Social media influencers should be working for your store

James Charles is an influencer. 

Who and what? 

James Charles is a 19-year-old internet personality, makeup artist and model, according to Wikipedia. 

He has 15 million followers on Instagram, and his YouTube videos have been viewed 1.2 billion times. 

Richard Sexton, Chief Product Officer, MicroD
Richard Sexton, Chief Product Officer, MicroD

In other words, he’s a big-time celebrity whose product pitches convert fans into buyers, which makes CoverGirl very smart for hiring him as a brand ambassador – the first male in that role. 

Richard Sexton knows that most furniture retailers won’t hire James Charles to promote their stores. But he hopes that mentioning James Charles will inspire them to think about who can influence potential customers and how that can be done. 

Sexton, chief product officer for MicroD, will lead a seminar in the Home Furnishings Association’s Resource Center during the High Point Market. His subject is “Four keys to shifting your marketing to attract Generation C,” and one of his recommendations to retailers is to spend one-fourth of their advertising budgets for paid influencers. 

Influencers are social media personalities, primarily using Instagram and YouTube, who endorse products and businesses in very visual ways, Sexton says. Those with a strong local audience can be very effective salespeople, especially aiming at young shoppers. 

Sexton’s four keys will sound familiar – they cover content, outreach and engagement, on-site experience and analytics – but how those keys can be used most effectively will challenge older retailers to think in new ways.  

Some ideas might sound risky, but the good thing about digital marketing, Sexton says, is that results can be measured. If one approach doesn’t work, pivot to another. The surest way to fail is to keep doing things just as you have always done them. 

Maybe James Charles isn’t your ideal brand ambassador, but it should be your mission to find out who is.  

Sexton’s seminar runs from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 7. The Home Furnishings Association’s Resource Center is on the first floor of Plaza Suites, 222 S. Main St.

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