Vanessa Grant, Hip Mommies’ Social Outreach Manager and the mom boss behind Mommyfluencer, shares her tips and real-life experience for creating social media campaigns that work—even for bricks-and-mortar businesses.
Entrepreneurship is so much more involved than just doing your job these days. Besides all the administrative tasks, you’re also expected to be a social media expert. Even as someone who spends a good part of her days on Instagram, I know what a struggle this is.
The good news? You don’t need to have thousands of followers to get exposure online and grow your business, you just have to work with people who do.
I connect businesses with mom influencers on Instagram who have thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers. Thesestylish, social media-savvy moms amplify the business’s message, getting them more followers, higher engagement, quality content and even increased sales. It’s not all about hard numbers though. When working with influencers the goal should be to foster genuine relationships so that you support their businesses (being an influencer is a business) and they support yours.
I recently worked with Julie and Katie, the owners of Toronto boutique August Kinn to promote their one-year anniversary and the shop had their best sales day to date. The influencer campaign we created resulted in almost 2,500 engagements, a reach of more than 12,000 people and 210 new followers (you can see a case study here).
Here are the takeaways from that campaign and the steps you can take to promote your business through building relationships with social media influencers.
1. Find influencers who already love your business. When working with August Kinn, we identified influencers who had been in their shop, had expressed interest in collaborating with them or who simply lived in the area. We added influencers whose feeds we loved and whose children were the right age. We ended up with a list of five mom influencers who were enthusiastic about the shop and the brands August Kinn carries.
I know what you’re thinking, “there aren’t any influencers with thousands of followers who shop at my store.” Maybe not, but there are probably loyal customers who have posted about shopping with you or who come in often. Look through your Instagram account to see who has tagged you or look up some of your favourite regulars and connect with them. Follow them, like their posts and send them a message to say how much you appreciate their business. And if they’ve posted about you? Share that post to your own feed and tag them.
A customer doesn’t need to have a huge following to be influential. Showing that you appreciate their support both in person and online will go a long way. They will keep shopping with you and their friends and family will follow suit.
2. Invite them into the store. Many influencer marketing campaigns involve sending product directly to the influencer and having them post a photo of the product to their social feed. In promoting August Kinn, it was important for influencers to see the shop, understand the love and care Katie and Julie put into customer service and to experience the August Kinn vibe. We invited each of the five influencers into the store for a private shopping experience.
Once you’ve identified the influencers you’d like to work with, whether they are regular customers or social media moms with big followings, invite them to see your shop. Set an actual time for them to come when you know you won’t be too busy. You’ll want to show them around and really give them a feel for what your shop is about. It’s not just about the brands you sell. It’s about the quality of service you offer, your location and décor. Even regular customers will appreciate the special treatment!
3. Offer a gift, gift card or discount. As I mentioned above, being an influencer is a business for many so while an exclusiv invitation to your shop may be enticing, you will want to offer an incentive to visit and to post about you. For August Kinn, we offered store credit to be spent during the influencer’s visit.
Can’t afford to give away product? Offering a discount, especially to regular customers versus bigger influencers, can be a great way to get them into the shop. Remember that everyone is busy. Make your offer one they can’t refuse, especially since you’ll be asking them to post about you to their social feeds.
4. Ask them to post about you on social media. Your invitation does come with conditions. With every campaign I manage, I outline the requirements from the beginning so everyone understands what’s involved. We asked the influencers who worked with August Kinn to share two Instagram stories posts while they were in the shop and one Instagram feed post.
Instagram stories, the short videos that are only live for 24 hours, are easy to ask for. They are fun for influencers to create and you’ll usually get more stories posts than you ask for. Instagram feed posts are a permanent fixture on an influencer’s feed and if the influencer charges, this is the post they’ll charge for—or receive product in kind for. Know how many posts you’d like influencers to share and ask for them up front. Two stories posts and one feed post is a nice mix.
5. Make your message clear. The posts the influencers shared for August Kinn had to mention the store’s upcoming first-anniversary event, the date, time and some of the main details, like door prizes and gift bags for the first 100 customers. We were also explicit in the campaign outline and invitation that the stories posts should be shot in the store to show potential customers what it’s like to shop there. The feed posts could be shot at the store or at home featuring the complimentary products the influencer received. But the brands of the products were only to be tagged in the photo, not in the caption.
Be clear about the message you want your influencers to share. Do you have an upcoming event or sale? Is there a tagline you’d like them to use? Also, make sure that the posts are about your store and your branding and not just the products you sell. Otherwise, you’re only helping someone else’s business at your own expense.
6. Make use of the resulting content. So the influencers have visited, taken their swag and posted lovely things about you. This is not the end. Collect all of the content that was created and repost it to your own feeds. If you are tagged in a stories post, you can save it to your phone. Screenshot or use social media download tools online to save the Instagram feed posts and repost them. (I don’t like repost apps. As long as you tag the person in your caption and photo, you don’t need an ugly icon in the corner of the post!)
Create a schedule and share those posts at regular intervals so your social media is taken care of for a while!
7. Finally, continue to build those relationships. While reposting influencer’s content weeks or months after their visit will remind them about you, remember to stay engaged with them. Turn on notifications for their posts if you have to so you can like and comment regularly. This will not only keep you top of mind for the influencer but for their followers, too.
Want to explore a custom influencer marketing strategy for your own business, or need some help with content, content curation or social media? Visit Vanessa at www.grantmedia.ca/mommyfluencer