• Daniel Trösch

How Ecommerce Brands Can Leverage Influencer Marketing

Ecommerce businesses are booming. If you enter the word Shopify into Google trends, you can see the following impressive development:




Shopify can be seen as a synonym for e-commerce business. While the trend to e-commerce has been growing quickly over the last few years, COVID 19 has definitely been a catalysator for brands to heavily invest in their online presence.


Want to have a couple of more statistics?


The global e-commerce market size is predicted to cross the $2 trillion mark in 2020.


And e-commerce does not mean only fashion and furniture. A recent e-marketers study shows, that 41.8% of consumers, that have ordered food delivery online has never done that before.

Put another way, the penetration of grocery e-commerce users had surged about 72% due to the pandemic.


Consumers are looking for frictionless commerce. And that is what e-commerce is all about.


Now, what does this mean for marketing an e-commerce store?


Frictionless advertising is needed. With mobile and social-first content.


On the flip side, the booming e-commerce market leads to heavy competition. Brands are doomed to provide the best customer experiences online and grab maximum attention.


The two most important business questions for e-commerce business are, therefore:

  1. How can I increase awareness of my online shop?

  2. How to optimize conversion?


While there are many cost advantages of building an e-commerce shop, raising brand awareness and mobilizing customer conversations can be very costly. Facebook ads and google ads are a great way to drive traffic. But you need to pay for those ads over and over again. And once you have the customer on your site, they need to trust your brand to take the final purchasing decision.


Is there not a smarter way to get traffic, build trust, and optimize conversion at the same time?


Great that you asked - there is.


Collaborating with social media influencers can prove to be the gamechanger you need.


Edelman's recent research proves that influencers help brands to build the trust they need. In 2019, 58% of people bought a product, 40% started trusting a brand, and 33% started talking about a brand after an influencer endorsed it.

You do not have yet built out an influencer program for your eCommerce brand?


No worries.


In this post, we explain how you can leverage influencer marketing to uplift your eCommerce brand.


But let’s start with some definitions.


Who are influencers? And why and how can they help any ecommerce brand?


Social media influencers such as bloggers, YouTubers, or Instagramers have built an engaged community. As trusted experts, they hold sway over this specific audience group (their followers). With Influencer marketing, you can market your brand through influencers rather than by direct marketing. We call it as well as word-of-mouth marketing at scale.


But aren’t influencers super expensive?


If you’d work with celebrities - that might be the case. But there are many so-called micro-influencers out there. Let’s take a look at some statistics, why that is relevant:


63% of people in the age group of 19-to-34 trust influencers more than brands. They find influencers twice more relatable than A-list celebrities. 58% of them actually took a purchase decision based on their favorite influencer’s recommendations.

Makes sense, right?


Meaning, influencers can transfer trust, engage new potential customers, and therefore improve sales conversions.


Therefore - let’s have a look at how influencer marketing can support your e-commerce business.


The key to success: Collaborate With Relevant Influencers


Influencer Marketing is all about collaborating with social media personalities that endorse your products on their channels. To make the most of this smart marketing tactic, you need to define your campaign goals.


Here a list of the top reasons, why our e-commerce clients are using influencer marketing:


  • Increase brand awareness

  • Generate reviews

  • Build trust

  • Get authentic and high-engaging content (to be re-used in Social Ads, website or newsletters)

  • Drive sales

  • Build out an affiliate program


Depending on what your goal is, you’ll have to reach out to different influencers. As well, make sure to build your campaign in a way that you can measure the results. For example: if the content is the key, put more effort into writing a detailed guideline on what you’d like to see on the pictures. Then reach out to the fitting influencers.


Today, there is a wide variety of influencers available. Different niches, different kinds of content (Instagramers are great in taking pictures, YouTubers better at video content, bloggers are great copywriters, etc.).


You want to work with influencers who fit your campaign goals. On top, you want to make sure that these influencers are talking already to the right audience - your potential clients.


Once you have this check-marked, take a deep dive into their content. Check whether the content quality aligns with your brand values. Are your values energetic and positive? Make sure that you are working with someone who transmits that energy and smiles already on their profiles.


Another important check is the quality of the community. Have a look at the quantity and quality of the engagements. Quantity refers to how many engagements does a post get. The higher the number the better, as you will potentially reach more people. The quality refers to whether the influencer engages their audience in a conversation. Do people ask questions related to the content? Does the influencer answer them? The more content related conversations the better.


But searching for the right influencers manually can be like searching for a pin in a haystack. It is a time-consuming process. Therefore make sure to check out our two services:

Our Influencer marketing platform helps you with the influencer discovery. Search for the right influencer by using advanced filters, such as hashtags, location, engagements, and more.





We have put a lot of effort into verifying the profiles on the platform, making sure that the accounts are publicly accessible and there are no fake followers.



Top Tactics to boost e-commerce brands


Let’s have a look at a couple of relevant tactics to boost awareness, trust, and conversions through influencer marketing.


1. Use Influencer Content as Social Proof

Modern consumers are shifting brand loyalty faster than ever. Building social proof is key. Social proof refers to the tactic of showing potential customer reviews, quotes, or pictures of other customers using the products.


It’s not all about the product - humans are socially attracted. Meaning, there is a higher chance to get their attention, if they see pictures of videos of others using the product.


Successful e-commerce shops are leveraging influencers to get these pictures, quotes, etc. faster and in a constant stream.


Without surprise, influencer content can help you to build this social proof and retain consumer’s trust. Influencers are experts in their niches: a review and a positive recommendation are worth pure gold.


Once you identify influencers that fit your brand, reach out to them, and ask them whether they are interested in a collaboration.


Make sure to have a good understanding of what you want them to do, what you can offer in return, and when you want to have the content delivered.


In case of social proof, you need to send them the products, so that they can authentically review them. Products or credits on your store can be used as compensation, but especially if you are talking to influencers with a following of 20k+, make sure you have some cash budget as well.


In your agreement with the influencers, make sure to include that you’ll re-purpose the content.


Pro Tip: Download our influencer contract template. We have set up the contract in a way, that you have the right to reuse it. Check out our influencer marketing toolbox here.


2. Make sure traffic can get to your website


Before you sign an agreement with your influencers, make sure you understand how the influencer’s followers can get to your site.


Ask your influencers to include links to your site or landing pages.


Instagram:

  • Call to action in the caption text

  • Link in Bio

  • Swipe up link in Instastories (only possible for influencers with more than 10k followers)


Youtube:

  • Call to action in the video

  • Clickable link in the description


Blog:

  • Link in text


Make sure that the funnel is not interrupted. If your influencer promotes a certain product, provide her with a link directly to the product page - not your homepage.


You can optimize that funnel by creating a unique landing page for your influencer on your site. Ask them to define their favorite products and feature them along with promo codes, on that page.


Let’s take a look at the example of Target. They collaborated with the designer, Bri Emery from DesignLoveFest, to create a new furniture line. Target set up a dedicated landing page and promoted the products on their social media pages.



Image via Target



DesignLoveFest cross-promoted Target’s products in their own blog:



Image via DesignLoveFest


3. Instagram Stories, Instagram Stories, Instagram Stories


Instagram has a special standing when it comes to influencer marketing. There is a huge amount of influencers active on Instagram. Instagram Stories is the most important marketing tool for brand collaborations.


Instagram stories allow the influencers much more flexibility than the Instagram feed posts. The possibility to combine video and pictures is one thing. Polls or other interactive features allow us to engage with the audience in a much more creative way. Last but not least, tagging and swipe ups allow to build out a direct funnel to the brand's e-commerce website.


An influencer can highlight your brand as well, by highlighting the branded Instastory on their profile.


During New York, Fashion Week Michael Kors dressed up their influencers in clothes from the runaway and added a “Swipe Up” option in their Stories to boost sales.


For example, Nyden, H&M’s ready-to-wear clothing subsidiary, used its network of 10 influencers to conduct polls via Stories. They asked followers to vote on the patterns and fabrics they would like to see in the brand’s future collections.



Shopping tags and Stickers are a game-changer for eCommerce brands.

Influencers can now add these on their posts and Stories and make the promoted merchandise instantly shoppable. Or they can create their own Stickers using your branding colors and compelling copy.

Image via I.pcmag


4. Use Custom Promo Codes For Your Influencers


Many people are on the lookout for sales. Leverage that fact and create custom promo codes for your influencer campaigns and use them to boost your conversions.


For Joules Clothing, Taza created a blog post that showed her enjoying the rain with her son and wearing bright gumboots from the brand. When the post got traction, she promoted it via Instagram and appended promo codes to skyrocket sales.


Image via Instagram


5. Sponsored Giveaways and Sponsored Content


A great way to introduce your brand to a new audience is by collaborating with influencers and let them host a giveaway.


The advantage of a give away is, that the influencers can talk authentically about your brand and product. It is not too salesy, as they are collaborating with you on that giveaway.


Make sure that the influencers use branded hashtags so that you’ll drive traffic to your social accounts. Give your products as a reward to the contest winners. As a part of the contest, influencers can instruct contestants to tag their friends and repost the content on their feeds.



Image via Instagram


In this way, influencers can help you build a strong brand voice and grow your social media presence.


Conclusion


E-commerce brands need to look at driving more traffic to their site and converting that traffic. Tapping into new audiences via influencers is a modern way of e-commerce marketing. Influencers, who are considered experts in your niche, are already talking to your potential customers. They not only create awareness, but they are as well creating the trust you need to sell.


There are many ways to collaborate with influencers. The Key is to create authentic content and to know how to repurpose this content.


If you say: yes, I want to get started, please check our as well our other articles on this blog.


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