4 Steps for Influencing Merchandising Events’ Success

Opinion: With a little bit of coordination, those social plans can have more impact

When influencer video is watched, your lift in conversion will double - Credit by Sladic/iStock

The way we consume or look for product information is changing. I could argue that it already has. Social media and video are playing a more active role in all aspects of the shopping journey. And this is the case for both traditional brick and mortar and ecommerce.

With these changes, brands have had to become agile in how they are talking to their customers. With almost one-half of internet users looking for video related to products and services before visiting a store and 82 percent of consumer finding video more relevant and believable than other types of content, it’s no wonder why brands are shifting more marketing dollars toward influencer marketing.

You can drive tremendous scale and reach across social platforms with the right influencer. With so much evidence that consumers are seeking out video content before they buy and buying more after watching product-related video, why aren’t more brands thinking about how to shorten the journey by leveraging influencer video within their ecommerce plans?

Merchandising events such as back to school, Amazon Prime Day and the holiday shopping season are a few buying periods where brands are turning to influencers to drive awareness. And with a little bit of coordination, those social plans can have more impact in ecommerce success.

So, how do you set up your brand for success? It begins with making your influencer marketing content do more for your brand and the following four steps to influence merchandising periods’ success.

Define your goal

With the ever-changing social landscape and the endless options to take advantage of, it’s important to use your goal as your compass or you might get a little lost.

Three popular goals are:

  • Buzz: The best way to make a splash is to work with top-tier, pseudo-celebrity influencers to bring your product to life. Do your research and have the influencers tap into the latest challenges, trends and content themes on social media.
  • Awareness: If you’re looking to raise meaningful brand and product recognition within social media, it’s important to set a viewership or traffic goal. Then build a plan with a mix of influencers that are authorities in the space. Influencers can often be viewed as friends or peers for many of their subscribers. Get your brand into that natural conversation.
  • Conversion: It’s important to view your influencer efforts as powerful content that can help tell your product story and encourage new customers to buy beyond social media. Enhance your retail product or gift guide pages by featuring content created by influencers. Not only can it round out your social campaign, but it can ensure that all shoppers have persuasive video content to entice purchase.

Determine your content style

Now that you’ve narrowed down your goal, let’s think about the content that influencers will produce. You might be saying to yourself, “Wait. We didn’t talk about influencers yet.” It’s important to know, first, what type of content you need before you determine who’s going to create it.

Influencers themselves have brands, and their content styles have a lot to do with it. Depending on your goal, you’ll need to determine what content is right for your brand.

The most popular content types are:

  • Entertainment: If you are looking to tack onto a buzzworthy or viral video that will have your product on the tip of everyone’s tongue, entertainment is your best bet.
  • Informational: Content that informs gives subscribers just the right amount of unique product details and benefits without the post losing authenticity.

Keep in mind that entertaining content lends itself to an awareness goal and informational content lends itself to trial. Look into their click-through rates, conversion history and past sponsorship performance. Data doesn’t lie.

Identify your influencers

Since influencers are the go-to for product recommendations, how do you choose who is right for your brand? It can be overwhelming. There are a few things to keep in mind when starting your search:

  • Do your research: Take the time to investigate your influencers and what sponsored content they’ve done in the past. If they’ve historically posted about your competitor, it may be best to keep looking.
  • Do you make sense for the influencer’s audience? Your target consumer might not be the one purchasing your product. During these periods, people are often looking for product gift guides for loved ones.
  • Get started as soon as possible: During events, influencers book up well in advance. And remember that they don’t want their brands or channels to turn into running advertisements. Influencers are very diligent when scheduling a sponsored post into their content calendar.

Lastly, ensure that the influencer(s) you choose will move the needle.

Optimize your content

Now that you’ve successfully created the content, let’s give it legs.

A fast-growing best practice is to have curated, custom, persuasive video content right at the point-of-purchase. Leverage your influencer content on landing and product pages, and even as ad units. This practice will inform purchase decisions and boost conversion rates:

  • Purchase decisions: With video on a page, shoppers’ purchase intent increases 17 percent.
  • Conversion: When influencer video is watched, your lift in conversion will double.

With online shopping at an all-time high and ad dollars shifting more and more toward influencer marketing, it’s no wonder that when done correctly, the two can blend perfectly to impact sales and conversions, especially during the upcoming merchandising events and holidays this year and beyond.

Jessica Thorpe is president of influencer marketing platform gen.video. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicagnon.