What’s an Influencer, and How Can Your Jewelry Brand Approach Influencer Marketing? (Part 1 of 5)
To prepare for my upcoming talk at Jewelry Ecomm Live!, I’ll be publishing five posts throughout September about influencer marketing for jewelry brands. In this post, I define “influencer”, outline different influencer types, explain how to know when to work with influencers, share benefits of working with influencers, and describe approaches to influencer marketing.
What’s an influencer?
First and foremost, let’s define an influencer and discuss the different types of influencers. An influencer is an individual who has social influence and/or exceptional knowledge in his or her chosen field. Most of the time, we associate influencers with Instagram, but the truth is that influencers exist on many digital platforms and in real-life communities, both on micro and macro levels.
On a micro level, an influencer could be the fashion-forward small-town newscaster who’s inspiring women in her community to dress and accessorize like she does. On a macro level, an influencer could be an “it girl” supermodel who can elevate a jewelry brand from no-name to must-have in a matter of moments, simply because she’s wearing a piece to a high-profile event. Influencers tend to be highly-respected early adopters who can get others to stop and take notice, usually because they’re attractive and/or they possess charm and style.
Some of the most well-known fashion and style influencers today include the Kardashians, the Jenners, Alex Chung, Chiara Ferragni, Lauren Conrad, and Meghan Markle.
When it comes to social media influencers, experts have grouped them into four distinct categories, based on their follower counts: mega, macro, micro, and nano. A mega-influencer has more than one million followers, a macro-influencer has between 100K and one million followers, a micro-influencer has 1,000 to 100K followers, and a nano-influencer has fewer than 1,000 followers.
You should keep in mind that just because an influencer has more followers doesn’t mean that person is a “better” influencer. In fact, most jewelry brands would be better off working with a micro or nano-influencer, depending on the marketing goals and target audience.
Is now the right time for an influencer marketing campaign?
Influencer marketing isn’t for every jewelry brand. Even for the jewelry brands that could benefit from influencer marketing, it may not be an appropriate strategy at all times. The brands that benefit the most from influencer marketing are new brands hoping to gain exposure and connect with new audiences, brands that are launching new collections, brands that want to reach a target audience that engages with a specific influencer, and brands that don’t have the time to wait for other types of marketing initiatives to gain traction.
However, before you move forward with an influencer marketing campaign, you must have a solid brand foundation, including a cohesive and memorable Look-Tone-Feel, a professional and easy-to-navigate website, and attractive and regularly updated social media profiles. Furthermore, you must clearly define your target audience and create Customer Personas. Finally, you must have clear and measurable goals for your desired influencer marketing campaign. If you’re lacking any one of these things, now may not be a great time to try influencer marketing.
What are the benefits of working with influencers?
Now that you know about the different types of influencers and whether or not influencer marketing is right for your brand, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Are you asking yourself, “What can influencers offer my jewelry brand? Is it worth the effort of working with them?”
When you find the right influencer or influencers, they can benefit your brand greatly, depending on your specific goals and target audience and how you manage your relationship with the influencer. Influencers can offer your brand five main benefits:
1) They can improve brand awareness. If you’re a new jewelry brand, and you’re struggling to get noticed, then an effective influencer campaign can put you on the map almost immediately. With their interest piqued, curious shoppers will want to know more about your brand, and the influencer will help drive traffic to your website or store.
2) They can help you create content. It’s a proven fact the effective content marketing can attract traffic to your website or store. However, brands sometimes struggle to create and share content on a regular basis, especially when it comes to visual content. By working with an influencer, you’re essentially outsourcing your content creation to that person and taking some of the burden off yourself and/or your marketing team.
3) They can help you build trust with your target audience. In today’s marketplace, customers are overwhelmed by the amount of choices they have. They tend to stick with familiar ecommerce brands like Amazon and with the local mom-and-pop jewelry stores in their community or trusted jewelry store chains. Many of them are unwilling to try something new. When a trusted influencer sings his or her praises about your jewelry brand, that can immediately build trust between your brand and new customers, ultimately driving traffic to your website or store.
4) They can potentially improve your search engine ranking. Influencers can help you build links that connect back to your website and create content that you can repost on your own website and social media profiles. Both of these things can increase your legitimacy in the eyes of Google, and you’ll likely see a boost in search rankings when you partner with an influencer. The more easily people can find your website, the more they’ll be visiting your ecommerce or brick-and-mortar store.
5) They can help you gain valuable feedback about your target audience. When your influencer shares content about your jewelry brand, his or her followers will likely engage with the content, and you’ll get valuable feedback. Most people will probably say things like “I love this!”, but others may have critiques like “I wish this was available in rose gold.” You have the opportunity to respond to all these comments and then create products that will cater to your customers’ needs. When they see how responsive you are, they’ll be more likely to visit your website or store.
What are the various approaches to influencer marketing?
Now that you know about the benefits of working with influencers, you’re probably wondering about how influencer marketing campaigns take shape. The truth is that there’s more than one way to approach influencer marketing, and your approach will depend on your goals and your target audience. Common approaches to influencer marketing include:
1) An event marketing partnership for a brick-and-mortar store or pop-up. Will you be hosting an in-person event for your jewelry brand? One way to encourage customers to attend your event is to have a special guest: an influencer. Not only will your target customers be thrilled to meet their favorite influencer, but they’ll have the chance to experience your brand in person. Even better, they’ll be able to see the influencer wearing your pieces. Without the opportunity to meet this special guest, your target customers may not be motivated enough to attend the event.
2) A long-term partnership. One of the most effective approaches to influencer marketing is to establish a long-term partnership with your influencer. For this type of partnership to work successfully, the influencer should be a genuine fan and supporter of your brand because that enthusiasm and passion will shine through to target customers. A long-term partnership can be a great way to generate a steady stream of content for your social media channels and reinforce your brand image.
3) A one-time product mention or feature. Most brands use this approach, since it carries the least risk. By partnering with an influencer for a one-off campaign, brands can get the feedback they need and improve brand awareness without committing to a long-term partnership. Furthermore, the brand can define a clear end goal.
4) A collaborative partnership. With a collaborative partnership, a brand and influencer work together in a more hands-on manner. For example, an influencer might help design a product or special collection. Then, the influencer can share the new product(s) on his or her social media platforms. New customers may find your brand via this partnership.
In next week’s blog post, we’ll be sharing some examples of effective influencer marketing campaigns, so you can get a better idea of how they look when they’re executed successfully.