How to boost profits with influencer marketing

Cooper Tire teamed up with “mommy bloggers” to influence tire purchases. | © Cooper Tire

How to boost profits with influencer marketing

Not every company can afford celebrity endorsements, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use well-known personalities in our communities to promote our brands. It’s a tactic called “influencer marketing” — and it could make a huge difference to your tire dealership.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is about engaging influential people in the industry or your community to drive your brand’s message rather than using traditional advertising. Brands identify key people who have relevant followers or fans and use these people to promote their products or services and inspire consumers to choose their business.

It’s essentially “word-of-mouth” advertising but on a much larger scale. Your “brand influencer” will have thousands of followers on Twitter or Instagram (or whichever social media network you’re targeting) and will get the message out about your business through endorsement and promotion. This person will have influence over your potential customers and spread the word through their own social media channels.

It’s different from celebrity endorsements in that it is less expensive and much more targeted — you want people with credibility in the tire/auto industry or the local community, rather than a TV star with no knowledge. It might be your local college quarterback or drag race champion, for example.

Influencer marketing is not free — you’ll have to pay your brand influencer, sponsor them or supply them with your product for free — but it’s less costly than celebrity endorsements and more effective.

Why does it work?

Customers often used to make their buying decisions based on traditional advertising. Social media has changed the landscape and people can now easily connect with other consumers to make decisions based on reviews, recommendations or personal experiences.

Peer recommendations play a huge part in influencing customer decisions. According to a McKinsey Study, marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, and these customers have a 37 percent higher retention rate.

The study states, “As consumers have become overloaded, they have become increasingly sceptical about traditional company-driven advertising and marketing and increasingly prefer to make purchasing decisions largely independent of what companies tell them about products.”

Customers also expect brands and businesses to interact with them, rather than just promote themselves. This interaction is through unique and interesting content, which doesn’t “interrupt” like an advertisement, but adds to the customer’s experience in an organic way. According to advertising agency MDG, 70 percent of internet users want to learn about a product through content rather than through traditional advertising.

To use one famous example: after 50 influencers posted an Instagram picture of themselves wearing the same Lord & Taylor dress on the same day, telling their followers it was a must-have item, the dress sold out the following weekend.

What or who is a brand influencer?

A brand influencer is someone who has a lot of followers on social media — be that on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. However, more importantly, they are knowledgeable and credible within the industry or the community. In the case of the tire industry, someone like a race car driver would be a great example. They don’t necessarily need to be “famous” in a Beyonce or Justin Bieber kind of way. As with food and fashion, there are many “ordinary” people out there who blog and have a large audience. The key is reach, influence and credibility.

These people have influence over their followers and can endorse or promote your product or service through their content and postings, but in a way than feels “organic,” rather than obvious direct advertising. Consumers love content, especially something that is new and exciting and shown to them by someone they admire or respect.

Examples of brand influencers

Cooper Tire recently teamed up with “mommy bloggers” as part of an influencer marketing strategy to attract more women to the brand. Cooper took them out to the racetrack to test some tires.

Cooper Tire director of brand development Jessica Egerton said: “We found the outreach to be successful and have continued to work closely with many of these influential bloggers over the past few years in order to drive home the importance of proper tire safety and maintenance.

“Conveying our core messaging through these influential and trusted bloggers was a good avenue for Cooper Tire in harnessing the power of bloggers to impact female purchasing power.”

Check out one such video here:

Or visit the Cooper Tire YouTube Channel to view the mommy bloggers’ reactions to new and worn tire testing, a distracted driving obstacle course and more.

How do I get on board?

The first thing to do is identify an influencer you want to work with. Check out the major social media sites, find some relevant people and then pay attention to what kind of content they’re posting. Do their brand values match up to yours? Who’s their audience? (Not just how many followers do they have, but who are they and where are they?)

This article contains some handy tools to help you find influencers.

Influencers enjoy the fame and respect that social media gives them and have worked hard to cultivate large audiences for themselves and their content. What you’re trying to do as a business is leverage that fame and respect for your own brand. Many of these influencers have turned their influence into a business and are making a fortune off of it. They expect brands to come to them for exactly that purpose — so don’t feel ashamed about approaching them. This is a business transaction. You may even find you’re negotiating with their representation — it depends what level they’re at.


Cooper Tire’s mommy blogger videos have been hugely influential.

Once you’ve identified a brand influencer and come to a formal agreement with them, you need to ensure they have exciting things to say or post about your business. Negotiate what kinds of content they’re going to deliver and what level of endorsement they’re willing to give. They need an experience of a product or service that is credible or interesting to pass on to their followers.

You can also repost their content on your own social media channels to show and impress your current customers and followers. With some inspiring content and the right influencer, you’ll reach a lot of potential customers.

Further reading

• Here’s a case study about how Acura Canada used influencer marketing with the TLX Experience.

• Here’s another about how NASCAR is doing influencer marketing.

• And here’s some advice on how to set up an influencer marketing campaign.

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