The rise of social media, the customers’ demand for close interaction with the brand, and a shift towards marketing transparency – have led to the rising popularity of influencer marketing

Well-thought-out influencer marketing can significantly increase your brand recognition and sales. However, there are certain things to know before getting down to planning.

Influencer Marketing: what is it, anyway?

Influencer marketing is often confused with celebrity marketing but there a few main differences.

First, influencers normally do not have as many followers as major celebrities do. This means they have a smaller reach, but it is more defined.

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Source: Instagram

The second and most important thing about the influencers is: they have a specific interest and are followed by the people who share the same interests and values. It can be a gamer, a beauty blogger, a lifestyle blogger, or an artist. Their niched interests mirror their followers’ interests exceptionally.

Influencer marketing, therefore, is a process of finding the right influencer to display your product or brand to the target audience with the goal to raise conversions. You can check out the expected influencer marketing trends for 2019 here.

What’s all the Fuss About? Does it Work?

Audience Reach

Any collaboration with an influencer will yield an increase in audience. There may be some current customer overlap, but for the most part, you will be adding a defined amount of potential customers. Reaching more people with a campaign increases the possibilities for conversions to take place.

Increase in Conversions

Collaboration with an influencer does not necessarily mean an increase in sales. It can also be the growth of followers on social media or a number of people who signed up for a newsletter. And of course, if you set a sales increase as your target goal, influencer marketing can help you with that as well.

Building Awareness

Influencer marketing will get people talking about your brand – and this is what all marketers strive for. Creating a ‘buzz’ around your brand will reinforce brand awareness, loyalty, and lifetime retention rate.

There are many types of collaborations to choose from. Some brands opt for entertaining content from the influencer and in this case hoping the content may go viral.

Overall, influencer marketing brings brands lots of perks and comes at a relatively low cost, compared with costs for collaboration with celebrities or mundane promotional campaigns on social media.

Influencer marketing sets a precise goal and is easily measurable on whether or not the deliverables have been met or not. This allows for targeted results to come about quick and easy.

Platforms

Before starting to look for the influencers and plan the strategy, you first have to complete the following:

  • Define your target audience. Platform, budget, reach, content, and every other aspect of the campaign should cater to the audience.
  • Set the goals. It can be driving acquisition, building awareness, or all together. Different platforms help achieve different goals due to their content and user behavior.

After you are clear on that, you can choose the platform where you wish to promote your brand. Here are the main takeaways on the most suitable platforms for e-commerce.

Instagram

Instagram has about 1 billion active users and continues to grow its audience and functionalities daily. It is mostly used by people who are 35 years old and younger and is suitable for growing awareness and expanding the audience reach.

Snapchat

Snapchat is used by people between 18-24 years old and is great for generating real-time buzz in correspondence to the present events. In correspondence to the emerging business needs, Snapchat recently introduced shoppable features for brands to promote and sell their products in the app.

YouTube

YouTube is considered the most efficient platform from them all as it helps in both building awareness and driving the traffic to the brand. YouTube has about 2 billion active users per month and is incredibly popular among millennials specifically.

Note: in addition to influencer marketing, don’t forget about other social media strategies for e-commerce stores. Integration of social media buttons and the use of newly introduced shoppable features  – there are numerous (and free!) ways to sell more, using relevant social platforms.

Finding your Perfect Influencer

Finding the right influencer is quite challenging as you will trust this person with the representation of your brand. Here are a few ideas on where to find the perfect influencer.

Existing followers

The first and the easiest thing to do is to look for the possible influencer among your existing followers.

That’s right: chances are high there are people out there who already share your products and tag you in their posts. What’s awesome about them is that they are loyal to your brand already and you can nurture a long-lasting and efficient relationship with them.

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Source: Instagram

Via Google

This is easy yet can still bring good results. Simply Google the potential influencers but don’t forget to narrow your search by using specific keywords. This will expand your options and will produce better results.

Via Special Tools

There are available tools that help not only in finding suitable influencer but also in keeping track of the campaign performance and analyzing it. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Among them, Buzzsumo and Peg probably have the biggest functionality, including advanced filters and analytics to accurately manage your campaigns.

When having a list of about 100 (or less) influencers, contact them and have a chat. Ask about their preferences, thoughts on their audience, values, etc. Pay attention to those influencers who have too much-sponsored content – such people do not normally have a high engagement rate from their followers. As well, have a look at the ratio engagement – followers. If a person has over 100K followers but an average amount of 20-30 likes on the posts, that’s a warning sign.

Working with your Influencer

Influencers appeal to the followers due to their individuality, style, the manner of communicating, and other aspects that set them aside. So the primary rule for working with the influencers is: let them be themselves!

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Source: Instagram

Among other strategies of collaboration with the influencers are:

  • Don’t be stingy: influencers do their job and have a perfect right to get compensated fairly.
  • Provide general guidelines on content creation: specify things that you’d like to be mentioned and outline the main message to communicate to the users.
  • Encourage a creative approach.

Some brands may set limits on the content duration, demand that the influencer learns and repeat the script written by the marketers, and so on. These are the biggest pitfalls that may lead to a campaign failure.

 

In short:

  • Be honest and genuine;
  • Let the influencer be themselves;
  • Provide them with the general points to mention but do not write the script for them.

Depending on your goal, the influencer can host a giveaway or a contest. Another great form of an influencer marketing campaign is a review: it informs about the product in detail but can also encourage people to buy your product or at least, visit your website.

Brilliant examples of influencer marketing campaigns

Below you will see some of the most efficient and smart influencer marketing campaigns not only found the right influencers but did the whole thing in a non-obtrusive and incredibly natural manner.

Youfoodz

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Youfoodz is an Australian provider of healthy meals and snacks. In 2017, when the company was about to launch a new winter menu, they decided to increase the number of their Instagram followers as well as raise awareness. So Youfoodz collaborated with a few influencers who focus on healthy eating and fitness – and the results were amazing.

The campaign caused about 70,000 direct engagements and reached approximately 1.5 million people on Facebook and Instagram.

In the photo above, you see a post by an influencer Jess, who posts a lot about tasty and healthy food. Notice a #sponsored hashtag – this small detail is crucial as it shows the influencer’s honesty about the collaboration.

Pedigree

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This one is simply brilliant as it appeals to so many people that are united by having a pet (or thinking about getting one!).

Though launched in 2015, this campaign can still serve as a huge inspiration for the brands. The message of the campaign was the following: for every bag of dog food that a person buys, Pedigree will donate food to the dogs in need. And as you see from the post, influencer Kristyn Cole not only supported the action but also shared her own personal story about the rescued dog.

Charity is always welcomed with great support and no wonder Pedigree saw marvelous results. The company had a 1.3 times increase in their total media value, 9 300 engagements from the campaign blog posts, and 62 800+ content views.

Final word

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for any brand in the eCommerce space. It responds to the demands of modern customers for the brands to be open and honest and is built on mutual trust and genuine interest from the audience.

Like any marketing strategy, it requires proper planning but in the end, the results will amaze you. Just make sure to follow the steps described above.

 

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