Becki Owens is a hugely successful interior designer and influencer with over 1.5 million Instagram followers. Owens also has her own line of furniture and décor, Becki Owens Living. Instagram: @beckiowens
Remember when digital marketing was as simple as a welcome ad or a banner ad at the top of your screen? While these advertising methods are still important, consumers are also taking a more personal approach to digital marketing, which potentially offers skyrocketing sales numbers for retailers and manufacturers. Meet the influencer.
An influencer is described as someone who creates demand for a product by sharing positive reviews, news, and more to their established audience. Part of the trajectory of social media, influencers are brand ambassadors with a decidedly 21st century strategy, speaking in their own voice rather than following a script. They’re authentic, bold and, at times, controversial, but they’re often the direct path from brand awareness to product purchase.
During the visit of mud pie showroom during the Atlanta market in July, I spoke with Michelle Labovitz, the company’s public relations manager, who shared that Mud Pie’s Instagram following grew by 18% with a staggering increase of 85% of engagement after major influencer campaigns. Fortunately, these types of campaigns can be cultivated for almost any brand, but if you’re still hesitant, here are a few things to consider when weighing your options:
- Fear of missing out. Everyone has FOMO at some point. We all want to stay up to date, and no one wants to miss something that sounds great and that someone else is bragging about on social media. When an influencer is on the other side of your screen praising a certain product and showing it off in their personal life or at home, it really helps consumers connect with the product. I may not realize the size, quality, multiple uses, or greatness of a product on a website, but I certainly understand it when it’s on video and shown in detail by an influencer who has established trust in his followers.
- New customers and exposure. You will want to choose an influencer who obviously has a large following and someone who is connected and knowledgeable about the categories of products you sell. Although an influencer may be in a place far from you, these influencers have followers all over the world. This leads to greater visibility for your brand or business and more sales and repeat customers. For example, I was looking at an influencer’s Instagram story (she’s in Charlotte, NC) about purchases she made at a boutique close to me. I had NO clue that this retailer had opened 25 minutes from my house, but thanks to this influencer, this store has now become a favorite!
- Trust factor. Let’s be real here: when I have someone representing and working for a company trying to persuade me into my purchase, I sometimes feel a little hesitant to make the purchase. The employee works exclusively for this company and needs my purchase to earn a commission.
Influencers are a bit different in my eyes because they work for MANY companies, and if an influencer is good, they really only market products/companies that they have tested and liked, and it shows in the way they do promoting on their social media platforms.
Labovitz suggested that companies starting out with an influencer need to ensure the influencer meets the company’s sales criteria by capturing analytics such as engagement and conversation rates. This would be the first step in identifying potential influencer partners.
“For campaigns and mega-influencers, we partner with influencer management agencies who act as consultants to identify and negotiate potential partnerships,” Labovitz said. “An ideal influencer is effortless yet stylish and seeks out fashion-forward pieces. She aims to inspire her community based on a lifestyle filled with creativity, happiness and warmth. She partners with brands that match truly to his aesthetic and, through his own point of view, endorses beautiful new products that his audience desires.
Next: What makes me want to go to a showroom at the market and hang out instead of window shopping.
Lauren Roses is Home Accents Today’s Product Editor, responsible for curating and compiling product and trending stories, and overseeing product submissions and coverage of intros and market debuts. Lauren studied at the University of Arizona and lived in San Diego, California and New York. Prior to joining Home Accents Today, she worked in marketing and project management for several prominent interior design and real estate professionals. In early 2018, Lauren returned to her home state of North Carolina where she enjoys reading, animals, hiking and spending time with her family.