How to use influencer marketing to drive eCommerce sales
What is influencer marketing?
So let's start off with what influencer marketing is! It’s the practice of working with well-known social media influencers that can help you grow your brand and online presence quickly. You are able to utilise their social media following for your own gain as the audience is already there for you.
So let's say you are a start up makeup brand; you would use beauty influencers on social media to spread the word about your product to the type of audience you want to attract. People follow social media influencers who have the same interests as them and pretty much love every product that the influencer loves too.
Ensure influencer marketing is in your marketing strategy as it will enable you to generate new sales and ensure your content is in front of a new, very relevant, audience.
The problem most eCommerce stores have is budget, you may not have enough to partner with the likes of Kim Kardashian unless you have $300,000 - $500,000 spare; so this is where micro influencers come into play. They may not have 212 million followers like Kimmy K, but these micro influencers pack a bigger punch than you’d think as their audiences are much more targeted to a specific niche, so your brand may benefit from working with them.
Benefits of using influencers for your business?
There are SO many benefits to leveraging influencers for your brand; they have already built trust and credibility with their audience. With this in mind, getting your brand in front of a relevant influencer who could help to promote your company and products should be a crucial part of your strategy.
This moves nicely onto brand awareness; as we have said above, using influencers can expand your reach and positioning online. Your content will be placed in front of people who are already interested in your niche which means you won’t have to spend money on finding what audiences work for you. Not everyone buys straight away, they normally have multiple touch points with your brand before they purchase. You can see these statistics for your brand in Google Analytics under Conversions > Multiple Channel Funnels > Path Length.
My favourite benefit of using influencers is that you are able to use their content to fill your own social media and marketing which means double the content! Influencers tend to carefully construct their content to appeal to their target audience - this means that by resharing their content - you’ve got half the work to do as you’re sharing extremely manicured posts done for you! Make sure your contracts with influencers are clear and concise, be sure to state that whatever content they create is actually yours so you can repurpose it. You will be able to use this content to retarget your products to customers meaning more bang for your buck!
All of the above is helpful for your marketing efforts - but a little known fact is that influencer marketing can also aid your SEO efforts! Working with influencers enables your business to generate targeted backlinks for your website - which of course can help improve your site’s rankings. Social shares and general engagement with content is a good signal to search engines that your site is worthwhile and that they should rank it higher for relevant terms - this will increase your website’s direct site visits.
Finally, influencer marketing also increases the chances of your content being shared by your target audience via their social profiles - so it’s a win win for all! The main takeaway from this is that you are not limited to just the content and initial exposure the influencer generates for you. There are wider marketing effects this can have which will benefit the business.
Where to find influencers?
You can do a lot of research on who your target audience is first. Ensure you determine who you are trying to influence and what your audience is interested in online. So let’s say you have a garden eCommerce store; research who your audience follows on social media, what platform they used the most and where they read reviews.
Finding the right influencers is crucial in your marketing strategy, otherwise you are wasting your money. The influencer first and foremost must believe in your brand’s values and will represent your brand authentically to their followers. You need to ensure that the influencer is targeting the same audience as you want.
So again let’s say you have a gardening eCommerce store; don’t just assume your target audience follows Monty Don and that would be the perfect influencer for you. Dig a little deeper to see who your audience is really influenced by because it may not be obvious.
Once you have a clear idea of who your target audience is influenced by on social media, it’s time to look into finding the perfect influencers who can promote and sell your product! All of the blog posts and articles online talk about using paid tools such as BuzzSumo, but for us the most useful and FREE way to find relevant influencers is by utilising social media itself.
You are able to find any sort of influencer you want on social media by searching with hashtags, to put it in technical terms they are just like keywords for SEO. You can filter through the noise on social media, particularly Instagram and TikTok, by searching for your influencer with particular hashtags. Social media influencers utilise hashtags to reach more people online, so the more concise the better.
So if you own a luxury home interiors store where you sell luxury beds or mirrored furniture, try using hashtags such as #luxurymirroredwardrobe #luxurygreybed #luxuryhomedecor. These will take you to people who are posting for those particular items. From here you are able to find influencers large and small.
As I have said above don’t discredit micro influencers with a few thousand followers as they have more of an impact than you think. Not only will you be able to find influencers and potential customers but also your competitors.
Another way into exploring hashtags is finding sponsored content that influencers are posting on social media. Instagram in particular requires all influencers to used #sponsored or #ad within their content, whether that be on their stories, videos or content on their grid. You are able to filter through these particular hashtags to find influencers in your niche.
You’ve found your influencers, so how do you leverage influencer marketing to boost sales?
Yay, you’ve found influencers who share your brand’s values, create amazing content and really engage with their followers online. Now it’s time to get to the fun part where we tell you the multiple ways to collaborate with the influencers that you have found.
Gifting and discount codes
Everyone loves a freebie but particularly influencers; they are more inclined to share your product online if they didn’t have to purchase it themselves. Just be wary as they have no obligation to post your product so be clear in the brief that you are wanting them to post with the right captions and hashtags.
In addition to gifting; add in an incentive that their followers can take advantage of, such as a discount code for your online store. It doesn’t have to be over 50% off, a standard extra 10% off of your products can really entice their followers to purchase from your site.
Competitions and Giveaways
This is the most effective way to increase brand awareness and engagement. Influencers will use their social media accounts to announce giveaways, ensure the rules to enter are clear and then promote it until the winner is announced. People love to win free stuff online and we see it on our feeds everyday. Through this tactic, you are able to win the attention of your target audience; be sure to come up with rules that ensure your content/brand is shared by your audience as this will enable you to expand your reach even further.
For example from the Instagram post below, this influencer collaborated with Alice’s Wonders to give away two of their products to the influencer’s followers. To enter the competition all the participants had to do was ‘like’ the post, follow both the influencer and company on social media, tag three friends and share on their own Instagram stories. At the end of the post, the influencer made sure to be clear about when the competition would be ending.
Leverage the use of video
Video has become an extremely popular tool on social media thanks to TikTok, even Instagram caught on and created its own version called Reels. This is an amazing way to get more content for your own brand as well as influencers using this on their own profiles.
Get the influencer to demonstrate how your product works or even an unboxing video. If the product is well packaged, people are more likely to watch the video which not only entices them to purchase the product, but it actually helps the influencer with their engagement. The longer the person is on their post, the better engagement rate, which boosts their video to the top of the featured page.
Testimonials to validate your credibility
You have the ability to work with influencers to get real feedback about your products. These can be in written format or a video that you are able to use on your own social media, customer emails and on your site. A positive testimonial will make your business a credible brand and will entice customers to purchase your products. Their audience really trusts their opinion, so what better way to promote your brand by letting an influencer talk about how amazing your product is?
Beauty Works have even gone further and created a category page where their customers can shop what influencers are currently loving.
Social Media Takeovers
An influencer social media takeover is where the influencer takes over the business’ social media platforms for a certain period of time and posts various content on your behalf. The influencer usually promotes this takeover on their own social media platforms to direct them to your brand’s social media. This strategy increases your chances of gaining new followers and helps with visibility.
If you don’t feel comfortable in sharing your social media passwords to the influencer you can get them to create the content which then you can post on their behalf. You will see a lot of beauty influencers participate in social media takeovers to share a new makeup look or regime that features the products.
Real influencer marketing campaigns that did AMAZING!
We have put together our favourite social media influencer campaigns that we just had to share with you all. Every collaboration, big or small, is well thought out and is pretty much a win win, whether that be an increase in conversion, brand awareness or just telling your audience your brand values.
HelloFresh X Micro-influencers
HelloFresh is an aesthetically pleasing brand that consists of pre-packaged ingredients for people to make carefully constructed meals without having to buy all of the ingredients. It is targeted towards people who may not be great at cooking or don’t have a lot of time/creativity to make unique meals every day.
HelloFresh have fully embraced the value of influencer marketing as we are seeing SO many influencers on Instagram promote their brand - and if you think they’re all food bloggers, you’d be wrong. HelloFresh is sending out their products to all types of influencers; whether they are beauty gurus, mummy bloggers or fashionistas… they are all raving about it!
Why it works
HelloFresh gets influencers to share their experiences by sharing videos of how to cook with HelloFresh and pictures of the final result. The influencers ask their followers to sign up for the service using their own unique promotion code that offers them a discount on the customer’s first month. This makes it easy for HelloFresh to track each influencer's ROI to see whether that influencer is right for them.
Tk-Maxx of course has been shut due to the pandemic, but not that many people know they can still get their home interior fix on its eCommerce store. Tk-Maxx collaborated with a home interior influencer to promote their online store. They simply gifted the influencer a couple of products of her choice that would work well in her home and in return asked her to create a few social content pieces.
Well that same day the influencer had posted about Tk-Maxx on her social media, the products actually sold out because it was so popular due to her post on Instagram.
Why it works
Shade is a very influential interior home influencer, and whilst she doesn’t have an extremely large following, the followers she does have are all there for her home content. She is a regular customer of Tk-Maxx which makes her the ideal influencer. Tk-Maxx were able to track the products they had gifted to see how many others would be also.
Shark x Mrs Hinch
The cleaning realm on social media is bigger than ever before thanks to Mrs Hinch. She has been known to completely sell products out and they are from BIG brands! Shark saw strong growth when Mrs Hinch first promoted their brand, so of course they gifted her whatever she wanted after as they knew how much she already loved the brand. She now has dedicated stories saved on her Instagram profile so her followers can see how and what Shark product she uses along with swipe up links to purchase.
Why it works
Of course Mrs Hinch is a very well-known social media influencer; not only does she support the massive brands but also small businesses. Her following is growing everyday and seems to be extremely influential in the cleaning and home sector. Anything she promotes either sells out such as her Lenor scent products and the most popular Shark Handheld Hoover.
The digital landscape has taken a rapid shift, those not keeping up are wasting their money and time. Influencer marketing is a powerful weapon and when it’s done right will boost your brand awareness and drive positive online conversions. Use the tips in this post to build and execute a fool proof influencer marketing campaign to take your business to the next level.
Like what you read? Then let’s see how we can work together.