Influencer Marketing: How to Get Your Products Noticed
by Matt Ellis
You’ve seen the ad a thousand times before, but you never even considered buying it until you heard your friend talk about it. That, in a nutshell, is the effect of influencer marketing.
Getting your products into the hands of an influencer isn’t just exposure, it’s social proof. Influencer marketing goes beyond getting seen by more and new people. It’s a trustworthy source vouching for your brand to strangers. Your first impression with new prospects will forever be linked with a dependable source. That’s a perk traditional advertising can’t match.
According to these statistics compiled by TapInfluence, influencer marketing is becoming one of the most effective – and cost-efficient – ways to market online:
- Influencer marketing has an 11x higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional advertising.
- To put a figure on it, eCommerce companies make an average of $285 in incremental sales per 1,000 impressions.
- Nearly half (49%) of all people say they rely on influencer recommendations before making purchases.
- Teenagers regard YouTube vloggers as 17x more engaging than traditional celebrities.
- Of those surveyed, 40% have purchased something online after seeing it used by an influencer on social media.
In this article, I’ll explain how you can use influencer marketing for your Amazon store to get your products into the right hands...and the right social feeds.
But first things first, you have to find them.
Finding the Right Influencers
Sure, you could just look to see who has the most followers, but influencer marketing has developed much more fruitful strategies for identifying the right influencers. Katy Perry may have millions of followers, but considering who comprises her fans, she wouldn’t be very good at selling auto parts.
Here’s how to find the best influencers for you:
See Who’s Using Relevant Hashtags
For your own content strategy, you should already have a list of the best hashtags for your industry. Take a look around at who else commonly uses these hashtags, and who uses them well with a proper following.
Check also for frequency – you want influencers who discuss these topics often, not those who got lucky doing a one-time piece on the subject.
Use Content Marketing Tools
You don’t have to pore through years of content to find your influencers. Today, there are tools to help with the heavy lifting:
Some of these sites break up post data by channels, so you can target influencers in your most profitable social media avenues.
Explore New Channels and Content Types
Try straying from your online comfort zones and you might discover new communities and markets. Is your niche on Snapchat? Is there a trending topic on Pinterest that you can use? Explore every corner to find your communities online – and the influencers who lead them.
6 Influencer Marketing Techniques
Once you’ve found your target influencer, you have to attract them to your brand. Remember that influencers are (usually) business people just like you, so some of the best strategies involve the old business adage “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
Below are six influencer marketing techniques that have proven themselves more effective than others:
1. Establish Rapport on Social Media
First you’ll want your influencer to be familiar with you and your brand – or at least know you exist. Establish rapport on social media by liking their posts, sharing their content, mentioning them in your post or directly addressing them with a question.
Influencers pay attention to whoever sends them traffic for the same reasons that you do: to help them succeed at their job. If you establish yourself as useful to them in their own goals, they’ll be more likely to help you with your goals.
2. Pay for a Feature
If you have a healthy budget and prefer a straightforward approach, you can sometimes just pay influencers to feature your products. Professionals will already have a pricing system, and you’ll see results faster than if you beat around the bush. However, legal disclosures may undermine the message, and some influencers stay away from paid endorsements to retain credibility.
3. Guest Post for Them
Creating a guest post for your influencer such as an article, infographic or original meme gives them more incentive to put you into their feed; after all, the work is already done. Plus, you get an automatic backlink on a high-ranking site for your niche.
4. Feature Them on Your Site
If you can’t get on their site, put them on yours. Build a post around them, such as an interview, or perhaps commission them to guest post on your site. This more or less ensures that they’ll promote the piece once it goes live.
5. Free Gifts
The oldest trick in the book is still just as practical today. Everyone likes free gifts, so send some of your products to the influencer no-strings-attached. There’s no guarantee they’ll post about it, but your chances are better if your products are actually as good as you think.
Send them a personal message along with the gift so they know who you are and why you’re reaching out. In his eBook, The Ultimate Guide To eCommerce Link Building, Kaloyan Yankulov writes out a nice template letter to send to blogger influencers along with a gift (pp. 62-63). You can easily reformat his stock message to suit other mediums without losing the personal touch.
Once you’ve established a solid working relationship with the influencer, you can take it to the next level with a collaborative campaign. This can define your brand’s reputation for years to come, for better or worse.
Here are some typical avenues for collaboration with influencers:
- Spokesperson – The influencer becomes the face of your brand. You can feature them in your product photos, post their work on your site, and in many ways merge your brands together.
- Commission – The influencer gets a cut of any sales they send your way. This is similar to an affiliate or referral program, although it can be more casual if you prefer. For professional fashion bloggers, this is a main source of income.
- Contests/Giveaways/Promotions – Offer a special promotion in connection to the influencer. This is open-ended in the details – you could merely provide the prizes while the influencer runs the whole thing through their channel, or you could both organize it together and share the returns.
- Artistic Collaborations – If the influencer earned their position by being an expert in their field, give them some creative control over your product line. They could design an actual product, or just create a curated collection of their favorite products from you.
Collaboration is the ultimate bond between brand and influencer and forever connects you and them in the minds of your customers. Think Michael Jordan and Nike...or Michael Jordan and Hanes…or Michael Jordan and Wheaties…
What’s your experience in influencer marketing? Do you have any questions or need specific advice? Share your thoughts in the comments section now.
Originally published on June 1, 2017, updated August 26, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.