So, your wardrobe’s overflowing and your bank account’s running on empty? Don’t hate the player, hate the game, right? But how can you possibly hate the game when online shopping is so good!
Digital Shopping aka e-commerce is changing, evolving and in some cases (Instagram product links) snowballing. But while some social shopping features have begun to get traction, other such movements are ‘pivoting away from their e-commerce focus’… RIP Twitter ‘Buy Now’ button. I for one am a lazy shopper, I like to buy online so that I don’t have to put on pants to go to the shops and buy more pants that I will refuse to wear. I welcome the Instagram product tags with open Paypal arms. I’m still waiting for the Shazam for clothes where I can whip out my iPhone, snap a girl’s outfit in the street with my app and have my purchase options delivered instantaneously… Bam! The reality is, just like Pinterest, it will most definitely be way out my budget so it’ll be back to Pinterest ‘window’ shopping for me…
So, I’ve really begun to take (more) notice lately of the strengthening force of traditional word-of-mouth marketing, which we call ‘Influencer’s’ and ‘Reviews’ in the 2018 digital world. While the concept of word-of-mouth is not new, it has certainly evolved from the 90’s era of star-studded infomercials and corner-store gossip wherein 1 person might have a bad experience and tell ten people, who then tell ten more and so on. These days social media sites and online review forums offer opportunities for business to engage in two-way communications with their audience, rather than traditional Say-and-spray news blasts. There are also quite a few sites dedicated to finding relevant influencers along with modelling agencies now listing influencers alongside acting and modelling profiles. Sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google Reviews are well-respected opinions within our 2018 existence. If you own an online brand or business, it makes sense to take them seriously. Here’s why….
Have you ever left a restaurant promising to leave a great review and never actually following through? I for one am guilty of this action. Not because I changed my mind the next day, but because I kept forgetting or I just put it into the ‘too hard’ basket for the time being and then weeks later, it no longer felt relevant. This is sad on so many levels and while I’m sure the restaurant is that good that others have left a review, mine should count too… They deserve it. Within my own purchasing cycle, I will actively seek reviews of products, restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions and pretty much anything that is on my radar for purchase. I am not alone here either, according to BJC Branding 97% of consumers in 2017 read online reviews before making a buying decision. This is why I should pay-it-forward with my honest reviews in the hope that someone will make sense of my rambling enough to buy the product or try the business that I felt so passionate about at the time.
Another reason why it is important to leave reviews if they are positive is that more often than not, it is rage from a bad experience that convinces someone to leave a negative review of a product or service in the heat of the moment. This emotion is much more a force of nature than how elated I was after my delicious experience at a restaurant. These bad reviews are often a small percentage of the customer base that simply did not enjoy their experience and have taken to online to express their opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, once they are up online, they often can’t be taken down. It is, however an opportunity for the business to turn a negative into a positive by using efficient customer service and exceptional diplomacy to try to resolve the issue with the customer and in turn regain the customer’s loyalty.
Onto Influencer’s: Relevant influencers can offer your consumer’s a positive opinion about your product or service, often shifting their buying intention closer to the checkout, along with your product. By sharing a product post in line with an influencer’s personal brand shows that they are spruiking the value of the product based on the positive alignment it has with their own brand direction. Whether it’s for money or passion is often irrelevant to the consumer, as it takes the time-consuming labour out of trying a product for themselves whilst offering a more informed decision before making a purchase. There is often a fine line between a customer abandoning a cart and taking it to home base (the full checkout) with your product. If you had the opportunity to leap-frog this buying indecisiveness on behalf of your customer, you would, right?
Influencers can be a powerful marketing tool if the influencer is well-respected in the social community. Paying for their opinion of your product or service could be the best damn marketing decision you’ve ever made for your brand or business. If you have time you should listen to this podcast from Stevie Says Social on how influencer marketing really helped Tribe Skincare get noticed on Instagram and drive sales.
Many influencer’s will request to try the product before aligning themselves with your brand to a) ensure it is a good fit and b) see if the product actually works. The influencer is putting their brand reputation on the line by telling all their followers just how great your product is, so it makes sense they try it before promoting it to their followers.
It’s no secret that influencer’s get paid (quite well) to post about products. How much they get paid varies and whether they truly ‘love’ the product as much their post claims will remain a mystery if done well. It all comes down to the authenticity of the influencer and the consumer’s personal connection to their brand. If your consumers relate well to travel influencer’s that often work with ocean-based or wildlife charities and align themselves with eco-friendly products, then you would need to fit into this agenda with your own product or service. In the end, it is their brand on the line and if they want to remain relevant then they need to be consistently authentic with what they post.
My prediction is that people are beginning to cut out the b**s**t from their feeds to align themselves with micro-influencers that are much more ‘real’ and a little less Kardashian. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t culled the big names in my feeds just yet and I don’t think this will happen universally anytime soon. But people are going to get tired of over-used sales tactics, the long-winded click funnels and the un-natural ‘I woke up like this’ #nofilter Instagram posts.
The need for speed of purchase and authenticity is becoming more relevant than ever.
The new Instagram algorithm in 2018 encourages engagement within each user’s social community, therefore influencers will need to engage with your potential consumers for their brands to remain favoured by Instagram and honoured as relevant by their followers. This increased (almost compulsory) requirement with their following, is why Influencer’s can help consumers feel more connected with your brand or product by offering a more personalised and trustworthy experience, something that often gets lost in translation in automated customer journey’s in online shopping.
So, there it is… Another rambling memoir from moi, I hope you enjoyed it!
Thanks for reading my post on Influencers and Reviews. I’d love to hear any suggestions or thoughts you might have on the above. Alternatively, if you need help getting started in the digital world, it’s my jam and I’d be over the moon happy to help!
Vanessa, The Digital Artisan