How to Work With Influencers to Drive Sales

Influencer marketing is not a new concept, it just started becoming trendy and a buzzword a couple years ago.  Now that companies have bigger budgets and more tracking technology is available, they’re specifically looking for measurable results which is why you need to start educating your influencers on how to drive sales.  Below you’ll find a few of the techniques we use by channel through our affiliate programs and influencer marketing campaigns.

You can use these as a base for your own agencies or companies and you’re always welcome to contact me to bounce ideas around.  I love learning new things from you guys as well.  =0)  As a quick heads up, these are the basics, everything is done custom for the client and by influencer’s capabilities, but they normally all start with this.

  • Bloggers
  • Instagrammers
  • Facebook Fan Pages
  • Twitter
  • YouTubers

how to track influencer sales

How to Track Influencer Sales By Channel:

There are two things you need to do before tracking revenue from this channel.  The first is to set up an advanced pixel where you can assign unique codes or parameters to credit a specific source.  This is similar to a vanity code that forces a commission to an affiliate.  The next is through cross device tracking.

You can track across devices by using multiple logins from the same ip in the same time range (especially if its on the same or similar products/categories).  Another option is by tagging a database as you get a unique identifier (email address, mailing address, etc….).  There are more options like tracking via a social media account or login username, using app info, etc… but the first two can be applied more easily.

Blogger Influencer Campaigns

The first and most important thing with bloggers as influencers is to ignore their media kits if it only lists site data and site reach.  Their total site traffic and total reach is not relevant for influencer marketing.  The only numbers you need to care about are engagement on new posts and repeat readers on new posts.  That’s all of the exposure you are going to get.  If each new post does not have real engagement, then move on if you need measurable results.  They are not an influencer in this scenario.

If you don’t need instant sales and they have the ability to rank, then negotiate their fees by having them become an affiliate too.  The ones who agree to this are the ones you want.  They are more than likely to listen and produce results than the ones who say no or become rude.  You should always remain polite and thank them even if they do say no because they get pitched regularly and it is annoying…I know first hand.

Next, do not have the blogger do a review.  Reviews will only drive sales if they show up for your trademarks (for the most part).  These are customers you would have had anyways and although they could be influencing mid-funnel, you need new customers from them.  Instead, have them create a detailed and optimized post that provides a solution to a problem using your products or service.  Now teach them how to rank that post and incorporate their affiliate links as it is mentioned, demonstrated and again at the end so the person doesn’t have to scroll to the top to find it.

This is how you get bloggers to drive sales.  Because it is also with affiliate links, they’ll be able to reap the rewards of the campaign for a long time to come if the post does well.  If you’re stuck with how to think of mutiple topics for them to write about (so they don’t all compete with each other), here’s a post I wrote on using Google to come up with content ideas.  That is the same strategy I use with bloggers and YouTubers for content.

Instagram Promotions

The first thing to know about Instagram is that there is no clickable link unless you’re running on their ad platform (which is also Facebook Ads).  Asking influencers to change the link involves extra work and once it changes to another advertiser, you don’t get any more traffic making it a very limited campaign.  So what other options are there.

  • Unique tracking codes – give them a code with their name and have them mention to use that when their followers are shopping.  It could provide a discount sitewide, on the specific products they’re showing in the photo or whatever else you want.

    Caution – expire the code after 2 or 3 days and make sure it is not on any coupon sites.  Don’t worry about it expiring, Instagram has a quick diminishing return.  Coupon sites will skew the results, especially if the coupon site shows up for your brand/URL + coupons in Google.  

  • Short URLs – Bit.ly, Pretty Links and other link shorteners offer paid versions which have custom short links.  You can set these as a copy and paste or type-in friendly URLs.  As the redirect occurs, have it pass a unique parameter to track it back to the Instagram Influencer.

Facebook Fan Pages

The most important thing to look at with Facebook is engagement per post that they create.  If the Facebook Page owner is sharing from others, the numbers could look a lot higher.  Make sure you only look at the engagement on their unique content from their own sites and posts.  You should also question which ones were boosted and which were not so you can recommend copy and imagery that gets attention.

  • Using links – If they have a blog, see if they’ll create a blog post like we discussed above.  Now give them a unique tracking link and have them include it in the FanPage share.  You can also have them include a link to their blog post so there are two in the content.  Now the fan can either go direct to your website to shop, or they can go and read about the experience that the influencer had and then shop through the links on the blog post.
  • Questions & images – Another fun strategy is to ask the community a question or for their opinion (although this can easily backfire so be cautious!).  Offer multiple answers or images for examples.  If you do images, tag each one with a unique parameter or ID so that you can remember which one drives sales and be better optimized for the next campaign with this same influencer.
  •  Boost and advertise – Whether you’re boosting or running new ads and showing the review, make sure you do not just advertise.  Learn how to use Facebook’s advertising platform and then match it up so there is a strong cross over for their fan base and your actual consumers.  This can sometimes help to only show the review and campaign to people who are also in your specific demographics.  Here’s how to use Facebook ad targeting to make money.  It’s an old post but should still be relevant.
  • Do not tag the brand – one of the most common mistakes I see is that the influencer tags the brand.  Ambassador programs ask for this a lot.  If they tag the brand, followers may click through to the brand page and your tracking code won’t get set and they won’t get credit.  Make sure they do not tag the brand.

Twitter

This channel is pretty direct with how to do it.  Before you bring on a Twitter influencer, look at their feed and also look for engagement on their original tweets.  You should never count the ones they retweet and like since those numbers include other peoples engagement stats.  That is not their actual reach and do not fall for it.

Twitter offers clickable links, images and copy so you can track this easily.  Instead of repeating what I said above, here are a few ways to find the right influencers on Twitter.

  • Competitor lookalikes – Look to see which accounts are owned by influencers that are also similar to your competitors.  These are awesome potential partners.
  • Complaints – By going with influencers who are frustrated with your competitors, you can help to provide a better experience and win them over.  Be ready to offer them free products and services.
  • Chats – Find the people invited or who host twitter chats regularly.  They actively engage on these topics and their referral during a question or chat can drive leads and sales, even if they don’t have a ton of followers.

YouTubers

YouTube is pretty similar to the bloggers but you’re looking for comments, likes and views per video.  The same goes for subscribers, the total doesn’t matter if there is no engagement.  So why does this have it’s own section?  Because it is a very visual and engaging channel.

Try to get your YouTube influencers too:

  • Mention you at the beginning and end of the video
  • Say they can find the product as their demonstrating it via the link below
  • Let viewers know that by using the link below they’ll get a discount (this way you don’t run into the coupon issue from the instagram section)

Influencers are an amazing way to drive sales.  The trick is letting them know the ways you track and incorporating it into their strategies.  You also need to do the work and make sure they have an engaged audience that is also similar to your customer base.  If they do and you have tracking options, then you’re ready to beat the competition and impress your bosses.  Here’s my affiliate link for Pretty Links again in case you wanted to use them.

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