Unmasking the State of Influence in Men’s Grooming

traackrFriday, August 17 this year was National Men’s Grooming Day – a day when men can focus on their appearance and when salons, hairdressers and beauty parlors can cater to men with various offers. What better time to look behind the beard, if you will, to understand the brands that are favorites in men’s grooming among influencers, and how marketers can learn from these brands to scale their own influencer marketing programs.

Traackr gathered data from the top beauty influencers to find out which men’s grooming brands were the most popular in the first half of 2018, from a sample of more than 32,000 influencers based on audience location and interests. We took the top selling men’s grooming brands that offer a variety of products, including skincare and haircare, and compared mentions, engagements, activity by channel and activated influencers.

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What influencer marketing lessons can we learn from Gillette, Dove Men + Care and Dollar Shave Club, and how can we use influencer relationship management (IRM) platforms to achieve similar success?

Let’s dive in.

Quality Over Quantity

Gillette leads the pack in influencer mentions (482), followed by Dove Men + Care and Baxter of California (364 and 253, respectively). While Gillette had the most influencer mentions, Dollar Shave Club dominated engagements on influencer posts, followed by Layrite. Dollar Shave Club worked with about one-third of the influencers that Gillette did and still achieved more engagements. Finding influencers that match both brand image and target audience is the best way to garner the right type of engagement, even from a smaller pool of activated influencers.

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Channel Diversity

Most engagement on influencer posts with grooming brands occurs on Instagram, but Dollar Shave Club has a majority stake of engagement on YouTube with the most video views, demonstrating that other men’s grooming brands are missing a huge opportunity to connect with customers on YouTube. Layrite is the only other brand that received significant video views.

While Twitter as a channel fails to translate mentions into engagements for any of the brands, it is a excellent venue for gathering influencer insights into consumer behavior and trends.

For instance, on Twitter, there is lots of talk about athletes’ beards during sporting events, the how Prince Harry groomed his beard during the royal wedding and some comments about the amount of packaging that comes with influencer gifting. Twitter is an important tool to monitor conversations because brands can find opportunities to engage in real-time and get ahead of new trends in conversations, even though it may not drive the most engagement.

Influencer Evaluation

Finding relevant influencers who also resonate with target audiences on all channels leads to meaningful engagement from actual potential customers. Of the hundreds of thousands of influencers at our fingertips, how do you narrow down the pool and find those who will drive ROI to your brand?

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The key to finding influencers begins and ends with context. What do you search?

  1. Your brand – which influencers are already talking about your brand and garnering engagement from their followers? Activate influencers who are already talking about you to more deeply and continuously keep your brand top of mind. You would search for mentions of your own handles, products or hashtags to find potential influencers who already have passion for your brand.
  2. Your competitors – to discover which influencers your competitors are working with, search words, phrases or hashtags relevant to their brand. This will help you better understand which influencers they are already working with and highlight opportunities for you to get on these influencers’ radar. To broaden their list, a men’s grooming brand would then search to see which influencers are working with Gillette, Dove Men+Care and others and which influencers drive results for competitors.
  3. Conversations you care about – by searching for influencers aligned to your brand’s core values, it will be easier to turn them into brand advocates because it’s more authentic.  Using men’s grooming as an example, you might search for terms like shaving, grooming, beard, shave, razor and others to see who is talking about men’s grooming but not mentioning specific brands yet. These influencers will be more likely to share your brand’s story and have ideas for long-term partnerships.
  4. Your target audiences – ultimately your influencers need to reach and inspire an audience that reflects your brand’s core customer. Using criteria such as audience location, age, interests and – especially in the case of men’s grooming – gender, you can tailor your influencer discovery to ensure your collaborations have the desired business objectives.

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Specific searches and comparisons in IRM platforms can help hone your target influencers. While manual relationship management and discovery processes can be beneficial in the infancy of your influencer program, this method won’t scale. Cobbling together ad hoc methods to evaluate influencers is not only time consuming, but it can also result in cognitive bias. Bringing technology to support your evaluation processes eliminates biases your team or agency might have about who influences your buyer, allowing you to optimize your influencer marketing investments.

If you only take away one learning from the state of influence in men’s grooming, let it be this – an influencer marketing program that speaks authentically to its customer won’t waste mentions on a disengaged audience. Leveling up your influencer evaluation process and engaging relevant influencers is the first step in building your own well-groomed influencer program.

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