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Influencer Strategy Case Study


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As part of my work with Elevator Strategy (Agency of Record), I had the opportunity develop the social strategy for Toyota's regional account (Toyota BC). 

In order to grow BC Truck sales and market share, I developed an influencer strategy with focus on key BC niche communities; e.g. mountain biking, kayaking etc.

In each community, we partnered up with extreme sports athletes and other influencers (who were existing Toyota owners) to grow engagement, purchase intent and ultimately sales.

This influencer program (in tandem with other programs) has allowed Toyota BC to develop a strong footprint in some key profitable BC wide Truck communities (overlooked by competitors). 

As a result, Toyota BC has experienced some of the highest Truck sales in history.

In 2016, the Toyota Tacoma (Toyota's flagship small pick up) experienced a 16.7% sales increase, which boosted its market share to 56.3% of small pick-ups (highest in Canada).

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Influencer Strategy Case Study

  1. 1. How to Grow Sales Using Influencers [Influencer Strategy Case Study] WAHIBA CHAIR, SENIOR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST & INSTRUCTOR WAHIBACHAIR.COM
  2. 2. Social Media is NOT about the tools or technology… it’s about RELATIONSHIPS
  3. 3. Client Toyota is the world’s most valuable car brand. In 2016, Toyota also became the world’s largest producer of automobiles. This case study pertains to Toyota in British Columbia, Canada (i.e. Toyota BC). As part of my work with Elevator Strategy, I had the opportunity develop and grow the social strategy for Toyota BC.
  4. 4. Goals Toyota needed incremental regional support for its Truck segment; i.e. Grow Truck Sales and Market Share in BC. On the digital/social side, we wanted to leverage influencers (who were already Toyota owners) to grow online reach and engagement in target niche communities.
  5. 5. Insights Unlike competitors, we decided to focus on people who relied on their trucks for recreational activities, as opposed to “work”; i.e. lifestyle. In order to develop an effective influencer program, we used data such as this study to prioritize which niche(s) to focus on.
  6. 6. Influencer Strategy In each niche community, we partnered with key influencers (mostly extreme sports athletes) who were existing Toyota owners and aligned with the Toyota Truck lifestyle. Authenticity was key to this program. TRUCK Mountain Biking Kayaking Snowmobiling Fishing Hiking
  7. 7. Strategy: Evaluation Framework We also needed to ensure alignment with digital/social media goals. Influencers were evaluated based on the following framework. For instance, audience needed to be regional and fit our Truck segment personas. Online Community Size (Digital + Social) Audience Insights (Demo etc.) Content Quality/Style Social Engagement + Influence SWEET SPOT
  8. 8. Toyota BC Influencers Here are some of the influencers Toyota BC proudly works with. Julie-Ann Chapman Snowmobiling Athlete Community Size: 12,731+ Thomas Vanderham Professional Mountain Biker Community Size: 68,868+ Ben Marr Kayaker Community Size: 39,000+
  9. 9. Relationship Framework Each influencer entered into an annual sponsorship agreement with Toyota BC. While activation deliverables varied based on the influencer, all relationships were based on 5 key pillars. Guidelines were provided, and updated regularly. Accountability Reciprocity Community Authentic Content Toyota BC Objectives
  10. 10. Influencer Activations Activations ranged from monthly social media postings to video content development, and Instagram takeovers. We closely monitored the influencer activity and provided feedback (as needed) in order to maintain the integrity of the program.
  11. 11. Activation Example: Instagram Takeover Instagram Takeovers help us connect the influencer’s community with Toyota BC Fans.
  12. 12. Activation Example: Video Campaigns Influencer videos spur strong advocacy from Toyota owners.
  13. 13. Activation Example: Video Campaigns In order to drive traffic to the Toyota BC digital properties from social, influencers contribute content in their own voice; e.g. “behind the scene” articles.
  14. 14. Key Results This influencer program has allowed Toyota BC to have a strong footprint in some key profitable BC wide Truck communities (overlooked by competitors). 2016 TACOMA HIGHLIGHTS 16.7% increase in sales (2016) 56.3% share of Small Pickup (highest in Canada)
  15. 15. Key Learnings • Maintain close relationships with influencers (don’t treat them as a transaction!) • Develop structure and standards to foster accountability • Where possible, integrate e.g. Toyota BC influencers appear in Toyota’s #OwnerApproved TV ads. Snowmobiler Julie-Ann Chapman in a Toyota BC #OwnerApproved TV Ad