The Motherhood sponsored an informative conversation on the creator economy at the Pittsburgh Influencer Summit. Hosted by PRSA Pittsburgh at Alloy 26, the panel explored the current state of influencer marketing, including keeping up with the ever-changing algorithm, channels to watch, working with influencers, challenges, opportunities, measuring success, and more. Here’s a look at what we learned.
The panel was made up of creators who focus on topics ranging from food and tech, to mental health, lifestyle and parenting, offering unique perspectives on these categories. We also had representation from American Eagle/Aerie, who pioneered the body positivity movement on social media. We heard from:
- Jess Iacullo, Hungry Jess Big City
- Nicole Young, Nicole Young Tech
- Brea Schmidt, The Thinking Branch
- Luke Klein, Senior Director, Aerie Marketing Strategy & Growth
Pittsburgh Influencer Summit: The Takeaways
Write with SEO in mind
Nicole mentioned she always thinks about SEO when developing her captions, because that can be a great way for new people to discover her. While the group agreed that you shouldn’t let what’s trending or recommended necessarily dictate your content due to the ever-changing algorithms, people like to search for certain keywords to find good content, so that should always stay top of mind. In fact, Nicole said people are finding her content from years ago from YouTube, and blogs are still a great way to strengthen SEO over time.
The panel also agreed that testing is so important when it comes to seeing what resonates with their audiences. Brea said that’s why longer-term partnerships with brands are so valuable. Over time, her audience gets to know the brand sponsor, and she can work collaboratively to see what type of content is taking off and tailor future posts accordingly. And from a brand point of view, Luke said, “people have questions, we have answers.” At Aerie, they develop content that they know people are asking for and want to know more about. And that TikTok is great for introducing people to a brand.
Using automation to your advantage
We love Nicole’s series on ChatGPT prompts. She uses ChatGPT a lot to help her develop scripts and captions. She even used it to help her plan a trip! It’s all about giving it the best prompts to automate in a way that helps her get started, and then she takes that to finalize and put it in her own unique voice. While some of the creators aren’t using ChatGPT at all, they are all still learning how they can best use it. The team at Aerie is using it to help increase their output. And while we know ChatGPT can’t replace the human touch, we do know it can be a viable way to get the ball rolling on ideation, concepting and research, just as Nicole mentioned.
Showing the value of influencer marketing
Reporting is key when it comes to smart influencer marketing, because you can show the value that it brings. While it can often be difficult to guarantee results, just like in earned media, quality can be just as valuable as quantity. Setting those KPIs from the beginning is essential. But it’s not just for the clients. Influencers want to know your campaign goals so they can deliver on them. Vetting quality influencers who are passionate about your message makes for a successful campaign. Engagement still reigns supreme – likes, comments, shares and saves. Interacting with the content can be so helpful for brand awareness. Not to mention, influencers are creating content for brands to use across their channels, assisting with storytelling.
Authenticity over everything
Authenticity was the theme of the evening. We love when Jess told the story of her being a little girl holding a McDonald’s cup, and today she partners with the brand. Something she’s loved for years. Another long partnership she’s had is with a local restaurant, Pita My Shawarma. She even has her own menu item, the Hungry Jess Shawarma! Everyone on the panel stressed how important staying authentic and true to their own brands was. Luke said the best partnerships are those who believe in the brand, and partnerships are never transactional. As we mentioned in one of our podcast episodes, creators are people. They are not a media buy but rather, a human with a story behind them. It’s a different – and incredibly effective – way to deliver a brand message.
Setting goals and expectations. Not being prescriptive. Collaboration. Communication. These are all the key drivers to a successful influencer marketing campaign. The panel at the Pittsburgh Influencer Summit shared insightful information that we were lucky to be a part of.
Thank you to all who attended!