Social media is evolving each day and influencer networks have become a very powerful tool. One of the fastest ways to market a product, and gain exposure is through social media influencers. A social media influencer can access the previously deemed difficult to reach audiences in a way that is gaining popularity. And building your own influencer network can be the most effective long-term strategic approach to influencer marketing. In what could be a game-changer for the social media landscape, Amazon has launched the Amazon Influencer Network.
What Exactly Are Social Media Influencers?
Social media is known for its marketing powers, but it must be used strategically in order to gain maximum impact. One way of doing so is by creating a social media strategy whereby users are earned rather than actively trying to gain them. With this strategy, brands are able to create loyal followings for niche products, while still retaining goodwill.
For this strategy, social media influencers are essential. These are users who have large followings on their social media platforms; their blogs and posts have the ability to market products to demographics that are difficult to reach otherwise.
It is essential to find influencers that post about topics related to your business and examine their follower base. Does it target a demographic that you have already sought? Or a new base that you are trying to reach? Depending on these factors, a social media influencer can help market brands by leaps and bounds – they are far more fluid in product placements, and able to narrowly reach target audiences.
So What Does Amazon Have To Do With This?
Retail and consumer giants, or really, brands as a whole have quickly realized that they need to shed traditional marketing methods to reach their audiences. Social media has led to a massive shift in digital marketing, and resources are being allocated accordingly. Instead of spending money on costly billboards, traditional advertisements and other forms of media, it seems as if companies are jumping towards adopting digital methods.
In that vein, Amazon has quietly launched an influencer network platform and it is now in beta mode. This is similar to their Amazon Affiliate program, in which influencers are offered commissions for products sold…but with one caveat. Currently, the Amazon Influencer Network program is not open to the public, it is via application only – making it far more exclusive, but with a more powerful reach.
TechCrunch reports that “according to the program details page, only those influencers with “large followings” will be accepted. In addition, Amazon considers other metrics, like the fan engagement on posts across a variety of social media platforms, quality of content, and the level of relevancy for Amazon.”
While there is no cut-off in terms of follower count, Amazon says that influencers across tiers and categories will be considered for inclusion in the program. Influencers are given a unique vanity URL through Amazon’s domain that customers will be able to use to find products and bookmark for later.
What Does This Mean For Businesses?
The Amazon Influencer Network is going to be a game-changer for both businesses and users alike. Not only does this show just how powerful social media is, but it is also transforming the shopping experience. Now when users watch blogs or look at Instagram posts, they will seamlessly be able to transition to Amazon and buy the products mentioned.
This will not only give Amazon a major boost in terms of sales and general exposure, but it allows users to browse through curated selections recommended by influencers. This also means that they are much less likely to purchase directly from the brand, and use Amazon as their middleman.
It also means that businesses must retool their marketing strategies to include social media as a larger portion. It is clear from programs such as this one that influencers hold far more weight in terms of actual sales than any other traditional form of advertising. Not only are they reaching hard to reach and niche audiences, but influencers now have better methods to showcase their recommendations and enable consumers to buy directly from their unique Amazon links.
Are Influencers Really That Powerful?
The short answer? Yes. In fact, using an influencer to market products is far more organic, and will often to lead to a more loyal user base because they see the brand as trustworthy. Word of mouth tends to go farther than randomly placed advertisements, especially when it is possible to reach so many users in one go.
Recent surveys have been conducted to really examine the power influencers have in marketing now, and the results definitely reinforce the idea that influencers are becoming part of larger digital marketing strategies.
For example, surveys have found that “94% of advertisers who used influencer marketing believe the tactic to be effective, with 87% citing Facebook and Instagram as the most important platforms.” Leveraging these platforms correctly, and accurately identifying influencers will definitely yield results but it requires a tailored focus.
Furthermore, surveys have also demonstrated that “consumer-focused marketers and found that roughly 89 percent find influencer content valuable, while 57 percent said such messaging outperformed brand-created content.”
Ultimately, businesses must strike a balance between influencer-created and brand-created content to create a holistic marketing strategy. There is no doubt that influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly popular trend, but there must be a balance in order to retain brand identity.
Using influencer marketing as one facet of a marketing strategy is a good way to identify whether this is a worthwhile pursuit, and examine how it impacts a business. However, in order for it to reach maximum efficiency, it is imperative to identify and target influencers that will directly reach target demographics.
The Amazon Influencer Network – What You Can Learn From It
Rather than blindly choose influencers based on arbitrary measures such as number of followers, consider using Amazon’s approach. Identify tiers, categories and how focused their product offerings are. There also needs be some research on followers, the level of engagement and other metrics in order to see if they are the correct choice.
Crafting a social media strategy that includes building an influencer network may seem daunting, but it is what we are experts at. Your social media success begins with us, so contact us today to learn how we can start the process for you.