Ah, influencers! A select category of people that (re)present themselves well in front of cameras, are having THE perfect life (at least publicly), very few (visible and intelectual) flaws and are willing to charge you thousands of dollars only for a shoutout on one of your products. But you know how the saying goes – “make a pact with the Devil until you are rich from your Shopify/eCommerce store”! So here’s how to work with Instagram influencers for your eCommerce store.
And afterwards you can afford to hire even more expensive influencers.
Jokes aside, in the words of Seth Godin, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic”.
As you can see from the graph below, the search and interest over “influencers” is on an all time high.
So how can you properly work with influencers in order to get the most return on investment for your eCommerce shop?
1. What’s your targeted audience?
You need to know what your target audience is. You cannot go and pay an Instagram influencer of 16 years old with followers of about same age and ask him to post about that perfect cane for the elderly. I mean you can, but it would be a colossal waste of money.
Take some time to consider:
Who is your target market?
Determine demographics such as age, gender, education level, income, marital status, location/countries and more.
What are their interests?
Are they interested in fashion and beauty, healthy eating, sports, traveling, electronics?
What is their life stage?
Are they students, high-schoolers? Have they graduated University? Is your target audience formed of young parents?
What are their behaviors?
What kind of products are they looking after and what Websites are they visiting? Do they shop online or they’d rather shop offline?
After you have answers to all of these questions it will be much easier to identify who influences the most their buying decisions, who are they following and trusting.
2. Determine your KPIs
At a high level, most marketing teams have two types of key performance indicators: brand awareness or direct response. In some cases, it’s a combination of both. All of your research and all of your planning should revolve around your goals and set KPIs.
You should have KPIs around new eMail subscribers, shares of the campaign/product, trial signups, visits to your eCommerce shop, clicks on various categories and products from your shop, new social media followers and, of course, sold products. Ask your chosen influencer(s) what previous results they had with other campaigns and what does he expect for yours.
3. Map out the type of influencers – with what category will you work?
Before reaching out to influencers or building a list, you need to understand the influencers in your industry. Map out the different segments.
a) The icons – show biz stars, movie stars, sport personalities etc;
b) Travelers – photographers, travel instagramers, extreme sports enthusiasts;
c) The instructors – experts in their niche, life hackers, food addicts, DIY experts, how to specialists;
d) The gurus – beauty, lifestyle, eCommerce, fashion and fitness influencers;
e) The creators – people that create short clips/movies, former vine stars, pranksters;
f) Entertainers – comediants, confessional personalities (sharing parts of their lives). YouTube has given birth to plenty of entertainers who then (partially) moved to Instagram as well.
Most of these influencers are also on other platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, Twitch or even the rising Tik-Tok, so this diversity gives both the influencer and the brand sponsoring them a chance to promote across multiple channels.
4. (Smartly) allocate your campaign budget
Sizing up your budget will help determine which influencer tiers you decide to partner with. With larger budgets, your brand can achieve the wide reach of mega- and macro-influencers. With lower budgets, your brand can work with a smaller set of micro- and nano-influencers. Or, you can opt for the middle ground option with mid-tier influencers.
Prices will vary across industries, but mega-, macro-, and mid-tier influencers can command thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single sponsored post. This is because they can offer wide impact for a single post.
According to Influencer Agency, the rates vary from $800 to $10.000+. Basically, 1000 followers cost you around $10.
According to a 2017 survey by Linqia, 78% of professionals surveyed said that determining the ROI of an influencer marketing program is their biggest challenge.
45% said that choosing which influencer marketing provider to work with also poses a problem.
Nano-influencers, the very smallest/targeted ones, on the other hand, charge nominal fees or only require product exchange, while micro-influencers may cost anywhere from twenty bucks to several hundred dollars per post. In either case, both are useful for targeting more niche audiences. They also represent much smaller reach and more work for the brand to drive the same impact across multiple influencers.
That said, for brands with a limited budget, working with micro-influencers can offer an affordable way to test a few smaller campaigns.
The shoutout method
We’re not talking about the usual shoutout method in which two influencer Instagrammers of equal size name each other in their story (this is also a good method, but we will tell more about this another time). The method we’re talking about is a targeted (paid) shoutout campaign. This means: promoting your profile through large, prominent pages within your industry. This sounds easy, but there are some aspects you should keep in mind: finding the right pages, making a strong promotional photo or (even better) video of your page and finally your page must be attractive enough.
Influencer shoutouts are a lot cheaper than Instagram posts, the reason is that shoutouts are often removed from the account within the foreseeable future.
Both the Instagram influencer cost and the rates for shoutouts are averages, the actual rates may differ. Sometimes the differences are large because, for example, the engagement rate of a certain influencer is better than the other, this makes the value of a certain Instagram influencer higher and therefore the rate.
5. Research the right influencers for your products
Not every fashion influencer will be the best for your leather 6 pocket jacket targeted at ages between 16 and 28, as not every travel enthusiast will give you a good ROI for that slick winter jacket. It’s very important to remember what makes your audience and product/brand unique and search accordingly.
A clothing company might want to partner with Instagram influencers who attract certain demographics, clothing styles and, why not, body types.
You can find plenty of influencers by researching online yourself (Google, largest followers on Instagram), but there are also specialised brokerage sites that list plenty of influencers. For example, you can select from Influence.co the industry that interests you and voila, a list comprised of hundreds of influencers, numbers of followers, location, accounts and, of course, plenty of photographs.
Other platforms you might want to use for finding the influencers of choice are SocialBakers.com, Upfluence.com, HypeAuditor.com or Heepsy.com.
Most of these will do some of the work for you, by showing their interests, age, audience demographics, engagement rate and even authenticity analysis.
Once you have identified a list of possible influencers, spend time looking through their social channels, content, engagement, and comments. What kind of language do they use? What values do they stand for? Are they controversial in any way? Ensure their image is not only aligned with your brand aesthetic but your brand values.
Look on some of their previous work and DO use Google Search in order to see if they are in any ways controversial – do not limit yourself to the first page of the results.
6. Engage with the influencer socially
Before reaching out, follow them on their various social media channels, and like and comment on their posts.
Reach out to the influencer/their agent
Contact the influencer or their manager with specific and concise information about working together (a brief summary of the campaign, the budget, etc.). Ask influencers about their own goals, and what they are looking to achieve in their career. Do they want to partner with another popular influencer? Do they want to travel to Nepal? See if there are ways you can help them achieve their goals through this campaign.
Cultivate a relationship – you might even get a discount if you take your time!
Build rapport with the influencer before the campaign begins. The more the influencer resonates with you and your brand, the smoother the creative process will be. This also might pave the way for a long-term relationship.
If you are struggling to get through with cold outreach, working with a reputable inﬂuencer marketing agency can facilitate this process as they cultivate relationships with top inﬂuencers, advises Mediakiks.com.
If you want influencers and thought leaders to promote your content, they should be much more heavily involved. You should be engaging with them before and during the content creation process, involving them in the actual content, and using their feedback.
In the crowded inboxes of influencers, they need to see a real reason to pay attention to you.
7. Measure and optimize campaign perforfmance using analytics
Once your influencer marketing campaign has launched, begin measuring the metrics you previously outlined. There are various methods for tracking performance, including:
Review Google Analytics to measure traffic, behavioral, and conversion metrics. Important KPIs may include:
- Site visits
- Referral traffic
- New users
- Time spent on site
- Goal completions
- Conversion rate
- User demographics
Social Media Metrics you must analyse
Review the social media platforms that your influencers used to promote the sponsored content to track social engagement numbers, including:
- Engagement rate
- Unlinked brand mentions
- Hashtag usage
How would you describe your experience with Instagram influencers? Let us know in the comments below.