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Sweeten Your Valentine's Day Sales with Influencers

January 06, 2018
Brand, Agency
  
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Hoping to earn more customer love this Valentine's Day? Influencers could be the key to stronger sales, particularly if you're looking to reach new demographics. A National Retail Federation survey suggests that couples aren't the only ones spending on gifts for loved ones, with more than half of American consumers also buying gifts for family, friends, coworkers. More then $680 million alone goes to gifts for pets. As shoppers increasingly turn to social media for gift ideas, influencers have given brands an easy and effective way to promote key products for every opportunity, from creative gifts for coworkers to inspiration for a romantic getaway. Here are five Valentine’s Day campaign ideas using influencers to help you boost sales this February. 



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1. Run a contest


Contests can help you engage customers by giving them a personal stake in your promotion, while also driving traffic to your website. Christian Paul Watches, shown above, had great success with a contest that inspired consumers to share "a moment that changed their life," reflecting the importance of family and tradition to the brand. For Valentine’s Day, you might run a contest for ‘Most Romantic Gesture' or ‘Most Unique Gift Idea’ to attract couples. To reach a wider demographic, you might ask customers to show what love means to them, or to share how they are recognising an important person in their lives this Valentine’s Day. Announcing your contest a few weeks before Valentine’s day, then announcing your winner just after the holiday, can help you keep up momentum for sales through February. You can also use Valentine’s Day as your contest launch date, helping you strengthen sales through March. Want to try a contest, but aren’t sure where to start? Get in touch, and we'll walk you through it. 


2. Gift influencers 


Product seeding is a highly effective way to reach multiple demographics and directly influence buying decisions. Many consumers now use Instagram, rather than retail sites, to shop. They’re actively looking for outfits, beauty products and gift ideas (for romantic partners, kids, pets and loved ones alike) with the intention of making a purchase. When you gift influencers, you’re not just giving potential customers inspiration, you’re also adding your products to the consumer shopping experience, making it more likely that your brand is top-of-mind when shoppers are ready to buy. The above collaboration with Savilla Mountain, the blogger behind Vogue for Breakfast, is a great example of how gifting can draw attention to a product with suggestions for how to wear it on a particular occasion. 


Another advantage of gifting influencers is that it also allows you to try influencer marketing even if you have little budget. Our Product Seeding solution allows brands or agencies to gift 10 bloggers with at least 10k followers on Instagram for just $895 USD. Your receive direct contact details for each blogger, and all are required to post within 30 days, results guaranteed. You also receive 3 months of campaign analytics, with results tracked by individual influencer so you gain insight into which bloggers are likely to perform well for you in future campaigns. If you’re looking for guaranteed results with a turn-key approach, we highly recommend blogger gifting. Schedule a demo to see how it works. 

 

3. Tell a story 


Whether you’re a fashion, beauty or lifestyle brand, creating a narrative is one of the most powerful ways to elicit a reaction from consumers. A recent experiment shared by AdWeek demonstrated the power of storytelling by comparing reactions to products accompanied by standard descriptions or more detailed stories. In every case, the stories -- whether customer reviews, bios or even fiction -- outperformed the more straightforward descriptions. The above collaboration between blogger Chistianne Cabagnon and Koola Burra boots is a great example of how creating a narrative can keep viewers engaged. The three-post series, which focuses on a mother-daughter day rather than a pair of boots, earned more than 4,500 likes and 250 comments.    


Valentine’s Day is an ideal opportunity to take advantage of the power of storytelling. Following an influencer 'behind the scenes’ of planning a Valentine’s Day surprise, draws readers in and makes them feel invested in both the story and the details. Making your product a part of every ‘scene,’ whether it's a go-anywhere pair of shoes or a schedule-keeping watch, gives you exposure that feels organic, rather than sales-y. You can also prompt influencers to tell their own stories. Ask them to share their favorite Valentine’s Day date spot or city to visit, or have them share their favorite Valentine’s Day memory. Ask them to share their favorite foods, wine or gifts and explain what makes these items special. Whatever your approach, your goal is to make your brand a seamless part of the blogger’s narrative.



Happy Friday loves! ???? #weekendishere

A post shared by  Lily Levy (@lilylevyloves) on


Another advantage of a story-driven approach is the opportunity to secure editorial content that your brand or clients can use for internal campaigns. Our experience has shown that brands who use influencer content in their email campaigns see a significant uptick in open rates, click-to-order rates and overall revenues when using influencer imagery rather than in-house or stock photography. The noir-inspired post above by Lily Levy (@lilylevyloves) show how brands can benefit from editorial-inspired content. 


4. Create helpful tutorials


Just as consumers are turning to social media for gift ideas, they’re also scrolling Instagram, Pinterest, style blogs and YouTube for fashion and beauty advice. Valentine’s Day is one of the year’s few occasions a girl has to get dolled up, splurge on a new outfit, perfume or lipstick. Incorporating your products into tutorials that help your target consumers get ready for a big evening, like the one above by Megan Tamplin (@megantamplin) for Herstyler, is a sure way to inspire sales. Collaborating with trusted influencers also gives you high-quality content that you can share on your own social channels even after Valentine’s Day. 


You can also collaborate with several influencers to show different looks, from romantic to chic, or choose a single influencer to show different looks for different moods -- staging each outfit with recommended accessories and styling. Even home decor and lifestyle brands can take advantage of Valentine’s Day tutorials by showing how to create the perfect room or how to make a unique gift for kids’ classmates. Tutorials with a storyline, such as how to hint to your significant other what you want for Valentine’s Day, inspire even more engagement. 


5. Think beyond romance


When the decor & snacks match your NU hair... ???????????? And shoes...and bag... ???? Having a ball at the @marksandspencerau x @shoppinglinks slumber party last night @notel. ???? This was no ordinary slumber party, unless you call giant pink fairy floss, DJ playing, Pimm's cocktails and MASSAGES an ordinary occasion. ???? Just for future reference everyone, from now on I'll only be attending events that have massages provided. ???????????????????????????? P. S. If my fairy floss looks a little congealed it's because it had been in about 3 photoshoots already. ???? Don't worry, I still ate it. ???? #thegirlwholivedforfairyfloss #MarksAndSpencerAU #ShoppingLinks #slumberparty ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A post shared by  Miranda Lewit-Mendes (@thegirlwholivedforclothes) on

 

With more than 110 million single consumers in the US alone, according to census statistics, it’s likely that many of your target customers will be celebrating the love of friends, family and their own fantastic selves this Valentine’s Day. Promoting friendship, family and yes, even pets, can help brands expand their reach beyond romantic partners. Fashion and beauty brands can take advantage of friend-focused promotions by gifting influencers pajamas, cozy clothes and spa products for a “girls’ night in,” a message MARKS & SPENCER found successful earlier this year with its influencer event of the same name. The event for Australian influencers such as Miranda Lewit-Mendes (@thegirlwholivedforclothes), shown above, earned the brand a potential reach of 1.2 million, while strengthening its personal relationships with bloggers.


If your brand has the resources to host an influencer event this Valentine’s Day, the personal interaction can make a significant difference to your long-term ROI from influencer collaborations. Hosting an event for single influencers in a major city such as New York, London, Los Angeles or Sydney can help you introduce your brand to key bloggers, while giving them a reason to dress up. We have helped many leading brands create guest lists for blogger events even with little notice. If you are interested in seeing whether an event could be right for your brand, get in touch! We’d love to show you how we can help. 


These are just a few examples of how brands are using influencers to capitalise on Valentine’s Day spending, particularly as the holiday becomes more inclusive. Understanding how consumers are using social media to find inspiration, learn about products and shop online can help you take advantage of the best collaboration opportunities for your brand or clients through influencers. We have designed Shopping Links to help brands connect with leading bloggers for all types of collaborations, from influencer gifting to long-term ambassadorships based on authentic relationships.


Schedule a demo or get in touch at hello@shoppinglinks.com to learn more about what you can do with Shopping Links. 


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