When Content Marketing Institute talked to businesses about their challenges and perspectives on digital marketing, they found that a lot of them saw the value in using influencers. Digital marketing professionals also considered them as a reasonable investment that increases web presence and helps to sell more.
In fact, 69% of the respondents in the survey said they either “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that building relationships with influencers was an important strategy for establishing loyalty with customers.
Most B2C ecommerce brands understand that influencer marketing increasingly serves as a foundation for a successful content marketing strategy. When done well, influencer marketing affects these five core tenets of content marketing for B2C brands:
- Content that builds loyalty with customers (it’s easier to sell to regular, loyal customers; besides, acquiring a new customer costs up to 5 times more than keeping an existing one)
- Building trust and credibility. Brand trust is an important factor in eCommerce; in fact, 33 percent of U.S.-based consumers say that trusting a brand is important to them because they can’t afford to waste money on bad purchases from companies they don’t know
- Content that an ecommerce business uses to connect with customers should be creative. Influencers are perfect for helping to meet this requirement
- A company’s management should understand the value of content marketing – influencer marketing included – to make it work.
Ultimately, influencers can bolster a good content strategy, but the trickle-down effects of influencer marketing on the bottom line are enticing to brands. These three concepts below correspond to the different points a customer’s journey that influencers impact to drive sales.
1. Influencers to Build Customer Trust through Content and Value
It goes without saying that you need to invest a lot of time, resources, and energy into building customer trust. Since a lot of consumers are reluctant to trust online brand messaging – and no one can blame them for that – then making sure that your marketing is free from sales-y and pushy tactics is a must.
One way social media influencers can help you with that is by building and improving customer relationships as well as the company’s image with a more personalized and relatable approach.
While every influencer’s method for connecting with intended audiences is unique, providing value and engaging with them in a friendly and helpful way are the two core factors that drive them.
Providing value can be one of the trickiest parts of influencer marketing. Typically, influencers provide value to a target audience by sharing their expertise and helpful, actionable content. Simply said, they have specific things figured out – the things that your audience doesn’t – so they clarify them in a simple and engaging way. In the process, the potential customers perceive such content as valuable.
For example, Andrew Rea, an Instagram star known for his cooking channel Binging with Babish, often collaborates with food brands. One of his latest partnerships was with Philips, and he advertised their new coffee machine in a hilarious way while giving his viewers good info about how they can benefit from using the product.
Rea has come a long way to be able to advertise for such well-known brands, as his YouTube channel is full of detailed cooking videos for those who would like to learn the craft or new recipes. That’s value!
This is something that many influencers have mastered to amass huge followerships. By interacting with their viewers/readers/etc. through comments, live video streams, Instagram stories, meetups, and other communication channels, they build trust and improve their image as trustworthy sources of knowledge (and product recommendations, of course).
Rea, for example, often lets his followers know about the recipes he wants to cook as well as asks about their recommendations for future cooking videos.
By doing so, influencers become almost like friends to many, so recommendations that come from them are perceived as worth checking out (even if they’re a part of a marketing campaign). This can even launch into customers sharing their own content (UGC) which is the best brand endorsement you can ask for.
2. Influencers to Promote Specific Products or Services and Encourage UGC
Whether you have a new product coming up or just want to advertise a specific product, you can have influencers try them try the products. Seeing someone using a product and enjoying it can have a significant impact on customers’ decision to buy, as studies show that up to 87 % of shoppers now begin product research online.
What’s more, videos are the most popular and effective way for influencers to promote products because people often rely on them as a part of product/service research. In fact, 96% of people report watching an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.
That’s why product explainer and how-to videos should be a part of your influencer campaign. But here’s where working with influencers to create virality can be impactful. Influencer creativity plays a huge role, as simply promoting something isn’t going to work these days, especially if the product is new. If an influencer can create a movement or challenge out of your product, you’ll also be able to collect user-generated content that cascades from this campaign.
3. Influencers to Promote Products with Contests and Giveaways
The fact that a trustworthy influencer is promoting a product or service by hosting a giveaway or contest will make them more interesting to potential customers. A technique like a giveaway or contest, especially on social media, is great because they have no barriers to entry but can potentially benefit the participants in a big way.
Once your influencer launches the contest, customers can submit their own UGC to enter the contest, which then creates more content for you to use in later marketing campaigns. Influencers can act as the catalyst for successful campaigns
Why Should Your Potential Customers Trust Your Brand and Your Influencer?
This is a question that you should ask yourself a lot of times during both planning and implementing your influencer marketing strategy. Customers can easily distinguish a hard sell and a lack of authenticity and will revolt accordingly.
Always keep authentic connections and brand affinity at the forefront of your campaigns and you’ll see success in your influencer program for years to come.
Daniela McVicker is a blogger with rich experience in writing about UX design, content planning, and digital marketing. Currently, she is the chief contributor at AllTopReviews where she helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Her posts are always packed with examples and actionable content that readers can put straight into the action.