Becki Owens is an Interior Designer and influencer who is extremely reputable with a following of over 1.5 million on Instagram.. Owens additionally has her own furniture and décor line, Becki Owens Living. Instagram: @beckiowens
Do you remember the days when digital marketing was as simple as a welcome ad or a banner ad at the top of your screen? While those advertising methods are still important, consumers also embrace a more personal approach to digital marketing, one that potentially offers sky rocketing sales numbers for both retailers and manufacturers. Meet the influencer.
An influencer is described as someone who creates demand for a product by sharing positive reviews, news and more about it to their established following. Part of the social media trajectory, influencers are brand ambassadors with a decidedly 21st-century strategy, speaking in their own voice rather than following along by script. They are authentic, edgy and, at times, controversial, but they are often the direct path from awareness of a brand to purchase of a product.
When visiting the Mud Pie showroom during July’s Atlanta Market, I spoke with Michelle Labovitz, director of public relations for the company, who shared that Mud Pie’s Instagram following has increased by 18% with a staggering 85% increase in engagement after major influencer campaigns. Fortunately, these types of campaigns can be cultivated for nearly every brand, but if you’re still on the fence, here are some things to think about when weighing your options:
- Fear of missing out. Everyone has FOMO at some point. We all want to stay current, and no one wants to miss out on anything that sounds good and that someone else is boasting about on social. When an influencer is on the other side of your screen praising a certain product and showing it in their personal lives or home, it really helps consumers connect with the product. I may not realize the size, quality, multiple uses or greatness of a product on a website, but I certainly understand it when it’s on video and being shown in detail by an influencer who has built trust in their following.
- New customers and exposure. You will want to pick an influencer who obviously has a large following and someone who is connected and knowledgeable of the product(s) categories you are selling. Although an influencer may be in a location far from you, these influencers have followings all over the world. This leads to more exposure for your brand or company and more sales and loyal customers. For example, I was watching an influencer’s Instagram story (she is in Charlotte, N.C.) about purchases she made at boutique that is local to me. I had ZERO clue this retailer had opened 25 minutes from me, but because of this influencer, this store has now become a favorite!
- Trust factor. Let’s be real here: When I have someone representing and working for a company trying to persuade me in my purchase, I sometimes feel a bit hesitant to make the purchase. The employee works exclusively for that company and needs my purchase to make a commission.
Influencers are a little different in my eyes as they work for MULTIPLE companies, and if an influencer is good, they are truly only marketing products/companies that they have tested and loved, and it shows in the way they are promoting on their social media platforms.
Labovitz suggested that companies getting started with an influencer should make sure the influencer meets the company’s sales criteria by capturing analytics such as engagement and conversation rates. This would be the first step in identifying potential influencer partners.
“For campaigns and mega-influencers, we collaborate with influencer management agencies who act as consultants to identify and negotiate potential partnerships,” Labovitz said. “An ideal influencer is effortless yet stylish and seeks out trend-forward pieces. She aims to inspire her community based on a lifestyle filled with creativity, happiness and warmth. She partners with brands that truly align with her aesthetic, and through her own point of view, endorses beautiful new products her audience desires.”
Next up: What makes me want to go into a show room at market and spend some time rather than window shop.