Non-Paid Ways to Activate Holiday Micro Influencers

Non-Paid Ways to Activate Holiday Micro Influencers

The holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s produces more sales than at any other time throughout the year. Holiday gifts, Black Friday deals, and post Christmas discounts result in consumers dropping massive amounts of cash (or credit, in many cases!). This, of course, means that the holiday season is one of the most marketed times of year. It’s also the time of year to jump on micro influencers to help spread your brand’s holiday cheer.

During the holiday season, many brands, especially those who sell products through retail channels, are looking for creative ways to set themselves apart from competitors. Many are considering influencer campaigns using mid or micro influencers to attract new buyers. The largest brands, think Target or Samsung, set aside major marketing budgets for this time of year. They have plenty of money to run successful and paid influencer campaigns.

The largest brands, think Target or Samsung, set aside major marketing budgets, including for for mid and micro influencers, during the holidays.

Smaller regional brands, however, may not have the marketing budget to pay mid or micro influencers. That doesn’t mean they’re out of luck when it comes to running influencer campaigns, though. Sometimes micro-influencers who aren’t pay-for-play can still provide brands with that extra boost of holiday exposure!  

Micro influencers: motivated beyond the cash

One way to get micro influencers interested in promoting your brand is by offering a product/ service discount or freebie if they agree to promote your products, specials, and/or sales through their social channels. This might be a one-time, one social network promotion. Or it could be an ongoing campaign into the New Year via blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat – or all of the above! By offering a discount or freebie to your current brand ambassadors, all parties will benefit. Influencers will get that extra incentive for reaching out to their audience about your brand through the end of the year. And your brand will increase awareness through a trusted and authentic source.

Perhaps your brand doesn’t have anything tangible that they can offer at a discount during the holidays. What do you do if you’re a local magazine, publisher or blogger hoping to increase readership to end the year strong and please your advertisers? Why not work with a micro-level influencer with brand-aligned content (i.e. travel, beauty, sports, tech, etc.)? Perhaps offer them a Featured Guest section in the online version of your magazine if they simultaneously promote your publication to their target audience on social. Not only will your brand awareness increase, but your business will maintain positive relationships with those advertisers whom you promised a certain number of eyeballs.

Offer micro influencers a Featured Guest section in the online version if they simultaneously promote your publication to their target audience on social.

Another way to create an organic, non-paid micro influencer campaign, is to offer free tickets to highly anticipated holiday events. Perhaps your company is hosting a VIP invite-only New Year’s Eve party this year. You’ve managed to round up a handful of extra invites. Or a popular holiday singer is touring through major cities this season, and you can easily get backstage passes and tickets through a friend or partner. Get creative! Influencers are real people, just like you, and sometimes they just want to get out of the house, away from their screens, and have some fun! Bonus: they’re likely to continue promoting your brand while they are having the time of their lives at your event.    

Hire your micro influencers, and happy holidays for all!

The holidays are here, people are ready to spend and the spirit of giving is in the air! It’s time for you to start contemplating where or how you’re going to use marketing dollars for influencer marketing and other campaigns this season. Why not start by reaching out to a few like-minded micro-influencers that are already discussing your brand? These people would probably appreciate an offer for a discount or guest blog post on your website. Build, maintain, and enjoy these new relationships! Meanwhile, you and your influencers BOTH can have very happy holiday!

3 Ways Teen Fashion Retailers Can Dress Up Back-To-School Campaigns

3 Ways Teen Fashion Retailers Can Dress Up Back-To-School Campaigns

(Originally posted in Convince&Convert)

Let’s be honest. For being the second-largest retail opportunity of the year, back-to-school shopping is about as exciting as a trip to the DMV.

Its bland predictability is a shame because there are nearly $300 per household at stake. Think of the millions of backpacks, sneakers, and No. 2 pencils smart retailers will sell before the first day of school.

Teen fashion brands are major stakeholders in the back-to-school frenzy. Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, and Aéropostale were all written off as dying brands, but they have one significant resource that gives them an edge: a much higher persona cardinality. This allows them to focus their creative, media, and influencer spending on one persona type rather than a blanket audience.

For big players and up-and-coming brands alike, it doesn’t matter how creative your advertising is. If you don’t take the time to tailor your message to the right consumer, it will get lost in the noise. To get on this year’s lucrative back-to-school shopping list, you need to tap into the power of flawlessly targeted social media campaigns and customer-specific messaging.

Here are three simple steps to ensure you’re reaching your target customer in the right way:

1. Hit the Right Tone With Your Content

There are two main customer personas vying for teen fashion revenue: bargain-hunting moms who prefer Walmart and Target and fashion-conscious teens who prefer Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle.

Walmart and Target’s social audience consists of mostly 25- to 34-year-old women with either wholesome or reliable brand personalities — people who click on simply worded, tangible content. These personalities respond to money words such as “discount” or “sale.”

Teen fashion engagers represent a completely different group. They have a rugged or daring brand personality and are known as the cynics of the brand personality spectrum. They’re turned off by hyperbole and fluff, and they don’t care for money words. An update that dotes “40 percent off!” won’t excite them, so save it.

Here’s a great example of an American Eagle tweet that missed the mark when it tried to use money words to entice teen fashion engagers:

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You can almost hear the employee at American Eagle say, “But this is for Walmart people!”

When you’re after the rugged or daring teen fashion types, stay away from the simplistic, unambiguous content that wholesome types love, and focus on stylish, edgy content.

2. Choose a Targeted Platform, and Make It Visual

While most brand-sourced posts will benefit from a more visual platform such as Instagram or Vine, you still need to make this decision based on your target market research.

If you look at the teen fashion market, recent statistics might suggest that Facebook is still the most popular social media platform. But you can see below that the teen fashion crowd engages the most on other social sites, including Vine and Instagram.

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However, Facebook does rank in the top two for Walmart’s 25- to 34-year-old group of wholesome or reliable women, and some surprising platforms — such as Bonanza — might be worth looking into.

Making an educated decision about where to focus your time and energy is absolutely crucial for capturing your audience’s attention. Abercrombie & Fitch, for example, will want to target younger consumers by concentrating on their influencer network and posting on mobile-friendly visual platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. On the other hand, brands targeting moms will have more success with Facebook and Pinterest.

3. Use Twitter to Identify Hard-Working Influencers

Twitter is the champion of all social platforms for analytics. It’s a great tool for vetting your would-be influencer and endorser network and making sure your content is tuned into the right brand personality.

For example, teen fashion influencers are heavy Twitter users with tweet histories going back thousands of engagements. These influencers are over-indexed — that is, uniquely popular among this persona — and completely different from the influencers of Walmart’s and Target’s markets.

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In stark contrast to the teen fashion influencers, the following image of Walmart and Target influencers are clearly mommy bloggers who appeal to 25- to 34-year-old wholesome and reliable females.

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Choosing the best influencer or endorser for your brand will help your back-to-school promotions work harder and your marketing budget go further.

It’s not about competing with other brands to get on the back-to-school shopping list. It’s about sharing a unique and specific message with a unique and specific audience that will scrawl your name at the top of that shopping list. Establish trust and build loyalty by targeting your social media strategy to a clearly defined customer persona, and you can’t go wrong.