Are you a small eCommerce business looking to harness the benefits of influencer marketing? Choosing the right influencers can make all the difference in the success of your influencer marketing strategies.
In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of finding the perfect influencers for your business, ensuring fruitful partnerships and impactful results.
Why Do You Need To Choose The Right Influencers?
Influencer marketing has become a go-to strategy for small eCommerce businesses, which leads to lots of benefits including boosting brand awareness, improving trust and credibility, engaging with their target audience, driving sales, etc.
To achieve those benefits, you need to execute various influencer marketing strategies. Starting from considering a suitable budget to focusing on sustainable relationships, no matter how well those strategies are implemented, your efforts are inefficient if your business does not find the right influencers.
Again, the key to reaping the benefits of influencer marketing lies in choosing the right influencers. Keep in mind that 8 out of 10 buyers purchased a product after they see their favorite influencer recommending it.
So, working with influencers who align with your brand values, have an authentic following, and resonate with your target audience can significantly boost your campaign's effectiveness and enhance your brand's reputation.
So the question is how do you choose influencers for your brand? Let’s dive into our guide to finding the right influencers, which is specially designed for small eCommerce businesses.
First, Let’s Be Ready Before Finding The Right Influencers?
Before seeking out the right influencers and starting some influencer campaigns, you need good preparation, effective influencer marketing strategies, and ways to execute them perfectly.
There are a lot of things to do, but starting small can eventually lead to success. As small eCommerce businesses, we recommend that you start to optimize your online presence. It is an important requirement if you want to leverage influencer marketing for your eCommerce business.
Optimizing online presence is not always easy, especially for small businesses with limited resources. Fortunately, there is a solution that we highly recommend: Minimog - a high-performing and aesthetically pleasing Shopify theme.
Minimog has lots of pre-designed online store demos and customization options that allow you to design your own effortlessly. Furthermore, Minimog has diverse sections that you can use to utilize the power of your influencers. You can show their image and voice in the “image with text overlay” section, or add their review in the “testimonial” section, and so on.
The possibilities of Minimog are much larger than what we can mention here, so before diving into how to find a perfect influencer for your business, let's explore Minimog by yourself for FREE.
How Do You Find the Right Influencers for Your Businesses?
1. Define Your Goal and Budget for Working with Influencers
Defining your goals is essential because it sets the foundation for your influencer marketing strategies and campaigns. It helps you clarify what you want to achieve through influencer partnerships and ensures that you select influencers who can help you reach those goals.
You should start with a clear goal, whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or improving engagement, having a clear goal will guide your influencer selection process.
After that, you should make sure that your goal is measurable, which means you can track, analyze, and evaluate the results of the influencer marketing campaign. For example, if your objective is driving sales, you need to define the ideal sales growth during the campaign period like +20%, or achieve a total sales of $10,000.
You can use measurable goals as benchmarks to seek suitable influencers, or to negotiate with them about the results, terms, and conditions of the campaign, which will eventually contribute to the success of influencer marketing for eCommerce activities.
By having measurable goals, you can specify the resources you have to spend, in which the budget (aka financial resources) is the most important. The better you plan for your budget, the more chance of success you will get.
In the case of small eCommerce businesses, we recommend that you focus on small goals first with low budgets, then start scaling them up later. This approach seldom results in high performance but minimizes your risks.
2. Research for Influencers
It’s much easier to choose the right influencers if you have a variety of options. Therefore, in the second step, you should develop a large pool of influencers that fit with your business.
The challenge here is where you can find influencers for your business. To get started, there are 4 popular ways to seek influencers to work with:
Using hashtags on social media: Hashtags act as virtual signposts, leading you to influencers who are relevant to your industry or niche. By exploring hashtags related to your business on platforms like Instagram or Twitter, you can discover influencers who actively engage with those topics. For example, if your eCommerce business sells pet products, you can go to the search bar of social media and type some keywords like #pet, #petproducts, #petstuffs, #cutepet, etc. By viewing the result list of posts and users, you can find out your own potential influencers.
Searching on Google: A simple yet effective approach is to conduct a Google search using relevant keywords and phrases, such as "influencers in [your industry/niche]." This method can help you uncover influencers who have gained recognition through their online presence or have been featured in industry publications. Let’s assume you want to find someone who can promote your Christmas gifts, the fastest way is to turn your Google on, type “influencer in gift products”, then look around to find someone who is available to collaborate, and connect with them.
Joining influencer marketing platforms: Many dedicated influencer marketing platforms have emerged, offering a centralized space to connect with influencers. These platforms provide access to extensive databases of influencers that will simplify your process of making a list of suitable influencers.
Using services from influencer agencies: Influencer agencies specialize in connecting brands with influencers. If you partner with them, they will support you in almost everything: from connection to negotiation, from coordination to execution of the campaigns, which will save you time and effort but often cost a considerable amount of money. Again, if you have demand for influencer services/agencies, just looking in Google, the results will be services/agencies that are nearby you.
For small businesses, we believe that using hashtags and Google search would be the best approach to finding influencers since the other two ways usually require a budget.
Now you know where you can find your influencers, it is time for you to craft a list of influencers who align with your brand and have the potential to reach your target audience effectively. Here you have to answer 2 main questions:
- Are influencers giving their audience consistent values that fit with your business niche?
(If they publish frequent contents that is related to your business niche, and those contents are actually to help people but not just some kind of promotions, the answer is “Yes”)
- Does their audience show deep interest in those values?
(If their audience leaves such good engagements: like, share, comment, and is ready to promote them to strangers - you can check this by making some random direct message to them - so the answer is definitely “Yes”)
If the answers are both “Yes”, you are free to add the influencer to the list!
3. Evaluate Influencers’ Performance Metrics
Assume that you already have a list of potential influencers that fit your business demand for marketing, your job now is evaluating, filtering, and narrowing down the list to find the best of the best influencers in your list.
The first thing that you have to consider is the performance metrics. By evaluating these metrics, you can make informed decisions and maximize the return on your influencer marketing strategies.
Before you think about other metrics, you must be aware of the levels of influencers that are categorized by their audience since the more their following, the higher the return of the campaign will be, and also the higher they will charge you. Let’s take a look at the below image to see the general breakdown of the levels of influencers.
If you are a small business with limited financial resources, we recommend that you should focus on nano, micro, and mid-tier influencers. Macro and mega influencers are more suitable for larger businesses with abundant resources.
Besides the influencers’ audience, you should pay attention to the engagement rate and frequency of content since they can easily be tracked and measured through data.
The engagement rate indicates how well the influencer’s audience resonates with the content. A high engagement rate means the audience pays more attention to what the influencer says or does, which is a good signal in case you want to partner with them.
The below image is a simple formula of how you will calculate the influencer’s engagement rate, please use 10 - 20 most recent posts to receive the most precise results, and remember that a good engagement rate is between 1% to 5%.
When evaluating influencers, checking their content frequency is crucial. They often need to publish their voices and content daily to build a loyal audience, which is meaningful for well-executed influencer marketing strategies. Furthermore, you should also check how often they publish sponsored content. You should look for a balance of sponsored and organic content since the high frequency of sponsored content could be a red flag of ignoring values for the audience.
4. Review Influencers’ Content and Values
Unlike quantitative evaluation in the earlier steps, the second layer of filtering influencers is to review influencers’ content and values, which is a qualitative process. It is essential to ensure that the values of influencers and the quality of content fit with the brand’s intangible assets including style, tone, and values.
To examine the influencers’ content quality, you should look over recent content to get the most precise results. Some criteria you can use for examining are aesthetics, tone of voice, storytelling abilities, relevance to the industry, and values to the audience. Now your task is reading through the influencers’ content, weighing those criteria on your own, then removing influencers who have bad content quality.
To check whether the influencers’ values fit with your brand’s values or not, considering their style, tone, and hidden values through content indirectly is a complicated process. Instead, you should try to ask influencers directly with some questions like:
- What is your goal of becoming an influencer?
- How do you want to cultivate your audience?
- Which kind of brand/partnership do you want to establish, especially for a long-term period?
In reverse, you can also share with influencers about your brand values and business goal with influencer marketing. By doing these, you can save time, effort, and even money for both parties. Moreover, you and the influencers are transparent with each other and may contribute better ideas to the success of partnering.
5. Consider Authenticity and Credibility
The last layer of filtering influencers is to consider their authenticity and credibility. While authenticity ensures the influencers’ claim of originality, credibility confirms their expertise and authority in the industry. They are all crucial for maximizing the benefits of influencer marketing for eCommerce.
The authenticity of influencers can be assessed through their personal experience or stories. You can review their content again, look for personal voices in writing style, and try to find similar content in the industry. If you see that influencers put their perspective on content and find no (or very few) similar contents, the authenticity of those influencers is high, which is a good signal if you want to partner with them.
To verify the credibility of influencers, the easiest and fastest way is to check their reviews or testimonials. If they receive lots of positive comments and feedback from the audience for their content, product, and service, they deserve to be trusted. Another way to check influencers’ credibility is by finding references in their content. If they often share high-valued content with credible and published sources, they are definitely credible.
By finishing this step, you probably have a list of the most suitable influencers for your business. Now your job is to prioritize them by performance or the level of suitability (it’s up to you), send a partnership request to those influencers, then be ready to present and negotiate for a successful relationship.
6. Think Toward A Long-Term Relationship
This last step is not required in choosing the right influencers for your business. Ignoring this step, you are still able to conduct a successful influencer marketing campaign.
However, if you want to implement many successful influencer marketing campaigns effectively in the future, you definitely need to think toward a long-term relationship with influencers.
Especially for small eCommerce businesses, investing in long-term relationships with influencers can yield significant benefits. It allows for consistent and ongoing collaborations, resulting in sustained brand exposure, increased credibility, a loyal customer base, and leading to cost savings and more effective marketing strategies over time.
To form a long-term relationship with your influencers, you might focus on 4 things:
In-depth communications: Be open and transparent in communication. You should actively communicate with influencers about your goals and expectations and also encourage them to share ideas and feedback on how to enhance the campaign.
Long-term values: Since you and your influencers have similar values (as the results from the step of “Review Influencers’ Content and Values”), let’s ensure that those values are expressed through the campaign, which will create strong connections.
Nurturing relationships: Don’t consider influencers as temporary partners, you need to invest time and effort in nurturing long-term relationships. In detail, you can show appreciation for their efforts, provide support, and recognize their contributions as you will work with them forever.
Sharing success together: Influencers do not work for you, they work with you to achieve mutual success. Keeping that right mindset, then you should celebrate and share achievements with your influencers. By highlighting their impact, you strengthen the influencer's personal brand and deepen the bond between your businesses.
Choosing the right influencers for your business is a crucial step in successful influencer marketing for eCommerce. By following the above steps, you can build impactful and authentic influencer partnerships that drive results. Remember, finding the right influencers is not just about the numbers but about finding the perfect match for your brand and target audience.
So, take the time to research, analyze, and forge genuine connections with influencers who can amplify your message and help your business thrive.
And don’t forget to give Minimog a try, because preparing an awesome online presence is a must before you implement any influencer marketing strategies.