Last year, one of the year’s trendy marketing buzzwords was influencer marketing. But unlike butterfly clips and Pokemon Go, influencer marketing—marketing that focuses on using industry leaders to drive a business’s message and/or product to a bigger market—is a trend that’s here to stay for the long haul.
Why eCommerce Businesses Should Consider Influencer Marketing
Back in the day, businesses got their name out and sales made from word-of-mouth marketing. Today, thanks to social media, influencer marketing is the new and improved form of word-of-mouth marketing.
An influencer marketing strategy pairs perfectly with two types of marketing all eCommerce brands should be doing: social media marketing and content marketing. Plus this strategy, when done right, will do nothing but good things for your brand.
Like what you ask? Influencer marketing has been proven to boost brand awareness, drive more traffic to online retail sites and increase conversion of said traffic into sales. It also gives you access to more content, allows you to tap into already engaged audiences and then build trust and authenticity with more consumers.
Influencers use their blogs or social media to get the word out about you with whatever you ask them to do, and social media is big for eCommerce brands. A whopping 75% of today’s consumers rely on social media to inform their buying decisions, and in a study by Twitter and Annalect, 40% of respondents said that they’ve purchased a product after seeing an influencer use it on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Vine, while 20% said they’ve shared a product they’ve seen an influencer use on social media. That same study also found that 49% of people rely on product recommendations from influencers, further proving the dynamic value influencers can and will have on consumers and your marketing campaign.
So rather than spending lots of time and money on trying to effectively market to a large consumer base, you just have to find one or a couple of influencers in your industry who already have a large online following. Leveraging key influencers lets them do most of the dirty marketing work for you about your brand or a specific product and gives you immediate exposure to a bigger audience.
How to Get Started
Before you can get started with an influencer marketing strategy, you need to ask yourself one question—What are we looking to accomplish through influencer marketing?
Maybe your answer is to get one of your products placed. Maybe it’s to generate some revenue or increase brand awareness. Or maybe it’s all of the above.
As popular as influencer marketing has become in the eCommerce space, too many businesses jump in without really knowing what they want to accomplish for the initiative. Your first step to running a successful influencer marketing strategy is deciding your strategy’s main goal. Having a goal in mind that you’re working toward helps guide you when you approach influencers. It allows you to come up with a campaign that is geared toward something’s that’s going to produce positive results.
Once you have a goal, here are some things you can test with utilizing influencers.
A brand ambassador is someone who lives and breathes your brand that you ask to positively represent your brand online to garner more brand awareness and sales. But you don’t just want one—you want an army of brand ambassadors. A group of people who have an established online presence, are professional, know your brand and marketing, have leadership skills and are passionate about building and growing relationships. You then use this influencer army to take images or videos of themselves using and talking about your product that they post online and that you can use online as well, either resharing posts on your social media accounts or featuring on your website, like eCommerce clothing site BlackMilk did with a pair of their leggings.
[Screenshot from blackmilkclothing.com]
You can find potential brand ambassadors by going through your list of current customers and social media friends and followers. Recruit them through emails, direct messages on social sites, surveys, social ads or contests.
Another way to leverage influencers is to give away your products to get your products out there. We’ve helped numerous eCommerce clients team up with authoritative influencers and host giveaways, all of which have been successful for them in getting a new product out in front of a large group of their target market and see an increase in website traffic and sales for said product.
Another effective influencer tactic to try this year is partnering with another brand and working together to collaborate on products. You can highlight a product of theirs on your website and then have one of your products showcased on another brand’s page.
If you want to start out teaming up with a person first, work with individual influencers in your space and work with them to build out a campaign based on your products. The influencer can then create original content to match the campaign and share it with their online following.
A fun tactic is hosting an event, like a product hunt where people are literally on the physical hunt to find goodies you’ve left around certain areas. Sharing this hunt online, especially when you collaborate with other brands and theme it around a holiday, like Rags to Raches did this past Easter, will get your brand in front of hundreds to thousands of new eyes and potential customers. And it will get those people sharing their adventures online while they’re trying to find your hidden products.
[Screenshot from Instagram/rags_to_raches]