For many, becoming an influencer is the dream career. However, when you think of an influencer, you might assume this is for platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. In this article, we’re here to discuss the relatively new idea of becoming an influencer for Amazon, using Amazon to drive sales and make a commission.
Amazon has become one of the most widely recognised and well-utilised programs. This is partly down to the fact that Amazon is one of the most well recognised and well-trusted stories across the world.
Amazon enjoys a global reach of over 197 million people, accounting for around 49% of the US eCommerce market (2018). In these globally uncertain times, when the entire world is facing upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has become the go-to for many and, for some, the only way to get the products they need.
With more and more people turning to online shopping for everything (even online grocery sales increasing exponentially), Amazon’s influence over the market seems to be ever-increasing. One of the ways they have expanded their reach is to work directly with influencers and social media personalities.
What is an Amazon Influencer?
The world of social media has exploded in the last 10-15 years, especially with the advent of YouTube and Instagram being visually appealing to a wider range of consumers. The impact of YouTube and video is almost unmeasurable. It can reach and connect with billions of people daily.
The ease of access to create and share video has been likened to the invention of Guttenberg’s printing press, which opened up the written word to more than just the elites of the time. This explosion in film has allowed more and more people to circumvent the usual oppositions to being on camera and become the personalities and stars they have always wanted to be.
One of Amazon’s greatest benefits is that it’s not pigeonholed into a certain genre. Consumers can, quite literally, find anything they need or want on Amazon, from photography equipment and art supplies to gardening equipment and baby clothes. Amazon sells everything and, because it is such a well-known brand, consumers feel safe and secure that they will hand over their money and receive the products they ordered in good time.
Amazon’s influencers program aims to expand its reach to the new generation by utilising the following of big personalities and social-media-celebrities. To become an Amazon influencer, personalities need to have a large (between 100,000 and 500,000) organic and active following on at least one social platform and be ready to engage with that audience to bring them value while promoting Amazon’s platform.
Amazon influencers, like many platform’s influencers, are a big part of the marketing strategy moving forward. Working with influencers has become a really valuable asset within the last few years, and many companies are looking to influencers to help drive sales.
Many brands and companies have personal relationships with huge influencers. As an example, Fiverr is currently working with YouTube sensation, Peter McKinnon.
However, for the intermediate influencers, and even micro-influencer, using a service like Amazon to promote products from many different companies is a great way to earn commission and add to the passive income dream that many hold.
The Amazon Affiliate Program
Amazon, like many other large companies, has always run an affiliate scheme. Called Amazon Associates, this affiliate scheme has, traditionally, been promoted more towards bloggers and niche websites. However, in recent years, the Amazon affiliate program has become less lucrative for many bloggers who have moved onto specific affiliate platforms such as Share a Sale, and Rakuten, who have better rates of commission for affiliate marketers.
Even in 2020, running a niche website blog is still a very lucrative business for many, but it’s not quite as simple as just running a blog, getting traffic, and then relying on Amazon Associates anymore. Many bloggers are branching out into YouTube channels, display advertising, sponsored postings, and of course, info products and online courses.
Digital marketing is an ever-changing field, and those wishing to get involved need to be prepared to work incredibly hard, especially at the beginning, even when it can seem like you’re marketing to no-one. You need to be a businessman or woman with their finger on the pulse of change, ready to pivot to the next big thing in the online marketing world.
While Amazon’s Affiliate program is still going, the focus has most definitely shifted towards the Amazon influencer program. Now, both run concurrently to one another.
The key difference between Amazon Associates and Amazon’s Influencer program is that once they have gained their amazon influencer qualification, they are able to create their own virtual store with a specific URL where they can list the products that they recommend. Influencers do not have to hold any stock, but if they collate the products into an Amazon influencer store, they have more opportunities to sell and make a commission on those products.
How does the Amazon influencer program work?
Amazon’s influencer program works by giving influencers a storefront, a place where they can host products and recommend them to their followers. Most influencers work within a specific niche, and, as such, their followers will be interested in specific products.
For example, health and fitness influencers may recommend particular shakes, gym equipment, workout clothing, etc, but they are unlikely to be recommending things like film and photography equipment even though they may use this equipment to create their channel.
Influencers need to show that they have a following. A following doesn’t necessarily mean hundreds of thousands of followers. However, there is definitely a threshold for followers. Amazon is quite happy to work with up and coming micro-influencers and even nano-influencers to build their following.
The Law Of Diminishing Returns
Amazon recognises that although big influencers may be able to send a large volume of traffic, the law of diminishing returns means that a large following doesn’t always equal the same percentage of large volumes of traffic.
Followers across social media are known to be very fickle, and there is definitely a point where an influencer becomes ‘too big’ to be trustworthy, or at least too big that they seem far removed from their initial audience, meaning that the audience’s trust in their recommendations may actually decrease. This happens quite often when influencers grow their account so large and begin to recommend products that are either incredibly expensive or products that are known by their actual users to be nowhere near as good as the influencer is making out.
An example of this is photography and video influencers on YouTube. As soon as an influencer gets big enough, there is a particular company that will work with them (we won’t mention who the company is for privacy reasons). This company gives the influencer a script to use, and mot influencers, although not most, will use nearly exactly the same script as the other discussing their “award-winning customer service”.
The problem is that the company in question have absolutely dire reviews on Trust Pilot and other review sites, most citing how awful their customer service actually is. Sponsorships like this erode the trust followers have in the influencers and will end up losing them credibility over time.
An influencer may have 1 million followers, but only 1% of people (10,000) may visit the Amazon store, whereas an influencer who only has 100,000 followers, but a more intimate relationship with their audience, may be able to encourage 20% of those followers to visit their store. This ultimately would mean 20,000 people are visiting the store – twice as many as the other influencer managed to get.
How To Be an Amazon Influencer
If you’re wondering how to become an Amazon Influencer, you’ve come to the right article! There are several Amazon influencer requirements, but we’ll give you a step by step guide to setting up your Amazon influencer account, when you need to succeed, and how to track your success and build on it.
To begin with the Amazon Influencer Program, you’ll need to have a following on one of the major social media networks. Amazon recognises followings on either Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, as well as YouTube. Snapchat is not currently recognised as an influencer platform, and neither is TikTok, but we are expecting TikTik to be added to the list soon. LinkedIn is not on the Amazon influencer list and unlikely to be part of the influencer program at any time soon because of the different reasons that followers use LinkedIn.
To become an Amazon Influencer, you will need to go through their application process, Amazon then reviews this and you’ll be either accepted or turned down. If you are turned down, Amazon will invite you to try again once your following meets their Amazon influencer program requirements.
How many followers do you need to be an amazon influencer?
There aren’t any official statistics on exactly how many followers an influencer must-have, but the general rule is around 100,000 minimum, but Amazon states on their website:
“While we look at the number of followers and other engagement metrics of your social media presence, we also look at the type of content you post and the relevancy it has for Amazon customers.”
If you’re serious about becoming an influencer for Amazon, you’ll need to know your followers inside out and be able to provide the analytics when required. This will involve follower numbers and, very importantly, the engagement rate you currently have.
If you’re wondering how to do this, we have a couple of great blogs on how to use analytics across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Check out our blogs section to find out how to take your analytics tracking from basic to deep-level.
Amazon Influencer Set Up
Step 1: The Application Process
If you think you’re ready to join the Amazon Influencer Program, you’ll need to apply through their application process using one of your social media accounts (usually the one with the biggest following). Amazon aims to review your application within the day, but if you’re applying through Facebook, this process can take up to 5 days to complete.
You’ll be notified if you’ve been accepted or not, and you’ll be able to move on from there to the next steps. If you’re not accepted this time, you will be invited to reapply at a later date when you have built your following and your engagement rate.
If you think you’re ready but aren’t sure, it’s worth giving it a go, the worst thing you’ll get is declined at this point in time.
Step 2: Your Storefront
Once you’ve been accepted, you’ll get the opportunity to create your Amazon influencer login and your storefront on Amazon. This is your Amazon influencer page, the place where you’ll be listing the products that you love, and where your followers will be able to buy your products through Amazon.
When creating your storefront, it’s worth remembering your niche. If your social media accounts are dedicated to you creating artwork using pencils or charcoal, it will make sense to fill your store with products such as drawing paper, pens, pencils, even aprons, easels, etc. It probably wouldn’t make sense to fill your store with gym equipment!
The caveat to this is, of course, if you are in the ‘lifestyle’ genre. This kind of genre is quite broad, meaning you will be able to recommend products across many genres, from makeup and clothes to candles and car accessories! Influencers that work in this genre usually focus their efforts on a particular ‘look’ or ‘feel’ to their products.
For example, your look might be shabby chic, and you may have a coffee table on your Amazon influencer storefront that is in this style in white or another pastel-colour. Equally, another lifestyle influencer may have a very industrial look to their storefront, and they may also be recommending a coffee table, but the look would be more steel and dark oak wood. This is the same type of product, but a very different look, which would appeal to different followers.
Once you have your storefront up and running and you’ve filled it with the products you’d like to recommend, you’ll be given your Amazon ‘Vanity URL’ to share with your followers and encourage them to visit!
Step 3: Advertising Your Products
This can be done in whatever way works best for your audience. If you’re a YouTuber, we’d suggest putting a link in your video descriptions and discussing products in your videos with a call to action; if you’re an Instagrammer, you may put photos of the products or of you using the products and link to your Amazon store in your bio.
Many influencers also have a website or a blog where they’ll have a particular page such as ‘My Favourite Amazon Finds’ where they will link to their Amazon storefront.
There’s no minimum or maximum amount of times you should be posting about your Amazon products; it really depends on you and your audience. Many influencers post weekly, but others may post daily. However, just remember the more purchases your followers make, the more money you will make.
We’d suggest being mindful of the 80/20 rule here. Try to keep your page as your users expect. If they expect lots of promotions and respond well to that, then this is fine. However, don’t fall into the trap of getting approved as an Amazon influencer and spending all of your time promoting your favourite products instead of creating the content your followers expect - doing this will only drive them away.
Step 3: Getting Paid
There is no standard amount of money that you can expect to make from Amazon, commissions will range anywhere from 1% right up to 10%, with the average commission sitting at 7%.
Products such as clothing are likely to have a higher Amazon commission rate than more valuable products like video games and consoles. It will be up to you to decide which products you recommend and for what reasons.
Step 4: Keeping up Momentum
This last step is much less of an exact science. You’ll need to keep the momentum up about your Amazon products and your storefront. The easiest way to do this is to be authentic with your audience. Don’t over-promote your products, but, equally, do remind your audience that they can purchase the products you recommend on Amazon.
One of the benefits of using Amazon over your own store is that users trust Amazon’s platform and are much more likely to be comfortable handing over their credit card details to Amazon than a store they have never used before. This is a big selling point and worth reminding your followers every now and again.
Creating and Customising Your Store
One of the best things about using the Amazon Storefront is that you can edit the style and look of your storefront to match your personal style and brand.
While this is limited, it’s very easy to do:
Firstly you’ll need to log into your Amazon account and find the Store Design tab, then select Themes & Designs and pick a template that matches your brand feel and style.
Once you’ve found a template that suits what you want, click ‘Apply To My Webstore’, and you’ll have a lovely customised storefront!
You will be able to customise most themes further to change the images, the colours, font, Amazon influencer logo, etc., meaning you can really make your Amazon storefront your own! Don’t forget to add a category to your storefront so that other users can find your products.
An important thing to note: every influencer needs to manage their own tax status. This will be different for each country, but Amazon may need to see evidence that this is done properly to comply with the laws in your country or state.
Earning Money from Bounties
Bounties are extra services and programs that Amazon Influencers can promote in their store. For Bounties, there are particular Amazon influencer eligibility requirements, and these are not usually physical products. Still, there may be services such as the Amazon Business account that you may be able to encourage your followers to sign up to.
These need to be done in a sensitive way, as services are usually more on the expensive or specific side, or they will require a subscription model, meaning that your followers will need more of a gentle introduction and push to sign up.
Bounties will vary between products, services, and programs, meaning that influencers may earn more or less than expected when their followers sign up for these services.
How to Promote Your Amazon Influencer Store
Promoting your Amazon Influencer list will depend on how you interact with your audience. Learning how to promote Amazon products can be a bit of an art, and so we’d suggest watching some of the really amazing videos on YouTube of other influencers who have really understood how to do this.
Learning how to promote Amazon products can be a big learning curve, but adding this skill to your career skillset as an influencer will mean that you are able to really expand your brand or business.
Track Your Sales
Amazon has taken a lot of time to learn from it’s Amazon Affiliate Associate program. One of the things that Amazon, as a company, learned was that influencers need to be able to track sales.
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, being able to track your analytics across your account is absolutely vital. Learning about your followers, what makes them tick, and what makes them more receptive to product buying is incredibly important to know.
Amazon Influencer Storefronts have a reporting tab that will give you analytics and feedback on sales made, money earned, bounties earned, payments, fees, and other transactional information. Influencers can use this information in conjunction with their other analytics reporting to build a picture of how your followers are reacting and what products they prefer.
Examples of Amazon Influencers
Amazon influencers work within different platforms to bring awareness to products from the brands they work with on Amazon. Here is a list of eight influencers who work with Amazon to curate their own store, share that with their followers, and recommend products that they may find useful and interesting.
Warren Whitlock describes himself as a ‘Business Storyteller’. He is a business development strategist and author - he wrote the first book about Twitter. He has been working with businesses and brands for many years - priding himself on using new media from before there was the internet.
As one of the early adopters of the internet, Mr Whitlock has a very large following in a number of business categories.
Mr Whitlock now consults with brands on effective strategies for use in social media advertising to gain ground in noisy, overpopulated markets. He uses his Amazon Influencer status to reach out to brands who are looking for long term engagement and reputation.
Jillian Michaels is a world-renowned fitness and lifestyle blogger and expert. She has a very successful website with followers from around the world who log on for her fitness advice, recipes, and lifestyle news.
Jillian has been known for many years for her down to earth fitness and health approaches, with recipes and fitness tips interwoven with her lifestyle advice. She has a very positive style that appeals to different generations and varied points in a fitness or health journey. The recipes, combined with the exercise and dietary advice, are a welcome addition. She has written many books about her health journey, encouraging others to follow her into fitness.
Bre Sheppard is a lifestyle blogger from Seattle. She combines everything in her life into a beauty/travel/daily life blog. Recently, Bre has announced a pregnancy and has now expanded the topics of her lifestyle blogging to include the incoming bundle of joy.
As part of her website, Bre includes an Amazon-specific section, featuring brands and products she herself encourages others to try and to use.
Bre Sheppard attracts a millennial and younger audience. Generally, those with aspirations and a decent disposable income.
Chris Han is one of Amazon’s top influencers. She is a fashion and beauty blogger from Shanghai, currently living in Los Angeles, and blogs about her lifestyle and fashion choices on a regular basis. Chris Han works a lot with women and female entrepreneurship, and often, links the clothes she wears and makeup she uses on her website, for her followers to view.
Recently, with her pregnancy, Chris Han has moved into the ‘Mummy bubble’ of fashion bloggers who are attracting new crowds amongst the pregnant fashionistas.
Cassandra Bankson is a model and a beauty guru from San Francisco. She has a successful YouTube channel and communicates with her followers across social media. As a vegan, Cassandra is very much into cruelty-free and vegan products. She uses her huge platform and following to encourage animal-free products and to encourage awareness.
As a former sufferer of acne, Cassandra is huge in the acne awareness circles, too. If this wasn’t all, she is also an LGBT ambassador!
Cassandra’s followers are generally slightly different to the average fashion follower. They are likely to be people who struggle with acne and coping with it. However, she is very positive and shows men and women alike how to cope with acne and the tricks she uses.
As well as beauty and fashion influencers, Amazon’s influencer program reaches out to influencers in other areas. Silentc0re is a well-known gaming YouTuber with a large following. He creates many videos featuring him playing games and showing player POV. He is well known within the gaming community and has made guides to encourage the beginner to design and play game levels.
He uses his Amazon influencer shop to encourage his followers to purchase gaming and tech products. His followers are likely to be in the millennial age group and more likely to be male. The demographic he attracts are within the affluent, or willing to spend on technology and computing set.
On the smaller side of the influencer circle are those who have their own shops and products, but also promote the products from others that align to their own aesthetic.
Green Bee is an ex Parachute Regiment Officer. As part of his former work, he has seen first hand the damage that climate change is causing. He started with his flagship beeswax wraps and has branched out into other ecologically friendly products.
Using his influence, Green Bee shows his followers products that are also ecologically friendly and go along with his own green values through his curated collections. Green Bee has an interesting following, not defined by age or generation, but rather a lifestyle or belief set.
Green Bee’s followers are those who believe in sustainability and, in recent terms, zero waste. They are more likely to purchase recycled and recyclable products. As an influencer, Green Bee provides an alternative to the disposable and fast fashion side of Amazon.
On the general side of Amazon, there are influencers such as Eleanor Prior. She is an online marketing specialist and entrepreneur. She blogs on marketing and digital subjects, educating her followers on how to grow their businesses using online products. She has a lifestyle amazon storefront covering all the categories someone wishing to emulate her style and lifestyle would need, from hobbies to maternity and coffee mugs for the house. Her storefront is laid out nicely, and the products she has chosen to promote are along a definite style line.
Eleanor Prior has an aspirational website, for people wishing to move into online marketing, and companies wishing to become more successful with their online audiences. She gives lots of advice about online marketing, as well as writing articles about her experiences with online marketing and promotion.
Is Being an Influencer a Real Job?
Being an influencer looks like a dream job for many - people being swayed by your every word, companies fighting for your image and exposure, no boss, working from home. Sounds like it’s perfect, but it also sounds like a fake job.
However, it is a real job. Influencers will put their heart and soul into curating an image, into becoming a ‘someone’. Not one of the current crop of influencers became what they are overnight.
A person setting up a brick and mortar or online business will face a lot - possibly years - of sleepless nights and negative bank accounts until they get to a place where they are known for what they do/what they sell. After all, many businesses rely on reputation or influence in their trading area. An accountant needs to have a trustworthy reputation as someone good with numbers, just as a clothing shop needs to develop a reputation for quality and long-lasting garments. When the years and effort has been put into their industries, every business owner hopes to eventually reap what they sow.
Although it seems to the casual observer that influencers just ‘arrive’ with their high follower counts and collaboration choices, they don’t. Influencers will put in years of work to create their brand, persona, and lifestyle. Influencers work really hard on creating content - mostly for free for a long time, simply to be known and to get their name out there.
As an influencer, as most business owners do, too, they then have to look after their brand and persona. There are stories all over the internet of influencers being ‘caught out’ going against what they have created as their brand (vegan influencers caught eating meat, fitness influencers in fast food shops, etc.).
Lifestyle bloggers, in particular, who sell their brand on ‘perfect’ lifestyles face huge stresses to keep their lifestyle as they portray it. They can’t slip from what they show online. Influencers, more than brick and mortar or online workers have a hard time. It is rare for an influencer to not be ‘working’ regardless of what they are doing. They don’t get days off, especially in the early years.
To answer the question of whether being an influencer is a real job is not as easy as it may appear. The short answer is that yes, being an influencer is a real job. Influencers can probably be equated to contractors or self-employed workers.
Contractors work through agencies that negotiate terms, in the same way that influencers often sign with agents who negotiate on the influencer’s behalf.
Influencers, in many ways, have it slightly harder than the general business builder. Their brand relies on its face and lifestyle. They are not only curating a product line, or a brand, they are also curating themselves - making sure that their dress and mannerisms are always on-brand.
Influencer marketing is big business. Many more companies are seeing the value in working with influencers, both big and small, to promote their products and services to a wider audience.
When an influencer works with a company such as Amazon, they are able to add credibility to their recommendations by leveraging Amazon’s very big and trusted market share. Equally, this then builds credibility and authority with their audience.
The most important thing to remember when considering influencer marketing is that authenticity is key. The recent explosion in social media and social media marketing has meant that anyone has the opportunity to become an internet sensation. While the playing field has been levelled, and anyone with a smartphone can become an influencer, it’s not always that easy, though.
As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, there is a lot to consider and a lot to think about when deciding to become an influencer. In some ways it’s the easiest job in the world, being able to do something that you really love and getting paid to do it, but on the other hand, it’s a full-time job, and by ‘full time’ we mean it can be 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.
Many influencers can burn out and feel like their life is no longer their own. This is a real concern in the influencer industry, and so many companies working with influencers are trying to find ways to be more mindful of their mental health and give them some space to just be themselves for a bit.
Becoming an Amazon influencer is a great way to add passive income to your social media presence. If you run a successful blog or social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube, an Amazon storefront is a great addition and will provide options beyond things such as Patreon and simple affiliates and sponsorships.
It’s important to be aware of the products you are recommending; some brands would prefer for you not to list them on your Amazon storefront, whereas some brands won’t mind. Find out from the brands you work with and discuss it with them.
Good luck working within the influencer sphere, and don’t forget to check out our other blogs on how to grow your followers, the right hashtags to use, and how to track your analytics to get the best out of your accounts and your presence online.