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Influencer marketing for small businesses can be an extremely cost-effective way to raise brand awareness. Influencer marketing campaigns, when done correctly, put a business in front of their desired target audiences. Working alongside influencers also allows small businesses more control over how much they spend, leveling the playing field against larger competition. This guide to influencer marketing for small businesses will walk you through the key components of every successful influencer marketing campaign. It will also show you how working smarter can help any businesses overcome a tight marketing budget.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing, at its core, uses influential figures as the advertising medium. This form of native advertisement is effective at coming across naturally to audiences who closely follow the trends and habits of influencers. This concept inverts the typical marketing funnel. Instead of following the product/service, promotional campaign, customer conversion format, it starts with influencers, who follow promotional campaigns and promote products/services.
How does it work?
Consumers love hearing from consumers, which is what makes influencer marketing so effective. Influencer marketing places their products/services in the hands of popular figures on social media who provide reviews, promote, and refer customers to ongoing promotions. Hiring influencers costs less than a big ad campaign or working with celebrities. Most influencers have followings with very specific tastes and interests, so companies are easily able to identify which audiences they would like to advertise to.
Where do you start?
Most companies take one of two routes: independently search for and work with influencers or go through an influencer marketing firm. Although the former can be more cost-effective on the surface, it’s harder to locate and establish immediate relationships with influencers that have the perfect audience for a business. As a result, the latter can end up getting a company much more for their money.
When it comes to influencer marketing for small businesses, spending valuable time searching for the right influencer to work with can set back any social media campaign. In addition, influencers with larger followings are generally hesitant to work with companies they don’t have established relationships with.
Luckily, influencer marketing firms offer services and extensive databases that help businesses locate the perfect influencers for their marketing campaigns. They can even provide insights on what the campaign should look like and offer valuable suggestions on how it should be conducted. Influencer marketing firms also have established relationships with influencers that have a wide variety of followings, making it easier for companies to approach the right influencers they would like to work with.
Influencer Marketing on Your Own
Influencer marketing for small businesses tends to be conducted independently because of tighter marketing budgets. This list will provide these companies with a general guideline to follow:
Survey the social media landscape
Start by going through different social media sites to figure out which one(s) will be the best for you to carry out your campaign on. Take things like the way consumers use the site, the way influencers post, and how frequently influencers post into mind when making this decision. This blog offers valuable insight on how small businesses can use social media to their advantage.
Find influencers (and audiences) that fit your brand
Look for influencers in areas that your company is trying to reach. If you’re a small clothing company then focus on influencers with a keen interest in fashion. The more they post about a topic, the more likely it is their followers are also interested in that topic. This blog discusses how to locate and reach out to strong influencers in your industry.
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Narrow your influencers down
Consider things like the size of their following and how often they post promotional messages while you’re making this decision. These are good indicators of how expensive a promotion will be and how willing an influencer will be to post one.
Reach out to your desired influencers
Most experienced influencers have professional emails in their bio. If they don’t then it’s acceptable to DM them expressing interest. Make sure you come across professionally and provide a clear vision of the promotional campaign. It’s important to include detailed expectations relating to when and how often you would like them to post. It’s also important to negotiate at this stage. Setting expectations of what you’re willing to contribute will prevent the budget from getting too out of hand later on in the process.
Stay in contact
It’s important to remain in contact with the influencers you work with both during and after to campaign. You never know when you might use them again, depending on how successful the campaign is.
Review your analytics
Make sure you take the time to go through and collect the numbers and figures once your campaign is over. This will show you how successful it truly was at converting audiences into customers. It will also give you valuable insights towards how your business should approach the next campaign.
Successful Campaigns in Influencer Marketing for Small Business
Influencer marketing for small business isn’t a new concept, so there are many successful examples to go off of when trying to figure out what approach to take.
This watch company is less than ten years old and has already become a multi-million-dollar company. A large reason for their success was their heavy reliance on influencer marketing early on. They were able to compete with, and even beat out, more established competition in their industry by using fashion influencers who heavily influenced their audience’s buying habits. It’s a valuable case study for any small business looking to see how far influencer marketing can take a company.
Rescue’s approach to influencer marketing was unique in that it targeted micro-influencers. This allowed their campaign to come across naturally to very specific audiences. The BOGO deal that was being promoted resulted in a sales boost while doubling their social media following.
This hashtag doesn’t represent the efforts of a small business; however, it does show the power a grassroots social media movement can have. The Bubble Foundation’s Wear Yellow for Seth campaign supported a young boy with a life-threatening disease who loved the color yellow. The movement went viral and showed how effective social media can be at spreading messages.
Truth is a nonprofit that wants to put an end to teen smoking. Their message was smoking is not only bad but also carries a deeper emotional impact. They recruited YouTube influencers with a combined following of just under 35 million and created an original song titled “Left Swipe Dat”, showing how Tinder users who were smoking in their profiles received more left swipes than average. #LeftSwipeDat ended up as a top trending hashtag by the end of the campaign.