More About This Episode
The Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast helps industry professionals find better ways to grow leads, sales and outperform the competition. It’s designed to give insight on how to create a results-driven digital marketing strategy for companies of any size.
Jennifer Flores is a blogger and influencer in the building material space, and she’s worked with brands and content creators around the world to connect with customers. She talked with us about how brands can partner with influencers to reach more customers and stay in the game.
Building a Brand With Online Influencers
Jennifer Flores brings nearly two decades of experience in creating online content. As a blogger and influencer, she’s spent years figuring out what brands need to reach their customers.
“I started my blog Rambling Renovators way back in 2007, documenting our home purchase, our DIYs and renovations. And I was able to work with a lot of brands early in the space,” said Jennifer. She was able to find success with her blog but wanted to build on what she was doing.
“I learned that I needed a bit more education about what it means to be a content creator and an influencer,” she says.
Jennifer clearly has a passion for bringing together marketers and content creators, and she worked with brands and influencers from 2011 to 2018 on Blog Podium, a conference for Design and Lifestyle Influencers. From 2011 to 2018, she worked with and connected brands to develop a platform for brands to build influencer relationships and content that customers wanted. “That morphed into Story House, which was an online hub for creatives. And now I continue to do content creation and social media consulting for smaller brands.”
So what makes someone an influencer? “You'll see professional content creators on there, you'll see DIYers homeowners, but you'll also see architects, designers, pros [and] contractors who have their own audience and are influencing those people that follow along with them,” says Jennifer.
What that means is that brands can work with a number of different types of influencers. “So really, there is an influencer for every brand out there, I think. It's just a matter of finding the person who speaks to the audience that you want to connect to and has already established that trust and that expertise in the space,” says Jennifer.
Investing in Influencers
It can be a challenge for brands to build a solid marketing strategy that will actually bring results. But influencer marketing is a smart investment in our minds, and we asked Jennifer to help us understand more about the benefits of that partnership.
“I think what influencers really do is help humanize your brand, and compared to other traditional forms of marketing, you get the best return using influencers,” says Jennifer.
“They create social engagement on your channels for you. They create conversation.”
Jennifer explains that brands might need to consider a few approaches to reaching their audience — in fact, you might want to try connecting with a larger audience, not just your traditional customer. “I could be talking about a homeowner who’s looking at a building materials product and wants to implement it in their home. But there's also a conversation that happens with homeowners and their contractors,” Jennifer explains. “So even if you are a B2B brand, you want to initiate conversations at that consumer level as well. And influencer marketing helps do that. It helps it throughout the entire chain.”
We’ve talked about influencer marketing before and how manufacturers can harness their online impact. Partnering with content creators gives brands a way to reach consumers they might not usually be able to interact with. We asked Jennifer for some examples of successful influencer marketing.
“Metrie, which is one of North America's large manufacturers of moulding products, were an early sponsor of my conference,” says Jennifer. Metrie has worked with influencers of all levels to help with content creation for their online presence.
“They started providing materials for different projects, sponsoring blog posts, initiating conversations with influencers to create content,” says Jennifer. “I think they did a great job of opening up that product and showing how it could be used with different budgets, with different house styles [and] different designs.”
“I think they were a great example of early on recognizing the potential of working with influencers and really kind of giving them free rein,” says Jennifer. Whatever recent trends look like, influencers will likely have an idea of what their own audience wants to see. “It really evolves with the styles and the way that people can use it in their home. Now, we have so many more ideas and inspiration,” says Jennifer.
How Manufacturers Can Work With Influencers
Building a partnership to help market your products takes strategy, and we talked more with Jennifer about what building materials manufacturers need to know when they work with influencers.
“One of the big problems I think that brands make when they're working with an influencer is not sharing what their objectives are. So if you do want content that you could possibly reuse on your website or in a seasonal catalog, you need to share that information up front,” she explains.
Whether you want to increase your brand’s awareness online, announce a new line of products or show off your favorite projects, define those goals and share them with whoever you’re working with. “Really having those clear objectives at the beginning will get you better content at the end,” says Jennifer.
There are a few final tips that Jennifer offers to building materials brands who want to jump into influencer marketing.
Make An Actual Impact: People look at a ton of content online every day — to get their attention (and keep it), it can take real effort. “What makes you laugh, what entertains you? And that's the kind of content you want to create. We are so inundated with content these days, it's got to be something that captures our attention first of all.”
Trust the Influencer: Jennifer reminds us that influencers have the benefit of a built-in audience, and that’s highly valuable. “They've got a voice, they've got an established style, an aesthetic, a way they view the world that is compelling,” she says. “That's why you've hired them in the first place because you found their content compelling and their audience loves it. So trust that they will find the way to convey the beautiful aspects of your product and all of those characteristics that you think are important — in a way that their audience wants to receive it.”
Embrace Authenticity: “Be open to ideas, collaborate a bit more,” says Jennifer. “That's what this audience, this generation demands today — they demand authenticity. Anything that seems like, ‘Oh, you're not really using that product, that's not something that's authentic to you,’ they just kind of turn away, [and] they'll just quickly move on to the next video,” Jennifer says.
Want Even More Insight?
The key to connecting with customers online is paying attention to where they’re at and what they’re talking about. And to get started with influencer marketing, it’s the same strategy.
“You don't start with the influencer, you start with your customer,” says Jennifer. “Is it a homeowner? A DIYer? Is it architects? Is it designers? If that's a person you want to reach, what platforms are they on? How are they receiving information? What kind of conversations are they having? So that'll inform the kind of content you're going to create and the influencer you want to work with.”
For even more tips and insights into influencer marketing success, listen to the full episode here.
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