Tips for Using Influencer Marketing to Enter New Global Markets
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Brands looking to expand their reach beyond domestic markets are finding an effective strategy in influencer marketing, reaching their target customers through the voices these consumers follow and trust. By engaging influencers, brands are able to introduce their products in a way that feels genuine -- an invaluable advantage when entering an international market, as any marketer familiar with cross-cultural flubs or lost-in-translation campaigns can attest.
Influencer marketing also allows brands to reach consumers on the channels where they’re spending the most time. In an era of ad blocking and “cord cutting” (shifting screen time nearly entirely to mobile devices), this direct line to consumers is part of what makes the strategy so cost effective.
Based on our own successful collaborations and brand input, here are five helpful tips for entering a new global market with influencers:
Take advantage of hyperlocal talent
Your best ambassadors in a new region may not be the ones with the biggest social media followings. Studies have shown that smaller audiences actually equate to greater engagement and conversion, which can make micro-influencers particularly valuable if your goal is an immediate boost in sales. Hyperlocal talent also allows you to access different sub-markets within a market, be it neighborhoods within a city, or various cities within a region.
Tie your campaign to the region
Ask influencers to Instagram or Snap their favorite local hangouts or easily recognizable areas that will catch the attention of local followers, making your brand feel immediately relatable. Gifting product is one of the easiest and most effective ways to collaborate with international influencers and works seamlessly with this collaboration type. Whether you’re showing off how well a pair of shoes tackles the cobblestone streets of a neighborhood, or you’re introducing the perfect bag for a bicycle-centric city, tying your collaboration to the everyday lives of the market will ensure greater success than a more generic campaign.
Multimedia clips on Snapchat or YouTube in the local language and in the local environment can also be very effective for brands entering new markets. Global marketing teams can miss the mark with slang or cultural references when creating TV or digital ads, but influencers are speaking to their peers, making their multi-media campaigns more genuine -- and therefore more persuasive.
Take your collaboration offline
Although most influencer marketing campaigns are digital, a personal connection can go a long way toward making a lasting impression in a new market, making influencer events particularly powerful. Marks & Spencer demonstrated the impact of events with when they launched their Australian eCommerce website in April. Hosting an event in Sydney with a mix of ‘celebrity’ influencers and up-and-coming bloggers, curated by Shopping Links, the brand gained a valuable foothold in the Australian market through fashion influencers who were able to make a real impact on consumer perceptions. By taking the time to personally meet influencers and share the brand’s history, M&S solidified its foothold while increasing the likelihood that bloggers mention the brand organically in the future.
Utilise blogger data to assess your opportunities
Before selecting influencers for any campaign, particularly for international markets, it is enormously helpful to assess blogger data. Look at the Google Analytics and other audience data of potential bloggers to assess where your opportunities are strongest. (You can find Google Analytics info in the profiles of bloggers who have connected this data within Shopping Links.) Also look at the engagement of influencers that interest you. The comments in particular can reveal a lot about an influencer’s audience and local impact.
Know the rules
No matter what market you enter, is essential to know the advertising laws of the regions you enter. In the United States, a country with some of the strictest standards, brands are responsible for ensuring that influencers tag each post with a clear indication of sponsorship, such as #ad or #sponsored, even in space-restricted platforms like Twitter. (Announcing once that posts related to a particular campaign or brand are sponsored isn’t enough.) Shopping Links uses the US as a guide, while also requiring that influencers tag both the brand and Shopping Links.
The bottom line
With the flexibility to reach multiple sub-markets and the advantage of speaking directly to consumers through the voices they trust the most, influencer campaigns are one of the most effective ways to reach a new global market. By assessing blogger data to determine the best opportunities, utilising local talent, and creating collaborations that feel ‘local’ to the community or region, brands can successfully enter new markets more cost-effectively than with traditional advertising campaigns and with some guarantee of exposure.