INFLUENCER MARKETING

How to Use Influencer Marketing for E-commerce

Daniel Cruz

By Daniel Cruz
19 min READ | Aug 11 2022

Using influencers has become a massive marketing trend because of influencers' trust-based relationships with their audience. People buy from people, and it’s clearer than ever that social proof drives e-commerce sales.  It is even expected that the influencer marketing industry will surpass $16 billion in value this year.

This article will give actionable advice on finding influencers, a free template to DM them, and applying strategies. Keep reading and finally jump on the trend that will bring new followers and improve your bottom line.

How to Find Influencers for E-commerce Brands

The best influencers for any e-commerce business are people that truly follow the brand or purchase from it.

Use a Free Tool

Try a free sales channel on Shopify called Carro. Once you launch the portal, you’ll automatically be presented with influencers who either follow you, subscribe to your social media channels, or have purchased something from you. From there, you can launch your influencer portal and find or partner with influencers.

You can easily filter influencers by the number of followers they have and engagement rates they generate on their own social media. From there, you can easily connect to them.

By not explaining what your company does and sells, you’ll find influencers that genuinely have an interest in your brand and save time.

Reach Out to Nano or Micro-influencers

Another way to find influencers, especially if you are a small business, is to reach out to nano or micro-influencers as they’ll be more open to doing X number of deals. A nano influencer has between 1,000 to 10,000 followers, and a micro-influencer has between 10,000 to 50,000 followers. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to look for very open and active users on social media. Look for users who post their daily lives on their Instagram stories.

User-generated Content

You can also try to find influencers by searching for user-generated content. People respond well to authentic content. 90% of consumers say authenticity is important to them when deciding from which brand to buy services.

So you should be looking for tagged photos and story mentions. Of course, make sure that the influencer’s target audience is relevant to the product or service that your business is selling.

You can do this manually by using the search bar on social media platforms or with software.

For example, Mediatoolkit is great for monitoring mentions of your brand. Or, you can try out Yotpo for social listening. It allows for the management and gathering of customer content such as ratings, images and reviews.

Facebook Business Manager

Alternatively, you can use the Facebook business manager tool to find influencers.

  • Go to the brand collabs manager section;
  • Click search;
  • Filter influencers by country, gender, age, interest, platform, portfolio type, and followers.

This way, you’ll be presented with the best influencer suggestion for your brand.

Note: Mega influencers are not necessarily better, even if they give you access to a larger audience. According to research, micro-influencers have a 3.86% higher engagement rate than mega-influencers!

Hashtags

Branded hashtag campaigns are an effective way for a brand to increase brand awareness, for users to find your brand, categorize content and find UGC.

But have you ever thought about finding your ideal influencer by typing relevant hashtags?

It’s a pretty explanatory strategy. All you have to do is:

  • Go to a preferred social media platform;
  • In the search bar, type hashtags related to your brand. Whether it is your brand’s name, values, product names, or even your industry’s keywords.
  • Use audience segments to filter the search results by tagged locations, post type or date posted;
  • Examine the profile that used a relevant hashtag. Identify their engagement rates (or other metrics), and target audience, and decide if the influencer is a good fit for your brand to drive social sales.

Geolocation

In a nutshell, local influencer marketing takes advantage of local audiences and local influencers. These influencers could be local bloggers, Instagrammers or even local stations.

Why consider local influencers?

In the United States, 53% learn about new brands and sales from family or friends. In other words, locally.

Not only that, but it is easier to recognize the pain points of one geolocation. It is even easier to achieve it by finding local influencers and examining their content, style of speech and comment section. Local influencers perfectly reflect the society they live in and the problems/issues they have. By identifying those, you can then offer your product or service (if it’s relevant) and:

  • Boost your engagement;
  • Increase your brand awareness;
  • Effectively reach your target audience.

Here is how you can do that:

  • Type keywords/hashtags into a search bar on social media and filter results by location and places;
  • Utilize Google search engine. Set the location you desire to find your influencer in;
  • Use InBeat’s database to find influencers in one place and filter them by location.

How to Contact Influencers to Promote Your Brand

Send a short DM message

Whether you want to contact them via e-mail, Instagram direct message, or any other platform, keep it short and concise.

Here is how to develop a message an influencer would read and engage with:

  • Most importantly, personalize your message.

Address them by their name. Let them know that you care, did your research, and want to work with them.

  • Highlight one or a couple of their content pieces and what you liked about them.

This could be their perfectly organized feed, way of communicating with their audience, content colours and design or content format. This will show them you know the influencer and how they work.

  • Then address their values and missions.

Ideally, they would match yours, so highlight it. Influencers, and even brand themselves, care about their values. They are there for a reason. So, when someone notices an influencer’s values and relates to them on a personal level, it instantly impresses an influencer and builds trust.

  • Introduce your product.

In the same sentence, discuss your product and explain why it would benefit the influencer’s audience.

For inspiration, use this template:

- “Hey Jessica,

We adore your content on [insert the name of the social media platform]. Especially the video called [pick a specific video and show them you actually took a look at their feed] and how you talk about [the topic of that video].

We love your mission of empowering your audience to succeed in [creator’s niche] as that’s very similar to our mission. We’re a [talk about your brand here] and would love to work with you!

We think your audience will benefit from our product because of [insert reasons] and would love to sponsor your content.

Please let us know if you’d be interested in learning more!”

Advice: Don’t come off as too desperate! Keep your composure and explain the benefits of your future partnership.

Gift products for free

Instead of asking influencers or micro-influencers to collaborate, gift a product for free. Make it clear that they are not required to promote your gifts.

If your product is truly good, an influencer will naturally be inclined to share your item, no matter what. It’s grounded in psychological principles like the reciprocity principle.

Then give influencers one product or more for free so they can try them themselves. You do not necessarily need to give them a script for what they need to say. Instead, ask them if they'd be interested in discussing your product in their own words. If they agree, you may suggest some keywords or links.

Take, for example, Healthish.

In the podcast with Shopify Masters, Emily Chong, the founder of Healthish, discussed their product seeding.

Chong said that when it comes to influencer marketing, they don’t ask influencers to post about their product - water bottles. Moreover, Healthish gifts its water bottles to influencers.

What can be learned from this example?

  • Healthish saved some money. Sending products for free without paying influencers for promotion is cost-effective.
  • Great product - more natural promotion. Take a look at the caption the influencer wrote. It’s not sales-y, rather, you can find real-life benefits of using the product;
  • In the end, an influencer chose to promote the water bottle as a favourite product. Why? Probably because the company showed commitment to the influencer, the product itself is great and would benefit the influencer’s creator economy.

Advice: Come from an authentic place. Make sure you follow the influencer on their social media. Make them aware of your brand. Then ask them if they would be interested in free goodies in exchange for a small promotion.

Send them a product or products for free, so they can try it themselves. You do not necessarily need to expect them to promote it. But if there is such an agreement but you want to build rapport with them, give them creative freedom. Don’t provide them with a script for what they need to say. Instead, tell them to talk about your product in their own words and add in some keywords if you need to.

Post on your social media that you’re looking for influencers.

It might sound odd but think about it.

You are saving time manually looking for influencers. Influencers will be DM’ing you, meaning that you’ll be the one choosing who you work with. Instead of searching for the ideal potential influencer all over social media and the internet, you’ll be picking one from your inbox.

Influencer Marketing Strategies for E-commerce

Product reviews

By utilizing the product reviews strategy, you ask for an influencer to talk about and show your product on their social media account. You can provide them with a script or ask them to be honest.  

Take a look at the screenshot:

Gymshark easily gained brand awareness by around 600k people thanks to these influencers’ reviews on Youtube.

Not only that, but Gymshark can benefit from learning more about what people think of their products by accessing the comment section. This helps improve the product and solve occurring pain points.

People are more likely to watch these reviews because they are honest; as you can see, the second and third videos have the words RUTHLESS and BRUTAL in their titles. Because 84% believe in reviews, these particular ones may cause some backlash.

Here's a strategy you never thought could work:

  • You ask them to do a try-on haul with those shoes and they never mention the company that the shoes are from;
  • The company name is not mentioned in the hashtags, or in the act;
  • They do a whole try-on haul for 30 seconds;
  • They style it, talk about its quality, colours, how comfortable they are, and then they don’t give out the name.

The product will look so appealing and the mystery will drive people crazy that they will want to know where it is from.

And what would a potential customer do?

They go to the comment section! They leave comments with ‘where’s this from?', 'where can I get from?', and 'who is the creator of this piece’.

Then, you get your influencer to jump in and reply to all of the comments. They would tag the brand name with their discount code (or simply type the @brandname) and add the link to the brand’s product page.

Extra tip: the longer you wait, the more comments you’ll get, and the more people will want to know your brand's name!

UGC

User-generated content is when people purchase products, not receive them as gifts from a company.

How do influencers play a part in UGC?

Influencer campaigns increase UGC for e-commerce businesses due to influencers' ability to relate to their targeted audiences. This happens as a result of influencers promoting inspiration or influencers discussing with their audience.

Influencers promoting inspiration

This could be DIY, tutorials, recipes, tips, etc.

Take, for example, any recipe you have ever read or seen on YouTube. If it’s written or recorded by a legitimate blogger, their recommendations or reviews of the products, cooking pans and even cutlery are probably credible.

Rainbow Plant Life is a YouTube blogger who is an influencer creating UGC for the kitchen equipment she mentioned in the description. The creator most likely purchased all of the kitchen necessities herself. Moreover, she used everything in practice and demonstrated how simple it is to cook a meal with that equipment.

Because she wasn’t directly promoting the equipment in the video but recommending them, YouTube users are now 90% more likely to purchase her recommendations.

Advice: This is exactly what e-commerce businesses should do:

  • Provide their product or services to influencers;
  • Ask them to use them in real-life cases;
  • Ask them not to promote their products;
  • Ask them only to recommend those products.

Influencer discussion with their audience

It’s a pretty explanatory activity influencer do quite often.

Influencers generate UGC for any e-commerce business by talking to their audience, whether that’s on an Instagram story or in the comment section.  

Strategically asked questions can teach any business a lot about what their target audience likes about their product or service and what needs improvement.

For example, if the main product of your business is t-shirts, an influencer could ask questions like ‘how would you style this t-shirt?’ or ‘during what occasion would you wear it?’. Not only does this give insights into how users see your product, but it also gives inspiration for future promotional campaigns.

Advice: Your e-commerce business would benefit even more if you ask your influencers to ask their audience for picture answers instead of textual. This content could then be re-purposed on your own business social media account.

Contest and Giveaways

Madewell, a clothing brand, ran a contest, offering the possibility of being showcased on their website.

The business didn’t even offer a material reward, yet more than 270k posts used a #everdaymadewell tag.

Why’s that and what are the takeaways of this contest?

  • First and foremost, Madewell, provided tips and tricks on how to catch their eye.

Not only does this show to their target audience that they want to see their images, but they also want to make sure you do it in the right way so you match their brand. This guidance and clear terms, excite the audience about creating content and partaking in this contest.

  • Madewell has many followers and even greater brand recognition.

Who wouldn’t want to be a little start of a big brand? Offering recognition to their intended audience increases brand loyalty. Not only that, but it's also a case of an ego boost. And this occurs when a brand posts a photo of a regular person on their website that millions of people can access. So it’s really a win-win situation.

  • E-commerce benefited from UGC.

First, they received thousands of images that met the guidelines of their brand book. They could have used the images on their site, on their social media and even in paid campaigns.

Madewell improved or developed their rapport with their audience. Forbes suggests that established rapports with clients can increase sales, client loyalty and respect.

Advice: No matter if you do a giveaway where you reward your audience with presents or offer recognition like Madewell, it is important that the audience benefits from it more than you do.

Repurpose UGC to your paid media

Repurposing UGC to your paid media is using the content your audience provided for your e-commerce.

This practice is about working smart, not hard, and squeeing everything you can from your marketing assets.

For instance, using UGC Reels for TikTok, or Facebook posts for Instagram ads, are one of the easiest repurposing practices.

Here are other things should consider when repurposing UGC to your paid media:

  • Organize your UGCs.

Whether it’s by using a couple of branded hashtags or mentions, by keeping a track of them you won’t lose valuable content. Repurposing content should save you time, not waste it. So make sure you have a strategy for aggregating UGCs.

  • Make sure your UGCs are optimised for needed platforms.

Make sure your review the size of videos and images before you use them in your ads.

  • Avoid legal issues.

Before you use UGC, make sure that the creator gave you permission to do so. DM them or engage with them in the comment section. Directly and clearly ask if you can use their post in your ad. Avoid any photo copyright infringement.

Example of @overtonecolor and how they asked for permission to reuse user’s content:

Best practices

  1. Once you've determined who you want to reach and found a perfect influencer with a similar audience, ask them to create content that THEIR audience enjoys.

Potential customers are more likely to occur because their audience already trusts them.

  1. When it comes to UGCs turn your customer into brand ambassadors.

By doing this, you’re showing your potential clients that you care about their feedback and their needs. Allow them to talk about your product. This way, you’ll receive even more UGC that you may repurpose.

  1. When it comes to giveaways, pick a reward that is relevant to your audience.

Don’t know what it might be? Ask them.

You can do so through an influencer. Ask them to talk with their audience and what would they like to try out from your business (it could be one of your products or services).

Then use their answers for your next giveaway and reward them with what they really want.

  1. Work with multiple influencers at once.

This way, you’ll have an opportunity to improve your engagement and reach rates. Not only that, but multiple different audiences will truly provide a picture of different perspectives people have of your brand. Use this data for your future marketing campaigns.

  1. Use influencer marketing software.

Use InBeat to filter and find the most ideal and perfect influencers for your brand. With the right influencers not only will you be able to increase your sales and ROI, but also improve your relationships and build new ones with potential customers.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Influencer Marketing for E-commerce

Now that you've found your influencers and are finished working, you need to measure and track the success of your partnerships. Here are three ways to consider doing that:

Discount codes

Using discount codes will help you identify influencers from which loyal customers shop the most.

If you run A/B tests, you can easily determine which discounts appeal to customers and which are often used to buy your products.

Moreover, the most essential element of promo codes is that they display sales - when you look at the results of a promo code in your data analysis, it shows how many conversions you received with this code.

Here is a checklist when creating your discount codes:

  • Create short and easy-to-remember codes.

For example, if you are working with Gymshark, use Gymshark10 for a 10% discount at checkout.

Daniel Wellington is one of the most popular watch brands that uses influencer marketing. The company gifts their watches to influencers for free and offers 10-20% discount to their followers.

The code is short and motivates to act fast.

  • Make the promo code entry field visible.

A promo code field should be on the cart or checkout pages. It would also be ideal if the field is in a visible location when scanning toward the button to continue.

  • Choose an offer that is appropriate for your specific objectives:

Dollar off cart

Free shipping

A percentage off a product

Buy one, get one free

Percentage off cart

A dollar off a product and so on.

  • Make discount codes visual.

Take a look at the example.

@Bonobos used big block texts and minimalistic visuals.

Plus, they made sure to include the discount code in the caption so that users could easily copy and paste it and use it.

UTM parameters are tags added at the end of a URL to help you track the source of a visitor/purchase to/on your website. This data is being tracked in Google Analytics and tells you exactly where a customer is coming from, what they are coming from, and if they are coming from paid media.

UTM links are useful for tracking traffic, learning about customer experience, determining its source, and adding value to your marketing campaign.

E-commerce businesses also take advantage of UTMs:

  • When marketing more expensive products that people are reluctant to buy;
  • When examining influencer strategy’s effectiveness;
  • When identifying the revenue generated from influencer campaigns.

Here is an example of the UTM link used in the Facebook ad:

Key takeaways when creating UTM codes:

  • Use only the variables that are required (at least Campaign Source, Campaign Medium, and Campaign Name);
  • UTM tags should not be used for internal links;
  • Include no personal information that can be linked to a specific person (names or email addresses);
  • UTM tags are case-sensitive, and URLs and UTM tags should not contain any spaces;
  • Be consistent - the campaign name should be the same across all sources so that you can investigate campaign, source, and content performance.

ROAS for repurposed UGC on paid media

You must track your ROAS (return on ad spend) if you are repurposing UGC on paid media. This metric indicates how profitable and well-performing your campaign is.

ROAS will tell you exactly which UGC content works the best and which content can receive the most beneficial investment.

Once you know what you want to measure, creating a social media marketing report with all your metrics and KPIs is a good idea.

Goinflow company shared one of their client’s successes:

‘Vitrazza's video UGC campaigns, in which consumers are asked to review their glass chair mats from their home offices. The campaigns generated 4.2x ROAS in a short period of time, outperforming the previous brand creative’

What are the takeaways?

  • Ad tests were run to determine which creative was most effective;
  • Audience segmentation for explosive lookalike performance;
  • Influencers were used to reach new audiences;
  • Remarketing has been revamped to provide a memorable brand experience.

How Much Does an Influencer Collaboration Cost?

$50-$100 per 1,000 views. That's how much some YouTube influencers charge for their videos

But the price really depends on a couple of factors:

  • The number of followers an influencer has;
  • The social media platform you want to promote your product on;
  • The engagement rate they generate;
  • How an influencer decides to price their services.

Advice: Make sure you decide on the budget you want to spend on the influencer, find 10+ perfect ones, reach out to them and… bargain. Listen to their terms and conditions, provide your own, and you’ll most definitely meet in the middle.

You can use InBeat.co to find influencers by keywords, type in a profile, check engagement rates, etc.

Then you can export a nicely organized list of them for a quick outreach process. The database is filled with 16,000 micro-influencers with variable pricing rates. Try them out; you'll undoubtedly find what you're looking for.

Bottom Line

As you can see, influencer marketing can be done in many ways.

But to do it right you may need some influencer marketing software, run some contests and even consider including UTM codes.
You can take your influencer marketing campaigns to the next level pretty effortlessly. All you have to do is select the right content creators and develop a powerful influencer marketing strategy - and watch your social media marketing metrics skyrocket. Level up your e-commerce game by understanding influencer marketing and employing the extra advice in the article!

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