As a hybrid of social media marketing, celebrity endorsements and word-of-mouth marketing, influencer marketing has taken the ecommerce industry by storm. This powerful marketing method is used by both small and large companies looking to reach new audiences. Discover how you can use influencer marketing to grow your ecommerce business.
Understanding the Possibilities of Influencer Marketing
Before you invest your time and energy incorporating influencer marketing into your overall marketing strategy, it’s important to understand how it works and what you’ll need in order to properly execute an influencer marketing campaign.
What’s Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a marketing method in which brands collaborate with influencers to endorse your product or services to their online community. With the goal of driving a brand’s message to a larger market, influencer marketing allows companies to inspire or hire key leaders in their industry to get the word out for them.
What’s an Influencer?
To some degree, everyone’s an influencer. An influencer is anyone who has an impact on others’ beliefs, interests, opinions or behaviors. This power of persuasion comes from their online authority, industry knowledge, position or relationship with their audience.
When it comes to social media influencers, people follow and support those who they believe to be authentic, relatable, and therefore, trustworthy. To establish this credibility, good influencers consistently release content that aligns with who they are and connects with their followers.
Types of Influencers
Ranging from celebrities with household names to your cousin who’s an online fitness guru, there are many types of influencers.
Celebrity influencers are famous outside of social media and they include people who have such large followings that they are the “elite” in the influencer world. Celebrities have follower counts in the millions and are represented by agents who act as intermediaries when setting up marketing relationships. Since celebrity influencers are so well-known, accessing their audiences can be beneficial, but also expensive.
Professionals are usually subject matter experts, like yogis, medical doctors, chefs, sports professionals, journalists and business leaders. While you could argue that some are celebrities, professional influencers usually aren’t paid for their opinions. Securing them can be significant for brands since a professional’s endorsement is genuine and therefore, more authoritative. To gain recognition from professionals, you need to use a traditional public relations strategy, as opposed to influencer marketing, in which you pitch your product like you would to a media outlet.
These influencers generally have several hundred thousand followers. They’re lesser-known celebrities or stars with large audiences, but they publish their own content across multiple social channels that receive regular audience engagement.
Micro-influencers are categorized as having between 25K to 10K followers, are actively engaged with their communities and curate highly-focused content their followers want to see. This group is most beneficial for small businesses because their influencer marketing rates are more reasonable and the effect resembles that of traditional word-of-mouth efforts.
Nano influencers have less than 10K but have an extremely niche following. Because their engagement rates are high, they can be, in some ways, more influential than a celebrity, but with a significantly lower price tag, similar to a micro influencer.
When to Use Influencer Marketing
If you’ve just launched your brand, we would not recommend soliciting the help of an influencer right out of the gate. First and foremost, make sure your customer experiences are going well, you’ve already earned online product reviews, you have legitimate product samples available, and, of course, you possess a healthy budget. With that being said, you should still start your influencer research earlier rather than later since the process of securing an influencer in your industry can take some time.
Where to Find Influencers
Influencers are on all kinds of platforms these days. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn are just some of the platforms where you can find influencers. You’ll want to identify influencers that resonate with your brand, could seemingly embody your brand’s mission and represent your target audience.
In general, identifying your influencer(s) is a manual process but there are platforms you can use to make finding influencers easier. Influencer marketing platforms provide discovery tools that can filter influencers by category, social following and cost.
How Much Does Influencer Marketing Cost?
Depending on the influencer, the cost of influencer marketing varies greatly, ranging from simply sending a product to paying them tens of thousands of dollars for a single post. Big-time celebrities like Kylie Jenner can command $1M per post while the soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo, receives upwards of $1.25M per post!
The Steps in Deploying Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is closely related to PR in that you’re pitching your idea or product to someone so they’ll cover or promote it. As with other PR efforts, consistency and professionalism are key, so be prepared to do follow-ups and some hand-holding. You’ll want to come across as a partner, a supportive person to their brand and someone that makes endorsing your product easy.
Identify influencer(s) who embody your brand and receive high engagement rates. You can identify influencers by conducting manual research methods or by using an influencer marketing platform tool.
Determine how much you’re willing to spend on the influencers(s) and ensure you have products available to be reviewed.
Establish a relationship with the influencer(s) by reaching out and pitching your brand to them or their agents. Make sure to stay consistent in your messaging, timely in your follow-ups and professional throughout the process.
Put together a product package that includes the actual product and the product information, including its purpose, how it’s used, what it’s made of and its benefits. You’ll also want to send info about the overall brand, your contact information and even, post captions/scripts. (Some influencers don’t develop with their own content and need turn-key endorsement plans.) This is helpful if you want to control the narrative so the brand’s messaging is consistent.
Other times, influencers come up with their own way to endorse or promote products. In this case, all you have to do is ship the product and wait for their review. But, gathering reviews requires follow up…
Follow-up with the influencer in case they have any questions and to ensure they go through on their promise to promote.
You should continue the relationship with your influencer(s) if possible and desired. While it’s not necessary to utilize the same influencer time and time again, you will establish greater trust with your audience in doing so.
Part of an Overall Strategy
While influencer marketing is known to bring in excellent returns, companies shouldn’t solely rely on it. Even though influencers can be responsible for an increase in social followers and sales, influencer marketing should be viewed as one part of an overall strategy. Make sure to include other marketing tactics, like paid media advertising, organic social media, email marketing, content creation and on-site SEO in order to reach more audiences and generate the best results.
Let’s Get Influential
If you need help strategizing and executing an influencer marketing plan, reach out to Enventys Partners. Our ecommerce marketing team has the experience and knowledge needed to reap positive results. To request a quote or learn more, get in touch today.
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