What E-Commerce Sellers Should Know About Influencer Marketing

Oct 18, 2023
What E-Commerce Sellers Should Know About Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing seems to be everywhere, and with a reported one-quarter of marketers utilizing this fast-growing advertising technique, that feeling is no mere illusion. But just because influencer marketing has become a multibillion-dollar industry doesn’t guarantee it’s the right path for every e-commerce business to take.

Whether you’re already invested in influencer marketing or want to try it out for the first time, it’s important to know the pitfalls to watch out for so you can make the most of your campaigns.

The Allure Of Influencer Marketing
It’s without a doubt that influencer marketing is a great way to reach a new audience, with half of millennials indicating trust in influencer recommendations. Similarly, one-third of Gen Zers admit to making a product purchase in the last quarter based on the word of a trusted influencer.

Besides its reported effectiveness, influencer marketing is an attractive option for many e-commerce companies because it can reduce their content creation costs. For instance, teaming up with an influencer can lead to the production of content that can be cross-posted on both the influencer’s social media feeds and your business’s socials, allowing the content to be better utilized and get significantly more exposure.

By the same token, an influencer-focused marketing initiative can also make it easier to create an email or landing page campaign that is built around that single internet personality. However, one difficulty that comes with influencer marketing is gauging the genuine ROI of this tactic. For instance, it can be hard to discern if a given sale was the result of your hired personality introducing your online store’s wares to a buyer for the first time, or if the potential customer was already familiar with your brand and was simply swayed into making a purchase thanks to the influencer making it top of mind.

It can also be tempting for an e-commerce company to chase after influencer marketing while neglecting other helpful tactics that can increase brand image and perceived trustworthiness, such as user-generated content (UGC).

How To Know When An Influencer Isn’t Worth It
E-commerce businesses looking to capitalize on the power of an influencer’s social media clout may be tempted to work with pricier personalities, such as macro-level influencers who have reached six- or seven-figure follower counts. However, the plain fact is that some expensive influencers are worth it while others simply aren’t. Many influencers have a huge number of followers but poor engagement levels. For example, in 2022, the average engagement rate for macro-level Instagram influencers was about 1.06%. On the other end of the spectrum, Instagram micro-influencers in the 1K-5K range hit an average engagement rate of 4.84%.

In other words, if you’re going to shell out precious advertising money so that you can work with expensive influencers, make sure they have a high enough engagement rate to make your business’s time, effort and financial investment worth it.

One way to leverage an influencer’s clout (especially an influencer at the micro level) in a more cost-effective way is through influencer seeding (also known as “influencer gifting”), in which you send a free product to an influencer without any marketing agreement in place. While seeding doesn’t guarantee the production of content, it at least gives you the chance to secure authentic support from an internet personality. In addition, influencer seeding can start a marketing relationship with the social media personality on the right foot.

How To Know If Influencer Marketing Is Right For Your Product
Before you assume that your e-commerce company needs an influencer to hawk your product, stop and ask yourself a few questions: Is your product an innovative breakthrough or is it a slightly different version of something everyone already knows about? Is your product breathtakingly unique or is it more “run of the mill” in nature? Have you clearly defined your target niche or are you still figuring that out?

Answering each of these questions honestly can keep you from approaching any level of influencer marketing in a misdirected way. If your product is the kind of item that everybody should already be familiar with and doesn’t stand out in terms of name, design or functionality, then influencer marketing probably won’t help your online store that much. On the other hand, if your product is new, exists in a category of its own, or stands out in a “sexy” way, then teaming up with an influencer who falls within your specific niche could be a match made in heaven.

Assuming your online store’s products fit the criteria listed above, you need to search for an influencer who has obtained a loyal following, maintains good engagement rates, and matches your target audience. By keeping these principles in mind, you can craft an influencer campaign that won’t blow out your budget or leave you with a poor ROI at the end of the day.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2023/10/16/what-e-commerce-sellers-should-know-about-influencer-marketing/?sh=2e71c560158e