You’ve likely heard about influencer marketing before, but do you know exactly what it is and what it could do for your brand? Have you thought about working with influential people in your industry but aren’t sure how to find the right people or how to reach out to them? That is the case for many ecommerce brands that are looking for additional ways to market their products.
Instagram has become one of the best channels for influencer marketing. With over 400 million monthly active users and an average of 80 million photos shared each day, it has become one of the top visual platforms for brands and marketing of all kinds.
A recent change to Instagram has also reignited the influencer marketing discussion. A new algorithm is being put into practice soon that will show posts not in chronological order, but instead based on “the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.” If you are a new ecommerce brand just starting to develop a presence and build a following, you may end up not showing up high on many people’s feeds (all posts will still be shown on Instagram, just in a different order). What this means is that you will need to look into other avenues for being discovered on Instagram. One way of course is via paid advertising, but another is influencer marketing.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, influencer marketing is simply the act of teaming up with an “influencer” and having them promote your product/brand in some fashion. This influencer is someone who is relevant to your industry and has a large following of people of his or her own. As consumers, we aren’t always super trusting when it comes to brands or advertisements. In fact, a recent study shows 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. What’s great about influencer marketing is that you are “advertising” in a way that is more based on word of mouth and peer influence. You might not trust a brand that says their product is great, but you are likely to trust a friend, or a popular blogger you follow, who says the product is great.
Additionally, there are countless statistics on how much people are using social media, as well as how they use it when making decisions about products to buy. 90% trust peer recommendations, and 84% will take action based on the opinion of others. If you are unsure about how to begin influencer marketing, keep these steps in mind.
Determine your niche
Before you can reach out to relevant influencers, you need to first fully understand what your niche is as a brand. Figure out who you are, and who you should be marketing to. Beyond your own brand however, it is also a good idea to research your competition. Take some time to discover other brands that are similar to your own to see their strategy and any influencers they may be using. This isn’t about copying what another brand does, but instead about being fully knowledgeable of the industry. The more information you have ahead of time, the better off you will be as you develop a strategy.
Find influencers in your industry
This step isn’t just about finding people who have a large amount of followers and asking them to promote your brand. You have a target audience in mind, and your goal is to find influencers who are already reaching that audience. No matter what category your brand belongs to, there will be someone out there who promotes the type of lifestyle and has the same type of following as you are looking for.
A good way to find these influencers is by looking through relevant hashtags and finding images/users who have a lot of followers and engagement. This will help ensure you are connecting with people in the correct industry. In the image above, Instagram user Amra Olević (@amrezy) is a highly prominent beauty and fashion influencer. While there is no denying her impressive presence, as she has over 4 million followers, she would not be the perfect influencer for just any brand. Stay focused on your industry and find the best examples of people who could represent and promote your brand honestly.
Determine your goals
Finding an influencer is just the beginning of the process! And in fact, before you reach out to anyone, you should have a clear goal in mind of what you want accomplished from the collaboration. Are you looking for one post from an influencer, or a series of posts? How much are you willing to spend for their help? Also- what sort of timeline do you have in mind? These are the types of questions any good influencer would ask anyways, but it’s good to have a solid plan in place ahead of time. While you want to give the influencer a good amount of creative control, you also should bring something to the table and know what you consider to be nonnegotiable.
Incorporate your social media
While the goal with influencer marketing is to get your brand highlighted on other pages, there is nothing wrong with sharing the posts on your feed as well! Influencer posts are usually very creative and visually appealing, so be sure to incorporate those posts into your original content as well. Make sure you ask for permission before reposting, or negotiate up front that their images will also be shared on your page. In a similar manner, even if you don’t enter into an official partnership with an influencer, look for users who are tagging you in their photos, and if the image is nice, ask for permission to repost it! FIJI Water is a great example of a page that has plenty of original content, but also reposts a lot of images from users.
Track your progress
Finally, whenever you make a deal with an influencer, make sure you track the success of the campaign. For example, you may spend a lot of money to have a top blogger in your industry post an image using your product. The image itself may get a lot of likes and comments, but if it doesn’t result in gaining you any new followers or increasing traffic to your website, was the collaboration successful? Make sure you measure things like how many new followers you gain, increases in website traffic, and of course if there is an increase in actual conversions. You may have to “shop around” to find the right influencer(s) who are connected with your target audience, but it is worth the effort to find the right fit.