The wisdom of the crowd has been proven valuable for marketers who are interested in understanding their brand’s position within the greater ecosystem. But Perlu is taking crowd gathering in a more focused direction by harnessing influencers into hyper-niche groups of experts.
Owned by parent company Terrakeet, Perlu has been around for almost four years and has constructed influencer groups for a wide range of products and services, in addition to being a networking opportunity for these opinion leaders.
CEO Andres Echenique, explained, “We have two missions: first, providing tools, resources, and a community to help influencers work together to establish and develop their careers as influencers. Second, we provide brands with tools, services and proprietary data to quickly and easily engage this community for research, planning, content production, and campaigns.”
Charlene Weisler: How do you define influencers?
Andres Echenique: For some, influencers can be anyone with a social account, relevant content and a following. But in our experience, the best candidates are trusted partners who add value beyond just an audience. These influencers are known and respected by other influencers, as well as their audiences, and have a track record of collaboration with both influencers and brands.
Weisler: How are you best able to monitor and consolidate influencer groups — and what are some examples of the groups?
Echenique: The community organizes itself into groups. Influencers will form groups of other influencers they collaborate with, share content with or simply respect on the basis of shared interests and content quality.
Thousands of these influencer micro-communities on Perlu (called “Packs”) collaborate with each other to help grow their audiences, share and source content and work together on various projects for mutual benefit. Examples of packs include “Black Solo Female Travel,” “Vegan Desserts,” “Keto Moms,” “Skin Care Addicts,” and Multiple Sclerosis Warriors.”
Pack creators manage their packs, curating membership to suit their needs for partnerships and professional networking. Inactive and low-quality influencers are left out -- thus, keeping them out of the mainstream of discovery and collaboration with both other influencers and brands.
Weisler: How do you bring in brands?
Echenique: Through agency partners, professional connections and advertising. Brands can join Perlu for free and have community-facing profiles on Perlu just like influencers do.
Weisler: What is the promise of matching and collaborating?
Echenique: Brands partner with influencers for a number of outcomes: gaining insight, producing content, driving sales, creating awareness, growing audiences, building a reputation, etc.
The challenge is finding and engaging exactly the right influencer partners for these outcomes quickly, reliably and at scale. “Right” varies dramatically depending on the desired outcome, not the least of which is the influencer’s interest in partnering with the brand. Many brands assume every qualified influencer is ready and willing to partner with them but the reality is that influencers are selective in who they partner with, further complicating the brands’ searches for influencer partners.
When brands have needs for projects for influencers, they advertise their needs to Packs they choose, and members of Packs will raise their hands to let brands know they’re willing to work together.
Weisler: How has the pandemic affected your business?
Echenique: We see COVID-19 driving a huge shift over the coming year. As store closures and consumers’ fears drive purchases online, authenticity issues in product ratings on ecommerce sites become a huge risk for many brands.
As brands are forced to compete in an even more crowded online space (and can rely less on retail sales), influencers represent a huge opportunity for brands to counterbalance and augment questionable e-commerce ratings with influencer-driven authentic reporting on experiences and recommendations for brands and products.
Weisler: What data do you collect? And do you break up influencer by demographic categories such as age and gender?
Echenique: When influencers join Perlu, they can authorize us to access their social accounts, giving us access to a range of information about them: follower counts, engagement rates and other key audience metrics. Influencer members can also connect their blogs, and we analyze the content of their pages to automatically assign subject and category tags to their content.
They can also supplement their Perlu profiles with audience demographics for their audiences as well as their own geographic details. We also build proprietary activity profiles that serve to further classify and validate our members.