A few years ago, the influencer marketing space was a preserve of celebrities plus a few dedicated bloggers. Fast-forward to today, anyone has the potential to become an influencer. It could be a popular video vixen on Instagram, a healthy living blogger on Twitter, or even a respected offshore developer on LinkedIn. What makes these individuals influential is their massive online following. And this large audience is what most businesses are looking for to market their products or services target.
As an e-commerce business looking to build awareness and boost sales, maintaining a strong online presence is an absolute necessity. And one of the ways to achieve this is through influencer marketing. This is a true, tried, and tested e-commerce strategy that has seen small retailers like Aveeno body lotion boost their global sales by using influencers like Jennifer Aniston.
With that said, most businesses find the price tag of celebrity endorsements overly cost-prohibitive. However, there are multiple other aspects of influencer marketing that they can explore to develop a similar e-commerce strategy.
In this article, we are going to look at what is influencer marketing, how it works, how to partner with an influencer, and how you can reap the benefits of influencer marketing.
Right off the bat…
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of SMM strategy that employs product endorsements and mentions from social influencers to reach a larger market. This marketing model borrows a leaf from the celebrity endorsement playbook and uses popular platforms to promote business messages and products.
And although celebrities and influencers serve a similar role when promoting brands, influencers are relatively more effective because of their level of specificity. Their adeptness in specific areas allows businesses partnering with them to reach a much more targeted demographics.
Different Types of Influencers
Finding the right influencers that are relevant to your brand is excruciatingly challenging especially if you are clueless about the different influencer segments.
Below are a few examples of the different types of influencers and their variabilities:
Mega Influencers: These types of influencers command a large audience and are more famous than influential. The biggest problem with mega influencers is the fact that they don’t have to engage.
Macro Influencers: Unlike mega influencers, macro influencers’s fame is largely attributed to viral videos, podcasts, or blogs.
Micro Influencers: To these types of influencers, the following size really doesn’t count. What matters to them is quality of the audience. And although they may have a relatively small following, their expertise, insights, and guidance wield much influence.
Advocates: They are a special breed of influencers that use their platforms to speak positively about a particular brand. They will also jump into conversations surrounding your brand to either defend or promote it.
4 Ways Influencer Marketers Can Help Increase Your Sales
Along with the fact that influencers are much less expensive compared to celebrities, they can also help increase the sale of your products in the following ways:
More than ever, the number of people purchasing products online continues to rise. According to Statista, an estimated 1.8 b people around the world made online purchases. During the same period, the global e-commerce sales reached an all-time high of 2.8t, with the amount projected to hit the $4.8 trillion mark by 2021.
The tremendous growth of online purchases together with preferential consumer preference presents businesses with massive e-Commerce opportunities. Through the endorsement and mentions of influencer marketers, e-Commerce platforms gain “street credibility” among the influencer’s loyal fans and—by extension—more sales.
Influencer marketing model works because these influencers have built a large trust-based social media following over a period of time. With their powerful persuasion skills, they can rally and convince their raving fans to buy and follow brands that are featured on their platforms.
This clarion call from the influencers also helps cement your credibility and position your brand as the leader in your respective niche.
Eliminate Interruptive Advertising
Another reason why influencer marketing works is its non-intrusive nature. True to this, 84% of millennials in the US have expressed their mistrust towards traditional advertising and dislike for unwanted ads. Social media being the inherent habitat for the influencers, they are able to push your products to a more targeted demographic in an organic and non-obtrusive manner.
This unmetered experience helps drive tangible sales as it makes your customers feel relaxed and not violated by spammy ads while navigating on your platform.
Boost Your Social Visibility Through SEO
A recent report by MarketingProfs indicates that user-generated content is responsible for 25% of the total search engine results from the world’s 20 largest companies. An influential social marketer not only gives your brand better social visibility but also help boost your search engine rankings. With online customers increasingly gravitating towards more personal relationships with brands, collaborating with social influencers trigger conversations about your brand, which also helps boost sales.
Tips On Identifying And Approaching A Top Influencer Marketer
Not all influencer marketers are created equal. There are those who will work with just about any brand in exchange for free products or money. Then there are the principled influencers whose thinking goes beyond compensation and also mind about the brands they collaborate with.
Which brings us to the first point…
Set An Objective
The influencer you choose to collaborate with and the subsequent content can make or break the final outcome of your campaign. This is particularly important in an area like offshore development where the influencer may be located in a different geographical region. As such, setting clear objectives and laying down your expectations from the campaign is important.
Are you looking to improve sales? Do you want your campaign to generate a high ROI? Or are you simply looking to spark conversation around your brand? By answering all these questions, you get to lay a solid foundation for your entire influencer marketing strategy.
Pick The Right Influencer
When picking an influencer marketer to partner with, ensure that you are operating within the same niche or industry. This eliminates audience mismatch and guarantees that your product is placed in front of the relevant audience. Alongside that, you can also hire an offshore web developer to help you build an influencer marketing software that supplements the efforts of the influencer marketer.
Prioritize Your Content
Once you have finalized the terms of engagement, start focusing on the quality of content produced. This is because it is the cornerstone of every successful influencer marketing campaign.
Regardless of how popular the influencer is, your main focus should be creating interesting content that offers value to your customers. And while at it, it’s always advisable to give the creative influencer liberty to inject their magic touch to the content. After all, they have a better idea of the kind of content that their followers resonate with.
Help Them Grow Their Audience
The hard cold truth about influencer marketers is the fact that they prefer some form of monetary compensation for the services rendered, and understandably so. If someone puts in some good words about your brand or lender their expertise towards growing it, the least you can do is reciprocate.
( 69.74% Monetary compensation per post / 11.50% free products to see if I like the brand / 10.52% other / 4.08% ads on my blog / 3.56 affiliate partneship )
With that said, there are other ways to reward your influencer for their input. Using the previous example of a developer, you can offer product/service discounts, giveaway commission, or even give a shout out to their offshore software development company.
Gone are the days when influencer marketing was all about simple product or service shout outs. An intentional and strategically executed influencer marketing campaign can help your business generate leads, drive conversions, boost brand awareness, and underwrite customer loyalty.
However, despite investing huge sums of money in influencer marketing campaigns, some companies still find it hard to gain traction. The secret to creating a successful marketing campaign is establishing a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties. As a business, rather than partnering with an influencer marketer and leaving them to deliver the results, working alongside each other can help formulate a realistic strategy to grow your audience and brand. You can also hire a software developer offshore to create influencer marketing software to supplement your customer targeting efforts.