Influencer marketing was huge this year, and that trend is on target to not only grow – but explode – in the coming year. Surveys tell us that 84% of marketers say that they are interested in launching influencer campaigns in the next year, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do word of mouth from their friends.
If you want to keep up, you need an influencer strategy of your own.
What better place to get inspiration than from brands that are already doing the influencer thing the right way. Many brands have good influencer strategies, but some are knock it out of the park. These are the ones you want to follow, the ones you want to watch closely and the ones we want to introduce you to.
What can you learn from these brands and their influencer marketing strategies? Pay attention to the trends. These companies have had great success, but they didn’t need huge name influencers to make it happen. Some of these brands, who are quite large themselves, have learned that the more relatable the influence is to their market, the better the results.
These brands used relatable people like bloggers and personalities with a strong presence on social media, but not quite celebrity status. Micro-influencers and real people are what you are going to see with influencer marketing going forward this year.
Here are a few examples of brands that have mastered the art of influencer marketing.
Bigelow is one of the most recognized names in the tea industry. With the upsurge in craft coffee and tea houses, Bigelow decided they needed something that would generate more attention to their classic teas on grocery store shelves.
How did they do it?
They looked at the customer base that is most likely to choose a specialty and figured out how to reach them. Their goal was to appeal to them on an emotional level by connecting to customers through lifestyle bloggers and promotion of the healthy aspects of drinking tea.
The brand managed an 18.5% increase in sales through their blogger influencer campaign, one of the most influential being Ashley Thurman, of Cherished Bliss. On her blog, Ashley promoted the brand by showcasing recipes, including one with lemonade ice cubes that was perfectly timed for the season.
In the end, Bigelow’s brand was promoted by handfuls of bloggers who had earned the trust of their readers and put Bigelow’s name in the forefront of a younger Millennial audience.
Frank BodyFrank Body is an Australian skincare company, that makes natural beauty products with a focus on making its customers feel healthy and beautiful, even on days when that presents a challenge.
The company started in 2013 with one signature product, a coffee scrub. Frank Body sent samples of the scrub to beauty bloggers and influencers worldwide. In just a few short years, Frank body has gone from shipping out samples to being a worldwide success worth $20 million.
That is the power of the right microinfluencer.
It didn’t take long for Frank Body to become an Instagram success, with images of beauty bloggers, fitness bloggers, models and athletes showing up and gaining follows.
When you think of Buick, you think of a pretty major brand, right?
So, why would such a big name use a microinfluencer strategy more suited for a small to medium sized business?
Because they know when it comes to influencers, micro strategies deliver pretty impressive results.
In their “Pinboard to Dashboard” campaign, Buick reached out to “Pinfluencers,” who have a major following on Pinterest, and asked them to create a board that showcased their personal style and life passions. What really gained the attention of Pinfluencers? A winning board would be chosen and used as inspiration for the color palate and interior décor of the company’s updated Encore model.
What Buick did right here was to recognize that the market buying new cars was very different from their traditional customer of years past. They needed a fresh approach that would attract the younger, automobile buying audience.
Considering that over ¾ of Pinterest’s users are 45 and under, this was a great way for Buick to reach out to a market that is interested in the beauty and luxury that has so long been associated with the brand.
Glossier is a beauty brand with a cult following, who happened to get that way by believing in the power of every one of their customers as a potential influencer. What has this line of thinking done for their brand?
They say that 90% doesn’t come from paid marketing, but rather influential and engaged fans. Yes, you read that correctly. NINETY percent.
So, how do they do it? How do they engage the right influencers to drive sales in their target market? The concept is simple. They reach out to them, provide free samples and let the quality of their products do the rest of the work.
The fact that Glossier has developed such a cult following means that sending out just a few preview samples of products before they are released, to the right bloggers, will create major buzz around their brand.
What can we learn from Glossier’s success? If you have faith in brand and provide exceptional products and services, you can trust your followers to be the most effective, revenue building influencers around.
Rescue reached out influential bloggers in the natural health industry and asked them to share their personal stories and experienced with Rescue stress relief products. Consumers associated personal narratives with an increased sense of trust. When Rescue reach out to the microinfluencers they knew their target market was listening to, that tapped into a goldmine.
To sweeten the pot, Rescue asked influencers to share a buy one, get one free coupon in their blog posts. If there is one thing that speaks strongly to consumers, it is the combination of trust and value.
How did it all work out? The brand received 133 million social media impressions and a 258% increase in their Instagram followings, indicating that they succeeded in tapping into a new market that was just sitting there waiting for them.
From Rescue, we learn that there is always, always a new market, new customers that we can be reaching. All we need is the right strategy to connect.
Under The Influence
When we look at these success stories, what we see is the growing trend of shunning big name influencers for those that consumers can relate to on a personal level. Consumers trust influencers that they can look at and think “that could be me” or “I can see that in my life”.
This is great news for small and medium sized business that want to grow using influencer marketing. You don’t need a huge advertising budget. You only need to connect with your audience and appeal to them personally. Micro influencers are the new marketing tool of the future.