If You Build It, They Will Come…Or Will They?
You just opened your pop-up and are now expecting a long line of curious customers waiting to shop. Unless you are Justin Bieber or already have a huge following, this is probably unlikely.

Influencer marketing has become a big part of creating your brand in the last few years. Some brands have had some major success with it and some have not. There is one phrase you should always have in your head, “Quality over Quantity”. Done correctly it will help you stand out in the crowd of businesses trying to get your customers’ attention and will cut through the clutter by increasing the conversation about your brand. Since most of us are online a good amount of the day whether on the computer or phone, our primary source of information comes from staying connected via the internet and social platforms. Having a brand advocate that has a big following who is aligned with your brand will be a beneficial part of your marketing strategy.

Your goal with influencer marketing is to bring awareness and drive traffic to your site and the cherry on top would be the potential sales you may get from it. Influencer marketing will not guarantee ROI but should be looked at as an investment in a loyal following and legitimacy in your market. It is a piece of your growing brand’s pie.

Influencer marketing is also beneficial to a brand because consumers trust their peers for recommendations. A customer is more likely to be receptive to a brand when their friend talks about how great it is and why over the brand itself trying to tell the customer directly. That’s why finding the right advocate will influence the customer in trusting that they will like you as well. The main key though is that it has to feel genuine, if the influencer does not believe in the brand it most likely will show and more importantly their followers will get a bad first impression.

One important thing to note is that building an audience – a real one, takes time. Your brand community will start to grow in direct proportion to the content and conversations your brand delivers. Done genuinely and honesty, you will grow real organic and loyal followers. Secondly, these tips will not work if you don’t know who you are as a brand. Make sure you know what your brand stands for and what your value proposition is. Everyone on your team will need to have a clear and concise understanding of your unique brand DNA in order to successfully market your brand. Trying to be everything to everyone will ultimately work against you and hurt your image.

Learn your customer

Knowing everything there is to know about your customer will make it easy to distinguish who influences them and who they listen to for advice and suggestions.

Questions to ask:

  • What do they do?
  • What type of person are they?
  • What do they like?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What do they read?
  • Who do they follow?

It’s important to know what sources your customers turn to for information and guidance in making decisions. Find the people who are part of the conversation your customer would find helpful.

Discover Your Influencers

If hiring an agency is not in your budget yet, there are ways to organically put yourself into conversations your customers will be in. By surfing conversations you will discover what influencers match your brand and can potentially become your brand advocate or brand ambassador. Your influencers will be the ones who produce content and already have an existing engaged audience around these specific topics and conversations. By working with them you can potentially awaken new loyal customers.

You can discover the right topics and who is engaged in these conversations in a couple of ways:

  • Google alerts
  • Hashtags
  • Followers & Followings
  • Generated keywords and social conversation phrases
  • Blog topics

Figure out which blogger’s have built real authority and trust, rather than making a call based on number of followers and comments, both of which can be bought. From there you can start to build a relationship with them by involving yourself in the conversation before you directly reach out.

Agree to an arrangement beforehand whether paid in product, barter or monetary compensation. These terms must be set in the beginning so both parties are clear and no one is disappointed. Your goal is to build a lasting relationship with them as well and the relationship must feel honest. An influencer will be excited to post about your brand if they could truly be a customer and believe in what you stand for.

Mizzen + Main is a great example of having influencers that believe in their brand and followers that are also the core demographic of the Mizzen + Main man. All of their influencers are football stars with huge followings that care about the brand, love wearing their shirts and whose honesty comes through to their dozens of followers.

JJ Watts for Mizzen + Main
JJ Watts for Mizzen + Main

 

Stick to only a few at first. You don’t want to be overexposed and have it feel fake, it will impact the quality of the recommendation.

Leesa, now open at 112 Wooster until October has joined forces with ArtLifting to create its first ever Leesa Dream Gallery which gives back to local shelters and helps the homeless through art therapy. With the help of Jessie and Eric Decker, they were able to bring light to this amazing organization and mission from both companies. An attractive, young couple that represents family unity and giving back is in perfect alignment with the Leesa brand message.

Jessie James and Eric Decker for Leesa
Jessie James and Eric Decker for Leesa

 

Lastly, Few Moda is an online boutique selling on trend fashion to the millennial market and just opened their pop-up at The Corner at The Roger Smith Hotel.  In their strategy they decided to attract fashion bloggers and curators that promoted and shared the same style aesthetic. In doing this they were able to acquire some of the influencers loyal following and brought awareness to their online boutique and new NYC pop-up.

Michelle Take Aim for Few Moda
Michelle Take Aim for Few Moda

 

Test out what works

You have awesome influencers who have massive followings promoting your brand, now what. What does this mean as far as reach and conversation. Has this helped your sales any? Have you gained new people to your email list? New followers on your social media platforms? How has their content resonated with their audience? It is important to know what you are trying to measure in order to get a clear view of how to make your strategy even better or redirect your efforts completely. Tracking your metrics is a great way of knowing if your strategy has helped your goal and if the influencers hired were a good match to attain these goals.

There are many ways to track if any buying conversations were influenced and what has worked. You can do this by tracking the influencers conversations on their blog through google analytics and other online services that can track keywords to see what has been the most popular. Also track the influencer’s social channels and see how their posts have done on engagement and if any of these had led to sales.

Trying different tactics with influencers is also a great way of testing what works and what doesn’t. Think of ideas that can spark conversation and create content that encourages them to post. For example, host an event where they can invite their following for a meet and greet. Or, work with them to create contests and giveaways for their followers to spark engagement. By testing different strategies you will find out what resonates with your customers.

By creating an influencer marketing strategy aligned with your goals, you will effectively measure the impact of your business success. But remember, you cannot rely on influencer marketing alone, it is one piece of your brand strategy. Do not put all your eggs in one basket.