As a Co-founder of the BeInfluence agency, Thomas talks about his career in the influencer marketing industry and gave tips on how to get started.
Introduce yourself in a few words, your career path, and in the influencer sector?
Hello, my name is Thomas, I'm 25 years old, I'm from Paris and I'm one of the two founders of BeInfluence, one of the leading influence agencies in Europe. My career path is summarized by a 6-month internship in investment banking in London, which I hated. We started BeInfluence when I came back, I was in my first-year master's degree in business school at that time. Neither I nor my co-founder Boris had any experience in influence marketing haha!
What made you want to start BeInfluence?
Alcohol hahaha! No seriously, I was vice-president of our student association and we had to find sponsors for one of our events. Problem: we didn't know what to offer them in exchange. So we decided to offer visibility to the sponsor through the event participants who would publish on their social networks, stories with the sponsor, and so on. The sponsor liked it and the participants played their part. A few days later in the evening (well drunk), I said to Boris that it would still be fun to launch a startup on this creative concept of visibility. Throw a box to say that, and have a good laugh. Here we are three years later late with 15 employees, a first fundraising campaign, offices in Paris, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Brussels, and more than 150 campaigns created and managed... The joke has gone way too far ;)
Can you describe your job and what does it involve?
Within BeInfluence I have the pompous title of "Chief Creative Officer". Concretely, I am responsible for the business development of BeInfluence, finding new customers and partners, as well as maintaining and strengthening the link with our customers and current partners. I am also responsible for the creation of creative strategies for our clients (clearly my favorite part!) And from the Be Good program, our own initiative dedicated to NGOs and associations. Besides that, I have to manage thousands of emergencies and daily problems of all entrepreneurs, hahaha!!!
What is the most common difficulty you encounter when working with influencers?
It's more of a problem with the customers! Most brands still have a lot of difficulties. It's hard to let go and give the necessary freedom to influencers, and that's essential. Influencer marketing is not just another channel through which a brand can spread its message and push its smooth commercial message, it just doesn't work. Influencer marketing should be seen as a co-creation between influencers, the agency, and the brand to have a message that is authentic, personal, and impactful. The content creators know what they're doing, let's trust them!
How do you see the future of the influence market?
I'm so excited about the future of the industry! We're slowly coming out of the "Far West" phase to move towards true democratization of influence marketing. More and more brands but also institutions and associations are calling on the influence of marketing. There are incredible diversity and creativity within the community of content creators, notably supported by TikTok and Twitch. As new collaboration formats emerge, data will become a key factor in the choice of the right solution influencers and in campaign results. And beyond influencer marketing, as we know it, there is the emergence of the Creator Economy which will expand in a way unimaginable range of possibilities for designers, brands, and agencies.
In your opinion, will TikTok become the new platform of choice for partnerships and move ahead of Instagram?
Good question! TikTok has become a must-have and the brands have included it. We receive daily requests for campaigns on TikTok, even for brands that do not understand the network and its haha codes. I think especially since TikTok and Instagram are fundamentally different, even if they copy each other. The nature of the content and the expectations of the users are not the same, and it is important to understand which network to use for which purpose. So no, I don't think that TikTok is going to overtake Instagram, at least not in the next few months, but rather that the two networks will coexist and so much the better!
Your favorite social network? What's your favorite social network?
If only I only had one aha... My top 3 not necessarily in order:
- Twitter because it's chaos and I love it.
- TikTok because creativity on this network is infinite.
- Clubhouse because it's new and the live audio-only is just incredible.
You have a weekly room on ClubHouse, your first opinions on the app? And do you think it will become an essential part of your work?
Indeed! And with Margot from Favikon by the way! Every Tuesday from 9h to 10h15 we animate the room with « l’Hebdo de l’Influence » in which we come back on the news from the industry, we discuss and debate, without self-promotion and any language! Don't hesitate to join us! Clubhouse is incredible. The fact that it’s audio-only offers incredible freedom and removes visual barriers. The fact that it is life only strengthens the FOMO. The fact that everyone can take the floor allows for hyper qualitative exchanges and benevolent!
It's already an essential part of my day, I spend far too much time on it... But it pays off! I have met great people, great opportunities, and the knowledge stored in the different rooms of the building, largely compensate for the time spent on it!
An influencer whose work and/or partnership management you admire?
Ben Nevert. I love him too much.
Finally, do you have any advice for anyone who wants to work with influencers?
This is the phrase that is most often repeated at BeInfluence: "Influence marketing is the best communication channel there is when it is well done. » All the difficulty lies in the second part of the sentence ;) When you want to do influence marketing you have to do it thoroughly. Take the time to understand the industry codes, the sensitivity of content creators, define well what objectives you want to achieve, etc... The industry suffers from the syndrome of ease. All Those who have never done influence marketing think it's extremely easy, try it, fail, and instead of questioning themselves decree that influencer marketing does not work. All those who have already launched influencer campaigns know that it is a subtle art and that the pitfalls are multiple! A piece of advice: surround yourself with you well! Either internally from people who already have experience in the industry and know which tools to use to help them, either from truly specialized agencies (a classic PR agency that "does more" influencer marketing is not specialized).
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