I analyze the trends in Influencer Marketing and the return on investment it brings daily. Based on that, and my experience as an Amazon vendor, here is my advice for my fellow Amazon vendors about how to take advantage of this new marketing tool.
But first, some background:
It’s such a long process to bring a new Amazon product to the market
We all know – it takes a long time to “bring” a new product to Amazon. We first need to come up with an idea for the product. We then need to source which factory (usually in China) will provide/manufacture it. That takes a lot of back and forth “ping-pong” over WeChat/Emails/UPS, with sample sending and a lot a lot of weird negotiations… Then we have to do QA of the chosen samples (I sure hope you do), negotiate price and delivery terms, and decide on a payment/auditing platform (Alibaba usually). And then comes the waiting period…a long one…until the shipment arrives.
Now stop right there. This waiting period is the time to ACT on marketing. Marketing has to be started early. People need to know about you. Your brand needs to have awareness, be trusted, and generate interest! How can you do that before you can even list the product on Amazon.com? This is the time to do my favorite type of marketing, the type that allows you to reach high (organic) traffic: Influencer Marketing.
Amazon Vendors have Two Options to Act on Influencer Marketing
This is the obvious way to act: search for best-fit SMI* (I recommend using my “Chase the Hashtag” method), sign a contract, and have the hired Influencer start promoting your product, with several posts.
The idea is to generate expectation and interest in the upcoming product. Influencers have the authority that you’ll need to convince potential social media communities to purchase your product/services.
The other thing you can do with SMI is to get feedback at this early, sample stage. (And why not? That may save you quite a bit of money if you can avoid choosing the wrong features, colors, and what not.)
So Option 1 — doing the Influencer Marketing thing via a hired SMI — is a great option. You can work with Micro-Influencers, who are still inexpensive (but – because of their popularity – not for too long, so you may want to hire them….now).
Build your OWN SMI account!! Hear me out — it’s possible:
A Personal account
Now people believe people. Brands? Not so much. So you’ll need to open a PERSONAL account on one of the social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook, TikTok, Snap, YouTube, WeChat, FlipBoard, — pick one).
Instagram is most popular among Influencers….
And for a reason. Meaning that you should consider choosing Instagram, but don’t lock yourself in. Select the platform that is most popular among your potential customers.
How do you know which platform is most popular? If you haven’t built a customer persona, please stop everything and do it now. Yes, it can be a headache (I know, I have been there!), but there’s no other way to appeal to potential customers than to know their persona (who they are, where they are, gender, age, marital status, budget, hobbies, etc. — you can find a template on Google search for this). Part of building the persona is figuring out which social media platform they spend the most time on and what they like to do there.
Once you choose your platform, then you need to decide on a topic for your SMI account.
Topic of choice
I don’t care what they say – every company founder has an amazing STORY to tell. What’s your story?
Super Expert Tip: I find that most Amazon (and Shopify, and eBay) vendors put together a website that looks like a ..bloody catalog, and that’s it. Guys, you need a story! Without a story on you and your brand you look so unreliable and scary. Think stories. Think about how to inspire!
Next — when deciding what kind of posts to write, first choose hashtags that are related to your topic and your product**. Make a list of the hashtags you’ve chosen and add them to every post. Add two of them to your Instagram/Twitter/etc Bio and include them on any content you post.
** These should be very specific, and not hashtags that have millions of posts. Less than 1/2 a million posts is ideal — otherwise it will be hard for your account to become a top result for those hashtags.
When you’re building your SMI account, don’t forget to create an attractive Bio for your account. It’s really important that your Bio will contain your brand story, with the right wordings, a few hashtags related to your specialty, and a photo that reflects what you are trying to do.
Don’t sell there
Very very important: Do NOT sell there. The objective is to enjoy writing, to enjoy sharing something, to draw an audience with your love for….something.
The idea is to become a community leader
A lot of people don’t understand this, so let me explain: SMI are people (or pets) that own a social media account (or two, or three) and BUILD A COMMUNITY around it. They build community every day.
How? By building relationships. How do you do that?
engage engage engage
Try to go to the social media account that you’ve decided to focus on every day and…engage like crazy!! If someone made a a comment on your post, or DM you – engage! Answer them in a wonderful, respectful, friendly way, so they’ll come back again.
Secondly, go out there and search (maybe using your hashtag list), and find accounts to engage with people randomly. Bring them over to become your follower. Again, don’t sell, just show interest.
I hired two VAs to help me with the engagement, because – I admit – it’s really time consuming.
That’s it. The idea is NOT to sell, but instead to create a a good relationship with PEOPLE. Once you do that, they will be curious to hear more from you, and then they’ll LISTEN to you, that’s when you’ll officially become SMI, and I will be the first one to congratulate you.
The idea is NOT to sell, but instead to create a good relationship with PEOPLE. Once you do that, they will be curious to hear more from you, and then they’ll LISTEN to you
And here are other relevant tips for us all:
SMI* = Social Media Influencers