We’re proud to announce that Bridget M. Burns, the social media strategist at Tom’s of Maine, is a 2016 Retail Innovator award winner for her work with Mavrck in implementing a micro-influencer strategy to grow and maintain a strong consumer community. Bridget will be recognized for her work during the Retail Innovation Conference in New York City on May 10th.

With 92% of consumers trusting word-of-mouth marketing over all other forms of advertising, social influence marketing has become an incredibly powerful channel – and one that Bridget wanted to leverage. Given that a large percentage of ToM’s target consumers visit Facebook, Instagram and Twitter daily, Burns implemented a strategy that centered on using micro-influencers to engage Tom’s of Maine customers on these channels, and in doing so, spread the brand’s passion for goodness.

When brands implement an influencer marketing strategy, it usually revolves around a mix of celebrity or social media star endorsements, industry experts and bloggers. Burns is among the first in her category to focus instead on the power middle – an emerging, powerful category known as micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are everyday consumers with a large social following (500-5K) who are highly engaging around relevant topics. Because they are a brand’s pre-existing customers, they possess an element of trustworthiness and authenticity that lends to their ability to drive hard value for a brand’s business objectives: for every one micro-influencer, three friends are converted to a brand on average.

In just the first two weeks of implementing its micro-influencer marketing strategy, ToM’s built its community of Instagram users by 8 percent. With the goal of doubling its Instagram community of 1,000 this year, the company has since more than tripled its growth.

The 2,556 social media posts created by ToM’s micro-influencers generated over 16,600 likes, comments, and shares, and reached 4.4 million friends across networks. In addition, 600 percent more consumers engaged with micro-influencer posts than those on the Tom’s of Maine official Facebook Fan page and Instagram accounts combined. ToM’s also captured nearly 11,000 email addresses and survey responses, used to further inform audience targeting and product strategies.

With the ability to segment audiences of micro-influencers by demographics, influence, interests and topics, the brand even plans to start tailoring its influencer rewards program – to groups like new moms – as the community grows, increasing brand loyalty and engagement even further.

By using ToM’s own micro-influencers – an inherently consumer-centric social strategy– Burns is able to future-proof the ToM’s brand from drastic changes in social media networks’ algorithms and the widespread adoption of ad-blocking technology. The power to convert ToM’s eco-friendly, socially conscious fan base from browsers to buyers lies in the shared passion for goodness among ToM’s existing consumers and ToM’s brand pillars- but the key to harnessing this customer power lies within a micro-influencer strategy.

The Retail Innovator awards are a part of the annual Retail Innovation Conference. As described on the awards page, the program “is designed to honor individual executives in the retail industry who are focused on driving change through innovation.”

Congratulations to Bridget, and to the rest of the Tom’s of Maine squad! 

To learn more about how a micro-influencer strategy can power your brand objectives, check out our white paper, “The Rise of the Micro-Influencers.”

(Download) The Rise of Micro-Influencers