2016 was the year of the Influencers. We saw brands relying deeply on campaigns centred on organic and real content. Content created by social media personalities.
Consumers have moved their attention to social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Channels which provide insight into the lifestyles of Influencers with similar interests as theirs.
The trend of Influencer marketing is expected to continue to evolve in 2017. Let’s take a look at the reasons for this:
- Influencer marketing delivers 11 times ROI over all other forms of Digital Media, according to TapInfluence.
- Increase in the number of internet users downloading ad blocking software. According to Adobe, 28% of U.S. Internet users use ad-blocking software.
- 70% of Internet users want to learn about a product through content rather than traditional advertising, according Salesforce.
However, a lot of work still needs to be done – this is according to a report, from Traackr and Altimeter Group.
Principal analyst at Altimeter says “Marketers must reimagine their role as a central driver of organizational change by connecting with customers in more genuine and useful ways and in channels they trust and value,”
The report which features a global survey of 102 enterprise brand strategists and marketers, notes that successful influencer marketing plans should be ongoing and not once-offs. It also articulates robust budgets and sufficient resource allocations must be in place.
With that in mind, let’s look at what creative strategies for Influencer marketing in fashion retail:
If your budget doesn’t allow for the Kim Kardashian’s of this world, then you need to turn to micro-influencers. The micro-influencer is the new breed of influencers which online fashion marketers should be looking at. These influencers lack reach – but they make up for it, in engagement.
They are highly focused on a specific audience and tend to provide better returns – and they are less costly. They are in tune with their audience – and by working with them, you offer them an opportunity for them to build their profile – along with your store or product.
Micro-influencers are suitable for location-based campaigns or brands who are targeting a very specific consumer, like a fitness enthusiast or a skateboarder.
In a recent survey by MarketingDrive, it revealed that influencers with less than 1,000 Instagram followers have a “like” rate close to 8% while those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have a “like” rate of only 4%.
Furthermore those Influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers showed a 2.37% “like” rate, while those with 1 million to 10 million followers had a “like” rate of just 1.66%.
This is a decision a marketer has to make, in line with their budget: one Influencer doing an Instagram post or one YouTube video versus 30 micro-influencers doing the same. Although the reach may be similar, but in many cases, the chances of engagement is exponentially higher for the niche influencers.
This trend has really taken off in 2016 – with improved technology and new features across platforms are enabling brands to seamlessly integrate the content and shopping experiences in creative new methods.
The lines between content and commerce are becoming blurred. Brands are becoming publishers by creating compelling content ,with the help of their Influencers.
Examples of click-and-shop tactics working include:
- Clicking on tabs like ‘Get the Look’ with pop up that allows customers to select their size and colour.
- User Generated Content incorporated into social media campaigns. Asking fans to snap a picture of their favorite look. Tagging the brand and where to buy link.
- Included in special seasonal catalogues clickable links to ‘shop the look’.
- Style Guides with backgrounds into Influencer styles with direct links to ‘Get the Look’.
Customers are no longer interested in traditional advertising which is overwhelming and intrusive. Coupled with the rise of ad-blocking software being installed by internet users. Fashion ecommerce businesses need to look at innovative native advertising strategies.70% of consumers prefer to learn about products through content as opposed to traditional… Click To Tweet
Content recommendation widgets have popped up everywhere as publishers look at alternative solutions. Using Influencers in your native ads gives you a unique way to target a specific publication and reach your intended audience. The two dominant players in this field show the sheer volume of traffic brands are able to reach – Outbrain says it serves 180 billion recommendations and reaches 550 million people a month. Taboola, which serves 1.5 billion recommendations a day, says it has 400 million monthly unique visitors.
Content working well for native ads, includes the successes of fitness challenges like ’30-day Challenge That Will Transform your Body’. Using influencers to demonstrate what exercises to do, kitted out in branded fashion gear.
Successful native adverts have these common characteristics:
- Be transparent that the content is sponsored, but keep the same level of engagement.
- Include compelling information and encourage social sharing.
- Great visuals are important. A mix of type of imagery from photos to videos.
- Don’t be too salsey, think about brand awareness as the fundamental outcome.
In 2017, online fashion marketers need to truly understand the ROI of an influencer marketing partnership. Paying close attention during the influencer identification phase of a campaign. The possibly inflated price paid to an influencer must also be questioned.
As mentioned with the Micro-Influencers, total reach is important but it’s not the only way to measure effectiveness. Quality of content and engagement is just as significant.
These are the metrics you should be using:
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) – actual qualified leads generated from the influencer campaign.
- Number of Shares – using unique tracking URLs to determine overall campaign shares.
- Referral Traffic – influencer driven traffic to specific landing pages and websites.
- Share-of-Voice – determining your percentage of all online content and conversations about your company, compared to your competitors during your Influencer campaigns.
Influencers look to AI
It’s predicted that Artificial Intelligence will become more and more developed in the world of Influencers.
Relevance is important and consumers will seek to learn more about new products on their own time!
Resentment over intrusive marketing will deepen in 2017. Consumers will walk away from social platforms which inundate them with brand marketing.
So the tone and content of your Influencer will need to be geared to this generation. Who are looking for smart, sassy, fast and relevant links back to your online fashion store.
How can fashion ecommerce use AI to better enhance the customer experience?
- Use AI to track users preferences to give them a custom, localized and personalized shopping experience.
- Bots – creating Influencer chat bots with the Influencers personality traits. Engaging with customers with live customer service allowing visitors to purchase items which the Influencer recommends.
- Personal Stylists – giving customers their very own personal stylist. As seen on Thread.com which allows visitors to upload photos of themselves and select items they prefer. The result is a machine-learning stylist who recommends items to the customer to purchase based on a number of algorithms.
The Shoppable Blog
There is no doubt that blogs are still one of the best ways for brands to get their content displayed and fashion retailers have certainly capitalized on this over recent years.
What’s so great about it?
Blog content works in tandem with social media and email marketing, it serves as a key customer loyalty builder. When a highly followed blog and its content gets distributed across multiple channels, it assists brands to stay top-of-mind for when customers are ready to purchase.
Creating paths from Influencer blogs to your online store may just work well, as it can educate and build awareness of your online store brand and is a way of increasing interactivity with the customer.
The use of interactive images and embedded product links in posts will allow for an easy transition from reader to shopper.
Whatever strategy you adopt with Influencers in 2017, always keep the following in mind:
- Successful Influencer marketing plans should be ongoing and not once-offs.
- Total reach is a great indication of success, however it’s not the only way to measure effectiveness. Quality of content and engagement is just as significant, so don’t write-off micro-influencers.
- Ensure your content is ALWAYS clickable and shoppable. Make it easy for the customer to buy now.
- Always remember with whatever you put out there – your customer needs a shoppable experience when looking at your content.
- Measuring your ROI from Influencers is key. Determine the right KPIs in order to measure success.
- Use innovation to improve business operations. Using machine learning technologies will not only impress your customers, but it can also help improve customer service.