Influencer marketing is hot right now, and for good reason. The influencer marketing industry has grown exponentially and is expected to increase to 13.8 billion in 2021.
Sigh, they grow up so fast.
When properly utilized, influencer marketing can have huge potential for ecommerce brands looking to expand their audience, grow their reach, and increase their sales. The key is proper planning, budgeting, and selecting the right influencer for your industry.
So, how do you make sure you’re choosing the right strategies for your brand? Keep reading, and I’ll show you the way.
How to find the right influencers
In terms of audience, bigger is not necessarily better. Instead of working with influencers based on their audience size alone, find an influencer who authentically aligns with your brand and reaches your target audience as precisely as possible.
Here are a few strategies to help you find the right fit.
Build more trust with micro-influencers
With follower counts in the 1,000-2,000 range, micro-influencers are a great way to target a specific niche audience. The benefit of working with these influencers is that their followers have a great deal of trust in them. Influencers with smaller audiences have fewer partnerships, making each one of those brand partnerships that much more special. It’s this level of trust that makes them invaluable to a partnership with an ecommerce brand.
Consider influencers outside of your brand space
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when considering influencers to work with. Your product likely appeals to multiple audiences.
Many big brands have done this and seen considerable success, for example, Ford partnering with Tinder, or Serena Williams working with Sleepnumber beds. However, the concept is the same regardless of the size of your business or influencer. For example, Purple, a mattress company that operates mainly online, recently partnered with sketch comedians Tim & Eric.
Types of influencer campaigns
When it comes to the type of campaign you want to run, you have a few options. Here are a few we think are particularly useful for ecommerce merchants.
Custom URLs or coupon codes
This is likely the form of influencer marketing you’re used to seeing. A company will create a coupon code or a special link for influencers to share with their audiences. The code includes a special offer and the influencer will make a commission every time someone uses it. This is a good place to start if you’re new to influencer marketing. It’s mutually beneficial to the influencer and your brand, and easy to track since you can monitor the usage of the code.
Here's an example of a popular sailing channel on Youtube partnering with Audible, an audiobook company. They add their custom Audible URL to their Youtube descriptions.
Having an influencer host a giveaway for your brand is a good way to generate buzz and introduce your brand to new audiences. People love free stuff, it’s a fact. If growing your social media presence and audience is your goal, this is the campaign for you. Requiring entrants to give you their contact information can help you grow your audience as well.
This is another very common form of influencer marketing wherein companies send products to influencers with the hopes that they will review, use, or talk about them on their platforms. This can be combined with a code or special offer for extra effect. These kinds of videos are huge on Youtube.
Tips for influencer outreach
Now that you know the types of influencers you’re looking for, the research begins.
Step one is to follow their social accounts. This will help you understand what makes them tick, which will help you outreach more successfully. Like their posts, leave comments, and your name will start to become a familiar one. Now you’re ready to reach out.
But first, let’s discuss something important. Templated outreach messages are a major no no. Personalization is the key to success. Mention what you’ve seen in their content that you like. Fully detail the reasons you think they’d be a great fit for your brand.
Another key to success: be forthcoming about how the relationship will be beneficial to both parties. Influencers will typically have their own rates for partnerships, which are most commonly calculated based on the average number of likes and comments they receive per post (aka their engagement), the number of views their posts get (aka their reach), or the number of followers they have.
Your campaign has finished and you have a bunch of data to sort through. How do you know what the markers of a successful influencer campaign are? Here are 3 important KPIs to pay attention to.
How many sales did your campaign generate? Hopefully, this will be an easy metric to track if you used a special code or link. If you didn’t go that route, you can still compare your conversions before, during, and after the campaign timeframe. Pay attention to any spikes in traffic.
If sales weren’t your goal, you can still track conversions in other forms. Filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, and clicking a link all could be considered conversions.
2. Referral Traffic
This is a good metric to help you determine how much additional traffic was sent to your website during your campaign. Google Analytics should give you plenty of insight into campaign performance. Pay attention to things like time on site, number of new visitors, and referral sources to get a more holistic view of how people got to your site and what they did while they were there.
Followers are all well and good, but having engaged followers is almost always better. Several tools can track your engagement rates for you (we love BuzzSumo) but there are several metrics to look at. Engagement consists of interactions such as likes, follows, video views, retweets, comments, and shares. Take as many social interactions into account as you can for the most holistic measurement of your campaign’s engagement.