While it’s true that the more traditional methods of advertising are still relevant, there’s another way that small businesses can attract new customers: influencer marketing. This is a form of marketing where small businesses use social media personalities and industry experts to promote their products/services. In some cases, it’s simply to promote brand awareness.
Typically, social media influencers have loyal followers. This means they can pitch your small business to a much larger audience. Some of the results you may achieve through influencer marketing include:
- Increased brand awareness
- Boosted sales/income
- Audience trust
Of course, influencer marketing, much like other forms of advertising, is not free. There is a cost associated with it. You will need to compensate the influencers in some way- especially if they are producing a lot of content. Of course, the potential return on investment (ROI) can make it worth it.
Influencer marketing can be implemented by all businesses, regardless of size, budget, or niche. There are influencers in a wide variety of industries and specialize in a variety of content types. Below are some general tips for getting started with influencer marketing.
4 Steps to Get Started with Influencer Marketing
There are four basic steps to get started with influencer marketing. They are:
- Know your goals
- Determine your budget
- Know where your audience is
- Choose the influencer type you want to work with
Know Your Goals
The very first step in any marketing campaign is to have a clear goal/set of goals. This will help you determine the kind of influencers you want to work with. Perhaps your goal is simply to increase brand awareness. Maybe you’re interested in promoting a specific product/service/event or increasing online engagement.
Take time to reflect on your goals and write them down. You may also want to consider the timeline in which you’d like to see those goals achieved. Finally, figure out how you plan to track your progress towards your goal.
One thing to keep in mind is that some influencers and brands work so well together that they form long-term collaborations. Other times, the influencer may only agree to a one-and-done collaboration.
Determine Your Budget
One survey revealed that around 70% of companies utilize influencer marketing as part of their advertising campaigns. Around 73% of those had a dedicated marketing budget and some of the larger companies often have millions of dollars set aside just for influencer marketing campaigns.
Chances are, if you are a small business, you don’t have that kind of cash just lying around- and that’s okay. The main thing is that you decide how much you’re willing to spend on influencer marketing and make sure to indicate that in your budget.
Know Where Your Audience Is
If you’ve taken the time to do your research, chances are that you know your target audience. However, do you know where you can find them? If you can determine the social media platforms where your audience is most active, it will be easier for you to find influencers.
For example, if your target demographic is Gen Z, you may find most of your audience on TikTok. On the other hand, if you’re targeting older audiences, you’ll typically find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even YouTube.
Once you determine where they are, take the time to know the platform before you start searching for influencers. If you’re still not sure where to start, take a look at your competitors and find out where they are most successful.
You could potentially partner with influencers on all social media platforms- but this could get really expensive really quickly. You will end up increasing awareness of your brand among a broad audience- but if they’re not interested in your product/service, there’s really no point. You should ideally implement a targeted approach.
Choose the Influencer Type You Want to Work With
Typically, influencers are categorized by the size of their audience. The mega- or macro-influencers have a large audience. On the other hand, micro- or nano-influencers have much smaller audiences. An influencer that is popular will be able to quickly spread the word about your brand/product/service with one post or video because they have a better reach. However, the disadvantage is that they demand higher pay.
If you have a limited budget, you will want to utilize the micro- or nano-influencers. They are affordable and their engagement rates are typically high, which means they are usually more personable with their followers. They can associate a friendly face with your brand, which can help you gain the trust of your potential consumers.
Now that you have an idea of the steps for getting started with influencer marketing, it’s time to get started. The first thing to do is visit the social media platform you wish to utilize and use the search bar to find influencers who have mentioned your product/service.
Then, go through the search results and take a look at their “About” info and some of their posts/videos. This will not only help you determine who would be best to work with- but will help you build an appropriate pitch to send them.
Try working with the micro- or nano-influencers first. They will typically be more affordable, and they are typically more transparent and personable with their audience and have built loyalty and trust.
Create your offer and send it over to the influencer. If they say yes, you can move forward with discussing the disclosure. An influencer must mention that they were compensated in some way for the post/video. Therefore, you must be willing to be transparent. Talk about ways they can let their audience know- perhaps they have a disclosure line they include in their posts or maybe hashtags, such as #ad, are more appropriate.
Finally, start working with the influencer. As mentioned earlier, there are some influencers that are only willing to do a one-and-done campaign for you. On the other hand, you may find influencers that are willing to do a long-term collaboration. When you use the right influencer, you instantly have the credibility and respect of their audience. This will help you grow awareness of your brand/product/service.
To learn more about marketing your small business, check out our What you need to know to market your small business article.