The better way to sell online

Leveraging Instagram influencers

You may have heard of influencer marketing before, but how can you leverage it to sell your products? In this post, we’ll be covering three ways you can use the popularity of others online to boost your own success.

So what exactly are influencers?

They’re people who’ve managed to build a strong brand and following for themselves online. Often, they’ve built this audience by creating consistent content for a niche such as skincare, fashion, automobiles, or architecture. Chances are, whatever you sell, there’s an influencer who has become a digital expert in a related field.

By collaborating with those creators, you can access their audience in exchange for something of value.

You also don’t need to always target the largest influencers: depending on your niche, multiple influencers with just 1,000 active followers could have a significant impact on your brand recognition. In fact, studies showed that smaller influencers had up to 85% more engagement on their posts than those with millions of followers, in part because they are still able to maintain a seemingly intimate relationship with their fanbase.

1. Send samples

The most commonly known strategy of collaborating with influencers is by sending them free samples. While this can be effective, it’s important to note a few things:

  1. Not all influencers will share everything that has been gifted to them, especially if they don’t believe in the product. Adding a personalized letter and information as to what exactly you’ve sent may help build trust and interest - after all, if they promote your product and their audience dislikes it, it could reflect poorly on them.
  2. Sending samples can have a quick return on investment, but it can also be expensive. Before you start sending gifts, make sure you’ve created a list of genuine content creators who have engaged audiences, post relevant content, and who have good reputations. Otherwise, you may sink money into people who just aren’t the right fit for your product.
  3. If you’re still new on the market, target smaller influencers - larger influencers may be receiving dozens of free gifts a day, making it harder for your product to stand out and end up in a piece of content they create.

2. Collaborate with influencers

Instead of simply sending your products to influencers and hoping they bite, you can also consider actively working and collaborating with them. For instance you can:

Create affiliate programs: these are programs in which each influencer gains a custom link they can use to promote your products to their users. If users purchase a product via the link, this will be tracked and the influencer will pocket a small percentage of the profit as a commission/promotion fee.

Hire influencers to promote your product: just as you can purchase Facebook ads, you can reach out to influencers and ask if you can purchase advertising space on their feeds. For a fee, they may agree to promote your products by integrating them with their own content.

Guest post on a blog: many influencers also have websites on which they create content. You may be able to guest write a blog post on their website if you reach out with a strong pitch. For instance, if you sell chairs, you could reach out to an interior designer and offer to write a piece on the five most iconic chairs and link to similar pieces that you sell. That way, their audience will gain something that is on brand and relevant, and the influencer may gain additional traction on their website.

Include influencers on one of your blogs: On the flip side of guest posting, you can mention an influencer in one of your own posts. For example, you could do an expert roundup on influencers who know a lot about your field. This would benefit your customers, as they would be able to access more relevant resources, and the influencers may share your blog post to their own audiences.


When you’re working with influencers, it’s important to remember that their identity and how they present themselves online is a source of revenue. Just as you would be selective about selling someone else’s products, they’ll be selective in who they want to work with. Be respectful when you reach out, and keep in mind that influencer marketing is more similar to a collaboration between two businesses than anything else.

You don’t need to partner with the largest influencers to be successful: you just need honest creators with engaged fanbases who are passionate about what they (and hopefully you) do.

Have you partnered with influencers before? What was your experience like?

- Lena Klein

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