When it comes to influencer marketing, it seems that mega influencers such as Ronaldo and the Kardashians are the only option. However, influencer marketing is for small businesses as well, and it could work better for you than it has for big corporations.
A State of Influencer Marketing Report released in 2021 shows that the engagement rates for micro-influencers (those with less than 15,000 followers) are better than those of social media superstars. This puts a wonderful opportunity in the hands of small business operators to take advantage of the ROI of influencer marketing that averages at $6.50 for every dollar spent.
However, influencer marketing is also tough for small businesses that may not have the resources to manage influencer marketing campaigns. This short post will help to give you a few pointers.
Is Influencer Marketing for You?
Whether you are a flower shop, a restaurant, a seller on Etsy, or running a dog walking business, you could definitely do with influencer marketing. Just getting your business out in the right channels could significantly increase your exposure and grow your revenue.
Whatever reasons you have for not considering influencer marketing, its benefits far outweigh the risks.
- Influencer marketing is a highly effective tactic to break into the market even as a small business. Whether you are selling products or services, it can be hard to compete with established businesses unless you can gain a medium to get your brand out there
- Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Micro-influencers can promote your business for as little as $10 per 1000 followers or just a few free products and gift vouchers. In return, their support could mean everything for fledgling businesses
- When getting started, influencer marketing doesn’t have to be an elaborate campaign run by experts. You can simply reach out to local personalities and talk to them about featuring your products, which significantly cuts on the cost of influencer marketing while maximizing engagement
- If you have a niche product, influencer marketing is one of the very few ways to drive awareness; it is definitely the most affordable. As psychology shows, people do like to buy products endorsed by people they admire.
- Using powerful middle-range (15,000 – 200 followers) and macro-influencers (250,000+ followers) can give your product reputation and create trust, which is essential in driving sales
These few reasons show why small businesses need to consider influencer marketing. But how exactly do you go about it?
1. Identify Your Customer Target Group
A simple rule of marketing states that you go where your customers go. A small-town restaurant may find it effective to market in community platforms such as Facebook groups, while a coffee shop in the big city might want to target college students and fitness corporates. A vegan restaurant might target wellness enthusiasts, and so on.
Large brands spend a lot of money finding data to help them target the right customer demographics, but small businesses don’t have this luxury. Instead, you can run small studies and interview your customers informally to find out which platforms on which they are most active. If you know your target market well, it will not be hard to find the right way to market to them using influencers.
2. Identify the Channels You Will Use
Thanks to your previous experience with self-marketing your brand, you should have a good sense of which channels will work best for you. Most brands like to use Instagram due to its high engagement rates and usage statistics, but Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok are also very good options to use as well.
The type of social media channel you use will be determined by the kind of posts and content format you want to use. These could be videos, images, blogs, give-away competitions, and more. The best channels will:
- Give you maximum engagement with your audience
- Have a wide reach to your target demographic
- Meet your budget
- Matches well with your brand’s values, goals, and personality
3. Find the Right Influencer
With all the leg work put in, it’s time to find the right influencer to help you market your brand. It may not be easy to find influencers, though, especially since there are so many micro and nano influencers you may never have heard of.
There are many ways to find influencers, and one of them involves professional tools such as BuzzSumo, Klear, and Upfluence. If you can’t afford these tools, you can also run searches on the various social media platforms and observe your competitors to see what is working for them.
Sometimes, this is as simple as running a hashtag search on Instagram and manually evaluating the results. It takes time and diligent effort to find the right influencers, considering the different factors involved such as:
- Relevance to your brand. They should already be active in the same space so that your product will fit well with their general content.
- Location – the right influencer will appeal to users in your location and local community
- Engagement – they should have a high rate of engagement with their followers, which you can discover by the number of shares, external mentions, likes, and comments
Once you have found potential candidates, take time to follow them and see how well their messaging relates to your own. When the time is right, reaching out should be easy. An inbox message, email, or phone call should get you started on a potentially beneficial partnership.
4. Monitor the Success of Your Campaign
It is not easy to track the success of influencer campaigns, but a small business should be able to feel the results within a few weeks or months. You can gauge success through metrics such as increased social media impressions (mentions, shares, likes), website visits, and increased revenue.
There are software tools you can use to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your campaign, but you need to weigh their cost/benefit ratio before investing in them. Tracking influencer marketing yourself should be quite easy when getting started. One highly effective way is to use promo tracking to find out the success of promotional vouchers or coupons.
5. Know and Obey the Rules
While influencer marketing is pretty straightforward, there are many do’s and don’ts that you need to be aware of to avoid potentially harmful situations.
- Check that all posts by the influencer meet FTC standards, which includes disclosure of your sponsored relationship
- Don’t try to steer the influencer’s creative process. This is an easy way to sour your relationship and lose credibility as a brand
- Comply with all terms of the platform you are using to market your brand
- Steer clear of influencers using shady tactics such as buying followers and likes
- Stay away from any influencers who could bring a negative reputation to your brand.
It is easy for small businesses to think that influencer marketing is unsuitable for them. However, their small budget, lack of marketing talent, and limited reach are exactly why influencer marketing is perfect for small businesses.
Whether you are a small or large business, Poptribe can help you with all aspects of influencer marketing including finding influencers, monitoring your campaign, and much more. Talk to us about how we can bring your brand to life with influencer marketing today.