• Kristy McInnis


I am starting a series where I am going to interview extremely successful people in their field! I really want to dive into all different kinds of topics- from health and wellness to social media and body image. Success comes in all shapes and sizes and I am really pumped to highlight very diverse groups of people. I know many influencers want to know how to make successful partnerships with brands, so this first interview is going to give you all the tips you need!

Everyone meet Laura! She is a blogger in New York City, former OSU grad, and a great friend of mine! She specializes in partnering social media influencers with companies at Obvious.ly. Laura is sharing tips on how we can all up our social media game! We can all learn a lot from her and get the inside scoop into what brands REALLY look for.

1. There are so many influencers that are on social media. How do you pick specific ones to partner with specific brands?

At Obviously, we’re very specific about the influencers we work with and suggest for our various brand partners. Our technology platform enables us to do a deep dive into an influencer’s audience demographic, see how many fake followers they have, calculate how much Earned Media Value they drive and more — so on top of making sure an influencer is the right look and feel for a brand, we rely heavily on hard data.

2. How do you create meaningful relationships with brands so that they trust you to create collaborations with influencers?

Many of our long-term clients start off with one-off campaigns so they can test the waters with influencer marketing, and after they see the results of the campaign, the rest is history! We maintain constant communication with our brand partners so that they feel comfortable every step of the way — from using our platform to select the influencers they want to work with, to seeing real-time results on their custom dashboard. Because they are integrated from the start, they can truly feel like they are an integral part of the process.

3. When scouting out influencers to work with what are the five biggest things you look for? For someone starting out do you look for pictures that have more engagement or quality of content ?

It’s definitely a mix of the following (in no particular order!):

- Content Quality: You don’t have to have a million followers to create amazing content.

- Fake Ratio: Influencer fraud is a growing concern in the industry, so we take a close look at each influencers’ following to make sure it is authentic.

- Engagement Rates: This is definitely more important than following size, because brands want to work with influencers who have actual pull on their followings; not just empty followers.

- Consistency: Is the influencer active daily, weekly, monthly? When we show influencers to brands, we want them to be able to know what kind of content they can expect them to create — so if your page isn’t updated regularly, it’s hard to pitch you to a brand. Additionally, we want to know that your audience is tuned in to your posting schedule, and by sharing consistently, you’re able to foster that relationship.

- Real Storytelling: Are your captions and images run-of-the-mill copycats of what everyone else is doing, or are they disruptive and engaging? We look for influencers who have unique stories to tell, and who find fun ways to engage their audiences.

4. How would you tell an influencer to go about successfully contacting a brand. Brands see so many emails and direct messages a day. I'm curious what really stands out and what could set someone apart!

When reaching out on your own, I would recommend leading with why YOU are the perfect influencer for their brand, and back it up with data if you can. Brands get millions of messages everyday, so if you can show them that not only does your content match their aesthetic, but that 50% of your following matches their target audience, you’ll be much more likely to hear back. Of course, one of the benefits of signing up with Obviously is that we take the busy work out of that by bringing opportunities directly to you, which allows us to prioritize your name ahead of all others for the brand! We also provide regular stats for influencers that they can then leverage when pitching brands and working on collaborations on their own.

5. What collaborations that you have conducted are you most proud of and why? I know you work with so many people on a daily basis, but I am dying to hear!!

I love all my clients, but I’d have to say one of my favorite campaigns to run so far has been for Cunard Cruise Lines! We sent influencers to cover the launch of their new Alaska route in San Francisco, where they were able to partake in fun activities while producing amazing content and awareness for the brand. The campaign went so well, it was covered by AdWeek!

6. Have you ever rejected a brand opportunity with a company? If so why exactly would you turn something down?

There are times where we have to turn down certain collaborations, and it boils down whether or not we think it will be a successful campaign given our past experiences. We never want to run anything that is sub-par, so we’re very up front about what will and won’t work ahead of time!

7. Do you think its harmful or helpful for an influencer to engage in political conversation and conflicts? I have heard a lot about this recently and would like to get your input.

I definitely think it can be helpful depending on the types of brands they want to work with! More and more brands today are becoming more progressive and are starting to push the boundaries, especially in the fashion and beauty space. I think that the home and family industries for example can be a bit more traditional, so if that’s your niche, you may want to be more conscious of what conversations you’re engaging with.

8. From starting Her Campus at Oregon State, to working for Style Haul, and then transiting to Obvious.ly. What was the pivotal point in your career that lead you to where you are today?

I would say that moving to New York was the most explosive thing for me, but all of my past experiences helped get me here! Starting Her Campus at Oregon State helped show me that I had the power to bring communities together by helping powerful people tell their stories. This translated directly into my role in influencer marketing, where my main goal is to help bring brands an influencers together to tell beautiful stories that make an impact on the world.



Wanna Follow our Shapes of Success Star?

Lara (Instagram)