Kara Zawacki is playing an essential role in the transformative shift the influencer marketing industry is currently experiencing. As the Senior Coordinator for Social Commerce at Daniel Wellington (a brand we consider to be a leader in this space), our featured PLANOLEADER knows a thing or two about Instagram and its importance in any content strategy. But when it comes to Kara's outlook on the current landscape, what piqued our interest the most is her interest in changing the norm in how we think about and work with influencers. Today's interview touches more on this and shares an in-depth look into Kara's professional background, and her day-in-the-life at Daniel Wellington along with her recommended best practices for other marketers in this space. Read on for more featuring our visit with Kara at Daniel Wellington's adorable Soho shop.
Hi! I'm Kara, a Senior Coordinator for the Social Commerce and Marketing team at Daniel Wellington. I've lived in New York for over three years now and currently reside in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You can find me in your local boutique fitness class, thrifting around the city, or asking to pet your dog.
Before DW, I was all over the map professionally but have always been pretty digital and creative. I worked in fashion e-com and graphic design before landing this role in social commerce and influencer marketing where I've been plugging away for the last year and a half. One of the most notable moments in my career was when I went on my first business trip. While the bulk of my job is online, my role has expanded to focusing more on creating genuine offline relationships with the influencers we work with, and it's even more fun when I get to travel to do it. I remember having an ah-ha moment on an airplane to LA for the first time, on my way to host an event for a group of fitness/lifestyle influencers, and I remember thinking, "Wow, I really can mix my passion for people and excitement for travel and call it my job."
I get to the office every morning between 8:30 and 9 AM and start tackling my inbox. The majority of my day is spent scouring social media (typically Instagram) for on-brand partners who align with any upcoming campaigns or projects, whether that's online through social media promotion or offline in a more community-building capacity. One of my favorite aspects of the job is how quickly it changes. This industry is so fast- paced and social platforms are adding new features and changing all the time. I like being kept on my toes, and I'm constantly challenged to think one step ahead. An area I'm working to improve on is the way in which we work with our influencers. I think there's always more unique ways to collaborate and things to learn from each other in order to improve and diversify the kind of customer we target and ultimately, the brand we build.
DW was definitely one of the early adopters of the game, and I'm really grateful to have learned from a brand that knew a good thing when they saw it. But to be honest, the term influencer can be a little controversial for me. There are definitely people I'd consider influential, but often people think having a lot of followers on social media automatically makes you an influencer, and that is certainly not always the case. Regardless, influencer marketing has played such a crucial role in DW's social strategy because it's a simple yet effective way to promote product. Taking recommendations from people you admire - friends, role models, celebrities, anyone you see as having "influence" - isn't a new concept. Social media has simply given those people a platform to turn this practice into a business.
Because this way of marketing is still pretty new, there hasn't been much precedent about how much it really costs to market via influencers. Every collaboration is different, and there are tons of factors at play that don't just include follower count. It's like on the one hand, who are you (as the influencer) to tell me one sponsored Instagram will cost me x amount but on the other hand, who am I to tell you your platform isn't worth that price? It's hard to put a value on someone else's creativity, so good negotiation is a huge part of it. Something that should be celebrated more is how hard your favorite influencers work to keep content on your feed. Be kind to them! Yes, it can be frustrating to see loads of posts with #ad or #sponsored, especially when the product they're promoting might feel a little inauthentic, but that's their way of monetizing their business so they can keep creating content for you. Cut them some slack!
I loved seeing the social media post introducing Jenna Lyons as one of Glossier's holiday campaign faces. The partnership is such a perfect example of how two strong brand identities can join forces to define further what a "cool girl" disruptor looks like. I can't say enough great things about it!
Tip 1:Create recurring content. Whether you post an #ootd every Monday morning or have an Instagram Story segment about your new favorite products on Wednesday nights, creating content that your followers will look out for and even forward to will retain followers and encourage engagement. Tip 2:Post consistently/frequently. To stay on top of Instagram's algorithm, it's important to find the sweet spot between bombarding your followers with content and just posting now and then. Frequent posts will give your audience more opportunity to interact and increase your chances of bringing you closer to the top of their feeds. Tip 3:Be yourself. I know this is trite, but it's so important! The digital world has enough of everyone else. As someone who spends the majority of her workday on Instagram, you'll make the world a whole lot more interesting if you worry less about likes and more about putting content out into the world that is so unapologetically you, people can't help but notice.