Do you know why dropshipping businesses rely on influencers for their marketing so often? It’s no secret. To start a dropshipping business you need little money, literally no inventory, but you need traffic – direct or from PPC advertising.

The issue is that there’s little to no organic reach on Facebook and Facebook Ads will become increasingly expensive now that the social network decided to offer more space in users’ NewsFeeds for posts from their friends and family. Influencer marketing is still cheap, competition is still low, and Instagram is growing. Some specialists are estimating that on Instagram engagement is 57 times higher than on Facebook. Put that thought together with another one – there are studies showing that 82% of customers are likely to try out products recommended by the micro-influencers they follow.

Instagram influencers are in a great position to generate a demand for the products you’re selling. If you figure out what influencers to use and what products to promote, you can make more money that you could possibly spend.

How to pick the right influencers for your business

It’s not hard to find the influencers you should be working with, but it will take you some time. It won’t be something to do in 5 minutes because there are things you need to know about them and things you need to analyse before jumping into bed with them.

Their Engagement Rate is one of those important things you need to include in your assessment. I’ve written before about how to calculate it, but it’s so important that I’ll go through it again.

To calculate an influencer’s engagement rate, you’ll have to figure out the ratio between their number of followers and the number of like + comments one of their posts is getting.

If they have 10,000 followers and one of their posts gets 200 likes, you’ll get an engagement rate of 2% (10,000 = 100%, 200=?%). I can tell you right now that 2% is not a great engagement rate, but you’ll have to calculate this for every influencer you’re interested in, and you’ll see that there are influencers who have 10-20% engagement rates, which are fantastic. The bigger the engagement rate, the better the shot of seeing your traffic and sales spike because it means that their audience is active and does what the influencer would like them to do.

When you’ll do your calculations, you should calculate the average number of likes+comments their posts gets in a day, so don’t just pick a single one. Or, if you really want to pick just one, pick the worst performing one so you don’t get any nasty surprises afterwards.

Another thing you should know is that for some influencers, the engagement for posts promoting products and services drops a bit. So it would be great if you could follow the influencers you want to work with for some time or go through their past posts in search of the #ad tag and track the engagement rate for those ads. You should calculate their engagement rate so you could know what you can expect for your own campaign. You can call this a little historical campaign data analysis.

If there are past paid-for posts, ask the influencer what their results were and if they don’t want to share the info (which is fine), you can contact the companies/brands that paid for the ads and ask them how happy they were with the results.

Good rates, bad rates

Wondering what a good engagement rate looks like? Good, because I do have some answers, but remember that it depends. For example, the influencers having over 2 million followers sometimes have a 2% engagement rate, but that’s still good because we’re talking about 40,000 people. On the other hand, if we’re talking about an influencer with 80,000 followers and a 2% engagement rate, that’s not good anymore, because that’s only 1,600 people.

Ideally, you’ll want to work with micro-influencers who have anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000 followers and an engagement rate of 10-15%. Even if you’re not reaching the population of a small city, at least you know that their followers are actually engaged and ready to react, including following your store’s Instagram account and visiting your Shopify store and buying your products.

What targeting looks like in influencer marketing

Finding an influencer is not where your job ends. You also need to make sure that the post you want to use as an ad on the influencer’s account is in line with their content strategy. Remember, we’re doing influencer marketing campaigns because we want the ads to seamlessly fit into their content, look like that’s where they belong. If we want ads that look like ads, we can just stick to Facebook ads, but that’s not how we’ll leverage the influence these people have over their followers.

influencer marketing

That is why you need to also pay attention to congruency, to make sure that the ad will fit perfectly with the rest of the things the influencer shares on a daily basis.

Now let’s talk money: how expensive are influencers?

If you want Kim Kardashian, yeah, they’re expensive. If you want a general account in your own niche who has 30,000 followers and a 20% engagement rate, that’s cheap. The rates influencers are charging start with $5 and can go into the thousands of dollars. For micro-influencers, you can get away with paying even $25 – $50 – $100.

You should know that general pages are cheaper than personal ones because the type of work and the amount of effort that goes into them is different.

My advice is to constantly find new influencers, reach out to them and find out what their rates are. With time you’ll have a database and you’ll be able to compare costs and engagement rates better. Once you’ll do that, you’ll see that you can actually pay very little for a post.

Some micro-influencers, especially those who want to build-up their account, and if your account has over 10,000 followers, might even be willing to do a shout-out for a shout-out – a free cross-promotion in which they post about your account and your product and you post about them and their content. It’s win-win and free.

Before ending, I want to ask you to build up the confidence to ask for those 4-6 hour tests I’ve told you about before. They’re so important in saving you money and helping you figure out if an influencer will have a positive impact on your business.

If you’ve run your own influencer marketing campaigns or you’re about to do so, let me know in the comments. Actually, let ‘us’ know. I’m sure the other readers would love to pick your brain as much as I do.