“Influencers” – you’ve probably heard the term before. Heck, you might even know a few influencers yourself! But what exactly is an ecommerce influencer? And why is there all this hype around them?
There’s a lot to get to, and we’ve got it all laid out for your right here. Learn all there is to know about influencer marketing in this fully-fledged guide. Let’s go!
What is influencer marketing in eCommerce?
Influencer marketing in ecommerce is a strategy for generating leads whereby you pay individuals who are popular on certain social media platforms to promote and endorse your products or services. Those individuals are known as influencers. Ideally, the influencers you hire will be recognized as reliable resources of knowledge on the sort of products you’re selling.
For example, you wouldn’t want to hire an influencer who is most popular among work-from-home moms if you’re selling beard grooming products. You get the point. Make sure the influencer you choose to work with has an audience that matches or at least overlaps with your own.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to choosing the right influencers, whether they’re Facebook influencers, YouTube phenoms, or TikTok celebrities. Before we dive deeper into how to use influencers to drive sales, let us give you a rundown of the perks to expect when working with an ecommerce influencer.
Benefits of ecommerce influencer marketing
When choosing an influencer to partner-up with, your mind should be focused on the profit motive. But, there’s more to a successful ecommerce influencer marketing strategy than simply making a buck.
Here are some examples of how to use influencers to drive sales:
1. Buff up your brand
Establishing a popular small business brand is sometimes challenging work, but e commerce influencer marketing can give you the leg-up that you need to get the ball rolling in the right direction. Having the reputable voice of an influencer singing praises about your brand can do wonders for your business – in fact, 89% of marketers say that the ROI from influencer marketing matches or exceeds that of other marketing channels. Indeed, this is one of the top benefits of e-commerce influencer marketing. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to give your brand recognition a boost!
2. Earn a better reputation
Whether it’s Shopify influencer marketing or any other influencer marketing examples, it all boils down to trust. Why do influencers have ‘influence’? Because of the trust their audience has in their judgement and perspective.
You can think of ecommerce influencer marketing as an online form of word-of-mouth advertising. And if you’re not convinced that influencer marketing is effective at building trust in your brand, consider the fact that 40% of millennials feel that their favorite influencer actually understands them better than their friends. While we would recommend that those millennials spend less time on their phones, we can’t fight the stats (and neither can you!).
3. Rank higher on search engines
Generating unique content is one of the keys to improving your SEO, but there’s a limit to the impact you’ll make by writing your own blogs and recording your own videos. Influencer marketing can take your search engine result ranking to new heights!
Think of it like a slingshot. Since a successful influencer will already have developed an effective SEO strategy of their own, they’ll be able to transfer some of their momentum into your business simply by promoting your brand. The results could be a great bump up for your business’s rank when potential customers search for terms related to your products or services.
4. Monitor engagement with ease
There are a few ways you can go about tracking your ecommerce influencer engagement. First off, since ecommerce influencer marketing happens on social media platforms, you can easily use the data that each of those platforms provide through their respective ad account dashboards. Most platforms provide metrics linked to demographics and reach, but not all (see how Apple’s iOS14 update has impacted the type/amount of data gathered by Facebook Ads).
The second way is to give the influencer a special promotion/discount code that their audience can use at checkout when purchasing from your online store. It’s a pretty straightforward approach that provides a lot of extra insights that can help you determine the success of your influencer ad campaigns.
The third way is to have the influencer include a unique URL with UTM parameters when they promote your business. By using UTMs, you can make full use of the UTM wizard in the BeProfit Shopify calculator app – which allows you to uncover all of the details you need to know in order to optimize your marketing strategy.
With BeProfit you’ll get accurate ROAS and conversion rate measurements for each of your ad platforms, accounts, campaigns, ad sets, and individual ads. And that’s just one of the numerous advanced features BeProfit has for Shopify sellers.
5. Target your niche
As we mentioned earlier, the ‘right’ influencer for you to work with is one who has an audience that resembles yours. One of the greatest parts about working with influencers is that they often specialize in areas that are hobbies, and so their audiences are almost guaranteed to be members of a niche (the same niche as the influencer, naturally). If you’re looking for a surefire way to present yourself to your niche audience, ecommerce influencer marketing is it.
How to find influencers for your ecommerce store
While it’s true that influencer marketing is a fairly new phenomenon, it has seen rapid growth and the development of an entire digital ecosystem in a very short time. The result is a plethora of platforms that have fostered even faster growth and easier ways for online business owners to get involved in influencer marketing. Have a look below at a few of the best ways you can find influencers for your own ecommerce store.
GRIN is one of the most well known influencer marketing software platforms for DTC (direct-to-consumer) brands. The platform gives you the power to not just discover the right influencer for your business, but to also manage all of your influencer relationships and campaigns, too! With more than 100 million influencers to choose from, you can see why GRIN is used by big names like MVMT and Butcher Box.
HYPR is another top-notch influencer marketing platform that makes finding for the ‘right’ influencer an intuitive process. Search by demographic, geographic, and engagement audience data to discover top ecommerce influencers best fit to your business. As they write on their website, HYPR lets you “search by @handles, #hashtags, and 30,000+ topic categories on influencers or their audiences, from over 100 countries.”
If you’ve never heard of Mavrck, allow us to introduce you to the influencer marketing platform trusted by some of the biggest names in business including Kraft Heinz, Nike, and Hershey’s. At the same time, Mavrck offers an array of useful tools for smaller online businesses as well – tools like messaging templates for corresponding with influencers, filters for finding top influencers, content review, and report generating capabilities. Engage with macro and micro influencers, advocates, referrers, and loyalists to take your influencer relationships beyond content creation.
Reach out directly
Have you come across a social media influencer that you vibe with? Found someone who you think could be a great promoter of your business and brand? So reach out to them! It probably won’t be the first time they’ve received direct correspondence from an online business owner like you, so just be ready to make them an offer if and when they respond to you. Be sure to familiarize yourself with their voice and style so you can sync-up and get straight to marketing.
Your audience (yes, really!)
Influencer marketing is made possible thanks to the openness of social media platforms. When there are no rules that determine who gets to have a huge number of followers, virtually anybody can turn out to be an ecommerce influencer – including your members of your own audience.
Moreover, your audience members don’t necessarily have to have an enormous audience of their own in order to act as a successful influencer for you. An authentic review of your business can go a long way to boost your bottom line. After all, anything can go viral these days. Don’t discount the power your audience has to help promote your brand.
Top tip: Even if you don’t seek to find influencers among your audience members, you can ask your audience which influencers they follow. You can also send them surveys to see where they spend their social media time, what sorts of people they interact with on social media, the types of messaging they respond best to, and so on.
How to choose the perfect eCommerce influencer
There are plenty of factors that you should consider when you’re on the prowl for the ecommerce influencer that will help take your business to new heights. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when searching for the ‘perfect’ influencer:
- Where do your audience members spend their social media time?
- Which platforms are they most active on?
- How do they engage on those platforms?
- What are you goals for launching an influencer marketing campaign?
- Are you looking to build brand awareness?
- Do you want to generate more site traffic?
- Trying to find a new way to drive sales?
Those questions will help you determine which platforms to search for influencers on, and will also serve to help narrow down the enormous selection of influencers to those that best meet your business’s needs.
Have a look at the stats below to get a general idea of which social media platform is ideal for your influencer marketing strategy.
- The majority (32.4%) of Facebook’s audience is aged 25-34
- 1/3 Americans aged 12-34 say Facebook is their main social media platform
- Roughly 80% of Facebook users access the platform on mobile device only
- More people get their news from Facebook than any other social media platform
- Almost 20% of Americans made a purchase on Facebook in the past year
- The majority (33%) of Instagram’s audience is aged 25-34
- 27% of Americans aged 12-34 say Instagram is their main social media platform
- Instagram ranks 4th on the list of apps with most users
- Nearly 90% of Instagram users are outside of the United States
- Time spent on Instagram grew nearly 14% from 2019 to 2020
- TikTok ranks 7th on the list of most-used social media platforms
- Roughly half (the largest portion) of all TikTok users are age 29 or under
- 1/3 top-performing ads on TikTok break the 4th wall (speak directly to the audience)
- TikTok’s number of monthly users in the US grew 800% between 2018 and 2020
- More than 70% of YouTube watch time is done on mobile devices
- Americans ages 18-34 watch more YouTube than any TV network
- YouTube is the most widely used social platform among US adults (more than Facebook!)
- One in three Baby Boomers have turned to YouTube for more info on a product or service
- 80% of US parents with children aged 11 or under say their kids use YouTube
- Roughly 20% of Twitter users are based in the US
- The largest percentage of Twitter users are ages 25-34 years old
- Only 5% of Twitter users say it’s their #1 social media platform
- Twitter ad engagements increased 35% year over year in Q4 of 2020
5 awesome influencer marketing examples
There’s certainly no shortage of influencer marketing examples – whether it’s big corporations or smaller online businesses; whether it’s with the help of influencer marketing platforms or through direct outreach; whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or any other social media platform. The sheer abundance of influencers proves that this form of online marketing isn’t going anywhere soon.
If you’re still not entirely convinced, have a look at the following influencer marketing examples from some of the most notable names in ecommerce.
1. Warby Parker
In case you’ve never heard of them, Warby Parker is one of the biggest names in D2C ecommerce, selling fashionable eyewear at affordable prices. Warby Parker adopted the influencer marketing tactic in full spirit, even dedicating a landing page on their website to their “special customers” – check out Wearing Warby.
2. Dollar Shave Club
Another huge name in online retail, Dollar Shave Club is a subscription-based service that provides grooming products by mail. They also saw the great opportunity presented by influencer marketing, and so they partnered up with an influencer marketplace called ACTIVATE to give their brand a boost across social media. The results?
- More than 4.6 million impressions on social media channels
- 10.3 thousand clicks
- An average Instagram engagement rate of more than 6%
- Roughly 20% consideration comments on Instagram
Image via Instagram (@brandonzingale)
Need a good night’s sleep? Casper is a D2C brand that primarily sells mattresses, but offers a range of other related goods such as pillows, linens, and so on. As you may imagine, people are often picky about the mattresses they buy, and usually want to feel it before purchasing. Casper ingeniously employed influencers to earn more credibility among their audience across social media, and combined that marketing strategy with an all-star guarantee policy that removes all fear and doubt from the customer’s mind.
“A monthly subscription service providing dog products, services, and experiences”, BarkBox turned primarily to YouTube to find the type of influencers they felt would help build up their brand the best. They partnered with gamers, make-up artists, and more – each of whom recorded heartwarming videos of unboxing all of the goodies for their furry friends delivered by BarkBox. You can see some of those unboxing videos here (be ready to smile).
MVMT is best-known for its watches, but they’re also popular for their eyewear and other accessories. Popular as they are, they didn’t get to their level of notoriety by chance. MVMT also teamed up with an influencer marketing agency called GRIN (mentioned above) to increase their brand awareness. Here’s what they got in return:
- 100 thousand conversions using affiliate codes
- Nearly 40 thousand pieces of influencer content created
- 91% increase in engagement
- 63% increase in conversions
6. Bonus: Ocean Spray/Skateboard TikTok Video
While Ocean Spray is not an ecommerce brand, it’s still worth mentioning the astronomical level of engagement they received off of one impromptu TikTok video. Check out the viral video here of the man-turned-internet-star skateboarding with a bottle of their cranberry juice in hand. Ocean Spray’s CEO Tom Hayes was quoted as saying they had “about 15 billion media impressions” from that single video. While he couldn’t cite any specific results, Hayes did say that “retailers say there is an additional draw off the shelf, particularly with cran-raspberry” – the variety of juice shown in the video.
‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac gained renew popularity after Idaho labourer Nathan Apodaca, known as 420doggface208 on TikTok, filmed himself skateboarding down a highway drinking ‘Ocean Spray’ cranberry juice and mouthing Stevie Nicks. pic.twitter.com/LFC6LnKhMc— Jan Masaryk (@Onkayaks) October 8, 2020
These are just a few examples that prove how even some of the bigger names in ecommerce recognize how influencer marketing increases sales, brand recognition, and social media engagement. There are plenty of ways that smaller businesses like yours can adopt ecommerce influencer marketing into a broader ecommerce advertising strategy – and there’s no rush to jump all-in. It will take some trial and error to suss out what works best for your business, but don’t let a bumpy road stop you from arriving where you want to be!