You might think that tying your brand to influencers with more followers is better, but that’s not always the case. Influencers with 100,000 to 7 million followers tend to negatively impact engagement for the brand handles they’re featured on, according to L2’s latest influencers report, which analyzes influencer date in aggregate. This is due to a variety of factors, including a lack of authenticity, one-off posts, and “regramming.”

However, one vertical that bucks this trend is specialty retail. Advocate and medium influencers tagged in specialty retail brand posts perform 12 percentage points above average, and micro and large influencers also register positive lift.

Influencers

Free People lifts its engagement by tagging influencers, none of them celebrities. Approximately 27% of the brand’s posts feature at least one influencer handle, meaning that the brand often works with some influencers multiple times.

Free People’s feed isn’t all people. In fact, the brand gets some of its highest engagement from pets. One picture of @wat.ki, an account belonging to a pair of dogs named Watson and Kiko which boasts over 440,000 followers, garnered over 180,000 likes and 4,000 comments—over five times the engagement of the brand’s average post.

Influencers

The brand also follows a consistent strategy of breaking up model and product shots and keeping almost all of the latter shoppable. Together with the cute pets, this keeps more than 3.5 million followers coming back, without relying on expensive celebrity endorsements.

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