The global value of the interiors market skyrocketed by £30 billion between 2013 and 2020. And exactly a year on from the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, people are spending more time in their homes than ever before.
But, in order to capitalise on this, it’s critical that home and property brands know how (and when) to use social media influencer marketing and other digital content to influence the consumer to make that final purchase decision.
For the latest event in our free Spotlight series, we focused in on the different tactics home and property brands are using to influence consumers at various points in their buying journey.
Our expert panellists shared their advice for home and property brands on everything from how to effectively showcase your product using snackable content to the dos and don’ts of influencer collaborations.
Here are our top five takeaways from the event:
- Be mindful of your target audience
When developing a communications strategy, it’s important that interior brands carefully consider the demographic they want their content to reach, and make sure that the tactics they’re using are appropriate for the target audience.spottydog founder and CEO Rachel Roberts explained: “We’ve been working with Heritage Bathrooms for over seven years now, and traditionally its audience has sat at the older end of spectrum.
“So, when Heritage briefed us to raise brand awareness among younger consumers through social media influencer marketing, it was vital that we thought really carefully about how we did this and identified influencers whose audiences aligned with the demographic Heritage wanted to target.
“This initial research piece can make or break your comms strategy and is key to finding the best digital marketing tactics for your brand. Instead of working with influencers at random just because they have a large following, identify the social media platforms and third-party channels your customer uses and work with influencers that connect with that audience.”
- Use shareable content to hook people in
A great way to grab the consumer’s attention is by creating bitesize, shareable content that is both engaging and that gets people talking. In an increasingly crowded market, unique and inspiring content has huge appeal and will help brands to stand out among the noise.
With the Covid-19 crisis and worldwide restrictions on movement impacting potential house buyer’s ability to visit luxury properties abroad, Italian fractional property business Appassionata used this approach to showcase its properties virtually.
Appassionata Chairman Michael Hobbs shared his insight into how the business inspired the desire by showcasing its properties using video. He explained: “After initially postponing our property visits, by the summer of last year it had become clear that the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t going to end anytime soon – and we had to stop and think how we could continue to run our business when people can’t physically get to us.
“We decided to use virtual video tours to keep potential customers engaged and recreate the experience they would have if they visited our properties in person.
“The response to this new approach has been unprecedented, and the very first person to participate in one of these video tours ended up purchasing a share in one of our properties without ever seeing it in person.
“As a result of the success of these video tours, this is something we plan on continuing to do even after the pandemic has ended.”
- Build organic relationships with influencers
The power of the social media influencer is undeniable, and over the last few years interiors influencers have overtaken fashion influencers as the online trend makers.
In order to spread the word about their products and reach an untapped audience that is aligned with their own style, home brands can utilise social media influencer marketing to showcase their products in real rooms and renovations – something we’ve done successfully for Heritage Bathrooms for over five years.With more than 100K followers on her home Instagram account, interiors influencer and blogger Kirsty Fletcher (aka Greenbank Interiors) shared her insight from an influencer’s perspective on how brands should approach these collaborations.
Speaking from her own experience working with brands, Kirsty said: “Spam is our biggest nightmare as influencers, so it’s really important that the messages brands send us aren’t just copied and pasted with little or no personalisation.
“Begin by emailing (DM is becoming a much less trusted form of communication if it’s your first interaction) potential influencers to assess their interest in working with your brand, explaining why you think your product/service would be best marketed in their hands.”
In order to build more organic relationships with influencers, Kirsty advised that brands should: “Engage with potential influencers through genuine and well thought out conversation on their social media profiles or blogs, showing genuine interest in what they’re saying or posting.”
- Engage with the specialists who influence consumer buying decisions
The journey to purchase for consumers in the home and property sector can vary dramatically – from online inspiration that triggers an instant ‘click to buy’ to the planning of kitchen and bathroom projects that can consume homeowners for months. And, often, when people are looking to invest in these larger projects, they seek out the advice of specialists in the field.
Explaining how spottydog helped tap and shower supplier Bristan to raise brand awareness among plumbers and their customers, Zoe Gaffney from our home and property team said: “When we think of influencers we often think of social media celebrities with millions of followers, but this isn’t always the case.
“A good influencer is someone you can trust, someone who’s knowledgeable about a product or service and someone that’s accessible – and for Bristan these influencers are the specialists within the field that customers turn to when they want advice.
“By creating Bristan’s market-leading On Tap installer community, we were able to influence the influencer – giving the brand direct access to a valuable network of specialist brand ambassadors. This expert-backing from installers in turn helped us to build consumer trust around Bristan’s products.”
- Make sure your communications are ethical, genuine and authentic
Ensuring that your communications are ethical and genuine is fundamental to building a successful brand, and transparency and authenticity should underpin all external-facing content.
As President-Elect of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, spottydog founder and CEO Rachel Roberts is committed to upholding the professional standards outlined in the industry body’s Code of Conduct. She says: “It can be a bit of a wild west when you’re working in the digital space and collaborating with influencers, and from our perspective it’s really important that brands have ethical principles when they’re communicating with potential customers.
“For example, if there’s payment involved in your social media influencer marketing campaign, you must declare it and you should always be clear on what is PR and ‘earned’ exposure and what has been bought.
“This commitment to transparency will further build trust around your brand and consumers are much more likely to buy into your product or service when your content is genuine and authentic.”
For more advice on how to get your home and property brand on consumers’ wish lists, contact us today.