The ‘Silly Season’ is upon us and if your anything like me, you’ve probably not even started thinking about presents yet. BUT if you are a retailer, and in particular a retailer with an online store then chances are your ‘organised’ customers are already shopping online or at the very least researching what they want to buy. We always recommend planning for seasonal campaigns, we all know that a well planned influencer marketing strategy is best, but if you haven’t got around to it yet it’s still not too late to start your holiday campaigns and boost your sales. One of the best ways you can do this is to use influencers in your industry, area or market. Patterning up with influencers that are relevant to your products or audience is a great way to take your sales to the next level. The right influencer can have a positive impact and open the door to new customers. Partnerships in any business are important and bring an array of benefits to the table for both parties both in the short and long term and influencer marketing is no different.
What is an influencer in marketing?
Firstly, don’t be fooled into thinking that an ‘influencer’ is someone with a large social media following alone. Influencer and popularity are 2 different things and are not equal. A true influencer is someone who has the ability to influence the perception of others or gets them to take action and sometimes the best influencers can actually be those with a relatively small social media following. A good influencer is someone who is well connected to their audience, someone who generally is listened to and respected within their industry, or peer groups.
Here are some useful and effective influencer marketing tips to try.
They should help you to get maximum results out of the time you spend.
1. MAP OUT A PLAN
Before you dive into your influencer marketing campaign, you need to create a plan.
Set an OBJECTIVE
- Do you want to improve brand visibility?
- Do you want to drive more sales?
- Do you want more people to come into the store?
No matter what your reason is, you should have a clear understanding about what your end result should be or quite simply what you are trying to get out of it. Set a BUDGET. In most instances you will have to pay for influencers in some way, either in cash or with products.
- Do you just want them to do some posts wearing your products?
- Do you want them to describe or review your products?
- A good starting point is $250 for a simple post.
But bear in mind if the influencer can create a major impact on your product or brand, or you have a high ticket item then you will have to pay more for the service. Set a TIMELINE. If you are a retailer and would like something to go out within the next few weeks, then you better get cracking.
- Set dates
- Influencer to receive product by (date)
- Influencer to send back draft post for approval by (date)
- Influencer to post by (date)
- Influencer to send reporting back by (date)
- Influencer to keep post up until (date)
A timeline and dates are really important, it keeps everyone on track and manages expectations for all parties. Choose your PLATFORM There is no right or wrong platform for influencer marketing. But you should choose platforms that you and your influencer are comfortable with or already on. Both Instagram™ and Facebook™ are great for influencer marketing, so consider this strategy across both platforms. Set METRICS
- How will you measure if the campaign was successful?
- Will priority be given towards shares, comments and likes?
It’s important to note, that when it comes to social media, you shouldn’t measure sales on a single influencer campaign…it can go towards boosting sales in the longer term, but influencer campaigns are just onee part of your overall marketing strategy and sales funnel.
2. DON’T BE AFRAID TO BE CREATIVE
Think outside the square. The old saying of ‘if you don’t change anything, then nothing will change’ is true. Creativity or doing something in a way that is different to what you normally do is a really good way of grabbing people’s attention. Generally speaking when retailers do something differently in their marketing campaigns, they see positive results. Creativity plays a major role when you are running a campaign during the holiday season. So if you normally have single image posts try other posting styles like:
- Facebook™ or Instagram™ lives
- Multiple image posts both outside and inside shots
- Instagram™ stories
- Text overlays
Then think about your product
- Where will people normally wear it?
- Is it sporty?
- Is it classic?
- Is it controversial?
- Is it male or female product?
Then look at showcasing your product not only in a similar environment, but also in the opposite environment and review the results. The idea is to make your potential customers ‘use their thumb’, ‘stop’ on your influencers post, take notice of your products and encourage them to find out more or take action.
3. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU ARE OFFERING
As the next step, you should understand what you will be offering with your influencer marketing campaign.
- Do you want them to promote your business?
- Do you want them to promote just one product?
- Do you want multiple products promoted?
- Is it a year round product?
- Is it a Holiday season product?
For the holiday season, most of the products usually tend to be ‘featured products’. If you have ‘seasonal products’ then we would encouraged you to promote them. Or figure out what your best sellers are and then focus on them. While determining the product, it is also important to take a look at how the product will be collected or received by the purchaser.
- For example will you will be sending out the product?
- Do you have a reliable shipping company?
- Does it need to be gift wrapped or require special packaging or handling?
- Can it be collected in store?
All of these things will help you choose the right product or products to promote. Remember your influencers will be protective of their audience and want to protect their own credibility so it’s important to impress your potential customers and start the relationship off on the right foot. This will not only build a good relationship with your influencer but ensure you add their followers to your long term customer base.
4. COME UP WITH A SET OF GUIDELINES
After working out what product you want to promote, when it should happen, what your budget is and have chosen your influencer, you will then need to come up with a set of guidelines. Our advice would be for YOU to set the guidelines, not YOUR influencer. This will ensure you get what YOU require, alleviate mistakes and uncomfortable situations, protect your brand and ensure a long lasting partnership with your influencer. Here are some things that should form part of your guidelines:
- What and how many hashtags should be used?
- Should anyone else be ‘tagged’ in the post?
- Is there a caption you want used?
- Time of day it should be posted?
- How many times will they post?
- Can you reschedule and repost onto your own profiles? If so, how many times and what is the end date?
- Is there a perfect timing of the day to post?
- Is there anything your influencer should avoid?
- Does this clash with other posts your influencer might be doing?
- Does your influencer have any ideas on what they think might work? If so, ask them and then agree upon what they will post. After all, they will know their followers better than you.
Influencers can’t read your mind and if your product is new to them, then its best that you set the guidelines up front. However, the important thing to take into consideration is also your influencer is an influencer for a reason and you should seek feedback from them on how they see your brand and what ideas they might have that they think will work for their audience. With a clear set of guidelines to follow, you and your influencer will have a clear set of expectations then ensuring that you receive the best possible service as per what you expected.
5. FIND THE APPROPRIATE INFLUENCER
You can find thousands of influencers on social media, but also think about people in your local area and within your own networks. Bear in mind that not all influencers will be able to, or will want to endorse your brand or product. Therefore, we suggest you find 3-5 people who you think might align well with your brand.
Generally speaking this is quite a manual task, however you can engage a marketing company to find the best influencers, but don’t forget to look around you.
- Is there individuals in your own networks who are passionate about your business or products?
- Are there experts in your industry that are highly respected?
- Is there followers on your own social media accounts that are really engaging with your posts already that might be worth reaching out to?
- Are there influencers who are already engaged with the process of promoting products or services, which are similar to the ones offered by your business?
There’s no one right influencer for your brand and often the most successful influencer marketing has come from the least expected channel.
6. COLLECT THE CONTENT AND SCHEDULE IT
When you are dealing with influencers, our recommendation is that you have the right to collect and schedule the content on your own channels as well as theirs. This works really well as it also can provide support in the other direction. We recommend that if you are doing an influencer during the holiday season that you schedule the posts at the time you want them to go out. Scheduling posts, particularly during the holiday season will provide you with the chance to stay away from stress of remembering to do it or help you concentrate on other areas of the business that need it during this time. Scheduling also means you will have more time to engage with this new community and keep an eye on what is going on in your influencers social media during this time. Engagement during this time is paramount as it generally means more sales and more leads.
7. MEASURE THE RESULTS
Once you run your first campaign with one of the influencers, you need to measure the results. Look back at your plan and if whether the time, effort and money you spent on the influencer marketing campaign was worth it or not. Look at:
- How many shares, comments and likes your influencer got on each post.
- Look at how many likes comments and shares your own posts got during that time vs normal posting.
- Did sales increase? If so, how much?
- Did traffic to your website or store increase? If so, how much?
- Did your social media accounts increase in followers?
- Did the campaign remain on budget and on time?
- Was your influencer easy to deal with?
All of these things are an indication to see whether your efforts were in vain or not.
The holiday season will be the busiest time of the year for influencers. That’s because a large number of brands partner with them to promote the products and services they offer. Whilst we do recommend that you act and plan well ahead of time don’t be afraid to give influencer marketing a go and see if it makes a difference to your business or sales.…in our opinion – ‘there’s no time like the present’
Hi, I’m Rose Felice, I established socialbuzz.com.au in 2016 out of my passion for all things ‘digital marketing’. I specialise in growing an audience, developing customers and building brand profile and help on small to medium business grow their online presence.