The final installment in our #StateofInfluence series features Shirin Dhuper, who joined Krupp Group as the VP of Digital in February 2018. She has previously held digital strategy and influencer relations positions at Iconix Brand Group, Digital Brand Architects, and Socialyte. During her career, Shirin has created and managed the social media accounts for countless brands, including Lane Bryant and Billionaire Boys Club.
She has also been involved in the influencer marketing space since the inception of Instagram, working alongside digital teams of Tiffany&Co, Chips Ahoy, Oreo, Dove, and Grey Goose. At Krupp Group, she oversees social media and digital strategies for a wide range of clients, as well as influencer programming for brands like Splendid, Mother Denim, and Doc Martens.
#StateofInfluence: An Interview with Shirin Dhuper of Krupp Group
At Krupp Group, is influencer marketing an integral part of the marketing strategies for the brands you work with?
Yes, influencer marketing is a key part of our marketing strategy for our clients. All of our clients are engaging with influencers in some capacity through strategic gifting initiatives, paid programming, content creation, or event support.
How do you feel your marketing practices have changed over the last few years, and what do brands want more of now?
There has definitely been a shift in the way brands are approaching influencers. Just a few years ago, this was a brand new space for marketers. There was a lot of trial and error, and one-off campaigns taking place, with no clear way to measure the success of a campaign outside of impressions and engagement.
Brands have become much more strategic when it comes to influencers, what these partnerships look like, and who they are aligning themselves with. They have started to invest in an ‘always-on’ influencer strategy and longer-term partnerships, leading to ambassador programs. Brands are creating tracked links and individualized promo codes to better measure ROI on these campaigns.
There has also been an increased need to partner with quality influencers who have some passion, interest or hobby outside of being an Instagram influencer. Brands want to align themselves with ‘real’ people who also have influence, whether that they be an artist, dancer, entrepreneur, chef, interior designer, philanthropist etc.
What is the key to maintaining authenticity when working with opinion leaders?
The key to authenticity is having trust in the influencers you have decided to partner with.
Often times brands will partner with an influencer, but hand them a full content brief with the way they want content shot and captions to read, which takes away from the true value influencers are bringing to the table. The brand and influencer need to be collaborative on all campaigns, as that will really make the campaign genuine and authentic.
Brands should also look to partner with influencers who truly believe in the brand and have a genuine affinity towards it, as they will go above and beyond from a content perspective and the relationship will be authentic. Brands should be making the investment towards longer-term ambassador programs with talents that have shown a genuine interest in the brands, as the ROI will be that much stronger.
From your experience at Krupp Group, what do your clients typically look for in an influencer when engaging a collaboration?
When we’re building our campaigns for our clients, we’re really spending our time researching and identifying talents that we feel will truly align with the product and brand. We often start by seeding the product to talents and see who organically promotes it on their social platforms. If we see influencers organically posting about the product without compensation and some ROI from that post whether it be a bump in our social growth, traffic to the site, above average engagement when re-purposed on the brand’s social channel, then we look into how we can build out a bigger program with these talents.
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In addition to natural brand affinity, we’re looking at engagement, saves and story views. We will ask all influencers for their insights from both a metrics and audience standpoint to make sure they are the right fit before jumping into a partnership.
Measurement is still a challenge for brands: What factors do you take into account to judge whether influencer campaigns were successful?
We make sure we’re getting screenshots of the influencers insights immediately after the campaign wraps so we can see actual reach, taps, saves (this is something we’re really starting to look at as it shows purchase intent), clicks from their story swipe ups, and views. Our clients are also creating tracked links so we’re working with their e-commerce teams to get data after the campaign wraps for traffic and sales.
What challenges do you foresee for fashion, luxury and cosmetics brands in terms of influencer marketing?
There are a couple of challenges I see for brands when it comes to influencer marketing.
The first is fake followers/engagement. While platforms are doing cleanups daily, there are still so many influencers in the space who are booking jobs who have bought followers or likes. There still isn’t an efficient way to identify how much of an influencer’s audience is truly authentic.
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The second challenge is ROI and the brands’ expectations of influencers when it comes to that. Brands want instant gratification from a sales standpoint, for example, an influencer posts a story with a swipe up and a brand is expecting a significant bump in sales. That is unfortunately not the reality. It takes time and if brands are only going to invest in periodic influencer marketing spend, then the results will not measure up to expectations. Consumers need to see a product at least seven times before making a decision to purchase. A consumer might see an influencer post about a product a few times and then see that product in the store and purchase it. While this consumer was influenced to purchase the product, there is no attribution back to the influencer.
What predictions do you have for the future of influencer marketing?
The landscape has changed so much and continues to evolve daily.
I see a lot more branded influencer collaborations emerging in the next year or so. I also see brands starting to utilize influencers as consultants for internal purposes such as a rebranding initiative or support with their social media strategy and content creation.
Influencers are also beginning to shift their attention to other platforms outside of just Instagram and refocus their attention back on their blog or launch a podcast as a way to reach a new audience.
Improve your relationships with influencers
If you want to learn more insights and how to improve your relationships with influencers, be sure to download your full copy of The State of Influencer Marketing report below: