This year we've made it a priority to build upon our features and products in tandem with building the PLANOLY community. It's been so rewarding to connect with our users in a variety of ways, especially through offline partnerships and events with like-minded businesses. Most recently, we had the incredible opportunity to head east once again and join forces with The Wing — aka the world's leading women's only co-working and social space — on a panel event at their gorgeous location in SoHo, New York.
To celebrate the next phase of our affiliate network StyleLink.it (and with it, the launch of our StyleLink.it Campaigns by PLANOLY feature), we curated some of the best and brightest women in digital for an honest discussion on the state of social branding and influencer marketing. With PLANOLY and The Wing's shared appreciation for diverse perspectives, our panelists were able to speak to these themes from a variety of vantage points including from the POV of an influencer, brand, and agency. Our speakers included fashion influencers Alyssa Coscarelli (@alyssainthecity) and Olivia Perez (@livvperez), brand leaders Gigi Guerra of Target (@gigiguerra1 @target), Madison Utendahl of Museum of Ice Cream (@madison.utendahl @museumoficecream), and Isabel McWhorter-Rosen of The Wing (@izzafacekilla @the.wing), and agency leader, Reesa Lake of DBA (@reesalake @therealdba). We covered a ton of ground in our short (but enriching!) hour-long discussion. Below are a few of our big takeaways:
The Definition of "Influencer" Is Not the Same to Everyone
Even on a panel of some of the most influential women in digital, there was still a recurring theme around the ever-evolving definition of what it means to be an "influencer" in this day and age. Despite the stigma still attached to the phrase, our panelists contend that influence spans far beyond one's follower count and has more to do with their unique voice and POV. Our panelists also demonstrated how fully leaning into this presents a natural opportunity to let an influencer's talents or interests inspire content and partnerships, and ultimately that can be mutually beneficial for all involved parties.
Create Consistency and Authenticity
From the branding and content side, there was uniform agreement that authenticity is essential. On a macro-level, our panelists shared a few of their recommended best practices including the importance of using tools (like PLANOLY!) to streamline their content planning, along with taking the time to understand who you are and what you want to offer your followers. Our speakers also touched on how the details (like creating visual uniformity throughout one's entire Instagram feed) are also important to consider in the daily maintenance that goes into making sure a brand is consistent across all channels.
Manage Feedback and Expectations
Another important theme throughout our conversation related back to the logistics of working with influencers and brands, and that largely included managing feedback and expectations. When it comes to social media, our panelists agreed that the immediate feedback loop enables both brands and influencers to understand what's working and adjust accordingly. When it comes to partnerships, there was also talk about understanding clearly defined objectives and deliverables upfront so that both parties can be set up for success. Finally, our speakers addressed that while it may sometimes be hard to know when to draw the line and establish boundaries, it will ultimately serve their business and partnerships in the long-run.
"From the branding and content side, there was uniform agreement that authenticity is essential."
Build and Foster Relationships Offline
Whether you're on the brand or influencer side, our panelists spoke about how it is critical to build and maintain relationships. Most of our panelists had known or worked together before our discussion, and this alone really demonstrated the power of long-lasting connections both online and off. In fact, they all agreed that most of this work (and magic) happens when taking the time to get to know someone in real life, and away from screens. There was also mention of the importance of letting certain relationships evolve and being patient so that timing is right for brands and influencers to work together in a way that makes sense. And at the end of the discussion, our panelists reminded the audience that being a good person and collaborator is the best thing any of us can do in business and life. These are just a few highlights from our inspiring evening. We want to extend a huge thank you to our friends at The Wing for hosting us and to our amazing panelists for lending their time to speak more about their experiences. To follow The Wing and our speakers you can find their information listed below. And of course, for more details on influencer marketing and social media, you can always find a variety of articles here on the PLANOLY blog or reach out to us directly regarding questions about our (growing) number of features to help you plan content and campaigns with longevity. Stay tuned for more information on our next event!
Here are a few of our favorite takeaways from our panel:
"In the original days of DBA there was no Instagram, we were repping bloggers. We used the creative's talent to really lead in our partnerships." – Reesa Lake "What's great about social media is that you can take the temperature of the room immediately. You know what's working and what's not." - Isabel McWhorter-Rosen
"I love it when partnerships evolve. It's a conversation, and it's a real two-way street. A lot of it is about trust when it comes to brands and influencers, and trusting that they will do the right thing." - Gigi Guerra
"You can't fake synergy. Longevity is super important to me." - Olivia Perez
"There's value in being personal on a business account." - Alyssa Coscarelli "Planoly has genuinely saved my life. I'm the only person managing social. Without it I would not be able to be here right now — I'd still be at my desk!" - Madison Utendahl