A few years ago, Sebastian (let's call him that), whose business operates in the automotive space, reached out to us to chat about his eCommerce strategy.
He had developed an incredible brand, but competition in the automotive space was fierce, and although they had built a loyal fanbase, they wanted to make their brand a household name.
Despite being in business since the '90s, they hadn't really developed an influencer and affiliate strategy. Their business had some success on Amazon and with wholesaling to dealers, where you could find their products in dealerships across North America, and in big box retailers across the US, but they didn't have much of a social presence, especially on Instagram, where millennials were really starting to embrace the "Van Life".
Right out of the gate, Sebastian told us he was open to diversifying their marketing strategy, so we immediately knew that given the rising popularity of the Van Life movement, an influencer campaign would be a good fit.
We did a bit of homework the old-fashioned way (Google, searching hashtags on Instagram, and looking at engagement), and reached out to an Australian photographer who was traveling through Canada in a van he restored himself, and later auctioned off on his Instagram when he was ready to leave the continent. I supplied him with product, gave him creative freedom, and this was the post he tagged Sebastian's company in:
The results were undeniable.
Within the next 6 months, Sebastian's Instagram account, which we had started from scratch months earlier, grew to over 10k followers.
At the time of our collaboration, this photographer had about 50k followers. The photo had almost 2,700 engagements, plus another 400 engagements when we re-posted it.
Despite the popular belief that you need to go after the mega influencers of the world, you don't actually need to collaborate with Kylie Jenner to see demonstrable impact.
Here's where things get even more interesting:
Shortly after this collaboration, one of the photographer's photos was featured on CNN Travel, and his following quickly ballooned to over 165k.
Sebastian's photo is still on this photographer's feed, but something tells me his prices prooobably went up.
What I want you to take away from this story:
Don't judge an influencer by his or her following. Yes, this is a metric we look at, but it's not the only metric, and it's certainly not the most important metric to consider. Engagement (i.e., are people commenting / saving / sharing their posts?) is just as, and we would actually say, more, important than their following.
Find someone who aligns with your brand's values and whose audience consists of your target customers. Yes, Kylie Jenner might have a bajillion followers and a bajillion more engagements, but are her followers going to be interested in automotive parts, or Kylie Lip Kits?
- Influencers will not, and should not, work for free. And especially not if they're creating killer content for you that you can re-purpose (with permission) to sell your product. Just think about how much you'd have to pay a copywriter, a photographer, a videographer, a graphic designer, or a chef to create recipes for you, when many influencers and affiliates can create this content.
Sebastian trusted us to find collaborators who matched their brand values, aesthetic, and target audience, and he gave us a budget to work with that was fair.
Most often, merchants have the hardest time finding the right influencer(s), pitching them, and understanding what's "fair" when it comes to payment and what content to ask for.
If you feel you have your brand dialed in, then one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences and diversify your sales channels, especially in a time of iOS 15 privacy updates and third-party cookie debates, is to run an experiment with influencers and, when you're ready, launch and grow your own affiliate program.
If you want to learn how to run influencer campaigns the right way (and get some serious sales momentum if things add up for you!), I would like to invite you to a special two-part workshop on July 22nd and July 27th.
In this two-part workshop, you will:
- Find the right influencer(s) for your brand, perfect your pitch, negotiate contracts, and understand what deliverables to ask for.
- Get the inside scoop on time-saving hacks you can use to collect UGC (user-generated content), when you can use said UGC (and when you can't), and learn what goes into building out an affiliate program to scale your store.
- Plus, done-for-you pitch templates, contracts, and checklists.
You will receive full access to recordings of both days and all resources shared during the workshop.
This workshop will be run by Merchant Mastery Elite Instructor and Coach, Ivana Radojevic, and Kaitlyn Dickie, long-time content creator and lifestyle influencer who has been named one of Kelowna's Best Local Influencers in 2021.
There will be NO HOLDING BACK during this workshop: We're sharing ALL the secrets and insider hacks to make your next influencer / affiliate campaign a success! Consider us an open book.