Influencer marketing is essentially a form of social proofing in various niche markets. Although paid advertisements and social media algorithms mean that influencer marketing is no longer as straightforward as it once was, it is a highly effective way to build a brand and reach your target audiences. In a Tomoson study, influencer marketing was reported as being the fastest-growing online customer acquisition method. Surpassing organic search, paid search, and email marketing, influencers now provide a strong path for generating critical revenue streams.
However, it’s not simply a matter of finding any popular online personality to help sell your products or services. Finding the right influencers to be the face of your brand is key. From aligning the brand’s values with the content of the influencer’s account, to analyzing the potential ROI from each post, there are plenty of important factors to consider when selecting the right influencer for your retail brand or products.
It is essential to be goal-driven. And it’s not enough to simply set important targets — you must actively and accurately measure your performance. A helpful way to approach goal-setting for influencer campaigns is to adopt the SMART technique. This is a framework that will help you establish goals that are:
This method helps ensure that the goals you set align with your overall strategy — and that they’re realistic, measurable, and revolve around a specific timeline. Once specific objectives have been set, you can focus on finding suitable influencers. Goals for retailers should be consumer action-based, meaning their influencer or affiliate marketing strategy has specific responses in mind. For example, these actions may include:
- Direct sales
- Click-throughs to a webpage or application
- Client referral
- Engagement with customer service
- Sharing content
- Social media engagement
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There are many different kinds of influencers, each usually thriving in a niche industry. When selecting an influencer to approach for your campaign, make sure they’re someone whose content revolves around the same industry or area of interest as your brand. Another factor to consider is choosing an individual with the right number of followers. From this perspective, influencers can be referred to as:
- Nano influencers (1,000 to 10,000 followers)
- Micro influencers (10,000 to 100,000 followers)
- Macro influencers (100,000 to 1,000,000 followers)
- Mega influencers (1,000,000+ followers)
Although follower-count is a good indicator of their pricing for representing your product, it isn’t the only factor. The number of platforms they’re involved in, the type of product or service they’re selling, how many posts they’ll make about the product, their reach, and their level of engagement also influence the cost. For example, using a celebrity influencer with over one million followers to sell jewelry tends to cost more than someone with the same amount of followers selling low-cost health supplements. The most valuable influencers for brands to collaborate with include streamers, bloggers, vloggers, photographers, activists, sports stars, beauty influencers, actors, and models.
Some influencers find success across multiple social channels, while others thrive on a single platform. Depending on the nature of your business, certain platforms may provide more traction than others. For most retailers, influencers who focus on prominent social media platforms prove most useful.
Influencer marketing works similarly to affiliate marketing, in that it allows businesses to create a buyer’s journey. This approach means that the business can engage with consumers at various stages of the customer lifecycle. Whether your business has an existing presence on a certain platform is irrelevant. The most important factor is to determine the best ROI for influencer posts on each platform.
Facebook is the largest social media platform, registering around 2.4 billion monthly users. The majority of Facebook users log in daily, meaning the audience is accessible. However, the dominant demographic of Facebook users are baby boomers, who are not as easily impacted by influencers as younger generations. The number of teen users on Facebook has dropped significantly over the last decade, with other platforms growing in popularity among this demographic.
Instagram is likely to be the most effective platform for influencer marketing. Not only are there nearly one billion accounts, with 500 million daily users, but 90% of Instagram users actively follow brand accounts. As an image and video-based platform, it is an excellent application for creating compelling visuals. What’s more, Instagram is designed with metrics in mind, allowing you to measure campaign performance.
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As internet speeds continue to increase globally, YouTube is fast emerging as one of the most dominant online advertising platforms. Besides being the second most-visited website, YouTube is often regarded as the second-biggest search engine globally. Influencer marketing on YouTube is particularly effective for engaging with millennials and gen Z consumers. There is tremendous potential to establish highly effective influencer campaigns on YouTube — from introductory campaigns, to branding campaigns or competitions.
TikTok, Twitter, and other more niche platforms
Apps and websites such as TikTok and Twitter are also options for influencer campaigns, but they are less conducive to the type of visual campaigns that usually prove most effective for retail companies.
With targets and a strategy in place, the next vital step is to partner with the right influencers. This is the stage where many retailers fail when they rush into the process and hire ill-fitting brand representatives.
Using a dedicated affiliate marketing platform (hint: like Refersion’s), your business can better identify and nurture strong strategic partners that will help grow your brand visibility and ecommerce revenue. Using data and analytics, you’ll be able to track the progress of your campaigns and determine the most successful marketing approaches.