If you have a small following on social media, it’s tough to get your updates seen. And it’s even harder to get your shared links clicked on.
Finding social media influencers to collaborate with is a great way to drive more clicks and sales from social media.
What is an Influencer?
An influencer is a person whose opinion is sought after by many people in a specific industry. Roger Ebert, for example, is an influencer in the film industry.
In most industries, these are generally bloggers, authors, speakers, CEOs, etc. But it can be anybody with a large following on their blog, newsletter, or social networks.
How can an influencer drive traffic to your ecommerce website?
An influencer, by definition, has a lot of influence over the opinions people have and the decisions people make. By simply sharing a recommendation about your products or a piece of content you have written, they can drive tons of people to check out what they’re recommending and even make a purchase.
And does it work?
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Yes! 90% of us trust peer recommendations for product choices and brand preferences.
So how do you do it?
In this article, I’ll break down the simple 8-step process that you can use to get influencers on social media to drive traffic to your e-commerce store.
1. Find Your Influencers
Do a social media search to find your industry leaders and influential customers (your customers are some of your most powerful influencers these days – they can be the most passionate about your brand and can easily spread the word about you through social media).
Check out popular niche hashtags to find top users of your keywords. Then follow them.
Buzzsumo is a great way to find influencers on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter (X). Just provide your keyword, and it will rank them by the number of followers and interactions:
2. Create Influencer Lists
Once you’ve found your influencers, make Lists to follow their updates. You could make a few influencer lists, such as:
- Industry leaders
- Influential partners
- Influential customers
3. Monitor them to get to know them better
Before you jump in and start engaging your influencers, watch them for a few weeks to see how they like to interact on social media. See what times of day they like to be active on social media and what times of day they like to answer questions that other people have asked them.
Especially, look for the types of updates from other people that they like to share and reply to. This is your goldmine for finding out what you should be doing to get their attention.
4. @Mention them
Make sure to click the link in the bio to find all the projects they are working on and follow them on other platforms. Getting to know your target audience is a great way to understand your niche better.
Show that you read your leading influencer articles – and that you appreciate their knowledge. @mention when you do, with your own positive comments, to build a more personal relationship.
5. Ask Questions
A great way to interact with influencers on social media is to ask them questions. It’s one of my personal favorites for two reasons:
- Influencers love to share their expert opinion or knowledge. If you give them a great springboard in the form of an insightful question, most influencers will jump on it.
- It has great potential to turn into a real conversation. This is the best result because it can lead to a collaboration of some sort, and it will boost your visibility to the influencer’s followers.
I recommend asking questions about ideas and issues within your industry. Here are a few formulas you can try:
- How do you think [Blank] will affect [Blank]?
- Have you seen [Blank]? What do you think?
- I’m having an issue with [Blank]. Do you have any suggestions?
6. Blog about them and tag them
There is nothing any person likes more than having someone write something nice about them. If you haven’t already, set up a blog on your website and write an article that includes the influencers you’re trying to attract.
You can write something as simple as a “Top 10 Quotes” article, in which you regurgitate recent quotes that influencers have made. Or go in-depth with a review or expansion on a piece of content the influencer has recently written. These types of articles are great for co-citations, i.e. placing your brand next to known entities.
For example, if an influencer reviewed a product and gave some ideas on how best to use it, you could write about your experience trying out the ideas they proposed and how they worked for you.
Once you have written about them, send them a short message about what you wrote and ask them to say what they think. They may not respond to the first update, so it’s OK to follow up with them a few times to try to get a response from them.
7. Give influencers your product for free
Reach out to your influencers and offer them your product for free. Ask that they share what they like about it, with a link to your online store product landing page.
This is especially powerful if your product is brand new or has not yet been released. Influencers love to be the first to try something new and talk about it. Give them this opportunity, and you will likely get a very high percentage of responses.
8. Ask them to collaborate
If you have an email list of a few thousand past customers or email newsletter subscribers, that can be a great bargaining chip to entice influencers to collaborate with you. And generally, influencers sell services or books, which are great compliments to the products you sell in your e-commerce store.
A collaboration is usually something simple like a webinar, which allows both of you to give advice and insight on your products and the activities you can use them for. It allows you and the influencer to cross-sell to each other’s customer list, as both of you will promote the webinar to each of your lists.
As you get more comfortable with your newly forming community of influencers, consider setting up in-person events and meetups. Nothing builds loyalty better than meeting in person. Hari Ravichandran talks about building a billion-dollar startup by staying away from Silicon Valley and spending time and money going to conferences and meeting people.
Influencers are a powerful force. Just remember that getting their attention is a marathon, not a sprint. Most will get dozens of requests every day, so don’t expect them to notice you on your first try.
And sometimes it can be a while before an influencer will have the right time in their schedule to get back to you. Just be patient and thoughtful, and you will be successful.
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