Discussion with Carrie Berk

How brands can ride the influencer wave

The Capgemini Research Institute spoke to Carrie Berk Social-media influencer, journalist, creator, and bestselling author about how influencer marketing is gaining traction and how brands can harness influencer power in their own marketing strategies.

MAKING CONTENT GO VIRAL

How do you make your content engaging?

Here are a couple of learnings from my experience. First, start each video with your most captivating elements, incorporate your brand message and online identity early, and choose an engaging post to go with the video, which will make the viewer linger a bit longer. For example, if I am showing Hailey Bieber’s pizza toast recipe, I’m not going to start the video with a boring old plain piece of toast, I’m going to start the video with a picture of Hailey Bieber eating her toast – that will draw people in. Second, keep your videos snappy – social media viewers have short attention spans. They often don’t want to sit down and watch even a five-minute video. So, I create videos that are 15‒30 seconds long – sometimes even shorter – and keep the messages simple and clear.

What makes content go viral?

Viral content has three key elements: a great hook, a strong message, and an understanding of what the audience wants to see. After that, you can let it snowball: Once something starts to trend, it will automatically gain momentum and attract more attention. The key is to review what is already out there and work out how you can improve on it or add your own spin. Consistently and frequently posting content is crucial. I make at least five posts a day, which ensures that my followers are seeing and thinking about my content. Social media algorithms are designed to push your posts up near the top of your followers’ feeds if they are picking up good engagement. 

CHOOSE YOUR COLLABORATORS WITH CARE

How do you select brands to collaborate with on marketing campaigns?

When a brand contacts me, I make sure it is true to my lifestyle and will resonate with my followers before I agree to collaborate.

I prefer to collaborate closely with brands to make relevant content. For instance, when Walt Disney World wanted to celebrate gold character statues for its 50th anniversary, I dressed in outfits inspired by the statues. But they wanted me to express my individual style through whatever I wore.

TAILOR THE CONTENT TO THE PLATFORM

Which social media platforms do you prefer and how do you customize your content?

Social media platforms are constantly evolving, adding new features and new content formats, and their audiences respond to that, positively or negatively. TikTok is my personal favorite; it has such a diverse group of creators and we don’t have to force ourselves into a niche. It is a good platform for new product releases. I also love Instagram because its posts enable me to position my product in a visually striking way and tell a story or offer a discount code in the description.

Pinterest is a uniquely strong place to distribute all types of content, including written blogs. Unlike Instagram, users can click through live links. I make sure to respond to comments on Pinterest and interact with other users; you can really establish a relationship of trust, which is so important in today’s marketplace. My followers are loyal to my brand, and they keep coming back. 

CREATING A SUCCESSFUL INFLUENCER MARKETING CAMPAIGN

What is your advice to brands who want to build a successful influencer marketing campaign?

You need to establish your brand’s point of difference to start a trend or a movement. Next, you want to make sure you select an influencer who is a natural, authentic fit for your campaign, so it doesn’t feel too much like an advertisement. Your ideas should be fully thought out and ready to present in a very simple document to the influencer. Further, you need to have a plan for involving your broader customer base – not just the influencer and their followers. On TikTok, for instance, to get your video to go viral, you need to build a fan base, which will start and sustain trends for you. The final step of an influencer campaign is to measure what worked and what didn’t and adapt your content accordingly.

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