Guide to Influencer Marketing for Retail Businesses

June 10, 2022

Companies can’t deny the impact of influencer marketing anymore. Over the past years, the number of influencers has grown and so did companies that work with them. In fact, the influencer marketing industry was estimated to have grown by $9.7 Billion in 2020

Consumers are now more dependent on social media to research products and services. While companies do use social media to reach their audiences, posts and messages oftentimes can feel inauthentic and overly promotional. Influencers help bridge the gap between providing the message of the brand and sharing a genuine story or recommendation. Marketers recognize this value that influencers provide. According to an infographic from Social Media Today, 67% of marketers believe that influencer marketing helps them reach a more targeted audience.

67% of marketers believe that influencer marketing helps them reach a more targeted audience

Here are a few more statistics from Social Media Today on why marketers are continuously investing in their relationships with these modern celebrities.

  • 11x more ROI than traditional marketing strategies. 
  • 61% of consumers rely on social media as the most important source of information when shopping
  • $6.50 earned for every dollar spent on influencer marketing by brands
Social media influencer ROI

How to find the right influencer for your brand

If you are already convinced with the impact of influencer marketing, the next step is to find the appropriate influencers to represent your brand. Choosing the right influencers can define the success or failure of your campaign. 

Here are a few guidelines to help you maximize your influencer marketing budget.

1. Define your campaign objectives

Before starting any marketing efforts, defining the objectives is a must to serve as a roadmap for all your decisions. Setting objectives at the beginning also allows you to know whether the campaign was a success based on the number of objectives you’ve met.

With influencer marketing, you need to know whether you simply want to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your physical stores, get people to participate in your event or contest, or directly increase your sales. These objectives can give you a better direction on what type of engagement and influencers you will need.

2. Look for the 3Rs (Relevance, Reach, and Resonance)

Relevance - Relevance is how closely related the profile or space of the influencer to your products or services or how relatable they are to your target audience. If you are offering exercise clothes, you may tap a wide range of influencers like athletes, runners, bodybuilders, and trainers.

There are brands that could work with more than one influencer category. For instance, a home cleaning service company can work with parent bloggers, health and fitness influencers, business owners, and many more. For these types of brands, it’s about finding influencers that align with your brand values.

An easy way to find out whether an influencer could be a good fit for you is if they have previously worked with another brand from your industry.

Reach - Reach simply means the number of audience they can communicate to based on their current number of followers. 

A key question to ask is - Are they using the same platform your audience is using? If you are targeting younger generations, you should focus more on Snapchat, TikTok, and possibly Instagram.

The majority of influencers though use Instagram since it’s visual, stays longer, and allows influencers to tell stories. 

Marketers also categorize influencers based on the number of their followers.

  • Mega-influencers - typically has more than a million followers. These are usually A-list or B-list celebrities with a diverse audience and different interests.
  • Macro-influencers - Between 100,000 to 1 million followers. Typically gained popularity from social media from a specific niche but has more likely diversified their interest.
  • Micro-influencers - Between 1,000 to 100,000 influencers. They focus on specific topics and are considered experts or specialists in their niche giving them a stronger relationship with their audience. 
  • Nano-influencers - Less than 1,000 followers. These are people in the local communities who have gained followers from their popularity in the local scene.

Resonance - Resonance is the engagement that the influencer typically generates on their posts. This is an important factor when deciding on influencers to work with. While reach is important, it can be negated if their followers are not active or interested in what they post. This is the reason why micro and nano influencers can sometimes be more effective than macro and mega influencers. 

It’s also important to note that engagement goes beyond the number of likes. A more important metric is the quantity and quality of conversations on the posts. If they could also provide the historical performance of traffic and conversions they have provided for brands they have worked with in the past, then you’ll have a more objective view of their influence.

3. Agree on the terms

Unlike in previous years, influencer marketing has become more sophisticated. Contracts should now be in place to protect both the brand and the influencer. Some countries are also considering the brand-influencer relationship as a business service which means that transactions should follow the typical rules and regulations that apply to service providers. 

By having a contract, your brand can define the frequency, schedule, format, and deliverables that the influencer has to provide. 

Giving creative license to the influencer is still important so that their post about your brand still aligns with their personal brand and maintains authenticity.

Types of engagement with influencers

Aside from the common sponsored posts, there are many ways to leverage the social reach of influencers. Here are some of the most common engagements you can choose from with examples.

1. Event appearances

Brands that rely heavily on mall activations, pop up shops, launch parties, and other similar events to drum up new products or collections, always use the services of influencers to serve both as guests and online publicists.

While most of these events also invite media, most traditional publications or broadcasting companies don’t have as much reach on social media as these influencers.

For this type of engagement, brands would require at least one post, usually a photo of the influencer in the event on the same or next day.

influencer event appearnaces example

2. Speaking engagements

Speaking engagements may seem similar to event appearances but trust us when we say that for influencers, they are completely different. With the former, they are expected to prepare or read a presentation or speech, facilitate a panel discussion, or answer questions.

This type of engagement requires the brand to choose an influencer who is comfortable speaking in front of a large audience. They must also be able to align everything they will say during the event with the brand’s key messages for the event.

Leveraging influencers for speaking engagements is now easier as you can ask them to host or participate in online events like workout guides, cooking classes, concerts, and forums.

influencer speaking engagement example

3. Basic Sponsored posts

A sponsored post is the most common way an influencer can promote your brand. It can run the gamut from a short product demo to a simple repost of a photo from your profile. Even though the influencers have to disclose that the post is sponsored, it’s important for them to make the post seem natural and blend in with the rest of their regular posts. This ensures that their followers won’t simply scroll past it or avoid viewing it.

sponsored post example

4. Giveaway contest

Giveaways are a great way to increase interest in a brand. They are usually done to increase the social following of brands. Typically, a giveaway contest would require participants to follow the brand’s page and tag multiple people in the comments (in the hopes of them being interested in the giveaway too) to qualify for the draw.

It’s important to define the extent of the influencer’s involvement and the mechanics to ensure that the goals will reflect on your page and not on the influencers’.

influencer giveaway contest example

5. Shoppable posts or Shop links

Introduced in 2019, shoppable posts allow content creators to tag products on a photo and link it to the Instagram shop of the brand, giving users immediate access to the product details. Previously, since only brand profiles can be tagged, users had to manually find the exact product by browsing the brand page or the website. With shoppable posts, the shop page of the brand can be immediately linked to the post of the influencer.

shoppable post sample

Some influencers also have their web page that houses all of the brands they represent along with their codes. The link is always on their bio which means that this type of engagement is better if you are looking for results for a long period since you don’t have to worry if the post will be displaced by new ones.

influencer shop link
sample influencer shop

6. Social media takeover

If your brand wants to go beyond awareness and increase engagement with the help of an influencer, a social media takeover is a great strategy you could utilize. By giving influencers access to your social account, they can help you humanize the brand and make you more personable and easy to talk to.

Make sure to set clear guidelines on what the influencer can and cannot do so they stay on brand during the whole takeover. For an added layer of protection for your brand, you can assign a person from your team who can give instant approval on the planned activities of the influencer. You can also give talking points that they can mention if they are going to record a video or going live.

influencer instagram take over sample

7. Reviews

While most influencers are now looking for monetary compensation in exchange for posts, simple product or service exchange still works for certain influencers, particularly those that are still starting. Posts for this type of engagement usually are reviews of the product or service.

influencer review sample

8. Sponsored content development

Providing great content is what hooks people to a brand on social media. If you can leverage influencers who have both the field expertise and reach to create and promote content for your brand, then you can easily pull your audience closer to you.

These influencers should have their blog or vlog where they can post the content that features your product or service and they should be able to integrate it seamlessly without sounding overly promotional.

sponsored content development example goodfoods

Measuring the impact of influencer marketing

Conversion/sales are still the most important KPIs for influencer engagement. Unfortunately, some campaign results are not so easy to attribute to influencer marketing, to a specific post, or specific influencer if you chose to engage with multiple influencers at once.

There’s also the problem with influencer fraud where the influencer refuses to deliver what they promised or they misreport the results of their post. Here are a few tips on how you can ensure that you are getting your money’s worth with influencer marketing.

1. Compare performance before and after engagement

There’s no better way to measure the effectiveness of an influencer campaign than to compare how your brand performed before and after you got the services of the influencers. 

List down all your KPIs before the campaign and check their current status. This can include follower count, comments, shares social media traffic referral, or actual sales. The influencer can provide the report through a screenshot of the post insights and you can also use tools like BuzzSumo, your site’s Google Analytics, and your page’s insights.

2. Use codes, affiliate links, and UTMs

Most brands who want to measure the transactions brought about by influencers assign a promo code for each influencer which their followers can use to get a discount when entered through a store. With affiliate links, it will be easier to measure click-through rate to your site, number of items sold, and value of purchases with the help of Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder.

Through this, the brands will know which influencer can actually bring conversions and should be re-engaged for future campaigns.

3. Engage them in direct sales events

There’s no better way to check the effectiveness of an influencer than to have them involved in direct sales. With live shopping app like Flux Panda, they can help you promote upcoming live selling events and push the products during the actual event.

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