Social media is a huge part of many people’s lives—the average daily social media user is on 136 minutes a day—so it’s no surprise that social media plays a big role in the customer journey for many brands. The picture-perfect posts that capture attention, likes, and engagement are the result of careful planning, creativity, hard work, and analytics.
As consumers increasingly move toward social media and away from traditional advertising, brands are losing the battle while influencers are gaining ground every day. Because of this shift in behavior, identifying and engaging with the industry influencers on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest is a critical component of many company’s marketing strategies. Influencers provide companies with new ways to create engagement, expand their reach, and capture the interest of their target market.
what is influencer marketing?
But what is an influencer anyway? They are trusted figures within their online communities, with a loyal following thanks to their authentic content and their skill for connecting with their audience. They can drive conversation, increase traffic, and improve brand awareness for companies they partner with thanks to their specialized area of influence. And if you partner with the right one, these content creators are already marketing to your ideal audience, allowing you to deliver your brand’s message to the right people while expanding your reach.
Influencer marketing is a collaboration where a brand partners with an influencer to promote a product, service or campaign. In today’s digital world, these influencers can offer considerable value to brands, which is probably why more than two-thirds of North American retailers use some form of influencer marketing.
A brand partnership between blogger and digital influencer Joanna Hawley of Jojotastic, Sinkology and Polycor White Cherokee marble. She features the collaboration with her chicken Nancy Kerrigan, of course.
the right influencer matters
Finding an influencer who aligns with your brand, your audience, and your voice can be an incredibly impactful way to increase brand awareness and drive sales. Influencer marketing is effective because it relies on proven marketing tactics like social proof and word of mouth: consumers trust influencers more than they trust companies or brands. People don’t want to hear what brands have to say about themselves; they want to hear opinions from trusted people who they already deem credible. When you successfully partner with an influencer, they will create unique content that seamlessly features your brands’ products or services in their usual aspirational content mix.
a partnership built on trust
Influencers don’t want to jeopardize the trust they have earned or have their followers question their credibility—ever. This means that the influencers need to be marketed to first so that they want to carry your brand message and share it with their audience. These collaborations, when strategized effectively, can be a win-win situation for both you and the influencer.
Having an influencer take over your social media profiles is a great way to leverage the positive feelings that their followers have for them. For example, if you have a designer or design blogger take over your Instagram account to post content for a day, their presence can give your followers a better association with your brand. Brands can also cross-post content from influencers on their own channels to help highlight the collaboration.
Polycor, the world’s leading natural stone quarrier, partners with designers, bloggers and influencers to take over its Instagram account to boost brand awareness. This is Atlanta designer Pam Sessions of Hedgewood Homes.
design: perfectly positioned
The interior design and remodeling industries are uniquely positioned to take advantage of influencer marketing. Sharing their ideas on home improvement and decor, these influencers inspire audiences around the world. Due to the visual nature of most home products, followers can see posts every day that can inspire them to make changes in the different spaces in their home. Whether they are posting aspirational images of their homes or documenting the ups and downs of a home renovation, influencers are continuing to break new ground on social media and help lead the way in the world of digital marketing.
Room for Tuesday’s Sarah Gibson shared her laundry room reveal to inspire her audience to make changes in their own home.
questions you need to answer
And while the design industry is a unique position to take advantage of influencer marketing, it can be tricky to navigate:
- Would you be better with an influencer who has a small but growing following or someone with 1M+ followers?
- How do you even find the right influencer?
- How do you vet them?
- What do you pay them?
- How do you start that first conversation?
- What do you need to include in a contract or agreement?
- How do you measure results?
You get the idea. There’s a lot of information that needs to be identified before you can even begin building a strategy. But the ROI on working with an influencer, especially a micro or nano influencer with a small but loyal following, is hard to beat. Nearly 90% of all marketers find ROI from influencer marketing comparable to or better than other marketing channels. And a recent survey found that 42% of daily U.S. Instagram users bought something because a blogger or influencer they trusted recommended it.
Brands who work with these influencers can create a partnership that expands beyond their own reach and target audience. By partnering with influencers, brands can leverage authentic messaging that aligns with your brand, your target audience, and your voice.
Looking to assess your current influencer marketing strategy? I’ll be speaking at the Design Influencers Conference, the premier conference and experience for professionals interested in learning about social media and digital content marketing in the interior design industry. Join me and countless influencers, designers, social media practitioners, traditional media, leading brands, new media innovators, and industry leaders in exploring where the worlds of interior design and new media converge.