influencer marketing agency tells Otherwise what’s behind the influencer hype.
Armand LOIODICE DE MONTIS, 17 years old, is passionate about building online audiences. As a tween he started posting tutorials on his YouTube channel and networking with other social media enthusiasts. Eager to understand what made some Facebook posts go viral, he scrutinized and analyzed posts until he cracked the code. Two of his pages quickly hit 100,000 subscribers. In 2017 he turned an online dating app into an overnight success thanks to his social media expertise. Influencer marketing was in its nascent stages. “So I took what I had learned on other platforms and reproduced it on Instagram. This allowed me to carve out my niche,” shares the prodigy. A niche that grew into a viable business. Armand joined forces with a friend–himself an influencer with 290,000+ Instagram fans–to launch BEYOND, an agency specialized in influencers and social media marketing. Think of BEYOND as an Insta-matchmaker between influencers and companies. When a company wants to work with one of BEYOND’s 100 exclusive talents, the agency negotiates the deal on behalf of the talent.
BEYOND’s community of subscribers in France includes 20 million people, segmented by theme (travel, fitness, fashion) across different social media accounts. Many are Millennials – a notoriously difficult-to-reach group that is less and less trusting of traditional ads, and more and more attuned to peer recommendations. Advertisers can tap into these targeted, receptive audiences via influencers.
How influencer marketing works
Influencers, social media content creators, are opinion leaders in a particular niche. They set trends. Their highly engaged followers run with those trends. They get hired by companies to turn products and brands into the next big trend. How much do companies pay? That usually depends on the number of followers, engagement level, and proximity to fans.
“The closer the influencer is to her community, the more receptive her followers are to the promotional message.” - Armand LOIODICE DE MONTIS
Campaigns are easy to track via clicks and promo codes. Many marketers consider their influencer marketing initiatives successful, and continue to invest in them. For example, a watch brand that became hugely popular on Instagram “comes regularly to our agency for profiles,” mentions Armand.
Key success factors
With six years of hands-on experience in social media marketing, BEYOND’s level of expertise is hard to rival. Masters of the upsell, BEYOND suggests additional ‘sponsors’ adapted to the brand’s image and goals. This eliminates the guesswork for a company trying to find compatible influencers. “Companies are thrilled to be able to increase their reach dramatically, based on our recommendations,” notes Armand, “and influencers get to work with more, often bigger, brands. It’s a win-win.”
What’s more, in an industry rife with piracy, BEYOND keeps it real: “our networks are genuine,” comments the social media manager. Finally, Armand devotes a huge chunk of time to his craft: “maybe 80 hours a week,” though not to the detriment of his studies, where, he insists, he is getting good marks!
On the horizon
Armand expects to see new influencers flooding the market, as well as new agencies. Instagram will continue to be pivotal, but he is keeping an eye on TikTok, Vero, Triller and other up-and-coming platforms. As for companies, “there is still a lot of work to be done,” but Armand predicts more businesses will be getting in on the influencer action soon.
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