L’Oréal staged a huge fashion show in the middle of the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, featuring actors, models, and fashionistas from Xenia Tchoumi (@xenia; 1.2m followers) to Barbara Palvin (@realbarbarapalvin; 6.5m followers). But the real action took place off the runway. Together with the L’Oréal brand account, 44 influencers sparked more than 2.6 million engagements around the event, highlighting the brand’s social prowess. 

After kicking off its L’Oréal League campaign last summer, the mass-market beauty brand continues to invest aggressively in its influencer strategy. More than 28% of L’Oréal Paris Instagram posts between June 2016 and July 2017 featured an influencer, and the brand worked with more than 296 influencers in total, the majority of which fell into the Large and Mega categories.  


While L’Oréal’s own Instagram account focuses on publicizing big-name endorsements (#LOrealistas), the brand also reaps benefits from the efforts of smaller influencers outside its branded properties, as evidenced by the fact that the #LOrealLeaguePartner hashtag is used by both major influencers and those with more niche followings. In fact, those smaller influencers seem to pay bigger dividends in terms of engagement than their larger counterparts.

Medium-sized influencer Carly Cristman (@carlycristman; 230,000 followers) maintained an average engagement rate of 3.52% on posts with #LOrealLeaguePartner. In contrast, two influencers with larger followings saw much less engagement: just 0.94% for Kristina Bazan (@kristinabazan; 2.4 million followers) and a mere 0.88% for Wendy Nguyen (@wendyslookbook; 1.1 million followers).

League of influencers

The reason for Cristman’s popularity seems to be that she produced custom content for the partnership that appeared authentic and relatable to her audience. In contrast, posts from Bazan and Nguyen were less artistically ambitious. While L’Oréal League participants may not have as many followers as the #LOrealistas, the organic engagement they generate with niche audiences shouldn’t be dismissed.

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