Influencer Marketing Trends & Strategies: Q&A with Briana Byron, Influencer Marketing Manager

We sat down with Briana Byron, Influencer Marketing Manager at Jun Group, to discuss her career path, influencer marketing trends, and more.
Hey Briana! I find that many of us in the ad industry end up here by accident, so I always like to kick off these interviews with the same question: What’s your story? 

I’ve always been a jack of all trades with diverse interests, so it was hard for me to choose a career path. When I was younger, I dreamed of being a fashion designer or singer, and later the medical industry piqued my interest. 

When I started college at the University of Miami as freshman, I was a biology major on the pre-med track, and quickly realized it wasn’t for me. I did a complete one-eighty and switched to the School of Communications and wanted to find a way into my passion for the fashion industry. My school didn’t offer a fashion major, so I explored advertising, marketing, and public relations, hoping to leverage one of those roles under a fashion company. 

After the pandemic, I did another one-eighty and became an exercise physiology major. During quarantine, I fell in love with fitness and nutrition — maybe I had too much time on my hands —  so I began taking nutrition and exercise classes on top of PR, advertising, and marketing courses. 

From there, the transition from college to postgrad was a challenge. All of my friends seemed to be securing jobs straight out of college and I was having a quarter life crisis at 22. I realized that a lot of jobs with my degree required grad school, which wasn’t something I wanted to do. Most of the jobs I applied to across fitness, nutrition, marketing, or fashion required three plus years of experience even though they were entry level. 

In the meantime, I took a nannying job, started a charcuterie board business, and tried to become a health and wellness influencer myself. I shared recipe videos, lifestyle content, and fitness tops on TikTok and Instagram to pass the time and hope I would go viral. 

Eventually, I heard through a friend that Jun Group was hiring and was drawn to the influencer marketing coordinator position. I was fascinated by the industry and wanted to learn more about the business execution side of things. I couldn’t be happier with my job now. It allows me to work with clients and creators across the industries I explored, like health, wellness, food, fashion and beauty, so it’s like all my interests culminated into this one role. 

Tell me about your role as an influencer marketing manager at Jun Group. What’s your day-to-day like? 

My role involves managing influencer campaigns from start to finish. While all of our campaigns follow a similar structure at their core, each campaign is unique, meaning each day is different depending on the stage of lifestyle. 

One day I might be reviewing recipe content for a cheese campaign, the next I might be negotiating with TikTok famous cats over emails. It’s really unpredictable, which is why I love it. I thrive in more dynamic environments, rather than the monotony of a traditional corporate role. 

Is there a celebrity element to your work? 

Before I entered the industry there was definitely celebrity appeal because I’ve always been infatuated by influencers. I’m heavily influenced by them and probably the perfect case study to prove that it’s an effective business tactic. 

But on a more serious note, I believe the influencer space has become saturated and allows almost anyone to gain a significant social media following. Many of our creators are just regular people who over time established a platform for themselves.

Additionally, a lot of the creators we work with tend to have smaller followings, and would be considered macro or nano influencers. Smaller influencers often have more engaged audiences, making them a great fit for geo and retailer targeted campaigns with lower-funnel objectives. That said, we do have strong relationships with talent agencies. If we wanted to reach out to macro, mega, and celebrity level influencers, like Kim Kardashian’s team, we could and have done so. 

Influencer marketing is a newer media type compared to traditional channels, meaning it’s constantly evolving and changing. What trends are you keeping tabs on right now? 

The top three trends right now are user generated content, or UGC, nano influencers, and of course everybody’s favorite buzzword: AI. 

UGC is great for brands seeking perpetual usage rights of the content. It tends to be more authentic and help brands build trust with consumers. Nano influencers are on the rise because they drive stronger engagement rates and closer relationships with their close-knit network of followers. AI influencers, or virtual influencers, are also gaining popularity alongside the AI tools many are using to execute campaigns. For example, we have an AI tool that analyzes the comments made on the influencers’ organic posts to identify positive responses, purchase consideration, and current shoppers of the brand. 

Generally speaking, the biggest evolution I’ve seen is shifting from blog content and long form dedicated YouTube videos to short form content like Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts. 

I may be aging myself with this question, but what is a virtual influencer? 

The way I look at it is something a person behind the brand has created, kind of like a mascot that will be doing social media posts and getting paid for it. 

Switching gears a bit… What’s your favorite TikTok trend from this year and why? 

That’s a tough question! Trends come and go so quickly it’s hard to remember them all. These may not quite be trends, but I love morning routines, day in the life, get ready with me, and shopping hauls. I can watch them for hours. I also really enjoy going down the rabbit hole of niche conspiracy theories and prank call videos.

If I had to pick specific trends, I would say coquette, girl dinner, and Super Bowl halftime show prediction videos. They’re all so funny. 

Nice. If I had to pick I’d go with sad hamster. To wrap things up, how do you like to spend your free time? What are your hobbies and interests? 

I love to run and I’m passionate about all things health, nutrition, and fitness. I also sing, go to concerts, and try to manage my severe shopping addiction fueled by the hours I spend on social media. Additionally, I watch Jeopardy every night. I don’t think I’ve missed an episode in years. 

Follow Briana Byron, Influencer Marketing Manager, on LinkedIn.

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