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As social media has become an inevitable part of our daily lives, more and more brands are using it to reach new audiences and engage with their customers. Over time, social media has exposed a new opportunity. Individuals use the channel to unconsciously influence others through lifestyle choices and content creation.
Brands took notice of this. They started to collaborate with those who were more influential to drive more sales. As a result, a new marketing channel was born – influencer marketing. Now, some brands have even reported earning $18 per dollar spent with this fresh approach.
Now, you may be asking how you can use influencer marketing to benefit your ecommerce store. First, let’s try to understand what influencer marketing is and why it’s so important for ecommerce marketers today.
Influencer marketing might feel like a buzzword but, today, it’s an established form of digital marketing. Similar to celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing relies on endorsements from influencers and individuals on social media.
Users who have between 50k-300k are referred to as“macro-influencers” or “mini-celebrities”. And, users who have between 1k-10k followers are known as “micro-influencers”. Turns out, these micro-influencers can actually create higher engagement than bigger influencers because they have an immense influence within a comparatively narrow niche.
Seeing this opportunity, 17% of ecommerce stores have already spent over half their marketing budget on influencers. And now in 2020, 65% of merchants are planning to increase their budget.
So how can you harness influencer marketing?
To enhance your brand identity and awareness, you can collaborate with micro and macro-influencers as a cheaper alternative to celebrity endorsement. You can also use your loyalty program to encourage your customers to become micro-influencers and endorse you on social media. In time, you’ll acquire more new customers and generate more revenue.
Now let’s see how an online skincare brand, Averr Aglow, used its loyalty program to create more influencers and a brand community.
Established in the US, Averr Aglow is a D2C brand designed for women with acne-prone skin. Competing in a $420b industry, Averr Aglow needed to strengthen their brand awareness and build a community to thrive. To achieve this, they launched a loyalty program that encourages customers to return to their site to spend more and keep engaging with the brand.
Here’s a breakdown of how they did it.
Social approval matters more than ever! 52% of online and offline purchases are influenced by social media – particularly from Facebook and Instagram. Once an influencer promotes your brand on social media, you’ll get seen by more potential shoppers and build brand awareness.
Through their loyalty program, Averr Aglow awards their customers 25 points for Instagram and Facebook follows. Thanks to their smart approach, Averr Aglow gained +10k new followers on both Instagram and Facebook.
To build better relationships and boost conversions, the brand also encourages their customers to act as influencers on their behalf. You can offer them rewards, free products or promotions in return for an Instagram post with a brand hashtag.
As an ecommerce store, Averr Aglow not only needs a high number of followers but also a high number of reviews to enhance their credibility and trustworthiness. Recent research also shows that online product or brand reviews can increase conversion rates by more than 270%.
As a way to generate more reviews, Averr Aglow encourages its customers to leave feedback by offering them 25 loyalty points in return. As a result of this incentive, they have received 5,000 in-depth product reviews.
To build more advocacy and increase credibility, Averr Aglow then highlights their customer reviews on their Instagram feed. Then, Averr Aglow’s followers and visitors can instantly see high-quality product and brand reviews.
Technically, influencer marketing is a variant of referral marketing. Influencers show their support for a product or a brand to their followers and often share a unique referral code.
According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, and they are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. Through boosting advocacy, you can encourage your advocates to act as micro-influencers so that they can refer others to your brand. Using this point of view, Averr Aglow implemented a referral strategy that functions as a two-sided incentive.
To encourage their members (micro-influencers) to make a referral, the brand provides 375 points each time the action is completed. This equates to a $20 off voucher. Members can then refer a friend via Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, email or using a unique referral link. To secure loyalty, Averr Aglow also offers $20 off to the referred customers on their first purchase.
To increase the number of referrals, Averr Aglow then located their referral program both on their main navigation header and loyalty panel.
Through following a two-sided referral strategy and making it visible across the whole customer journey, Averr Aglow has received more than 32k visits from their referrals and generated additional revenue.
Influencer marketing shows no signs of slowing. In fact, marketers are upping their budget in 2020. Whether your goal is to enhance brand awareness, advocacy or conversion, you can always use your loyalty program to achieve more.
Encourage your costumers to act as brand advocates on social media, collect reviews, garner trust, and enhance your brand visibility via your loyalty program.
Access the 7x marketing quick-win series to level-up and learn more ways to use your loyalty program to improve your influencer marketing.