In a time where brands are trying to nurture their relationships with their consumers, we have seen many change their business strategies to target customers more directly, through owned channels and popular, pre-existing channels such as Amazon. Consumers are more inclined to shop online nowadays, and Amazon sales almost tripled during the pandemic. But, how can brands make the most of the increasing popularity of Amazon?
Though many of Amazon’s social features existed pre-pandmeic, throughout 2020 we saw brands begin using Amazon as a social platform in itself through using Amazon Live, the Amazon Associate Program and Amazon influencers. In the future, we will see more and more brands using these features, so we’ve broken down what they can do for your brand.
What is the Amazon Associate Program?
The Amazon Associate Program is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program. It helps content creators, publishers and bloggers monetize traffic through their affiliate links, that direct their audience to recommended products. When an audience member makes a purchase using these affiliate links, the associate earns up to 12% commission from the purchase. These affiliates have active websites, blogs, applications and YouTube channels.
The Associate Program allows your brand to select associates who align with your brand’s ethos and values, to help bring the brand to life. Consumers respond best to real reviews and information from a perceived “expert”, which is what the associate programme provides.
What are Amazon Influencers?
Although a fair amount of associates are also influencers on Amazon, not all influential accounts are associates. Amazon’s Influencer Program is an extension of the Associate Program, where influencers have their own Amazon profile page, with a specific URL they can use to provide customers with their recommended products. It drives additional traffic to Amazon, and is great to use when hyperlinking isn’t an option (e.g. in an Instagram caption or video).
To qualify for the Amazon Influencer Program, influencers must have a YouTube, Instagram Twitter or Facebook account. Amazon then analyses the follower totals and engagement rates the influencer has.
Typically, Amazon influencers aren’t the perfectly curated and edited influencers you see on Instagram; they are more relatable and real. Amazon influencers are real people, giving their honest reviews. They are able to group their recommended products by themes, and post videos showcasing or reviewing products, and post shoppable pictures.
What is Amazon Live?
Live streaming gained popularity over the last few years, and Amazon Live was Amazon’s answer to this. Amazon Live is a live streaming platform that can be used in conjunction with the Amazon Influencer Program; Amazon sellers and influencers promote products and drive sales through live videos.
The broadcasts stay on the brand or influencer’s profile, and there is a dedicated landing page where shoppers can discover streams that are “live now” or were previously streamed. During live streams, streamers can chat directly with viewers and customers in real time and demonstrate the products they are recommending. Viewers are able to shop the products mentioned in the video through affiliate links underneath the video.
Only influencers who are accepted into the Amazon Influencer Program are able to live stream on Amazon. Amazon Live rewards influencers for streaming, by earning more money and an A-list status where your products are advertised on the Amazon homepage.
How Your Brand Can Use Amazon Live
So, you know what Amazon has to offer, but how can you use it? Firstly, your brand needs an Amazon store. Without this, you won’t be able to provide affiliates or influencers with links to your products.
Secondly, you need to identify the right influencers for your brand. This is the same for any type of influencer marketing. The individuals you choose temporarily become the face of your brand, so it’s vital they live and breathe your brand’s essence and values.
Next, influencers need to add your products to their pages. Have them make videos or take pictures wearing or using your products. Consumers respond extremely well to reviews, and seeing a live demonstration could be the extra push that influences them to make a purchase. Alongside having your product in their storefronts, you should make the most of Amazon Live. In using Amazon Live, customers are able to talk to influencers in real time, and they use this to ask questions about products. If they like what they see and hear, they can simply click the link to the product in the carousel under the video—and voila! You have a customer.
Finally, you can have influencers share their Amazon storefronts or promote their Lives on other social media channels. An influencer can direct their existing Instagram followers to their storefront and your brand through an Instagram story or post. This will help your brand create an online ecosystem that directly leads customers to your brand on Amazon.
Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at who’s making the most of Amazon as a platform, and the best influencers to use.
Brands Using Amazon Live
Skincare brand Neutrogena has begun using Amazon Live to host two-hour episodes on its products and their uses. The live episodes are hosted by various influencers who demonstrate the products, and then provide the benefits for each one alongside a price discount. Influencers used are predominantly known for their Instagrams and include Alex Gowon, the Montes Twins and Montana Tucker, among others. These influencers range from micro to hero influencers.
The videos fall under a “Glow at Home” series, featuring influencers creating lives from inside their homes. This was most likely spurred on due to the rise of internet usage through the pandemic. Each two hour video covers a different skincare topic, such as cleansing, acne prevention and how to care for your skin outdoors.
Despite these live episodes being informative and interactive, Neutrogena seems to have kept Amazon Live on its own, with no mention of the episodes on its Instagram.
Puma hopped on the Amazon Live trend by posting at-home workout sessions featuring their products. The workout instructors directly reference the ‘Buy Now’ carousels below the videos and provide information and demonstrations of the clothing items and workout equipment.
The different episodes featured various fitness influencers teaching a different type of workout (e.g. HIIT or Legs). Puma created eight different workout episodes, but also one “Fashion Finds” episode, displaying Puma clothing as comfortable, everyday athleisure. Because the influencers were able to naturally talk about the products, it convinces the viewer that these products will fit easily into their lifestyle.
At the time of recording, a few of the products mentioned in the video were included in a sale, and were being advertised at a discounted price.
Similarly to Neutrogena, Puma chose not to promote the Amazon Lives on their other social media channels.
Amazon Influencers to Watch
As with any form of influencer marketing, you will need to pick influencers who align with your brand values and essence. Due to the videos being live, it is easy for viewers to tell if an influencer is being authentic or not. The influencer you choose is a direct sales person for your brand or product on Amazon—if they do well, you do well.
PASSIONISTA SOUL (Danielle)
Danielle is a lifestyle Amazon influencer who shares her recommendations on the best TikTok, fashion and wellness finds on Amazon. She shares frequent content including informational demonstrations on quirky beauty and kitchen finds, styling videos and shoppable outfit photos.
Danielle is a verified Amazon influencer and earns money through her storefront. She splits her content into different subcategories (Gifts for Him, Shoes and Jumpers etc) and then features her top products in videos of photos that appear at the top of her store front.
Danielle would be a great fit for a family or homeware brand, as well as a fashion brand.
TEACH, CREATE, MOTIVATE (Ashley Marquez)
Ashley is an Amazon influencer that focuses on providing product recommendations that will help parents teach their children from home—something that has been a necessity during 2020. She’s passionate about teaching and education and separates her recommendations into helpful learning subcategories such as book favourites, whiteboard props and daily planners.
While she doesn’t post videos or demonstrations of the products, Ashley is selective about the products she recommends. Ashley would be a great match for a stationary brand or a tech-accessory brand.
BEAUTY BY CARLA (Carla Stevenné)
Carla is predominantly a beauty Amazon Influencer, but she also recommends lifestyle products. She is best known on Amazon for her regular Amazon Live videos providing do-it-yourself beauty tutorials, fashion tips, and related product reviews.
In her videos she gives tutorials using different beauty products, but also shares other recommendations on how to get a similar look with a different palette or product. She is a very consistent streamer, and hosts Lives most days. She encourages viewers to interact and chat to her via the Chat aspect of Amazon Live.
Her shopfront features all the products she uses in her Lives. Her profile is more fashion-focused than her Amazon Lives are, which presents more opportunities for her and different brands.
LON.TV (Lon Seidman)
Lon offers Amazon users digestible and understandable consumer tech reviews on his Amazon Live. He generally posts a new review at least two times a week. Seidman reviews products and offers best practices, while also incorporating product discounts during live-stream segments.
His storefront also provides quick 10-minute reveal and review videos for new or trending tech products, covering everything from VR headsets to portable chargers. His subcategories include products he unboxed in his Lives, to his monthly tech favourites, to specifically-branded favours.
Lon would be a natural fit for any type of consumer tech company.
So, we’ve taken you through how Amazon is being used as a social commerce platform, and now begs the question: is it worth investing in? In short, yes. While Amazon’s programs and platforms aren’t as adopted by consumers as Instagram or YouTube, the influence and popularity of Amazon is undeniable. Amazon’s sales have tripled as a result of the pandemic, and as consumers get more and more comfortable shopping online, you can bet that Amazon Live and Amazon influencers will take off. So, it’s best to get in there early and establish your brand with Amazon’s influencers.
Amazon is a great way to begin directly targeting your customers. Creating a website for your brand takes time and money, but using Amazon would allow you to test the waters with direct to consumer selling before committing to your own website. If you incorporate your Amazon efforts within a larger social media marketing plan, you will have an online ecosystem supporting your brand.
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