One of the biggest qualities needed for running a business is adaptability. And with all the latest world events business everywhere are having to think quickly to change how they operate. Recently we covered how small businesses can use Instagram to help shift their strategies online, you can catch up on that article here. To continue on that theme, we’ve put together this guide on Influencer Marketing for small business.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer Marketing has been around for a while and has changed the way that many businesses reach their target audience. What started out with celebrities understanding how to monetize their social media platforms, has developed into what we have today. Brands use Influencers to create awareness through product reviews, creative content and brand mentions. There are many types of Influencer Marketing strategies that can be easily implemented from profile takeovers to product giveaways.
While some might disagree on Influencer Marketing, it’s clear that this new way for brands and business to advertise is here to stay. Influencer Marketing is a useful tool for small businesses to build their online brand when executed right.
Quick Guide To Influencer Marketing For Small Business
Define What Your Goals Are
Like with any aspect of marketing you want to start with defining what your goals are for the campaign. Influencer Marketing can help with things like brand awareness, sale or event promotion, creative content and growing your following. You’ll want to select the type of campaign based on what you’re trying to achieve.
Select An Influencer Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve set your goals you’ll get a better sense of what Influencer Marketing strategy you should go with. The main categories of Influencer Marketing are:
- Endorsements/Product Reviews — this is the most common way that brands and Influencers collaborate. These campaigns can be managed formally by defining content expectations or paying for a featured post. You can also take a more casual approach by sending product samples or gifts. This is a great way to build brand awareness and generate creative content for your online channels.
- Account Take Over — while a little more complicated, account takeovers are a fun way to collaborate, and having Influencer connect with your audience while introducing you to theirs. Influencers will take over your social media account(s) for a set amount of time. Depending on your brand or business takeover content can include sharing a day in their life, tutorials, product reviews or documenting a service you provide. We recommend temporarily changing your password for the duration of the take over.
- Sponsored Giveaway — if growing your social media following is one of your objectives for this campaign sponsored giveaways are a great option. But it’s also a way to get potential customers directly exposed to your products or services.
- Brand Ambassadors — for those looking to play the long game, starting a brand ambassador program is for you. With brand ambassadors your goal is to create long term relationships with Influencers who work with you to promote your brand. A roaster brand ambassadors also makes managing Influencer Marketing campaigns easier, eliminating the need to scout Influencers.
Plan Your Campaign
Taking the time to plan your Influencer Marketing campaign is the best way to guarantee success. This is where you’ll want to determine your expectations for the campaign, target demographic, due dates and other details. Keep yourself organized using tools like Monday or an Influencer Marketing platform to make it easier to manage.
Identify Your Audience and Influencers
Before you can begin to select Influencers to work with you want to decide who your target audience is. Obvious things like your brand niche or product type will be one factor in finding the right Influencers, but there are other things to consider. For small businesses, especially those who provided services, your target audience is people from within your community. So selecting Influencers that live in your city or around your neighbourhood is the best way to go. A trick for finding Influencers near you is by searching different location tags in your area. You can also search other local businesses for people who might have tagged them in content.
Your goals will also dictate what Influencers you reach out to. If you’re just looking for an engaged audience interested in your brand focus on Influencers with good engagement. This is a sign of good conversations that will interact with the content and hopefully, your products. Keep in mind high followers doesn’t always mean good engagement so be sure to do proper research on individual posts. If quality content is what you desire, focus on finding creators who put in time and though into each post they publish.
Influencer Outreach And Campaign Launch
Now that you’re ready to go it’s time to reach out to Influencers. Keep your emails or messages simple, and to the point so all information is clearly understood. Avoid bombarding them right away with all your campaign information, instead begin your outreach by introducing your brand and what you do. Express your interest in working with them, and see how they respond. Once they respond positively you can proceed to send them the details and go from there.
When going after Influencers with big followings don’t be surprised if they respond back with a media kit or their posting rates A lot of Influencers create content and collaborate as a full or part time sources of income especially with years of experience. There is always the opportunity to negotiate. Based on the value of the service or product you are offering in exchange many Influencers will be more than willing to work something out. Especially when dealing with small businesses.
Influencer Marketing For Small Business Tips
Don’t Overlook Nano Influencers
For small businesses working with restrained budgets, affording big Influencers might not be an option. Fortunately there are a lot of talented Micro Influencers who are just starting out that love the opportunity to work with smaller brands. Nano Influencers are generally considered any content creators or bloggers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers. They might not have the big numbers compared to other Influencers but don’t let that fool you. You’ll be surprised to learn that in most cases their following is very active and engaged with their content.
Keep Your Expectations Simple Yet Clear
In order to keep things easy for everyone, make your expectations extreme clear from the beginning. Outline everything you’re expecting from the collaboration including content quotas, deadlines, messaging and an hashtags or tags you’d like included. Especially if your campaign is unpaid you want to avoid over demanding content. Because like with everything else time is money. Another thing to keep in mind is to avoid any demands that involve restrictions with the creative side of things. It’s okay to give some guidance in terms of any themes or key messaging. Just keep in mind you’re choosing to work with these Influencers for their content style just as much as anything.
Think Of Building Long Term Relationships
The best type of endorsement is one that is authentic and organic. And you can achieve that by working with Influencers you build relationships with and who genuinely love your brand. Even if you’re not looking to develop a full on brand ambassador program, that doesn’t mean you can work to develop long term relationships with Influencers you connect with.