I’ve noticed that there is still is a big learning curve for brands to find the right influencer for them. I believe that social media channels, such as Instagram and Facebook are still the largest, most valuable marketing tools that exist in the industry. The digital world is constantly evolving, so the marketplace for specific brands, especially in the travel industry, needs to be geared towards these needs, for example, creating video content which is creative and aspirational, with that spark to make it go viral.
This means that brands need to work with the right influencer for their specific needs. That could be a luxury resort needing someone that is focused on displaying the actual hard-product of the hotel, rather than of their hot bikini body in a picture where the beach could be anywhere in the world. The content that is generated has to match and showcase the details of a beautiful product making us want to escape to that organic juice trolley at the Six Senses after a relaxing sunrise yoga session if that is what is being advertised.
Providing inspiration and creating that desire to escape is crucial in the content creation process for any brand.
Focusing on quality versus quantity, means that a smaller influencer with 200,000 followers can often provide more value than someone with follower numbers in the millions. These larger followers have a more diverse fan-base which means smaller percentages of their supporters will be able to actually go on the holidays they are advertising. On the other hand, the influencer with the smaller fan-base maybe has a more targeted niche, who can be converted from a follower into a paying customer.
Brands can reach a much larger audience and receive cool, creative content for free if they have a relationship with a big travel influencer. Furthermore, a leading bikini brand or luxury resort has the advantage of buying the footage for their own websites and Instagram too.
The unique thing in this environment is that every influencer is their own artist. I wore a bikini for Sonja Morgan in a video, shot by a drone, standing on top of a cliff in Bali that went viral. It was re-posted a few million times by big profiles and the exposure for a beautiful resort or bikini brand on this scale can surpass a classic print ad.
But brands do have responsibilities of their own. They need to set boundaries and expectations in writing so everyone is clear on the deliverables, for example how many posts are made or what style the photos should be. This leaves all parties clear on how to proceed and how to develop the relationship yet further.
When you do produce videos, you’ll receive gifts in exchange. I created a video for the famous Mykonos cave hotel Cavo Tago that went viral and it showcased a walk through the cave’s indoor pool. But in the end, many followers asked me about my lemon bikini that I had purchased in Capri instead. I recommend longer-term relationships with brands so you have multiple posts which provide better visibility and can lead to these kinds of relationships where you become associated with a certain brand.