Study: Influencer Marketing is How Retailers Can Reach Millennials
Influencer marketing has existed for decades. It’s taken on many forms and gone by many names, but the basic principle is always the same: brands that partner with noteworthy and trusted names can significantly increase their sales and authority. In the past this has taken the form of celebrities in television commercials, or Michael Jordan on your box of Wheaties in the morning.
However, in today’s millennial marketplaces, retailers are finding success in a brand new form of influencer marketing — social media. How do these alliances work, and how can retailers benefit from them? We surveyed 1,140 Americans and learned that social media is the place to be for this new form of influencer marketing.
Here’s what every retailer needs to know about using social media-based influencer marketing to reach millennials.
Use My Code
It doesn’t take long on social media sites like Instagram and YouTube to find a popular account or creator touting their partnership with a retail company and offering a discount code for that company. FabFitFun, JORD, Squarespace, and Skillshare are just some of the companies that routinely sponsor creators and influencers, offering coupon codes to entice their audiences.
While many of the companies that sponsor creator and influencer content are based online, brick-and-mortar stores can also benefit. We found that millennials are increasingly going mobile to both research and make purchases: 58 percent prefer their phone for making purchases.
That means nearly every retailer has something to gain from offering coupon codes to influencer audiences. Sponsoring content and offering coupon codes is just one way to capitalize on the influencer marketing trend.
Less intrusive than it sounds, influencer takeover is a marketing trend involving companies handing their social media platforms over to an influencer for a day.
Let’s say you own a clothing company, and a large part of your target market is composed of surfers. You could recruit influencers in the surfing community and pay them to promote your brand by wearing your clothing and showing it off on Instagram.
We found that Instagram and YouTube are becoming increasingly popular among millennials, so these channels are worth exploring. Seventy-seven percent of millennials were concerned with how Facebook's privacy policies. Additionally, only 58 percent of millennials have bought a product from Facebook compared to 76 percent of adults aged 35 and up.
If you’re invested too heavily in Facebook, it might be time to reinvest some of your online ad budget to different channels.
Another powerful form of influencer marketing is affiliate marketing. In this arrangement, an influencer is given a link to a company’s site that they share with their audience. When their audience uses the link, a portion of the sales go back to the influencer. Many influencers are given a coupon code, as well, to further entice their audience to purchase.
This form of influencer marketing is particularly effective because influencer audiences are already invested in supporting the people they follow and are more likely to use affiliate links if they think that doing so will help support the channel or person they’re following.
Influencer Marketing Works
Utilizing social media and influencer marketing is powerful, especially if you want to reach the millennial market. While Facebook has been king of the social media space for quite some time, millennials are increasingly preferring Instagram and YouTube as their social networking platforms of choice.
Moreover, our study shows that millennials are 54 percent more likely to purchase a product or utilize a service promoted by a social media influencer than previous generations. When conducting research and crafting your pitch, it’s important to remember that millennials respond best to ads that are funny and informative.
In fact, we found that 43 percent of millennials are likely to prefer funny ads, while 29 percent prefer informative ads. Therefore, crossing into both spheres with your advertising can reach most millennials in a successful way.
Finally, it’s important to choose influencers who are related to your market or product. For instance, if you sell wearable technology for fitness enthusiasts, partnering with running channels or fitness influencers is a great idea. However, you wouldn’t necessarily find an ear in, say, the knitting or gaming community.
That being said, influencers know their audiences well, and they’ll be able to tell you whether what you have to offer would interest those they serve. The ASMR community is a great example of this. The watch brand JORD consistently sponsors content for this audience, not because ASMR and watches have anything to do with each other, but because the sound of its boxes appeals to listeners.
There’s really no limit on what you can do and where you can take your brand in the world of influencer marketing. Whether you’re marketing a house or a line of baking utensils, a basic rule of sales stands true: people have to see it before you can sell it.
Influencer marketing can help you put your product in front of more people — more specifically, people who are already likely to take action and make a purchase. It’s a win-win situation that can greatly benefit both parties, and it’s a powerful way to reach the millennial market.
Luke Babich is the co-founder and CSO at Clever Real Estate, a referral network that connects top-rated real estate agents with home buyers and sellers at a discount rate.