ecommerce influencer marketing campaign - Blue Stout

3 Errors That Can Ruin Your Ecommerce Influencer Marketing Campaign

by Akshay Sachdeva
January 28, 2016

Did you know that companies doing influencer marketing are seeing over a 6x return on every marketing dollar spent?

With numbers like that, it’s no wonder it’s skyrocketing in marketing popularity. In fact, 59% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets over the next 12 months, and influencer marketing has now become the fastest growing and most cost effective online customer acquisition channel. (source)

If you’re entertaining the idea of an ecommerce influencer marketing campaign, be aware that just a few small errors can ruin your entire project. This article will highlight key errors to avoid, show influencer marketing examples, as well as reveal the steps you need to take in order to execute a campaign that delivers maximum results.

Error 1: Partnering with the Wrong Influencers

More than 69% of ecommerce consumers will purchase a product if it’s recommended to them by someone they follow on social media. So, choosing the wrong influencers can be disastrous for your ecommerce company’s marketing investment and can result in a serious brand backlash. The individual must match your brand and your audience.

An example of an influencer not matching your brand is when he/she may not be actively using the product you are promoting. When Microsoft introduced the Surface Tablet, they worked with Oprah Winfrey to create some buzz in the market. But, things went completely wrong when she accidentally tweeted the following message from her iPad:

How you can prevent this from happening:

Be aware of your influencer’s communication to your audience, even if you may not control it directly. Get your product in their hands, and make sure they are true advocates before they communicate with your audience.

Ideally, you want them to be existing product advocates before entering a promotional partnership. If they aren’t true advocates, chances are your audiences will sense the “falseness” of the relationship. Afterall, marketing to the current demographic with the most purchasing power – millennials – is all about transparency.

Related: 5 Secrets for Successfully Marketing to Millennials & Giving Your Brand a Purpose

Another mistake is choosing an influencer based solely on their popularity or the ‘number of followers’ they have. Such a strategy can lack sophistication, and yield zero results as the ‘followers’ may just be passive observers and be completely uninterested in your products.

How you can prevent this from happening:

By giving less importance to the number of followers and giving more attention to the engagement influencers can drive with them. Just because someone is a celebrity or famous personality does not make them an ‘influencer’. Ideally, you want both your influencer and their followers to be part of your target audience.

@wendyslookbook rocking olive like a boss #oldnavystyle

A photo posted by oldnavy (@oldnavy) on

If you’re looking for ecommerce marketing campaign ideas, Old Navy sets the bar high when it comes to selecting and engaging with the right influencers. By partnering with the top fashion bloggers around the world on Instagram, they’re able to source beautifully photographed user generated content. Their influencers include Jacey Duprie (creator of Damsel in Dior) and Wendy Nguyen, who both have Instagram profiles with massive audiences.

Considering that, it’s no surprise why the brand’s social engagement is extremely high. Check out their conversation rates on instagram just over the last month, compared to the industry standard:

Choose your influencers based on their ‘influence’ over your target market. The best way to do that is to have a look at whether their posts get shared, receive comments, get ‘likes,’ and the responses of your potential influencer. Such insights will help you make the right decision for your brand.

Related: How To Generate High Customer Engagement Like Birchbox & Bevel

Error 2: Not Understanding the Power of Hashtags & Tagging Your Influencer

Ecommerce influencer marketing campaigns are meant to stimulate conversations and spread awareness. Not including the right information in social sharing URL’s can limit your reach and curb your campaign’s potential.

If you’re not familiar with how hashtags (#) work, they are a type of label used on social media platforms to organize conversations and topics. They can be promotional, witty, sarcastic… if you use Twitter or Instagram, you’ve probably seen it all.

Using the wrong hashtags with your influencer campaign will confuse your audience. Using too many or too few hashtags can be confusing, too. It takes a knowledge of the platform and a perfect use of hashtags to guide conversation and create awareness.

To develop a strategy around including the right hashtags in your campaign, here’s a breakdown of the best practices by platform:

How you can prevent this from happening:

Identify relevant hashtags for your influencer campaign. Do some hashtag research using Iconosquare to figure out the ones that interest your audience. You can also use Twitonomy to find out the most used hashtags for a Twitter account. Hashtagify is a fantastic tool that can identify related hashtags, and also suggests top influencers for a specific hashtag:

RiteTag is another effective tool that can help you decipher the most effective hashtags to include in your influencer campaign. It’s simple to use, and gives you a list of currently trending hashtags.

Once you’ve identified some popular hashtags, make sure you also have the campaign-specific hashtag and tag your influencer in the URL. Here’s a simple hashtag formula to use:

Trending Hashtag + Campaign Specific Hashtag + Influencer Name

A great example of effectively using hashtags is Banana Republic’s “Love4All” campaign. It includes the campaign hashtag, #BRLove4All, a trending hashtag (#equality), and also tags the influencer. This specific campaign got over 14,400 engagements on Facebook, 60 million media impressions ,and over 1100 photo entries. (source)

Finally, ensure you use correct spelling and grammar in your hashtags and social sharing information, along with clear messaging and calls to action. This can make all the difference to your social reach and campaign’s success.

Error 3: Forgetting to Prepare Your Website

The best influencer marketing campaigns entail a lot of pre-launch hype. You begin talking about it. Your influencer may begin teasing it. Your product is in-stock and available. But what happens when the campaign launches and people want to purchase?

If your technical portion fails on the launch of an influencer campaign, not only do you rack up a lot of frustrated customers, but you risk ruining the relationship with your influencer. By frustrating their audience, their reputation is now at risk of being tarnished in the eyes of their faithful social followers!

How you can prevent this from happening:

  • Set up a landing page for your campaign. Make sure you have an exclusive page for your campaign. If you don’t have an in-house development team, you can use Unbounce, Leadpages, or Instapage to create one. Include testimonials or quotes by your influencers on your landing page to win the trust of your audience and A/B test your landing pages using Optimizely. Analyze the tests. Turn off whatever landing page and call-to-action is performing worst, which will drive more traffic to the higher converting page. Don’t forget to include opt in forms on the page to collect information from your visitors!
  • Everything must be mobile-friendly! Ecommerce revenue from Q3 of 2015 was up 97% from the previous year! All signs point to mobile continuing to grow, so it would be a huge oversight for your brand to launch a campaign without a mobile-friendly site.
  • Make your exclusive campaign page shareable. By using plugins like referralcandy for Magento and Get Ambassador for Shopify, you can enable your influencers and your audience to share your campaign and earn commissions. Also, making your ecommerce product pages shareable can help your search engine rank.

One of our favorite ecommerce brands, NastyGal, recently launched a collection in collaboration with Courtney Love. Their audience went nuts. Love herself teased the collaboration via social media and there was lots of pre-launch hype.

On the technical side, NastyGal built a successful landing page for the campaign. It’s on-brand, feels true to Courtney Love, and is shareable for the audience:

Equally as important as having a solid and shareable landing page for your ecommerce influencer marketing campaign products is your tracking system. How will you measure the return on this investment?

Talkable and KickoffLabs offer great tools for ecommerce platforms to track referrals. You can see how many referrals each influencer was able to generate and decide if using them was a smart choice.

Learn from Others’ Mistakes

The top 13% of business who’ve invested in influencer marketing are earning $20 or more for every $1 spent (source).

This figure is a very tangible goal for your business, but only if you align your ecommerce brand with the perfect influencer. Making just one small mistake in this initiative can be a huge waste of resources and have long lasting negative brand effects.

“Mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating” – so learn from others’ mistakes and launch your ecommerce influencer marketing campaign with confidence!


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Akshay Sachdeva Akshay is a passionate marketer providing innovative & valuable insights to our blog. He loves to explore new ways of growing businesses & learning all about entrepreneurship. Interests that excite him include innovation, startups, health & fitness, meaningful experiences, golf & meditation.
  • Ty

    Great examples, especially the Oprah screenshot. In the preparing for the campaign section, I’d also add that even if a new landing page is not created, one must customize their current pages that will act as the landing page, which includes the copy as well as using something like Google Tag Manager to enable the right popups (launch the exit intent popup for the influencer outreach campaign). It also seems that if anyone is going to do influencer marketing in 2016 (highly recommend, as you pointed out), video should be one of the channels that the brand use with the influencer (short is better: Instagram, Vine, Facebook, Snapchat).

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

    • Growth Wizards

      Glad you enjoyed reading the post and thanks for your insights too! Would love to know more about your thoughts on using video with influencer marketing. How would you imagine this to work? 🙂