As a part of loyalty programs, customers are offered rewards by brands for making frequent transactions. These additional incentives can be in the form of reward points, merchandise, discounts, flight tickets, early access to products, or dedicated access to products or services. Loyalty programs can be offered to employees, distributors, influencers (brand advocates), and other business associates.
Who are influencers, and what’s their significance?
Influencer marketing (both micro and macro) has already proved its relevance. Due to their influence on consumer’s purchase decisions, brand advocates can significantly impact sales. Winning and retaining such ambassadors is crucial for big and small brands to maintain the human touch. Their words have much more weight than sales literature or other forms of advertisements. Thus, brands keep influencers as close as their customers.
Influencers with millions of followers on Instagram make tons of money with brand sponsorships. Depending on the number of followers, these individuals are divided into mega, macro, and nano influencers. Often referred to as authentic brand ambassadors, they create unique content for sharing the brand’s message.
For small and medium-sized enterprises, nano influencers, with roughly around 5000 followers can prove to be affordable and appropriate amongst all. They lack fame but are easily approachable. They engage with their followers in a better and open manner while advocating a product or service. With the right approach and rewards programs, firms can turn their loyal customers with a large following on Twitter and Instagram into nano influencers. A few perks or a percentage on every sale made with their code can be sufficient enough for them.
Can influencer marketing work during the current pandemic?
Large scale ad production has become problematic in most countries around the world due to the pandemic. So, influencers prove to be a quick and less expensive way for companies to reach their audiences and promote products. Even despite the coronavirus pandemic, the influencer marketing ad spends are reportedly on the rise.
Customers interact actively with content creators on social networking sites since they spent more time at home due to the lockdown and remote work culture.
As per the study released by Kanter have pointed out that Facebook and Instagram traffic (users below the age of 35) increased by as much as 40 percent. Influencer marketing agency Amra and Elma released a similar study that highlights a 100 percent rise in viewers for fitness content, 110 for cooking, and 55 percent increase for meditation-related content published by influencers on social networking sites. Put simply, brand ambassadors have not just retained their audiences, but have managed to increase the same during the pandemic.
Allowing your ambassadors to walk-away is a bad idea
Companies in specific categories have considerably reduced their budgets for marketing. Influencers are less likely to work for brands that spend less or do not appreciate their efforts.
Should companies spend on retaining brand advocates?
Authentic brand ambassadors work as a personified voice that firms can use for brand messaging. However, maintaining long-term collaboration is crucial for consistent messaging.
Unfortunately, marketing strategists fail in influencer relations. They continuously bombard ambassadors with messages and follow-up emails. They fail to share product information and proposals concisely and always ask influencers to modify content used in promotion.
Some managers do not listen to brand advocates or take their suggestions seriously. Their emails remain unattended for days. Such an attitude can cause problems in maintaining relationships.
Selecting influencers based on their niche, reach, and engagement is a time-consuming job. Losing a partnership with an influencer means spending time and resources to find and sign agreements with another one. Thus, just like customers, retaining existing ambassadors is financially viable compared to finding new ones.
Keeping the army of influencers engaged and glued
Brand advocates spend a large amount of time and effort on every project. Even a short Instagram video may need six hours’ worth of work for scripting and filming. So, firms need to coordinate, cooperate, and acknowledge initiatives to show their efforts are worth it.
The network of fans and followers is the most valuable asset for any influencer. They share it with the brand and put their reputation at stake. Merely paying the person (as per flat-rate agreements) may not be enough for keeping them motivated. After a point, fun may turn into work, and posts or blogs from influencers may start appearing like ads. So, offering a VIP experience to advocates and their invitees remains crucial.
How do influencer loyalty programs prove relevant to an organization?
Companies from the personal care sector, fashion, travel, tech, automobile industry have been running influencer marketing campaigns for several years. Now, new entrants from aviation and real-estate firms are also using influencers to regain consumer trust lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is evident that ambassadors who do not feel appreciated by their existing clients may start working for another brand due to the rise in demand.
Brand ambassadors need to continue feeling the emotional connection. Thus, just like retaining employees, brands strive to keep influencers engaged and inspired so that they can continue fantastic work.
Brand advocates need a dedicated rewards program that’s exclusively available for them. Loyalty programs can make your brand advocates feel loved and appreciated. It fuels their advocacy commitment. Influencers will stay passionate about the brand, and intrinsic motivation remains in place due to incentives.
They are often offered two types of rewards, monetary and non-monetary ones. Some influencers truly drive conversions, and rewarding them with gift cards from Uber, iTunes, Zara, or Amazon can be a great idea. Good loyalty program software can help you organize and allot rewards.
Loyalty program can make things easy
Dedicated backend software solutions can help in managing loyalty programs for influencers. There are apps for administrators and influencers. Firms can use the same to monitor performance, distribute rewards and monetary compensation, and even deposit funds in the selected influencer’s e-wallet. Brand ambassadors can log in to their apps, check the latest schemes, enroll themselves, keep track of reward points, and other incentives. Even small firms can afford to set up such software and mobile apps.