Influencer marketing advice from Amélie Simard

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Marketing Tips

Are you looking for insider secrets and tips to make influencer marketing work? 🤔 You’re in luck.

This week, I spoke with influencer marketing expert Amélie Simard.

Amélie was the brain behind Les Secrets de Loly stellar influencer marketing program. Today, she’s a freelance influencer marketing consultant.

And she has some pretty impressive stats, for instance:

👉 She grew an Instagram account from 17K to 260K followers.

👉 She annually managed over 500 influencers.

👉 Her influencer marketing strategy played a pivotal role in increasing revenue from 1M to 23M euros.

She did all of this within 5 years. 🤯

Impressive, right?

Join me as I chat with Amélie. We’ll discuss:

❓ How Amélie achieved these remarkable results,

❓ Examine some hard-earned advice for young brands looking to use influencer marketing,

❓ The challenges she faced and more.

Ready? Let’s roll. 👇

Who is Amélie Simard?

You may have seen some of Amélie Simard’s work. 😁

Amélie Simard was the Head of Communications and Influencer Marketing at Les Secrets de Loly, a prominent French brand specialising in textured hair care.

She was the mastermind behind trending videos like this one:

Since joining Les Secrets de Loly in July 2019, Amélie has driven impressive growth. 

What did she achieve? 🤔

🎯 Under her leadership, the company’s social media following has skyrocketed, with Instagram followers increasing from 17K to 260K.

🎯 The brand’s TikTok followers went from 0 to 125K, achieved without social ads until 2023.

But there’s more. 😯

Two years ago, Amélie and the brand founder, Kelly Massol, orchestrated an extraordinary event in Paris to weave together three significant milestones for Les Secrets de Loly. 

The campaign had a multifaceted agenda: 

⚙️ a fundraiser for the “Secrets de Loly” initiative, 

⚙️ the release of a new product line, 

⚙️ and a celebration of the brand’s remarkable year. 

The challenge was creating a cohesive event that would do justice to these important themes.

The event was in a grand hall in Paris and was spectacular.

Nearly 300 influencers from various niches attended, contributing to a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere. 

Despite not having precise figures, Amélie estimates that the event generated close to 1,000 stories on social media.

She has also spearheaded other unique promotional events like the Truck Tour across France.

This marketing strategy has enabled the brand to sign new agreements with major retailers such as Monoprix and Sephora, in which the brand is resold today. 

Her tenure at Les Secrets de Loly is marked by remarkable achievements, including a revenue increase from 1M to 23M euros over 4 years. 🤑

With over 3,000 retailers carrying the brand, Amélie’s impact is profound and far-reaching.

As you can see, we can learn a lot from Amélie. Let’s find out how she built a successful influencer marketing program. 👇

How did Amélie Simard build a successful influencer marketing program?

Building a successful influencer marketing program is an art and a science, and Amélie Simard has mastered both aspects through her journey at Les Secrets de Loly. 🔬

Here’s how she did it, with actionable steps you can follow to replicate her success. 👇

Step 1: Identify the right influencers

Amélie emphasised the importance of targeting the right influencers. 

She didn’t just look at the number of followers but focused on the influencer’s genuine interest in the product. 

“Just because an influencer has X million followers doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll create a buzz with a product.”

“You have to target people interested in the product,” she noted. 

This strategic selection ensures the influencers’ audience aligns with the brand’s target market.

But there was a problem. 😓

“At the time, our niche was one where curly-haired influencers didn’t necessarily exist as such.” she explains, “We had influencers who were more lifestyle and talked about several brands.”

She started working with these influencers and slowly grew her portfolio.

“The idea was to structure short-, medium- and long-term partnerships. And then to be able, within these types of partnerships, to use these influencers in our campaigns and events.”

Once she found the right influencers, Amélie focused on building relationships with them. 🤝

Step 2: Build long-term relationships

Maintaining a long-term relationship with influencers was a key element in Amélie’s strategy. 

She focused on creating a family of influencers who were consistently involved in multiple projects and product launches.

“The idea with these influencers was to create a link, to automatically add them to a number of subjects, projects, and outings. They were influencers who were part of the family,” she explained. 

However, Amélie also found short-term influencer partnerships to quickly boost an event’s visibility or create content for the brand.

But why did she do this? 🤔

According to Amélie, this approach helped build trust and loyalty between influencers and their followers.

Step 3: Stay structured yet flexible

Amélie structured her influencer program to be adaptable. 🤓

“I’ve seen that influencer programs are often structured in many different ways. Sometimes it’s very chaotic, sometimes very organised, maybe a little too organised.”

She adjusted the level of influencer involvement depending on the campaign.

Some campaigns required the steady presence of loyal ambassadors. 

Others called for new profiles to bring fresh perspectives. 

“There were some influencers with whom I worked on a long-term basis, who were recurring influencers.

And then, there were smaller influencers. The idea was to adapt each of the great classics to its structure, going through EMV, reach, and so on,” she detailed.

Step 4: Co-create with your influencers

“Co-create with your influencers.”

One of Amélie’s innovative steps was co-creating products with influencers. 

For example, the famous Les Secrets de Loly Christmas boxes were co-created with influencers, which added a personal touch and authenticity. 👇

“We co-created Christmas boxes, a wavy box, a curly box, etc., around the targets. The first year, we made 600 boxes, which sold out in three days,” she recalled. 

The Christmas boxes quickly became a hit, and 5 years later, they sold 20 thousand!

This initiative boosted sales and created a buzz and anticipation around the brand’s products.

Step 5: Embrace content creation

Content creation played a significant role in Amélie’s influencer marketing strategy. 

She believed in the power of unique and authentic content that resonates with the audience. 

“Content creation also plays an important role in capturing followers’ attention. In my opinion, each creator must maintain his or her own identity,” she stressed. 

And the result? 🤔

This focus on authentic content helped build a stronger connection with the audience.

Step 6: Measure your success with relevant metrics

Amélie was meticulous about measuring the success of her campaigns using relevant metrics. 

Initially, she used basic tools like Excel to track engagement and reach. 

As the program grew, she incorporated more sophisticated influencer marketing tools

“In the early days, when you don’t necessarily have a huge budget, you had to do it by hand using an external document. The idea was always, always to test, test, and test,” she advised. 

This iterative approach allowed her to refine strategies based on what worked best.

@lessecretsdeloly TOUS en pyjama au bureau 🤭 La team aussi a voulu suivre le thème de la box de Noël "Holiday Cocooning Party" le temps d'une journée 💓 Votre pyjama préféré ? 👀 #lessecretsdeloly #workteam #pyjamaparty ♬ Wild thoughts - Spe3dupaudiosforyou

Today, she’s a huge fan of using an influencer marketing platform to track and measure her campaigns.

And what metrics does she track?

Amélie believes in monitoring Engagement Rate and Earned Media Value (EMV).

Why? 😲 Because:

✅ Engagement Rate helps assess how actively followers interact with content.

✅ While EMV provides a monetary value to the publicity gained from influencers.

However, having an influencer marketing strategy and knowing what metrics to track is only part of the journey.

Even an expert like Amélie had to overcome some common influencer marketing challenges.

Common influencer marketing challenges and how Amélie beat ’em

Navigating the influencer marketing landscape can be a wild ride, full of twists, turns, and unexpected hurdles. 🏎️

But if there’s anyone who knows how to tackle these challenges head-on, it’s Amélie Simard.

Let’s dive into the key challenges she faced and the innovative strategies she used to overcome them. 👇

Challenge 1: Different market dynamics

Understanding and adapting to different market dynamics can be tough, especially when expanding internationally. 😐

For Amélie, recognising the nuances of different markets was crucial. 

“In France and Europe, you’re encouraged to consume less, to consume more carefully, to rethink the way you do things,” she said, highlighting the cultural contrasts that can impact marketing strategies.

💡 She used local expertise and external agencies to grasp various regions’ unique codes, rates, and trends. This approach ensured that her strategies were effective and culturally relevant. 

Amélie explained, “The strategy is accompanied by players in the various countries. It would be impossible to know the codes, rates, or even trends in every country. External assistance (via an agency, for example) should not be underestimated.”

Challenge 2: Live Streaming

Live streaming seemed like a golden opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic, with everyone and their mother jumping onto Instagram Live. 

However, it didn’t pan out as expected. 🥲

“This instantaneous side didn’t work over time. People want to be able to see content when it suits them.”

“They can’t necessarily stay on a live stream for three hours waiting for news, promo codes, tips and so on,” Amelie observed.

“People had and spent more time on social networks, expecting different content.” she continues, “There is a gap between supply and demand; followers had ‘too much choice’”

“We all remember when, on a personal level, we opened our Instagram account and had to swipe several times to reach the stories because there were so many lives.”

💡 Later on, recognising the limitations of live streams, she shifted focus to more flexible content formats like podcasts and YouTube videos. 

These platforms allowed for edited, high-quality content that viewers could engage with on their own time. 

“Podcasts work well because you can cut, add music, create something. The same goes for YouTube videos,” she noted. 

The result?

Create content that fits into the audience’s schedule rather than demanding real-time attention.

And I think Amélie said it best, “The most important thing is to adapt to your target audience and not the other way around.”

Amélie’s advice for young brands trying influencer marketing

Young brands face a unique set of challenges when it comes to influencer marketing. 😑

Luckily, Amélie has been through the trenches and shared some invaluable advice for navigating this dynamic landscape. 😅

Tip 1: Stay ahead of trends

Adapting to the fast-paced world of influencer marketing is no small feat. 😵‍💫 Trends come and go at lightning speed, and staying ahead of them is crucial.

@lessecretsdeloly Vous validez le résultat ? ✨ Cette routine est idéale si vous avez les cheveux épais 🥰 #lessecretsdeloly #naturalhair #grwm ♬ I can love you - audiosss

“Influencer marketing evolves quickly, which has advantages and disadvantages, such as trends that come and go. This can limit you in the anticipation of your content creation, for example.” Amélie shared.

Her solution? 

👉 Stay updated with the latest trends and viral content. Scroll through social media, note what’s trending, and find a way to use that. 

I agree with her.

Here’s another pro tip for young brands: consider using a fantastic influencer marketing platform to stay updated with the latest trends.

Tip 2: Find the right influencers

Selecting the right influencers is probably the most important tip Amélie shares.

@lessecretsdeloly On travaille chez Les Secrets de Loly bien sûr que… 👀🤭 #lessecretsdeloly #biensurque #hairproducts ♬ son original - Les Secrets de Loly

“Just because an influencer has X million followers doesn’t mean they’ll create a buzz with a product. You have to target people genuinely interested in the product,” Amélie advised. 

“The idea is that if the influencer understands your product, they’ll be better able to sell it.”

Influencer marketing tools like Click Analytic are vital. These platforms allow you to analyse an influencer’s audience, diving into the details to learn how the audience will react to your product.

Tip 3: Understand the different social media platforms

With the shift from blogs to social media, brands must adapt their strategies to leverage each platform’s strengths, especially on TikTok.

“People are spending more and more time on TikTok. It’s the platform that works best for reaching new audiences,” she advised.

“I also think there’s a certain authenticity you still find on TikTok that you don’t necessarily have on Instagram because the content is different.”

“I believe that TikTok’s algorithm is very well designed. If the subject is interesting to the person in front of you, the content will come up at some point.”

Understand the platforms and the type of content that succeeds on each. That brings us to Amélie’s next influencer marketing tip for startups. 👇

Tip 4: Create authentic content

Creating authentic, meaningful collaborations is essential.

@lessecretsdeloly On a voulu donner le sourire aux gens dans la rue en les complimentant sur leurs cheveux pour la journée mondiale du compliment 🫶 Les reactions >>> 🥹💓 #lessecretsdeloly #naturalhair #compliment ♬ Pieces - Danilo Stankovic

“The idea is not to make a ‘pure product placement’ between two sets of stories, but rather to tap into the habits of influencers and consumers to reach as many people as possible,” she explained.

This approach ensures that influencer content resonates more deeply with the audience.

And you can’t create authentic content without lasting relationships. 🥰

Tip 5: Build lasting relationships

Building lasting relationships with influencers can be more beneficial than one-off collaborations.

“You need to be able to work with influencers not necessarily only on a short-term basis,” Amélie explained.

💡Long-term partnerships can help create more authentic and impactful content, leading to better engagement and results.

By following Amélie’s advice, young brands can effectively navigate influencer marketing challenges and build strong, lasting connections with their audience.

My final thoughts

There’s a lot we can learn from Amélie Simard’s experience.

My interview with this influencer marketing star offers valuable lessons for marketers. 

🎯 Start by identifying the right influencers.

🎯 Build those relationships.

🎯 Stay structured yet flexible.

🎯 Co-create with your influencers.

🎯 Embrace content creation.

🎯 Always test and measure your success.

As Amélie aptly said, “Influencer marketing is about creating a bond with the audience, not just about numbers.” And I know that I’ll be closely following her career.

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