The Men of Influencer Marketing: Parker York Smith

This is part one of an ongoing series where we will come to know more about the men of influencer marketing. 

It’s not often you find an industry where women have a commanding position over men. At Find Your Influence (FYI), we have more than 100,000 influencers who have opted in to our network to be discovered by brands around the world. Taking a closer look at the FYI network, 84 percent are female. That leaves 16 percent of the network led by men.

Who are these men? What makes them so successful? How have they built their personal brands?

This is part one of an ongoing series where we will come to know more about the men of influencer marketing.

On Monday, September 24, I spoke with Parker York Smith, a fashion and lifestyle influencer known as The LookSmith. What follows is our conversation:

Hey Parker! Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get started as an influencer?

“I started out a little over three years ago, it was like mid-2015. I was living in Los Angeles. My now wife, then girlfriend, saw me struggling trying to become an actor. I wasn’t enjoying it that much. She knew that I had gone to school for journalism and that I loved fashion. She suggested that I start taking photos of my outfits and putting them on the internet with my thought process about why I put it together the way I did. I had always been a style person even when it wasn’t my career. I started a website, went on to Instagram and started posting photos. There were a few people who were doing it already but not a good amount. My wife had met someone who was doing it full time who inspired her to even realize it was a career path. She encouraged me to start doing it and I did and little by little it turned into something. I’m fortunate being in Los Angeles because there are a lot of brands. It felt easy to me when I started to partner with some smaller brands early on and develop their content catalogue while also allowing me the opportunity to learn the ropes of fashion branding and the content creation side which is what I’ve grown to love. From three years ago to now it’s been a steady grind of lots of content, lots of partnerships, lots of ups and downs with social media. It’s provided me with incredible opportunities that I will always love and appreciate. I’m willing to admit that it can be a bit of a grind at times. I got my foot in the door at the right time when it wasn’t something that was super saturated.”

Tell me about the platforms you use today. Do you focus on just one platform or multiple?

“I originally started with Instagram and a website, cooperatively. I wanted to write a blog because I enjoy writing – my background and my degree is in journalism. Instagram became so essential and it was such an easy opportunity to showcase the visual side of everything. About a year ago, I started doing video because it really allows me to share my personality and my knowledge and hopefully inspire people to start to take themselves more seriously in terms of their style and confidence. I’ve been really loving video and am realizing that is where I want to end up in the future.”

Do you have any plans to expand across other social platforms?

“I have a Twitter page that I love but it’s just a way for me to push content from other channels. It’s really there as another outlet but not really a focus. I love shoes and Twitter is where I do a lot of research about upcoming releases or collaborations. Snapchat is on my phone but I don’t really use it. With the introduction of Instagram stories it made more sense for me to create videos where my audience already was as opposed to cultivating an entirely new audience.”

Tell me a little about your followers.

“My followers are 80 percent male. Mainly 24-34. Mostly American but a big chunk in London too. I’m starting to build a decent audience in other parts of the world too, thanks to YouTube, which is really exciting. Guys like me who enjoy style but aren’t trying to be wearing the most crisp suit and tie everyday. It’s more about expressing yourself through different style genres.”

Having followers is great but engagement is what really matters. How do your followers engage with you?

“As it relates to engagement, my biggest focus is to have a group of truly engaged, highly interested followers. It doesn’t have to be a gigantic number but engagement is important, I want my content seen because it makes it more exciting for me to create more when I know that it’s out there being seen by the most people. At the same time, I’m a strong believer in interacting with my followers. I answer all of my DM’s about my content or questions related to style in general. One of my favorite things is that I’ll have guys send me photos of them getting ready and they’ll show two different types of shoes with their outfit and ask me which one works better. It’s so cool to be able to have that direct connection with someone who may be thousands of miles away. I’m definitely more focused on being available, being approachable and being someone who people feel comfortable reaching out to, knowing that I’m going to provide solid, honest feedback. I’m not about making people feel that fashion is unattainable or that I’m living some lavish lifestyle that is out of their reach.”

Now let’s talk campaigns. What are some of your favorite brands that you’ve worked with?

“I have an ongoing partnership with a brand called Greats, a Brooklyn-based sneaker company that is one of my favorite brands in general. They are awesome. I love what they do. I love their product. Their whole business model is great. They give me and my wife the freedom to really create some amazing content for them. We work together on a lot of stuff which is fun.”

Is there a brand you aspire to work with?

“In thinking about a brand that I would aspire to work with, as someone who loves sneakers, I would love to be able to collaborate with a shoe brand either on an existing product line or get involved from the ground up in the design process. I don’t look at it like, ‘I need to work with this brand,’ or ‘I need to work with that brand,’ it’s more of trying to be excited about the brands I am working with. Helping them while also being true to my brand and my values.”

What inspires you?

“The thing that inspires me most is being able to have an honest impact on people. Whether that’s giving them on idea on what they can be wearing or giving them more confidence to try a new hairstyle, whatever it is, I’ve been where they are before. Having an impact and helping people be the best version of themselves is what inspires me more than anything.”

Let’s talk about your peers, other male fashion influencers. Help me understand the relationship you have with them.

“Within the male fashion influencer space, it’s a pretty collaborative scene.  It’s not competitive, in my experience. Because I feel strongly that I want to provide as much value as possible, if it’s realistic to think someone else is going to provide more value for a specific style or brand, so be it. I would obviously love to get every job and work with everybody but that’s just not realistic. I don’t feel competitive but instead I feel inspired because many of the other influencers are just killing it. Many of them produce content that I follow that inspire me and give me ideas to tweak my content. I choose to look at it as a much more a motivational factor and to be excited for these guys and their success.  There have been opportunities where brands have come to other influencers and say ‘We actually need three more guys, can you recommend anyone?’ and because we have good relationships and they trust my ability, they offer my name to the brand. I’ve gotten several jobs because of this. I like to be up front and honest with my peers that we’re all in this together. This isn’t something we need to be fighting against one another.”

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What Your Company Gets Out Of Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

It’s no surprise that influencer marketing is continuing to gain traction in the digital world. By now, you’ve likely read the articles and seen the success stories. Everyone seems to claim that influencer marketing can increase reach and drive sales. But how will it impact you? And how can you be sure it’s worth the hype?

There is plenty of proof and research illustrating how and why influencer marketing works. When you get to the core of it, it’s not even a new concept: brand ambassadors or advocates are tried and true in marketing. The new face of influencer marketing just streamlines strategic solutions and improves the potential impact.

But these updates don’t necessarily equate to simplicity. As with anything that’s worth the work, you have to set goals, measure KPIs, build influencer relationships and prioritize authenticity. A high-quality content strategy will always be vital in order to stand out and achieve success with influencer marketing. As said in Forbes, “Influence isn’t just having a lot of followers. It’s also driven by expertise and credibility on subject matter and the relationship between the influencer and his or her followers.”

At Find Your Influence (FYI), we’ve seen the success stories firsthand. We have the experience to simplify the complex and can help you get the most of influencer marketing. This is what you need to know:

“On average, marketers who implemented an influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media.” The 2014 Influencer Marketing Benchmark report by Burst Media found that companies really are seeing results—and ROI dollar signs.

42% of consumers look to blogs for information about potential purchases while 52% say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions. You can’t argue with this statistic: sales are sales. If potential customers are looking for information about your industry or products on blogs, don’t you want to make sure they find you?

92% of consumers trust their friends and family more than ads, and they’re more likely to make purchases based on recommendations than billboards. You might be thinking “duh,” but it’s important to connect the professional dots here: this is why your ads aren’t working.

86% of marketers assess that marketing has changed more in the last 5 years than in the 50 years preceding, according to traacker.com. If you don’t evolve with the times, you’re going to be left behind (and see your ROI for traditional ads drop lower and lower)

Influencer marketing campaigns work with any budget. You can go big and pay for celebrity influencers or launch an interactive campaign with lots of perks and engagement. Or, you can go small and invest in a just few influencers who will still make a big impact. FYI offers a self-service platform and the option to start connecting with influencers for free, so you don’t even need to spend thousands of dollars on an agency or consulting firm.

Everything influencer marketing is at your fingertips at whatever price your company has budgeted for the initiative. Learn more about how influencer marketing can help your business here.

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What Your Company Gets Out Of Influencer Marketing

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By: Courtney Moser

It’s no surprise that influencer marketing is continuing to gain traction in the digital world. By now, you’ve likely read the articles and seen the success stories. Everyone seems to claim that influencer marketing can increase reach and drive sales. But how will it impact you? And how can you be sure it’s worth the hype?

There is plenty of proof and research illustrating how and why influencer marketing works. When you get to the core of it, it’s not even a new concept: brand ambassadors or advocates are tried and true in marketing. The new face of influencer marketing just streamlines strategic solutions and improves the potential impact.

But these updates don’t necessarily equate to simplicity. As with anything that’s worth the work, you have to set goals, measure KPIs, build influencer relationships and prioritize authenticity. A high-quality content strategy will always be vital in order to stand out and achieve success with influencer marketing. As said in Forbes, “Influence isn’t just having a lot of followers. It’s also driven by expertise and credibility on subject matter and the relationship between the influencer and his or her followers.”

At Find Your Influence (FYI), we’ve seen the success stories firsthand. We have the experience to simplify the complex and can help you get the most of influencer marketing. This is what you need to know:

“On average, marketers who implemented an influencer marketing program in 2014 received $6.85 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media.” The 2014 Influencer Marketing Benchmark report by Burst Media found that companies really are seeing results—and ROI dollar signs.

42% of consumers look to blogs for information about potential purchases while 52% say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions. You can’t argue with this statistic: sales are sales. If potential customers are looking for information about your industry or products on blogs, don’t you want to make sure they find you?

92% of consumers trust their friends and family more than ads, and they’re more likely to make purchases based on recommendations than billboards. You might be thinking “duh,” but it’s important to connect the professional dots here: this is why your ads aren’t working.

86% of marketers assess that marketing has changed more in the last 5 years than in the 50 years preceding, according to traacker.com. If you don’t evolve with the times, you’re going to be left behind (and see your ROI for traditional ads drop lower and lower)

Influencer marketing campaigns work with any budget. You can go big and pay for celebrity influencers or launch an interactive campaign with lots of perks and engagement. Or, you can go small and invest in a just few influencers who will still make a big impact.

Everything influencer marketing is at your fingertips at whatever price your company has budgeted for the initiative. Learn more about how influencer marketing can help your business here.

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How to Leverage Multiple Platforms in an Influencer Marketing Campaign

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By Courtney Moser

The average digital consumer has seven social media accounts.

Yes, seven… on average. Let that sink in for a minute. That number has risen quickly from just three social accounts in 2012, according to Global Web Index, and is reason enough to leverage multi-platform marketing.

So what’s your social number? Seven accounts seem shockingly high at first, until you start counting. Between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and everything else, there’s an overwhelming number of platforms and ways in which to connect online.

This can be daunting enough for consumers, but what about brands? The increasing amount of social networks and types of influencers can determine how you handle your marketing strategy and efforts. Below we outline a few of the ways you can make the most of marketing on multiple platforms.

Multi-platform social campaigns

Marketing on several social platforms is now necessary in order to effectively reach more users spanning many networks. In fact, 81% of consumers say that friend’s social media posts have directly influenced purchase decisions. And, 78% say that a company’s social media posts have impacted their decisions. Increased visibility across networks means more opportunities to get your content in front of consumers.

The specific platforms you choose will depend on your target audience and your influencer’s audience demographics. It’s important to understand the difference between the users on social platforms – for instance, Facebook users span a wide variety of age groups, but more than half of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 18-29. A social retail campaign targeting females in their twenties, then, might be shared across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Blog campaigns

When working with blogging influencers, brands often let them choose which of their social platforms are most popular. Obviously, the main platform in this case is their blog, but most utilize other social networks to drive page views and engagement. Tylenol’s #WhatMattersMost campaign offers an excellent example of a multi-platform blog campaign. The brand asked blogging influencers to write about how they celebrate what matters most during the holidays, and then link to that content using the branded hashtag across social networks. The result was 36 blog posts that generated 112,251 unique views – plus 559 tweets, 206 Facebook likes and 334 Instagram posts.

Platform-specific campaigns

These campaigns are typically chosen to capitalize on a specific feature or demographic on a platform. Twitter parties, for instance, allow brands to connect quickly with consumers and follow conversations or host Q&A’s through branded hashtags. Or Facebook Live videos now offer a unique way for brands to “speak” with consumers in real time. Even if you’re running a platform-specific campaign, however, you can still promote it or link to it on other social platforms. You can spread the word about your Twitter party on other platforms to encourage followers to head over to your Twitter page on a certain day and time – increasing awareness and the number of participants tweeting.

To learn more about influencer marketing best practices and utilizing social platforms, check out all of the content on our blog. Plus, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Find the Right Influencers

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By Courtney Moser

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Or is it? At FYI, we’d modify this piece of professional wisdom to read “It’s what you know and who you know,” but that wouldn’t be nearly as catchy. So instead, we’ll have to settle for explaining why both knowledge and connections matter in the world of influencer marketing.

Did you know, for example, that 92% of consumers turn to people they know for product or service referrals? And when it comes to retail research, 60% of consumers said they’ve consulted blogs or social media before shopping or making a purchase. This knowledge is critical in order to understand the importance of influencer marketing. You have to connect with the right influencers to be in front of the right eyes at the right time; to increase reach, awareness and engagement.

Ultimately, the goal of influencer marketing is to turn your influencers into brand advocates. To do this, you have to have a solid grasp on your own audience and know as much as you can about them: how old are they, what kind of blogs do they read, what are they interested in, and of course, why would they want your product or service? Then, you can connect with influencers who have similar interests, goals and high-reaching blogs or social platforms.

An influencer’s audience demographics should align with your target audience. Having this commonality provides a great starting point for cultivating an authentic relationship. Of course, relevance is just as important when it comes to content.Once you’ve found influencers who seem to fit with your brand, you should research their content and social networks. High-quality content is key when individuals are aligning themselves with your brand publicly. You want them to not only be creative and engaging, but professional and relevant as well.

So, how do you find the right influencers?

  1. Know your own audience
  2. Research their audience and content
  3. Add value and cultivate relationships

Don’t forget – this is all about relationships. It’s not just about brand sales or numbers, but adding value for influencers and consumers. As Forbes says: “When you select an influencer to work with, start by making an investment in them. Give them something worthy of sharing with their followers beyond samples and a product shot.”

Ready to learn more? Check out our best practices series here.

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Pick the Right Social Platform

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By: Courtney Moser

Quick, how many influencers are on Instagram?

Trick question! It’s not that simple: it depends on your brand, products, campaign goals, audience and overall mission. So while the answer for one company may be “all the influencers!” for others, it may be very few.

Before choosing which social media platforms you’ll utilize for your influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to understand the demographics and purpose of each one. Who is your target audience and what social networks are they on? Where does it make the most sense to reach them? Examples are shown below from Sprout Social statistics:

Facebook: This social platform has evolved throughout the years from a college friends network to include almost everyone. 87% of adults between the ages of 18-29, 73% of adults 30-49, 63% of adults 50-64 and 63% of adults 65+ use Facebook.

Instagram: More than half of Instagram’s main users are 18-29, and the platform is increasing in popularity as visual elements become more important: The average engagement per Instagram post has grown by 416% over two years (2015).

Twitter: Similar to Instagram, the largest demographic using Twitter is adults ages 18-29. Their users skew female and mostly urban dwellers. On-the-go, localized tweeting can be valuable for marketers: 80% of Twitter active users are on mobile.

Of course there’s also YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Periscope, and many more – but the highly popular networks above illustrate the span of demographics and users. If your brand wants to make an impact with consumers between the ages of 50-64, for example, your best bet for a successful promotion is Facebook. Or, if you want to market a new product to a younger female who lives in an urban area, make Twitter part of your strategy.

There will definitely be network overlaps, but more often than not, it makes sense to focus on a select few for campaigns – even if your brand has a presence on all of them. A video campaign on YouTube and Facebook Live, for instance, will require a different strategy than an image caption content on Instagram. And a trending hashtag may be more meaningful on Twitter or Instagram than other networks.

If you’re working with influencers in your campaign who are bloggers first, then you can ask them to share their blog content on the social platforms that make the most sense for their medium and audience. One influencer may be more photo-focused and have the most followers on Instagram, while another may have the strongest following on Facebook. This is something you’ll have to discuss upfront with your blogging influencers and factor into your campaign goals and analysis.

Now that you’re ready to pick your social platforms, what’s the next step in your influencer marketing campaign? Learn more in our best practices series here.

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How to Win Fans and Influence Consumers: Build Manageable Campaign Deadlines

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By: Courtney Gibb

ASAP. EOD. Do those look familiar? Are you feeling tense? We’ve all cringed at abbreviations such as those added on to a request; inhaled a little more deeply and started rethinking our plan for the day.

Some urgent, last-minute requests are unavoidable – that’s just life and unpredictability in business, particularly in the marketing world. Organized and intentional influencer marketing campaigns, on the other hand, should have firm timelines to add consistency and accountability to your planning and strategy.

Let’s get one thing straight – at FYI, our team has overseen the development and deployment of more than 10,000 influencer marketing campaigns. We’ve seen a lot of different ideas and strategies come through our doors, and we’ve made some better – we’ve added to others, and still others we’ve skinnied down.

Through our research and experience over the years, the FYI Client Success team has come up with the basis for a solid influencer marketing campaign timeline. Is it definitive? Nope. It is mandatory? Still no? But those who fail to plan…well, you now how that goes.

In general, for any influencer marketing campaign, we recommend a nine-week campaign plan…yes, nine weeks. It may seem like a crazy long time at first (I want to influence NOW!), but it’s better to be prepared than lost and overwhelmed.

Here’s how the nine-week plan breaks down, in convenient equation format:

If you take:

Two weeks to select and invite influencers

+ Two weeks for influencers to develop content

+ Four weeks for the campaign to be active

+ One week for reporting and analysis

= A comprehensive, streamlined campaign timeline

Each campaign will be slightly different, depending on everything from personal preferences to brand goals. It’s important to speak with everyone involved in the campaign when setting the timeline, to ensure that it’s realistic based on workload and priorities.

And, it can be helpful to dissect the timeline even further and set daily deadlines. For example, within the two weeks set aside to select and invite influencers, the first three days could be for research, the next four days for invites and the whole second week could be open for influencer responses and questions.

The key to a successful influencer marketing campaign is both organization and flexibility. What if an influencer doesn’t respond? Move forward on a set date regardless. Will your account manager be OOO the first week of September? Factor that in and ensure back-up is available. There may be last-minute issues you can’t predict, but at least it won’t feel that stressful at every turn.

Do you have any tips or tricks that have made your influencer marketing campaigns successful? Let us know! And check out the rest of our influencer marketing best practices here.

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