How to Drive Sales with Social Media Influencers

This just in - the Instagram influencer marketing space has officially become a $1B business! Brands are spending bookoo deniro partnering with Instagrammers that have amassed large followings to drive new sales. For good reason too. TV viewership in the coveted 18–24 year-old demographic has dropped over 35% since 2011. The rise of influencer marketing isn’t surprising, brands are simply following the eyeballs.

The influencer marketing space is expected to hit $5B to $10B over the next 5 years. Brands that are looking to shore up a strong influencer marketing presence should start carving out their spot today. So how is your brand planning to capitalize on the boom in influencer marketing to drive sales?

Step 1: Decide What Level of Influencer Works Best for Your Needs

When it comes to influencers, brands have a myriad of choices available to them. Essentially though, all influencers can be dropped into three buckets:

Celebrities: These are your Kendell Jenner’s and Leonardo DiCaprio's of the world, household names that have millions (if not billions) of fans around the world. Tapping into a celebrity of this size takes a lot of work (and a lot of greenbacks), but the potential gains of such an endorsement can be huge!

Influencer: These individuals represent the bulk of the influencer marketing space. They have built a brand around their name (or property) within a given space. Think “The Points Guy” for free travel, or the “Hodge Twins” for working out. Influencers in this space can have a social footprint anywhere from 10,000 people to several million people. The price to engage varies dependent on their social audiences - a couple hundred dollars for influencers with a small or growing audiences, 10’s of $1,000’s of dollars for those at peak popularity.

Friends and Family: For brands that want to utilize a more cost efficient option, keep in mind that the average person is connected to 300 – 400 people via their social media channels. The more social the individual, the larger the network. At SocialToaster, we regularly see networks between 600 – 700 people. Also, the average consumer regularly considers 3rd party testimonials from friends as one of the most important factors in a buying decision. An average network size of 300 may not sound like a lot at first, but if you were able to get 1,000 or even 10,000 of your biggest fans into a single influencer campaign, you soon have a network that dwarfs most single influencers. (BTW getting these large groups of fans together is exactly what we do at SocialToaster, so if you’d like to learn more on how this process works, let us know! Our platform makes it easy for brands to launch and manage an influencer program.)

Step 2: Leveraging Your Influencer Network to Drive Sales

Once you have an influencer (or army of influencers if you are partnering with SocialToaster), it’s time to turn them into a sales driving machine! There are many factors that go into a successful sales driving campaign, but here are the 3 most important ones to keep in mind:

Important Factor #1 - Content: There’s a reason they say “content is king”. For any influencer’s message to be considered by their audience, the content being shared must be 100% on point: the right message, delivered via the right medium to the right audience. For a celebrity or quasi-celebrity influencer, you’ll want to ensure the content is a natural extension of what they are known for. If your chosen influencer is well known for being a Vegan, don’t have them hawk your 100% meat jerky. This holds true for any large-scale fan engagement program. You want to provide your influencers with top notch content that is aligned to both their issues AND your brand. Influencers also help solve the nagging problem of dwindling organic distribution. A wide-scale influencer marketing program gets your content seen without always having to pay-to-play with the social platforms themselves.

Important Factor #2 - Frequency: In general, it can take up to 16 touch-points before a consumer pulls the trigger on a purchase. If your influencers are only sharing one message one time, that may not be enough noise to push a meaningful sales spike – especially if it’s the first time their audience is hearing about your brand. Typically, it’s not best for a brand to blow their budget on a single tweet from a huge celebrity when they can instead spend their money on more messages over a longer time period from a less-expensive influencer. The more frequent the exposure, the more top-of-mind awareness generated for your product, and the more likely a consumer is to (eventually) make a purchase.

Important Factor #3 - Ask for The Sale: Having an influencer discuss your product is great, but you know what’s even more powerful? Having that influencer tell their followers to go out and buy your product. Work with your influencers to ensure that each message is tied to a call to action that pushes a potential customer further down the sales funnel. The more engagement you can drive from your influencers, the more likely you are to see sales!

For a marketing channel to be effective it must produce a return on its investment. Influencer marketing is no different! Looking to get started with your own army of influencers? We can help. Schedule a demo today.