E-commerce Influencer Marketing: A Key Channel For Maximizing Online Success

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E-Commerce marketers are faced with the challenge of getting the most from their digital marketing channels. Getting a maximum number of conversions for a minimum spend means that tried and tested marketing channels like pay per click ads, e-mail marketing, and social media ads often get the lion’s share of marketing budgets. Wherever you’re at in your influencer marketing journey, we’re here to tell you why it’s definitely worth your investment. 

Choose influencer marketing for higher engagement

Influencers are individuals who have established notoriety and a certain level of expertise in their chosen field, who have generated a strong social media following of people eager to interact with them online. They take on the role of becoming creators, collaborating on prestigious brand partnerships, sharing the latest industry news and cultivating their own personal brand to establish their credibility and unique voice. 

Their influencer status means that audiences are receptive and engaged in the content they are sharing on social media. This is where engagement rates become important for brands looking to work with influencers. An influencer’s fans will engage with their content through likes, comments and shares. The proportion of an influencer’s total followers who are actively engaging with their content will indicate the engagement rate. The higher the number of followers engaging with posts, the higher the influencer’s engagement rate overall. This is an important factor to take into account when considering the potential of working with influencers. The personable style of their content and the added value it brings to their followers means their engagement rate is often higher than that of brand accounts where content has a more corporate feel. A RivalIQ study found that influencers had a higher engagement rate on Instagram when compared to brand accounts related to fashion, beauty, home decor, alcohol and retail.

Image credit: Hootsuite

Influencer marketing promises a high ROI

As an eCommerce brand, your goals for influencer marketing will likely be centered around increasing referral traffic to your website and boosting conversions. With this in mind, influencer marketing can be a cost-effective channel. In order to have an effective influencer marketing campaign, you need not approach superstar influencers with a hefty price tag. You’ll want to target influencers with a strong engagement rate as their audiences will be more likely to convert to buying customers. According to Upfluence research, the influencers with the highest engagement rates (above the average for Instagram which is 1.6%) are those with between 15K – 100K followers. So rest assured you’re better off not approaching the expensive superstar celebrities but instead focus on the middle ground influencers with an active base of 15K – 100K followers who will be less expensive than the megastars. 

Influencer marketing gives the best ROI when brands leverage the credibility of influencers through sponsored endorsements. Trustworthy recommendations from influencers can convince many people to try a new brand for the first time and to become a returning customer. This is also why long-term influencer partnerships are the best for ROI. There is a big potential for recurring sales as brand loyalty is developed over time through influencers. Influencer partnerships provide a strong ROI in terms of sales when integrated with affiliate marketing. Using unique affiliate links and personalized promo codes to promote certain products it becomes easier to see how many direct sales are generated from the influencer content. 

Image credit: Putler

Best for brand awareness

As well as seeing success in conversions through influencer marketing, eCommerce brands should embrace it as a marketing channel to build brand awareness. Influencer created content can improve brand awareness by featuring a brand’s products as part of a personal story, making the content less a heavy-handed sales call, and more about presenting the brand in a relatable way to build awareness. @greyslittlecloset achieves this with the below post where she talks about where she goes to buy ingredients for a mother’s day cake. By linking the brands to her everyday life and making it about emotions – baking a cake as an act to show love and thanks – her audience (of mostly moms) will find it easier to relate to the brand in this way than through traditional advertising. 

Influencer partnerships build brand awareness in creative ways that showcase products and invite user interactions with branded content. For example, an Upfluence case study shows how influencers promoting Lyle’s Golden Syrup on Instagram did so by inviting their audiences to try out Halloween recipes they had created and share their experiences in the comments. 

Another example of how influencer marketing can be a champion of increasing brand awareness is by using branded hashtags as part of a campaign to encourage further interactions and user-generated content from their followers. Canon has worked with influencers using #CoCreateWithCanon in sponsored posts and using #CanonMemories to encourage those with a passion for photography to share their favorite moments captured with Canon. Encouraging users to interact with brands in this way, by making a recipe or sharing a photo, is a positive interaction that builds brand awareness and is a refreshing alternative to the call to action ‘buy now’. 

Build your brand ambassador network

How can influencers be your most effective brand ambassadors? When considering which influencers to work with to promote your eCommerce brand, typical marketing advice is to find those influencers with the highest engagement rate, who will have a potential affinity with your brand and whose target audiences mirror your own. Influencer marketing is the best channel for building an ambassador network when it goes beyond identifying influencers in your industry to leveraging the influential people in your current customer base. 

Investing in influencer marketing in this way takes out the painful part of scouring social media channels for likely influencer candidates. Instead, the idea is to find influential content creators who already love your brand, i.e your customers! This means influencer partnerships are authentic and will resonate even more with your target customer base. Customer recommendations and referrals are a well-established tool for marketing, relying on the very effective word-of-mouth amongst friends and colleagues to bring in new customers. Imagine then, that partnering with your most influential customers is scaling this up by combining the most effective elements of customer referrals and influencer marketing. 

If you’re ready to start turning your customers into organic influencers, Upfluence’s Live Capture feature can help. By capturing and analyzing the social data shared by customers purchasing from your website, you can begin to create an active network of ambassadors who already know and love your brand and are ready to promote your products.

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