Influencers and Retail: Speaking with Superstar influencers Amra and Elma Beganovich

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Superstar influencers Amra and Elma Beganovich, who have turned into digital marketers based in New York City, are prime examples of how social media effectively used can grow a business.

In an interview with Retail Insider, Elma Beganovich said content remains king when it comes to social media and businesses who are not in the game will be left behind.

She and her sister Amra are founders of Amra & Elma, a digital agency ranking #1 on Google for hyper competitive keywords such as “top tech influencers,” “100 top sustainability influencers,” “top mom influencers,” “100 top Instagram influencers,” and “top micro-influencers.” Clients include the likes of Johnson & Johnson, EssilorLuxottica, Uber, Olay, and Nestle.

“There’s countless different ways to go about it but one of the main – and that has remained true basically since the beginning if you will of social media – is that you have to have really I think unique and spectacular and interesting content. So content is still king no matter which way you turn,” said Elma.

“So one of the ways to gain followers is through content, spectacular content, especially if you’re just starting out. That spectacular content will always be the base . . .  the pillars that support everything else. The other ways is to have partnerships. Partnerships with other accounts who share basically a similar target demographic as you do.

Image: Elma Beganovich

“Content is fascinating. People are always on the internet looking for valuable content. They’re looking for advice . . . Provide something that’s of value to your consumer.”

There’s also fun content that people can engage in.

“And then social media has such algorithms that once they see other people are looking they basically bump you up in their algorithm and so you get more exposure. A little creativity goes a long way.”

How does she feel about businesses right now who are not really into the social media space? Are they basically making a gigantic mistake?

“Absolutely. Social media is for free. It used to be you would have to pay ads in Vogue or other lifestyle magazines if you were in that direction or if you were in B2B you would have to pay ads to Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and so forth,” said Elma. “So social media is for free. They’re free eyeballs. It’s basically for free for the brand to influence whatever space you’re in  . . . It’s a big mistake not to look at that.”

One of the most common mistakes businesses make in social media is they’re not investing in it. They’re using an intern or someone fresh out of college to do this important task. The technology has become so sophisticated, explained Elma, “that you need somebody who is basically an adult or a professional in this space, so to sort of craft a strategy for you rather than just having a kid or again like maybe an intern still in college but not taking it seriously.”

“It has basically become what used to be window shops on Fifth Avenue, let’s say. It’s the first thing that the consumer, or even if you’re B2B, what they see about your business, who you are. They look at the followers, they look at the content, they look at your messaging and they judge you.”

When the Beganovich sisters began about 10 years ago, Facebook Pages wasn’t even out at that time. Then, an influencer meant something very different than it does to today. Obviously Facebook has developed enormously, TikTok has come onto the scene, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube.

“Now you can have political influencers. For example, AOC and Obama,  . . . They’re influencers, they work with advertisers on certain deals. Athletes are now influencers. They’re also getting sponsorships through social media. And then you have your traditional what you think of as an influencer somebody who is making spectacular content, giving something very useful,” said Elma.

“It’s really across different verticals, across different industries and they’ve all taken their spaces and they’re exerting their influence in that space.”

Amra and Elma Beganovich at NYFW
Amra and Elma Beganovich at NYFW

Elma said even if businesses don’t have the budget they could perhaps hire a part-time consultant or work with an agency on a small scale basis to test the waters.

“Start with that because you need someone to give you smart strategy advice. You’re going to ultimately be saving a lot rather than just throwing darts in the dark and hoping something is going to stick,” she said.

“You’ve got to find these smaller niche influencers who are really influential in their industry. They influence other influencers and other celebrities also follow them because they’re such an authority in that space even though they’re not as visible and notorious to the public at large.”

With less resources it’s going to take a company more time but it can still get to its goals. A company has to be patient. But the work on social media has to be steady and consistent.

“And don’t think because you engage one influencer and you don’t see results right away that that’s indicative of what the strategy would look like long term. So think months into it, or 12 months into it. So be patient and invest time. You don’t have to obviously invest all your time but a small amount of time carefully thought through will yield you the results,” said Elma.

For a company, the world of social media can be daunting. So many platforms to choose from. How does a company decide what platform to invest its money?

“That’s a really good question,” said Elma. “This requires a professional or research to go a thoughtful way about it . . . Some (platforms) are better than others for particular industries. For clothing for example, Instagram is one of the best. So you have to know that. Versus for example interior design we would tell our clients to do Pinterest. You have to understand where your industry, where the target demographic, is concentrated,” said Elma.

“For fashion for example we mentioned Instagram but TikTok is becoming pretty good but TikTok is now for the younger audiences. You have to be thoughtful what kind of clothing are you selling, are you targeting Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, where am I going and then according to your target demographic you’re selling to then you decide which of the platforms is best.”

Here are the biographies of both Beganovich sisters as supplied by Amra & Elma:

Ms. Elma Beganovich bio:

Ms. Elma Beganovich is a digital marketing authority who has been named by Forbes as “Epicenter of Influence” and credited by Yahoo News as the driving force behind her “digital empire – A&E.” She is one of the top U.S. influencers with over 1M followers on social media.

Ms. Beganovich is the COO and co-founder of A&E, digital agency, and she is in charge of building the company’s list of world renowned partners and clients, including EssilorLuxottica, Huawei, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, LVMH, Procter & Gamble, and Uber. Her area of expertise includes PR, she is responsible for hundreds of top media news placements, such as Time, Washington Post, Inc., Wired, USA Today, and Fast Company, media buying, has secured millions of eyeballs for industry leaders and Fortune 500 brands, and digital strategy, she devises and leads integrated marketing efforts for brands like Bvlgari.

Ms. Beganovich holds a B.A. in Government and French from Georgetown University (2007) and a J.D. from University of Miami Law School (2011). She attended Georgetown University School of Law for the LLM program in Securities and Financial Regulation (2012) and is a barred attorney in the state of New York.

Ms. Beganovich has been profiled by leading media such as NASDAQ, Bloomberg Television, Financial Times, Forbes, CNBC, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, WSJ, InStyle, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan.

Ms. Amra Beganovich bio:

Ms. Amra Beganovich is a leading authority in digital strategy, including Google where she has ranked 10,000+ highly competitive keywords to number 1 position. She has been named as one of the most popular U.S. lifestyle influencers by Business Insider and is currently followed by more than 1 million people on social media. Ms. Beganovich is the CEO and co-founder of A&E where she leads software development (she is both a front-end and back-end developer), Google marketing, and creative services teams.

She is responsible for driving organic 100,000+ unique website visitors resulting in $1,000,000+ saved revenue through free Google traffic. She works with some of the world’s most renowned brands including EssilorLuxottica, Huawei, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, LVMH, Procter & Gamble, and Uber.

Ms. Beganovich has been named and profiled as one of the leading U.S. marketers by top publications such as Forbes, Business Insider, Financial Times, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, WSJ, InStyle, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan.

Ms. Beganovich holds a B.A. in Economics from George Mason University (2006), where she graduated 14th in the Economics Department led by two Nobel Prize winners in economics, and an MBA from Schiller University (2008), with highest honors, in Madrid, Spain.

Previous to founding her own company, Ms. Beganovich worked as an economic development advisor for World Bank, IMF, and USAID projects in water, electricity, and transport.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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