It’s time for our monthly Influencer Spotlight Interview! In this monthly series, we aim to provide our influencer community with valuable insider information about the industry.
This month, I chatted with Dior Choi: an Atlanta-based actor, model and influencer. Dior and I first connected a few years ago while we were both working on a project for Infiniti Motor Company. At a time when influencers were really just starting to hit the scene, I was impressed by his POV and thoughts on the budding industry. Since many influencers today meet at the intersection of other jobs (like model, actor, artist, etc.) I thought Dior would be able to offer unique insight on what it looks like to wear many hats and merge different titles. Here’s what he had to say:
WH: Let’s start at the beginning: how did your influencer journey begin?
DC: Long story short… I was a model gone actor gone photographer gone spokesmodel and these past experiences began to create my inner channel to become an influencer with the tools I’ve learned about social media, photography, and stage presence and slowly it became my channel to share tips on lifestyle products, fashion and travel. It all worked like a melting pot. 🙂
WH: In today’s saturated market, what has been your strategy to stand out?
DC: As saturated as it is, I always like to make sure that campaigns I work on come from the heart. I’ve learned that organic efforts to make styles of fashion or photography can only be the way to show yourself as an individual in this market. Yes its hard, but its not a challenge when you BE YOURSELF…There’s no one like you.
WH: Speaking of a saturated market, what would you say to anyone who may be looking to break into influencer marketing but is feeling overwhelmed by all the competition. Is it too late to start?
DC: Never too late to start but it always takes hard work and grit. Many get lost claiming they are a model, actor, and singer at the same time while only grazing the surface of all efforts. To consider oneself as an influencer, you must focus hard to commit to the name. I don’t really like the label that much but as the market has standardized the word to make it somewhat of a professional mark up. All things said, when you say you’re an upcoming influencer you should always be ready to take on the next challenge, and that will truly show yourself off “breaking into the market.
WH: You’ve collaborated with loads of different brands over the years. Which partnerships have been your favorite to execute?
DC: One partnership that sticks out to me is Google.
Google is pretty much a boss company that has budgets available where influencers have the ability to make really great work and creative content. I would have to say to be a part of a community of individuals and meeting other influencers at an event is the best part. Perhaps one day as an incentive for compensation…they’ll start giving shares of their company. 😉
WH: Wouldn’t that be nice!? What are some of the attributes you believe make for the most successful partnerships between brands and influencers?
DC: BUDGET. In this saturated market there are too many companies reaching out for a trade per post and many influencers are getting lost in what they are achieving out of a free trade post. I have pulled myself away from product for post partnerships because the time to create a campaign, hire photographers/videographers, include editing time, then follow/create captioning requirements and deliver the photos on social platforms on average is a minimum 1-3 hour of labor. I mean, some people say, “Oh I just did my post while getting ice cream yesterday…” but is that true? You received the email, go back and forth about posting, read the criteria, hope that the requirement match your ice cream outing, schedule with your buddy to drive out for ice cream, maybe parking fee, then ask someone to take the photo, edit, then reach back to client, approve, and post….sounds like a lot for a “free” post…don’t forget you may have technically bought ice cream for your post because you thought it looked fun. Sooo…all in all, for those breaking out, sure trades for product per post can be great and show professional presence, it can also be a dampener to other great influencers who are putting in hard work to show a budget can create something more powerful and presence to a brand.
WH: What advice would you give to brands who are new to working with influencers?
DC: Stay focused in the market and reach all outlets to learn about what you bring to the table and how that can make you different as an influencer. Many influencers are full time for a reason…because they are successful and constantly working at it just like anyone else would do for a 9-5 job. Treat it like your only job and it will return the favor.
WH: Do you have any predictions or observations about where you see influencer marketing heading?
DC: Travel discounts including flights, hotels, and museums could be a big market to have influencer groups where you are registered just like any hotel membership and based on your engagement and following, for example a hotel could give you a discount per post or share about the accommodation. Ultimately, I think social media presence will have its advantages as an individual and it truly will be a great way to unify the world as a way to connect and share similar ideas and create stronger movements when necessary.
Find and Follow Dior: