— March 12, 2019
From celebrity endorsements to ultra-niche micro influencers, the use of influencer marketing doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. There’s power in its ability to help brands stand out and expand their reach to audiences they normally wouldn’t have access to.
As an ecommerce seller, influencer marketing—especially through the Amazon Influencer Program—improves your chances of selling more products, increasing brand awareness, and growing your customer base.
But here’s the thing: you can make your influencer marketing campaigns even more powerful by optimizing your content for image search. On their own, image search and influencer marketing each offer huge opportunities to sell more products across multiple platforms. For example, think about a platform like Pinterest where users spend countless hours scrolling, saving pins to themed boards, and exploring with the visual search tool. Combining these two marketing strategies is like adding fuel to the fire—but in a good way!
Together these strategies help you form mutually beneficial partnerships with leading influencers in your niche and cater to people’s proclivity to gravitate to visual content during their shopping experience.
Here’s a look at how image search and influencer marketing work and how to use them together in the Amazon Influencer Program to boost your product sales.
Image search is revolutionizing how people shop
With billions of Google searches taking place every single day, it’s no surprise Google is the go-to place to start online research. Another more engaging option though is image search. Instead of searching based on text, users search based on images. A platform like Pinterest is designed to help users find new content and the products they need based on images.
For example, when a user finds an outfit or accessory they’re interested in on Pinterest, all they have to do is click on the visual search icon on the image, and they can immediately see variations of the product with links to stores to buy from.
If a user’s interested in the leather jacket, the visual search tool lets them select it and find shoppable options:
Shopping based on image search is revolutionizing how people spend money online. The experience is more engaging and makes it easy for people to shop quicker online vs. going to multiple brick-and-mortar stores to find what they’re looking for. Instead of the customer journey taking days or weeks to complete, it takes minutes.
Image search in ecommerce works kind of the same way. If you use a marketplace like Walmart or Amazon, image search helps shoppers easily find similar products, research purchases beforehand, and compare products. Since visual research appeals to the vast majority of people, image search makes it possible for you to close sales quicker and sell more.
We’ll explore this more next, but when you add influencer marketing into the mix where influencers showcase your products, the fear of missing out (FOMO) kicks in for shoppers, and you create a demand for products your audience is curious about.
Let’s look at how influencer marketing fits in and helps you sell more products and grow your business.
Finding the right influencer fit has the potential to boost sales
Before you choose an influencer to partner with, make sure their audience is similar to your ideal customers. Don’t spend your marketing budget on popular influencers if they aren’t going to drive relevant traffic back to your store. Also make sure that your products are actually what your influencer’s audience wants.
For example, Instagram influencer Ali Fedotowsky-Manno has 665K followers and posts a lot of content on family, motherhood, and style.
Her followers are most likely made up of millennial women with young children. So even though she has a visually appealing Instagram feed, solid engagement, and posts regularly, if you’re an ecommerce brand that specializes in gourmet snacks, her audience might not be an exact fit. Another influencer who targets millennial women with content focused on meal planning and recipes might be a better fit since this audience is likely interested in what you have to offer.
In addition to confirming if your partnership is a good fit, you also need to know where your audience spends time online, so you can find the right influencers. Your audience uses multiple social media platforms, so focus on the ones where they’re most likely to click to your store and buy. For example, if your ideal customers use Instagram to research products before they buy—let’s say Instagram drives the most traffic to your Amazon shop—then focus on partnering with Instagram influencers.
Before you get started, ask your influencers for the following information to make sure they’re the right fit:
- Demographics. Find out who follows the influencers you’re interested in working with. You’ll have to decide if these followers are people who’ll find your product useful.
- Location of the majority of followers. Only if it’s applicable to where you ship products. This is good to know if your products are only available to ship to certain countries.
- Number of followers. This helps you to gauge the amount of potential reach your influencer campaign will have.
- Types of engagement. It’s important to know how many likes, comments, shares, and follows influencers get. This will impact your click-through rate (CTR) from social media to storefront.
Knowing more about followers and their behaviors makes it easier to guide influencers on the types of content they should post and share. This is especially useful if you have multiple product lines—you’ll have to be specific about what’s to be shared.
Improve marketing campaigns with the Amazon Influencer Program
The Amazon Influencer Program was introduced in 2017. It’s meant to give influencers another platform to share their product recommendations, but more importantly, since Amazon has over 310 million customers already shopping on the marketplace, the influencer program makes it even easier for shoppers to buy something they see promoted on social media.
The Amazon Influencer Program is still new—not many sellers know about it—but it’s growing to include more influencers. So far there’s a good mix of influencers and products for shoppers to choose from, so there are lots of opportunities to use the program to increase sales.
The way the program works is influencers apply to join the program:
It’s open to influencers on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. To give sellers the most value from the program, only influencers with posts that are relevant to Amazon shoppers, have a large and engaged following, and post high-quality content on their social channels are accepted.
Amazon does the hard work of finding quality influencers who are a good fit for you. Once approved, influencers get a vanity URL to share on their social channels to drive people to Amazon. In return, they receive a fee—like with the Amazon Affiliate Program.
Once influencers have access to the platform, they set up their profile and list the products they already share on social media:
When shoppers land on the influencer product pages, they’ll find that the pages look similar to Instagram in the way the product images are showcased. When you partner with the right influencers, all shoppers have to do is scan the product page to find different products to buy.
To drive traffic to their Amazon storefront, influencers share links on their social media pages. For example, they can create Story Highlights on Instagram with images of products they’re promoting:
And include a “see more” tag that links followers to a product page on Amazon:
Where followers can learn more about the product and browse through images of similar products:
At the bottom of each of these product pages, there’s a “Sponsored products related to this item” section with more images of similar products. If you have a product line, your products will also appear here.
Amazon also shares a “Frequently bought together” section with an image of the searched product and a companion product to encourage shoppers to buy more—and save at the same time.
There’s also a “Customers who viewed this item also viewed” section that incorporates image search to make it easy for shoppers to browse similar products.
These image-heavy sections act as guides to help move shoppers to a purchase decision quicker.
Finally, keep in mind that you can also spread your product line across multiple influencers to increase brand awareness even more and boost the potential for more sales.
Key takeaways of image search in the Amazon Influencer Program
- The Prime badge appears on images to make it easy for shoppers to find the products they want that will ship fast.
- Influencer pages are very product specific. This makes it easy to know if your products are a fit for influencers’ followers.
- Influencers promote their storefront—with your products—on social media, which drives traffic to your store to search for more products.
- Other than what it costs to pay influencers for their partnership, Amazon sellers don’t have to do any additional advertising or make payments. Plus, sellers don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on influencer marketing where costs range from a few hundred dollars per post to hundreds of thousands of dollars for more popular influencers.
Next steps with the Amazon Influencer Program
There’s lots of potential to increase sales with the Amazon Influencer Program. The key is to choose influencers carefully and optimize your product pages to boost sales.
To make sure your products stand out so that shoppers click on them, make sure images are high quality, close up, and include multiple angles. The easier and more appealing it is for shoppers to browse through product images, the better it is for your bottom line.
Remember, image search is becoming more common, so use it to get your products found and bought sooner.