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‘Tis the Season For Influencing: Prepare For the Holiday Shopping Season With Influencer Marketing
With the holiday season just around the corner, brands are scrambling to prepare for the most hectic time of the year. While the holidays are all about delicious dinners and time with family and friends, they’re also associated with shopping — and lots of it. For brands, the holidays are an incredibly lucrative time of the year. In fact, in 2016, consumers spent $80.2 billion online during the November-December holiday season, and retail e-commerce sales are expected to increase by a whopping 16.6% this season.
Competition is extremely high during the holidays, and your brand’s holiday campaign can easily get lost in a pile of never-ending promotions. To stand out in a crowded market, you need to get creative. That’s where influencer marketing comes in. If influencer marketing isn’t on your holiday wish list, it should be. Influencers know how to drive a brand message in a creative and meaningful way. They can reach and engage a targeted audience, while sharing your brand story through their trusted voices, and it delivers great results. According to AdWeek, brands earn a media value of $6.85 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing.
Collaborating with influencers is the perfect way to drive traffic to your site and boost your sales this holiday season. Here’s our quick guide on how to effectively leverage influencer marketing for your holiday marketing campaign.
So, how do you partner with influencers for the holidays?
Who’s on the ‘nice’ list?
When identifying the right influencers for your holiday influencer marketing campaign, there are 3 aspects you need to consider: content quality, compatibility & relevance, and engagement & reach.
1. Content Quality
As a brand, you should be prepared to give influencers creative freedom to create sponsored posts. Influencers who publish generic sponsored images and captions that’s provided by a brand won’t be perceived well by their audience — their posts will be seen as inauthentic and untrustworthy, making your influencer marketing campaign ineffective. Remember, influencers regularly create unique posts in their own voices to engage their audience, and they know how to do it well. Because it’s important for influencers to have a certain level of control over their sponsored posts, you should select influencers who produce high-quality, engaging content, as they’ll be able to create posts that’ll represent your brand image and voice well.
Knowing how to find Instagram influencers who create high-quality content may seem like a daunting task, but don’t fret! You can easily find top content creators by looking through their content portfolios on our Discover page.
2. Compatibility & Relevance
Be sure to identify influencers whose tone and creative styles are relevant and compatible to your brand image and values. If the influencers you select match your brand image, their audience will likely be more interested in what your brand has to offer. This means that the influencers’ sponsored posts will resonate well with their audience, which leads to higher engagement levels, thus increasing the likelihood of them acting on your sponsored message.
If the influencers’ styles are aligned with your brand image, this will increase the chances of the influencers accepting your booking requests. The best influencers are selective, and they only work with the brands they feel passionate about — this is the reason why their followers trust their recommendations.
3. Engagement & Reach
Be careful not to mistake influencers with high numbers of followers as influencers with great influence. When you’re selecting influencers for your campaign, the influencers’ follower counts should not be your main focus. Instead, you should look closely at how the influencers’ audience engages with the influencers’ content, by sharing, commenting, or liking it. If their engagement rates are high, it’s a sign that the influencers’ audience is interested in the content being published.
Influencers with good engagement levels have more meaningful relationships with their audience, and thus, greater influence.
Beat the holiday rush
If you’re planning on launching your influencer marketing campaign between the months of November and December, it’s important to reach out to the influencers you plan to use as soon as possible. The holiday season is a busy time for influencers, as there is a high demand for their services, and many of them may already be booked. Keep in mind that influencers may also be unavailable during the holidays, or for part of the holidays, for family time or vacations, so it’s vital that you’re prompt in sending out booking requests. This way, they’ll be able to successfully complete the booking requests before signing off.
In addition, by being on the ball with your holiday influencer marketing campaign, the influencers’ sponsored posts will be published early, before everyone is inundated by holiday ads. There will be less competition for their audience’s attention, which means your post will be more effective in grabbing their attention.
The gift of story-telling
After you’ve selected influencers to collaborate with, encourage them to share a holiday-oriented narrative in their sponsored posts. By blending a personal narrative with a sponsored post, influencers can share authentic, candid glimpses into their holiday traditions and moments, which will trigger their audience’s emotions and keep them engaged in the content that’s being shared. Influencers are great storytellers, and by borrowing the influencers’ voices to share your brand story, you’ll be able to establish a personal connection with an engaged audience and create a positive brand image.
When you’re preparing to launch your influencer marketing campaign, it’s important that you focus on the right social media channel to share your message. Find the appropriate channel for your brand story by asking yourself: What do you want to accomplish with your campaign?
– If you’re looking to drive inspiration for gift ideas, using Pinterest is a fantastic way to display your products creatively. An influencer can create a holiday gift board, which can easily be found when consumers are searching for gift ideas.
– If you want to sell products that are visually appealing, like home decor or clothing, Instagram is the channel to use. An influencer can display your (already) visually appealing product in a more captivating way.
– When consumers are researching gifts to purchase, it’s common for them to turn to Youtube for product reviews. An influencer can educate consumers by showcasing your product in action.
– If you’re looking to offer an experience, you should consider using Snapchat or Instagram stories. You can ask influencers to test and share their experiences with an audience in real time.
Did I hear someone say sale?
Everyone loves a good sale, especially during the holidays. You can create a strong call to action by providing promo codes for good deals on fantastic gifts. Promo codes incentivize the influencers’ audience to make purchases, which will help you increase your holiday sales. You should also consider adding a deadline to the promo code. For example, you can ask influencers to mention that the promo code provided will only last through the month of December in their captions or descriptions. This will help create a sense of urgency, thus compelling the influencers’ audience to make purchases, which will drive up your conversions.
Deck the halls with boughs of.. metrics?
Lastly, always measure the results of your influencer marketing campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not — this is key to a successful campaign. The method you use to measure your success will depend on your campaign goals: awareness, consideration, and conversion.
1. For an awareness campaign, calculate the engagement rate that a sponsored post generates.
To calculate the engagement rate for each sponsored post, use the following formula:
2. For a consideration campaign, calculate your follower growth.
To calculate your follower growth, use the following formula:
3. For a conversion campaign, calculate your sales and revenue.
The easiest way to calculate the sales and revenue generated from a campaign is to provide a unique promo code to the influencers you work with. This way, you can easily track the number of sales made through your collaborations.
We’ve hand-picked several collaborations, created by some of our favorite influencers, to share with you. You can easily check out their profiles by searching their usernames, or you can search for more influencers on our Discover page.
For many brands, the holiday season is the most important time of the year. With these tips in hand, you’ll have all the tools you need to launch a successful influencer marketing campaign for the holidays.