Steering social success, by Vamp’s Karl Mapstone

There’s never been a better time to optimise your influencer strategy for maximum ROI. Karl Mapstone, business director at Vamp, shares his advice.

The opportunity in e-commerce has never been bigger – or more important to retailers – than it is right now. 2020 has been a year like no other, changing behaviours and accelerating trends across the globe, including online shopping. While adoption had steadily been increasing, retailers have seen a big jump this year. Up to 40 per cent of consumers are shopping online more than before the outbreak, according to a study of 10 markets in Africa and the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

As we approach the end of the year, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, UAE National Day and the festive season all on the horizon, retailers are heading into a pivotal sales period. Connecting with the right customers through your marketing activity – and driving them to your e-commerce sites – will ensure you can maximise this opportunity, helping to offset the impact of store closures and supply issues suffered throughout the year.

Brands need to focus on a marketing strategy that converts. Globally, mobile usage has increased by an average of one hour per day during Covid-19.

With so many consumers spending more time on their phones and social media, it makes sense to meet your customers where they are. Social advertising also allows marketers to streamline a customer’s path to purchase, driving them to action at the moment inspiration strikes and converting them with just a couple of taps.

Here’s how to optimise your social strategy to maximise e-commerce sales.

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Engage influencers to help consumers shop with confidence

While influencers have already proven themselves to be an effective way to drive sales and engagement, this festive season they’ll really come into their own and become a key part of a brand’s social strategy.

Creators are a cost-effective content resource and can be relied upon to create highly relevant, reactive content that doesn’t require big-budget shoots or lots of socially distanced crew members. That means you can keep your marketing channels filled with fresh content throughout this busy sales period.

They’ll also help your customers shop online with confidence. In a recent Vamp survey, 87 per cent of shoppers said they’d be using online reviews to inform their festive season shopping. This indicates that, while consumers are willing to try new products, they are careful about how they’re spending money. Without the physical in-store experience, social influencers can offer the guidance consumers seek and help them shop with confidence.

Marketers should look to influencers to review their products and services in this key consideration period. Focus on relevant partnerships with influencers that align with your brand values and ensure that their social following includes a high proportion of your target customers. Choose high-quality content creators who can bring your brand to life in an engaging way. If they’re creating Instagram Stories, provide a link so their followers can ‘swipe up to shop’ and streamline that purchasing journey.

Boost creator content to maximise reach and return

Influencer product reviews can be incredibly powerful. Not only in stopping a scroller in their tracks, but also converting them to buy. 90 per cent of the consumers we surveyed said ‘yes’ or ‘possibly’ when asked if they’d buy a product following an influencer’s recommendation. But there is a way to make this content even more powerful and achieve a higher ROI – by turning that influencer post into an ad.

There are a number of ways marketers can do this. On Instagram, brands can transform posts that have used the Paid Partnership tag into Branded Content Ads. If they haven’t used that tag, posts can still be boosted. This takes that engaging influencer content and amplifies its reach and impact, showing it to users beyond those who already follow the influencer.

While the content still appears native, boosting actually turns that influencer post into an ad that can be targeted, measured and used to drive users directly to your e-commerce sites. It combines the engaging look and feel of organic content with the power of Facebook’s ad tools. We’ve also helped brands achieve amazing returns, like 43-times return on ad spend, by taking a piece of creator content and transforming it into an animated social ad. By optimising that piece of once-static content, with animation and sound proved to engage, brands get a scalable ad solution that is designed to perform on mobile.

The best thing about all of these ad units is they come optimised with a clear call to action, so you can direct your customers to your e-commerce site with ease and you get access to data on how each ad has performed.

When it comes to optimising your social strategy, influencer content is a great way for brands to have consistent, relevant conversations with your customers and help them feel more comfortable about shopping online. But if you really want to drive maximum traffic to your e-commerce site, then take advantage of the adoptions that will amplify your influencer content and returns.