In today’s technological era, differentiating your online store can be difficult. We understand that. You need to constantly adapt your marketing techniques to compete with the other players the ever-changing retail landscape.
Influencer marketing, a new form of marketing that has proven to be hugely successful (when done right). With celebrities like Kim Kardashian earning upwards of $1M for every sponsored post shared on their Instagram, and companies multiplying their revenue tenfold because of it, influencer marketing is undoubtedly working for whoever does it smartly.
This article takes an in-depth look at influencer marketing for online retailers to give guidance with the process. What is influencer marketing? Is it effective? What are the types of influencers? Which one should you choose? How do you implement it into your business? All of these questions are answered here. This article is aimed towards fashion and interior design retailers who sell mostly online.
What is influencer marketing?
Let’s start with the basics. Influencer marketing refers to the use of an influential person to promote a brand, company or product. In today’s digital age, the term “influencers” is no longer limited to the big name celebrities.
Platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Youtube have given rise to influencers of all different shapes and sizes. As a result, companies can hand-pick the influencer who is right for their budget, market and vision.
These influencer can help push products you sell.
Is influencer marketing effective?
Let’s take a look at some numbers from PR Daily to find out why influencer marketing is extremely effective:
Influencer marketing can generate 11 times the ROI of traditional advertising.
90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, but only 33 percent trust traditional ads.
Ninety-four percent of marketers find influencer marketing effective.
Sixty percent of consumers consult blogs, vlogs or social media posts on products before considering a purchase.
We at Bllush work with many of the worlds leading retailers and have witnessed first-hand how effective influencer content is on user engagement, conversion rates and revenue.
Types of influencers
Usually, retailers have fixed marketing budgets, which can vary from $1000 to $2 million. For this reason, it is important to understand the pros and cons of each to know which is best suitable for your company. There are three main categories of influencers:
Mega influencers are A-List celebrities with 1m or more followers like Kim Kardashian, Drake and Rihanna. They are effective in raising brand awareness across the masses and adding a “cool factor” to the product/brand. However, there a few problems: first, they are very costly. A single campaign can cost between $100,000 and $1,000,000. Second, their content is often low quality and full of sponsors. Lastly, they have low engagement levels because users are not as keen to interact with someone they can’t relate to.
Macro Influencers are professional social media personalities with a passion for a specific topic. They have between 100k and 1m followers. They are good for companies who want to attract a more specific market and they are easier and cheaper to connect with than mega influencers. But again, their following is so large that their engagement level of users is low.
Micro influencers are ordinary people with a following between 1k and 100k. These are not famous celebrities, politicians or athletes but real people with a strong voice online. Their averageness and obscurity are the reason they have the highest engagement. They fall short on their lack of mass reach.
Cost per post
A-List Celebrity with 1m+ followers
Explosive reach, celebrity status, strong branding and PR value
High cost, low quality content, low user engagement
Social media professional with
Good for niche market, easier and cheaper to connect than mega influencer
Medium to high cost, low engagement
Ordinary person with 1k-100k followers
Low cost, strong voice, high engagement and user loyalty
Do not have explosive reach, must partner with many for effectiveness
*COSTS ARE NOT EXACT, AND ONLY APPLY IF INFLUENCER POSTS SPONSORED CONTENT ON THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA
Which one should your retailer use?
If you are company with a smaller budget and cannot afford to allocate huge sums of money for marketing, then without a doubt the most suitable option is to go for a micro influencer. This group has a smaller, yet loyal fanbase composed of people potentially in your target demographic (PR Daily).
Even if you are a larger-scale company, you may still want to consider micro or macro influencers. A study found that superstars might have a massive reach, but their followers are often passive, which leads to low levels of engagement. Using 100 micro-influencers at $30,000 can have a much greater impact than 1 macro influencer.
But again, it depends on many factors such as your company’s market, budget and goals. Only way to know is to run several tests.
How should you use influencer content?
There are several use-cases for interacting and using influencers to market your online store.
1) Driving traffic and brand recognition via social media
The traditional approach. With this option, your company uses the influencer’s followers and network as a way to collect traffic and market your products (by interacting or wearing them). Beneficial if you have a big budget, but if you you are trying to cut costs, it becomes problematic. Since you are relying on the influencer to generate brand awareness, they must have a big enough fanbase to get it out there… meaning high costs. With big stars like Kylie Jenner, the cost can be as high as $1M per post! That’s a lot of money, especially considering that the post is a one-timer and will very soon be forgotten as newer posts get added. Another issue is that is may be hard to track direct results, as many social networks don’t allow direct links from posts (ahem ahem Instagram).
2) Using influencer content on company marketing channels such as website
Another option is to integrate influencer content directly onto your website. This method is growing in popularity in the last few years. It essentially leverages influencer content to provide a better experience for the user on the company website. It is generally more cost-effective. Why? Because the photo can be seen and the related product can be purchased instantly on the website, and much cheaper than sponsoring an influencer (see also Psychological Factors Affecting Consumer Choices). However, you may lose out on increasing brand awareness since you are not reaching out to new customers but marketing to existing ones.
For using influencer content on your website, there are several options:
Build – Manage the process yourself. If you choose this option, your company must do all the work internally. This means they must arrange a team of content specialists to scout the right influencers, get the legal rights to use the images (see – The Cost of Getty Images) and of course a team of programmers to implement to actually display the content. As you may have guessed, this option is expensive and time-consuming. The list of companies that opt for this option are very small.
Buy – If you don’t have the resources to internally find influencer content or are looking for a more professional and established solution, the other option is to use existing software providers. This option is what the majority of retailers decide to do. Here’s an overview on several solutions.
OlaPic – based in NYC, this company offers visual search platforms for brands. The company has been around for quite a while and boast impressive customers. Their main product allows brands to view all images posted on social media with their hashtags. The brand can then reach out to the influencer, get the rights to use the image and publish it within their marketing channels. A great solution for brands that are well known and are being mentioned in social.
PhotoSlurp – based in Spain, this company has been quickly taking over Europe. Similar to Olapic, this companies product allows brands to view images from users and past customers, request permission and publish the content to various channels including Facebook and website.
Bllush – based in Tel-Aviv, Bllush offers a unique solution which is aimed at online retailers selling multiple brands and not brands themselves (full disclosure, the author works at Bllush). The company works directly with fashion and interior design influencers to get copyright for their content. Each retailer is offered visual content they can use freely which are already matched with products they sell on their store. Retailers can then decide on how this content is published on their website, giving the end-users a great inspirational experience. If you would like to hear more about what Bllush can do for you, you can contact a sales representative here.
To summarize, We hoped this short guide help you understand what can be done with influencer content for online retailers.