Influencer marketing has been a huge buzzword in the business world as of late. The unprecedented rise of social media has brought this concept to new heights. We see it every day. Popular figures are used to promote everything from cosmetics and food, to cars and lifestyle brands to their massive followings.
While celebrity endorsements are certainly nothing new, influencer marketing in the age of social media and e-commerce is unique because it focuses on increasing targeted traffic in niche audiences through the people and brands whose words hold significant pull. As a result, the spectrum of what defines an influencer is much more diverse.
Influencer marketing is very enticing to small brands who are searching for new customers. After all, it boasts of ROI rates that are 11 times higher than traditional marketing strategies. However, competition can be extremely high, along with the risks involved in executing a successful campaign. Depending on the reach, personality, and promotion style, you don’t always know what you will get with an influencer.
If you are contemplating the idea of using influencer marketing for e-commerce, there are many things to keep in mind. Here are some quick steps to follow to keep you on track for success.
Find the Right Fit
The most critical step to planning an influencer strategy is the first one. Before you contact anyone, you must be able to answer these questions:
- Who exactly are the customers you are trying to reach?
- Where do they consume content?
- What kind of content resonates with them?
Understanding the audience is essential before you can start advertising to them. If you don’t know what their interests are or what motivates their purchases, then there is little chance that you can find the influencer that will reach them.
This means you need to start out by defining the demographics of your customers, especially with information like age and location. If your business is on social media, Facebook Audience Manager is an especially helpful tool for important customer insights.
Twitter has a similar tool that shows you what types of categories interest your audience the most based on the accounts they follow.
Once you figure out the type of customer profiles your ecommerce business is geared toward, brainstorm the types of influencers they would ideally be interested in. Make sure that these influencers have a logical connection to your business’s brand and product as well. For instance, a healthy lifestyle account would not promote unhealthy snacks or a software service that has no relevance to their followers. Even if they did, the people exposed to this messaging wouldn’t likely be interested.
Promote in Every Small Way
Once you’ve identified the influencer accounts to work with, it’s time to design a content strategy to funnel consumers to your online store. Start by creating posts that will highlight all of the exciting features your product has to offer. Studies show that posts with video have the highest reach numbers on social media, while photos have higher engagement.
Try using a mix of both. Include featured content in the influencer’s short-term posts, like Instagram Stories or Snapchat creatively.
One of the most important details you must include if you want your strategy to take off is the proper links that make it easy for people to take action in as few steps as possible. Studies have found that more customers complete an online purchase when the entire process is just five steps or less, so include links that head directly to your money pages.
This has become simple for today’s online retailers – ecommerce platforms like Shopify include the whole barrage of integrated digital marketing options, which facilitate content promotion with mobile readiness, blogging and social media integration. For example, your influencers could easily put up a Buy button that leads directly to your product page from a Facebook post or a message on Facebook Messenger.
Mix Up and Measure the Results
The tricky thing about influencer marketing is that each influencer reaches a specific niche market. While this can mean tremendous growth or visibility to an audience that your business may have never reached before, it is still limited.
Don’t get caught up in using just one influencer or one platform. This will severely restrict your potential reach, and it could hurt the success of your strategy overall. Your customers are everywhere; therefore, you need to be everywhere too!
One of the worst things any marketing strategy these days can be is one-dimensional. The more you branch out with your content, the more visibility you will get. Also branch out to different markets by connecting with various influencers that touch different demographics.
Experiment with several platforms instead of just sticking to Facebook or Instagram. Try out other digital marketing channels, such as ecommerce SEO, as well as multiple forms of content, such as blog posts and video tutorials, to keep your audience engaged and interested.
Finally, you must stay on top of the results of your influencer efforts if you want to make sure your strategies are worth the effort. Start by setting detailed goals and milestones beforehand. In terms of ecommerce, this will more than likely translate to sales numbers and click-through rates.
There are a lot of tools – like NeoReach and GroupHigh – that are specifically designed for influencer marketing campaigns. These tools not only help you find potential influencers to partner with based on their past results, but also generate automatic reports that break down complicated datasets into charts and graphs that are easy to understand.
Using these kinds of tools, you can measure KPIs. KPIs can be in relation to things like revenue brought to your ecommerce store against budget spent on influencer ads. These are just the basics of measuring influencer ROIs. As success varies from situation to situation, be sure to educate yourself beforehand and have data-backed expectations prior to starting out.
I Will Leave You with This
Going down the influencer marketing route is a great strategy for many ecommerce businesses and retail brands. It’s a great way to make your brand stand out from the crowd and promote your online catalog in a fun and exciting way. The most important step of the process is to always keep your audience in mind. This is as true when you’re designing your campaign as well as when you are executing your campaign. As long as your chosen influencer (or your content team) creates engaging content that actually connects with your customers, the results are sure to follow!
Avinash Nair is a digital marketer at E2M, India’s premium content marketing agency. He specializes in Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing Marketing services. You can find him on Twitter: @AviNair52