They pose on walkways at outdoor shopping villages, scenes of crimes, and contort themselves weirdly at top-rated scenic spots. Making fun of influencers has become a sport of its own. One need only look at the online account @influencersinthewild with its 4 million followers to see the world’s infatuation with shaming anyone who has tried to go viral.
But most people would be surprised to find out that being an influencer is not just about the photo. Sure, twenty-somethings are out there just trying to get famous, but authentic influencers are quietly connecting with real people, making good money, and living lives of freedom and financial security they always dreamed of.
They are moms, fashion devotees, makeup pros, travelers, bargain shoppers, and DIYers. They have the real influence. They are the ones to turn to for advice about potty-training or how to paint and revive an old cupboard.
When these influencers give advice, people take action. They easily influence buying choices because they are trusted – just like a best friend or admired colleague.
Research shows that every day in the US, there are about 2.4 billion brand-related conversations. 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, and people are 4x more likely to buy when referred by a friend. This makes perfect sense. When a trusted source suggests a product, people are much more likely to check it out!
Businesses know this. They are keenly aware of the power of trusted referrals. These businesses reach out to influencers to promote their products, and because they believe that most influencers don’t know their own value, they don’t pay much (if anything) for this advertising.
The biggest offender of these take-all-you-can businesses is the retail giant Amazon. Amazon recognized the huge potential in influencer referral marketing and decided to harness this power. They came up with a self-styled prestigious program targeted at only the “best” influencers. Through their genius marketing, the Amazon Influencer Program became the ideal and the goal for influencers everywhere.
And what did these influencers get in exchange for promoting Amazon’s products? Pennies on the dollar.
A beauty blogger has to sell a lot of makeup brushes to make any money at $.25/each.
Here’s the shake-up. Real influencers and bloggers are finally taking back their power. They are opening their own e-commerce boutiques and recommending their own products.
E-commerce platforms like Shopify have made it easy (and inexpensive) to open an online store. Using the business model of dropshipping (that Amazon perfected), savvy influencers are building their own online empires without having to pay upfront for products, store them or ship them.
The best part? They get all of the profit.
Gina Kershaw, the founder of InfluencerCEO, is helping influencers take back their power with workshops on how to easily open an online store. Now, when influencers recommend and sell a cute t-shirt, they are only paying the wholesale price and pocketing the rest. It’s about time that someone beat Amazon at its own game.