Engaging with fans on social media has long been a part of retail professionals’ playbooks, but today, even a brand’s organic audience is near impossible to reach as social networks increasingly become pay-to-play platforms.
Even the most aggressive marketing strategies can often fall short in reaching and engaging with core customers- which is why leading CPG brands like Tom’s of Maine are increasingly looking to influencers to bridge this gap. Bridget Burns, the social media strategist at Tom’s of Maine, tackled this pain point by harnessing her brand’s own micro-influencers to spread the Tom’s of Maine creed of organic goodness by creating and amplifying content on social media channels.
Bridget’s micro decision led to mega results. By using micro-influencers for content creation and amplification, Tom’s of Maine saw a 600% increase in consumer engagement with micro-influencers’ posts on social, more than the combined activity of the brand’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Increase Tom’s of Maine brand engagement on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and gain consumer insights via surveys and reviews.
Launch and execute a branded community of micro-influencers who will engage with Tom’s of Maine and participate in branded activities to drive brand awareness and product trials
Results, Per 1,000 Micro-Influencers
1) 6,496 likes, comments and shares on posts
2) 1.72 million friends reached by micro-influencer
3) 4,270 survey responses captured
When brands develop influencer strategies, they usually revolve around a mix of mega and macro-influencers, taking advantage of well-known individuals who have the potential to blast their high follower counts with endorsements for a brand. But Tom’s of Maine chose instead to focus on the “power middle” of social media interactions, the micro-influential everyday consumers who have a social following of anywhere from 500 to 5,000 and who possess the ability to engage this following around specific topics. Tom’s of Maine micro-influencers, for example, would be influential around topics relevant to the brand, such as organic product distribution and environmentally friendly family care.
Using Mavrck’s white-labeled platform and patented algorithm, Burns launched a Tom’s of Maine branded community of micro-influencers, who engaged directly with Tom’s of Maine and participated in branded activities that drove brand awareness and product trials. Powered by customers’ first-party opt-in data from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Burns segmented audiences of micro-influencers by demographics, level of influence, interests and life events. Then based on those segments, Burns drove engagement with audiences via 12 different digital activities, including content creation, post amplifications and product feedback surveys, among others. Micro-influencer audiences were also incentivized using targeted rewards and product trials they could unlock over time.
By harnessing the power of micro-influencers to amplify relevant content and produce a new steady stream of user-generated content, Tom’s of Maine began to see positive changes in the company’s social engagement rates.
Instagram in particular is growing faster than both Facebook and Twitter, and since a large part of ToM’s customer-base is active on the platform, Burns also needed to figure out how to engage Tom’s of Maine customers on the photo-centric platform – something especially difficult for brands in the personal care space that are usually part of users’ private daily routines.
Within the first two weeks of its micro-influencer campaign, the Tom’s of Maine Instagram community grew by 8%, and the company has tripled the growth of the community this year. But ToM’s didn’t just succeed in engaging its own consumers.
Through the effective content creation and amplification of its micro-influencers, Tom’s of Maine generated 16.6k likes, comments and shares from 2,556 posts, ultimately reaching 4.4 million people on social networks in the first quarter alone. From these efforts, Tom’s of Maine additionally gained almost 11,000 email addresses and survey responses, which will be used for data analysis towards product strategies and audience targeting.
Although Tom’s of Maine drove results across several brand objectives within its micro-influencer strategy, the process itself was simple:
- Tom’s of Maine used Mavrck’s patented algorithm to discover and activate its own micro-influencer community.
- Tom’s of Maine effectively incentivized these super-customers with special offers and product releases to create their own content as well as to amplify the content of well-known bloggers.
- Tom’s of Maine harnessed its eco-friendly, socially conscious fan base to convert other like-minded individuals on social media into devout buyers of the brands.
Word-of-mouth at scale is harder to execute than simply buying ads. Despite this knowledge, Burns spearheaded Tom’s of Maine social influence marketing strategy to amplify the brand – and it’s paid off. By using Tom’s of Maine’s own micro-influencers – an inherently consumer-centric social strategy – Burns is able to future-proof the Tom’s of Maine brand from drastic changes in social media network’s algorithms and the widespread adoption of ad-block technology. The power to convert Tom’s of Maine eco-friendly, socially conscious fan base from browsers to buyers lies in the shared passion for goodness among Tom’s of Maine existing consumers and Tom’s of Maine brand pillars. Burns works tirelessly with the broader marketing team to ensure Tom’s of Maine continues to act as a citizen brand, valuing the ideas and opinions of consumers.