Influencer marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for any e-commerce business to employ. By partnering with the right influencer, you can build brand awareness, brand trust, and drive sales.
But what exactly is influencer marketing and how can e-commerce brands use them to help their business succeed?
Today we’re going to take a look at influencer marketing: what it is and how e-commerce brands can work effectively with influencers to help drive product sales.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing — a form of social media marketing — is the practice of partnering with a popular or well-known social media user to boost your sales and grow your brand. For instance, if you have a makeup line, you may approach a popular lifestyle influencer about trying your product and posting to their platform demonstrating their results.
In essence, influencer marketing allows you to tap into the audience of someone whose influence will benefit your campaign efforts. By having them review or recommend your product, your brand is borrowing the positive reputation and relationship they have with their audience.
In essence, influencer marketing allows you to tap into the audience of someone whose influence will benefit your campaign efforts
Marketing through influencers is an exceptionally savvy marketing strategy. People tend to be swayed more by recommendations from people they trust – and influencer audiences have developed a level of trust with said influencers.
Now you know what influencer marketing is, let’s take a look at how you can work most effectively with influencers to drive sales.
1. Make sure your audience is a match
Influencers are diverse people with diverse interests. Just because someone has an established following doesn’t mean they’re going to automatically be a good fit for your brand. You wouldn’t ask a vector artist to try out your skincare range, for example.
When partnering with an influencer, you have to ensure their audience is a match with your target market. In many cases, this means matching the influencer themself to your brand. You should ask yourself:
Will this influencer use and love my product?
Does this influencer’s content align with my brand’s goals and values?
Will this influencer accurately represent my brand?
If the answer to all the above questions is “yes” then you may be onto a winning partnership.
There are some instances where an influencer may not fall within your target market but their audience does. These relationships ought to be approached carefully.
If an influencer is seen to be peddling a product that they themself don’t personally use or endorse, it can hurt both their relationship with their audience and your brand’s image.
2. Vet your influencer thoroughly
Influencers aren’t always on the level. It’s very easy to buy followers these days and a lot of people do this to give the illusion of popularity or influence so that brands just like yours will seek to partner with them.
There are a number of tools available that will let you analyze the quality and growth of a user’s following over time. If there’s a sudden spike, particularly at the beginning of their account’s growth, that’s a red flag.
You also want to ensure your influencer’s audience is actively engaged. This means a percentage of their following is actively commenting, sharing, or liking their content. This number doesn’t have to be high – a wildly successful engagement rate is 4% and above. Generally, between 1-3% is a good rate so it’s beneficial to find influencers that fit this metric.
3. Lean into the influencer’s content creation skills
Influencer marketing isn’t just a case of handing an influencer an advert or video and asking them to post it on their channel. In many ways, approaching it this way will actively put off users because it’s such a break from the content they expect from that particular influencer. It’s no longer authentic. It’s like sitting through a paid advertisement.
When you partner with an influencer to boost your e-commerce sales, you want to lean into their existing aesthetic. They’ve built an audience that loves their content so you need to trust them to present your product in a way that will speak to that audience. This means letting them take the reins when it comes to developing the content that will advertise your product or brand.
The audience trusts the influencer more than your brand (for now at least) and so they’re more receptive to a product that is presented to them authentically
This hands-off approach can seem daunting, but it’s one of the reasons influencer marketing is so very successful. The audience trusts the influencer more than your brand (for now at least) and so they’re more receptive to a product that is presented to them authentically.
As an added bonus, you’re basically outsourcing the content creation portion of the campaign. So long as you’ve chosen your influencer well, this can mean you get incredibly valuable content that sells your products to your audience – all for the price of partnering with a knowledgable creator. This can save you time, effort, and mental energy.
4. Always measure your goals and ROI
To achieve the best results from your influencer campaign you must set your marketing goals early on. In the context of this article, this means driving sales. Be clear with your team and your chosen influencer about what your aim is and ensure you measure the results of your efforts. For example, you might record the number of sales made through affiliate links.
Tracking your campaign results in this way is the only way to assess which influencers are helping you achieve your objectives, and which ones you might want to part ways with. The aim, at the end of the day, is to develop long-term partnerships with influencers.
Someone recommending a product once is one thing, but seeing an influencer promoting a brand consistently over time is more likely to encourage their audience to trust your brand and eventually take action.
5. Keep your own online channels updated
It's important to keep all your own online channels up to date; such as social channels, e-Commerce sites, websites, and Google Business Profile. Your online creditability might take a hit if you don't take care of this constantly and in a systematic way.
Keeping channels updated will not only help you drive your business but also your influencers to better understand and trust your brand. This encourages them also to create more interesting and engaging content.
Keeping channels updated will not only help you drive your business but also your influencers to better understand and trust your brand
A handy way to save time is to keep your channels active automatically using scheduling tools, such as Hookle. You can schedule posts to all your social accounts and Google Business Profiles with one tool.
With Hookle, you can even see the overall performance of all connected channels with one simple score. This is very convenient as you don't really need to monitor channels separately by yourself. The tool notifies you of the performance movements and suggests actions on how to engage more with your audience, thus keeping channels active and improving your performance.
Influencer marketing is great for any e-commerce brands
Engaging influencers in your digital marketing campaigns is a great way to drive sales. By matching your audience, vetting your chosen influencer wisely, trusting in their skills, and measuring your ROI accurately, you’ll be able to leverage influencer marketing to help your business succeed.
Looking for more ideas on what to post next on your own social media channels? We’ve handpicked 8 quick tips for just that purpose.