As we head into the final two weeks leading up to Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, Shopify brand owners and marketers everywhere have BFCM marketing strategy on their minds. There are the typical BFCM strategies likely on everyone's to-do list, like site-wide sales, digital ads, email nurturing, and more, but what a lot of Shopify merchants may overlook is the importance of a killer influencer marketing strategy.
Influencers can be one of your most powerful tools to engage with your customers and drive sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This blog will go over 11 unique ways to leverage influencers this holiday season. But first, some important context to keep in mind about influencers and how they intertwine with Black Friday Cyber Monday marketing.
What are the 4 types of influencers?
Why we recommend utilizing micro and nano influencers
Micro and nano influencers are especially key because they tend to have more personal relationships with the majority of their audiences, much unlike macro- and mega- influencers. Their followings most likely consist of friends, family, classmates, co-workers, or fellow community members. Their audiences are engaged, trusting, and willing to take advice.
The Shopify brands who use Buzzbassador are leveraging a collective army of 48,000 micro and nano influencers in the form of an ambassador program, and these ambassadors have generated $4.1M in revenue for those stores since 2020. Read more about why and how to leverage nano and micro-influencers here.
Black Friday Cyber Monday and current buyer trends
In 2020, despite shipping delays, supply chain issues, and other economic changes caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Shopify store owners collectively still raked in over $5.1 billion USD in global sales during BFCM, up 76% from previous years. In fact, SpendMeNot reports that over 30% of all retail sales from the entire year occur from Black Friday through Christmas.
The increasing role of social commerce
As social media continues to grow, social commerce gives consumers more and more ways to shop across non-traditional channels. Global sales through social media platforms are expected to reach $604.5 billion by 2027.
Consumers are increasingly relying on elements of social media to make purchasing decisions, whether it's buying directly from an Instagram post, or taking recommendations from social media influencers. It is clear that social commerce is shaping the e-commerce industry, including sale events like BFCM. That's why it's crucial that you do not ignore social commerce strategies as you plan out your marketing for Black Friday Cyber Monday.
So with that said, let's get started with our tips on how to leverage the power of influencer campaigns during the upcoming Shopify BFCM and holiday season.
11 Ways to Use Influencer Marketing In Your Shopify BFCM Strategy
1) Build up excitement ahead of time with influencer sneak peeks and early access
With Black Friday Cyber Monday promotions, it's important to start early. As this blog is being published there are 2 weeks until BFCM, so if you haven't started yet now's your time! From now until BFCM, the key is to start building up excitement ahead of time. You can leverage your influencers to help you get consumers excited, and you can also get your influencers excited as well.
Let Your Influencers Give Sneak Peeks
Once you decide what your Black Friday Cyber Monday promotion offering is going to be (for example, what discounts you'll have and what product sales will be featured), tell your influencers about it early so that they can share sneak peeks with their audience. This way, your influencers' loyal followers will be getting excited about your upcoming promotions before they even start their holiday shopping.
You can do this by sending an email to your influencers with the details of the promotion and how to post about it on their social media accounts, or even by creating your own branded sneak peek video that the influencers can repost on their social channels.
Consider Giving Early Access To The Flash Sales
Another way to build up excitement ahead of time is to consider opening up your BFCM promotions a few days (or even weeks) early but only for your exclusive influencer community.
2) Send influencers products to be used in holiday-themed unboxing videos
Keep in mind that the power of video content is unrivaled by other forms of marketing. Videos have the highest engagement rates on social media (double that of text and images combined according to Animoto).
If you can afford to send out some of your inventory for free, send your influencers some product(s) as a gift and encourage them to create holiday-themed video content around those products. Unboxing style videos are popular on social media channels like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube, so influencers could unbox your products in front of their audiences before and during your Black Friday Cyber Monday promotions.
3) Have your influencers submit reviews and testimonials that can be used in your marketing
49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations to make their purchasing decisions. While these recommendations typically come from the influencer themselves over their social media channels, what can also be really impactful is for a brand to create advertising around influencers' honest reviews of their products.
When influencers share their honest reviews about a product, it creates social proof that can drive conversions and make potential customers trust you more. You can use this user-generated content on a landing page of your website, in your paid ads, across your social media platforms, and in an upcoming BFCM campaign.
To gather these reviews and testimonials ahead of BFCM, try sending out a survey to influencers you've worked with previously who you know have tried your products.
Example Questions To Include In Your Influencer Survey
If your influencers would be willing to film verbal reviews in selfie video format, that's even more powerful.
4) Create and highlight an "Influencer Picks" product bundle
One of our favorite ideas on this list is to create an "influencer picks" product bundle on your website that includes a few top products that you want to drive more sales of with your target audience. You can create the product bundle in the back-end of your Shopify store and highlight it on your store's home page during BFCM weekend.
This is a unique way to drive the increase of your average order value during your BFCM sales. It's also a great way to get influencers involved in the BFCM fun, as they can help suggest products to be included in the bundle.
Kohl's Example: Promote "Influencer Picks" Bundles and Collections In Your Storefront
When creating the bundle, make sure online consumers are incentivized to purchase it by offering a higher discount if they purchase the products together. When you promote the bundle on your store, further entice and engage your customer base by featuring specific influencers that recommend those products, and their reviews or reasons why they like them. This is a great way to incorporate social commerce during Black Friday Cyber Monday, while also providing fun digital experiences.
5) Boost influencer engagement with competitions and giveaways
Want an easy way to incentivize influencers to boost sales during times like this? Add a little competitive edge. Announce an influencer contest where the top 5 sales-generating influencers during BFCM win a cash bonus or another cool prize.
Or, get in the holiday spirit with a holiday-themed contest. Have your influencers submit photos with your brand's products, but with a twist - they have to be wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. Best sweater/most creative photo wins a prize (and you can repurpose the content for fun holiday-themed campaigns later). Win-win!
Contests and fun gamification like this are great ways to get higher engagement out of your influencer program. The more engaged your influencers are, the more motivated they will be to create high-quality content, share their discount codes with the right audience, and bring potential new customers to your store.
Share Your Influencer Leaderboard During Sales Competitions
Use the Buzzbassador leaderboard to track your top-performing influencers over a certain period. You can share the leaderboard directly with your influencers throughout the competition to encourage friendly and fun competition.
6) Equip influencers with the tools to create and post content that further increase your BFCM conversions
A key part of a good influencer strategy is making sure that the influencers feel confident in creating the type of content that is going to be useful for the brands they work for. This is why it's important to start off your influencer campaigns by providing specific guidelines for creating high-quality content that will drive eCommerce sales for your Shopify store.
For your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, try giving influencers a content calendar to follow. Include a checklist of specific guidelines to follow each time you want them to post, including content ideas, caption suggestions, and hashtags to include. Make sure to clarify which social channels they should post the content on.
For example, one day of the posting calendar could focus on highlighting your brand values, like this:
Guide your micro influencers' content creation and social activity in a more specific and tailored way in order to have more control over your influencer marketing as a whole and make sure certain marketing tactics and marketing channels are utilized. By being really strategic about coordinating your influencers' posting times, topics and channels, you are widening your potential audience and being unique in your approach to captivating online consumers.
7) Drive sales of certain products with curated, shareable holiday shopping lists
One of the most popular ways among Shopify store owners to drive online shopping during the holidays is to create holiday gift guides or curated Black Friday shopping lists that can be easily shared. However, this holiday-favorite marketing tactic can be taken a step further by incorporating influencer marketing.
Brands can create Black Friday shopping lists and holiday gift giving lists that are specifically curated for influencers to share on their channels, which will help shape online shopping during BFCM. By highlighting specific products in these guides that align with the sales your brand plans to offer during BFCM, you can point consumers' shopping behavior toward certain items and drive additional Black Friday revenue by helping consumers realize that your product line has plenty of options they can use to check some things off their holiday shopping and gifting lists.
You can make influencers even more engaged in this process by including them in the decision-making process for what product(s) to include in the recommended lists. Ask for their ideas on which products would work best as a gift, and for what type of person. You could create multiple different gift guides and shopping lists for many consumers, from "Best Christmas Gifts For Boyfriend" to "5 Products On Sale For Black Friday That Even People Who Are Impossible To Shop For Will Love".
Then, blast these shopping list links out to your influencers and have them start promoting them to their audience. The more people that promote these articles, the better, even if it's just a quick Twitter share or Facebook share.
More and more customers will be browsing social channels before and during purchasing, so make sure that your website, as well as any blogs and articles, are fully optimized for mobile devices, so that your audience and customers can easily navigate back and forth from shopping to scrolling, right from their phone.
8) Generate brand awareness with increased mentions and social activity by providing simple, easily sharable content
One of the most underrated marketing strategies for spreading brand awareness far and wide is to create some easily repurpose-able and repost-able content. When your influencers have filters, stickers, backgrounds, and sounds that represent your brand that they can make use of in a matter of seconds, they'll be more likely to post about your brand and mention you, leading to heightened engagement with your brands' social media account. Here are a few examples of content you can create:
Repost-Worthy Branded Content To Make Before The Holidays
9) Get creative with email by incorporating your influencers into your BFCM campaigns
Many brands, whether Shopify stores or not, will send out an email campaign (or more than one) for Black Friday. So how can you make your email marketing stand out? By incorporating your influencers into the email!
Using influencer marketing in your email campaigns is a powerful way to get customers' attention, build trust in your brand, and foster community. There are endless options, especially when you start repurposing some of the above ideas from earlier in this list! Adding that human element to your email campaigns is a wonderful way to connect with your customers.
BFCM Email Campaign Ideas Including Influencers
When sharing your influencers' content in any marketing email (or any marketing content at all), you should always make sure you get their permission by having them opt in.
10) Showcase your influencers in your BFCM ads and your website for the holiday season
If your influencers are putting hard work in to create amazing content for you leading up to and throughout BFCM, you want to make sure you showcase it and use it wherever possible! This one goes beyond Black Friday. Yes, do this for the holiday season to drive sales and attract more customers. But also, keep doing it even after BFCM weekend is over.
It's 2021 and brands are really starting to lean into the whole social commerce thing, so don't miss out! Take advantage of every opportunity you have to incorporate elements of social media into your customer experience - including influencers, user-generated content, and shopping experiences that emulate what someone would experience on social media platforms.
How can I get my website ready for Black Friday AND not miss out on social commerce trends? 3 Ideas:
#1: Use a Shopify app like this one to add your influencers' video reviews of your products directly on your Shopify product pages or home page. It's like browsing Instagram stories right on your website!
#2: Exceed customer expectations by providing a way to shop directly from social content without leaving your website
#3: Feature some of your best-performing micro influencers and their product recommendations on your BFCM landing page
11) Adjust your influencer perks temporarily to best complement your BFCM promotions
If you are running your influencer program similar to an affiliate program where each influencer has a discount code or affiliate link that they share with their audience, you may want to adjust the rates for these codes/links during BFCM. Many Shopify stores offer large flash sales during BFCM with big discounts, sometimes even more than half off. Make sure that your influencers' promotions are not contradicting or under-cutting the sales you are running, as this can be off putting.
Instead, get creative with the offers your influencers are sharing, and make sure they are complementing the BFCM deals. The goal is to ensure that even if a customer purchases through an influencer at the same time your holiday deals are going on, they're not missing out on any potential discounts. This ensures that the influencers are incentivized to promote you and their audiences are incentivized to engage with them.
Give their discount codes a slight edge
Raise the rate of your influencer referral codes to 1%-5% more than your site-wide BFCM deals. This will ensure that your influencers are able to promote an exclusive, enticing, and exciting deal
Drive sales beyond BFCM
Don't have room in your margins to offer a higher discount than your existing BFCM sales? Get creative with what else you can offer. Make your influencers' codes give the customer a $5 gift card to use the next time they purchase. Drive return customer rates even after the big weekend!
Offer incentives other than just product-based
Already offering great deals on products? Consider letting your influencer's codes offer free shipping, or an "exclusive" expedited shipping when a customer inputs the code while checking out with your brand.
Use Buzzbassador to easily adjust all of your influencers' coupon and affiliate link offerings in one click. Our app will automatically update and/or create the Shopify discount codes for you, and communicate to your influencers what their new offerings are via their ambassador dashboard.
Wrapping Up (Holiday Pun Intended 🎁)
If you were feeling a little stressed trying to figure out how to make your Shopify store's marketing strategy stand out this Black Friday Cyber Monday, we hope you found this article helpful and that these 11 creative ways to leverage influencer marketing give you a spark of inspiration!
Keep in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg - a killer influencer marketing plan will help drive sales for all kinds of brands, beyond just Shopify stores (yes, we're talking to you too, brick and mortar stores and local businesses!). 2021 is just the beginning of social commerce, and we will start to see more and more brands leveraging influencer marketing and/or an affiliate program in the coming years.
Which one(s) of these strategies do you plan on trying this year? What additional resources would be helpful for us to create next on the blog? Let us know in the comments or contact us, we'd love to hear from you!
Happy BFCM prep, everyone!