Oct 2020

Social and influencer marketing

How to win in lifestyle categories

“Social media marketing” encompasses a range of strategies

Pay to advertise on social platforms

A form of display advertising

Example of paid Facebook post from Tropicana

e.g. Tropicana

Pay influencers (for majority of coverage)

Like renting the influencer’s audience and endorsement

Pantene ad featuring Selena Gomez

e.g. Pantene

Pay influencers (infrequently / little)

Boosting coverage; micro-payments; discount codes

Fashion Nova Instagram post

e.g. Fashion Nova

Unpaid partnerships

Collaborations between brand and influencer

Huda Beauty Instagram post

e.g. Huda Beauty

The majority of value-creation happens at the unpaid end of the spectrum, through collaboration

Collaborations between brand and influencer are a win-win, and deliver branded content to thousands of followers

  • Meet brand’s need for exposure
  • Meet influencer need for relevance
  • Meet audience need for curation
Example of ColourPop collaboration activity – a swatch party with @mylifeaseva

Brands attract strong partners by having “collaboration assets”

Engaging brand proposition

Peach & Lilly skincare product

e.g. Peach & Lilly “Worry-free skincare”


Technician inside ColourPop's factory in California

e.g. ColourPop’s California factory

Owned media presence

Arctic Fox Hair Colour Instagram page

e.g. Arctic Fox Hair Colour

Product development capability

Huda Beauty Legit Lashes range

e.g. Huda Beauty – new products every other week


Influencers on Revolve sponsored getaway

e.g. Revolve influencer getaway

A strategy of investing in collaboration assets is more effective than paying for mentions

In the long term, assets give superior returns

  • Brands face decision between investing in content, and investing in a content production machine
  • In the long run the machine wins, because it lets you create content again and again
  • By contrast, money you can only spend once

Brand strength comes from having a range of assets

  • Products are just one asset among many – in many categories anybody can get product development and distribution from 3rd parties
Screenshot of Jeffree Star's influencer Instagram homepage @jeffreestar

Jeffree Star the influencer

Arrow pointing to the right
Screenshot of Jeffree Star's brand Instagram homepage @jeffreestarcosmetics

Jeffree Star the brand

Example: ColourPop Cosmetics

ColourPop costmetics logo

This strategy applies to lifestyle categories

  • Audience which is engaged in the category, and engaged in social e.g. beauty, fashion, drinks, sports, cars
  • Works especially well in categories with “category practitioners” e.g. makeup artists; hairdressers; bartenders; athletes, and categories which can be sold direct to consumer
  • In these categories, brands which follow this strategy win, because they achieve high reach and credibility at low cost, and are able to sustain this week after week

Invest in structure, then invest in scale

If starting a new brand, build this into your business model

  • Create an aspect to your brand which will allow you to regularly invite people to collaborate
  • Manufacture locally if possible

If running an existing brand, collaborate more and faster

  • Thousands of relationships
  • Double your innovation rate
  • Pay fairly, but concentrate on non-financial value

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