How the Building Product Industry Can Utilize Influencers
With the rise of social media, businesses across almost every industry have begun experimenting with a new strategy in the hopes of creating new customers. Influencer marketing. From beauty products to building products, there are influencers all across the Internet that are marketing products for manufacturers. A quick scroll through your Instagram feed, Snapchat, or your YouTube subscriptions is bound to yield an influencer doing their thing.
The key point that sets influencers apart is their – and we cringe that we’re even using this word – authenticity. Add in some expertise about a specific topic, and you have a great combination for building followers. Influencers are deeply rooted in their communities and have built an audience of engaged and passionate fans over time. Naturally, companies that share values with those audiences are lining up to be a part of the conversation. In a certain way, influencers have become their own media personality and created their own publishing platforms that are attracting advertisers.
For the building and construction industry specifically, using influencers to spread awareness about your products or services can be a huge channel for widening your market share and increasing brand awareness with audiences that may not already be interacting with you. Let’s take a look at some of the influencers in the building product industry.
If you were expecting a Kardashian or Instagram Celeb, think again. Retailers in the building and construction, particularly in the residential or DIY space have a massive impact on how customers ultimately find or use products. This isn’t news for savvy companies out there that have relied on channel marketing for a long time. The ways that retailers are using their influence though has shifted with technology and social media use. Now, big box retailers have begun using specific products in their social media advertisements as a way to drive sales and increase revenue with their suppliers. Even e-commerce sites like Amazon have begun dipping their toe into the building product world.
No surprise here. Media outlets large and small, traditional to digital, play a huge role in affecting how building products are bought and sold. Sure, sending over that press release for a new product might land you a spot in their next issue or a brief mention online amongst other newly released products, but there are other avenues as well. The news media has begun adopting new ideas to increase revenue for their outlets, this has given way to the rise of sponsored or native content. As consumers, we’ve become annoyed with the in-your-face tactics of traditional advertising, so partnering with the media to distribute content to their audiences has increased. From e-newsletters to full-page advertorials to sponsored social content, let’s not forget about the different ways the media can be influencers as well. Forming a strong partnership with these influencers allows manufacturers to take advantage of their reputation and various audiences.
Further down the proverbial rabbit hole you run into what you might be expecting as a more traditional definition of influencer. Believe it or not, Twitter, Instagram, and most notably YouTube all have some channels with some big followings. A few of our favorites, like Matt Risinger, has nearly 200,000 followers. When you dive into the comments section of influencers like Matt, you can really get a taste for who his subscribers are and begin to find smaller, more niche’ or micro-influencers that may be willing to partner with brands to get their names and channels out there. Sometimes, all you have to do is send a few messages and you could be forming a great partnership in no time!
Okay this one is pretty simple. A ton of celebrities have massive followings across social media, but most of them aren’t going to be ones to know what a properly constructed building envelope is. The key is to find some intersection of passion and activity that could somehow be beneficial for both parties. Recently, self-proclaimed nerd and TV host Chris Hardwick gave his Instagram followers regular updates to how the remodeling of his new home was coming along through Instagram Stories. He would show crews working around the house, some unique finds and fixtures he was planning, and even talked about how he loved the new pavers on his driveway. While he didn’t mention what company made them, that’s a perfect opportunity for a little branded integration. That brings us to another thing to think about when considering influencers.
Make Sure Your Communities Are Aligned
The last thing a brand wants to do is drop time and resources into a relationship with an influencer whose audience is diametrically opposed to the brand. In the case of Matt Risinger above, he recently received a lot of backlash on his channel when he announced a partnership with a big box retailer. His audience made it very known that they expected higher quality partnerships from a channel that typically showcased high-end builds and products intermixed with some building science teachings. Deviating to a big brand sponsor left his followers thinking he had sold out and undercut his beliefs in high-quality work. That brings us to *drumroll*...
Follow The Rules
With influencer marketing becoming more and more prominent, it’s not a surprise that regulations are setup to protect consumers and help discern ads or sponsored content. The FTC’s Endorsement Guide is a good primer for understanding the boundaries.
In the end, it still all comes down to synergy and partnership between manufacturers, brands, and the influencer. The relationship has to be beneficial for all parties if it’s truly going to show a return on investment for everyone. Don’t just send your influencers a handful of product, but cultivate a last relationship with them that creates a dialogue and brings people together.