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Creating emotional engagement through content with Pierre-Louis & Anne-Lise from alinea
Engagement doesn't just mean likes + comments, engagement means emotion. Here's how this interior deco brand achieves that.
A few weeks ago, we had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Pierre-Louis and Anne-Lise from alinea, a French interior deco retailer.
alinea was born in 1989 in Avignon in France by three founders incredibly passionate about interior decoration. Their first store in Avignon is still around today, as part of a chain of 14 stores in France.
Through the brand, they really embody the art de vivre à la française, with a mediterranean touch, and in the last 5 years they have really evolved to take up ecological issues like relocation and eradication in using plastic, and moving more towards natural materials.
In this article, we will learn about their approach of building community through content, and the various things they are doing.
Building a community of 390k followers
Since we’re a decoration brand, we had an advantage — there are lots of people that go on Instagram to find interior decoration inspiration. And our values are around the Mediterranean, and we also aim to stay connected with that.
In the beginning, we were creating content by ourselves. We’re lucky that our headquarters are near Marseille, and so we were going to the Calanques and staging deck chairs there, just like Jacquemus does.
By doing so, we showed that we were truly a Mediterranean brand, and we started to create our first links with the community.
Even today, this is what works the best on our networks — when our content lives and breathes Provence, that’s when we get the most interaction. The stone, the South of France, that’s what the community likes the most, even if the community is all over France. We make them travel.
“Local Influencers” and Ambassadors
We work with a lot influencers that we’ve selected according to the location of their audience and themselves. This is because one of our main goals is to push the stores more than the brand — and get more foot traffic into the stores.
Now that we’ve started using Ubu, our goal is to go further and start engaging micro- as well as nano-influencers and make them ambassadors.
Micro vs. Macro Influencers
It all depends on the objective.
For us, with local influencers, our objective is to have quality rather than quantity, and that’s why turned to micro-influencers. On the other hand, when we want to push for brand image or to disseminate information to a large audience, we’ll turn towards macro influencers to reach more people.
It’s all about what objectives we’re setting. We’d also like to go towards nano-influencers and see what happens with them.
Today, we’ve realised that it’s by focusing on the micro that we get more qualified profiles for our brand. There are even people who we collaborated with 5 years ago who have grown in size and we’ve had to let go because they don’t align anymore and are getting solicited by more brands than before.
We’re also going to rely more on content creators, because they’re bringing more value to us as a brand, since we can use their content for more. What we want today is to find brand ambassadors and to really create a long term relationship, rather than one-shot collabs.
The meaning of a successful collaboration
When, after a collaboration or two, an influencer starts mentioning us regularly without being asked to, that’s a successful collaboration. That’s when they’ve been transformed to an ambassador.
This happens when the relationship and exchange was truly successful. When they are convinced by themselves of the quality of our products, and we don’t have to tell them every time to publish content.
Value alignment is the most important
Irrespective of whether we reach out to ambassadors, or we received proposals, what’s the most important for us is that our value systems align.
For instance, last Christmas, even though we hadn’t really planned to do this, we received an email from an influencer who proposed a partnership on the culinary axis. She was a “culinary stylist”, and her profile was quite interesting, albeit not that large.
We decided to take the plunge and do it, because it was a complete, original and innovative concept that we loved. She was in line with our values.
alinea’s Content Strategy
With our content, we want to make our community dream in an accessible way, we want to remain faithful to our roots in the Mediterranean — Italy, Spanish coast, the Calanques.
Our content is dreamy because it is exotic for the Mediterranean basin. We don’t want to sell dreams with pictures of islands on the other side of the world — that’s too disconnected.
The main part of our content on IG consists of photos taken for our brand catalog, making sure that it’s not just products, products, products.
Good content makes people want to do something. It makes people dream, inspire, create desire in one way or the other — the desire to travel, discover Provence — but also the desire to buy a product.
It creates engagement but not only in terms of likes and comments — it’s about creating emotional engagement.
That being said, it’s important to stick to the brand values as close as possible, when posting on social. To create this intimate and sensory customer relationship, it’s all about authenticity. alinea has to be an authentic brand. That’s what will make us different from the others.
Every Friday, we also share in our Instagram story the most beautiful stories that we get tagged in — usually it can be people who show their interiors with products, or people who visit our stores and shoot something there. We also use the UGC for our newsletter.
I think it’s pretty clear from this article as well as our previous interviews that the best and most impactful way to build and engage your brand’s community is to stand for something — whether it’s a cause, a certain lifestyle, a geographical location — and make sure that you communicate and express that.
This way, you’ll attract the people that share the same values as you. And the more you engage these people by giving them what they want, the stronger your community will be.
Thanks a lot to Pierre-Louis and Anne-Lise for sharing, and see you all in the next one, next week!