Opinion

5 Pieces of Advice for Dropshippers Working With Influencers

As a dropshipper, your business depends heavily on online marketing. You already know that you need to create enticing content and engage with other social media users, but there is one technique that many digital retailers like to use that taps into pre-existing audiences quickly: influencer marketing.

Influencers can expose your brand to their audiences much more quickly than you could manually. However, influencer marketing is not a shortcut to immediate success. Not every internet personality is right for your brand, you need to agree on a strategy with them, and you need to treat them like people—not just another outlet. Here are a few things to keep in mind when working with influencers:

Remember that content takes time

Your expectations regarding what it takes to generate content might not be accurate. If an influencer is interested in partnering with you, refrain from asking for things along the lines of, “We want five Instagram posts, two YouTube videos, and six tweets by the end of the week.” That is not how this process works.

According to a study from Crowdtap, 29 percent of surveyed influencers lamented that brands do not realize or appreciate the amount of time premium content requires. In reality, a single Instagram post—depending on how much work it will necessitate, such as producing video, assembling other participants, or creating images—could take several days of planning and execution.

You need to trust that influencers are masters of their medium. It can be nerve-racking to relinquish control (what if you do not like what they post?), but the resulting content will be higher quality if you are not too demanding. Furthermore, even though you have audiences with common interests (and you should, otherwise the alliance is not strategic), you must remember that influencers know their audiences better than you do.

Not every influencer is for you

Influencers are individuals, so they have their own talents and weaknesses when it comes to marketing. Neil Waller from Shore Projects notes:

“At their best, influencers are like magazine publishers. If you picked up a magazine, you’d have a sense of voice and tone, what the magazine stands for, and what the magazine writes about. And with magazine publishing, that’s how you would choose whether to associate your brand with the magazine. Apply the same process to influencers.”

Even if a social media user has a sizable audience that would be interested in your business, their past content history might not match what you are going for with your brand. Take a look at what their strengths are when vetting influencers and consider the Instagram stats every marketer should know.

Influencers are business people

On a related note, it is imperative to treat influencers like professionals. Twenty-five percent of influencers from the same Crowdtap survey noted that they are frustrated when brands do not think of them as business people. You cannot make them bend to your schedule or have them at your beck and call. Many influencers are even represented by managers and have multiple brand partnerships, so do not treat them like a means to get rich quickly.

There are multiple ways to pay influencers, too. The pay-per-post model is still in practice, but due to the changing nature of social media, it’s not automatically the best method of compensation anymore. Instead, many influencers prefer affiliate programs or to be paid in equity. This way, they are not inclined to post about you a few times and then never mention your business again. However, merely giving your products for free is not going to cut it if you want a long-term partnership.

They receive multiple pitches

Influencers receive multiple pitches from different brands on a regular basis, so you need to make yourself stand out. It’s not always about the money, either—influencers often look for opportunities to provide their audiences with a unique value or experience. You know what you want from them, but how else can they benefit from you?

Cultivate a long-lasting relationship

Remember that the results for both you and your chosen influencer are likely to be better if you have a relationship that lasts for a significant amount of time. It’s wise to begin your alliance while they are still small—technically a “micro-influencer”—and then your audiences can grow together. Micro-influencers often have more of a rapport with their followers because consumers are rightfully wary of what brands and “macro-influencers” say. Do not shy away from partnering with influencers while they are still small.

CEO of PureMatter, Bryan Kramer, advises about fostering relationships:

“Before you even ask an influencer to go out and promote your brand, you need to be willing to invest in them. You can offer your newly selected influencers anything from time and attention, to more tangible things such as samples or invitations to exclusive events. The idea is to increase your brand recognition while making all of them (no matter if they are an established celebrity or an up-and-comer) feel special.”

Influencer marketing can be an efficient way of spreading the word about your brand, but if you want a successful partnership, then you need to treat influencers well and be someone they are willing to work with. How do you maintain strong relationships with influencers?

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