How can I use influencer marketing when I have small business? Isn’t it just big brands, like clothing and make-up companies that pay for influencers to promote their products?
No, it’s not and we’re going to tell you why and, how you can do it too.
Let’s take it from the top.
Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses – where to start?
Influencer marketing is a step-by-step strategy, wherein your business or brand works alongside social media account/personalities to benefit both entities.
But before you get started, let’s take a look at some of the key processes you and your marketers need to understand before investing in influencer marketing.
Small Business Influencer Marketing Goals
Knowing what you want to achieve is massively helpful, from both side of the transaction.
As a business owner, you should have a fairly good understanding of your ideal customer, what they buy, when, how, why and if you know that, then it stands to reason that your engaged influencers need to know it too.
Influencer marketing can be used in a variety of ways, it’s not just increasing sales…although, that is a nice benefit.
Audience awareness of your brand and what they stand for is a monumental advantage when you are competing with companies that sell similar products.
If a customer understands your positioning on social commentary, environmental activism, or a number of other altruistic areas, it stands to reason that certain aligned customers will choose your brand over another. Especially if that other brand is not positioning themselves to your customer’s ethos.
Just food for thought. After all, business doesn’t have to be ALL about the money, there’s good that can be done too.
Influence Small Business
Which influencers should I engage?
Well, let’s not be silly and start DM-ing the celebs and the YouTube stars that average 5 million views per video – you can’t afford them and honestly, it’s likely that their audience won’t fit with you.
Let’s start a little smaller, how about a micro-influencer or ten?
What’s a Micro-Influencer you ask? Good question – Micros are those accounts with 10k-100k followers, and they’re the ones that can grow your brand awareness and sales at a reasonable cost.
Influencer marketing can be hugely attainable as a method of furthering your brands’ bottom line, and it can be done at a fraction of the cost you would expert or spend on traditional marketing banners.
We can spout numbers here, if you like…the average brand recieves more than $5 for every $1 spend on influencer marketing, but, why not simply enquire with the Influencer themself?
Have a look around, identify an account that fits the follower scale of a Micro Influencer, ensure they speak to your relevant audience (they talk about toys…YOU sell TOYS! – YES!!!), have a look at their posts, make sure they says things the way you like and then, DM them.
Remember, it doesn’t hurt to ask what an influencer does and how much they charge.
Most reputable influencers have what’s called a ‘rate card’, a list of their costs attributed to their services.
Ask for a pdf, and once you recieve it, you can do a little arithmatic and decide what your budget might allow for.
Also remember, you can and should work with the influencer to create a campaign of posts that work well for both of you.
Social media posts sit on the influencers’ account and are shared to yours, so they need to align on purpose, messaging and styling.
Influencer Search – the nitty gritty
Here are a few tips and educated/experienced strong suggestions as to how your brand should search for and align with an influencer:
- And this one’s a little cheeky – check out your immediate competition. Doing your due dilligence, researching your direct opposite brands means you know if they’re using influencers, how they’re doing it, how it’s working for them and whether these influencers might be of benefit to your brand.
- Look at your own channels. There’s a good posibility that experienced and dedicated influencers are already interacting with your brand. That can mean they’re looking for work (no problem there) and or they are already interested in your brand – then, I guess you’re doing something right already!
- Look internally – at your customers. Customer advocacy is a form of influencer marketing and similar to employee advocacy (see our blog posts on this subject for more guidance) it involves passionate individuals promoting your products and services because, and this is the best bit, they believe in you! Great huh?!
- If you’re a little busy, you might try asking a question of your followers. A poll or question post that includes your audience and asks of them, what do you want of us? This will help frame your campaign direction and even find influencers.
- Are you being tagged? If your brand account is highlighted by influencers or dedicated customers, then it’s time to reach-out and see if they’d be amenable to a collaboration?
Review Your Influencer List
Assuming at this point you have a nice, healthy list of potential influencer that might match your requirements…what’s next?
Well, it helps if they are based (for the sake of small businesses), locally. Not hard to see.
Are they speaking your language? We’re not just talking style and stuff, we literally mean, “your language”.
Are they the right age, that helps too. Try marketing your scuba gear to an 80 year old…I suspect a few issues.
This is pretty important.
Over the years since influencer marketing has become a multi- $billion business, the creating and selling of ‘fake followers’ has become a big business.
But don’t worry, we can help you navigate the waters between valid and false followers.
Here are our fake follower identification tips:
- Do they have a profile photo? Most do, but it’s not hard to see if these accounts are false or ‘bots’ as the image will often be cribbed from a photo repository.
- Many of the names look something like this:
Now, apologies @Anna35584888 if I am wrong and you and your delightfully and surprisingly adorable puppy are in fact, real, but somehow, I doubt it.
3) It doesn’t matter if the influencer has a million followers, if their audience does not engage, then no one is going to care about you and your campaign.
Note: If you’re unsure how to know if the audience is engaged and don’t have time to trawel through the account, just follow these instructions.
To calculate engagement rate, look att he number of comments or likes on the influencers’ posts, divide that by their follower count and times by 100 and there you have it, your percentage.
To understand if you’re likely to have a decent return on your influencer investment, note that between 2 and 3% engagement is nice, 5%+ is Super and anything beyond that, well, you’re on to a winner…asuming you both create valuable and rewarding content that is.
In later posts we’ll dive into Authenticity, back links for your SEO, incentivisation, renumeration, long term programmes over one-time campaign activations, employee advocacy, customer advocacy (in depth) and lots, lots more.