Influencer Marketing: The Basics for Small Business Owners

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Influencer Marketing: The Basics for Small Business Owners

If you think that influencer marketing is only accessible to larger corporations, guess again! Small business owners can access and benefit from infl

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If you think that influencer marketing is only accessible to larger corporations, guess again! Small business owners can access and benefit from influencer marketing. Here’s how.

What is Influencer Marketing?

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, influencer marketing is a collaboration between a brand and an online influencer to help market a product or service. 

It’s a mutually beneficial relationship between brands and influencers. Brands are looking for visibility, reach, and ultimately sales. Influencers enjoy the additional income and sometimes products that result from brand partnerships. 

Even though people often give influencer titles to anyone with a big following, it’s worth noting that an influencer can have a relatively small following. We refer to them as micro-influencers.

Remember, an influencer is anyone with the power to motivate their followers to purchase a product or service.

A brand may ask an influencer to:

  • Speak about the brand in a YouTube video or a podcast
  • Give their audience a discount code 
  • Create a TikTok video with the brand’s products
  • Make an Instagram post about the brand 

Let’s look at a few examples. 

Influencer Marketing Examples 

There are tons of examples of influencer marketing all around you. 

For example, Fenty Beauty uses influencer marketing for reach. According to Jumpstart Mag, “[Fenty Beauty] signed Singaporean reality star Kane Lim as its first Southeast Asian celebrity ambassador. It also brought on American actress and activist Amandla Stenberg of the Hunger Games fame to be the face of the brand in 2019. Last year, it collaborated with singer Madison Beer to promote its brand.”

Fenty Beauty also benefits from beauty influencers using and reviewing the products on YouTube, Instagram, and other social media sites.

Another example of influencer marketing is Megan Thee Stallion as an ambassador for Mielle Organics, a haircare company. 

There are other examples of brands utilizing micro-influencers to market their products. 

For example, Coca-Cola partnered with Travel and Food influencer Miette Dierckx and other influencers for content creation. 

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

There are several benefits of influencer marketing for small business owners. 

Remember influencer marketing is not only for large corporations. 

Influencer marketing can help you:

  • Increase your reach
  • Be more creative
  • Improve SEO
  • Get a favorable return on your investment 

Let’s talk briefly about each benefit. 

Increase Your Reach 

Influencer marketing can introduce your brand to a brand new audience, widening your audience. 

Remember influencers have nurtured a community who already trusts and engage with them. 

Therefore, if they’re promoting your brand, their followers will engage with you to some degree. 

Influencers, especially micro-influencers usually have high engagement and that can also help your engagement to increase.

Even if people don’t buy right away, they’ll be more aware of your brand so brand awareness is also a plus. That also means a new audience check out your brand.

Remember, your website, social media platforms, and customer service have to meet their expectations or else they’ll lose trust in both you and the influencer. 

First impressions matter.

More Creativity 

Influencers are usually creative and experts in content creation. If creating content is not your strong suit, partnering with an influencer can help you create creative and amazing content. 

Creative content can attract people to your brand and increase your brand awareness, leads, sales, and reach. 

SamyRoad says, “creativity must be the main ingredient for Influencer Marketing campaigns to be accepted naturally and organically.”

SEO 

SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, can benefit from influencer marketing. 

For example, if an influencer links back to your website or social media platform, that’s a backlink that improves your visibility and can help you show up higher on the search engine results page. 

If you think you have quality and valuable content on your website, it’s worth reaching out to some bloggers and getting backlinks. 

According to Grin, “If you’re looking to boost your site’s SEO, look no further than bloggers. Do your research to find ones who have a high-quality site and a large following that matches your target audience. “

You can also employ influencers on YouTube to get traffic back to your website.

Grin mentions, “When vloggers mention your brand and share that video content across several social media channels, it inevitably drives traffic to your website.”

They can also add your website to the description of their video and send their audience there. 

Favorable Return on Investment (ROI)

Influencer marketing, which is usually more cost-effective than other traditional forms of marketing, can get you amazing results. 

According to Hubspot, “On average, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for every $1 invested in influencer marketing.”

In addition to that, Hubspot also mentions, “92% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing.”

When done right, influencer marketing has a favorable return on investment. Not only can you get an increase in brand awareness, engagement, and leads, but you can also experience an increase in sales. 

How to Get Started With Influencer Marketing 

If you’ve never participated in influencer marketing before, it may seem daunting. 

It’s not as scary as it looks, we promise.

However, it will take some initial prep. 

Before you start asking influencers to promote your products and services, it’s time to lay some groundwork. 

Figure Out Your Goals 

Before starting any marketing campaign you have to figure out what your goals are. What do you want to achieve from influencer marketing? 

When setting goals, they should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time 

So instead of saying, I want more sales from influencer marketing, you can say:

“I want a 25% increase in the sale of my Vanilla Breeze bundle over the period of 5 months,”

You can set multiple goals. Your goals can center around engagement, leads, email sign-ups, brand awareness, and whatever else you can reliably measure. 

In addition to that, have a clear idea of what your budget will be. 

Know Your Target Audience

For influencer marketing to be most effective, you need to know your audience. 

That’s why a buyer persona is so important. 

A buyer persona would outline your audience’s interests, hobbies, goals, values and so much more. 

You still need to conduct additional research on your target audience to find out where they like to hang out online.

That will help you pick the influencers to reach out to. 

Let’s look at an example of knowing your target audience and using it to help you with influencer marketing. 

If your target audience is Gen Z, Pew Research says are more likely to be educated, believe in climate change, and care about certain societal issues. Therefore if you have a sustainable brand or generally have the same values as them you find influencers that share those values too. 

In addition to that, Gen Zs are influenced by influencer marketing.

Voyado says, “65% have purchased something based on an influencer’s recommendations.”

In addition to that Voyado also says, “60% of Generation Z in the US use Instagram to discover new brands, products and services.”

Gen Z also likes to hang out on Tiktok, Instagram, and TikTok.

Therefore when picking influencers, check out these platforms and see which influencer you’d like to collaborate with. 

If you pick an influencer whose audience is not your target audience, your marketing campaign won’t be successful. 

Make a List of Influencers

Once you have an idea of the influencers that align with your goals and have the ear of your target audience, it’s time to make a list.

You can open up a spreadsheet on Google Sheets or Excel and start populating with:

  • Name of influencer
  • Their social media handles
  • Their contact information like their email 

You can also leave a tab open for what their demands and prices are when you finally reach out to them.

If you need help finding influencers or help with influencer marketing, try influencer marketing tools.

Influencer Marketing Tools

Fortunately, there are influencer tools out there that can make the influencer marketing process much smoother. Here are a couple we think you should check out:

  • Upfluence– An influencer marketing platform ideal for small businesses
  • BuzzSumo– Helps you best engagement, content, and outreach opportunities across social and search.
  • Sprout Social- Helps you track brand mentions, social listening, and finding influencers. 

Focus on Building a Relationship

Before you start reaching out to influencers to work for you, try building a relationship with them. That means following the target influencers, engaging with their posts, and sharing their posts, especially those that already mention your brand. 

Prowly says, “The best way to get in touch with influencers is to never “cold-pitch” them. Use social media for breaking the ice and making influencers familiar with my name before reaching out via email, and find out if you can help in some other way. Once you’re on their radar, it should be easier to build a relationship with them.”

Prowly, therefore, recommends joining industry groups on social media. That way when you reach out to a specific influencer in that group, you can mention you’re part of that group too. You should still take the time to be active in the group. 

Express Your Interest 

Before reaching out, make sure you research the influencer and the type of posts they publish whether sponsored or not. 

Once you’re ready to reach out, make sure your message to them is compelling, tailored specifically to that influencer, and clearly outlines how the proposition benefits them.

Do not send out a mass email to all the influencers on your list. People can usually tell that the email isn’t specific to them. 

In addition, Prowly says, “make it clear that you are interested in building a long-term relationship rather than taking advantage of quick wins.”

Work Together

Once you’ve agreed, it’s time to work together and create content.

Dos and don’ts for working with an influencer could be a blog post by itself.

However, we can offer some general tips to get you started.

First of all, allow them to be creative, after all this is their zone of genius.

Emplifi says, “To excel at influencer management, you need to remember that influencers are the authority when it comes to their social media following. They know what works and what doesn’t. Though it can be difficult to let go, you will see much better results if you let them take the content wheel.”

That’s not to say you can’t voice your opinion though. Find a way to do that respectfully. 

In addition, make sure you’ve set up ways to track your results over time. Otherwise, you can’t know if the campaign was successful or not. 

Finally, make sure you’re legally protected. Talk to a lawyer to get a contract that will outline the expectations and deliverables between you and the influencer. Make sure you’re following the regulations set for influencer marketing. 

Conclusion

Influencer marketing can be a rewarding experience for both the brand and the influencer when done right. Take some time to research and build a relationship with an influencer before asking them to work with you, especially as a small business owner who may have a less recognizable brand. Make sure that you’re setting measurable goals and tracking them after the campaign. Good luck!

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