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July 24, 2020

When To Use Influencers in Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

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This blog post was originally published by Deliverr, which is now Flexport. The content has been adjusted to fit the Flexport brand voice and tone, but all other information remains unchanged. With the merging of Deliverr’s services (DTC fulfillment, B2B distribution, and Last Mile delivery) into Flexport’s existing international freight and technology services, we’re now able to provide merchants with true end-to-end logistics solutions spanning from the factory floor to the customer’s door.

Think influencers are reserved for big brands with even bigger budgets? Think again. Influencers are a powerful addition to any eCommerce marketing strategy, and this week, we’re sharing insights into how and when to use an influencer in yours.

Back to Basics: What Is an Influencer?

An influencer is someone with established credibility and well-developed social power within a specific industry. This influence is used to generate awareness, clicks, and sales for a third-party product or brand.

Traditionally influencers were celebrities used in advertising campaigns. However, thanks to the growth of social media, you now get mega, macro, and micro-influencers - distinguished by the number of followers they have.

Regardless of their title, influences can positively impact your marketing strategy, delivering benefits including:

  • Brand recognition: Cutting through the noise of social media by delivering your message through someone people know and trust
  • New audiences: Putting your brand and products in front of different people from your influencer’s following
  • Increased trust: Extending the trust placed in an influencer to your brand and products by association
  • Social proof: Delivering honest reviews about your products and service
  • Boosting sales: Creating a ripple effect that can lead to a 3-10x increase in conversions
  • More content: Giving you more content to share and use on your own social media channels

Before using an influencer in your eCommerce marketing

Influencer marketing requires much more than getting someone semi-famous to repost your latest story. eCommerce stores that are successful with influencer marketing adopt the following tactics before getting started.

1. Identify the Right Platforms

Instagram is the most popular platform for Influencer marketing, but it’s not the only platform. And, if you’re SEO-conscious, it shouldn’t be either. Consider Instagram alongside Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs.

2. Identify the Right Influencers

Your chosen influencer must resonate with both your brand and your audience. Therefore, it’s crucial to find someone who is well followed by your target audience, receives high levels of engagement, mirrors your brand’s values, and operates within the FTC Disclosure guidelines.

3. Create the Right Content

Influencer marketing goes hand-in-hand with your social media and content marketing. What you don’t want is boring, forced, or unnatural content telling people to “buy this” or “follow them.” What you do want is entertaining, educational, and natural content that generates meaningful conversations around your brand.

4. Measure Success

You need to know that the time, effort, and money of influencer marketing generates a significant ROI. Therefore you need to measure success. Influencer ROI can be challenging to measure but is possible by tracking information, including likes, comments, shares, clicks, coupon usage, and follows.

When To Use Influencers in Ecommerce Marketing

Now onto the exciting part - when to you use influencers in your eCommerce marketing strategy. There are three key points in your eCommerce journey that are ideal for influencer marketing.

1. Brand Launch

When first launching your eCommerce store, it can be difficult to establish your brand beyond family and friends. Influencers can help. Your new store can be exposed to thousands, if not millions, of an influencer’s own followers through:

Sponsored ads
Sometimes simply mentioning a brand will create intrigue and interest from an influencer’s followers. Nearly 40% of Twitter users have made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s tweet. Use an influencer to run a sponsored ad that talks about your store and products in a natural and engaging way that entices click-throughs.

Encouraging people to follow your brand is easy when freebies are involved. By running giveaways and competitions with influencers, they can give their followers a chance to win one of your products, while you benefit from the “follows” and “shares” required to enter.

2. Product Launch

Even if you’re a well-established brand, creating interest in new products, especially niche products, can be challenging. Influencers help by generating awareness, click, and sales, using the following tactics:

Product reviews
78% of consumers rely on friends and family for recommendations about products and brands - meaning that they’re far more likely to trust an influencer’s review of your new product than your own review. Use influencer-created blogs and vlogs to review your products, bringing them to the attention of your audience, while enhancing risk aversion and social proof.

Shopping Tags
Instagram’s Shopping Tags are a non-intrusive way for an influencer to promote new products using a visual. Use lifestyle photos to naturally display your products in use by the influencer, and tag items so their audience can click to see item details, pricing, and a link to buy.

Unboxing videos
As bizarre as they sound, unboxing videos return significant views, replays, and likes. Simply send your influencer a box of treats and get them to upload a video of themselves opening their package and examining the contents on YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook Live.

3. Business Scaling

Finally, influencers can be the perfect partner when it comes to increasing your social following and scaling your business sales in the future. This can be achieved through:

Exclusive promo codes
Exclusive and influencer-branded promo codes give your influencer something of value to share with their audience, alongside their product recommendation. Psychologically, this compels followers to reciprocate the action by using the code and trying out the influencer’s product recommendation.

Even better, if the promo code is shared with an expiry date or on Instagram’s 24-hour stories, the power of loss aversion kicks in, increasing the need for followers to use the code before it runs out.

Affiliate links
Many micro-influencers include an affiliate link to their “shop” or Amazon storefront on their social media profile. Followers can use this shop to access link to recommended products by someone they trust, while your influencer gets a kickback on sales, prompting them to share it more often.

Once you get the ball rolling, you can use influencer marketing to generate a regular stream of additional followers, new customers, and repeat purchases, as well as generating content that you can share on your own social media platforms and advertising features.

Final Thoughts

Have you ever heard of influencing the influencer? If your product, service, and brand are as good as your influencer says that are, they might become a genuine customer too. The opportunities are endless with influencer marketing.

The contents of this blog are made available for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for any legal, business, or financial decisions. We do not guarantee, represent, or warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the contents of this blog because they are based on Flexport’s current beliefs, expectations, and assumptions, about which there can be no assurance due to various anticipated and unanticipated events that may occur. This blog has been prepared to the best of Flexport’s knowledge and research; however, the information presented in this blog herein may not reflect the most current regulatory or industry developments. Neither Flexport nor its advisors or affiliates shall be liable for any losses that arise in any way due to the reliance on the contents contained in this blog.

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