Social media is ubiquitous in the digital age. As such, brands are now under greater pressure than ever to interact with customers through those channels.
Your business is unsure of how to secure meaningful engagements. Thankfully, help is available in the form of social influencers.
We spoke to Chelsey Evans, also known as @Chelseyexplores, to learn more about the hottest trend in digital marketing from the perspective of a content creator. Her insight should subsequently help your brand make the most of influencer marketing.
Reaching Niche Audiences
Research says that 80% of consumers want brands to tell stories. Likewise, it is said that 55% of people who love a brand story are more likely to buy their products. Social media is an accessible and affordable way to target consumers directly in their pocket.
Oh, and it’s also a landscape that puts small businesses on a level playing field with major brands.
The big problem, however, is that companies don’t only need to reach an audience. They need to reach the right audience. This is where social influencers like Chelseyexplores are priceless assets.
Evans, who started blogging around two-and-a-half years ago, knows exactly where she stands in the market. Her platform boasts 50,000 TikTok fans, 30,000 Instagram followers, and 40,000 monthly website visitors.
They are fairly modest numbers, making her a micro-influencer. But her value to brands doesn’t come from those numbers. She explains: “The main demographic on my Instagram, TikTok and blog is 25 to 34-year-olds and about 80% women.
“The niche I’ve selected is to inspire other women to get outdoors and explore more specifically in Southern California and beyond. I focus on basically anything to do in the outdoors – adventures like hiking or kayaking.
“The main goal of my page is to inspire others to get outdoors, especially in your own hometown.”
Like many successful content creators, Evans has carved out a distinct place in the market. From a brand’s perspective, it translates to a clear and obvious outcome. Any brand wishing to reach that demographic can instantly increase its brand awareness through association.
However, simply reaching an audience isn’t enough to vindicate aligning with a social influencer.
Authentic Storytelling From Authentic People
The power of recommendation is nothing new. Consumers have always turned to others for referrals. It just so happens that this now happens in the digital arena.
Interestingly, studies show that consumers now trust non-celebrity influencers more than celebrities. It largely boils down to the relatability factor. Social influencers are real people with real lives. They understand the consumer, and it helps them tell more valuable stories.
Evans, for example, is an ER nurse in San Diego who lives with her husband and enjoys a fairly normal life. She is also equipped with a passion for the outdoor activities she explores. The influencer expands: “I find it really fun.
“I love taking photos. I love sharing adventures that I go on and I love being asked the questions like “what hike is that?” Or “where’d you go?” That’s what brings me excitement.
“So, I love working with brands that help make the exploring better. Whether that be a hiking boot or things like that, that make your experience better.
“I think knowing your audience is key.”
She knows exactly what her followers want to learn about. This can range from discovering new attractions to hidden gems around San Diego. The content is what builds a strong community, which brands can join by aligning with her.
Chelseaexplores also takes great care in presenting her brand story in an engaging way, she considers the way users consume media. She continues: “When I am out on a hike or on a trip, I try to get as much video and photo content as possible. For TikTok, it’s vertical video. And I try to get every angle possible of the hike,
“Whether it is at the beginning of the hike, what the trail looks like, the views at the top, maybe a little footage of the backpack I’m using or something like that. So just trying to tell a story, essentially, with a video.
“I’ll post about a 30 seconds video, which I’ve learned does best on TikTok because the user will watch it all the way through.
“And then for Instagram, I try to get a photo that will stand out. One thing I’ve really noticed is the color wheel and how contrast in colors actually are a thing that make your photo look better.”
Engagement With Content (& Brands)
First and foremost, social influencers like Chelseyexplores need to protect their own image. Evans pinpoints the fact that she wants her audience to trust her. She says this is one reason she only promotes products she would actually use.
Brands may think this sounds picky, but it’s great news for them too. If it’s a product that Evans loves, there is a strong chance her viewers will too. As such, this creates a far stronger impact and increases interest in the brand products.
Chelsey confirms that audiences regularly ask her about products, among other aspects related to the adventures. She says: “The most engagement I usually get is if it’s a hiking photo.
For example, I posted a recent photo – basically a hiking photo with a cool scenery. Those tend to get the most engagement.
“If it’s just a picture of me smiling or something, it doesn’t get as much engagement because I think my followers really want to see these epic places in San Diego that I visit and how they can visit them too and get that Instagrammable shot.
“I get a lot of direct messages asking for the exact places and how I get to them. And then either I’ll respond with how to get to it or direct them to blog posts that I’ve written. I like directing them also to my blog because you can talk about a lot more on there.
“I get a lot of questions about what outdoor camping gear I use and my favorite hiking boots. That’s a pretty typical question or what hiking gear I use. Recently I’ve been getting a lot of questions about which bathing suits I wear and I think that’s because summer’s coming up, I’ve been at some pools and stuff.
“And then also questions about the photography gear I use.”
Brands have a lot of options to get involved with social influencers. It could mean using product placements within the content. Or sponsoring the creator. Many brands hire influencer marketers to work directly for them on a campaign too.
Chelseaexplores started to receive brand offers even when her follower numbers were at 3,000. Micro Influencers are often more valuable to brands because they boast stronger connections and can answer their fans. Brands can often get better value for money via this route too.
Social influencers are the future of digital marketing. Following the impacts of COVID-19, they have also become the present. Brands wanting increased exposure and conversions should act now.