Influencer marketing is no longer just a marketing tactic for brands to consider in their overall strategy but an essential tool in order to reach their audience. Retail and brand created ads aren’t enough to bring in sales and earn customers anymore. Instead, brands need to utilize social media and digital influencers in order to reach their audience.
According to an article in Adweek, “the average shopper spends 79 days researching a new purchase, with 80% of that research starting online, usually with social media.” With shoppers spending this much time conducting their own online research, it’s imperative that brands leverage their use of influencers and maximize their digital presence throughout the entire shopper journey. From initial inspiration to purchase experience, influencers have become the key to landing sales and building customer loyalty.
In a study by Forrester, “customers will engage with 11.4 pieces of content before deciding on a purchase”. So, how can brands make sure their target audience is engaging with their brand and what kinds of content should influencers be sharing? Here are a few ways influencers can inspire their audience to research a brand or make a purchase from a specific retailer.
- Drive their audience to an in-store event and/or live stream an in-store event. This kind of content will give the audience inspiration on purchasing a new product, where to find that product, and a little feedback on why they should choose it. If an influencer live-streams an instore event, their followers will be getting a behind the scenes look at a retailer and/or brand and may be able to gain valuable information to consider when making a purchase decision.
- Initiate a conversation about a new brand or product. Whether it’s featuring a product in a social post and following up with a question to followers about the product or other products they like by the same brand, starting a conversation is one of the best ways to get exposure and build awareness about a brand or product. Whenever a user searches that product or brand on social media, they will be able to find comments and posts where people are sharing their experience with it. According to a study by GE Capital retail, “81% of people look at products online before making a purchase.” By initiating and even engaging in this conversation about a product online, brands can ensure their audience is finding positive feedback in their research.
- Share promotional offers, coupons and sweepstakes. Everyone loves a good deal and an influencer’s social media followers are no exception. In fact a study by the CMO Council found that, “more than 70% of US internet users said their purchase decisions were influenced by coupons and discounts.” This is more popular than any other kind of influence for a retail purchase.
- Post a review or offer positive feedback about a brand or specific product. Positive reviews can be a crucial tie-breaker in the consideration phase of the shopper journey when deciding between to competing products or brands. A review by a known or trusted influencer can have a tremendous impact on a shopper’s decision making. A survey of 14,000 respondents in the U.S. conducted by Collective Bias reported that “70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions.”
- Develop authentic content. Influencers usually have a pretty solid idea on the kinds of content their audience will engage with. When given the freedom to create their own content, influencers will give honest opinions about a brand or product and ultimately build trust with their audience. The key to achieving sales and building customer loyalty through an influencer marketing campaign is to use an influencer who has built that trust so the audience will be more likely to take their advice and trust their brand and product reviews.