I recently saw an interesting article that eMarketer had on how retailers are shifting their strategy for using influencers. Most companies, regardless of industry, typically use influencers to help raise awareness of their brand or new product, etc. This is a smart move to ‘get the word out’ about who you are, but over time it makes more sense to empower your existing and developing advocates to help tote that banner for you.
There are two shifts in thinking as it concerns retailers working with influencers that I think are worth mentioning:
1 – Retailers are increasingly repurposing unpaid content that influencers create. This is just smart marketing, if an influencer gives your brand a positive (and unsolicited) mention, then point that out to others.
2 – Retailers are focusing less on reach and more on relevancy when it comes to working with influencers. This is very smart, you’re giving up overall reach to instead get more reach with a more defined audience. It’s the difference between connecting with an influencer with huge reach in the clothing industry, versus working with an influencer that doesn’t have as much reach in clothing, but who does have a nice footprint in clothing for teenage girls.
As with any efforts using influencers, I always advise clients that reach isn’t everything. In fact, reach is never the first thing I look at, I always start with how engaged and connected they are with their network. Would you rather work with an influencer with 100,000 followers on Twitter that never gets any engagement, or with an influencer with 25,000 followers that gets 50 replies a day? I want to work with the influencer that has an engaged network that’s going to listen to what they say.