Hi Emily. So your job sounds like you cover a lot – what’s it all about?
Influencer marketing is really all about increasing brand or product awareness. We’ll work or collaborate with content creators across all social media platforms to increase awareness of a new product. PR is similar in that is has the same goal, but it also includes press, you know, magazines and newspapers in print and online. It’s all about getting the word out there about your product, and telling people more about what you’re all about and what your brand is all about. Sometimes you’ll have a particular objective to drive as well, for example you might want to get sales as a result of the campaign, or perhaps it’s just about general brand awareness because people haven’t heard of the brand before.
A lot of what I do is about reaching the right type of person. What’s great about content creators / influencers is that when they’re really unique, or they’ve got their own niche, they’ve got their own following that’s really engaged in something specific. We’re able to work with them to reach those engaged people to talk about a specific product or a brand that’s going to be really relevant to their audience.
Landing a first job at Ann Summers in a PR team sounds pretty sweet, how did you get that?
Well, I studied English and History at university, so I didn’t exactly have a strong vision of what it was that I wanted to do. I knew that I was interested in marketing, so when I got the chance to do some work experiences and interning, I just kind of delved into it further and applied for marketing internships. Then because of the way social was growing, I naturally fell into the social media PR side because that was always where businesses needed help – they often didn’t even have one person working full time on social media because it was that new.
Did you grow up wanting to be Head of PR & Influencer Marketing? How did you get into that area?
So I actually started off my career way back in the day, at the very beginning of social media. When I first started working influencer marketing wasn’t a thing, I think we just called them bloggers. I sat in a PR team at Ann Summers and started as an assistant, working across social media and helping the PR team as well with their bits and pieces, as I moved up to then working as an executive. Then obviously, as social media developed it became much more of an important role, and businesses began needing people to start focusing on their social media. First they wanted one person to look after it, then they wanted a team.
Two years later when I was at Jack Wills (in 2016) as a Social Media Manager, influencer marketing was starting to creep in. As social media grew, we needed more content that would perform well across our social channels. So we’d always work closely with friends of the brand or content creators to have more of that kind of UGC style content, and it always performed well. The results would be cross-platform, when we had amazing influencers talking about the brand, we then would see higher growth on our own channels and better engagement followed by more conversions and sales. None of these things exist on their own right, they feed into each other
When I moved to Ted Baker in 2017 we had a large social team. There were six of us, including me, working across all the global social channels. We’d work with the creative team to create content, and we’d provide reporting across every single campaign. It was it was a big job, and influencer marketing continued to become a bigger and bigger part of the job the longer I remained in social media, to the point where I was able to then take on this job where my role is purely influencer marketing and PR
What kind of people do you look for when you’re recruiting new influencer marketers?
I think experience is always really, really useful, of course, but it’s difficult when someone’s first starting out to tell them that they have to have experience, because how are they meant to be getting that experience? I think the kind of personality or the traits that are really, that you want to see in someone are:
– That they’re pro-active. You need to have energy and be really enthusiastic about and interested in influencer marketing, and the area that you’re working in. A natural interest will get you really far.
– That they’re really organised. There’s often a lot going on and you’re always spinning a lot of plates. You’re going to be working across multiple projects with multiple people, multiple contracts, creators and other people involved in a campaign. Sometimes creators have agents, so they get involved too. Then you’re also working on the brand side with lots of different brand managers and internal stakeholders… so just being able to keep on top of things is really important, and not something to be underestimated.
Then, the final piece that sometimes gets missed or people forget about, is being able to measure the results at the end of a campaign. You need to really understand the importance of being able to delve into insights and look into what content engaged, what got the most reach, and maybe why certain content performed so well. This is then important, vital information that can be fed into the next campaign you work on. Sometimes it’s quite tempting to just move on from the project when it’s completed and start the next thing, because the next thing is always there, right? But we always need to take the time to measure what we’ve done.
Which campaigns have you loved working on with content creators?
The Wella Passionistas is a really great ongoing campaign that we’re all really proud of – they have really helped to build our social community, and really get the word out there to fellow hairdressers and clients about Wella products and services they’re able to provide. Our Passionistas are all hairdressers and not technically content creators or influencers, but their audiences are so engaged around the exact products that they showcase from us, so that’s definitely something that we’re really proud of and that’s built up over the last couple of years.
Over lockdown we’ve seen people really coming together, especially in March, April, May time when we were all at home and no one was really sure what was going on. We had to throw our whole marketing plan out the window and start thinking about home treatments people were doing at home. On the hairdresser side, nobody was able to actually go to the hairdressers, so we were talking about how you can keep your hair in good condition until we’re able to get back to the salons again.
We were really happy to be able to tap into our community and come together on those campaigns, because it’s not just about influencer marketing, it’s also about community as well.
When times are tough, you really see that come through.