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In August 2022, Shopify launched Shopify Collabs, its latest feature designed to bring merchants and content creators closer together than ever before.
At its most basic, it’s an app that you add to your Shopify store that is used to create your own influencer community. In practice, that means a page with an application form for content creators to register their interest in working with your brand. (For the technical details, see: How to get started with Shopify Collabs).
But take a step back, and you can pretty quickly see that this little app is oozing with potential.
Influencer marketing–using content creators to spruik products and promote your brand–has become a mainstream staple of any good marketing program. Nano-influencers, through to celebrity juggernauts, have been responsible for making products fly off shelves all over the world.
This has not gone unnoticed by the platforms that these influencers use.
Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok all have their own creator marketplaces or versions thereof where brands can track down and hire content creators.
Likewise, it’s not a new concept for Shopify either.
Shopify Collabs makes it easy to find influencers to promote your brand
In October 2020, it announced it was connecting its services to TikTok.
A year later, it announced Spotify users would also be able to sell their Shopify products directly through their Spotify accounts, and in July of 2022, Shopify announced a similar partnership with YouTube
Learn more: How to connect your Youtube account with Shopify
Shopify’s pursuit of the creator community has been relentless, and for a good reason. Influencer Marketing Hub estimated in its The State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2022 that the market size of the ‘creator economy’ would reach a whopping $104 billion in 2022.
With such huge growth and with so many marketers jumping on board, it makes sense that Shopify would join the fray too.
It’s no surprise then that in April, Shopify purchased the influencer app Dovetale. An incredibly successful app at bringing influencers and marketers together, it has since gone on to be the basis for Shopify Collabs, although with a few tweaks and new features.
Never used Dovetale? Skip this section
1. It’s got a new name and a new look. The Dovetale brand has been retired with the functions and features now branded Shopify Collabs. Shopify Collabs is still an app that you need to add to your store, but its design reflects the Shopify brand–the Dovetale feather has been retired and replaced with the Shopify shopping bag.
2. You don’t need to log in to the app separately. In the days of Dovetale, you needed to log into the app to access its services. Under the Shopify brand, that’s become a thing of the past. All you need to do is install the app and log in to Shopify as per usual.
3. You don’t need to set up separate staff accounts. With Dovetale, you added a team manager to manage your influencers. This was separate from the staff members that had access to your Shopify store. These have now been integrated so that staff permissions are all managed through your Shopify admin.
📢 We’re thrilled to announce that @Dovetale is now part of @Shopify, helping more merchants merge community with commerce.— Shopify Plus (@ShopifyPlus) April 11, 2022
Dovetale empowers merchants to create scalable community programs, while making it easier for creators to monetize their social channels.
4. Communications will all be sent to the email address on your Shopify account. This is as opposed to the email address connected to your Dovetale account when Dovetale was a separate entity.
5. It’s easier for creators to find your brand. With Dovetale, content creators had to apply through your application page. With Shopify Collabs, however, content creators can use a separate Shopify search engine to browse brands and choose products that suit their audience.
6. The domain name of application pages will change from Dovetale to Shopify. This will be automatically changed, and links that are pointed at your Dovetale page will automatically redirect to your Shopify page.
7. It’s free. Before being taken over by Shopify, Dovetale used to cost $99 a month on its cheapest starter plan. Shopify Collabs, on the other hand, is free for all Shopify users.
Boiled down to its simplest form, Shopify Collabs works by connecting content creators to Shopify merchants. Content creators promote the merchant’s products, and merchants reward the content creators with either free gifts or money. In practice, this is broken down into three key parts:
The Shopify Collabs Discover platform is a database of content creators from around the world and Shopify merchants that have connected to the Shopify Collabs app.
Merchants can search this influencer platform for content creators they can use to promote their products. Similarly, content creators can search the platform for brands to promote to their followers in exchange for compensation.
Your community page is the heart of your Shopify Collabs campaign. This is where content creators can learn more about your store, what you’ve got to offer, and apply to partner with your brand.
Mobile technology has given rise to a range of nano-influencers in niche markets.
Creating a clear and straightforward community page is key to attracting the right content creators for your brand. Sell your brand but also clearly articulate what you expect from your partners and what they can expect from you.
A community page includes a sign-up form, and you can choose which questions to ask through your Shopify admin. Demographic information is vital for making sure that your products reach the right audience.
Not a merchant? Skip to the benefits of using Shopify Collabs for creators
Instead of looking for content creators, they can look for you. At the core of effective influencer marketing is matching the right product with the right audience. In the past, brands would search creator marketplaces and approach content creators. Shopify, however, has flipped this process around.
At the heart of Shopify’s approach is an influencer marketing platform, dubbed Shopify Collabs Discover, that contains all of the brands that have signed up to Shopify Collabs. This platform is searchable by influencers who can find products that they believe best match their target audience. Content creators, after all, know their audiences best. (Note: As of writing, this is not active, but Shopify is taking early bird applications).
It brings everything together all in one place. With Shopify Collabs, you can send gifts, create affiliate links, and issue payouts to creators, all inside your Shopify admin. You can also manage applications and track sales made through your affiliate program.
It is easier to find brands to work with. With Shopify Collabs, creators can search Shopify’s database to find brands that reflect the interests of their audiences. This should lead to more appropriately targeted products which should lead to more sales and more affiliate commissions for you.
Fashion influencers are often paid in cash and receive free gifts and samples
It’s easier to work with brands. When you have found a brand you like, you use an online application form to reach out to said brand. This form has been developed to guide brands toward collecting all of the necessary information for a brand to make an informed decision. This is important when working with smaller brands with less experience that might normally engage in a lot of back and forth as they try to work out exactly what information they need–demographic information, traffic data, and whatnot.
Follow this link to the Shopify App store and click install.
Setting up a Shopify Collabs account is relatively simple. There are only three steps.
(In case you missed it, see: What is a Shopify Collabs community page?)
In brief, your community page is where creators learn about what you do and apply to partner with your brand.
From the Shopify Collabs dashboard, click on edit your application page. This is divided into five sections.
This is where you design your community page.
This is where you choose which social networks creators can use to apply.
Brands can choose which influencer platforms they would like to take applications from.
This is where you decide what information you want applicants to provide.
This is the part where you quiz your applicants to determine whether or not they’re a good fit for your brand.
At this point, you should have your community and application pages customized to your own specifications. All that is left to do is let people know that your content creator community is open for business and taking new applicants. Shopify Collabs gives you three ways to do this.
Finally, click Save & Finish.
Makeup influencers can help to boost your cosmetics sales.
And that’s it! Your Shopify Collabs community is up and running. All you have to do next is wait for content creators to come flooding in. If you want to be more proactive, however, you can jump on the Shopify Collabs Discover platform and start searching for creators yourself.
(In case you missed it, see: What is the Shopify Collabs Discover platform?)
In brief, Shopify Collabs Discover is where you search for content creators to promote your brand.
You’ll find it in the navigation menu running along the top of your Shopify Collabs dashboard.
There are two basic parts to a Shopify Collabs Discover search: the search parameters and the search results.
This is where you decide how and where you want to search and what you want to search for.
When you have completed your search, you should have a list of creators.
Analyzing your search results is equally as important as setting the parameters.
Search results in the Shopify Collabs Discover influencer marketing platform come with a range of important data
At the time of writing, this was a little clunky, but essentially you use a combination of three factors to sort through your results.
Sort through the content creators and either head to their social channels to contact them directly or save them to a list for later.
And that’s about it! It’s not everything in the Shopify Collabs app. There are a lot more features that make adding influencer marketing to your marketing program much easier. These are, however, the basics, and it’s enough to get you set up and on the right track.
Influencers and content creators are a fantastic way to build brand awareness and boost sales. The Shopify Collabs makes this process that little bit easier and connects merchants and creators in a way that hasn’t really been done before–at least not to the extent that Shopify intends.
This is a great new app with lots of potential and coupled with a Shopify store beautifully designed using GemPages drag-and-drop editor, you can use it to boost your sales, drive conversions, and build trust in your brand.