Spreading bright smiles online – our Smileo influencer marketing approach

Spreading bright smiles online – our Smileo influencer marketing approach

Smileo is a lifestyle oral cosmetics brand & its best seller is the Smileo Teeth Whitening Kit – a beauty product designed to brighten one’s smile quickly and painlessly at home. There’s huge potential in using social media to advertise such a product –  without a doubt, social media runs the world not only by letting us socialise and keep tabs on our friends and acquaintances, it is also a huge platform for reaching audiences that take care of their personal image and can become fans and advocates for the brand.

People share their life moments on their social channels, they use it to be constantly entertained, to get inspired and to build communities and even work. A few years ago the ‘Influencer’ profession didn’t exist, but nowadays (along with Social media marketers) it’s one of the most desirable professions among young people. And, yes, most of you reading this won’t acknowledge being an influencer as a full-time job, but in most cases it really is. Planning and creating content, communicating with the followers, building communities and negotiating with advertisers is time consuming and when done professionally will take as much time as a regular job, if not even more.  

The social media industry is constantly growing

Branded collaborations play an important role for Smileo marketing activities and not only. About 80% of our Social media images are user generated, meaning we use influencer collaborations for content creation, sales and brand awareness.

Social Media Strategy Revamp

Before launching the new and improved Smileo Teeth Whitening Kit we saw a need to change our Influencer marketing strategy in the means of collaboration frequency and type.

We already had a notable brand awareness in Finland as we have been constantly working with influencers since first introducing the product to the world about 2 years ago. People knew about the product and what its features are, but still had some stigma about home teeth whitening.

During the 2 years of business, we had collaborated with many Instagrammers for mostly one-time publications, but the best teeth whitening results actually can be achieved by continuous use. Also our marketing strategy was heavily based on repetitive purchases, and even included product subscription options. We saw it as an opportunity to change the narrative and to talk about the power of smile rather than just emphasizing product selling points, sharing user experiences and showing results.


As a brand we encourage customers and especially potential customers to spice up their beauty rituals and permanently add smile care into the mix. So as a logical consequence the idea of repetitive Influencer publications over a longer period of time was born. We decided to form long term collaborations with a small group of carefully selected content creators.

It was important to position the product as a consistent part of the influencer lives and to highlight a problem-solving angle. We have achieved this by forming 4-week collaborations with individuals that all have their unique personalities, are passionate about their interests and who are not afraid to speak their minds and share personal, even emotional stories about their smiles and overcoming self-confidence. We called it “Smileo Love your smile challenge”.

During 4 weeks content creators would share stories about their smile and their personal experiences that have made them love their smile, Smileo product unboxing, product usage instruction and home teeth whitening experience.

Establishing long term collaborations also meant we should propose an attractive offer to our collaboration partners. Instead of working with the influencer standard fees, we started proposing a mixed remuneration offer – a flat fee + interest for products purchased using influencer discount codes. To our surprise, we found out that many of the Influencers we reached out chose to continue with the standard fees and declined our offer for a cost per acquisition forming a part of the payment, that possibly could let them earn more from the collaboration. This speaks volumes about the state of the industry and how confident influencers actually feel about “influencing” their audiences’ purchase behaviour.

In turn, we have established many mutually beneficial partnerships that allowed the influencers to earn even more than their asked fees. We believe that this initiative gives an intrigue, a sense of unlimited possibilities and an extra motivation – in the case that the person has an entrepreneurial spirit. For some it can serve as a good motivation to be even more attentive in responding follower questions, (so important for trust building), to be more creative when crafting the content, keep up with the deadlines and keep tabs on partnership results.

We predict that this extra CPA payment could become attractive for more companies in the future, as the influencer pool is becoming more and more saturated and the competition is quite fierce. Not to mention that it would make marketer lives easier when they have to back up their campaign budgets and present achieved results. And from our experience – we don’t mind paying above the standard requested influencer fees, if the partners are creating regular quality content and partnership results in more sales than expected.

There is a thin line between advertising and influencing.

If you’re a marketer or if you’re using social media just for entertainment, you have definitely noticed the huge amount of advertisements on social media. Already in 2019 martech.org reported that Instagram ad load has increased as high as 1 in every 4 posts. And then “you know what” happened and forced even those advertisers that for some reason were not yet advertising on social media to see the opportunity to reach their customers in a cost effective way. Which leads us to the next issue – the increase in advertising costs and user ad fatigue and lower click through rates.

And sadly, this trend applies also to paid partnerships with Influencers, who often accept too many offers, and create a vibe that their whole Instagram presence is made from different branded collaborations.
Let this be a reminder to everyone – advertisers and influencers to not forget about the initial purpose of instagram and carefully think about the volumes of paid partnerships.

This brings me to the next issue – partnerships with influencers that look and sound like a sponsored advertisement from a brand rather than the individual content creator. This might come harder to all of the controlling Social Media Managers who have pictured a certain way how the partnership should look, or maybe less skilled content creators, but if I had to make a wish on a shooting star – I would wish for the content creators to stick to their inspiring, “friend to their audience” role, and the advertisers to encourage their partners to be themselves, as that is why their audience follow them.

As a brand, Smileo is genuinely interested in the experiences of our customer’s whitening journeys and how to improve them, that’s why we always remind our collaboration partners to share their unique point of view and personal experience.
One of our main goals on social media is trust-building, and it makes us so happy when collaboration partners (or customers) become brand advocates by sharing their feedback on the products and continuing to buy and use Smileo products because they like them.

Lastly, I want to highlight how rapidly the social media industry is growing and changing, and not only the platform features and trends are changing, but also the users. From our observations and performance reports we see that the audience on instagram has become more demanding in terms of quality and entertaining content, and at the same time more hesitant to blindly follow Influencer recommendations, or to instantly act on advertisements. 

Let’s see what the future will bring and how the social media will change in another 2 years. 🔮

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