Today’s digitally-savvy consumers are exercising more control over their retail experience than ever before. We want more shopping controls, more convenience, and retailer options like flexible delivery choices — and thanks to mobile devices, the entire shopping landscape has evolved to support how we research and make purchases.
As the way we buy goes through changes, so too should your brand shopper marketing strategy. With social media now intricately woven into sales funnels, the activity on these platforms is connected with everything from initial consideration to the moment of purchase.
By partnering with digital influencers to boost your message on social media platforms, brands have the unprecedented ability to build touchpoints with shoppers everywhere along the path to purchase (and beyond!).
Here are 5 ways influencer-amplified social media can be the secret weapon in your shopper marketing strategy:
1. Inspiration and Awareness. Brand messaging can make a big impact when delivered by the right influencer. It’s not enough to focus on follower count only to miss the mark when it comes to targeting: real engagement happens when there’s an organic fit between influencer and brand. In order to spark inspiration and interest, partner with influencers who have a real connection with key audiences — and give them the flexibility to share your message in their own authentic aesthetic and voice.
It’s important to focus on audience-level demographics to forge the most successful influencer partnerships. An agency can help with this targeting effort by providing a complete picture of audience demographics and historical performance by influencer.
2. Information Gathering and Evaluation. 87% of shoppers now begin their product searches online, and — this one may surprise you! — 96% of the people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles.
In order words, your brand should be focused on providing educational, persuasive content for shoppers to encounter on their path to purchase, but you can’t count on consumers finding this content on your brand-owned channels.
With 84% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, influencers are ideal for engaging potential shoppers through their impressive social reach, and more importantly, their credibility. Consumers are largely tuning out traditional advertising and sales messages in favor of content that is valuable and relevant to their needs — which is exactly what influencers are so skilled in creating.
3. Purchase. By combining your brand with the right social media storyteller, you can directly impact your bottom line with increased sales. 40% of people say they have purchased a product online as a result of seeing it being used by an influencer on social media; achieving conversion can be as simple as an informal recommendation made by the right influencer.
More in-depth tactics include partnering with micro-influencers, who tend to be specialized in a demographic that will reach more qualified sales leads than “celebrity” influencers. Influencers can also drive sales by sharing brand promo codes, exclusive time-limited offers, and in-store coupons.
4. Post-purchase. Influencers should also be used to continue to connect with audiences long after the purchase phase. Further education and information can help consumers feel good about their purchase by giving them tips and tricks to get the most out of it, and ongoing brand awareness campaigns can positively influence how customers think and feel while they’re engaging with your brand.
5. Loyalty. Influencers can spread the word about your product or service, but they also have the potential to help you build loyal repeat customers over time. Smart brands are developing long-term influencer partnerships to truly move the needle with stronger brand affinity.
Influencers and customers can both be brand ambassadors on social media, which combines the power of word of mouth marketing with the speed of instant-access platforms. Brands should strive to be part of the conversation by working to be open and responsive to audiences on influencer and brand-owned channels alike.
With influencers and social media, brands now have a wealth of opportunities for connecting with consumers throughout the buying process. Talk to us today to learn more about how Sway Group can help strengthen your shopper marketing strategy with a custom-designed influencer program.