What exactly is influencer marketing and how can it help your business? In this article, we take a look at the benefits of creating an influencer marketing campaign, particularly for eCommerce brands. We’ll outline how to create the right strategy, plus some successful examples and existing case studies.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Through the use of referral software and loyalty programs, influencer marketing aims to bring exposure to brands when influencers or brand ambassadors share their product or service on social media. Influencers are people with a large following in a particular niche, different from their celebrity counterparts who might be paid to simply endorse a product due to their fame.
Most often, they are real people, producing their own real content and sharing it with the world. It’s a very organic and somewhat grassroots process. A lot of effort goes into producing their content and building their following which results in a more authentic form of online marketing as their followers trust their social endorsements.
While many successful influencers now hire virtual assistants to schedule their content and continually grow their following, most continue to personally engage with their audience through their social media platforms and are therefore able to impact or influence the purchasing decisions of their followers.
Why Do eCommerce Brands Need Influencer Marketing?
Since Too Hot Too Handle was released on Netflix, Francesca Farago gained over 3 million followers in 3 weeks. With her rise to fame, she launched Farago The Label. By simply tagging @faragothelabel in one post on her account her swimwear brand gained 45.5K followers. That’s the power an influencer can bring to an eCommerce brand!
When you take that principle and build a campaign around a handful of influencers in your target demographic, a buzz is created around your product because suddenly all these cool, influential people are affiliated with your brand and everyone wants a piece of it.
Why Do You Need to Build a Customer Loyalty Program?
As a fast growing eCommerce brand, building a customer loyalty program is imperative in creating meaningful relationships with your customers. Interacting with your audience in this way, makes them feel valued and in turn makes them more loyal to your brand. Think of it like loyal members of a tribe or community.
Through customer referrals you not only gain brand exposure but you also deliver added value to those who are referring you. That value shows that you have a vested interest in them and builds connection, which in turn builds a community around your brand on social media. The roll on effect creates user generated content and better customer retention.
How to Build a Successful Influencer Marketing Program
Like any marketing campaign, successful influencer marketing requires time dedicated to building the right strategy, starting with research.
You probably already know what your target audience looks like but do you know which platform they’re on? Instagram might not work for you, while TikTok will be a roaring success. Consider your demographic and if you don’t already have a presence on that platform, you might want to leverage your existing following from another social channel.
It’s important to select 1 or 2 channels to aggressively target at first as what works for one channel may not work for another. Deciding on which channels to target will produce better results in the short term and once you have one channel waxed and are ready for more growth, you can expand to others.
Decide on Your Budget
While you’re in the research phase, put together a budget so you know what kind of allowance you have to spend on digital marketing and your customer loyalty program. This will also determine the kind of influencers you can partner with. Some will promote your product or service at no expense, so long as they receive free products while those with larger followings tend to charge per post.
For example Jenna Kutcher, a lifestyle blogger and influencer in the wedding, fashion and home decor niche charges $8000 per post per platform for a brand endorsement and $1000 per Instagram story.
What to Remember When Working With Influencers
Building a campaign with an influencer or a group of them is not like building an advertising campaign, you won’t be able to art direct their work and edit their copy. They are one full package including photographer, editor, stylist and copywriter. According to Forbes, “the influencer is in control of the brand’s message, choosing how they would like to portray it.” That’s why doing the right research on the right people for your brand is so important at the very start of building your referral program.
Partner With the Right Influencers for Your Niche
Consider how you will find the right influencers to promote your product. If you have the time, you may choose to find them organically, however if you hope to target a broader, or very specific audience you may want to consider working with an influencer marketing agency that already has infrastructure of referral program software.
When you find the perfect match, remember, you’re working with real, authentic humans and that’s the beauty of influencer marketing. These are people who have spent a lot of time growing and engaging with other humans to build an organic following and therefore have a reputation to uphold. Brands like SkillShare, Fuji Film and Audible partner with influencers using referral programs to promote their products. Our own platform has seen successful campaigns with Daniel Wellington, One Piece and MVMT.
Is the Timing Right for the Objective?
Some brands may already have a loyal following on social media but may be struggling to convert them to sales. Before partnering with an influencer, evaluate the potential that each and every collaboration opportunity will bring to your brand before signing it off. Consider what your objectives are, is it reach, engagement, refining demographics, building brand values, or lead generation? That will help to define at which stage to use which type of influencer. Some may be really good at creating awareness, while others might specialise in engagement, leads or sales.
Look at the Engagement Ratio
What you really want to look out for when selecting which influencers to partner with is the amount of engagement they get per post. Phony accounts might have 300K followers that they bought, but only get 20 likes on a picture. Social media marketing experts will never suggest that buying followers is a good idea because it ruins the integrity of a page, with an eventual massive drop in followers when you stop payments. You also risk Instagram shutting your page down entirely. Social media is about quality over quantity and so you might choose to partner with micro influencers who only have 500 followers who actually actively engage with the page and see the content regularly. This is the formula that will get you return on investment
Get the Right ROI
If you choose to source influencers without an agency, you might want to audit the influencers you have chosen to work with to make sure they haven’t bought fake followers. No point throwing money away, everybody wants that all important ROI. To help you we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the ROI of ambassador marketing. It includes tips on overcoming the three main ambassador marketing hurdles, which metrics matter when measuring success and how to calculate the return on investment.
Build a Long Term Relationship
Once you’ve selected your dream team, think about how long you’d like to partner with them for. Since influencer marketing is so successful because of its Once you’ve selected your dream team, think about how long you’d like to partner with them for. Since influencer marketing is so successful because of its authenticity, partnering for one post isn’t going to be very good for your ROI. A successful influencer marketing campaign could run anywhere upwards from 6 months. When followers see a product being endorsed once, they might see through the marketing for what it is but when someone affiliates themselves with your brand over the long term, it makes it seem like it’s a product that is actually a part of their daily life, something they can’t live without. That’s the subtle Once you’ve selectOnce you’ve selected your dream team, think about how long you’d like to partner with them for. Since influencer marketing is so successful because of its authenticity, partnering for one post isn’t going to be very good for your ROI. A successful
A Brand Ambassador, What?
Sorry! We didn’t throw in another bit of digital marketing jargon just to confuse you but now seems like a fitting time to explain the difference between an influencer and a brand ambassador.
An influencer might be someone with the vanity metric of millions of followers. They’re measured in how much following they have and how much exposure they get in their personal capacity. Whereas an ambassador is measured in their friends. They have an authentic voice with believability and a level of trust. When they talk about a product, you know they love it, they’re buying it or want to be able to buy it. There’s a genuine connection between them and the brand. It’s a bit like what Michael Jordan did for Nike back in 1984. He didn’t simply endorse the brand by featuring in the adverts, he actually played in the shoe and eventually established Air Jordans. The product was trusted because he could win NBA titles and be voted as ‘Rookie of the Year’ while playing in them.
Case Study: Inkbox
Inkbox, a temporary tattoo brand selected Brandbassador to grow their user generated content and increase awareness around their products. Our platform allowed them to engage with a larger audience, message them individually or in mass, and automate tasks.
Through missions, an interactive feature on our app that requires ambassadors to complete tasks before unlocking the next, Inkbox is able to make the most of their community. Top ambassadors in their community have completed over 100 missions through the app. They have received over 2,500 unique pieces of user content, generating over 200K post engagements and creating a social buzz value of $40K.
Click here to read more about Inkbox's successful journey with their ambassador marketing strategies.
Case Study: A Good Company
The motto at A Good Company is to transform from mindless consumption into conscious decisions. They create thoughtful, sustainable everyday products, so it’s easy to see why it was important for them to build up a community of like-minded consumers. They partnered with us to free up their time spent on redundant manual tasks and spend more time building relationships with their demographic. 75% of their time is saved using our platform rather than using Google Sheets, where they used to manually input their ambassador data. After partnering with Brandbassador and in only 3 months, A Good Company has already generated over 25K likes on user content across Instagram, alongside over 40k Instagram story views.
Brandbassador is the ultimate ambassador (or influencer marketing) platform, created by a highly successful brand OnePiece, to help similar fast-growing eCommerce brands to connect individuals who have potential to be the brands’ passionate advocates & ambassadors. Our tool enables eCommerce brands to build a community around their most prized assets, their customers, followers and fans. We pride ourselves on partnering with authentic ambassadors because these are everyday people who create real connections.