Discussing Influencer Marketing With Vicky Boudreau

Small Business Canada

Vicky Boudreau is of the CEO of the agency she co-founded with her partner Marie-Noelle Hamelin, and that counts more than 30 employees in Montreal and Toronto. Vicky explores the agency’s business sectors, the latest emerging trends, and continually develops her network of contacts with a view to creating collaborative opportunities. Combining her field experience with her passion for the business world, she fully understands the client’s challenges in order to offer effective solutions to propel them towards their objectives. Her expertise recently led Vicky to accept the position of President of the Administrative Council of the Alliance des Cabinets de Relations Publiques du Québec and she is committed to stimulating the next generation by offering conferences and training in schools and associations. 

What was the inspiration behind the founding of Bicom? What are you hoping to accomplish through it?

I met my business partner Marie-Noelle when we were in our mid-twenties. Our strengths complemented each other: she had public relations and small business operations experience and I brought an innovative approach to the traditional communications world. When we launched bicom, we wanted to create an agency that fit our results-driven and people-oriented vision. We quickly started digging into return on investment and result in measurement, all while growing a vast media, celebrity and key opinion leader network. We were quickly noticed by bigger brands and have not stopped growing since! 

With 35+ employees across our Toronto and Montréal offices, our long-term goal is to create an international network of influential connectors that impact and ultimately transform the marketing and communications landscape.

What can you tell us about the strategies you use to connect brands with consumers? 

We connect brands with consumers through traditional media relations, influencer marketing, experiential marketing and digital strategies. 

When recommending an influencer campaign, we consider all potential categories – celebrity, macro, micro and, now, nano. Our final influencer recommendations depend on multiple variables: the brand’s objectives and demographic, along with target social media channels. 

What are the aspects that are taken into consideration to ensure it’s successful on both parties (brands and consumers)?

From the outset of a campaign, the objectives need to be very clear, so we are set up for success. Are we aiming to increase general brand awareness or drive sales? This information solidifies our final strategy.  

The nano-influencer process involves vetting potential partners with a genuine interest in the brand and category. For example, our BNATION program collects data on nano influencers and their interests/profiles (dietary choices, skin type, etc.) We then handpick collaborators and ensure their communities will feel that brand integration is authentic.

In your expert opinion, why do you believe influencers who have 1,000 followers or less are more reliable and effective when it comes to recommendations compared to those who are at the celebrity level?

Nano influencers’ community engagement is based on existing, real-life personal relationships, so their exchanges are immediately credible.  On Instagram, the engagement rate decreases when the following increases. For non-sponsored partnerships, influencers with 1,000 followers or less have an 8% engagement rate; for influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers, this drops to 4%. The BNATION database currently has a 12% average engagement rate.

What was the main decision behind providing an update on the Canadian study on the nano-influencer phenomenon? 

Back in 2017, I tossed and turned at night thinking about what would be next for influencer marketing… With a shifting national media landscape, influencers were requesting substantial budgets while the general public was growing skeptical towards sponsored content. With this dynamic in mind, I searched for the best strategy to share client messaging in the most targeted and authentic way possible. In 2018, when we launched our first study, the nano-influencer phenomenon was in its infancy and we wanted to confirm our intuition.

It turns out we were right; we’ve since created compelling client campaigns that prove the value of the nano influencer realm.

Why did Bicom believe an update on the study was necessary?

The communications/marketing industry evolves daily, especially on the social media front. We wanted to gauge any major changes within the nano-influencer market and reassess their impact.

On a final note, how would you say COVID-19 has impacted the nano-influencer? 

Nowadays, most Canadians are sheltering in place and spending more time than ever on social media, ultimately converting to increased engagement.

There’s now an opportunity to meaningfully activate nano-influencers; not only to promote products but to communicate community initiatives. We truly think that the trust and (virtual) proximity established within the nano influencer community proves that human connection paramount.

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