Use Social Media Influencers to Drive Sales This Holiday Season

Social Media Influencers

Disregard these stats at your own peril. In 2016, Accenture found that millennial shoppers spend about $600B+ each year. A large portion of this spending took place during the holiday season. They don’t just shop online either. 92% of millennials plan to spend money on holiday gifts in physical stores. So, what drives millennials (and consumers of all ages to purchase)? According to Hubspot, 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference. The greater your social voice, the more social media referrals you have, the greater your holiday sales. Here’s how your brand can use social media influencers to drive holiday sales.


The Holiday Magic of Social Media Influencers

The loudest voice on social shouldn’t belong to your brand, it should be a collective chorus of other individuals (positively) talking about your brand in their own online conversations. Having a third-party source (an influencer) talk about your brand is the ultimate medium for getting your customers into the holiday-buying spirit.  

Third-party posts help to build third-party credibility. Which is why:

  1. 76% of individuals surveyed say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than content shared by brands.
  2. 92% of individuals trust word-of-mouth recommendations, making it one of the most trust-rich forms of advertising.

Influencer marketing works because people trust a recommendation from an influencer more than they trust a message from the brand.

This holiday season don’t Grinch-out on your holiday marketing budget. Take these stats to heart and make influencer marketing part of your holiday marketing strategy. After all, influencer marketing (word-of-mouth) has been shown to increase marketing effectiveness by as much as 54%.


The Four Types of Social Media Influencers

At SocialToaster, we used to discuss the three types of social media influencers; however, given the huge lift in influencer marketing over the last three years, we’ve gone ahead and added a fourth stratification.

The four types of influencers are:

1) Celebrities

Your Kylie Jenner’s, Ariana Grande’s, and Lebron James’s. Individuals that have a huge reach, millions of followers, and household name recognition. Influencer campaigns that utilize celebrities can be effective, but they come with enormous price tags.  

Celebrity Influencer Marketing Best Practice

If you have the budget to tap into the social sharing power of celebrities, be sure to partner with a celebrity that aligns with your brand. A strong celebrity known for certain qualities and characteristics can help to elevate your brand. However, if you choose your celebrity simply because of their star power, you risk creating confusion in the minds of the consumers. We’re still trying to figure out what Katy Perry has to do with Popchips.

2) Influencers

This next tier of influencers has a range of followers anywhere from 100K/200K on up to a million. They’re well known within their sphere of influence, but don’t necessarily have the household name recognition that a celebrity would. They too can come with a hefty price tag to work with.

Influencer Marketing Best Practice

If your influencer is only going to share a single post about your brand, have it be more than just a shout-out. Work with the influencer to include a strong call-to-action (like a link to your website) as part of the post. After an engaged user visits your website, ensure a remarketing campaign is deployed to continue to target this new influencer-generated audience.

Oh, and double-check that your influencers are following FTC guidelines.

3) Micro-Influencers

Micro-Influencers might have a smaller audience size than Influencers, but they can still carry a solid punch. Micro-Influencers have an audience that ranges from 10,000 to 100,000 followers. However, they tend to have a stronger connection with their audience delivering a 60% higher engagement rate than standard influencers. They are also well priced at 6.7x more cost-efficient.

Micro-Influencer Marketing Best Practice

Develop long-term relationships with your micro-influencers. Take advantage of their smaller price tag and create a multi-post content strategy that empowers them to promote your brand over several weeks (or months). After all, most consumers need to see a message several times before they act. Having your micro-influencer consistently toting the benefits of your brand can help ensure your brand gets the level of exposure it needs to drive sales.

4) Everyday Fans

The “Average-Joe” isn’t so average when it comes to having an influence on a consumer’s buying decision. Often the first source that people turn to for a recommendation on a product or brand is a close friend or family member. At SocialToaster, we’ve found the average Everyday Fan is connected to around 600 people. That’s 600 potential new customers.

Everyday Fan Marketing Best Practice

At 600 connections per, a single Everyday Fan isn’t going to make or break your holiday sales quota. However, you get 1,000 or 10,000 Everyday Fans all sharing your content, and suddenly you have a potential reach that rivals influencers and celebrities (at a fraction of the cost). Start an advocacy marketing program that allows you to easily manage your thousands of brand fans, while also making it easy for your fans to share your latest holiday content.

For more on how the SocialToaster advocacy marketing platform works, check out our video here.


How to Use Social Media Influencers to Grow Your Holiday Sales

Whether you go with a single influencer type or engage multiple types of social media influencers (hey, there’s no rule that says your micro-influencers can’t also be in your Everyday Fan advocacy marketing program), here’s how to get started leveraging the social sharing power of your influencers.

1) Start Early

Like, today early. It’s going to take some time to follow through these remaining steps. If you want to reap the benefits of an advocacy and/or influencer marketing campaign during the 2018 holiday season, now’s the time to start putting your plan into motion.

2) Develop a Strategic Plan

If your plan consists solely of, “Let’s get Celebrity X to Gram about us!”, then congratulations you have a plan. It just won’t work. Influencer marketing (like all marketing) is a measurable marketing channel. A strategic plan can make the difference between a strong sales spike the day before Christmas or a flat sales line throughout Hanukah.

The Components of a Holiday Influencer Marketing Strategic Plan

To get you started crafting your holiday plan for social media influencers, consider these questions:

  • How many influencers do you want to work with?
  • How large is your budget?
  • Do you want your social media influencers to promote specific products or your brand in general?
  • Do you have a separate landing page or affiliate program for these influencers?
  • How will you measure success?

The answer to these questions can help to form your social media influencer marketing strategy.

3) Find Your Social Media Influencers

Notice how we recommend developing your plan before you find your influencers. Plan in place, it’s time to find the influencers that best fit your goals. Celebrities are easy enough to find (though getting to them through their agent might be a bit tricky). Influencers can be found quickly with a bit of Googling. But what about the other two?

Where to Find Micro-Influencers?

While there are databases built and SaaS platforms built explicitly for this purpose, we have found the easiest way to find micro-influencers is to search hashtags on Instagram. See who is posting to the hashtags that relate to your strategic goal, then go check out their profile. You want someone with a large following, but you also want them to be active in the space. Find people that are regularly posting content that aligns with your holiday program needs.

Where to Find Everyday Fans?

Everyday Fans might as well be called everywhere fans because they’re everywhere! Seriously though, they can be targeted too via multiple channels. First things first though. Before you go out recruiting fans, you need to have your advocacy marketing program up and running in order to properly direct them to join your marketing efforts.  Once live, you can invite your fans to join your program by:

  • Sending emails promoting your advocacy marketing program
  • Post multiple social media messages
  • Personally invite your customers at checkout
  • Sponsor ads and posts on other social channels

4) Identify Key Publishing Dates and Create Holiday Content

Go ahead and jot down your key publishing dates. We’ll wait.

These are the dates that you want your social media influencers to publish content on your behalf. It may take a bit of time to negotiate with your influencers (if you’re using an influencer type other than Everyday Fans), so be sure to build in plenty of lead time as part of your influencer marketing strategy.

It’s also important to have the content all set and ready to publish on those key dates. If you’re working collaboratively with an influencer, invite them to be part of the content creation process to make it feel more organic. Organic content has a greater chance of resonating with your influencer’s audience.

5) Measure and Attribute ROI

When all is said and done and the holiday snow settles, it’s time to reflect on your campaign efforts to measure success and attribute ROI. If you saw strong sales numbers as a result of your influencer marketing efforts, consider utilizing those same influencers (or influencer types) during the next year.

Pro Tip: SocialToaster makes it easy for your brand to calculate ROI and earned media generated from your advocacy marketing efforts. Our dashboard automatically calculates earned media value (how much exposure in dollars your program has generated) by keeping track of the number of shares your content receives, likes generated, comments made, clicks earned, and a whole lot of similar statistics.


Make Influencer Marketing A Priority This Holiday Season

This holiday season, take your marketing to the top of the (North) pole with an influencer marketing program. Start today to ensure you have the runway needed to have your program in place in time for the holidays.

Ready to get started with your advocacy marketing efforts? Send us an emailrequest a free demo, or give us a call at 855.62.TOAST today!

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