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Under the Influence

Want to become an influencer, or simply work with one? Abby Adesanya sheds light on what makes a great influencer, and how the right one can be used to benefit and elevate brands.

Dressed in head-to-toe black – signature downtown Manhattan attire – Abby Adesanya had an indisputable fashionable air to her. This comes as no surprise, as Adesanya has been the Deus ex Machina for the rise and shine of several fashion influencers; at least one of which I’d bet you follow.

Having been responsible for social media activation led by a leading influencer management firm, Socialyte, Adesanya is without a doubt an expert on gaining brand awareness, conceptualizing content creation, and improving social media interaction for her influencers.

Currently working in Experiential Marketing at Vox Media, Adesanya has shared valuable insight with the Designow Team concerning the road to becoming an influencer, as well as how to utilize influencers to the benefit of your brand.

With the rise of social media, a variety of influencers have garnered a mass following, crowning them as today’s celebrities. With that said, many well-known influencers had achieved celebrity status prior to the boom of social media. Such influencers include Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, Aimee Song of Song of Style, and Julie Sariñana of Sincerely, Jules. Moving away from using blogs and websites as a primary platform of communication with their devoted readers, most influencers now are channeling the immediacy of social media to gain attention from a large array of brands. 

1. Aimee Song 2. Shea Marie 3. Julie Sariñana 4. Kristina Bazan 5. Lainy Hedaya 6. Gala Gonzalez 7. Danielle Bernstein

So, what makes a great influencer? According to Adesanya, “Being a great influencer is a combination of making quality content, remaining consistent, and knowing your audience.” In order to be successful and maintain a fan base, influencers need to be sincere in their endeavors, remaining authentic to both themselves and their readers.

Adesanya continued, “Great content attracts threefold - followers, brands, and engagement. If you can build your personal identity in a way that grabs a casual scroller off the Explore page, they will “like” and engage with your posts, and brands will start to notice.” It is also largely important for influencers to engage with the readers by liking their photos and commenting back on Instagram. Doing so “breaks the fourth wall, which is really important to make a connection with your fans,” Adesanya said.

In lieu of the overly saturated influencer market, to become one today, it is necessary to garner a specific brand identity and promote relentlessly. Both commitment and engagement, on social media and in person, are non-negotiable in the pursuit of becoming an influencer. Individuals must self-promote, shamelessly. Adesanya suggests reaching out to other influencers with a larger following for a shout-out, and though it might cost a certain price, it will be beneficial in the long run.

“As an influencer, your instinct should always be to think of any and every way to have your voice heard. As unnatural as it may first seem, people want to hear what influencers have to say. That’s what this industry is all about,” Adesanya stated.

This, though, is only one side of the spectrum. On the other end, we can find businesses using influencers to elevate their brand and increase their visibility.  When seeking out influencers for business endeavors, it is most important to find an individual that shares the same brand identity and appeals to the right target market. In doing so, “influencers can benefit brands by increasing brand awareness to their large following,” said Adesanya. Not only is this a numbers game, as the amount of followers across social media platforms is fundamental, but success is also heavily reliant on the influencer’s engagement with the public.  

8. Jessica Stein 9. Louise Roe 10. Chiara Ferragni 11. Courtney Trop 12. Chriselle Lim 13. Soraya Bakhtiar 14. Negin Mirsalehi

Similar to any other industry, the influencer/brand business is certainly two-sided. Adesanya explains how “Campaigns end on a positive note when all parties - the agency, the brand, and the influencer - are on the same page and maintain an open flow of communication. The best experiences are when the brand is transparent on their needs and desired results early on in the process so that the agency can easily translate these asks to the influencer. Once the influencer is aware of their expectations, they can create quality work to the satisfaction of both the brand and the influencer themselves. Both parties want to work together in a way that positively reflects each side, so it's always great when the brand is open with their asks and the influencer can deliver great work as promised.” Whether in pursuit of becoming an influencer or simply working with one, Adesanya has us covered, without a doubt. 

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