How Influencer Marketing Integrates into the Buyer’s Journey

Awareness, Interest, Decision or Loyalty - At What Stage Should Influencers Show up?

Influencer marketing is officially a full-fledged marketing branch valued at billions of dollars. It is also a scalable system as well. Creators can quantify their own impact on social media by keeping records of social impressions, profile views, likes, comments, website clicks, and so on. 

To make the most of this new advertising opportunity, marketers prepare a stimulus for each point in a buyer’s journey. This way, they guide visitors deeper down the sales funnel. But how do they know how and when to craft such guidance?

Through time, specialists noticed a pattern that most customers follow until the point where they make a purchase. Such a phenomenon came to be known as a sales funnel or the buyer’s journey. This journey repeats the same 4 stages over and over again: Awareness, Interest,  Decision, and Loyalty.

Equipped with this knowledge, marketers are no longer walking in the dark. They get to know how to create traffic signs to guide buyers on the right path. 

To this end, they gave shape to the most successful content creation methods in order to generate sales: blogging, newsletters, industry reports, ads, banners, eCommerce, online customer care, and more. The latest channel that can accompany prospects at every stage of their buying decision is influencer marketing. 

Stay with us through the end of the article to discover the multifaceted strategy for successful influencer marketing campaigns and their perfect timing. Learn how to synchronize your social media marketing plan with each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Influencer Partnerships Perform Better than Ads 

According to MarketingProfs.com, 94% of marketers have benefited from working with at least one influencer. But how did influencer marketing manage to dethrone overnight the traditional ways? An eye-opening picture can be found in the same report. 

Only a third of consumers are still trusting ads. By contrast, a whopping 90% of people are making their purchase decisions based on recommendations. 88% of people trust recommendations from well-known people on the web and their group of friends. 

All these numbers are showing us that consumers no longer want to be told what to do. Instead, they are interested in products and services that trusted people have already tested and approved. This is the raw power influencers gained over regular commercials.

1st Stage: Awareness (Where buyers get to know the product for the first time)

Most creators are leveraging the social media juice mostly for one purpose only: to get prospects in contact with their offer for the first time. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s no space for new players. On the contrary, awareness continues to be a key part of a holistic influencer marketing campaign. 

This is the point where brands attract new prospects with high chances to be in need of their product. The best part about the awareness stage is that people haven’t heard of such offers before. As such, creators have the chance to set the scene to their own desire.

During the creative process of influencer-based content, creators have to fit in the following key ingredients:

  • Entertaining and storytelling material;
  • Influencer’s personal experience with a product;
  • Influencer’s creative way of adding the product into their lives.

Strategy Ideas at the Awareness Stage

  • Send free products to influencers so they can test and deliver their first impressions to their audience;
  • Plan creative, out-of-the-box campaigns in collaboration with influencers that will run only on their channels;
  • Sponsor product unboxing on YouTube.

Famous Awareness Campaign Example

LAY’S created a huge wave of awareness under one unique hashtag #DoUsAFlavor. A lot of influencers accepted to work with the theme that the chips company suggested. 

It goes like this: choose one of the new 22 chip flavors and describe the memory their taste triggered. One of the few mandatory requirements was to introduce their chosen hashtag in description.

At the end of their campaign, LAY’S managed to become visible to a whole new age segment for them: 18-24. The company refreshed its image into a brand that is not afraid to experiment and try out exciting things such as Cappuccino flavored chips. It goes without saying that originality, no matter how odd it gets, attracts young hearts along a buyer’s journey like bees to honey.

2nd Stage: Interest (Where buyers want to learn more about this type of products, even from your competitors)

In the next stage of their journey, consumers start asking questions about products they’ve seen at their favorite influencers. What’s the brand of that new shirt? What does that futuristic gadget do? How can that new kind of cooker improve their lives?

Therefore, brands should have amazing answers ready to quench any curiosity. 

At this point, consumers are ready to consider a solution to one of their problems. They want to know how this new type of product can improve their lives. 

On the flip side of the coin, people are not just yet ready to commit to one brand. Instead, they are only gathering information that helps them reach a buying decision. This includes visits to your competitors as well.

Rest assured, influencers can use their voice to help brands in this direction as well. However, this time their content has to:

  • Offer specific details about the product’s main features;
  • Underline key advantages;
  • Specify clear situations when the product helped them;
  • Share personal views on their experience with the product.

Strategy Ideas at the Interest Stage

  • Sponsor tutorials in video, text, webinar or visual format for influencers;
  • Organize a Q&A between influencers and their followers about your campaign.

Famous Influencer Campaign Example

Olay is a strong player in the skincare sphere that turned to Instagram to individualize their line of cosmetics.  Together with 9 lionhearted female influencers, the brand launched a #FaceAnything campaign.

Each woman described one benefit of using an Olay creme and how it helps them remain fearless characters. By bringing forth the candor of female diversity, Olay managed to increase trust in their brand. 

View this post on Instagram

Behold the magic of the red jar – @Olay Regenerist in the red jar. ❤️🥰 This jar was brought to my Christmas gift exchange and we all fought for it (and I wasn’t the one who brought it!). What a true testimony about this moisturizer. On the blog today, I share my skincare journey and explain which red jar is right for your skin type and needs. I am a Regenerist lifer – check back in with me in a year, two, 10 from now and I promise this will still be in my medicine cabinet. 🌟 I believe once you try it, you will feel the same as my girlfriends and I do – find the right Olay Regenerist for you on the blog and find it at your local retailer. Link in bio. #FaceAnything #RedJar #ad

A post shared by Diana Elizabeth (@dianaelizabeth_) on

3rd Stage: Decision (Where buyers are ready to commit to a brand)

The last and most adventurous phase of a buyer’s journey requires everyone to have the name of the brand on their lips. Buyers are now aware of all the ways the product can improve their lifestyle. Now comes the part everybody’s been waiting for: brand selection.

How do similar products yet of different logos stand out from the crowd? The answer lies in the unique selling propositions. These are special features of the product that no other competitor is offering. It can be about pricing and upgrades that are powerful enough to justify loyalty to a single brand.

On top of sharing product links and talking about the brand and product, influencers can go more in-depth. They can mention pricing and even comparisons between competitors. Content tailored specifically for the final decision should focus on:

  • Unique features that make the product a wise investment;
  • Call-to-actions;
  • Sharing links to a product page.

Influencer Strategy Ideas at the Decision Stage

  • Schedule an Instagram story with the ‘Swipe Up’ feature that leads to product’s shopping page;
  • Create unique discount coupons named after influencers;
  • Launch giveaways exclusively on influencers’ pages.

Famous Decision Campaign Example

The easiest part so far is to make consumers take that one last step and become your clients. For instance, LA Colombe Coffee Roasters selected a small group of micro-influencers to spread the word about a little discount code. 

Creators posted visuals that inspire party vibes – the perfect setting to announce a sweet deal for a cold coffee drink.

4th Stage: Loyalty (Where buyers keep receiving reasons to remain part of the brand’s community)

Reports show that companies spend more on new leads than on reactivating old customers. However, isn’t it so much simpler to secure recurring revenue than to search for new leads? Therefore, a 4th type of content for a successful influencer marketing strategy requires addressing customer loyalty. 

To keep clients engaged with a brand, creative content should focus on the following:

  • Extra tips on how to master the product once users enter into its possession;
  • Loyalty programs;
  • Positive product reviews.

Influencer Strategy Ideas at the Loyalty Stage

  • Officially appoint several influencers as your brand ambassadors; 
  • Plan product mentions throughout influencers’ weekly content creations.

Famous Loyalty Campaign Example

Red Bull is undoubtedly an authority in matters of brand ambassador programs. This energy drink company spares no effort in recruiting thought leaders hooked on adrenaline.

Nothing of importance is missing in their plan: target audience (the Millennials), branding (Wings Team), incentives (called “activations”), consistency, creative campaigns (see #RedBullAirdrop, #SavedByTheBull, #GivesYouWings, etc.).

Is it all worth it? Given that the Red Bull logo is present on almost all daredevil moments caught on camera, there’s no doubt about it. The brand became a definition of passion for sports, and any energy drinker wants to be part of it.

Conclusion

All in all, we’ve seen how influencer marketing strategies can show up at key stages in a buyer’s journey. What makes an influencer marketing campaign successful is content diversity. 

Each of the 4 phases (Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Loyalty) requires a different approach. The secret is to spread only those details the buyer is ready to hear at that point. 

Follow the recommended strategies for each stage or devise a campaign unique to your brand. Influencer marketing is now sophisticated enough to offer you any type of promotional campaign at any level of difficulty. 

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