Influencer Marketing Strategy for Retail Brands: 5-Step Campaign Plan, Case Studies, and REAL Results

Ioana Cozma
May 21, 2024
March 23, 2024

Influencer marketing graduated from a niche strategy to a mainstream marketing channel, which explains why brands get about $4.12 earned media value from each $1 they spend on this tactic.

And as consumer behaviors shift towards online shopping and digital brand interaction, influencer marketing for retail brands has become an indispensable tool.

In fact, 51% of brands working with influencers have e-commerce stores.

You’re on the right page to build a winning retail marketing strategy.

This article will take you through our agency’s 5-point plan, showing you insider case studies with real results.

Keep reading ahead.

Why Use Influencer Marketing for Retail

Let’s start this section with what genuinely matters: proof (and cute babies).

Insider Case Study: Deux par Deux

One of our clients is the kids’ clothing brand Deux par Deux.

They approached inBeat Agency with the challenge of scaling their advertising for collection launches without overextending their marketing resources. They aimed to generate high-quality, influencer-generated content that resonated with everyday parent-child experiences, appealing to their diverse customer base.

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inBeat’s strategy involved carefully selecting mother influencers with children in various age groups and from different locations to ensure wide-ranging appeal and relevance across Deux par Deux’s collections. The content was not only used to enhance Deux par Deux’s online shopping experience but also repurposed across paid acquisition channels to maximize reach and efficiency. Additionally, we organized a group contest on Instagram.

Results included:

  • 200 content assets
  • 10, 000 follower growth
  • 500 unique clients

What Is Retail Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing in the retail sector is a dynamic tactic where retail brands collaborate with social media influencers to amplify their online presence and drive sales, both online and in physical stores.

Unlike broad-stroke advertising, this approach zeroes in on influencers who resonate with the brand’s target customers, ensuring that promotional content is seen by a niche audience likely to convert.

Leveraging the influencers’ authentic engagement with their followers allows retail businesses to foster a connection that feels more personal and less like a traditional ad.

The result is you can enhance retail sales through a strategy rooted in trust and relevance.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

We’ve been in the field of influencer marketing for years, so here are some of the most important benefits our clients noticed:

Increased Brand Awareness

Influencer marketing significantly amplifies brand visibility among potential customers. You can introduce your products to a broader yet targeted audience by leveraging influencers’ extensive networks.

For instance, our mom and kids’ fashion influencers wearing Deux Par Deux’s new line exposed that collection to thousands of fashion-savvy followers, instantly boosting awareness. That’s why we grew the brand’s following by 10, 000 new people.

Enhanced Engagement

Engagement levels soar when content is relatable and authentic. Influencers craft stories around retail products, making the promotion feel like a personal recommendation rather than an ad.

An Instagram Story featuring a beauty influencer’s daily routine with a skincare product can generate more interaction than conventional ads.

Lead Generation

Influencer marketing excels in generating high-quality leads for retail brands. By collaborating with influencers who align closely with the brand’s values and customer demographics, retailers can reach potential customers who are already interested in similar products.

Quality Traffic

The traffic driven to a brand’s website or online store through influencer marketing is often more qualified and engaged. Influencers act as trusted sources, and their endorsements encourage followers to explore the brand further.

When a tech influencer reviews a new gadget and includes an affiliate link, the generated traffic is highly relevant, as it comes from tech enthusiasts with a genuine interest in the product. This quality traffic is more likely to engage with your website, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Drive Sales

Influencer marketing directly impacts sales through strategic product placements and exclusive discount codes. A fitness influencer sharing a promo code for a sportswear brand can lead to immediate purchases by followers keen on emulating the influencer’s lifestyle. This direct link between influencer content and sales provides a clear measure of campaign effectiveness.

Influencer Marketing Strategy for Retail Brands

If the benefits and case study above convinced you, let’s start your influencer marketing strategy.

1. Setting Objectives and Identifying the Right Influencers

We’ll kick this off with another case study.

Insider Case Study: Soylent

For Soylent, our influencers created 35 content assets, leading to over 5 million impressions.

This result wasn’t luck; setting the right goals and finding the right content creators played a big part.

Goal: Brand Awareness

Soylent wanted to enrich its content calendar and increase awareness for its new product lines. Establishing this goal from the get-go was extremely important because it informed our influencer discovery. Basically, we needed multiple influencers with engaged audiences and large enough following.

Finding the Right Influencers

Soylent recognized the diversity in their consumer base, so they aligned with influencers with specific interests such as outdoor activities, hiking, and gaming. This strategy ensured that the content was highly relevant and engaging to various niche audiences, maximizing their product distribution’s impact and reach.

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Insider tip: We meticulously selected the influencers based on their interests and alignment with Soylent’s product offerings. This thorough selection helped us promote Soylent’s new lines to the right audiences authentically (and effectively).

Now, here’s how you can do it, too.

Set Clear Objectives

For successful influencer marketing campaigns, you must first establish precise business goals. Whether it’s enhancing brand recognition, launching new retail products, or boosting e-commerce conversions, clear objectives:

  • Guide the selection of influencers.
  • Help you craft solid campaign messages.
  • Ensure that every aspect of the influencer partnership, from the Instagram Story to the blog post, contributes directly to achieving the desired outcomes.

Identify the Right Influencers

Choose influencers who embody your brand’s values and connect with its target audience.

Insider tip: Don’t consider just the influencer’s follower count but also their niche, content quality, and audience demographics.

Here’s how you can find solid retail influencers:

  • Search social media platforms manually: This involves combing through social media channels to find influencers that align with your retail brand. Although this method offers direct control and the ability to deeply understand potential influencers’ content, it requires significant effort and tools like an email scraper to gather contact information.
  • Use an agency: Agencies like inBeat, specializing in the influencer marketing industry can streamline the process, offering a curated list of relevant influencers. This option saves time and ensures a high match quality between your campaign goals and the influencers’ capabilities.
  • Use influencer platforms: For retail brands looking to identify influencers on a larger scale, platforms like inBeat provide an efficient solution. These platforms are designed for bulk discovery, offering user-friendly interfaces and valuable metrics on influencer engagement levels and audience demographics.
  • Recommendations: Leveraging recommendations from within your network can lead to discovering trustworthy influencers. However, there’s a risk that their content style or audience might not fully align with your retail marketing strategies.
  • Employees: Some brands turn to their employees as brand ambassadors. While they’re likely passionate about your retail products, their online reach and content creation skills might be limited.
  • Loyal customers: Engaging loyal customers as influencers can be highly effective, given their genuine affinity for your products. The challenge lies in finding customers who can produce content that meets your quality standards and resonates with a wider audience.

2. Developing a Winning Strategy

Now, you have your objectives and found the right influencers to help you reach them. It’s time to prepare your content strategy.

That means choosing the right campaign type and creating the content.

Insider Case Study: Bluehouse Salmon

For Bluehouse Salmon, a brand that might not immediately seem glamorous or marketable due to its niche product, the challenge was to instill a sense of desire and interest in salmon.

Solution: The brand partnered with influencers to create content that was both educational and centered around recipes. The influencers:

  • Highlighted the unique qualities of Bluehouse Salmon, such as its sushi-grade status and commitment to sustainability.
  • Showcased the versatility and quality of the salmon in culinary creations, ranging from simple home-cooked meals to more elaborate sushi dishes.

This approach led to over 200 content assets and a 500% follower growth.

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Here’s how we did it:

Choose Campaign Type

First, we decide on the type of influencer campaign that aligns with our objectives. Options include sponsored content, affiliate marketing, product reviews, or giveaway contests. For product launches, a series of teaser posts followed by a reveal can create anticipation and excitement.

Here’s how these types of campaigns stack up against each other:

  • Sponsored content: Collaborate with influencers to create content that naturally integrates your products into their feed. This could be a fashion influencer styling your clothing line in a series of Instagram posts or a lifestyle influencer incorporating your home goods into a vlog. The content should be seamless and resonate with the influencer’s existing style to maintain authenticity.
  • Affiliate marketing: Provide influencers with unique affiliate links or promo codes for your products. When their followers make a purchase using these links, the influencer earns a commission. This not only incentivizes the influencer to create compelling content but also offers a direct measure of the campaign’s impact on sales.
  • Product reviews: Send your products to influencers for an honest review shared with their audience. This works well with culinary influencers, tech gadgets reviewers, or fitness enthusiasts who can provide valuable insights and detailed feedback on your products, adding credibility and trust.
  • Giveaway contests: Partner with influencers to host contests where followers can win your products. This type of campaign can rapidly increase engagement and visibility as participants often need to follow your brand, like the post, and tag friends to enter, expanding your reach exponentially.
  • Testimonials: Use influencers’ positive experiences with your products as testimonials on your social media channels or website. These authentic endorsements can significantly influence potential customers’ purchasing decisions by providing relatable, real-world proof of your product’s value.
  • Events: Invite influencers to exclusive events such as product launches, store openings, or behind-the-scenes tours. They can share live updates, creating buzz and offering their followers a VIP look into your brand’s world.
  • Brand takeovers: Allow influencers to take over your brand’s social media accounts for a day, sharing their perspective and content. This can provide fresh, engaging content and attract the influencer’s followers to your brand’s social platforms.

Insider tip: You can combine multiple types of content.

For example, our Deux Par Deux Campaign involved sponsored content and giveaway contests. Besides, our content creators’ posts represented unique testimonials, showcasing their kids’ happiness in wearing their new clothes.

Tips on Collaborating with Influencers for Content Creation

Content creation should resonate with your brand’s and the influencer’s shared audiences. So, consider these strategies we’re using at inBeat:

  • Co-create content: Involve influencers in the content creation process from the start. This collaboration ensures the content feels authentic to the influencer’s style while aligning with your brand’s messaging. We involve knowledgeable influencers in our brainstorming sessions to get more innovative ideas for our clients’ business goals.
  • Flexibility and authenticity: Allow influencers the creative freedom to present your products in a way that feels genuine to their narrative. Strict guidelines can stifle creativity and make content feel forced. For instance, we give our beauty influencers the liberty to create a makeup tutorial using your products in a way that feels natural to their usual content.
  • Leverage their expertise: Influencers know their audience best. Trust their insights on what content formats, styles, and messages resonate most effectively with their followers. If an influencer suggests that an Instagram Story Q&A or a YouTube unboxing video would be most engaging, consider their advice.
  • Align on key messages: While allowing for creative freedom, you must also agree on core messages. Whether it’s the unique selling points of your product, brand values, or specific campaign hashtags, these elements should be woven into the content subtly yet consistently.

3. Choose the Right Platforms

Selecting the most effective social media platforms is crucial for retail influencer marketing, ensuring your campaigns reach the target audience where they’re most engaged. Understanding audience demographics, including their preferences and behaviors, allows you to tailor your strategies to the platforms where your potential customers spend the most time and are most receptive to influencer content.

Case Study: Hurom

inBeat Agency chose Instagram for Hurom due to the platform’s visual-centric nature and effectiveness in showcasing lifestyle and health-related content. This channel aligned perfectly with Hurom’s shift to a health-focused messaging strategy. Instagram’s user base, known for its interest in wellness, nutrition, and lifestyle content, provided the ideal audience for Hurom’s high-quality juicers, which promote a healthy lifestyle.

The results of this strategic pivot were significant: Hurom saw a 36% reduction in overall Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) over 12 months. The Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) also increased by 2.5 times.

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