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Influencer Marketing, a great strategy for eCommerce brands

What is influencer marketing and how can it help you carve out a niche in the market? The growth of social media means that influencer marketing has become so common that it is now a buzzword for effective marketing. However, the market isn’t saturated and you can still use well-selected partnerships with social media influencers to engage otherwise unreachable target markets.

What exactly is influencer marketing?

This type of marketing is when a brand partners with a big social media personality to promote a product. The people are often referred to as ‘influencers’ due to their large following, specific audience and the persuasion power they often have over their viewers. Their persuasion power is a result of the often candid and authentic nature of the content they produce, and the potential for interaction with their fan base.

One of the first examples of this was when YouTube content producer PewDiePie worked with the marketing team for a horror film set in the catacombs under Paris. PewDiePie is amongst the most successful on the platform with over 110 million subscribers as of early 2022, and the campaign saw him complete challenges set within the French catacombs themselves, providing a unique and effective campaign for a film whose revenue went on to far exceed its budget.

An opportunity for unique content

In marketing, the idea of celebrity endorsements is often controversial because it’s not always effective. Some celebrity partnerships can be extremely effective, such as Daniel Craig’s long-lasting partnership with Tom Ford that has helped popularise certain models in their luxury sunglasses range. But marketing expert David Ogilvy also explained that celebrity endorsements can also easily fall flat.

The key to success is context, which is where influencer marketing really excels. Taking the PewDiePie example as a reference, one of the main reasons for its success was that it was not simply a poster endorsement or even a product placement, but it was a unique idea that had the potential to go viral regardless of whether it was attached to a product or not. This was made possible by a non-traditional partnership with an influencer.

How to identify an influencer for partnership

  1. Know your goals and your audience: This is important as it will help you decide which influencer to partner with and the best way to build your campaign.
  2. Know the rules: In America, the FTC specify that influencers must disclose sponsored posts to their audience, which is why it’s important to build this into your potential contract with an influencer.
  3. Check relevance: Pick someone whose content matches the interests of your target demographic, who regularly covers information on products like yours and whose image aligns with the values of your brand.
  4. Check reach: While some influencers have mass appeal and millions of followers, niche influencers may have far fewer followers yet still produce a cost-effective marketing collaboration.
  5. Check resonance: It’s easy to see how many followers an influencer has but it requires some digging to understand how engaged their community is and the whether they passively consume content or actively build a community around it.

Don’t just seek an endorsement, collaborate

Once you’ve identified who you want to work with and reached out, the next step is to create an effective campaign. One key advantage of social media influencers over a celebrity endorsement is that influencers will have an expert understanding of how to produce content and reach their audience. Most have built up a following from scratch, so harness this expertise. Seek their advice and make your expectations clear but don’t seek to control the entire campaign.

Two examples of effective campaigns

Dior won an award in the 2020 Influencer Marketing Awards by teaming up with beauty influencers to promote their Forever Foundation, a range that stands out thanks to its wide variety of foundation shades. They worked with a different influencer for each shade, highlighting the product’s unique features while also engaging influencers who were uniquely suited for their product, bringing a product aimed at diverse skin tones to a diverse audience.

Paddy Power sponsored an English football club called Huddersfield Town. Companies sponsoring clubs is quite common and uncontroversial, although Paddy Power chose a deliberately ugly shirt and promoted it with a ‘reveal’ campaign. They had no intention of using this design, so instead asked social media influencers to support a #SaveOurShirt campaign, where influencers voiced their opinion on the controversy. This created a viral discussion, after which Paddy Power revealed their stunt and continued their sponsorship by letting Huddersfield play in a blank shirt for the rest of the season. The result was enormous engagement and attention.

Influencer marketing, done right, can push your brand to new heights

As you can see from the above two examples, influencer marketing can be an effective way to promote new products or your brand in general. The key is to approach it with a full understanding of its unique benefits.

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