An old rule for salespeople is to stay in front of their target audiences. Today, that means being visible on and available through popular social media channels. After all, Pew Research suggests that around seven out of every ten consumers use social media. This trend keeps growing year after year and shows no signs of reversing course.
Yet being on platforms like Facebook and TikTok doesn’t just mean posting images or buying ads. It means engaging more thoroughly, including through intermediaries or social media influencers.
37% of respondents said they trusted product-related insights from social media influencers. By comparison, just 8% trusted the brands carrying the products.
If you sell via e-commerce, you can see how these influencer numbers could work in your favor. E-commerce sales live online. Consequently, marketing through a virtual strategy like social media influence is a natural fit. The key is to take steps to make influencing work for you.
1. Find Relevant Influencers
Not all types of social media influencers work for all kinds of e-commerce merchants and products. For example, macro and superstar influencers who have a lot of followers but don’t interact with them much are better for well-known brands and products.
Choosing a micro-influencer might yield stronger results depending on your company’s recognition. Micro-influencers have very modest followings by social media standards. However, their give-and-take with those followers can be vibrant. That kind of communication can bring your products to life — and get you some extra sales and fans.
2. Select the Best Platform
When starting with social media influence, trying to get on the most popular and fastest-growing site can be very tempting. Be cautious, though. TikTok is on the upswing, but its user demographics might not resonate with the consumer base most likely to buy what you’re selling online. The last thing you want is to pour marketing money into a social media campaign on a platform unsuitable for your e-store.
Before looking for social media influencers, decide which platform works for you. Take a look at the bigger picture in terms of your customer base. Use your gathered data to determine which social media site should give you the most significant return on investment. Don’t forget that social media influencing portals include YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and even podcasting.
3. Establish a Mutually Beneficial Relationship
You’ll want to be very specific when working with influencers. What do you hope to get from your relationship? What do you expect from them, and how will they get paid? Social media influencing arrangements should be contractual and precise. Both you and your influencers must understand how to make the experience beneficial for all.
A word of advice: do not tell your influencers what to say or how to say it, except for a product that must be legally described in a particular way. (For instance, you may not be able to claim that your supplements cure anything and your influencers should be aware of this.) Social media influencers are experts at speaking with their audiences. Write up your contract to allow for a creative license within parameters.
4. Develop a Promotion Plan
You can’t expect your social media influencer to do everything for your brand. You need to put some skin in the game, too. You can maximize your social media influence by mentioning your influencers in your company’s social media posts and other content. Spotlight your influencers. Share what they’ve said about your e-commerce items. Explain why you feel your relationship works so well.
You’ll also do the right thing for your business and your influencers. The more people you send their way, the stronger their followings can become. This enables them to spread their message just a little further. In time, you could help a micro-influencer inch closer to becoming a macro-influencer.
5. Measure Social Media Influence with Metrics
A huge question among many marketers is how to measure whether or not their social media influencer initiatives are working. It’s essential to put numbers against those initiatives at budget time. Otherwise, it can be difficult to justify putting money aside for more influence.
E-commerce companies use key performance indicators like the number of followers who become customers, the interaction between followers and influencers, and the number of people who refer others to their sites. You may also want to set up a system to track brand awareness to see if you get the desired reach. If you’re struggling with your analytics software, consider partnering with a professional marketing team to get started.
You can bet that your competitors know about influencer marketing. Instead of letting them get ahead of you, stay in the game. Influencer marketing can produce excellent results with just a little effort.