The social media space is perfect for female entrepreneurs to use innovation in marketplace change. Amra and Elma Beganovich and their a & e digital marketing agency in New York, for example, have leveraged millions of followers in the beauty and travel social media area.
Beganovich was on a securities and financial regulation career path at Georgetown Law when taking photos of herself and posting them changed everything. As an early adopter in 2012 of Instagram and then Facebook pages, she and Amra (trained as an economist), began with low-cost do-it-yourself (DIY) beauty recipes and tips. The idea was to disrupt traditional lifestyle publications, such as Vogue magazine.
“Most consumers don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in skin care, or millions of dollars in plastic surgery,” Beganovich says. The sisters also took time to learn computer coding, as they built a website. Bloggers helped attract more than 100,000 unique visitors in the first three months. Topics, such as ‘travel to Croatia on a budget,’ helped build a following and celebrity status by using video and remarkable photography.
“Even those ‘vanity metrics’… you can essentially monetize,” Beganovich says. Brands also evaluate an influencer’s “healthy engagement” through comments and likes.
Lifestyle influencers may target clothing as one way to attract brand interest. A “really clever” influencer develops an “online persona” to attract a target demographic, Beganovich says.
The combination of mobile technologies and social media data has freed women entrepreneurs from the traditional boardroom and office, Beganovich says. The sisters completed a 2014 programming course, and they developed proprietary agency software.
“The software allows you to do a very quick search based on filters in Instagram and YouTube – so, for example, location, following number, and keywords (our main filters) – and so brands are able to quickly find the influencers they want to see.”
Beganovich says the launch this month of an influencer analytics platform is their next step. One strategy for clients is to match influencers with upcoming brand events. “They can quickly… get to those influencers, find them (rather than doing it manually), and then… “click on the influencers’ profile, and you’re able to see the engagement rate.”
A Millennial is likely to begin shopping on Instagram rather than at an upscale store. “We make them ‘explode digitally’…your digital footprint has become everything,” Beganovich says. “Basically, Instagram has become your store.”
“So, yeah, we are sort of matchmakers” between brands and social media influencers, Beganovich agrees.
In Miami, Formulated.by Founder Anna Anisin’s boutique marketing firm incorporates data science in her entrepreneurship focused on digital and face-to-face experiences. “We specialize on servicing B2B enterprise clients,” Anisin says.
There remain a host of data problems, “so there’s a lot of opportunity still to be had in this market,” Anisin says. “The biggest thing right now is marketing and social media texts and segments… basically, taking all of your data… scraping data.” At the Data Science Salon in Los Angeles last month, media companies examined current issues.
New algorithms and models help social marketers dive “into those conversations and… patterns (what people are saying about your products)” because negative sentiment may adversely impact sales for large and small brands alike, Anisin says.
At the same time, Anisin warns against falling for marketing buzzwords. In the end, the key techniques remain text mining and sentiment analysis, and human coders continue to have an edge over artificial intelligence (AI). “Contextual marketing,” Anisin says determines, “the right time to give you that ad, so it’s relevant.”
Brand relationships imply the need for a steady stream of great content, as defined by social media communities. Media, such as Netflix, are at the cutting edge of developing predictive analytics through granular data. It’s no easy task.
“I don’t think everybody is meant to be an entrepreneur,” Anisin says. “You have to figure out if that’s really you… first, before you go out there and try to start a business.”
Despite the risks in new business development, many traditional companies also will fail in the ongoing digital shift. They could, however, learn to be agile by listening to a new generation of women entrepreneurs.