Influencers: What’s The Deal With Them?4 min read

Technology has boomed throughout the 21st century. This sector has remained a critical component for expanding overseas markets, especially in ecommerce. Walking down the street, it is hard not to notice constant ads for the latest devices. Or, alternatively, seeing people absorbed by their screens and devices. Instagram influencers have become figureheads of profits for countless companies — big and small.

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Why Influencers?

Forbes cites that 92% of consumers trust Instagram influencers more than traditional advertising methods. Traditional advertising methods include celebrity endorsements and television ads. Normally, consumers trust influencers more than paid celebrity endorsements. Nearly 88% of influencers are likely to recommend the product they are sponsoring to a personal friend. Recommendations are typically outside of normal influencing duties. Influencers are capable of influencing followers to purchase a product. However, they also can convince their friends to purchase the product as well. Point is if you’re looking to expand your business without any additional marketing effort on your end, hiring influencers is the best way to do so!

Influencers are integral to any businesses trying to remain relevant in 2019. But are particularly important for ecommerce and online businesses. Ecommerce is all about buying, selling, and communicating with customers online. They market themselves to tech-savvy individuals and social media aficionados. These two general groups are more likely to purchase goods from an online source. Online sources include Shopify ecommerce stores or Etsy. One of the main reasons influencers are rising in popularity is due to the switch from television ads to social media campaigns in the last 10 years. With everchanging media platforms, the former popular model of endorsing celebrities in television commercials has become obsolete. Now, companies rely on Gen Z influencers on popular social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. 

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What is “Affiliate Marketing”?

Influencer marketing tactics are successful for many reasons. One of them is a business strategy known as “affiliate marketing.” Simply put, affiliate marketing is when a company contacts someone to promote their product. Through the promotion of the product, site traffic increases. In exchange, the person promoting the good is offered a percentage of the sales they have helped to bring in. For ecommerce specifically, an affiliate marketing strategy is particularly useful because 72% of Instagram influencers are more likely to purchase a product they see on their feed. Hiring and utilizing influencers takes the stress of social media management away and will increase your profit margin. 

Wondering what niches benefit the most from an affiliate marketing strategy? The two ecommerce niche categories that tend to perform the best are fashion and travel. In 2018, both categories saw handsome increases between 7-18% in sales from this alone. 

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Micro vs. Macro Influencers

Don’t worry, not every influencer has to be as famous as Kim Kardashian West for your campaign to be successful. Overall, Instagram has experienced a 198% increase in posts since 2016 based on data form all Instagram accounts. In order to maximize profits and minimize costs, it is important to specify who your target audience is and what exactly you are trying to sell. If you own a more generalized store, be sure to ask yourself who, what, where, why, and how to figure out which products to focus on. 

Additionally, not every influencer needs to have over 100,000 followers in order to be beneficial for your company or product. Research has shown that “micro-influencers” — influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers — can be great choices for smaller companies looking to save money and time on advertising costs. According to a study done by Makerly, these micro-influencers can be up to four times as profitable compared to sponsored posts given how loyal their following is. Also, micro-influencers are much more likely to feature and engage with your product compared to influencers who are bogged down by too many sponsorship opportunities.

On the other hand, if your goal is to simply increase brand exposure, then employing a large scale influencer would be the right choice. Furthermore, many companies make the common mistake of focusing on either the number of followers or the number of likes on a post when trying to hire a specific influencer. Instead, it is actually much more dependent on audience engagement with the post itself. 

When it comes down to it your influencer of choice should have quality followers instead of quantity of them. When you eventually find a quality influencer with a loyal following, expect your profits to skyrocket!

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