Everyone’s an Influencer: How Brand Loyalty Affects Holiday Shopping

Everyone’s an Influencer: How Brand Loyalty Affects Holiday Shopping

Cultivate the same kind of loyalty as Apple this holiday.

 

(Originally posted in Business2Community)

We all know the stereotype of the Apple fanboy (or girl). It almost doesn’t matter what problems arise with Apple products — or if the competition’s technology is better — Apple fans remain loyal. And, more importantly, they remain rabid defenders and promoters for their favorite brand.

Your company may not be the next Apple, but that’s not to say you can’t cultivate the same kind of loyalty. In fact, it’s crucial that you do, especially during the holidays.

This holiday season, an estimated 66 percent of consumers will shop at their favorite retailers as opposed to branching out to try new stores. Forty-four percent will purchase gifts from brands they’re loyal to, and 42 percent will go even further and use loyalty points to make purchases. With those kinds of numbers, it’s obvious why building brand loyalty is important.

Luckily, it’s not too late — even this far into the holiday season.

How to Build Brand Loyalty Right Now

It may be halfway through December, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on building brand loyalty this season. While tons of people shop at their favorite stores during the holidays, plenty are looking for unique gifts they may not consider buying at other times throughout the year. This is the perfect time to motivate your current customers to start promoting your brand to their friends and family.

Loyal customers can be your holiday brand advocates. In fact, they’re the people who might be the most successful at encouraging others to spend their holiday budgets on your products. So it only makes sense to target these people by adding some influencer marketing strategies to your holiday marketing campaign. By starting the relationships now, you’re encouraging these customers to stay loyal throughout the new year.

Here’s how you can maximize your influencers this holiday season:

1. Know your influencers. Just like you need to know your target customer, you must know your target influencers. Look at the people who are already talking about you on social media or blogs. Who are they? What else do they like, and what influences them? Then, determine what kind of influencers you hope to recruit for your campaign.

Figure out their personalities so you can better understand what would motivate them to advocate for you. One way to achieve this is to monitor their sentiments and personality through persona segmentation, which breaks down influencer characteristics, similar to the sample analysis below. For example, one influencer might value green living, while another is daring and nonconformist. You can then segment your influencer messages based on those unique characteristics.

Monitor your brand influencers' sentiments and personality through persona segmentation.

2. Develop a theme. The holidays are a great time to create fun and exciting themes to help spread your promotions. For example, a common holiday-themed hashtag is #stockingstuffers. If you’re a brand that sells a product that would be a great stocking stuffer, you might consider making this your campaign theme and targeting influencers who use the hashtag regularly.

The everyday influencer below is a good example: a stay-at-home mom with a large social following who loves social media and consistently promotes #stockingstuffers. Companies that sell small, unique gadgets or holiday goodies might look for similar micro influencers to help promote their products as stocking stuffers through the holidays.

This everyday influencer below is a good example of a holiday influencer.

 

Last year, Topshop created a “personalized gift guide” theme during its “Dear Topshop” campaign. Users pinned Topshop products on Pinterest as a way to help others find the perfect holiday gift or party outfit while earning a chance to win a great prize. The retailer’s products ended up all over Pinterest, garnering more followers and regular customers.

3. Think outside your vertical. Anyone can be an influencer. With that in mind, why not reach outside your core vertical and target people you may not normally consider?

For example, if you’re in the food industry, you might target influencers in wine, cooking, recipes, or restaurants. Once again, you might discover some really influential people with loyal audiences who would be more than willing to mention your brand.

4. Make it worthwhile. While some brands already have loyal followers who will buy and promote products without much incentive, this isn’t the time to assume that you fall under that category. Like Topshop did in 2013, you should make the act of promoting your brand fun and intuitive. Women were already pinning beautiful clothes to Pinterest, but Topshop made it valuable to pin their clothes over competitors’ by hosting a fun contest that rewarded the influencers.

When you reward those who promote your brand — through the use of both tangible and intangible rewards — your influencers will provide you more value in return.

5. Create a tracking system for your influencers. Data should drive every decision you make this holiday season. The more you know about your campaigns, the more accurately you can judge your ROI. So figure out who your favorite influencers are or who can offer the most value to your brand based on your objectives, then consistently nurture those relationships and measure your results.

The holidays are one of the most beneficial times to build brand loyalty — whether that’s through a unique shopping experience, good customer service, or loyalty programs. But the best way to differentiate your brand and build a loyal year-round following is through influencer marketing. Believe me, it’s never too late.

Start your Influencer campaign now using the Mattr app.

 

(Photo credit: Cult of Mac)

 

 

Identify Your Brand’s Celebrity Match with Twitter

Identify Your Brand’s Celebrity Match with Twitter

(Originally posted in Social Media Today)

When it comes to signing on celebrity endorsements, most brands are looking for the hottest celebrity they can find. But landing a huge star is no guarantee of brand success — just look at Alec Baldwin and Wegmans Food Markets or Kim Kardashian and QuickTrim. These brands assumed that the star’s popularity would do the work. It didn’t, and the promotions failed.

Kim Kardashian and Quick Trim might not have been a match made in Marketing heaven.

Kim Kardashian and QuickTrim weren’t a match made in Marketing heaven.

The chemistry that makes a celebrity endorsement successful is much more than popularity and price; it’s about finding the right celebrity for your target audience and developing a relationship between the two.

Fortunately, there’s an effective market research tool you can use to identify your brand’s celebrity match for free: Twitter. Savvy brands will use this tool to find the best celebrity — not necessarily the most popular one — to win big with their target audience.

Using Twitter for Market Research

It’s easy to overlook Twitter as a market research tool because of its social nature, but with the right approach, the following qualities can make Twitter a powerful tool to inform your research:

1. Twitter has loads of easily accessible public data.

Because Twitter offers marketers so much public data, it’s easy to create a comprehensive view of a given user and his audience. Using this data, you can calculate the uniqueness or over-representation ratios between the celebrity influencer and your own brand’s followers to find the overlap.

For example, look at @FIFAWorldCup’s followers’ sports influencers and interests. Jack Wilshere, the Arsenal footballer, is the most popular star with a whopping 1.2 million followers. But Clint Dempsey, a U.S. footballer, has a higher ratio of follower crossover than Wilshire.

@FIFAWorldCup Segmentation with Popular and Unique Sports influencers.

Which athlete would offer the best value for an advertiser? If you’re Coca-Cola and you’re spending more than $100 million to sponsor the World Cup, you might choose both. But if your budget is slightly smaller, Clint Dempsey or even Alex Morgan could offer great value.

Remember, what you’re looking for is a higher density of your target persona within the celebrity’s existing followers, not just the celebrity with the highest stats.

2. Twitter speaks to a younger and more ethnically diverse demographic.

Your company’s target market research determines the right social media platform for your promotions. Right now, Twitter beats out Facebook’s share of the young, urban, and more ethnically diverse.

Use this to your advantage by utilizing Twitter for campaigns that target popular celebrities among these demographics, such as multi-screen Latina viewers who use Twitter as an accompaniment to TV.

3. Twitter makes it easy to identify the personality and authenticity of the influencer.

The character restrictions and in-the-moment nature of Twitter leads its users and media outlets to present a more genuine and unfiltered personality. Not only does this help you distinguish between the right celebrity and the wrong one, but this authentic, conversational tone also resonates with users across the globe. The more natural the conversation is to that celebrity’s audience, the more authentic the message received by your target market.

Choosing the Right Celebrity

It’s tempting to jump on the popularity train and secure the most expensive endorsement you can afford. But when it doesn’t work out, that approach may cost you more than just money. Aligning your brand with a celebrity who doesn’t resonate with your customers can permanently damage your brand. Here’s how to identify the celebrity who will win over your target market:

1. Extract a sample set of engaged users.

Identify a sample of 500-1,000 users who have engaged with your brand recently in the form of retweets, favorites, and replies. Since you’re only using people who’ve engaged with you, you know they’re real people — not bots — who are likely to engage if given the right kind of content.

2. Segment, then identify, your target personas.

Always segment your sample to build the most targeted persona possible. It’s easier to do when you first begin your research. Segmenting your audience will allow you to identify not just your most engaged personas, but also your under-engaged personas. Your under-engaged followers have an incredible capacity for growth, so don’t ignore them.

3. Mine your segments for common interests and celebrities.

Take each of your targeted personas and evaluate their common interests and celebrities using Twitter’s free API or a low-cost analytics application. Which names and brands pop up? Create a list of possible connections and overlapping interests.

4. Calculate two important numbers.

First, calculate the percentage of your target persona that follows each celebrity, and then calculate the percentage of Twitter users that follow each celebrity. We know that there are about 250 million active users on Twitter. Simply compare the ratios.

For example, Jack Wilshere has 1.2 million followers and is followed by .5 percent of all Twitter users (1.2 million divided by 240 million). Clint Dempsey, on the other hand, is only followed by .16 percent of all Twitter users. If you were looking to make a high engagement connection that zones in on FIFA’s target persona on limited funds, Dempsey would be the obvious choice.

Most brands overlook Twitter. But it provides detailed information in a natural environment that can help you identify and engage the right celebrity for your brand. The best celebrity spokesperson for your company is the one who has the most in common with your target market — not just the one who’s most popular around the world. Rather than jumping on the celebrity with the largest following, take to Twitter, and use its rich data to make an informed decision.