Automotive Influencer Marketing That Boosts Sales
Whether you’ve been in the game for some time or you’re just dipping your toes into online auto parts marketing, there’s no question that the role of social media influencers has become increasingly important. In fact, the impact of this type of marketing is so great that, according to AdWeek, millennials trust influencers nearly as much as friends or neighbors when it comes to making purchase decisions. Worse yet, only around 1% of these buyers trust traditional advertisements whereas 33% of them trust influencer reviews on YouTube and blogs.
These numbers should make it crystal clear that you need to gain an understanding of what influencer marketing is and how you can harness it to get your share of the eCommerce pie. Read on and find out not just about what the current influencer marketing trends are today but where this style of marketing seems to be headed in the future.
Influencer Marketing, Say What?
By this point, you know you need to get in on influencer marketing but you’re probably still not quite sure what that means. In short, when you conduct this non-traditional type of marketing you’re relying on a so-called influencer with a pre-existing group of followers and a recognizable brand in a specific niche to introduce your product or create content all with the goal of increasing awareness of your products and driving sales.
And, despite the fact that influencer marketing seems like a brand-new ecommerce strategy, it’s really just a variation on an older theme. However, due to the explosive growth of YouTube and social media, there has been a corresponding increase in the field of influencer marketing.
Who Are Auto Parts Influencers and Opinion Leaders?
In essence, you can separate opinion leaders in three separate groups: celebrities, macro influencers and auto parts micro influencers. Celebrity marketing is something we hardly need to discuss — we’re all familiar with what a star like Michael Jordan can do for an athletic sneaker company. Sadly, though, most celebrities require compensation that is beyond the scope of many mid to small-scale companies’ ad budgets. Nonetheless, if you ever find yourself in the position to be able to net a mega-influencer, you would do well to take the lead of Volvo when it partnered with fashion influencer Aimee Song.
What Makes an Automotive Macro Influencer?
One convenient way to understand who should be thought of as a macro influencer is by looking at their subscriber or follower count. A good rule of thumb is that macro influencers have a subscriber base between 100K to 1M and have likely earned their status by means of social media alone. This is in marked contrast to celebrity or meg influencers who gained their fame through sports, music or the silver screen.
Macro influencers are generalists and cover almost anything that comes their way meaning that they aren’t dedicated to a specific niche. For this reason, they are particularly well-suited to project your brand into new market spaces and put your products in front of the widest possible audiences. Naturally, you can expect these types of opinion leaders to command better compensation than micro influencers.
One salient example of a mega automotive influencer is Loki the Wolf Dog’s Instagram account. When Toyota decided to partner with Loki in 2017, no one could have predicted the success of its 4Runner marketing campaign. Per the Mediakix blog “the posts situate the 4Runner in a diverse array of natural environments (snow, forest, and desert), subtly reminding followers of the vehicle’s versatility…[and] the seamless integration of the photos into Loki’s feed is compounded by the authenticity of the long-term partnership over a one-off campaign.”
What Is a Micro Automotive Influencer?
Micro automotive influencers are people with between 1K to 100K followers. Micro influencers typically focus on a specific niche or area and are usually viewed as industry experts. These opinion leaders tend to have stronger relationships with their subscriber base than macro influencers driven by the perception that they are experts in the field. As would be expected, a micro-influencer often has a uniform audience.
There are a number of examples of micro automotive influencer campaigns that have had great success, but would you believe that before Loki was picked up by Toyota, Mercedes lifted him out of relative obscurity when he had only a few thousand followers? Due to the sheer number of possible micro auto parts influencers out there, it might be a good idea to start any search with a site like Tomoson which allows you to search by niche and filter by Paid Opportunities, Freebies and Discounts.
Choosing the Right Automotive Social Media Influencer
Now that you know more about the three general types of influencers you’ll find on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, you may still be scratching your head. How do you take real, actionable steps based on this information.
Taking a closer look at each type of influencer we find that the devil is in the details. Whereas mega and macro influencers have large audiences they are, for this very reason, less focused so that any offer needs to have a broader appeal. According to Joe Sinkwitz, CEO at Intellifluence, that’s why “we find Instagram celebrities selling green tea diet supplements…[That’s why for] general appeal products, celebrities and larger influencers are great.” It follows, then, that micro influencers within your product or service’s niche are a better fit simply due to their narrower, more focused audience.
Types of Automotive Influencer Marketing Campaigns
When we talk about influencers and how they can be leveraged for auto parts ecommerce marketing, we have to point out that there’s not just one type of campaign. Dependent on your niche, the medium you are most comfortable working on (e.g., Instagram of Facebook) as well as where you can find influencers willing to rep your brand, you may find that only a few of the campaign styles below will be the right fit.
One of the easiest ways to start out with automotive influencer marketing is through giveaways. Due to their transaction nature, ROI is more easily gauged and the benefit to the influencer is cut and dry. In running this type of campaign, the influencer asks their audience for an otherwise simple give such as their email address, a share, retweet or a comment.
- Social Media Partnering
Social media partnering is a type of influencer marketing meant to increase brand exposure while creating engaging content for their audience. In essence, you need to be comfortable with the influencer’s approach as you will more or less relinquish the reins in order to allow them to direct your brand’s promotion on social media. In order for this to work, you have to be willing to allow your influencer of choice to curate all of your content on various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. for a predetermined period.
- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is probably the most familiar of all of the types of influencer campaigns we’ll cover. Like all influencer-based marketing, your partners will promote your products on their social media platforms directly or even provide a link to your auto parts eCommerce site. In essence, every time a sale is made, your affiliate receives a cut of the sale.
Of all of the influence-based marketing techniques out there, it may be that there’s nothing easier to do or understand than gifting one of your products to an influencer. Ideally, you’re relying on the excitement of the influencer to carry your product to the finish line and convert into sales. In order for this to work, however, your gift has to be something your partner really is excited to receive. That’s why it’s essential to have done your homework before reaching out.
For example, you could give floor mats or a roof rack to your chosen influencer. This gift can also be something that they include in the content that they create for you. Maybe they do a video of themselves installing the roof rack on their car or unpacking the new floor mats. They can then offer their fans an exclusive discount that can be redeemed on your website upon checkout. You can track all of the redemptions and measure a ROI based on the amount of sales the influencer generated.
Influencer Marketing & Auto Parts eCommerce
The online auto parts and accessories market is one of the most competitive spaces in eCommerce today which means that you need to arm yourself with every advantage and strategy to outmaneuver the competition. Making your online parts store stand out from the competition leveraging various marketing programs such as influencer marketing will allow you to not only compete, it will give you higher profit margins. And with 89% of marketers saying that ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than existing marketing approaches, you would be foolish not to take a serious look at it. And if you’re still not sure how to begin, contact us today at OEM Interactive and we’ll help you make sense of the fast-paced world of online parts and accessories marketing.