If you want to get rich, you have to be where the money’s being made, and these days it looks like the sweet spot is eCommerce. Just consider this: around 1 billion people made an online purchase last year, and the numbers just keep on increasing. In the US, 80% of the people surveyed in 2016 made an online purchase in the last 30 days. You know what that means? Shopping online is becoming the new norm. In fact, many people, especially men, would love to be able to buy all they need online, without having to go to brick and mortar shops ever again.
Online advertising and social media are important puzzle pieces in what drives consumers’ desire for new products, and what others are saying online about the brands we want to buy influences us because we’ve all developed the same behaviour – when we think about buying something, we first research it online.
If you own an eCommerce store or you’re just starting out with dropshipping, you should know that influencer marketing is one of the few (still) underpriced marketing strategies that can deliver amazing results. It’s like a brand awareness solution on steroids. It’s part social media marketing, part word of mouth, with a light drizzle of celebrity endorsement…
Influencer marketing can be super powerful when done right, and that’s exactly how you’ll do if after going through this and the following posts in this series.
What are Influencers?
Get ready for a little story. In the beginning, there were websites and blogs and online magazines, but then social media came along and people and publications started to create accounts on these new ‘social’ communication channels.
What happened next was that some people figured out that you don’t have to necessarily own a website to make money online, you just need an audience, and you can build it by showing interesting things on the social media channel that offers you the best tools to express yourself. If you love fashion, you can show off your daily outfits on Instagram. If you love video gaming, you can record your gameplay and upload it to YouTube. If you’re great at collecting funny videos, you can create a dedicated page for them on Facebook.
Influencers are people or groups of people who are being followed by a massive audience and who have the ability to make that massive audience do what they want it to do.
Bloggers and magazine editors represent a part of them, entrepreneurs, celebrities, models, viral sensations, reality TV stars, YouTubers, musicians, athletes another part, but there are also people who rose to fame thanks to their short careers on platforms that are already gone now – like Vine. On top of these people, we also have the popular general pages dominating social media in their niche, who are mostly entities you can’t associate to one individual.
Yeah, I know it’s no cookie-cuttered world, but you should also see the advantage in that – you can discover influencers that will transform your eCommerce business and pay little money for their services because things are still new and advertising and influencer marketing agencies still haven’t figured out how to get their tentacles on every influencer out there.
Let’s take a look at a few influencers.
You’ll see that they come in many shapes and size.
Tina Craig (@bagsnob) is a social media influencer. She has over 330k followers on Instagram, over 163k followers on Twitter, 130k fans on Facebook, and well over 1 million followers on Google+. She’s a fashion influencer, the “Queen of Handbags” as GLAMOUR magazine called her, but she’s no newbie. She started a fashion blog in 2005 and when social media became the new norm she was ready to take what was hers. She has a global audience of luxury-oriented followers and brands sponsor her content and send her products to promote.
Kate Wasley & Georgia Gibbs launched the Instagram account @any.body_co less than a year ago and its mission is to promote body positivity. They’re both models and they each have their one separate IG accounts, but this account has already almost one-quarter of a million followers. Fashion brands really want to work with them because they have really great engagement rates.
On the other hand, there are general Instagram accounts, like @gym.education. They’re also influencers, even if there’s not one person you’d associate with the account. They create their own content and they also re-share other people’s content, and followers are OK with that because they want to receive the content and they don’t really care where the content is coming from. @gym.education has 600k followers and it’s constantly working with brands to promote their products.
The two main types of Influencer accounts
The general accounts and the personal accounts are different and you should also treat them differently. First of all, general accounts (like @gym.education or @bitcoin.daily or even silly ones like @hotmenreading) are easier to tap into. They’re also less expensive. Depending on your niche and the actual accounts you’ll want to use, this might also mean that it will be a bit more riskier because there’s a weaker emotional connection between the audience and the person posting on the general account since they never get to see their face.
The personal accounts can be more difficult to integrate into your marketing plan because they’re not always built around a specific niche or interest. After all, they’re the social media accounts of real flesh and bones people who have multiple interests and passions and the same goes for their audiences.
With personal accounts, there’s also another issue you need to be aware of – they take bigger risks when associating their image with a new brand or company. They might worry that their audience won’t like the product or that the company won’t be able to handle the influx of new orders.
The good news, though, is that personal accounts make for great influencers who can do wonders for your awareness. That’s where most of the magic happens. Once you get the influencer to promote your product as it was a part of their lifestyle, you’ve struck gold.
Where are influencers doing their thing?
As you can tell, they’re on any social network. They’re on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, even Pinterest. The campaigns involving influencers you’ve probably heard of were probably involving Instagram and YouTube stars, since these two networks proved to be really great at amassing huge audiences in short spans of time.
Deciding where to look for the right influencers to promote your eCommerce business depends on what you’re selling and who your ideal buyer is. Maybe they love watching makeup tutorials, so you go straight to YouTube and Instagram. Or maybe they love listening to podcasts and following podcast hosts on Twitter.
Why are influencers having such an impact on their audiences?
Influencers manage to influence audiences through soft power, through inspiration and motivation. You’ll never see them do what advertising agencies do to people – bombarding them with ads for products they have no interest in, interrupting their favourite online videos or TV shows.
Influencers are both documenting their lives and selling a lifestyle. They’re showing others how they live, what values are important to them, what they’ve learned. They create valuable content so people decide to follow them. Followers are never ‘interrupted’ by something the influencers post – they want to see those new posts. So, influencers become, in a sense, role modules and source of information – they tell people what products they use and love, products that fit perfectly into that ideal lifestyle, and their followers buy those products because they want that lifestyle.
What does that impact mean for you and your eCommerce business?
Influencers can drive brand awareness for your brand and also drive traffic to your online store. Working with influencers is not something restricted to multi-million dollar businesses. You don’t have to work with Kylie Jenner who has 103m followers, you can work with less popular influencers and micro-influencers – people interested in something very specific who have thousands to tens of thousands of followers who are super engaged. Influencer marketing works for every niche and every budget, you just have to find the right people for your business and figure out what they want.
The best thing about using influencers in your marketing is that they’re so different from conventional advertising. Your product is being introduced to an audience by someone that they look up to for advice. That’s the best introduction you could ask for – someone a potential customer loves saying that they love your product.
So, what should you remember for your first influencer marketing campaign?
– This is not PPC advertising, so you won’t have as much control over the message and who sees it as you have for Facebook Ads.
– This is also not a type of campaign you can create from one day to the next. You’ll have to find the right influencers, reach out, wait for them to get back to you, broker deals with them, discuss the message, schedule a time to post. These are people, not an algorithm, so people won’t move as quickly as Facebook’s Power Editor might have got you used to.
– You should have an account on the social media network your influencers are using, and that account should already have at least a few hundred followers before your first campaign. You want to be able to show that you have a business that others have already deemed worthy of their attention and interest.
If you think you’re ready to start using influencers to promote your store, do this:
#1 Figure out what is the go-to social network for your niche.
I’m willing to be that it’s Instagram or YouTube, but who knows? Maybe you’re into a really special niche and those just don’t work for your target market.
#2 Map out the general accounts in your niche.
Before running, we need to make sure you know how to run. That is why you should first start with campaigns on general account.
#3 Follow those general accounts for a few weeks.
Or just go through their posts really in-depth. You need to make sure there’s nothing you wouldn’t want to be associated with happening on those accounts.
#4 Collect the contact details for these accounts.
If you visit the pages of each of these accounts, you’ll see they list a way to contact them.
#5 Reach out.
Introduce yourself and your business and ask them about working with them as influencers. Can they share any stats with your from their past campaigns? How much will it cost you to work with them?
#6 Decide (if and) who you’re comfortable working with.
You can always back down if you feel you’re not ready. If you’re sure you’ve found the best influencers for you, negotiate a deal and do it.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what influencer marketing is all about and how you could use it in promoting your eCommerce business. Here are the links to all of the articles in this series:
=> How Your Audience Can Get More Instagram Followers For You
=> Find Instagram Influencers In Your Niche
=> Get Your Ads on Instagram Influencers’ Profiles
=> Effective Influencer Marketing Campaigns For Dropshipping & eCom
=> Influencer Marketing Mistakes You Can Avoid
And if you REALLY want to dive into eCom, dropshipping and automating/scaling this powerfully, i’d highly recommend you check out our Social eCom Classroom review and bonus bundle – you’ll get everything you need to find profitable products to sell, market them and automate/deliver the products. It’s the closest thing to earning a store you can get (without actually having all of the work related to having a physical store!)
Let me know in the comments below who are the most interesting people you follow on Instagram who have over 10k followers, you might be helping another reader discover the influencer they need for their first campaign.
Also, if you have any questions about spotting an influencer, do post them in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.