A Beginner’s Guide To Influencer Marketing

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What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is basically having popular people show off your stuff to people you think would like it. For ecommerce stores that are building their brand, social media can seem like a tough thing to tackle. Instead of trying to do it all on your own, why not grab a helping hand?

Using influencer marketing well is a good way to save money on marketing while making sure you're being seen by the right crowd. It can also give you some good marketing fodder to use in the future. 

High School Never Really Stops

Although we may say we're past it, when we see someone cool using or wearing something cool, we want it. Our tastes have gotten more sophisticated and maybe we're not into wearing skirts over jeans anymore as some of us may or may not have done in high school. But we still see someone that we follow on Instagram or Twitter and want to grab their style.

As we've shifted toward social media, people are racking up followers at amazing rates. An influencer generally has over 100,000 followers on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat or Twitter, though it can be significantly more.  

Influencer marketing can work in a couple of ways. You can pay an influencer to explicitly promote your product through their channels, or to incorporate your product into their own content. 

What Can Influencer Marketing Do For Your Business?

Boosting Sales

You can expand your reach and encourage people to purchase your product with the help of an influencer. When an influencer shares your products within their own content, it can feel more authentic because they're actually putting it to use. You can then (with their permission) use photos of them using your product later on, or mention them on your own social media. 

Building Brand and Product Awareness

You boost sales by breaking into social media and getting a wide audience that trusts their influencer to notice you. Careful though - it's a bit of a thin line. People trust marketers who seem to have done their research and actually like your products, rather than are just signing a contract. Make sure you're choosing an influencer who actually likes what you do, and you help them trust you. 

Influencers have every right to be selective about what they choose to promote. You have to find the right one - someone who believes in your story and your store. That selectivity also means they can legitimately help drive traffic to your website, because they've earned that trust with their followers. 

Saving Money

If you don't have an unlimited marketing fund (and what scrappy entrepreneur does?), posting tons of sponsored ads on Instagram or Facebook can add up and might not get you the numbers you need. Think of this as taking that same money, but using it more effectively. Rather than shooting in the dark, you're getting a testimonial, engaged users and visual content - often for cheaper than a full ad campaign. 

What Should I Look For In An Influencer?

  • Someone with a large following
  • Followers that regularly interact with them. Notice if the influencer is mentioning their followers by name, saying thanks, and generally having a conversation with their audience. Take a look at how many likes and comments each post gets -- that's called their "engagement rate"
  • An influencer who regularly updates their content
  • Content that seems personal, fresh and consistent with their personal brand

Check out this ad by THINX, which shows they've gotten Mindy Kaling, Samantha Bee and Mila Kunis on board (plus some YouTube celebs). Then, they're able to use that marketing in their own advertisement videos. 

How Do You Connect With An Influencer?

Reach Out to Your Chosen Personalities

You've got to make the first move. Essentially, choose a few influencers who have large followers and whose personal brand aligns with your company's. Send them a thoughtful message that clearly introduces your brand, asks them to check out your product, outlines your idea for their help, and offers them a financial exchange or asks their rate. First impressions make a difference, so it's always a good idea to run it by a coworker before sending it off. 

Do Your Homework

A lot of bloggers already post information about the kinds of collaborations they are interested in, so dig around for people who might already be looking. Find out what the going rate is via forums and discussions. 

Set A Clear Brief

It's a good idea to come with some thoughts to the table. Do you want them to write a review, to make a video, or to use your product in something they're already doing, then mention where to get it later? Have a few ideas on hand, but be ready for collaboration. With so many followers, they must be doing something right -- trust them to create an engaging campaign that will work for their followers.  

Get Your Timing Right

If you're about to run a marketing campaign through an influencer, it's not a bad idea to time it with other campaigns. Try coming up with a campaign to encourage followers' involvement, such as a giveaway or promotional discount.  

Agreeing On A Collaboration Structure

Set A Timeframe

Nobody should be wasting anyone's time. Agree on a deadline or launch day, and stick with it. 


Decide together all of the outputs you're expecting, such as an Instagram image, a review on their YouTube channel or a mention on their blog. Make sure everything is stated clearly. 


Most, if not all bloggers will require a fee for their services, though sometimes you can give them a freebie or two in exchange for a short review or mention. It depends on who you're working with and how much content they're expected to produce - but you're essentially paying for a service they're providing and access to their audience. 

Bonus Read: How To Find Influencer Marketers, The Smart Way

What’s Next?

Influencer marketing can be a efficient way for your business to build branding, gain followers, make sales and engage new audiences. 

Elkfox can help you make the most of your Shopify store. For more information on different marketing techniques, contact us today.