Are Social Influencers And Bloggers In Your Marketing Strategy?
The start of a new year calls for new approach to a retailer’s marketing. The answer to many lies with bloggers (aka social influencers), who for some time have been on the rise. With so many bloggers in a range of industries, from fashion to food to technology, it is essential for these retailers to learn why they have such an impact on their customers and how they can make the most of them.
Why Consumers Love Bloggers
There are plenty of reasons why consumers love bloggers. Some of them being the exclusive discounts they give to buyers, the new products they create and the overall personal connections a user can develop with them. Time to explore just a few of the many.
1. Reviews From Trusted Sources
Though their lifestyle might seem all play and very little ‘work’, bloggers do in fact work extremely testing products, trying-out services and helping their viewership make more informed decisions on a range of things from what clothes to buy or where to take their next holiday.
If we are regular subscribers to vlogging channels and personal blogs, then we can feel as if we know the person or people behind them. They can become like digital friends to us, and in turn, we begin to trust and take their advice. It is often a large part of how we spend our time, interacting with our favorite YouTuber or bloggers and once this kind of relationship has been established, we are more likely to start listening to their suggestion about different products or services.
Remember: Just because a blogger is sent freebies to review or is paid to talk about them, it does not mean they are going to return a favorable opinion. If they were seen to be misinforming their viewers, they’d quickly see a drop in their subscribers. Most bloggers have to be honest and authentic to survive in the online auditorium - whether their opinions are negative or not.
For retailers, using a blogger to promote their products can have positive or negative effects. While it is most likely to guarantee to at least generate brand awareness or a period of increased sales, brands should avoid using inappropriate or “off-tone’’ bloggers to stop the spur of negative talk around their products or services. Spend time choosing wisely.
2. Easy For Customers To Build RelationshipsIt is simple. People like to talk to other people, particularly when they are looking for a recommendation or an answer to a question. The nature of a blogger is to get personal with their viewers and give them insights into their lives. By using high-profile influencers to promote products, they work almost like a trusted conduit for your brand. For retail businesses, that makes ditching the scary, corporate exterior an easy task and building customer connections a quicker process.
3. Blogging That Benefits The Customer
Influencers are your customer’s “friends”. Hence, when they bring out a new product with a brand, it is likely to get lots of support.
When they collaborate on a product, they are seen to have created it as a gift to the user - regardless of the fact it must be paid for. The attitude of consumers feeling as though it has been made especially for them contributes to the success and acceptance of the product.
With that in mind, it is likely that we may see an increase in the number of bloggers collaborating with brands and being involved in the marketing of a new product.
Will Bloggers Dominate Marketing Strategies?
Due to lots of consumer decisions being influenced by bloggers, businesses are beginning to go to them to control their target audiences. This is not the only reason.
Affordability of Bloggers
Even though most high-profile blogger reviews are not 100% free, paid partnerships with an influencer can be a lot cheaper than other forms of paid advertising. Using bloggers as part of a marketing strategy can be done with little cost but can hopefully generate significant benefits for your business.
Just like any marketing tactic, it is important to note how much value each product promotion by a blogger adds to your brand, compared to the price you pay for it. If you secure 100 more sales at £30+ just by sending out a free t-shirt and skirt to an influencer, you are likely to be making plenty of revenue to compensate the cost. Though, the more prominent names in the blogging world will cost a lot more than just a few free samples. Matching your promotion with the right influencer is vital in ensuring you do not waste time and finances nor damage your brand’s reputation.
Free Blogger Reviews
If you manage to secure a free blogger review, excellent! Sometimes influencers will mention your brand in their content without requiring payment or even the need to contact them. Your product may just naturally stand out. It is vital you analyze the quality of what is said, the site it features on and whether that bloggers fits in with your brand tone. Having an extra mention somewhere else on the web is excellent, though it might not be something you want to continue promoting across other channels. Though, free reviews can help a retailer to obtain a backlink to their site which can contribute to improved SEO and increase ‘linkless mentions’ that look to be growing in value.
Tap Into Their Target Audience Easily
It is true, utilizing bloggers can make a marketing campaign more affordable. It can also make it a lot simpler by making use of their already established, large target audience. Their following tends to be spread across a variety of platforms, such as social media, on their blogging site and in some cases, TV, and radio. By partnering with an influencer, the retailer saves time trying to grow their following by jumping on board someone else’s.
Despite this, it is necessary to realize that the blogger’s audience might be slightly different to the one the brand is looking to target.
Social Media: Home To A New Type Of Blogger
Despite appearances, influencer blogging is not a new trend for 2018. In fact, it has been around for at least five years. Though with social media continuing to grow, will we see a shift in where bloggers focus their content?
Social sites like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, continue to play a critical role in the lives of many consumers. Constant updates to social apps improve customer experience and cater to the user’s needs, increasing their popularity. As this happens, a new type of blogger has emerged ditching the “old-school” text blog for multimedia blogging such as “vlogging”.
Social Media V Personal Blog
Posting an image to Instagram promoting a new t-shirt or reviewing a gadget through a short YouTube video is a lot easier than writing a detailed blog article. No doubt it is more interesting for viewers, too. Still, that does not mean we will see a decline in personal blogs and an increase in social media blogging.
Having a personal blog means the influencer has their territory on the web. It avoids the problem of social sites interfering with their traffic or enabling restrictions like content type and length. So, for retailers, when seeking an influencer it is best to choose someone who has both a significant social following as well as their space on the web. It also means that when your brand is mentioned, you appear in more places, spreading your reach and the chance to increase sales.
“Is Social Media Too Promotional?”
Over the past few months, Facebook has become cluttered with product promotions and Instagram, with bloggers giving away freebies or codes for users to obtain a discount when buying from individual stores. Thankfully, Facebook has introduced an algorithm to sift through ads and bring back the personal posts from friends and family that it was first loved for. Instagram however, has taken a different route.
Your Insta feed now includes suggestions of people to follow and their posts, based on who the people you follow, are following. Welcome to the new “Recommended For You” feature. In effect, you see content from people you do not follow, many being bloggers, instead of posts from people you want to look at.
For retailers, using bloggers can be a great way to tap into a target audience easily without hours of time and money being poured into it. If done right, it can help increase reach, improve awareness and generate engagement. Oppositely, working with the wrong blogger can have negative impacts on the brand or specific products, causing users to make sales elsewhere.
On the other hand, it is clear that blogging is growing and attempting to conquer social media sites. With some social apps making it easier for bloggers through the development of new features, it will be interesting to see just how ‘generic’ users feel about the changes. That being said, if you have not yet noticed any promotional clutter on your social channels, it is probably you will see lots more bloggers and their sponsored posts in the near future.