This article originally appeared in TotalRetail.com
By Dylan Conroy, Chief Revenue Officer, The Social Standard
The time of crazed customers huddled around front doors waiting for midnight is over. In the post-pandemic world, shopper habits have shifted. Black Friday 2021 saw 88 million Americans shopping online, with nearly 43 percent of Black Friday purchases made on mobile devices. Retail sales during 2021’s November-December holiday season grew 14.1 percent year-over-year to $886.7 billion. As you can see, consumers want the convenience of searching for sales online, not in the midst of chaos.
Brands have taken note. Walmart and Target will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, and other brick-and-mortar retailers will likely do the same. The shopping season hasn’t diminished in popularity, instead it will start earlier.
Don’t be surprised to see Black Friday promotions break in late summer/early autumn, with influencer activations occurring far in advance of sale dates and with a strong emphasis on pre-order commitments to combat supply chain woes. With all this in mind, here’s why your Black Friday/Cyber Monday influencer marketing strategy should be ramping up now to get the most out of your advertising budget.
With inflation rising and fear of a recession looming, brands must act quickly to protect projected Q4 earnings. Consumers are more likely to become customers if they have seen a product multiple times, are familiar with its value, and it has been promoted by a trustworthy influencer. It’s never too early to build brand awareness or gain a target audience’s trust.
Too early to start advertising? Think again! Hallmark’s 2022 holiday book is already out, and consumers can sign up for newsletter updates on select brands that will follow next. Promotions branded for summer month products like electronics sales will expand, evolve and boomerang back into the autumn season.
Thanks to TikTok, you don’t have to shop during promotion periods to get a seasonal deal. Influencers like Money Lawyer Erika (8.6 million followers) are helping customers by reading refund terms and conditions. In a video viewed over 11 million times, she explains Costco’s company policy, which allows for price matching for sales/promotions for up to 30 days. Customers no longer need to wait for door-buster sales. Another win for TikTok reading the fine print!
As savvy shoppers become aware of these hacks, brands should strategize which influencers and products pair best. It’s best to develop long-term partnerships with brand integrations to achieve peak influencer marketing performance. Though numbers range depending on product/service, estimates suggest it takes between six to eight marketing touchpoints to take a consumer from awareness to consideration and convert them into a customer.
Running advertisements during the holiday months is more expensive than any other time. Facebook ads spike 25 percent (or more) because brands urgently compete for consumer attention. Your brand will have to commit a higher budget to ads, and influencers may also choose to charge you a premium to lock in last-minute promotions. Secure a fair deal by starting early. This option gives you the freedom to have your choice of creators, time to test your creative performance (art/copy), and finalize influencer rates at off-season prices.
If you have a new lineup of products dropping in time for the holiday season, an influencer campaign may be perfect to create an audience FOMO. Encourage the influencers you activate to post product reviews, how it works into their daily routine, and narratives that encourage a quality value. Once you’ve collected enough assets, repurpose the posts into branded content for ads. We’ve seen branded posts outperform traditional ads 2x to 4x for Hinge. User-generated content feels more authentic and tells a story perfect for the build-up to Black Friday.
As the summer months pass, it’s time to plan out your seasonal marketing strategy. Activate influencers early to measure campaign performance, avoid excessive ad spending, and repurpose influencer content to get ahead of the busiest time of year for businesses. It won’t be long before you start seeing holiday decorations in stores, so start your Black Friday/Cyber Monday influencer marketing now!
It’s no surprise influencers are building successful and iconic brands. Their influence and connection with audiences provide trust in their product and allow them to sell at an incredible pace. This extension of their brands transcends their work on social media and creates longevity in their careers.
The Social Standard is a full-service influencer marketing agency driven by setting the standard for the industry and then reaching even higher. Our team is obsessed with finding the right influencers for our partners. But we are way more than just matchmakers. We are strategists that develop effective campaigns to delight, inspire, entertain and hit business goals. From concept to seamless execution, we work with clients such as Adobe, FiatChrysler, L’Oreal, Motorola, and others, positioning them as pioneers in innovative influencer marketing and helping talent thrive in the creator economy. Want to learn more about our agency’s work? Shoot us an email at email@example.com. We’d love to collaborate!