In today’s market, any discussion of the way in which brands market to their millennial customers that omits the power of “influencers” is missing a trick. In a survey by eMarketer, 84% of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months.
Panellist Bella Younger is just such an influencer, in the modern dictionary definition of the term, with various brands paying her to feature their products to her 140,000 strong Instagram following. However, unlike others, who set out with the intention to grow a fan base to become an influencer, Bella fell into the profession completely by accident and by pushing the boundaries of parodying the “real” influencers.
Deliciously Stella was originally started as part of a plan to promote Bella’s stand-up show, but it caught the zeitgeist and took on a life of its own, becoming the number 1 trending topic on Buzzfeed and being shared over a million times. Bella describes her account as not like the others and it’s true. Her brand of parody takes on a particular type of Instagram influencer, turning it on its head and taking aspirational to unspirational.
That’s not the only thing Bella has turned on its head in this line of work – she has inverted the normal relationship between the brand and the influencer. Bella receives offers from brands all the time to promote their product, but as she says, “quite simply if it’s not funny then I’m not going to post about it.” So instead of waiting for joke-ready brands to come to her, Bella is proactive in seeking out partners. If she has a good idea for a joke or a parody that involves a brand she will contact them and pitch the idea to them – cue the Aero Aerobics!
Whilst Fanbytes, another of our panellists, is based on Snapchat, Bella talked of how it made sense to work on the same platform as all the accounts she was parodying which is why her entire business of being an influencer is based on Instagram. A questioning attendee wanted to know just how reliant upon this platform Deliciously Stella is, and what Bella plans to do if Instagram, as all other social platforms are constantly under the threat of, becomes passé? Bella is content that her business has been a happy accident, she would not be concerned if Deliciously Stella were to have to come to an end. As a comedian, her Instagram account is a perfect platform to showcase a body of work and to record its success in such simple terms. It gives her a way to say, as Bella put it, “here are all the jokes I’ve made and how many people like them”.
Our compere Rebecca O’Kelly-Gillard, after an impassioned speech from our dataphile panellist, Timothy Armoo asked, “Bella are you into data?”, to which Bella told us that “I’m not required to give any feedback to the brands, I don’t think… On a surface level I track engagement but only so much as I have a Business Account on Instagram and being able to see the pie chart!”
This divergent attitude to data is just one example of the many differences in the way our panellists have gone about building their personal brands. But one thing they all share is their success. If you understand the language of the platform you’re working with and have an instinct for what content that will engage your audience, you can carve out a place for yourself in the influencer market. There is no one way to get to the top in a world that is constantly evolving – a world which has room for both the avocado slinging, #strongnotskinny accounts and Deliciously Stella. Bella Younger has truly succeeded by maintaining her authenticity, integrity and creativity and is going to continue to rely on hilarious jokes (not the data) to keep on reeling in the brands.