Everyone’s An Influencer, But Who Should You Recruit?
Most smart social retailers understand the potential value of influencers as a way to build brand awareness and promote their marquis products. But can (and should) influencers play a bigger role? And does the influencer game even still include paying high-profile experts and celebrities to promote brands and products on social media—or is there more to it than that? It’s clear that the concept of influencers—and the role they can play in a social retailer’s sales and marketing strategy—has evolved far beyond the early (and relatively unsophisticated) “paying celebrities to promote your products” model.
To find the answers to these questions and other facts, keep reading; they’ll make you want to rethink your social commerce strategy.
Who Are You Competing Against?
The business landscape throughout the world has dramatically changed in recent years. If you still think “beating the competition” only applies to those in your space, you’ll want to get a different lens prescription because you won’t survive with that kind of myopic view of your industry. Truthfully, regardless of the vertical you may live in, your main competitors have become the Amazons and Googles of the world in all their varieties.
To understand that, consider this. What can’t you buy from Amazon, eBay, Alibaba or a host of others out there? There’s an endless supply of health products, cosmetics, fitness equipment, resort trip packages with gadgets and gizmos aplenty. Google and others have made it easy to find and purchase your competitors’ products, whether you realize it or not. Your job now is to understand what you can do about it and build a plan to accomplish it.
Today, Everyone’s An Influencer
In 2020, an influencer could be a true crime podcaster with 10,000 listeners a week. They could also be an amateur rock climber who blogs part-time and has a few thousand dedicated followers, or really anyone with experiences to share and a decent social media presence. These “micro-influencers” have relatively small and narrowly focused spheres of influence. But within those spheres, they are often considered close, trusted advisors with a lot of credibility.
So if the definition of influencer has expanded to include the tens (or even hundreds) of millions of people who have the ability to impact decisions among small groups of social followers, it begs an interesting question: How do you put this massive army of potential advocates to work for your business? It’s relatively easy (although very expensive) to find and pay a small handful of macro-influencers to promote your products. (LeBron’s agent never sleeps.) But finding an effective, efficient way to recruit, manage, motivate and reward thousands of micro-influencers obviously requires a different approach, new processes and specialized tools.
Turning Individual Voices Into a Unified Force
Micro-influencer programs will obviously look different for every social retail business, but you should be thinking about a few specific things to create one that works for you. First, you have to make it easy for potential influencers, no matter how small, to engage with your business and sign on as champions for your products or services. This typically involves creating a program that can attract large numbers of small influencers—and providing a self-serve portal that makes it easy for them to join and participate. Next, you have to find effective ways to motivate your influencers and reward them when they promote and sell your products. This includes providing a fair, consistent way to track and compensate them for their sales contributions. Finally, it’s vitally important to keep the momentum going by incentivizing your current influencers to add new people to the team. This can take a variety of different forms, from simple one-time payments to more sophisticated tiered programs that continually reward experienced influencers for attracting new candidates. (See 3 Keys for Building an Influencer-driven Business below.)
You Don’t Have to Start From Scratch
If you’re near the beginning of this whole process, it might seem like a prohibitively difficult and expensive undertaking—especially compared to ad spends and other more traditional social retail marketing tactics. But fortunately, that’s not the case, because most of the groundwork has already been laid for you.
Over the past decade, thousands of direct selling organizations have successfully developed and refined the plans, methodologies and technology platforms required to manage large, multi-tiered networks of independent distributors and sellers—from marketing and sales tracking to compensation and recruiting. Although there are obvious differences between direct selling and social retail businesses, the processes and systems used to manage networks of independent sellers and distributors can be adapted to support networks of micro-influencers fairly quickly and easily.
That’s especially true of the DirectScale platform with all the technology we’ve built into it that fits perfectly into the influencer model. I could easily write a full article on each of those features, but I’ll just list some here.
First and at the heart of your influencer program is your compensation plan. The DirectScale platform already includes the most powerful and accurate commissions engine in the world. You’ll be able to set up your own type of compensation structure, and test it against profiles you set up. No other solution empowers you to do that. You can read more about that below.
The platform also includes auditing tools, a fully integrated communications platform, and a fully configurable back office you can use to customize the experience for your influencers, and a lot more.
Start Building Your Army of Influencers Today
In fact, DirectScale has already done the work to make it easier for you—by customizing and fine-tuning our direct selling technology platform and processes to meet the requirements of social retailers. This means you can use our proven platform to jump right into the latest influencer trends and turn thousands of individual advocates into a unified force for your business, quickly and cost effectively.
For example, DirectScale boasts the most customizable back office available to help your influencers market and sell your products. Among the unmatched functionality it offers, it includes a full communication platform they can use to post to their social media accounts, as well as communicate with any of the people also in their selling network via text, email or instant messaging through the platform.
Your influencers also have access to powerful auditing tools so they can track their progress with how many sales they’ve influenced and what their commissions will be. And while on that subject, the DirectScale Commissions Engine is the best in the industry. You can test every commission run before you commit it to a payout so you know exactly what your commission costs will be for any given period. It also gives you the ability to modify your commission plan for special events, such as new product releases or holiday promotions.
For example, Say you want to flood the market with a new product you’re releasing in the next quarter. You decide a special bonus structure would definitely motivate your micro-influencers to learn about, use and promote your new product for the first month of the launch. That’s easy to implement using the DirectScale platform. Just add the various promotional bonuses (say an extra 10% for your first level and 5% to your second level) to your comp plan using the built-in Editor. You can even test it using your live data to see if it produces the results you expect. Make any other needed adjustments and test it until you get the result you want. After the promotional period ends, switch back to your normal comp plan that’s already saved in the system. No hassles. No worries. Successful launch and more revenue. Repeat for the next promotion.
With the DirectScale platform, you can also provide all your influencers with powerful sales tools they can use to help sell your products. Provide flyers, brochures, posters, videos and any other type of corporate-approved media they can use to post on their social media accounts, or attach to text messages and emails, etc. Simply add them to their content library they can access from any internet-enabled device. As you put the right tools in their toolbox, they’ll be selling your products everywhere they go. With these powerful tools, your only limit is your imagination.
I’ve only scratched the surface to give you a small taste of how the DirectScale platform can help you build the army of influencers your business needs—and deserves. It’s a win-win scenario. It’s your job to provide that opportunity with the right tools and help them catch your vision.
Believe me when I say they’re out there; they’re already posting to every social media network known to man about every topic (un)imaginable. Their combined followers add up to hundreds of millions of potential customers. So why not have them post about your products instead? When you think about it like that, there’s not really another option, is there?
This is a unique opportunity to transform your social retail business from an ad-driven to a people-driven organization. It’s how life is going to be from now on. DirectScale knows and understands what it takes to build and manage that type of organization of the future, and just as important, we’re ready to help you get there. Let us help you, too!
Contact us to learn more and to see a demo of our game-changing platform.
3 Keys for Building an Influencer-driven Business
- Make it easy for potential influencers to engage with your business.
- Track and reward them fairly for their contributions and success.
- Provide incentives for recruiting new influencers.
From Our CEO
At DirectScale, we know we’ve built the best platform in the industry. We’re the best at what we do. We built the company to help connect people who want and need better lives with the career opportunities that can get them there. That’s where you and your company become the critical piece. Using our decades of combined direct selling experience and knowledge, we provide not only the most powerful back office of the future for all your independent distributors and the retail shops and replicated websites, but we also provide the optimum corporate office with an unmatched commissions engine and all the other tools you need to manage your entire company. With DirectScale, we’ll help you grow and build your company the way you want to. And as you grow, your people and the economy win!
About DirectScale, Inc.
Based in Lindon, Utah, DirectScale has been setting the standard for social and direct sales industry software platforms since 2013. DirectScale’s powerful SaaS platform boasts fully configurable management tools that are vital to not only running, but to efficiently tracking and growing a business.
With its focus on providing an intuitive and impactful customer experience to both corporate clients and independent sellers, DirectScale has revolutionized the way direct selling businesses can be launched and managed. Through the DirectScale Multisided Marketplace, customers are able to choose from multiple external service providers or opt to integrate with their own preferred providers to extend the power of the platform and even override core processes to exactly fit their own needs.
The platform is fully extensible using REST APIs and therefore, able to meet the custom needs of corporate users and independent sellers. DirectScale is committed to helping both organizations and their distributors plan for and drive growth. Its vast experience in the direct sales and software industries have proven time and again that the company truly understands how to help clients succeed. To learn more or request a demo, visit directscale.com.