Many ecommerce store owners are happy to concentrate on their PPC and digital marketing efforts, but they’re pretty reluctant to try out other forms of marketing.
Put yourself in their shoes for a minute: Let’s say you’re investing $1,000 on your Adwords campaigns and getting $2,000 worth of profit from said campaigns per month. This means you’re reaping a 100% ROI, which is pretty fantastic, so you stick to what you’re doing and refrain from rocking the boat. After all, why bother fixing something when it ain’t broken, right?
Sorry, but I’m about to give you some serious FOMO with my next sentence: According to a 2016 study, influencer marketing generates 11 times the ROI of traditional digital marketing.
Nope, that isn’t a typo. Here’s the deal:
Influencer marketing is super effective in generating sales and if you don’t start experimenting with it, you’re leaving serious money on the table.
So, how do you work with influencers to promote your products and how do you run effective campaigns?
Read on to find out!
How to Work with Influencers Step 1: Find the Right Influencer
Many ecommerce store owners and marketing folks don’t realize this, but finding an influencer to work with your brand isn’t as straightforward as it seems. You want to use all the screening methods at your disposal to ensure you find the right fit, but you don’t want to screen your potential influencers just by how huge their followings are, engage them for a campaign, and then realize that they’re completely wrong for your brand. (Or worse, they bought their followers)
This brings us to the question: Other than checking out the size of your influencer’s following, what other things do you need to look out for?
Firstly, consider the demographics of their following. This isn’t rocket science: If you’re selling women’s products and your influencer has a predominantly male following, that’s obviously not the right choice. Other important demographics could include age, where they’re located, what language they speak and their interests.
Secondly, look at the other brands that your influencer is promoting. If you sell luxury handbags that retail for over a thousand dollars and your influencer has previously promoted inexpensive phone cases, then they also might not be the right fit.
Apart from looking at what types of brands your influencer works with, do also look at how frequently your influencer posts ads and other sponsored content. Here’s why this is important: An influencer who focuses on monetizing their following at all costs might end up being judged as less “real” and “authentic”. When that happens, the influencer’s followers are likely to see whatever new brand this influencer is promoting as just their latest gig, rather than a brand that’s truly worth checking out.
Thirdly, consider whether your influencer’s personality is aligned with your brand. If you’re a family-friendly brand, find an appropriate influencer that can appeal to the whole family. On the other hand, if you’re an edgy, hip or experimental brand, find an influencer who can match your energy and spirit.
Last but not least, do some research on your influencer using Social Blade. If you haven’t heard about Social Blade, this is a tool that allows you to deduce (with relative accuracy!) whether an influencer has purchased followers in the past.
Here’s how it works:
Simply plug your influencer’s YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram handle into the website and look at the resulting graph. If it has a fairly gentle slope, like the one below, then your influencer likely hasn’t purchased any followers.
But if you see huge falls and spikes on your influencer’s graph, like this one below, it’s likely that the influencer has bought followers to inflate their numbers. If this is the case, it may be in your best interest to steer clear of them if you’re looking to create a successful influencer marking campaign.
So, where do you actually find influencers? Check out services such as Influence.co, OpenSlate, Grapevine, and Famebit. These are all databases that can help you find influencers who are the right fit for your brand.
Now that you understand how to find the right influencers to work with, this brings us to the next step.
How to Work with Influencers Step 2: Be Open to Inputs from Your Influencer
I know you have brand guidelines that you want to stick closely to but that doesn’t mean that you should just give your influencer a predetermined script and have them copy & paste it to their social media channels. Think about it:
- You’ve already put in the time to make sure that your influencer is a great fit for your brand.
- The fact that your influencer has a substantial following shows that they understand the type of content that their audience is receptive to.
- They also clearly have the ability to frame things in a way that makes their audience sit up and pay attention.
So why wouldn’t you want to take their feedback into consideration when crafting your campaign?
Before deciding on the specifics of your campaign, I’d recommend checking in with your influencer and asking them the following questions:
- What’s the most effective sponsored content you’ve done in the past, and what made this campaign so effective?
- What types of content do your followers love to see?
- What types of content do your followers best relate to?
- How can we frame our products in a way that makes sense to your followers?
Your influencer knows what’s best for their audience and you know what’s best for your brand, so when you’re partnering with influencers make sure to get their input.
How to Work with Influencers Step 3: Create a Compelling Campaign
Now that you’ve gotten the necessary inputs from your influencer, it’s time to put your campaign together. A word of advice: Make sure you do something that’s personal and non-generic.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself into just getting your influencer to post a simple picture on Instagram for your brand, do something different. For example:
- Get your influencer to go behind-the-scenes (For example: If you’re a company that sells snacks online, get your influencer to join your official taste-testing team for a day!)
- Come up with an “Ask (Name of Influencer)” column on your company’s blog where your readers can write in with questions that your influencer will then answer. Be sure to partner up with an influencer who actually has some expertise in your industry!
- Launch a new line of products or a special edition version of your products that’s co-designed with your influencer
But what if you can’t afford the time, or the larger budget, required for these more elaborate campaigns and you still feel as though sticking with Instagram shoutouts are the best option for your brand? In that case, go ahead and partner with your influencer to create Instagram shoutouts but be more selective about the caption and try and have your influencer come up with a caption that actually speaks to their personality and not just a caption with a generic, and personality-less, discount code.
All it takes is a little effort and creativity and you’ll be able to create a compelling campaign with your influencer!
How to Work with Influencers Step 4: Amplify the Content
When your campaign finally goes live, it’s time to amplify it! Bear this in mind: You can have the best content in the world, but it won’t matter unless you have the proper distribution. So how do you amplify your content?
Once your influencer has posted on their social media channels, share the post using your company’s accounts, and get your employees to share the post as well. For best results (especially on Facebook!), make sure you do the sharing ASAP. What’s the rationale behind this?
When a piece of content gets shared multiple times within a few minutes of it being uploaded, this tells Facebook that people want to see more of it. As a result, Facebook’s algorithm will prioritize this content, and push it out so that it appears on more newsfeeds.
In addition to this, you can also run paid ads on Facebook Ads or Google Adwords. Either have your ads showcase your campaign with your influencer (check out point 8 of these Facebook ad examples below) or go ahead and run product-based ads that feature your influencer in them or a testimonial from them.
Final Thoughts on How to Work with Influencers
You can have the best product in the world, but at the end of the day, it simply isn’t going to be enough if you’re the only one rooting for your brand. You need to have others rooting for you, too and influencers are one of the best ways to get the word out fast and effectively! Just remember the statistic mentioned at the beginning of this article: Influencer marketing generates 11 times the ROI of traditional digital marketing. That’s game-changing stuff, for real.
In case you’re still skeptical, here’s a real-life example for you: Back in 2011, when watch brand Daniel Wellington was just founded, it was a humble startup that nobody knew about. Fast forward a few years later, they’re one of the most recognizable watch brands in the world and they’re worth $220 million. How did they do it? Through influencer marketing!
If you want to be the next Daniel Wellington of your industry, the way forward is simple: Find your perfect influencer, pick their brain, come up with a compelling campaign, then amplify it as much as you can. Full steam ahead!