Internet is a lonely place to be when you’re a start-up brand. Few people pay attention when you say something. You just keep sharing things, hoping that somebody will find it via. search and engage with it. You don’t know where your customers are, what they’re doing and you have vague idea of things they’re searching for. That makes it hard for you to target your customers.
Even though there are online marketing channels out there such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc but when you’re new and no one really trusts you and these channels tend to under-perform, even when you have have great products to sell.
Off course, you can build this trust and demand over a period of time, organically; but when you’re start-up, you always have the risk of running out of gas. You have to make things happen quickly – build awareness and conversations about your brand, drive sales and repeat. That’s what keeps your investors happy, right?
Every start-up faces this dilemma and conventional wisdom requires them to invest time and money in Public Relations. But PR has always been an expensive affair and requires top level contacts for which you mostly have to hire an expensive PR firm.
However, things have changed with the evolution of the Internet, especially with arrival of Social Media. Social Media has provided common man not only the ability to connect with the people they know but also with the world outside. Big or small, today we all have audience of our own.
In this post, I want to talk about people who have used content to build a larger audience: the influencers – people who have mind share of thousands to millions of people and who are revolutionizing marketing is done in the Online Fashion Industry.
Obviously, Influencer Marketing is not something new. Even when Internet didn’t existed, there were journalists, writers, thought leaders etc. But now since Internet has democratized everything, journalist, reporter, movie stars, politicians are not the only people who can influence.
What it means for your business?
You as an Online Fashion Brand can leverage Influencer Marketing to drive tons of exposure for your brand on the Internet. The thing is that your customers are more likely to trust buying recommendations when they come from someone they know, rather when it comes directly from you. They know that you have a direct financial benefit behind promoting your own products. Think about it in a personal context. You will usually not trust a person at a cocktail party, who comes up to you and brags about himself or herself to convince you to be a friend. The chances that you will trust the person are very low. On the other hand, if you meet the same person through a mutual friend who vouches for that person, you would befriend the person easily.
Generally speaking, you can divide the buying cycle of your customers as:
- Discovery: Customers search Internet and find what they want
- Explore: Customers know what they want and they investigate specifically about it
- Purchase: Customers purchase the product
- Engage: Customers continue to engage with the brand
Influencer Marketing works mostly at the first step of customer buying cycle – The Discovery phase. At the first step, when your customers don’t know what exactly they want, they can be influenced; perhaps they want to be influenced and guided to make the right buying decision. This is where a good influencer can help your brand by recommending you at the time when it matters most.
As per a research done by Sony, they received 300% more sales by targeting just the influencers than targeting everyone.
If done the right way, Influencers have the power to amplify your brand’s overall presence on the Internet. You can make an impact in the following areas of your brand:
- Increase your Social Media presence
- Improve your website’s visibility on Google
- Open streams of User Generated Content *
- Spark conversations on the Internet about your brand
- Increase demand of your product on the Internet
Needless to say, no other marketing technique can have such a huge impact on your brand’s visibility on the Internet.
* Impact of Influencer Marketing on SEO: Influencer Marketing engagements lead to new backlinks and social media signals (mentions & shares), that leads to a direct impact on your website’s rankings on Search Engines.
Influencers follow influencers. With Influencer Marketing, your chances of going viral are much higher . When an influencer mentions you, your brand is exposed to other influencers and your chances of getting mentioned by other influencers becomes much higher. Thus targeting influencers can give you the required neutrons to start the chain reaction and make your content go viral on the Internet. Moreover, people have the tendency to engage with a piece of content a lot more when it comes from a trusted source. Your content travels much farther via. Influencers. Even the online & offline press is more likely cover your brand when it’s mentioned by an influencer instead by you.
Now, let’s talk about some best practices of Influencer Marketing and how you can use it to drive traffic, engagement, demand and conversions.
What to look for in an influencer?
An influencer can be an award winning writer, blogger, Instagram fashionista, professor, doctor, dietitian, fitness enthusiasts, dancer, singer etc.But just because someone is popular on the Internet and working with your competitor brands doesn’t qualifies them to represent your brand. As a retailer, while hiring influencers, you must look for the following:
- Personality: Does the influencer’s personality go well with your brand?
- Niche: Does the niche targeted by the influencer relates to your niche?
- Topics: What kind of topics has the influencer covered?
- Creativity: Even if an influencer is not so popular, is he/she producing creative content?
- Followers: Off course, whether the influencer has sufficient audience (followers/subscribers) to make an impact?
Targeting top Influencers?
For Start-ups, trying to influence the influencers at the top is not a good idea as they are mostly too busy and too expensive. The best strategy is to look for below the top influencers and the ones who are high potential. Having said that, it also depends on your marketing goals. If you want to make an impact in less time, you have no other option but to find and work with top influencers in your niche and let them do the heavy lifting for you. But our advice to you is to think long term: look for real talents and build strong relationships with them. Start treating them as your brand ambassadors.
Remember, influencers need you as much as you need them. Why? Because they need new content ideas everyday. They want to be contacted by people like you with good product and content ideas. So, don’t over emphasize money as the only factor in building relationships with influencers.
However, if you want someone to praise your brand, they must to be compensated, especially if you seek to build a long term relationship with the influencer. However, the compensation doesn’t need to be financial every time.
You can incentivize an influencer in many ways, for example:
- Offer your products on hefty discounts
- Offer a product giveaway
- Offer a free service that you believe might help influencer
- Offer Commission
- Offer gift cards so they can shop from your website regularly and share it with their audience as they use your products.
- shout out when someone mentions you are important, especially if an influencer mentions you. You need to make them feel that they are important.
Always make sure that the promotion will come across as sincere. You must treat these influencers same way you treat your customers and try to build real passion in them for your brand, so that when they talk about your brand, they voice sounds authentic and natural. The whole point here is to reward and acknowledge the influencer for their work and show your love for them as they do the hard work of taking your brand to your customers.
[quote]The fundamental driver of your influencer marketing program should be to build an authentic advocacy for your brand. You can’t build an authentic brand solely on virtue of paid social endorsements. You need a great product, you need great content; only then you can build natural excitement around your influencer marketing campaign.[/quote]
How to find influencers?
Finding and short listing influencers who are relevant to your target audience is an extremely important step of Influencer Marketing.You need to know who they are and how to reach them. Let us give you a few tips on how you can find influencers for your brand.
Start with your family
Influencer Marketing is about building relationships and the best way is to of course start from your own relationships: friends and family. Talk to them and try to determine whether someone in your immediate circle is an influencer or knows someone who is an influencer. These are all low hanging fruits and good way to start your influence marketing campaign.
Offcourse, Google is the most the most important tools to search anything on the internet, including influencers. Make sure you’re using Google Blog Search to find blog influencers and Google Discussion Filter to find influencers in the relevant forums in your niche.
Among all the social media channels, Youtube is the biggest platform for online influencers and has the most potential to give a huge exposure to your brand. While searching influencers on Youtube, try searching for the following:
(make sure you have your channel filter on)
- Competitor brand name: Search for people promoting a brand, that’s a great way
- Product Names: Search for product name, such as ‘leather handbag’
- Product Names + Demographics: Such as ‘leather handbag’ + ‘mother’
- Competitor Brand Name + Demographics:
Most of the Youtube publishers give their business email on their about page. Otherwise, you can always use Youtube messaging to get in touch with them.
As compared to other channels, Linkedin is the most important channel for searching influencers. If you’re serious about Influencer Marketing, we would encourage you to sign-up for a Linkedin Premium account. Not only they provide advanced search features and you can see influencers’ complete CV, Linkedin’s private message is a more professional way to contact an influencer.
Identify the hashtags
As a general social media marketing practice, you must know the popular hashtags relevant to your niche. Make list of such hashtags and checkout people who’re actively using these hashtags.
Twitter is one of the most powerful and the most under rated marketing tools used by startup fashion retailers to find new customers and new engagement opportunities. Check out these twitter search operators that you can use to find relevant influencers in your niche.
In case you want to go on searching the Internet to find the publicists of your target influencers or you can save time with an IMDB pro account. It’s the easiest way to not only know the celebrity publicists but also get their business phone, email, address etc. It makes your job a lot easier as you can directly ask them – how can you submit your cloth to their client? What’s the procedure?
You must look out for talented bloggers rising out of all the bloggers and influencers you interact with. While going for the more popular figureheads is a safe strategy, you can also look for new talent. Explore for key influencers on Lyst, Pinterest, Svpply, Bloglovin, Pose, Poshmark. You can also use social monitoring tools such as Brandwatch and SocialBro.
Work with Us!
- Are you looking to launch an online fashion brand?
- Are you trying to build digital credibility for your brand?
- Are you looking to build conversations around your brand on Social Media?
- Or do you simply want to increase your online sales?
Give us a chance to help you. We can help you dramatically improve your brand’s overall visibility profitability on the Internet using Influencer Marketing.