Influencer marketing has become an increasingly attractive way for marketers to inspire consumers and to forge authentic relationships with a broad set of fans. One of the more power-packed influencer initiatives that comes to mind is “#GLApacked” from Mercedes-Benz. To kick off the campaign, the luxury auto retailer tapped four Instagram influencers as well as two brand ambassadors to give their venerable vehicles a more youthful appeal. The kicker: Influencers were asked to emphasize the experience of owning a GLA. Almost counterintuitively, they were encouraged to avoid snapping explicit photos of the car itself.
So, what do you get when you combine popular Instagrammers, (relatively) product-free content, and a subtle brand plug? For starters, over 90 million impressions and a 100% net positive consumer response. What this tells us, beyond the fact that influencers are indeed influential, is that today’s consumer is highly receptive to this sort of marketing. More importantly, their opinions don’t necessarily hinge on your products or services. For the consumer of today, it’s about how those products and services factor into, help to improve, or add excitement to their life.
In this article, I share three unique ways to leverage influencer images across a variety of marketing channels to drive not only engagement and awareness but also traffic and revenue.
1. Product Pages With Panache
With access to experience-oriented channels like Instagram, Tumblr and the wonderful world of blogs, consumers have become acclimated to a more editorial style of image. Seeing a stock photo of a backpack against a white backdrop simply doesn’t produce the same sense of desire as an image of someone we can relate to actually wearing that backpack at a festival or exploring the world.
Despite this shift in audience taste, brands’ product pages are still stuck in 2010. Images are optimized for accuracy. But what your customers really want is to be inspired.
A brand that is doing this well is Sigma Beauty. An international cosmetics company, Sigma works with influencers prior to product launches to drum up excitement around their makeup.
The brand then shares these photos, along with authentic images created by fans, within a gallery that lives on their product pages. By validating traditional product images with inspirational third-party content, Sigma has boosted on-site engagement by nearly 4x – a significant jump for a business that’s driven by ecommerce.
2. Enhanced Ad Creative
Your customers don’t trust what they see in ads. That’s a scary thought, given thatadvertisers will spend nearly $600 billion dollars worldwide in 2015 – more than a 6% increase year-over-year.
And yet, less than 25% of U.S. online consumers trust print ads. Even more are leery of digital media, which will make up 28% of the total worldwide spend. Is this all for naught?
Whether digital, mobile or print, ads that incorporate influencer-generated images are providing marketers with a viable way to increase engagement with their content. The rationale here is simple. On top of massive follower counts and impressive engagement rates, one of the things that makes influencers so powerful is their unique perspective. They are more likely to think beyond traditional company branding and relatively free to push creative boundaries. They don’t have managing directors breathing down their necks. They don’t have CMOs to answer to.
What an influencer does have is a fresh, uninhibited take on your brand, your products and your overall value. This perspective is more trustworthy to consumers and is therefore more likely to get your ads noticed.
3. Instagram Traffic – Instantly!
Organic engagement on Instagram has continued to delight brands. Take organic beverage brand Suja Juice, for instance. According to Sam Swensen, Online Brand Manager for Suja, Instagram is the company’s No. 1 source of referral traffic; this, despite the fact that the brand has a quarter of the following on Instagram than it does on Facebook.
How can you turn Instagram into a significant source of traffic and revenue?
Let’s go back to Sigma Beauty, our influencer-driven brand mentioned earlier. Another way they are utilizing influencer images is on Instagram. Before launching a new product line, Sigma sends influential makeup artists kits to try at home. This content is tagged with #SigmaBeauty as well as a special hashtag created for the product line. This activity sparks interest among other consumers, too. Today, the brand receives 16K UGC submissions each month.
In addition, Sigma uses Curalate Like2Buy to link influencer images out to the cosmetics they represent. The brand can now confidently say that Instagram is their leading source of social traffic. Overall, it is the fourth highest referral source, behind only email, organic search and direct traffic to sigmabeauty.com.
There’s no question that Mercedes’ influencer initiative was effectively conceived, planned and executed. Some might even consider the campaign to have been ahead of its time. But as brands attempt to tack a dollar value to influencer marketing, this strategy will need to move beyond vanity KPIs. Brands that amplify influencer images across a variety of measureable marketing channels—within ads; on social; on their site—will find themselves with even greater market influence.
Prior to joining Curalate, Stacy Goodman wrote copy on the agency side for brands like TUMS, Sleep Number, Coca-Cola and Visa Small Business. Now, she writes about them as a Content Strategist at Curalate, focusing on visual trends, customer stories and best practices across social, mobile and digital.
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.