If you’re a YouTuber, Instagram Star or Snapchat expert, Amazon wants you on their team. According to Fortune, Amazon is quietly developing a “social influencer” program, in which they hope to recruit stars from various social media platform to help promote their products.
According to the article, social stars will have to apply for the program, and Amazon will choose which stars they want as sponsors based on follower count and the quality and relevancy of their posts about Amazon.com. The most important factor is how many “likes,” “retweets,” shares and comments they receive on their posts. The purchases by consumers influenced by these social media stars will determine how much they make from the sales, similar to the Amazon Affiliate program often used by bloggers and publishers.
The chosen influencers are not going to be seen as advertisers, more like trusted consumers who have tried the product and are recommending it to others—the key to influencer marketing is authenticity, as most influencers will only promote products they actually enjoy and would honestly recommend to their audience.
According to Engadget, once social media influencers are sent an invitation to join Amazon’s program, they create a storefront on the website. There, consumers can check out products these stars are promoting and have said they like on their respective social media channels. By having the products listed on these influencers’ storefronts, it allows Amazon to track what consumers are buying and how much they will pay these social celebrities.
It goes without saying that “influencer marketing” has become the marketing buzzword of 2017, as big brands and businesses are increasingly relying on influencers to promote their products online. Amazon stepping into the mix, however, is a bit of a double-edged sword: now influencers will potentially have a seemingly endless library of products to choose from, which is great for those who only want to promote trusted products, but if the rates or commissions are lower than if working with brands directly, it could commoditize this hot form of marketing.
On the other hand, the concept of curated and personalized online shops by influencers is surely a creative idea, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out.