INFLUENCER MARKETING…How to Properly Manage Brand Rep Programs

Our Boutique & Designer customers often ask us if they should and how they should use Brand Reps to help peddle their goodies. Well, in the branding world that is called INFLUENCER MARKETING, we often call it BRAND AMBASSADORSHIP, and it can be pivotal to a brand’s success or a giant pain in the arse if not managed correctly. We have had great success teaming our Boutique Brand up with gals who truly understand our messaging strategy who know how to make our brand their own. So, we thought we’d share our tips and trials in INFLUENCER MARKETING, peppered with some actual professional marketing strategy, to really assist you in building a sound strategy. So, take a minute and read through our suggested strategies for building influencer relationships that will really impact your bottom line in a good way – and long term.

Hold Hands before you Ask them to Go Steady…

It can be difficult to find the perfect Influencer/Brand Rep, but some time spent within your social media channels can quickly bring them into focus.  They may have a multifaceted approach like a vlog, a blog, an impressive social media following and more, but the key is to engage with them first and engage with the brands with which they’re working to see how they vibe and if that vibe matches your brand’s aesthetic. You also need to know if they understand trending topics and how to anchor those topics like use of (#) hashtags and relevant wordplay. It is also important to remember that a million Insta followers does NOT always a good Brand Rep make. You are looking for the right fit, not a one size fits all brand ambassador. Meaningful content and engagement wins the day, so be sure that you are focused on a quality match and not quantity of their following. Also, if they are repping 10 brands that sell similar merchandise to yours, chances are you are getting lost in the proverbial shuffle. Less is more.

Vibe with your Brand Rep Tribe…

When choosing a brand rep, make sure your vibes match. Make sure the way they represent themselves is the way you’d want them to represent your brand. If you’re a fashion boutique, make sure they dress in the style you peddle every day, so that the level of legitimacy is high when they’re peddling your merchandise. Ensuring that they have accessories that will go with the top you send them, for example, will help them paint a broader picture and, in turn, will help you sell more stuff! Also, we’ve always had a policy that as often as possible, they use props and staging elements that would match something we might have in our store or at a show or in a post. It’s that seamlessness that anchors the relationship with your brand.

How Do I do it?

There are a number of ways in which you can build your Ambassador Program. You can trade merchandise for promotion. You may want to pay a commission for items sold. Many boutiques assign coupon codes to their brand reps so as to track their contributions. If you do this, just be aware that by giving them a coupon code, that means your customers are automatically receiving a discount on your merchandise. Just be sure that you account for this in your cost of sales.  The good news is that if you use an Out of the Box e-commerce platform like Shopify, etc., they have premium apps that can help you manage this (at a cost of course). Just be sure that everything you do is assessed a value and cost so that you’re not upside down before you ever even send them the outfit.

Put that Stuff in Writing…

Having a contract is imperative. Both parties must always know the scoop on the deal. If you are offering merchandise in exchange for promotion, be sure to outline in the contract the total number of pieces you’re offering, their value and how that value equates to the promotion they’re offering. If you are paying them a commission, make sure they sign and initial that section, along with signing the document. If it’s a hybrid – somewhere in the middle there – then make sure it’s all in print, in black and white, and signed by both parties.

Measure the results…

If you are working with seasoned Social Media Influencers, you should be able to track engagements by measuring use of hashtags and content comments, etc.  As of now, Hootsuite is a good tool for this, as it allows you to track mentions of your brand, but Twitter has seen its better days, so who the heck knows how much longer that social media platform will be in play. All of the social media have some element of tracking within them, so you just need to do some research in those tools to find what works.  It’s not a perfect science. It’s really a form of PR…hard to measure the results of outreach, but using the basic measurement tools in Facebook and Instagram just by monitoring how much your brand is talked about can be a big help.

Influencer Marketing/Brand Ambassadorship/Brand Repping is HOT right now, but it merely scratches the surface on effective marketing and promotion. The important things to remember are to select the right rep with the right vibe, put everything in writing, measure your results, and sit back and watch your brand take on a life of its own while you focus on the business at hand.

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