One of the biggest problems I see eCommerce marketers struggle with is growing a profitable audience of their own.
I mean, it’s super tough, right?
Especially when you consider the growing competition. It’s becoming harder and harder to differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd.
But there’s a little secret successful eCommerce brands use to quickly get their products in front of huge audiences. A sneaky tactic that allows completely new brands to get millions of impressions and thousands of sales.
I am, of course, talking about influencer marketing.
Why Bother With Influencer Marketing?
The short answer to this is because it works. And it has done for decades now. I mean, think back over the years and all of the celebrity endorsements that have helped grow products and brands. Head back to the 50s and you get gems like this bad boy. Who knew Doris Day spent her downtime rolling roads!
These kind of promotions are still popular today. Brands using popular celebrities to help them sell more of their products. For example:
- Nike Air Jordans
- Calvin Klein and whoever is the celeb of the moment (from Marky Mark to the Kardashians)
- Coke and their celeb-packed ads
Brands have been using people with an established personal brand (and audience) to help raise the profile of their products for decades.
Influencer marketing is simply the next step in endorsement evolution.
The difference is subtle, but important.
Most celebrity endorsements are run just to get as many eyes on the product as possible. Influencer marketing, however, is more targeted. The person promoting the product often has a level of trust built up within that industry.
Nike’s partnership with Michael Jordan is an example of a celebrity endorsement that follows the more targeted approach of using a niche influencer. Sure, he was a household name, but he was also selling a product directly related to the area he was an expert in. Basketball.
Influencer marketing is simply a more targeted, modern approach of celebrity endorsements. It’s trading off the trust someone else has built to sell your product. To use their platform to start building trust yourself through association.
And it works wonders.
Influencer marketing grows with every passing year. And right now, you can reportedly achieve an average $5.20 return for every $1 spent.
Not bad considering you don’t have to put the effort into building the audience.
Influencer marketing is one of the best marketing strategies you can implement for a quick result.
But, and this is a big but, if you really want to excel, you’ve got to know what you’re doing.
The Dark Side of Influencer Marketing
I would love to tell you that influencer marketing is all sunshine and rainbows. That every influencer out there is 100% honest and will generate great results for you.
But, I can’t. In fact, you can’t say that about any marketing strategy. There are no guarantees in anything you do. The ANA reports that 75% of marketers employ influencer marketing. A very healthy number. However, reports also say that 64% of marketers are worried about influencer fraud.
If you’re not aware, influencer fraud is the act of buying followers to inflate your numbers. However, these bought followers often have no engagement whatsoever. It’s why you end up with accounts that have hundreds of thousands of fans, but next to no engagement. It’s a problem that is reportedly costing the industry over a billion dollars every year.
Of course, there are ways you can cut out the potential of working with a fraud.
The first is to use a vetting service and let someone else do the heavy lifting. For example, Freeeup has an Instagram Influencer vetting service where each and every applicant is put through multiple checks to ensure that their claims of followers and engagement are accurate.
If you don’t fancy paying for someone else to do the heavy lifting, then I’ve included a helpful infographic that explains how to vet each influencer yourself.
If you’re vetting potential partners yourself, it can take one hell of a long time. However, that’s time well spent. The longer you spend finding the right influencer, the lower your chances of getting ripped off.
So let’s skip ahead a little. Let’s imagine you’ve found a great influencer, be it through your own efforts or a third party vetting service. What now?
Vetting Your Influencers Is Not a One-Time Thing
Here’s the thing. Finding an influencer who isn’t a fraud is a one-time thing. But, you shouldn’t just stop there. Just because someone has a large engaged following does not mean they’re going to provide you with a positive return on your marketing spend.
Just like every other marketing method, there’s an element of trial and error.
You might find influencer A, who has the largest audience, drives fewer sales than the smaller influencer B. Again, this is no different from any other marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is not a one and done strategy. You’ve got to run follow up campaigns and assess which influencers, product pairings, and offers to drive the most sales. You have to monitor each partnership, double down on those who are driving sales and cut loose the influencers who are failing to provide a return.
There are plenty of tools out there that allow you to better track which influencers are working well for your brand, however, we believe there’s one which is better than all the rest.
How to Set Up Accurate Tracking for Your Influencer Campaigns
To implement this strategy you’re going to need a couple of things. The first few are pretty obvious: A product and an influencer you’ve vetted (or have found through a reputable social media influencer vetting service). Third is a free Jumper.ai account.
Before I get into this I’ll quickly explain why you need that third item.
Jumper is a social commerce solution. If you’re not aware, social commerce is the act of selling to your followers directly through social media. That means no redirects to your store and no complex purchase journey. Just a two-step purchase funnel of interacting with a social post and filling out the payment & delivery details.
This conversational approach to selling through social is relatively new but gets much higher conversion rates than a typical social media purchase journey. Jumper users boast an average 20-30% conversion rate with highs reaching into 80% CVR, much higher than the average social media conversion rate.
With Jumper, you’re not only giving your influencers a higher converting process, but you’re able to track sales on the influencer and product level.
Here’s how to set it up. Sign up for a Jumper account here. Once done, you’ll be on the main dashboard. Follow the on-screen promos to set up your business details.
After following the prompts your business name, details should be complete and your payment and social accounts synced up.
When that’s done (should take 5 minutes) head to Products > Add new to add the product you want an influencer to promote.
Fill out your product details (or import them from one of the integrated services – Shopify, Amazon, Printful, BigCommerce, Woocommerce) and you should end up with something like the below.
However, of particular note is the hashtag that’s being referenced.
In the example the hashtag is #runwithryan.
You want to choose a hashtag that is specific to each and every influencer you work with. This is what’s going to let you track the sales from each one.
Once you’ve set everything up you want to click on Sales Channels and then the platform for your influencer’s choice.
Then, at the top click Messenger link.
On this page, you’ll find your lists of products. Simply choose the one that’s for the influencer you’re working with and copy the link to the right (there’s also a button to automatically copy this link).
Send that link to your influencer to share. When users interact and click on that link, they’ll be redirected to a chat like the below which helps them choose their size, coloraturas variants, and also takes payments.
Once you’ve been running your campaigns for a short while, Jumper’s analytics dashboard will help you understand not just which influencers are driving the most sales (through the hashtag you assigned) but also which platforms and months are best for your promos along with monthly trend data.
With this you can quickly understand which hashtags, and thus influencers, are driving the most sales whilst also understanding which platforms your products do better on.
The only job then is to send more work to the influencers providing the best results and less to those who are lagging behind. Before long you’ll only be working with the influencers who continually provide a positive return for your brand.
But that’s not all you can do.
How to Free Up More of Your Time Working With Influencers
As a business owner, your time is the most precious thing you own. Tools like Jumper can help you automate a good deal of the back end sales fulfillment. Using a vetting service for your influencers can help massively reduce the time spent finding potential partners.
However, there’s a bit in the middle that can still be massively time-consuming. The setting up and optimizing of software, getting your hashtags and tracking established for each influencer, and making sure everything stays working is no easy feat.
As the business owner, this is not a good use of your time. Your time is better spent keeping your network of profitable influencers alive, thinking of the next big strategy push, and basically growing your store.
For the nuts and bolts, day-to-day running of these campaigns, the smart action is to outsource. To find someone out there who is an expert in the field of social media marketing to maintain the software and processes you’ve agreed with your influencers.
Don’t be a fool and think you have to do this all yourself. That’s a quick way to burnout and a negative ROI. Bringing on a little help might cost in the short term, but it leaves you with more free time to expand your store in the long term.
Start Optimizing your Influencer Campaigns Today
Influencer marketing is huge. And it’s only going to get bigger. Now is the perfect time for you to refresh your influencer campaigns with the precision and tracking they deserve.
A social commerce solution like Jumper will not only make it easier for you to understand which influencers are driving the most sales, but thanks to its conversational approach, you’ll end up with a higher level of conversions across the board.