New Features for Holiday Influencer Marketing on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook
The holiday season is one of the busiest times for brands who are competing for shopper recognition and sales. Shoppers are faced with countless advertisements on TV, in magazines and on the increasingly preferred platform — online. Consumers are drawn to online shopping since the items they want or see on social media are just a click away from being delivered right to their door. In fact, digital sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year showed significant increases from the year before, hitting $3.45 billion on Friday and $3.39 billion on Monday.
Social media is contributing to the online shopping boom and impacting consumer decisions. Studies from Deloitte have revealed that about 47 percent of millennials claim their purchase decisions are influenced by social media.
So how can brands best leverage consumer dependency on these social platforms to boost sales and product awareness this holiday season? Influencers. Approximately 49 percent of consumers claim they rely on recommendations from influencers when deciding what products to purchase, and brands are now very much aware of the value this provides to marketing campaigns.
Consumers are locked in and engaged with holiday marketing campaigns that feature influencers. For example, last year there was a 3.4-times increase in influencer campaigns tagged with #BlackFriday compared to the year before and on these posts there was a 22 percent average increase in comments and a 200 percent increase in likes when compared to 2015. These consumers are keeping an eye out for the influencers' holiday shopping recommendations — creating a valuable tool for brands looking to sell products.
During the holidays, brands need to be able to reach those engaged customers so they can transform interest into purchases. New influencer-friendly social media features are making it easier than ever to engage with consumers. Here are some new features brands should consider with their holiday influencer marketing strategies this season:
Snapchat recently added the conversion pixel so brand advertisers can see if consumers directly view or purchase a product after viewing an ad — providing brands with proof of ad value and attribution of sales to a specific campaign. While this feature is only available to brands, brand partnerships with influencers for sponsorship or content creation makes them valuable for brand ads that leverage the conversion pixel.
More and more, brands are trusting the influencers’ ability to create engaging content designed to appeal to target audiences — their followers. That content doesn’t always necessarily have to be for the influencer’s channel. Brands are also looking to influencers to help them develop content for their branded social channels as well — or they can use influencers as a spokespeople during their holiday campaigns to harness the power of customer loyalty and trust.
This year, Instagram announced the launch of its new polls feature, available within the Instagram stories platform. Users are able to post a question for their followers to provide real-time feedback on, something that brands like Starbucks and Sabra Hummus used to encourage followers to share preferences on menu items, product flavors and varieties. Influencers also took to polls, as roughly 66 percent of those surveyed claimed they had used or planned to use polls in the near future.
By using an influencer to post a product poll, brands can receive valuable, and in many cases unbiased feedback from target consumers about what it is they’re looking for and what they prefer from a product. These preferences and consumer choices can then be worked into future campaigns and product development strategies. In addition, these polls provide followers with a new way to engage with influencers instead of using only likes and comments. Polls allow influencers to ask followers for their opinion, and gives followers a meaningful way to feel engaged with the influencer, with their content and even with the brand’s product or service.
In August, Facebook released new capabilities where brands can directly promote an influencer’s post, providing greater transparency and a streamlined promotion process for brands retargeting influencer-created content. Previously, in order to promote an influencer’s post to targeted audiences outside of an influencer’s network, brands would have to share the post to their own Facebook page, promoting it as an ad.
Now, when an influencer tags a brand within the post, brands are able to promote the original post among existing followers and customers who are most likely to be interested through the Custom Audiences feature. For additional brand control over content, brands can specify which of their influencers are permitted to tag them. Promoting an influencer’s post directly instead of having to individually recirculate each post makes it easier for brands to manage multiple influencers and their content over the busy holiday season.
Consumers will continue to turn to social media and influencers while making purchasing decisions this holiday so it’s important for brands know how to maximize exposure of their holiday influencer marketing campaigns among popular social media platforms. Understanding the true value influencers bring to consumer shopping decisions and leveraging new features on social media platforms can help brands secure their place with holiday marketing this season.