This article is part of the Visual Revolution Summit interview series. Learn more about the Summit here.

Teen Vogue has become a leader in developing a strong influencer and community strategy – both for its editorial and its advertisers. In anticipation of her upcoming talk at the Visual Revolution Summit, we interviewed Stacy Greco (Senior Executive Director of Brand Development at Teen Vogue) on the emergence of this new class of celebrity and the importance of an engaged community.

“The visual revolution for me is about two-way conversation, storytelling and interaction,” she said. “Brands, and I include celebrities in this group, sit alongside consumers and communicate in shared fashions, which creates a unique opportunity for influencers to emerge for either group.”

When it comes to specific platforms, Stacy said the ones that are core to the principal of the Visual Revolution for her team are Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and YouTube.

“[They] have an inherently emotional component as well—consumers feel both connected and creative, and these are powerful characteristics impacting the traditional marketing funnel,” she said. “All these factors at play contribute to strategy development we employ to create compelling marketing campaigns.”

And this, Stacy said, is leading to a wave of new creators.

“Social platforms help level the playing field among content creators—shared utility and distribution combined with ease and free access make it possible for creatives to emerge from anywhere,” she said.

Outside of platforms making it easier, what has led to this wide adaption and rise in creators? It all stems from our innate desire to also be heard.

“At Teen Vogue we often talk about the concept of social showrooming, especially as it relates to teenagers today. This audience desires to be seen and heard, and they fiercely support their fellow peers—projecting their own ‘influencer’ aspirations, which I believe drives this consumption. Along with a shared sense of identity, there’s also this illusion that social influencer status is more easily achievable in comparison to celebrity.”

As fellow VRS speaker and Klout co-founder Joe Fernandez said, everyone has influence. It’s up to the marketers and publishers to decide which creators align best with their brand’s messaging and audience. How does Teen Vogue handle this? Stacy said it begins with being a true fan:

Often times the social influencers we identify are those we follow personally, as well as our brand communities. Our community is never shy about telling us who they’ve discovered or love to follow and that weighs into our selection process.

Most importantly any of our social collaborators need to complement our brand identity. We want our audience to feel an authentic connection between Teen Vogue and our influencer groups. This helps solidify engagement among target consumers, which our advertising partners rely on as well.

It’s this strive for authenticity and engagement that ensures the quality of content creation from the Teen Vogue team. While they may work with influencers or celebrities, their real focus is creating for their community.

“We often hear from our community that they value highly the opinions and preferences of their favorite influencers, but typically with a specific focus to that influencer’s “expertise” (ie. Fashion). Whereas with a celebrity, what they touch can still turn to gold. No matter the talent, timing, authenticity and creative execution are the driving factors behind impact for us.”

Want to learn more about Teen Vogue’s influencer strategy? Stacy will be presenting vital insights and tactics for today’s marketers  and publishers during the Influencers and Super Fans section at VRS. Request your invite today!

About The Author

Monica is a book hoarder and gets overexcited about community-driven marketing. She lives in New York City and dreams of a day when a landlord will let her have a cat.

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