Sports brands have long utilized celebrity endorsements to great effect. In recent years, a new breed of social media influencer has emerged as a powerful marketing tool. Here are some ways luxury sports brands can leverage influencers to reach consumers:
Native content that is doesn’t feel like an ad
Consumers are bombarded with advertising everywhere they turn and are increasingly skeptical of traditional marketing techniques.
Influencers, on the other hand, are perceived as more trustworthy and relatable. When they endorse a product or service, it feels more like a recommendation from a friend than an advertorial.
Make use of influencers’ wide reach
A typical social media influencer has tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers. This gives them the ability to reach far more people than traditional celebrities or even most print and television ads.
For example, Reebok signed CrossFit athlete Rich Froning Jr ́to be the face of their “Be More Human” campaign in 2014. By teaming up with Froning, who had over two million Instagram followers at the time, Reebok was able to show their target market (Fitness enthusiasts) that their products were suitable for Serious athletes.
Develop long-term relationships with influencers. Unlike celebrity endorsements, which are often one-off campaigns, partnering with an influencer is a more ongoing relationship. This allows sports brands to develop a deeper connection with the influencer’s audience and create a more authentic connection.
In 2016, Under Armour signed Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to a multi-year deal that includes not only Phelps endorsing UA products but also collaborating on product design ́and development.
By working with Phelps over an extended period of time, Under Armour has been able to position itself as THE go-to brand for elite athletes .
Use influencers to reach new markets
Sports brands can use influencers to target specific demographics that they may have otherwise had difficulty reaching. For example, Nike has used female fitness bloggers and vloggers to great effect in recent years, helping them connect with millennial women.
Take advantage of social media platform features. As well as simply paying an influencer to post about your product on their feed, you can also make use of other features offered by social media platforms.
For example, Instagram now offers sponsored posts that appear in users’ Stories, while Snapchat has introduced Snapcodes which allow brands to create QR codes that link to special content.
In 2016, Ping launched a campaign on Snapchat that utilized the platform’s Snapcodes feature ́to direct users to a landing page where they could enter a competition.
The campaign resulted into great success, with over 100,000 people scanning the code and entering the competition.
Get creative with influencer campaigns
There are endless possibilities when it comes to working with influencers, so get creative and think outside the box . For example, you could host an event that your target market would be interested in and invite influencers to attend ́and post about it on their feeds.
Alternatively, you could send influencers on a trip or challenge and document it across social media platforms.
In 2014, Adidas sent football blog Copa90 ́on a trip to Brazil to produce content around the World Cup. The resulting videos were incredibly popular, with one -which featured Brazilian footballer Neymar – receiving over 10 million views on YouTube.
Make sure your campaign is trackable. As with any marketing campaign ,it’s important to set clear goals and objectives from the outset ́and track progress against them. This will help you determine whether or not your influencer campaign is successful and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Be prepared to pay for results
Influencers, especially those with a large following ,will often charge for their services. However, it is important to remember that paying an influencer is likely to result in a higher engagement rate and reach than traditional advertising methods ́so it can be well worth the investment.
Work with micro-influencers as well as celebrities
While partnering with A-list celebrities may seem like the Holy Grail, don’t forget about micro-influencers These are social media users with a smaller but highly engaged following who are seen as more trustworthy and relatable than their celebrity counterparts.
They can often be just as effective (if not more so) at promoting your products or services -and they’re usually far less expensive to work with!
In 2014, Starbucks ́teamed up with micro-influencers to promote their #RedCups campaign .The coffee giant asked a group of influencers to post photos of themselves with Starbucks red cups on social media, resulting in a huge amount of excitement and buzz around the campaign.
Don’t forget about negative influencers
While most influencers will be positive about the brands they work with, there will always be a few who aren’t. It is just as important to monitor what is being said about your brand online and address any negativity quickly and effectively. With the help of our data-driven specialists, we can help you with brand monitoring.
Just remember, a little negative press can often be good for business – it shows that you are not perfect and makes you more relatable to consumers.
By following these tips, you can make sure your sports brand is making the most of the growing influence of social media influencers.