Most of us (marketers) must have already heard of the consumer journey framework which essentially covers the typical consumer decision making process – from being aware of the need/product to considering the choices and finally the purchase decision.
It is the goal of every marketer to revolve their strategies and campaign around these key stages and successfully influence consumers. Talking about influence, its a powerful thing that holds an integral role in marketing than ever before. With the prevalence of technology and the “overload” of information available on the digital space, its a challenge for marketers to influence consumers – to shape an opinion, cause an action or behavior.
With that, there is no better way to effectively influencer consumers than influencer marketing. As its name suggest, it engages key opinion leaders to share the brand message, providing a trusted form of review and recommendation to their network of followers.
However, many brands are only utilizing or aware of influencers at the awareness stage of a consumers’ journey. It is far from that. There are multiple stages and touchpoints where influencer marketing can come into play to create a more holistic marketing content amplification approach:
STAGE 1: AWARENESS
Also known as the stage of inspiration and education.
The very beginning of all consumers’ journey and one that is critical for brands and marketers. At this stage, the key priority is to increase brand awareness and engagement around the brand usually for new product launches and revamps etc.
As the product or service is still relatively new to consumers, brands should aim to create content that seeks to not only educate but also entertain and inspire consumers to find out more. With this, brands look for creative content that is able to achieve as many reach/ views.
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This is literally the state my friends see me in. The experiences are soimmersive and real with the Samsung Gear VR with Controller, I literally am absorbed into the game and am transported into another dimension. Let your imaginations surround you with the Samsung Gear VR with Controller! #GearVRwithController #SamsungSG #sp
Influencers are usually content creators of their own field, be it lifestyle photographer, fashion stylist, travel vlogging or web series creators. Brands can engage as creators to generate content with a fresh take on the intended marketing message that resonates with their followers. Take for example, @eden_ang who created a video to introduce the Samsung Gear VR to his followers and @lianev who filmed a short comical video to promote Tmobile’s data plan with Netflix.
@yoyokulala endorsement for @CharlesKeithOfficial new range of footwear
Inspirational in-the-moment content focus on influencers, coupled with the right aesthetics and storytelling will help to achieve amazing brand awareness among their network. While celebrities/top influencers may provide the immense reach (in millions), brands are also starting to realize the potential of micro-but-niche influencers who may be more engaging with their fan base.
STAGE 2: CONSIDERATION AND PREFERENCE
Capture and convince your consumers here!
As consumers are beginning to be aware and have come across your brand, this is the crucial time to capture their attention and interest, convincing them to consider your product over the many choices available. Consumers at this stage may not be entirely convinced yet but could be keeping a lookout for your brand across multiple channels – blogs, websites, social media platforms to find more information. It is thus important for brands to build multiple-channel influencer to further strengthen the consideration of consumers.
Influencers posses the ability to delivery authentic, trustworthy and attractive message on behalf of brands and affect consumers at the consideration stage. Cross-channel influencer marketing can also be used to further enhance the message: imagery post can be uploaded to influencers’ social media account such as Instagram while more detailed introduction to products could be in the form of video tutorial on influencerss’ Youtube channel or even review on blogs.
At this stage, it is important for brands to track their marketing content views and comments to understand consumers preference and consideration with regards to the brand message. Also, social listening can be conducted to understand the preferences of both consumers and influencers in the relevant market.
STAGE 3: PURCHASE
Creating a seamless purchase experience
The ultimate goal for all brands – to convert any form of marketing efforts into actual sales from consumers. It is an important touchpoint that should never be neglected; brands have to ensure that a seamless purchase experience is created, making the link for consumers between the digital marketing content they see to the actual purchase site.
Influencer marketing is perfect for brands to build awareness and encourage trial from their consumers. The specially curated aesthetics from influencers often features the product in a refreshing and innovative way, inspiring consumers to consider trying.
Some key features that brand should take note of at this stage for influencer marketing are:
Conversions and click through rate – crucial for brands to ensure the “last mile” link is available to bring interested consumers from influencers’ content to the intended site; this could work through #linkinbio for influencers’ account or swipe up links available in Instagram stories.
Promotion codes – one of the most frequently used promotional and performance tracking method for brands, where each sponsored influencer is provided with a unique code to share with their followers. These codes serves as a special discount just for those who are interested in the influencers’ content and help brands to track the actual sale conversion.
STAGE 5: LOYALTY
Creating a long-term relationship with your consumers (and influencers)
An important stage for offline marketers but often overlooked when it comes to social media and influencer marketing. This is the stage where a particular marketing campaign has concluded and brand activities are on the “quiet” side. While offline marketers would perhaps follow up with loyalty programs, monthly EDMs or special promotions/invitations to members, brands on social media have even more opportunities to explore.
@adidasneo squad (influencers) of Malaysia
Influencer marketing should NOT be seen as an one-off activity – it has the potential to grow the brand beyond imagination through building long term relationship with influencers and consumers.
With influencers: Beyond the usual campaign content, brands can work with these influencers to create advocacy/ambassador programs that helps to build a community among them and the brand lovers. It is important to find influencers who truly appreciates the brand to convey a genuine message.
@jenniferbachdim and her team Adidas (Indonesia)
In the case of Adidas, it has created multiple “squad/teams” across different regions where groups of like minded influencers gather together for various brand activity and events. This long term dedicated relationship with key influencers helps to forge a strong community and brand relevance.
With consumers: What is a better way to keep your consumers by engaging them in a conversation with your brand and appreciating the content they create for you? User-generated content is on the rise for many brands to showcase real and personal experiences from those who matters most – actual consumers.
Brands can encourage consumers to upload content of their own and add the brand hashtag (for eg: #cantclutch this for @shopstudiodiy) or they can simply repost these content onto their account and create a portfolio of real life reviews.
Here you go, how influencer marketing comes to play at the different stages of the consumer decision journey! Are you already employing all these?