Influencer Marketing in a World of E-Commerce

With most brick-and-mortar shops heavily restricted or even completely shut down right now, business owners have to get creative. While pivoting your business strategy can seem complicated, one foolproof way to change up your strategy is to take it to one of the great inventions of the last century: the internet. E-commerce is a tool you must have in your back pocket. Businesses that have checked their pockets and pulled out the golden ticket of e-commerce have seen success over the past few months.

If you are joining the e-commerce world, it won’t be an easy fight to the top. Everyone else is making the switch too. The industry that is estimated to top $4.2 trillion globally in 2020 is tough to crack, but with the right strategy you can guide your e-commerce store into a booming business. 

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At Hawke Media, we know e-commerce and we were built to help companies of all sizes succeed in e-commerce sales, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to get creative. One innovative way to grow your e-commerce sales is through influencer marketing. It’s been a buzzword for a while now, but influencer marketing is now an established form of online marketing. 

Choosing Your Collaborators

When you find someone to collaborate with your brand to help you market your product or services, it’s important to make sure they have the right authority and relationship with the niche audience that you’re looking to target. For example, if you’re working with a brand that is trying to promote their new sustainable skincare line, you want to work with beauty and skincare influencers with a large following who also care about and promote eco-friendly and sustainable living. Authenticity matters and you’re going to want to make sure that your marketing is catering to that influencer’s audience.

Even if you’re building trust with your chosen influencers’ audiences over a period of time, when you’re talking about online consumerism, influencers provide a direct line to ideal customers, driving traffic to your retail site. 

A content creator with an engaged following giving genuine opinions and information via social media, a website, or even a blog is someone consumers feel they can trust. Using influencer marketing, you can tap into that content creator’s audience and the rapport they’ve already built with their followers. You don’t need influencers with a super high amount of followers as long as the influencer has a high engagement rate among their audience and an authentic and well-established voice within their niche space. 

The Power of Word of Mouth

It’s not so much about instant results, and more about the process. Even if you’re building trust with your chosen influencers’ audiences over a period of time, when you’re talking about online consumerism, influencers provide a direct line to ideal customers, driving traffic to your retail site. 

While ads are obviously great tools to drive online sales, consumers are relying more and more on word-of-mouth marketing over actually testing products. According to Tagger Media, “in 2020 consumers are trending towards buying more from reliable brands, retailers, and personalities they already know, like, and trust.”

A Long-Term Play

Tagger Media also found that brands “who cultivate long-term partnerships with aligned influencers will see a higher rate of engagement and sales that grows over time.” You have to look at the more granular data to see that teaming up with the right influencers over a long period of time will provide you with a greater ROI. Over time, brands start to see greater revenue from driving their customers to highly relevant media that’s closer to the point of purchase. 

There’s even more data to back up this claim. A Google study found that when experiences are highly personalized, shoppers are more than twice as likely to add items to their shopping cart and 40% more likely to spend more than planned. As customers are researching and make more purchase decisions in a digital storefront, they look to personalized content to make those purchases.

Influencers and Instagram: Intertwined

It would be impossible to talk about influencer marketing and its impact on e-commerce strategy without talking about Instagram. According to Statista, global Instagram influencer marketing spend is expected to reach $8,080B this year and the number of brand-sponsored influencer posts on Instagram should reach 6.12M. Not to mention, it’s predicted that, by 2023, 125.5M users will be on the platform.

A Facebook Business study recently found that 83% of people discover new products or services on Instagram, 81% of people primarily use the app to search for new products or services, and, if they don’t find a new product or service on the app, 80% of people use its content to decide whether or not to purchase a product or service that they found elsewhere.

Instagram will be the major opportunity when it comes to influencer marketing, one you can’t afford not to capitalize on in the 2020 media landscape. You can find more than 500,000 influencers to choose from on the platform, so it’s fairly certain that you’ll find influencers who will fit perfectly into your brand’s niche and messaging strategy.

Harnessing Data

Influencer marketing is a way to execute your brand’s digital-marketing goals, but it’s also a great way to collect first-party shopper data to help your brand better understand its customers. How consumers are engaging with the way your influencers are presenting the brand will say a lot about what works and what doesn’t in terms of content. This way, you can A-B test different strategies in order to execute marketing plans that stick.

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In this massive shift to almost fully e-commerce products on the market, influencer marketing is a creative tool that can be leveraged in your overall marketing strategy, especially because diversification of media nearest to the source driving revenue is everything in e-commerce marketing these days.

Interested in learning more about influencing marketing and its effect on e-commerce? Check out panels such as “From Influencer to Investor,” “How to Build Loyal Relationships in an Omnichannel World,” “Art of the Drop: The Intersection of Culture & e-Commerce,” “Using Storytelling to Connect & Convert,” and more, Sep. 28 through Oct. 2, when you sign up for Hawke Media’s eCommerce Week L.A.