The Art of selling through influencers
by Thibault •
As brands are currently spending over $13 billion USD worldwide on influencer marketing activities, it is now, more than ever, extremely relevant to ask ourselves this question: am I generating sales from my influencer collaborations?
50% of the brands that sign up on Capssion are adding an affiliate link and/or voucher code to track the traffic and sales generated by an influencer. However, most brands are rushing this process and end up falling short on this KPI. Are there secret ingredients to generate sales through your influencer collaborations? Definitely not but there are best practices and steps you cannot go around if you want to hit the holy grail. We will go over them on this blog post, hoping it will make your future campaigns hit new heights.
1- Work with many influencers, at first
As a brand, it is so easy to fall into the trap of collaborating only with very well-known influencers or the obvious choices. “We only want to work with 5 influencers on this campaign”, “We’re looking for 1 macro influencer to get started” or even “I want to work with few influencers not to cheapen my brand” are sentences our Campaigns team here at Capssion hears often. Do not be afraid, influencers get it; your brand needs to find its voice on social media, and you will set that voice through numerous collabs. By working at scale with influencers, you will most importantly identify the influencers and the communities that truly appreciate your brand and its products. It is relatively easy to see who stands out: influencers who put extra effort into generating beautiful content, who truly share what your brand is about and why they like your products, the number of comments the post generates are usually good places to start. Of course, its always great to engage with the influencer directly through chat (Capssion chat is great for that) or simply drop them a DM once the collab is completed.
2- Seduce influencers, by introducing yourself and your products patiently
The biggest mistake brands make when they engage in influencer activations is to request traffic generation through a UTM link or even worse sales through a voucher code on the first few collaborations they have with influencers. By doing that, the influencer communities will usually see this as yet another sponsored post. Get the influencers you engage with to know your brand and its values first, your key products second and repeat that several times until you feel the influencer is proud to have you as a recurring partner and a great advocate, simply because he or she represents the customer you want to target. Only then, when the influencer and the community are looking up to your brand for more than a tag on a photo, you can pop the question: is it time to generate sales? Here at Capssion, we often recommend for a brand to work 5 times with any given influencer before they introduce any commission based/affiliate model to them. As any relationship, it takes time to build; respect that process.
3- The advantages should be exclusive to influencers, and limited in time
Using your community of influencers to push a generic 10% voucher code store-wide for the customers to find that they would’ve found the same discount if they had gone on your website is something to avoid at all costs. These types of practices will not only not be converting the traffic to sales, but they will also make the influencer feel like they are not special. Sense of exclusivity is key here and making sure that communities understand why they are following an influencer. Also, it is much better to share a promotion over a short amount of time (we usually recommend a day or two) to make sure the offer does not become the new norm. If a product is 30% off all the time, it’s no longer called a promotion.
4- Pay well and on time
One of the biggest influencer complaints when we got start in the space back in 2018 at Capssion was how late brands were in paying influencers for the content produced for them. This will drive influencers away from your brand and create more harm than the good the content generated. Be professional and clear about how the payments will be made, with a clear schedule. This is the core reason why we process all the payments for our brands here at Capssion. We escrow the money from the brand until the deliverables are completed. Once they are, we release the payment to the influencer, in local currency, within 48 hours. If you are working with influencers on an affiliate model and you are managing the performance without a third party and processing payments on your own, be extremely transparent and diligent. Go the extra mile by paying in local currencies as this will create extra fees for the influencers otherwise. Secondly, be generous on your sales commissions. 5% to 10% being on the lower and 25% to 30% on the higher end of commission plans. Obviously, it depends on the kind of product you are promoting end the promotion that goes with it. If an influencer is going to make 5% commission on a $50 USD product, you cannot blame them for not being completely involved in your program. Create smart programs that incentivize the first few sales with flat dollar compensations to get the ball going.
5- Treat your superstars as employees
The influencers who will end up performing will become part of your organization’s sales and marketing team. You should plan ahead with them and thus treat them as part of your team, your company. This is why here at Capssion we recommend setting up recurring programs (bi-weekly/ monthly/ quarterly) where the influencer become a “payroll influencer”. Having a recurring fee will allow both brand and influencers to put in the effort to constantly improve the partnership and create a sense of loyalty. One of the most common mistakes here is to try to stop the influencer from working with other brands in your vertical. This will only create frustration from the influencer side and end of breaking your relationship.
To conclude, I will end this post as I started it: there is no secret sauce to being successful but there are things you can do to tip the scale in your favor. Hope this was a useful read.
Written by Thibault
Thibault is a cofounder of Capssion