Influencer marketing is one of the most effective marketing initiatives for eCommerce brands, big or small. Many eCommerce companies have launched their brands with great success by partnering with influencers, just like these familiar names: Glossier, Naked Juice, and Audible.
If you’re an eCommerce brand staring down the barrel of influencer marketing, you might be wondering where to start and how to successfully integrate influencer partnerships into your larger marketing initiatives. In this article, we will outline a few tips to help you find the most effective strategy for your brand. (Hint: There is no one-size-fits-all influencer marketing strategy. However, a harmonious mix of strategy and creativity is where success can be found.)
- Look for influencers who resemble your customers
- Videos will stand out in a sea of partnerships
- You create your brand, influencers define it
- Start building influencer relationships today, and never stop
- Take your influencer campaign everywhere you go
Look for influencers who resemble your customers
Having the right influencers is half the battle. No matter how big your budget is or how creative your campaign gets, working with the wrong influencers can be frustrating and wasteful.
In order to find your ideal influencer, our top tip is to look inwards: Who resembles your customers the most?
- Demographic: Can I see this influencer using and loving my product?
- Audience: Is their audience relevant to my customer base?
- Content: Does this influencer’s content align with my values and goals?
- Aesthetics: Do I see this influencer representing my brand?
And then, of course, there are some tactical details to keep in mind:
- Authenticity: Does this influencer have real or fake followers?
- Size & Budget: Can I afford to work with this influencer?
While these guidelines are universal – there are some unique characteristics to an eCommerce model that gives your brand a slight edge when it comes to finding influencers. The superpower that you have, is the clear interconnected web between your customers and your influencers. While brick-and-mortar stores might not know exactly who walks in and out of their stores, you, on the other hand, know exactly who visits and makes purchases on your website, from an analytics perspective and through clever customer identification tools like Live Capture.
This opens up an entirely new spectrum when it comes to identifying the best possible fit for your brand: your very own, loyal, returning, product-loving brand ambassadors! So, not only are you able to look for influencers who resemble your customers but you can also collaborate with your existing customers! By looking for influencers within your customer base, you’ve already checked a few boxes on the list above: They use and love your product, which means they naturally align with your brand, and since they are already a customer, the authenticity level is unparalleled. The last step of the process is to access their social networks and see if they deem the perfect fit as your brand advocate.
Videos stand out in a sea of partnerships
As influencer marketing expanded exponentially as an industry, brands have constantly come up with new and effective ways to approach partnerships. A quick scroll through Instagram and YouTube can provide you with several inspirational angles for your next campaign: Product review, haul unboxing, or even creative ways to incorporate the products into daily life hacks and tips. Presented with these choices, you might find yourself not knowing exactly how to stand out from the crowded partnership landscape.
You’ll be please to hear that you don’t have to pick and rely on just one angle. This is where your creativity comes in to play. We do know that videos perform better on social media, which provides a powerful insight into how you can construct your campaign. According to a Mediakix study, sponsored videos receive three times the amount of comments compared to a photo. On top of that, video content is much easier to share thanks to the popularity of Instagram stories, TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube.
No matter what type of campaign you decided on, it’s important to have a strong call to action. Having an online store means that you want to turn ‘likes’ into clicks, and comments into direct purchases. You can implement this strategy through Instagram’s “tap-to-shop” function, or provide a link for your influencer to include in their swipe-up story or limited-time discount code that influencers can share with their followers.
You create your brand, influencers define it
You have worked hard on building your perfect brand and perfect product, but keep in mind that you often don’t get to communicate this directly with the customers. By making the influencer your middleman, there needs to be a lot of trust and clarity between you and the influencers in order to deliver the right message.
For influencers to act as advocates for your brand, you need to show them how. A simple way of doing so is through a campaign brief that serves as an outline for your relationship with the influencer, these documents usually include content requirements, voice, tone, time to post, and payment if agreed upon. As clear-cut as a brief is, you don’t want it to be a dry, scripted document forcing the influencer to post what you want to communicate. Instead, the beauty of influencer marketing is that you get to promote your product through their tried, tested, and much-loved perspective.
Start building influencer relationships today, and never stop
One of the biggest mistakes that brands, eCommerce or not, constantly make, is not prolonging their relationships with influencers. Much too often, we see brands increasing their influencer collaborations (good!), but not putting enough emphasis on long-term relationship building. Having a long-term relationship with your influencers means multiple, mutually beneficial, and successful partnerships, which results in saved time and effort. (Think: An influencer promoting a product once is interesting, but seeing the same person vouching for a product multiple times is far more likely to intrigue you to trust and take actions)
With that being said, campaign success is what we’re aiming for, so tracking your campaign performance is the most important way to assess which influencers help you achieve your objectives and who to say goodbye to. And if you’re very lucky, influencers who authentically love your product will keep promoting your brand without even being prompted to. (Back to our first tip – finding the right influencers is half the battle!)
Take your influencer campaign everywhere you go
Your influencer marketing strategies spread beyond the influencers’ posts. It carries weight when it comes to how you leverage your relationships with influencers and customers and turns your brand into a community. At the end of the day, social media is ultimately a place where people come together, and share. Being a brand doesn’t stop you from doing so.
When an influencer promotes your brand on their social media, don’t be afraid to comment, or share the content on your own page. Many brands also repurpose influencers’ content onto their website (with prior agreement, of course), or implement a brand-ambassador program directly with their customers. No matter what you choose to do with your influencer marketing strategies, the key is to see it as an opportunity to grow and learn as a brand. Even as trends and social media policies change over time, your understanding of what influencer marketing means for your brand will help you stay relevant and authentic.