Affiliates Should Underpin your Entire Influencer Strategy
Creator Marketing Needs to Become Outcomes-Based
In an era where traditional advertising is losing its impact, creator marketing has become indispensable for brand growth, particularly as the buying power shifts to a tech-savvy generation that places high trust in social media influencers—making them the key drivers of brand success in the coming decade.
The challenge now with creator marketing is how to ensure it is an outcomes-based endeavor as opposed to an awareness based one. Incorporating affiliate marketing into your creator program, and leveraging it as the underpinning of your entire program allows you to do this.
Look at Creators like Retailers
How do we build a pipeline where we are continuing to discover new “retailers” and grow them to be significant volume drivers?
Creators are like retailers. They are curating products via their social channels, and they’re selling product for a certain margin in the form of affiliate commission. The goal of your influencer strategy should be to build several robust retailers who are driving significant volume, and to build a strategy where you are able to put potential new retailers into your funnel and nurture them to become more significant volume drivers.
You probably have a lot of influencers who are fans of your brand, or you have some kind of relationship with. At each stage of the relationship, you should think about how to get them to the next stage of the relationship to grow them to be a top volume contributor:
- Existing fans, creators who post about you organically, or creators you’ve previously gifted to → make sure they know you have an affiliate program and invite them to join
- If the talent is driving some affiliate volume but not a lot → considering giving them a rate increase, code, or gifting to them to further evaluate their potential to drive significant volume
- Significant volume drivers → the challenge is to keep this order volume pipeline sustainable throughout the year. For this group you should regularly re-gift so they have things to talk about and make sure to share you
Tips for Incorporating Affiliates to Optimize your Influencer Program
Existing Creator Network: Onboard Everyone
You need to communicate to every creator you work with or talk to that you have an affiliate program and encourage them to use it. This is going to allow you to assess their potential to drive order volume, and therefore, how valuable they are to partner with on a larger basis.
- Have you told every influencer you work with that you are on ShopMy?
- And if they are not on ShopMy, have you shared with them your custom onboarding page so that they can join ShopMy?
- Have you told every creator that you’ve previously gifted to that you are on ShopMy? Many of these creators probably love your brand, and this will be an effective nudge to encourage them to post about you. You can search these creators on ShopMy and create a list in your dashboard of creators you’ve previously gifted to so that you can message all of them on ShopMy.
- Are you sharing with your talent (especially those that ask) that you pick talent for paid partnerships from your affiliate program? This will encourage them to actually use your affiliate program, beyond just the opportunity to earn commission, they see it as an evaluation for a larger partnership.
Organic content shared by talent who love your brand is the best converting and most valuable form of content. Affiliates is your lever to maximize and grow this. Everyone who posts about you is a potential candidate for your affiliate program who could drive significant volume. That can motivate them to continue posting about you.
- Are you looking at your social mentions feed regularly, and messaging the talent who post about you and reminding them of your affiliate program?
- For content you see outside of ShopMy, are you messaging these people to let them know that you have an affiliate program and that they should join it?
Gifted Talent: Tie in Affiliate Component + Consistently Remind Talent
Every brand is facing the challenge of measuring the impact of their gifting efforts. Which influencers posted? Which of those posts actually drove order volume? You can use ShopMy’s Lookbooks feature and reinforce your affiliate program in messaging to track your gifting efforts. To learn how to use Lookbooks, please use our guide here.
- When gifting to talent on ShopMy, are you following up with talent after they’ve received their gift reminding them and encouraging them to tap into your affiliate program?
- When you are gifting to talent that are not on ShopMy, are you using off platform Lookbook invites? When you use an off-platform lookbook invite, talent will make their gifting selection and when they complete their order, they’ll create a ShopMy account, and through that process they’ll connect their social accounts — which means you’ll be able to see their content if they end up posting about you. Doing this will ensure that you’re able to see the content of everyone you gift to, and they’ll all be able to easily tap into your affiliate program. If you’re not doing this, you’re missing out on tracking the impact of your gifting.
- If a PR firm handles your gifting for you, have you told them to include messaging about ShopMy and your onboarding page to everyone they gift to? Otherwise, you’ll have no way to track the success of their gifting.
Gifting is also your way to begin the relationship with talent who have not tried your brand but who could eventually grow to become top volume contributors.
Top Volume Drivers: How to Ensure Regular Sharing
When you find great success with a creator, the next challenge is how can we keep them engaged and sharing your brand year round.
- When these creators post about you, are you thanking them for posting?
- Are you re-gifting to these top affiliate drivers regularly? You can also re-gift to them in your thank you message.
- Are you giving custom commissionable discount codes to these top promoters? This can be a way to make them feel special and encourage them to share more.
- You can also consider entering into paid partnerships with talent who drive a lot of volume if you’d like to find a way to guarantee that they continue to share you.
- Many ShopMy brand partners have found the best type of contract structure to ensure that content feels organic and converts is to enter into a longer term agreement with non-prescriptive posting requirements. An example could be a 6 month partnership where the talent is required to post at least 10 instagram story slides per month with commissionable links so that you can track the performance.
Optimizing Paid Partnerships
If you have any paid influencer talent, you’ll need to ensure that you are tracking the performance of the partnership so that you can assess whether or not they are worth continuing to work with.
- Are you tracking the order volume of every single talent paid partnership via the affiliate channel? Many brands onboard talent to ShopMy who they are doing paid partnerships with so that they can track the link + discount code performance of those partnerships.
- Note: If you don’t want to pay out a lot in commission on top of the partnership, you could lower the commission rate for the talent for the duration of the partnership. Alternatively, if the talent is a strong converter, you could consider incorporating affiliate into the deal — for example offer a slightly lower flat fee, but an increased or competitive commission rate.
- When talent ask you throughout the year if you are doing paid partnerships, are you encouraging them to onboard to your affiliate program?
To learn more about our overall Leadership Model and how to incorporate this into your everyday strategy, please reach out to your Success Manager or email email@example.com.
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