What’s the state of the influence marketing environment in France?
Influence in France is becoming very mature; it is more professional and more brands are communicating via influence. The influencers are becoming more professional and those with smaller communities are more likely to be represented by agencies. Agents are starting to get paid for content. A few years ago, that was not the case. An increasing number of brands have discovered the advantages of influence marketing to recruit more customers, meaning the space is very crowded and it’s more difficult to stand out.
It’s more complicated but also more interesting than it was a few years ago. While some brands were able to whip out their checkbook and basically say ‘Voilà, talk about us’, it is now more important than ever to be relevant to influencers, to their community and to legitimately represent their values. The second point is the need to be relevant in our content. There are so many brands; social media users are exposed to lots of people saying lots of things. To avoid getting lost in the mass, we must differentiate and make sure our message gets heard.
Which platforms and content formats are the most relevant for La Fourche in the current environment?
The safe bet is still Instagram, where we communicate a lot via Stories. As we still are explaining the relatively new La Fourche concept to our audience, the instantaneous nature of Stories suits this objective: a post feed offers less potential for direct storytelling and can go in various directions, while a story is much more concrete. Given Instagram’s algorithm changes, we are also trying to follow the trend towards Reels and video content.
I’m also a big YouTube supporter. It really allows you to be relevant and to get across your most important messages, because you’re able to reach a more engaged community. When you watch a YouTube video, you actually want to watch that video. This makes it more relevant and as a brand, you have a better opportunity to reach people and convince them of your added value. A lot of people say YouTube is dying, that the stats are going down, I don’t agree. If you choose a good community for whom your offer is relevant, it can be very powerful and you’ll reach people who are much more alert to your product. It can be more risky because it’s more expensive than Stories, but it lasts over time.
We’re also constantly testing and trying out new things. Right now, we’d like to crack the TikTok algorithm before we launch on YouTube Shorts – we’ve never significantly tried to invest in TikTok and I feel like it’s time even if a lot of questions remain open, like the one of performance. If you want to do an image campaign, TikTok works well, but when you have an ROIst approach and conversion objectives, it’s often not there yet.
How are you integrating technology for tracking KPIs?
There are some things that we still calculate manually, such as the cost of acquiring new customers. But we use Kolsquare to measure our reach, to track how much content we generate, to estimate EMV. Kolsquare is very useful for reporting because our story-based strategy makes tracking more complex. With Kolsquare we can centralize all the content and check it whenever we want. It is very convenient and makes things easy.
How are you managing the increased costs of influencer marketing?
Prices have gone up and that is definitely a challenge for a small brand like us. Our solution is a lot about making the right choices early, identifying the right people to work with and making sure our investment will deliver a qualitative and creative commitment from their side. We sometimes have to work with fewer people.
Higher prices make it much more important to vet influencers first. Kolsquare comes into play here because it allows us to verify the origin and quality of the influencer’s community. It’s also very important to us to check the collaborations an influencer has with other brands. As an ethical company, we can’t afford to work with an influencer who collaborates with brands that are not consistent with our values.
Do you prefer long-term collaborations over one-shot activations?
Yes. We do a lot of testing and prospecting of influencers. We offer them a trial period to sound out their community and make sure we are relevant to each other. If it works, if there’s a minimum transformation, we start working long term. We like to collaborate with influencers over a minimum of six months because in terms of our specific business model, we know there are quite a few barriers to subscribing to a membership. To counter that, we try to work on a repetition mechanism to reduce the biases one by one amongst the communities. We’ve noticed that over six months, the number of subscriptions will not necessarily be down, but will be flat or even increased. [Long-term collaborations also] allow us to lower the prices because we guarantee the influencer’s income over six months, and enable us to create stronger relationships which will deliver more qualitative content, and more content in general.
How are the Instagram algorithm changes impacting La Fourche?
We are forced to adapt. We are suffering because we sometimes reach fewer people when certain accounts are less visible, while still having the same fixed costs. Our cost per view may then go up because you reach fewer people, because the algorithm has de-prioritized the content. We have to try to maximize content promoted by Instagram, but is it content that will convert? That’s less certain. People will see it, but it’s not going to have the same impact.
In the end, this is just one of the evolutions we have to work with and adapt to – as is the market becoming more mature or the prices going up. We are confident that these changes have the upside of forcing brands to become more relevant and give a competitive advantage to companies who are genuinely trying to change something for their consumers.