Influencers are powerful in the digital age. Here’s how to work with them.
In an age where consumers are more empowered than ever before, influencing buying decisions is becoming more a more difficult.
Today’s digital natives value the views and opinions of their peers over traditional advertising. Moreover, the digital consumer craves a significant level of trust and transparency from brands, which means that if you want to enjoy real results, your marketing communications must be genuine, authentic, and value-driven.
That’s where influencers come in. As social media becomes an integral part of the consumer experience, people look to influencers in addition to their peers when choosing brands and making purchasing decisions.
At present, 70% of teenagers trust influencers over traditional celebrities. Moreover, 49% of modern consumers rely on influencer recommendations when looking to purchase an item or commit to a service.
Influencer marketing is a powerful force, and by working with the right influencers in your niche, you’re likely to expand your commercial reach, boost your brand’s credibility, and as a result—propel your eCommerce business to exciting new heights.
Why use influencer marketing?
Social media influencers exist in every niche or industry imaginable. By strategically collaborating with relevant influencers, you’ll reap the endless rewards that influencer marketing brings.
To further demonstrate the business-boosting potential of influencer marketing, here are some hand-picked insights you should know:
- Influencer marketing is one of the world’s fastest-growing online customer-acquisition techniques. (Source: Shane Barker)
- The influencer marketing industry is expected to rise to $10 billion by 2020. (Source: AdWeek)
- 74% of consumers trust social networking platforms to help guide their buying decisions. (Source: Social Media Week)
- 67% of online businesses work with social media influencers in their niche to promote targeted products and content. (Source: Social Media Today)
“An influencer promoting and amplifying your message, your brand, to their audience means credibility. It means additional reach, and it means you get an outsized modifier to the conversion process.”—Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz
How to use influencers to boost your eCommerce success
There’s no denying it: influencers are an invaluable asset to today’s eCommerce businesses.
The right industry influencers will help you offer your prospects personal value while validating your brand to the people that are most likely to invest in your products or services. In doing so, you’ll forge long-lasting relationships that will help you boost your profits and grow your eCommerce empire.
To help you on your path to influencer marketing enlightenment, here’s a step-by-step guide to working with influencers to boost your business.
Find the right influencers
Regardless of whether you sell fitness trackers, novelty socks, or anything in between, any successful influencer marketing campaign begins with the right working relationships.
Before you even start thinking about nurturing influencer relationships and conjuring up campaign ideas, reaching out to the right influencers in your niche is essential. Relevance is the beating heart of any successful influencer marketing initiative, so you need to look at the right people, in the right place.
When conducting your research, search for “most popular influencers” in your industry or niche and check their follower base across platforms. You should also look at the content these influencers create and the level of engagement they receive or value they offer. Remember, metrics alone don’t always equate to success.
Before creating a shortlist of influencers and branching out to them, you should work through this checklist of questions:
- Will they understand my brand and be happy to get on board?
- Are they advocates of other notable brands in my niche?
- Does their tone of voice and personality match my brand’s?
- Can they create high-quality, value-driven posts and content?
- Do I feel that their followers could become potential customers of mine?
If the influencers on your shortlist meet all of these criteria, contact them and get the ball rolling.
Build meaningful relationships
When reaching out to potential influencers, it’s important to introduce them to your brand and its mission. You should also demonstrate that you know who they are and what they stand for by referencing their work in your correspondence.
The last thing any influencer wants is a template suggesting that they’re one of hundreds of people you’re blasting out a quick DM or email to—doing so will get you nowhere.
Make your outreach communications personable, tailored to the influencer, informational, and above all else—explain how your potential working relationship will benefit both of you.
Once you’ve hooked in your first influencers, make sure you nurture your relationships by engaging with them via social media, offering compensation, and offering them free products or experiences to trial.
Maintain regular correspondence, provide fair working terms, and communicate your passion for your industry, and you will squeeze every last drop of value from your influencer relationships.
Encourage product reviews
As we’ve established, today’s consumers look to social media influencers when making purchasing decisions.
With this in mind, one of the most effective influencer marketing tactics involves product or service reviews. In addition to compensation, most influencers relish the opportunity to “live the brand” and enjoy free products or trials. Give them what they want in exchange for a social media plug or product review.
Take high-street fashion retailer H&M, for instance. The brand teamed up with fashion influencers Julie Sariñana and Ela Velden—two of the planet’s most prolific fashion bloggers, to promote its new Fall Studio Collection.
To add a layer of personal depth to its marketing campaign, H&M encouraged the fashion bloggers to sport and promote some of their favorite garments from the collection via their Instagram accounts:
As you can see from this post alone, the engagement was phenomenal. These product reviews or testimonial-based tactics helped boost sales while making H&M’s Instagram one of the most subscribed accounts in fashion retail—a testament to the power of influencer marketing.
In addition to plugging your products through social media reviews, testimonials, and posts, working with your influencers to produce engaging, targeted content will help boost the success of your eCommerce business.
Content marketing is one of the most valuable marketing methods available to today’s brands. Couple well-crafted blog posts, articles, eBooks, whitepapers, or videos with an influencer’s touch, and you’re likely to enjoy amazing results.
When it comes to creating inspirational content for your target, the sky really is the limit. Here are some influencer-inspired approaches you can take:
- Produce product-focused promotional landing pages on your website, including positive endorsements, testimonials, or insights from your influencer.
- Place influencer testimonials on your website’s homepage or social media information pages.
- Create guest posts for relevant industry magazines or publications in collaboration with your influencer.
- Host a competition or giveaway through your blog and social media channels and ask your influencer to be the face of the campaign, producing content around it and plugging via social media to expand your reach.
- Ask your influencer to produce an article or post on their blog that promotes your brand and links back to your online store or website.
With the right content, you can boost your brand awareness—and profits—in no time.
Prolific Instagram influencer Zach King works with a roster of renowned brands to produce content that speaks to their audience and amuses or inspires them while addressing their problems or pain points.
From this Elon Musk plug alone, it’s clear that a single piece of video yields a tremendous level of engagement—gold dust to today’s eCommerce brands, big or small.
Zach earns around nine million views on every short video he creates and shares through Instagram. To date, he’s worked with Pixar, Coca-Cola, and Crayola, among many others, helping to spearhead many of their most focused campaigns and initiatives and expose them to a wider audience.
A rising international influencer, Zach is one of many out there helping brands to exceed their campaign targets. By taking the time to strategize with your influencers, you’ll be able to create content that is sure to engage, inspire, and help boost your eCommerce business prospects.
“Influencers – they’re the best thing since sliced bread. But forget bread; they’re selling like hot cakes. They’re creating huge returns, and they’re only set to keep growing!”—Emily Warna, content marketing expert
When approached the right way, influencer marketing will ensure your brand remains relevant, robust, and scalable in this competitive digital age.
The influencers you choose to work with don’t need to have half as many followers as the likes of Zach King or Julie Sariñana. If they have a healthy, engaged following in the right niche and a passion for what you do and you stand for, then together, you will be unstoppable.
For more brand-boosting marketing inspiration, read our small business owner’s guide to Facebook advertising.