‘Influencer marketing’ is a new and exciting world for ecommerce. Many brands have had wild success across social channels, not by creating their own content, but by by hiring ‘influencers’ – popular personalities on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook – to promote their products.
I talked with Teagan West, Marketing Manager at Scrunch, a platform that connects brands with the right influencers, to talk about what modern brands need to know.
Teagan defines Influencer Marketing as ‘word of mouth marketing at scale’. Its ability to connect brands with the customers they want, through the people their customers care about, can be incredibly successful when done right.
We’ve spoken about word of mouth marketing before. Referrals are key to any successful marketing strategy. 82% of all consumers (and 92% of 18-34 year olds) seek recommendations from friends and family. It’s clear that when it comes to purchase decisions, consumers turn to their peers for advice. And in the modern age of social media, this network of peers is larger than ever – now including not just the people they know personally, but the personalities they love and follow on social media. Or, as we like to call them, ‘influencers’.
Let’s take a look at how you can put this to work for your ecommerce business.
Will influencer marketing work for you?
Influencer marketing works when there’s a natural alignment between the brand, the influencer and the audience. Because influencer marketing is about personal recommendations of products from a trusted source, both parties need to be sure they’re a good match. You don’t want to waste your money sending a campaign out to the wrong people, and influencers don’t want to risk showing their audiences content that isn’t relevant to their interests.
Rule number one: collaborations need to be authentic and genuine.
The second consideration is your product, and whether the right audience exists on social media. Lifestyle brands are very much a natural fit for influencer marketing, as there are thriving communities and incredibly popular content creators in the space. This means travel, fashion, beauty, food and beverage, health and fitness, home interior and parenting sectors receive fantastic results, as they lend themselves well to popular content creators across social platforms.
As Teagan tells us, “Influencer marketing also works because there are so many benefits brands get when working with influencers. They get content creation and brand awareness, as well as authority and credibility, lead generation, website traffic and sales. Of course, the benefits depend on the strategy, but these are just some of the things that influencer marketing can do.”
This makes influencer marketing absolutely perfect for ecommerce. When you’re asking someone to put their credit card details into your website, you need them to know that they can trust you. And when their favourite online celebrity loves your products, you know that they will too.
Influencer marketing in action
There are some downfalls. Many have criticized influencer marketing as it can be difficult to track the revenue your campaigns are actually generating. This, however, is not a new issue.
Almost all forms of broadcast advertising have the same issue. Television and print, for example, have no way to accurately measure the monetary success of their ads – and yet, they are well known to be incredibly successful. Just ask Coca Cola.
Influencer marketing is similar in this respect. Though what we can track accurately is impressions. And the results are astounding.
Teagan kindly shared the results of a campaign Scrunch run for YouFoodz: a popular Australian meal preparation and delivery service.
They promoted the launch of their new winter menu by leveraging 81 popular lifestyle influencers, who together created 167 unique pieces of content featuring YouFoodz meals for Instagram. The content took off – just take a look at the numbers:
- 69,938 direct engagements on campaign content
- 507,909 impressions on campaign content
- 1,457,142 social reach across Instagram
Influencer marketing is arguably the most cost effective way to generate this level of exposure. And, considering that the exposure is coming via authentic, persuasive personalities, you can be sure its profitable.
But before you go ahead and find someone – anyone – ‘Insta-famous’ to take a photo holding your product, let’s take a look at some of the minutiae you’ll need to consider to really make your first campaign successful.
- Choosing the right influencer.
You can find influencers on social media by searching through relevant hashtags and locating their accounts yourself. If you do find someone you think is worthwhile working with, you can negotiate rates with them from there. Alternatively, you can select from a range of verified influencers via platforms like Scrunch, which help to connect you with the right person for the job.
- Be wary of ‘influencer fraud’.
Due to how successful it can be for brands, influencer marketing is a new, booming industry. Unfortunately, this has meant a few unsavoury characters have started purchasing fake followers and engagements to try and pass themselves off as legitimate influencers that are worth a slice of your advertising budget. Make sure you’re taking a good look at the influencers you’re considering working with to gauge for yourself how real their audiences actually are. You can do this with platforms like Scrunch, which give you access to data to vet the audience of the influencer. Or, you can check them out manually by looking at the followers and the engagements across their social channels to see if they’re genuine or not. Red flags, like thousands of followers but no comments, are a good indication these aren’t real.
- Understand their audience. It’s essential you understand the audience of the influencer you’re thinking of working with. Not all people who post about motorcycles will have audiences that fit your motorcycle brand, for example. As with any targeted campaign, you should take a look at the location, age range, gender and interests of their followers to ensure your campaign is showing up in front of verified prospects. This can be difficult without help from the right tools. You can ask the Influencer to share insights with you, if they’re actively tracking them. Teagan also recommends the Scrunch Audience Analytics functionality, as this is a reliable way for you to analyse your influencer’s following yourself.
A huge thanks to Teagan and the Scrunch team for sharing their insights with us!