As a form of e-commerce, dropshipping is heavily dependent on marketing. People can window shop amongst brick-and-mortar stores, but unless you establish an online presence, no one will know that you exist. Many brands have turned to influencer marketing to spread the word about their stores: when a social media user with a sizable following gives them a shoutout, those brands are exposed to thousands if not tens of thousands of more people in as little as one post.
You cannot approach just any influencer, though. They are business people, and you need to carefully consider which partnerships would be most strategic for both of you. If you are going to give influencer marketing a try, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Audience is the most important factor
If you sell baby products, is a fashion blogger going to boost your sales? Probably not, because said blogger’s audience consists of people who are interested in adult clothing. So, even if an influencer does not charge high rates or has hundreds of thousands of followers, that does not mean that their audience is the right one for you to tap into.
Influencers are, first and foremost, people; so they have different skills and abilities. One Instagrammer might be particularly talented with encouraging engagement, while a YouTuber might be better at convincing people to purchase. When you are vetting influencers, take a look at their histories and see what kind of content they produce along with what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Make sure influencers are genuine
It’s unfortunate, but it’s true: in this day and age where social media users can buy fake followers, you do not always know if their audiences are genuine. It would be a waste of money to pay a fitness Instagrammer to create content for your sporting goods store if most of their followers are not even real—they are just bots there to make the Instagrammer look more popular.
So, how can you tell if an internet personality is a legitimate influencer or not? Take a look at their engagement rates. How many different people are commenting on their posts and liking them? Is their audience active, or does it sit idly? If engagement rates are not proportionate or consistent with follower count, then it’s a reason to be suspicious.
You are not the only one approaching them
You are not the only brand approaching individual influencers. To increase the likelihood of them agreeing to a partnership, it is essential to make your pitch stand out. According to Crowdtap study:
“A sizeable share of influencers we surveyed—44 percent—said the number one motivator for working with a brand is if the opportunity is relevant to their audience. The second most important factor, at 17 percent of the total, is that the opportunity grants them and/or their audience with an exclusive experience.”
It’s not always about the amount of work involved—it’s about a relationship that is symbiotic. If an internet personality does not believe that your brand will offer his or her audience value, then they are unlikely to partner with you.
There is more than one way to compensate them
It is important to discuss what kind of payment influencers expect. Some might be content with the pay-per-post model, but new media complexities sometimes necessitate a different approach. You should still compensate influencers based on the volume of content that they produce, so a popular agreement involves paying them a commission of five to ten percent for every sale that they drive.
If you and an influencer really hit it off and it seems like you would both benefit (and enjoy) a long-term relationship, then you can consider offering them equity. This way, social media personalities are more inclined to keep producing content on your behalf rather than mention you a few times and never talk about you again.
Creating content is a craft
It is important to trust that influencers know their audiences. You cannot be too demanding over what kind of content you want them to create (it’s also obnoxious for them when you request a particular number of posts within a short deadline when really a single post can take several days due to the amount of thought and effort required). While you should certainly continue producing your own content—just google “video maker software free” to begin bringing videos to life—the most effective influencer marketing alliances happen when you partner with them for their abilities, not just their audience.
Influencer marketing can be practical for dropshippers, but there are still factors you need to consider when deciding who to partner with. What things do you make a point to remember regarding influencer marketing?