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Engagement rate triples! Revlon's nano-Influencer strategy without #PR

Cosmetics maker Revlon's nano-influencer strategy recorded triple engagement rate.


You implemented influencer marketing but the marketing is not producing good quality UGC content, isn't it? Content that is labeled as #PR and created by paying influencers for advertising are sometimes uniform in content and biased toward advertising-oriented posts. Revlon, with the idea of "turning influencers into fans first," distributed product samples free of charge through Lemon Square, an influencer platform provided by C Channel, and asked them to post on Instagram if they liked the samples. The influencer marketing campaign has achieved an engagement rate approximately three times higher than traditional influencer marketing. We asked Ayane Hattori, Marketing Department, Revlon Incorporated, and Takao Muto, Director, C Channel Inc., who is in charge of sales for Lemon Square, about the key points of success.

Influencer marketing with popular lip color

"Revlon Colorstay Satin Ink", which is released in March 2021, is a lip color characterized by its resistance to fallout and color transfer to masks. This series is popular among a wide range of people, especially trend-conscious consumers in their teens and twenties.

Influencer marketing was conducted for a new color from this series called "Fig Brown," which was released in September 2021. According to Hattori, the fig brown is a particularly popular color that sells out as soon as it arrives in stores. She wanted to first let influencers know how good it is, and then have them try it and become fans themselves, because it is such a popular product.

レブロン カラーステイ サテンインク
Revlon Colorstay Satin Ink

Revlon has already been implementing influencer marketing initiatives on a regular basis. However, as they repeated the process, the content of their posts became singular and they felt stuck in a rut.

In the past, influencer marketing tended to make posts too neat and tidy. We were able to reach the customers, but we couldn't see how well it was reaching their followers and whether it was leading to a desire to buy. Lemon Square is used and posted by influencers who are interested in Revlon's products and apply for the campaign, so they can talk about the products with they had high hopes that they would speak passionately about the products in their own words (Hattori).

While the company implements multiple digital marketing initiatives, including managed advertising, owned media, and sampling of word-of-mouth site, one of the important marketing is influencer marketing. The company uses managed advertising as the basis for expanding awareness, but there is concern that advertising contact alone may not be enough to "push one more step" toward purchase. This is because they are adopting influencer marketing. The hope was that recommendations from familiar admirers for followers or people who are good friends on SNS would lead to a push to purchase.

レブロン株式会社 マーケティング部 服部 彩音 氏
Ayane Hattori, Marketing Department, Revlon Incorporated

Trusting what the influencers post! The secret to eliciting their real intentions in their posts.

First, we created a campaign page on the influencer platform Lemon Square and recruited influencers interested in the product.

This recruitment period lasted about two weeks, and we received applications from about 240 people. Lemon Square then selected 20 influencers from among the applicants based on their affinity for Revlon, number of previous posts, engagement rate, and post content.

After selection, Lemon Square shipped free products to the winners and asked the influencers themselves to try the products and post freely. There was no pre-checking of posts. Posting was also not mandatory, thus it was up to the influencers to decide whether or not to post. This time, 18 of the 20 winners posted. It took roughly a month and half from the time the decision was made to take the measure to the time Instagram posting began.

Anyone can sign up for Lemon Square, but when selecting applicants, we check not only the number of followers, but also the content of past posts and engagement rates to see if they are posting their true feelings. In addition, those who are highly conscious of growing and shining as influencers and want to be active may be recruited from here and asked to register (Muto).

On the recruiting page, only three things are listed: "Product information," "Things to do/avoid if you participate," and "Hashtags." There are no individual instructions on what to post. Note that Lemon Square can select either or both Instagram and TikTok as the posting platform, depending on the campaign. In this case, the campaign was conducted on Instagram.

As for the content of the posting, we did not order anythings on the application page. We just said, 'We would like you to send out the appeal of the products from your point of view by including photos of the products, photos with lipstick on, swatches (color samples of lipstick applied to the inside of the arm, etc.), etc.' We then left it up to the influencers to decide how to express themselves (Hattori).

A swatches content of an influenser(@fuchico3).

When Hattori saw the influencers' posts, she was surprised. The influencers' expressions were diverse, and all the posts were highly passionate. In particular, many of them posted detailed descriptions of the feel and color in their own words in the caption of their posts. One characteristic feature was the large number of comments from followers and many of them were very polite in responding to those comments one by one.

Examples of Postings

A posting of infulencer(@chicchimity)

Engagement rate tripled! Polite communication unique to nano-influencers

At this campangin, 20 influencers is not only "micro-influencers" with followers in the tens of thousands, but "nano-influencers" with followers of 10,000 or less. Muto said because of the nano-influencers, many of them communicate closely with each follower, and many of them interacted with their followers through comments,

Regarding this strategy, Mr. Hattori says, "It is more than our expectations. Because the influencers posts the products in their own words, their expressions were unique to each influencer, and we think that they resonated easily with their followers. This was also evident in the indicators.

C Channel株式会社 取締役 武藤 崇雄 氏
Takao Muto, Director, C Channel Inc.

Before starting this influencer marketing , I was hoping that this would be as effective as the previous the marketing. In reality, however, the cost per reach was lower than previous measures, and the engagement rate was about three times higher. "Likes" and comments on our posts were high, and our followers were highly responsive. Before we started, we were a little worried about how much reach we would have with nano-influencers, whose followers are not as large as micro-influencers, but I think we were able to reach more interested people more efficiently. Even within the company, the honest and sincere postings were highly appreciated (Hattori).

Mr. Hattori is satisfied with the results of this measure, and plans to conduct the same campaign for the new color in January 2022, also focusing on nano-influencers. Muto agrees that it is easier to generate good submissions if the rules for submissions are not too detailed.

If you put too much detail into the posting rules, it becomes like an advertising message instead of the real intention. If you do that, your followers may become aware that 'it's a project you're being asked to do,' and they may grow cold. Many of our followers look at posts severely, so if they think it is an advertisement, they will not go through with it. What people who follow nano-influencers want to know is the real experience of how it feels to actually use the product (Muto).

In addition, the influencer posts may be picked up and introduced on C CHANNEL's Instagram account. This motivates the nano-influencers to create posts, he says. Because nano-influencers want to grow and increase their followers, they are able to create posts with the desire to write their true feelings in their own words and provide useful information to their followers so that they can be featured on C CHANNEL.

We would like to put more effort into measuring effectiveness.

What kind of initiatives do you plan to take in the future?

We would like to continue our influencer marketing as a medium- to long-term initiative, rather than a one-time event. Through these measures, we would like to build relationships with influencers so that they become Revlon fans. To this end, we believe it is important to provide information that enhances brand value on owned media, while at the same time using a combination of various methods, such as having influencers talk about the appeal of the brand from a third-party perspective (Hattori).

We often hear from manufacturers that consumers do not trust advertisements and they are concerned that advertisements are unnecessary information. The influence of influencers, who transmit real experiences in their own words during the purchasing and decision-making process, is increasing, and we believe they can contribute to product sales for companies. However, the current challenge is that it is difficult to verify the effectiveness of their posts in terms of how much they contribute to sales.
In the future, we are considering the possibility of influencer relationship management, similar to CRM. Building relationships with influencers and turning them into fans is the marketing method of the IFRM era (Influencer Relationship Management), and if we can visualize what the influencers' posts are generating, we think they will feel more valued. If we can visualize what the influencers' posts are generating, we think they will feel more valued (Muto).

If you want to increase more real word-of-mouth communication, I suggest you consider marketing using nano-influencers.


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