How Influencer Marketing Builds Customer Loyalty

I love Instagram.

Out of all the time I spend on social media, I spend the most on Instagram, scrolling through pictures of food, outfits, and places I want to travel to.

One of the accounts I follow religiously on Instagram is the account @SomethingNavy. The account is run by Arielle Charnas, a fashion blogger. She has over 10 years of experience in the industry, and works with tons of brands, including: First Aid Beauty, Secret, & designers like Rebecca Minkoff. This summer, she announced a collaboration with the brand Treasure & Bond, and the clothing collection was sold through Nordstrom. The clothing line was set to launch the last week of September.

Charnas is an example of a new industry dedicated to “Influencer Marketing.” Simply defined, Influencer Marketing focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to a larger market. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead pay influencers to get the word out for you through their followers. Instagram is the best platform for bloggers like Charnas to spread their influence.

Influence Drives Purchase

I spent the weeks leading up to Charnas’s September launch talking with my friends who are also loyal followers. We exchanged pictures of the different pieces of clothing, discussing which items we planned on buying. We even set up a group chat solely dedicated to talking about the collection. The day the collection was set to launch, alarms were set, and we were ready to shop. When 8:00 am CST hit, there was a problem: Nordstrom was experiencing issues on their back end, and they had to wait to individually load the pieces one by one. But my friends and I didn’t close out of the Nordstrom website. We stayed on our computers until the items we wanted became available because of our dedication to the brand Charnas presents on her Instagram.

Despite this technical glitch, the clothing line was sold out. Several customer service issues could not stop consumers from shopping this brand. I was able to get the items I wanted. When the clothing line was initially announced, Nordstrom stressed that there would not be a restock. After the line was sold out, Nordstrom announced they would be restocking the collection in December. And within the week, my friends and I had received our pieces.

Influencing Cult Loyalty

Influencer Marketing presents a great opportunity for achieving Cult Loyalty. My friends and I exhibited cult loyalist behavior in this buying scenario. For a refresher, Cult Loyalty refers to being loyal because the brand reflects personal identities and values. By placing an influencer in front of a product, it adds that personal touch and allows a deeper relationship than a relationship with a consumer brand. Arielle Charnas is not only a fashion blogger, she’s a businesswoman, wife, mother, and friend. She doesn’t use her platform just for posting outfits – she also posts videos spending time with her daughter, and dedicates time to answering questions posed by her dedicated followers. My friends and I were driven to purchase her clothing because we identify with the image she presents on her social media platforms. In terms of reasons for referring someone to a brand, Maritz market research data shows that Cult Loyalists are the consumers most motivated by having friends/family join in the brand experience with them (43%).

By following along with the @SomethingNavy instagram account, my friends and I could follow Arielle’s clothing line from the early stages, all the way up to execution & release. Nordstrom, Treasure & Bond, and @SomethingNavy were all able to engage in Influencer Marketing to ensure the success of the clothing launch. If this were any other brand, consumers would have disengaged with the launch as soon as problems arose. But because of the personal experience with the brand, consumers and followers stayed online until they could get the clothing they wanted.

How could your brand apply this same idea, generally, to drive loyalty?

The idea of Influencer Marketing isn’t only reserved for fashion and beauty. By selecting an influencer who reflects the brand’s values, any brand can leverage Influencer Marketing to drive customer loyalty.

Are they any products you buy based on influencers you follow on social media? Leave a comment below.

Topics: Loyalty, Consumer Loyalty, Brand Loyalty, Loyalty Program Design