With the rapid expansion of digital influencers in the past few years, we are witnessing a shift in the way businesses approach their target audiences. Reaching out to these individuals, whose online presence can directly influence customer’s opinion and behavior, enables connecting to wider audiences and creating hype for brand’s products and services. They have gained trust by producing highly relevant and quality content, thus becoming respected for their opinions.
Naturally, a business would be wise to use digital influencers to their advantage as affiliates. Creating an effective affiliate program could easily promote your goods and share your content, thus raising brand awareness and messaging while increasing your revenue potential. However, influencers need to see the value of turning themselves into your affiliates, which is what this post will try to cover. We’ll name several ways you can create a partnership that will be beneficial for both sides. Here goes.
Doing research and identifying influencers of value is a vital first step you need to take. Not every influencer is suitable for your cause as you want a partner with whose audience your goods will touch upon. There’s not much point in working with an automotive influencer if your base of operation is fashion, is there? Unless you are selling Dali-inspired cars, that is. Not to mention, it can be counterproductive at the very least, even disastrous:
...Anyway, if you want someone to say good things about your business and your offerings, they need to be adequately compensated. This usually entails a financial aspect that can manifest in different forms like…
1. Sponsored posts
With sponsored posts, you are targeting bloggers who are good with words. The process is simple for both sides as it doesn’t require much effort. The blogger gets paid for a post about your offerings in their words and on their blog. For them, it’s the usual, run-of-the-mill chore while there is not much work for you here either, other than maybe providing fine points about your product or brand that you’d like to be featured in the post. Partnering with bloggers on these types of posts raises awareness and adds valuable backlinks from reputable and authoritative websites to your catalog.
Note that bloggers following FTC and similar guidelines will include an addendum indicating the story is sponsored by your side, but that the opinions are 100% those of the blogger.
This one is as straightforward as it gets. If you identify influencers who are on the same page with you and who are willing to promote your brand by actively inserting themselves into relevant conversations, posting about you or sharing your social media posts - anything that results in sales, then you could offer them a certain commission for every customer they bring your way.
If you don’t want to go the financial route, then you can opt for the incentive-based approach. The trick here is to make your influencer feel rewarded, acknowledged, important, or any good feeling that results in a high level of satisfaction. For this, you can try:
1. Gifts, giveaways, and product or service discounts
We have yet to meet a person who doesn’t love free stuff. Giving away something for free to an influencer can be a great way of creating buzz around your offering. Of course, both the influencer and the targeted audience need to be a close fit, otherwise, there might not be much enthusiasm for the stuff you are giving away, even if it’s completely free. The same principle applies to a product or service discount. Not everybody needs a free scarf or an 80% off your latest line of sweaters is they are more interested in fitness advice, let alone something totally unrelated.
This also brings us to the next point of giveaways and discounts when partnering up - be sure you offer something you can afford to cross off and that has real value. You want to make it worthwhile to participate so you might want to ask the influencer for advice in that area. After all, that is the person that best understands its audience.
Finally, be sure to keep in mind that sending products to an influencer for a giveaway, gifting them or offering massive discounts does not guarantee coverage in any way. You have to build communication from scratch and take care of your relationship to avoid a negative feedback. This is where research kicks in - if your influencer generally doesn't’ have a favorable stance regarding your and similar type of product or service judging by its previous opinions, it’s best to steer away and look at the next candidate.
Reviews are, for the most part, based on the same principle as giveaways and discounts. They are often a direct result of gifting or promotional efforts and can be a great way of swaying your potential customers to opt for purchase. Reviews are perhaps more important than ever as shoppers increasingly conduct online research before committing to purchases. They often need just a little nudge in the right direction and seeing as influencers are one of the most trusted and sought-after online resources, can you think of anyone better for the job?
The importance of online reviews Source: Admitad
Once again, there is no guarantee you will get a coverage or that your product or service will be portrayed in a positive light. It is critical to partner with an influencer who is in line with your brand’s identity and shares the same or similar values.
3. Social media shout outs
If you want to make your influencer important, a social media is the weapon of choice. A repost of their content containing information about your brand or a simple shout out on your social media outlets can increase the traffic to both sides.
In each case, constant communication is vital in the process of discovering and partnering with an influencer. If you cannot spare much of your merchandise to give away or if an influencer wants to charge you, communicate the specifics first. That way, you can do the math and determine if the ROI of the partnership is favorable.
Attracting digital influencers and turning them into your affiliates is something worth investing in. It allows you the access to targeted consumer groups and accurate testing of their traction without risking spending significant amounts on marketing. Structured correctly, you get the most effective way of driving interest, as well as traffic and sales. Just be sure to research your prospective candidates for the ones that align with your vision and values.
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