Social proof is real. Customers tend to buy products recommended by other people. And it’s not enough that a product has tons of testimonials. More than the quantity, it is the quality of the reviews that matters.
This is the reason why influencer marketing is extremely effective. Instead of the company saying good things about the item, the product is being suggested by an “influencer” who generally has tons of followers. Such social proof is stronger and tends to generate more traffic and sales.
It takes a lot of time to create an online store from the ground up or to build a progressive web app, it will also require some financial investment. But promoting your store the traditional way will no longer work as these days the quality of the backlinks matters more than their quantity. You’ll want them to come from reputable sources. And luckily for you, authoratitative websites and social media channels offer great opportunities for high-quality backlinks.
However, influencer marketing can only work if you know how to do it. It takes a lot more than mass-messaging as it’s all about building relationships. In this article, you’ll learn about how to use influencer marketing to give your eCommerce store a boost.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Such a marketing tactic lies in enlisting the power of an influencer to promote a product or service. This can be a simple review or a full blown campaign in which the influencer showcases an item again and again to his followers. This campaign can be paid or done in collaboration on mutually beneficial terms. It all depends on the power of your brand in attracting the right people.
Companies with huge budgets team up with celebrities who agree to represent a product line or brand. Take a look at Dior’s “Miss Dior” line presented by Natalie Portman as an example. This approach is a bit different.
What makes the influencer marketing strategy special is that it utilizes the ability of relatable people to promote products and services. Unlike celebrities who often popularize things through paid advertisements, influencers often do so just because they like them. This makes this type of marketing more effective in encouraging more sales as these recommendations are based on a personal opinion instead of a paid promotion.
How Is Influencer Marketing Useful for Companies?
Companies are now looking for ways to start using this method since they see the value it has in generating leads and sales. You might have noticed how many companies are being featured by influencers in different social media channels. Such an approach is also handy for strengthening the brand.
When one influencer promotes a brand, the message across the niche is immediately sent. This advances not only the product but the brand, giving your company more exposure. To successfully attract influencers it is advised that you start an affiliate program.
Types of Influencers
However, they are not all the same. You have to consider the type of influencer that you are dealing with so that you can adjust your plan for promotion.
The Thought Leader
A typical social media influencer is a Thought Leader. They may be known in their niche because of their unique content or ideas. The Thought Leader’s promotion is very powerful. One promotion can result in an influx of leads and sales. However, Thought Leaders don’t just promote any product. They only promote a product if they believe it’s great. So if you have something to offer that is coherent with the views of the Thought Leader, then this is the person worth approaching.
The Friend may not be a Thought Leader. But this person has a friend who is one. This is the type of influencer that is popularized by others. Usually, influencers create a group of people with similar interests. Then, they cross-promote one another through their content. The Friend is just as important because he or she will help you connect with the entire niche network.
The Product User
This influencer may not necessarily have a ton of followers. They may appear as an ordinary but relatable user. What makes his or her recommendation powerful is in how real they are.
This realness makes the recommendations more believable. This type of influencer is perfect for new eCommerce websites that are trying to gain exposure for their business.
How to Use Influencer Marketing to Promote Your Store
Promoting your online retail website using this method is actually quite easy. Here are the 3 steps that you can follow to do that.
Step 1: Start with an End in Mind
Before you do anything, it is important to understand why you are doing influencer marketing. This is where you define your goals. Is it to increase traffic? Or is it to increase brand exposure? How many sales do you want to get? You need to take all of these aims into consideration before you proceed with the creation of your campaign.
Step 2: Choose the Right Influencer
You need to know the type of influencer that you should work with. This will ultimately depend on your budget and goals. If you have a smaller budget, you might want to approach micro influencers instead of Thought Leaders. micro influencers are usually product users with a smaller number of followers.You can use tools to look for influencers. As such, one of the tools is Heepsy that makes it simple to search for suitable people based on location and sphere.
Step 3: Select Your Channel
Influencers work through different channels. Some of them have blogs while others have Youtube channels. Some of them work solely on images through Instagram or Pinterest. The key is to choose a channel that is most compatible with your goal.
If you sell visually appealing products, you may want to work with Instagram or Pinterest influencers. If you work with products that need demonstration, you may want to work with Youtube influencers instead. The key is to choose a channel that is most compatible with your products and goals.
10 Creative Ways to Get Influencers to Collaborate with Your eCommerce Website
Getting an influencer to promote you is not as easy as selecting a channel. You will need to be more creative than that. Here are 10 ideas on how you can get the person to say “yes” to your offer.
1. Start a Referral Program
One of the easiest ways to get an influencer to promote you is to have a referral program. The core of a referral program is referral software. This will give them a reason to promote you to their followers. With this program, they only need to refer a few people to your site and they get a reward. You can even combine this with a contest where the influencer can win high-ticket items for their promotions.
2. Launch an Exclusive Discount Code
Another strategy implemented by businesses is they run an exclusive discount code for influencers. This is usually a code that contains the brand’s name and the influencer’s name.
You kill two birds with one stone. First, you will give the influencer’s followers a reason to visit your store. Next, it helps the person show his followers that brands contact them. Also, this will help them command higher prices for their promotion services.
3. Ask for a Review
A simple way to approach an influencer is to ask what they think about your product. All you need to do is look for a way to send them products and ask them if they can give their honest opinion about them. This may seem simple. But a positive review from an influencer can often result in a wave of new customers if done correctly.
4. Collaborate with Your Audience
Another way to work with influencers is to collaborate with them. This can be in the form of an event or through a new product. This is good for creative niches such as fashion where you give the influencer more than just a boost in promotion. You also give them a chance to create their own products. This is an offer that is really hard to refuse.
5. Create a Contest
Another way to get an influencer on board is to ask them to run a contest with you. Such an online contest can allow you to get more followers for your website. This is the type that you often see in social channels. For instance, this is where an influencer asks you to follow a particular channel and theirs and you get a chance to win a prize in return. It’s simple and easy to do. And all it takes is to just approach an influencer if they are interested to work with you.
6. Hold an Event
Another way to ask an influencer to promote your product for you is to run an event together. Events are there for more than just to celebrate a particular niche. This can also help you to reach out to more than just one influencer. Sure, an event may be quite costly. But if you can invite several influencers at the same time, then it is worth it.
PRO TIP: You don’t need to run a huge conference for the event to be effective. You can run a small exclusive dinner for influencers and it will be enough to get people to promote you.
7. Hire an Influencer to Review Your Products
Sometimes, an influencer will need some form of payment to work with you. That’s okay if you have the budget to spare. With this, you no longer need to wait for their reply when you ask them to review your products. They already have a reason to work with you.
8. Run a Cause
Another approach is to run a cause. Some influencers stand for certain causes. For example, there are several vegan influencers on Youtube. So if you run a cause for animals and invite them to work with you, they will have a reason to collaborate.
9. Find a Brand Ambassador
You can also invite an influencer to become a brand ambassador. This is where you ask them for more than just a promotion. Instead, you ask them to be the representative of your company.
This is good if you already have a reputable brand. But even if you are building your brand from the ground up, it is always prestigious for an influencer to become a brand ambassador. This will allow your business to build lasting relationships with influencers. As an example, Clinique currently has Emilia Clarke as their brand ambassador for the Clinique ID products.
10. Craft a Unique Experience
One restaurant has a unique experience to offer. They offer dinner in the sky. To promote their restaurant, they invited some of the top vloggers in the niche. This is a good move because it gets them free promotion from a simple dinner. What makes the offer attractive is that it is unique. This encourages the influencers to take the offer.
With this, it is important to create a unique experience for your target influencers. It is not enough to ask them to “fleet-up” your business. You need to give them a solid reason to do so by inviting them to experience unique things on-the-house.
As you can see, there are so many creative ways to strengthen your brand through influencer marketing. This is a great way to grow your business if done correctly. It will help you tap into a stream of followers that you would not have reached without this method.
About the Author
Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento development services and Salesforce. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.