As our social media feeds become more saturated with ads of all kinds, you might be looking for a new strategy to give your sales a boost.
You need something that sets you apart from competitors, draws in new prospects, and entices your visitors to make a purchase.
Enter influencer marketing.
This rapidly growing strategy helps you partner with well-known and highly impactful people in your niche to promote your products.
What Is An Influencer?
An influencer is an individual with expertise in a niche and a large online following, usually on social media platforms.
Influencers build trust and rapport with their followers by providing valuable content and insights on their platform. Because of that trust, consumers are more likely to trust the recommendation of an influencer.
In fact, more than 50% of consumers between the ages of 23-38 say they regularly pay attention to what social media influencers recommend.
Influencer marketing also adds a visual dimension to online content, that is more necessary now than ever before. According to these visual stats, 74% of content included some type of visual and that number is set to increase over the years.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a strategy in which businesses create paid partnerships with influencers in their niche.
You’ll offer compensation in the form of money or products in exchange for a mention, review, or other content.
Influencer marketing can be as simple as making an Instagram post featuring your product or as in-depth as writing a full review.
For instance, this tweet from Sarah Perez at TechCrunch is a great example of influencer marketing from EarlyBird. The tweet alone can reach Perez’s 62,000 followers.
But this influencer also wrote a review of EarlyBird on TechCrunch, a widely-read technology blog. Either component would make this a good influencer marketing strategу, but the combination takes it to the next level.
You’ll set the guidelines for your own influencer marketing program, and there’s a lot of flexibility in what you can do. As long as you’re paying your influencers competitively, you can craft all kinds of strategies to drive sales within your company.
What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?
When done well, influencer marketing can have a far-reaching impact on many aspects of your business. Here are just a few ways it can help you grow:
- Reach your target audience (and beyond): Your chosen influencers will already be tapped into your target market, and the best influencers will have an audience you haven’t reached yet. Through influencer marketing, you can expand your reach to new and valuable markets.
- Build brand awareness: The more your brand appears on popular social media accounts, blogs, or news sources, the more brand recognition you’ll build. And, of course, brand recognition is the first step to more sales.
- Establish trust: Because influencers are so prominent in their niche, they carry a high degree of trust and credibility. A product recommendation from an influencer is trusted more highly than a typical social media ad.
Still not convinced? Consider this: 30% of companies said their influencer content outperformed brand-created content on digital platforms.
5 Influencer Marketing Strategies to Drive Sales
There are dozens of possible influencer marketing strategies you can leverage, but the right one depends on your goals.
You can use influencer marketing to build your audience, establish your brand, or generate leads. Today, though, we’re talking about influencer marketing strategies designed to drive sales.
1. Gift Free Products
One of the easiest and most common ways to begin an influencer marketing program is by giving free products to influencers.
This strategy usually involves a simple trade: you provide the product, and the influencer uses it and writes a review for their followers. The followers get to see your product in action and recommended by someone they trust, which can persuade them to buy the product themselves.
Take a look at this example from Instagram influencer @homewithhollyj. Home goods company Oreck sent her a new vacuum cleaner to use and post a brief review for, which you can see below:
You might also offer additional products that your influencers can use to host a giveaway. In this approach, the influencer sets out simple rules for entering the contest and picks a winner at random. To make this strategy work best for you, one of the criteria should be to follow your company’s social media account.
Offering free products works well for Instagram influencers and bloggers because they can more easily provide photos or videos of the product in action. These platforms also provide more space to write a detailed product review.
2. Create Guest Posts & Sponsored Content
You can still leverage influencer marketing, even if your business doesn’t sell an Instagram-ready product, like software companies or service providers.
With this approach, you’ll work within your content marketing strategy to create articles for an influencer’s blog or platform. The content will prominently feature your product or company in a positive light while also demonstrating your expertise in the industry.
For example, Drew Cheneler, the founder of Simple Money Lyfe, is a Gen Z personal finance influencer who regularly guest posts on well-known finance blogs.
Because he’s been featured on major publications like CNBC and Fox Business News, he lends a lot of trust or credibility to any brands he works with.
Content-based influencer marketing is usually split into two types.
For a guest post, you’ll create an article that will be published on an influencer’s blog. The effective way to find relevant websites to pitch is to do a manual outreach via email or social media. If you’re outreaching prospects through an email channel, be sure to verify your prospect’s addresses to avoid losing resources and increase the conversions.
For a sponsored post, you’ll pay the influencer to be featured on their feed. Some influencers will allow you to create your own sponsored posts, while others will create their own content mentioning your brand.
No matter which kind of post you use, your brand will be exposed to a new segment of your target audience while providing positive information about your product.
3. Offer Discount Codes
Another common and effective influencer marketing tactic is offering custom discount codes for influencers to share with their followers.
The actual discount can be a small amount — usually 10-20% off. But by creating a custom discount code for each influencer, you create an air of exclusivity that entices visitors to make a purchase.
Discount codes are also highly versatile. They can be used on any channel where your influencers are present.
For instance, Instagram influencers like @teslatheminiaussie include discount codes for products like pet art or dog beds right in the description of their post.
Influencers can offer their discount codes on any social channel, their blog, or even on a podcast, whether they’re the host or a special guest. QR codes can be used to seamlessly allow the audience to acquire the discount code and view the product directly. QR code generators can be used to create dynamic QR codes for multichannel usage by influencers.
In fact, podcasts can be a great place to look for new influencers. Many podcasters make money podcasting by partnering with brands for ads and sponsorships. They often have dedicated followers with whom they’ve built up a lot of trust — the perfect recipe for an influencer.
Protip: you can offer discounts via chatbots for better customer engagement!
4. Host a Social Media Takeover
If you’re looking to drive traffic to your social media channels to drive sales down the line, an influencer takeover can be a great way to accomplish that.
In a social media takeover, an influencer posts from the brand account as though it were their own. They may post about their day-to-day activities, a special event, or do a live demo of your product.
Many of the influencer’s followers will visit your brand accounts, thanks to the influencer’s presence. When you’ve built up new followers, you can use other marketing tactics to continue to drive sales.
Social media takeovers are also a great opportunity to host a contest or giveaway to generate buzz about your brand and products.
5. Recruit Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors are loyal fans of your product with a dedicated following. They don’t need to have as large of a following as most influencers — the important thing is that they can honestly endorse your brand.
Here’s an example of hair and beauty influencer, Olivia Smalley who is an ambassador for Genbook and routinely shares about the appointment booking software on her Instagram channel.
Typically, brand ambassadors post mentions of your company or product in exchange for samples, exclusive offers, or other perks. You don’t necessarily have to compensate them in cash, although some brand ambassador programs may offer that option.
Because brand ambassadors genuinely love your product and can talk about their real experience with it, their endorsement carries a lot of weight. When combined with their personal connection with their followers or network, brand ambassadors wield a powerful influence that can drive sales for your brand.
Boost Sales With an Influencer Marketing Campaign
Influencer marketing helps your business drive sales by partnering with influential bloggers and social media personalities to promote your products.
By offering free products, discount codes, or even original content, you can tap into influencer audiences to grow your brand’s reach. Remember to customize your influencer marketing strategy to what works best for your business and audience.
Then, sit back and watch your sales grow.