12 Apr 2017
Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing for Everyday E-Commerce Brands

Do any of these names ring a bell?

Jojo Fletcher, Robby Hayes, Carly Waddell…?

Web professionals don’t need to recognize these personalities from the long-running Bachelor franchise for them – and other people like them who appear on TV – to become valuable marketing assets for their retail brand. In spades, companies are reaching out to influencers to leverage their social capital by promoting products or services on their behalf. Since influencers’ social media followers hang on their every post, the belief is they are contributing to customer acquisition initiatives, and it is a strategy that may be worth exploring for everyone.


Endorsements aren’t new, of course, but social media has provided celebrities and their reality-based counterparts a platform to assist in raising awareness and ultimately moving/selling product (in a significant way) and earn a pretty decent living from doing so. Influencer marketing is successful for two main reasons.

For one, organic reach (the number of people who see a brand’s messaging through unpaid distribution) is embarrassingly low on most social networks thanks to algorithms that limit exposure in the name of “user experience.” Influencers are typically able to overcome this challenge because of their engaged fan base and that they are social profiles, not actual brand pages.

Secondly, people are more likely to trust the opinion of someone they know when making purchasing decisions and, for reality stars in particular, their followers are hyper-invested in their lives, feeling as if they know them personally. There’s a connection that Paul Desisto, lead social media agent and social media marketing specialist for Central Entertainment Group (CEG), had to see himself to believe.

“When a reality star does a celebrity appearance, the fan isn’t jumping up and down like it’s Brad Pitt,” said Desisto. “[Instead], they are coming up to them like it’s their best friend and the fan knows everything about them…that they have a dog, that they work out every day.”

The majority of people can’t relate to Pitt’s lifestyle, Desisto continued, but they can connect with someone who they saw vulnerable on TV (like looking for love on the Bachelor), lives in a modest house, drives a similar car. In short, familiarity and similarity is why people are buying what influencers are selling.

In fact, when media platform Bloglovin surveyed some 20,000 women recently, more than half said they had bought a product or service due to an influencer post. So how does a retailer get started?


Plenty of players exist in the social media influencer world from agents like Desisto to platforms like Popular Pays. Let’s take a look.

Social Agents

It might seem a bit unusual for a retail brand to reach out to a celebrity agent. Over the last two years though, Desisto says the endorsement side of CEG has “gone through the roof” with this specific division of the 19-year-old agency expected to do $20-$25 million in revenue for 2017 after raking in $7.8 million in 2016 and $2.1 million in 2015. It appears there is money to be made for everyone.

“One client came from a large reality show, and she gets 700,000 opens on Snapchat,” said Desisto. “As you can imagine, that’s very powerful with 35,000-40,000 screenshots [being taken]. I’ve had brands that have paid this celebrity around $10,000 to do a Snapchat series and earned about $50,000-$60,000 in revenue. With that same celebrity, they’ll utilize her Instagram and Instagram Story. They pay her $50,000-$60,000 and generate $300,000 in revenue.”

If you were under the impression that these celebrities were paid solely on commission, you’re not alone. Desisto, however, says that’s a dated strategy. Now it is supply and demand he says, and no celebrity or “anyone of value” will go the commission-only route because they simply don’t need to. So who’s employing these reality stars?

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