As a small business owner, it can be hard at times to know what the best way to market to your target is. Nowadays, we have social media, traditional media advertisements, mobile advertisements, Google’s Pay-Per-Click, among others. With newer techniques being discovered every day, it can become intimidating as a small business owner. But are you aware of the benefits that influencer marketing could bring your business?
For those that do not know, or have not come across this in their treks across social media, influencer marketing is becoming a popular and worthwhile marketing channel. With studies, like eMarketer, reporting that roughly 84% of the marketers claimed that they were planning to launch an influencer marketing campaign with the next twelve months.
From 2013 to now, there has been a monumental gain for influencer marketing. A 2015 Tomoson survey stated that for every $1 that a business spends on influencer marketing, they can earn up to $6.50 back. Even with the high return rate, influencer marketing is very different to traditional marketing techniques. With influencer marketing, brands have to give up some control over the narrative to preserve the authenticity and the credibility.
An increasing number of department store chains, including Bloomingdale’s, Harrods, and Bergdorf Goodman, has partnered up with fashion bloggers to publicize and promote their stores and products. In mid-2017, print advertising and influencer marketing were at the same point in trends, with influencer leading the way after that. Currently, during March of 2018, there was a point where print advertising came up to the same level as influencer marketing but has since dropped again with influencer marketing on the rise.
It can be hard as a small business to go ahead with an influencer marketing strategy. It can be especially hard for those that don’t have the large sums of money that are required to pay an agency that specializes in influencer marketing campaigns. Or even those you cannot afford to pay big chunks of money to celebrities for endorsements. But, we’re here to show you that it is possible for you to implement an influencer marketing strategy without needing to be a fortune 500 company.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
As their prospective customers are all on the internet, there are more firms, businesses, and brands realizing the importance of content marketing. Influencer marketing allows brands to hand pick influencers that are already a part of your niche market. Brands show their content and encourage the influencers to share that content, or other content of their creation, with their engaged audience.
In simple terms, influencer marketing is a practice of connecting your business with online influencers who are within or close to your niche. These influencers are generally individuals or groups of people with a large social following, which is sometimes on more than one platform. The chosen influencers then market your brand to their large audience. There are plenty of influencers to choose from depending on what your niche is. These influencers will generally have a strong reach to your potential customers, which means that it can be quite helpful for your brand to market to those potential buyers.
Who Are Influencers?
An influencer does not have to be a worldwide known celebrity or even just a U.S. celebrity. Instead, influencers can be anyone with a following, such as a community gym owner, a yoga instructor, or even a local food blogger. The only thing that matters, or makes someone an influencer, is having a platform that is decently sized to make their voice be heard. They just have to put out authentic and reliable content on social media and have an engaged audience that is willing to hear. They just need to have the power to sway their customers, subscribers, fan, followers, etc. to learn more about a product and/or service.
The Benefits Of Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing works because of the power that word of mouth recommendations have. In fact, 92% of consumers are more likely to trust word of mouth recommendation than any other form of recommendation. We can all admit to ourselves that we’ve gotten sucked into an advertisement at some point, whether that was a television advertisement or an Instagram post advertisement. The tangible benefits of influencer marketing speak for themselves, such as the creation of authentic content, driving traffic, and the increase of follower engagement.
We have seen countless influencer marketing campaigns go viral across social media, which is great for the influencers and the brands behind them. Sprint, the American telecommunications company, has collaborated with actors, entrepreneurs, and musicians as a part of their influencer campaigns. In their latest influencer campaign, #LiveUnlimited, Sprint collaborated with Rachel Cook, Bradley Martyn, Prince Royce, Gerard Adams, and Lele Pons.
Fiji Water, the water bottle brand, partnered with We Wore What fashion blog’s Danielle Bernstein to create the campaign BodyWoreWhat. In the campaign, they made eight-minute workout videos with Danielle Bernstein and Eric Johnson, a personal trainer. Their goal was to demonstrate and highlight Fiji’s commitments to hydrate those who want to feel and look as physically fit as Danielle Bernstein.
There are countless others that can be used as examples of influencer marketing. There is a rising number of brands and companies that are slowly realizing the benefits that influencer marketing campaigns can bring their brand.
How To Use Influencer Marketing For Small Business
Though there are numerous influencers who you can choose for your small business, it’s still important to put in the time and effort to research those influencers that really want to showcase your product. You might find that sometimes it’s the smaller influencers who can make the biggest change for your brand. So, below are some tips to help you find potential influencers.
- Identify The Right Influencers
- Go Local – Local businesses might find it useful to find local influencers. That way all parties involved will be in the same city as your customer base. A great way to do this is through hashtags on social media. For example, restaurants in Houston could use #houstonblogger or #houstonfoodie.
- Engagement Matters More Than Just Reach – You might find that influencers who have less than 10,000 followers, who are known as Nano influencers, have the highest engagement levels. These influencers have generally garnered a trusting relationship, which means that their content is more likely to be seen. Also, smaller influencers are likely to be cheaper than larger influencers.
- Stay Relevant – If the influencers that you are pursuing are not the right fit for your audience, then no matter what content they create, it will not benefit your brand as your target audience will not see them.
- Validate The Influencers
- Measure Their Content Engagement – This can be done through measuring how many followers comment and like on every single post and compare that figure to the rest of the influencers that you are pursuing. If they have thousands of followers, but fewer than 5% of them actually engage, then it isn’t likely that they will be of any help to you.
- Ensure Their Followers Are Real – The ratio of followers and following can really be a vital aspect of a profile. Worthwhile influencers will likely be following fewer people than those that follow them.
- Check For Spam Posts – Fake influencers can also be weeded out if they use hashtags, such as #f4f, #l4l, #follow4follow, #like4like, etc. These are artificial attempts to make it seem that they have an engaging audience or a popular profile.
- Keep It Consistent – Consistency is key on social media. Ensure that the influencers post regularly with creative and engaging content, which would show that they are committed to their craft.
- Diversify – It can sometimes be better to pay smaller amounts to Nano influencers, rather than a large sum to one big influencer. This way they can collectively reach the same number of consumers.
- Be Thrifty – Every post shouldn’t be worth more a couple hundred dollars. A rule of thumb should be for you to pay a maximum of $1000 to reach 100,000 people. However, remember to not rip off influencers, instead, you should be creating a relationship with them.
- Plan Ahead – Hiring for longer periods of time, with minimum contract time of six months, will be more beneficial to you then a short-term contract. It’ll also be cheaper for you to hire an influencer to post three posts during a week, instead of hiring them three times to post a single picture each time.
- Maximize Returns
- Recycle – Reposting your influencer created content on your other social media platforms is completely acceptable and is highly encouraged.
- Gain Attention – Offer your influencers coupon codes for them to give their followers to further engage their audience with your product and/or service.
- Give It Back – Offering prizes and giveaways to your audience through your influencers increases brand awareness at a low cost.
When done right, influencer marketing is basically a word of mouth review. If done correctly, it can bring a lot of revenue to your brand, regardless of the size of your company. By choosing well thought and researched influencers, you can bring a lot of awareness to your brand and the influencer, making it a win-win situation.