Influencer marketing has offered up a world of new opportunities to explore. It adds to the much needed personal connection in your marketing efforts. Influencers are people who command a large following and have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of their followers based on their authority, position, knowledge, or relationship with their audience.
Celebrity endorsement is a big deal, but it only capitalizes on their fame not influence. Influencers interact online with their followers and build a level of trust the celebrities can’t match. This makes recommendations much more effective because their followers trust their judgement.
The rise of micro-influencers has made it easier for businesses to concentrate on influencers who have a targeted audience. In turn, they bring in new customers, boost sales for a business or increase brand awareness.
For your retail business to experience growth, an influencer marketing campaign should be established, as part of a larger marketing strategy.
Here are the steps –
- Specify your goals for the campaign
Set measurable goals that go beyond getting more likes or followers for your social media channels. These include real-life actions such as visiting your website or store or making a purchase. Other influencer marketing goals include building an audience, improving engagement, building trust and customer loyalty, and increasing brand awareness.
Influencer marketing is wonderful but without the right tools, it is hard to measure important metrics like Return on Investment (ROI) from specific campaigns. To determine how you will measure success for your campaign, associate the specific goals with relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These include; Number of followers, Impressions, Engagement rate, Click-through rate, Reach, Number of sales and Views.
- Determine your budget
Know how much influencers charge to promote a post. Creating and posting a video usually doubles up the cost. Along with cash, you can offer incentives to micro-influencers. These include; free trials, discounts, exclusive event passes, early access to new products, limited product samples gift cards and recognition on your social media profiles and website.
- Find the right influencers using available tools
Tools such as Klout are best for quantifying social influence. Otherwise, you can find influencers using hashtags or keywords within your niche. You should consider relevance to your niche or brand. This means a following that pays attention to the influencer and is in your target market. The influencer content should be relevant to what you sell. They also have to love your product to promote it effectively. Additionally, you should consider the engagement rate and authenticity of the influencers in mind.
- Consider your distribution channels
If you sell products directly to end consumers then influencers who channel customers to your website or retail store are ideal. Indirect distribution prompts the influencer to send customers to where they can buy your product. The main goal here is to move products, so you should communicate on how the influencer can direct that customer traffic where you need it.
- Nurture a relationship first
Before you approach an influencer, take time to know what they are about and the kind of content they put out so as to know how you can collaborate. You can retweet or share their posts or even comment once in a while just to get on their radar.
- Make contact through email
Email the influencer specifying how you’d like to collaborate and why you think it would be beneficial to both parties. Be patient. If they don’t respond you may have to reach out again.
- Measuring results
It is difficult to track influencer marketing campaign results but with KPIs that matter, it becomes easier. As mentioned, there are web and social media analytics platforms that track KPIs and optimize your campaigns further for better performance.
How to use Social Media Influencers for your retail business
If the influencers accept to get on board, be open about your business goals, target audience, key messages and desired KPIs so that they know exactly what to do to help achieve them. Here is how you can work with them;
1. Use influencers to create ad campaigns
You can feature influencers in your ads or ask them to create the content for you. This can be through photos or videos of themselves using or wearing your products. It adds to the element of authenticity to your campaign and helps engage the audience more effectively.
2. Leverage influencers to promote new products or store launches
The right influencers will create the much-needed buzz for your upcoming launch through their social media accounts. You can schedule a series of posts and stories that they should publish before the launch. You may invite popular influencers to your store launches for an authentic experience, to drive in-store traffic.
3. Invite Influencers to events offline
Influencers may take part in activities organized by your brand during events or make appearances to your store to help customers pick products. They should post interesting and engaging pictures or videos of the activities of the day. This earns you more media coverage increasing online publicity and curiosity for the brand. It also builds lasting relationships with your influencers when they feel valued and are likely to get more involved in future campaigns.
4. Form an online community using employees or fans
Sometimes your most loyal influencers are your customers or employees who know everything about your brand. They may post pictures of them using your products or start a discussion on topics related to your niche.
5. Offer free samples of your products to influencers for review
Ask influencers to write reviews of the samples you offered. It should be through their personal experience. If you get positive reviews, this will encourage their followers to buy your products. If you get negative reviews use that as a teaching moment to better your products or services.
6. Send influencers products to use in a contest or giveaway
This is one sure way to get their followers more engaged and even gain new ones in the process. This will boost awareness of your business.
7. Offer discount codes or affiliate links
Share unique discount codes in special promotions with each influencer you work with which offer a certain percentage off to followers who use them. They should feature these codes in their sponsored posts. You tap into their audience who will likely make a purchase. Influencers, in turn, get a commission from each purchase.
Affiliate links offer brand visibility and drive more traffic to your website. They also keep track of revenue earnings. You can combine them with a product review by the influencers on either their social media or blog posts. Reviews often encourage purchases. A call-to-action in their captions or articles that directs them to your link is very essential.
8. Have frequent influencer takeovers on your social media accounts
The influencer may take over for a day or week, posting engaging content on Instagram or Twitter on your behalf. Ensure the takeover is well-publicized on both social media accounts. This will boost your numbers and you’ll get leads directly. Grant the influencers creative control. They can play around with different storytelling techniques to bring out their personalities. They should also respond to questions if any and give relevant information to your followers.
9. Showcase Influencer Testimonials on social media or websites
Followers trust recommendations from their influencers or thought leaders. Leverage this by publishing their testimonials about your products. This earns your brand credibility.
Reach out to an influencer today and take your brand to the next level.