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 In ae-ideas, Digital Marketing

Why Use Influencer Marketing with Industry Expert Breshell WestThe more that companies fill social media news feeds with advertisements and product offers, the more consumers crave authenticity and rely on word-of-mouth reviews from their peers and loved ones. But how do businesses stand out from all of the noise and fulfill the authenticity that consumers crave? Well, the answer to this question is Influencer Marketing. 

As an agency that offers Influencer Marketing, we can talk all day long about the success we’ve witnessed and the results we’ve gained with social media influencers. But today, we want to share the expertise and “behind-the-scenes” perspective from a highly successful and professional influencer. We’ve collaborated on many different projects and campaigns, and we are thrilled to get Breshell’s input and share her experience with you today!

Q: Hey, Breshell! Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into Influencer Marketing?

A: My introduction to the influencer world was a little untraditional. Growing up, my parents had a vision of what my career path would be: lawyer, doctor or accountant. During my senior year at The University of Oklahoma studying medicine, I realized that I had a different vision for my future. I decided to take a chance and focus on digital marketing. While working at a t-shirt shop and managing social media, the question of “is social media only for friends and family, or is it a place for business too?” crossed my mind. I then began reaching out to local businesses, conducting research and eventually creating my blog.

After growing my personal brand and moving back to Dallas/Ft. Worth after graduation, I was interviewed by KVGI radio station in Frisco about how local businesses can use social media to benefit their business. The segment broke all of the past records, and I then began to work with the station as a regular having my own show, “The Good News.” During my time at KVGI, there was a large increase in listeners, social media engagement and ultimately, this is what launched my career as Frisco’s #1 Influencer

Q: We love your content! How long have you been an influencer, and what do you love most about it?

A: I have been a local social media influencer going on five years! It’s the dream job I didn’t know I wanted. I have built my following on fashion, cooking/lifestyle and the best local restaurants. I strive to be the individual that everyone trusts and not just a person online. People want to feel a connection to the influencer! Connecting with the community and knowing my followers personally is what makes being an influencer so rewarding.

Q: What did you find to be your biggest challenge when first breaking into influencer marketing?

A: Wow, that’s a tough question! I would have to say the judgment from the people around me and the haters online. This is something that anyone who makes the jump from the private to public lifestyle has to deal with. It was hard starting my career in college and hearing people say things like, “I think I am better than everyone else,” which isn’t true at all. 

Q: With the influencer market being so competitive, how do you set yourself apart from other local influencers?

A: Everyone is always talking about what to do in Dallas and Ft. Worth but not Frisco. I saw an opportunity to promote local businesses and lifestyles in Frisco and far North Dallas. When I started, there weren’t any major attractions in Frisco, so it was a big risk that I knew I was ready to take on! Now, Frisco is becoming a tourist destination thanks to The Star in Frisco and many large businesses making the move to Frisco.

Q: We noticed you have 30.2K followers. Wow! Tell us a little bit about how you grew your following.

A: The best way I can put it is if you were to walk into a room of people, how would you make friends? Would you stand in the corner and not talk to anyone? No, you’re going to be social and personable! Being an influencer, you can’t live your life on an isolated island. Interacting with your following is KEY. Liking, commenting and following is a full-time job!

Q: We love that supporting local is a big passion of yours. What’s your favorite way to get involved in your community?

A: My favorite way to get involved is to host community events. Something that I have noticed is that Frisco doesn’t have many places to meet up with people who have similar interests. I am actually in the process of creating a website and eventually, an app! Finding Frisco will connect the Frisco community to local businesses and other citizens looking to build connections and relationships. Businesses, influencers and groups will be able to share their own content about specials or upcoming events to a large audience all at once.

Q: What does a day in the life of an “influencer” look like for you?

A: For me, there are two types of days. One day is all office work, such as paperwork, billing, contracts, etc. My favorite types of days are what I refer to as “outward days.” This is where I am face-to-face with businesses or out in the community, exploring and building relationships! Being an influencer isn’t just about promoting stores or restaurants. It’s also about finding truly unique places that people might not know about.

Q: How would you describe the difference between a micro-influencer and a celebrity or macro influencer? Do you prefer one over the other? Which one is more successful in your experience?

A: With micro-influencers, you feel like you are connected with your followers. They see you as relatable and reachable. When you start to get into the macro influencer world, a lot of the content is about their expensive bag or doing activities that are just not relatable to the rest of the world. From my experience, micro-influencers tend to have better results since they are of a niche market. For example, the brand that I have built focuses on the Frisco lifestyle. Even though growing my following is important, the demographic just isn’t always there. It’s okay not to have a million followers!

Q: Can you talk to us about how you choose which partnerships and products you work with?

A: Anything I work with has to meet a couple of requirements: it has to be a business in Frisco (or surrounding city) or a personal product that I would actually use in my everyday life. For example, my husband and I are expecting our first baby, so there will probably be more products and content surrounding this.

Q: What’s your favorite influencer campaign you worked on and why?

A: Hands down my favorite campaign to work on was for the Saguaro hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona! I partnered with them to create the “Ultimate Bachella.” While there, we shot photos to promote a bachelorette weekend. What was so awesome about this campaign was that the photos were picked up by other magazines and media platforms. In return, it brought the hotel more traffic, and my brand was exposed to more followers and awareness.

Q: Is influencer marketing for everyone? And how do you measure if it is successful? 

A: Absolutely, YES, it’s for everyone! There are three ways to measure if an influencer campaign is successful: One way is if you gather new and unique content. Many brands struggle with diversifying the images that are used. A second way is all about brand awareness– people are curious. They will click on a brand if it is something that they do not know what it is. The last way is through conversion or sales. This is tricky because, as a brand, you cannot expect an influencer to bring someone through the conversion funnel. It is best to do a partnership with an influencer, even though it might be more expensive. In my experience, it takes about three months to bring the conversions you are searching for. It’s important to remember that social media is not the end all be all just because you are active on social media or have partnered with an influencer. 

Q: What does your future of influencer marketing look like in your eyes?

A: It is going to become more niche and relationship-based. Right now, it is a battle of “bigger is better,” “I need more followers” and “it doesn’t matter what I’m posting.” Instead, people want companionship and more similarities with influencers.

Over the last few years, it’s no surprise that influencer marketing has grown exponentially and is on track to be worth a $9.7B industry by the end of 2020. As the influencer marketing industry becomes robust, brands and agencies marketing tactics must keep up. Social media has provided new channels for advertisers to tell their brand stories in an authentic and distinctive voice. As Breshell mentioned, an influencer is genuine and builds a following based on their recommendations. When brands are looking for social media influencers, it’s essential to do your research on all the influencers out there, build a persona for your brand so you know who you are looking for and find an influencer that matches well with your business. The last few years have proven that influencer marketing is invaluable for building customer trust and establishing brand identity. It’s never too late to get started, so get out there, get digital and find your influencers! 

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