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Most companies have a website and undertake social media activities. Most are confident in counting “likes” and followers – but it is no longer enough to know these facts. You have to keep the audience interested to keep them on track as “followers” and this is where the social media influencers come in to play. So, what is a social media influencer?

The new phenomen started out by teenagers making YouTube video from their bedrooms and by creating a lot of “vexing”, they got a lot of other teenagers to follow them.  Trust was born as the social media influencers kept churning out videos and the very successful influencers got sponsorship from the brands they endorsed and recommended to their followers.

Time has moved on and it is no longer only teenagers who share their views and lives and thus gain digital trust.  The full-blown industry is now forecastet to reach £8bn globally in 2020.

One of the latest examples is Nigella Lawson, https://www.nigella.com/

She is, obviously, a celebrity within the food industry and a cook and broadcaster. She has also published 12 cooking books since 1998, and she has now launched copies as e-books.  

She has developed an “influencer product” called #Foodim which is her own mobile food photography app and dedicated social network https://www.instagram.com/foodim/ and own YouTube channel.

Another similar Social media influencer in this sector can be found on the other side of the North Sea, in Denmark. Valdemarsro https://www.valdemarsro.dk/#

This influencer publishes recipes and lifestyle and travel advice and is topped up with a Premium subscription for DKK 199 per year.

They also produce a food planning tool as App: https://www.valdemarsro.dk/valdemarsro-app/  

Every Thursday, a new food plan is published with recipes for all seven days of the week and inspiration for accessories, sweets, and packed lunches. There are three different food plans,

  • Easy and family-friendly everyday
  • vegetarian
  • Valdemarsro – mixed recipes and easy-to-use shopping list

The beauty is that the social media influencers landscape is born global – working with the right influencers in, say, Japan can speed up your success,  and help to grow this market.

A few examples of how working with influencers can help grow export:

  • BrewDog beer targeted the US beer market through key beer influencers by sending samples followed up with Facebook video screening and interviews to adapt their beers to the likes of the market
  • Tangle Teezer export to 60+ countries, has won many awards and has been endorsed by celebrities such as   Victoria Beckham and Nicole Scherzinger. Yes, Dragons’ Den rejected Tangle Teezer which is now estimated to be worth much more than 200m.
  • Any of the royals have a massive following and a true global influencer. Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton wears £1.50 Accessorize earrings and the shops were sold out overnight and had to take backorders from customers

So here are a few steps you should take when it comes to growing your export, working with influencers:

  • you need to communicate with your followers
  • ask relevant questions about what they like on the site and would like to learn and see more of on your site
  • learn from what they tell or ask you
  • put together segments of your followers
  • start segmenting the content to keep it relevant and make the followers feel special

 

All this is taking the standard sales and marketing activities to the next level by putting the followers in the driving seat. Yet, you are in charge and can learn and develop your business with their “direct” help at limited cost to the company

The key change over time will become the resource and budget required to keep the followers and the influencers happy. Estee Lauder, the major toiletry brand say that they now spend 85% of their marketing budget on social media.

Finally, success on social media platforms does not just come overnight and has to be consistently maintained and updated with relevant content. Keep an eye on the sector’s key influencers and offer samples and competitions to get your products linked and liked.

Always have a plan B and act quickly if something does not go to plan, and be prepared to combat negative feedback.

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