Dominating Digital: Small Business Influencer Marketing [Infographic]
Influencer Marketing for Small Business
In our final article of Dominating Digital, we’re talking small business influencer marketing. You have heard radio DJs reading scripts to promote businesses, and probably cringed at how insincere it sounded. You might have seen a football player on TV promoting insurance and wondered how the two relate. Influencer marketing is different and has grown out of consumer distrust of traditional advertising. It can help your small business build its reputation, and reach new customers, by partnering with someone who already has credibility with your target audience.
What is influencer marketing?
An influencer is someone with a large and loyal following who shares content on social platforms like YouTube and Instagram. When a business or brand partners with one of these people it’s referred to as influencer marketing and has really taken off in the last few years. Instagram influencer marketing grew 39% in 2018 alone and 37% of marketers surveyed have budgeted for influencer marketing.
A small business can have an influencer create their own content to promote their products, host a giveaway to their followers, or even run a contest using a branded hashtag to collect user-generated content.
What can influencer marketing do for you?
Here is why should you make influencer marketing a part of your digital marketing strategy.
It’s Cost Effective
You probably can’t afford a high-paid celebrity spokesperson or a big advertising campaign, but you can afford to pay an influencer. There is an option for every budget, and many times, you can trade goods or services for their promotion.
Influencers Have Credibility and Trust
Consumers have lost trust in advertisements and instead, look for recommendations from their peers. Influencers have a lot of control over how they promote a brand which comes across as more authentic than an ad. It’s generally assumed that an influencer would only promote what they truly believe in.
Influencers Can Help You Reach a New Audience
By leveraging the reputation of an influencer you can build a greater reach and increase your own following. Over 90% of YouTube viewers say they have discovered new products and brands on the platform.
You Can Target a Specific Niche
Instead of maintaining a presence on every social media platform, you can find influencers that speak directly to your target customer. Influencers carve out a niche in order to stand out and your brand can benefit from that laser focus.
How should small businesses use influencers?
Typically brands partner with an influencer who has credibility in a specific category. For instance, a fashion blogger could promote jewelry and a travel photographer could promote a resort. If you are new to influencer marketing you don’t have to risk a lot of money. For small businesses, working with micro-influencers can be a great way to build brand credibility at a lower cost.
“Micro-influencer” is simply the term for someone with a smaller number of followers, somewhere between 2,000 and 20,000. These are “regular” people with the ability to help boost your brand’s profile. Where a top influencer might charge $10,000 for one sponsored post, a micro-influencer post could cost as little as $100. These micro-influencers are cheaper to work with and can be very effective if their niche aligns with your target audience. Their followers are more trusting of their expertise than those of more famous influencers.
With micro-influencers, you can often trade products or services for promotion. Offer a free meal in exchange for a mention on Instagram or a hotel stay if they write about it on their blog. The best way to get started is to simply reach out and make them an offer. What’s the worst that can happen? They say “no thank you”?
How do you find the right influencers?
You’ll need to do your homework to find the right fit for your brand. Think about your target audience and where they might be going to get educated and inspired. Spend time looking through relevant hashtags on Instagram or videos on YouTube to see who is posting quality content. Reach out to bloggers in your niche.
When you find interesting influencers, look closely at what they post and decide if their message fits your brand. You want to avoid influencers that could put your brand reputation at risk. Take a look at how they are promoting other products to see if they are striking the right balance between organic content and product push. Use web tools, like Hype Auditor for Instagram, designed to check the authenticity of user accounts to ensure their followers are real people. You should be giving up a lot of creative control when you partner with an influencer so the up-front research here will save you headaches down the road.
Influencer marketing, while newer than your other marketing channels, is still just that – a marketing channel. It should be measured with the same scrutiny as any other marketing spend to make sure it is achieving your intended goal. As social media evolves and influencer marketing continues to increase, consumer trust will likely go down as they are bombarded with product promotions. Make sure to stay on top of the trends, but don’t be scared to “hop on the bandwagon” while the industry is hot.
What’s your take on influencer marketing? Like it, love it, hate it, over it? Let us know by leaving a comment below.