Influencer Marketing for Small Businesses
Influencer marketing is a priority for brands in 2017. In 2016, influencers emerged as a powerhouse for brands looking to reach millennials in the personalized, authentic way that they desire. Celebrity endorsements have always been a tool for marketers with the right budget, but influencer marketing takes this concept to the next level. It combines star power with the more casual endorsement you get from word of mouth – social media influencers are typically much more connected to and familiar with their fans than A-list celebrities are. While some social media stars command big pay checks from the huge brands they work with, there are thousands of micro-influencers that are more easily accessible to small businesses with limited budgets.
Influencers with millions of followers aren’t right for every brand. Micro-influencers in specific industries are not only more affordable for smaller businesses, they’re more likely to reach the people who will become actual customers. Micro-influencers are often cheaper for businesses to work with, and may even do partnerships for free products or services. In exchange, they can offer direct, personal connections with consumers businesses may struggle to reach efficiently otherwise. Their reviews of products are much more authentic than major influencers with millions of followers that they definitely can’t connect with individually.
How to Find Micro-Influencers
You can find influencers who would be a great fit for your business in a variety of ways, ranging from free options to purchasing tools built for this purpose.
- Start with your own followers: Take a look through your own fans on social media. For followers who have a few thousand followers of their own, and are already fans of your business, a partnership with your brand could be a natural choice for them.
- Connect with local bloggers: Google is your friend here – search for popular local bloggers in your area. If their content is a fit, check out how they prefer to connect.
- Hashtags: On Instagram and Twitter, browse popular hashtags related to your brand’s products. Chances are, some of the top tweets come from influencers in these topics.
- Buy a tool to help: Buy a subscription to a service like Klear to get a more in-depth look at who holds influence in your industry.
What to Expect
When working with influencers, it’s important to pursue an authentic, mutually beneficial relationship. Treat influencers with respect, and they’ll be more open to working with you. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Research how the influencer prefers to be contacted, and respect what types of partnerships they’re willing to do.
- Do your due diligence and research the influencer’s history and past brand sponsorships. This can help avoid a crisis for your brand later.
- Plan to build a relationship over time. Influencers may not be open to a partnership right away, even if you’re willing to pay. They need to get to know your business first, and understand if it works with their brand.
- Make sure all posts from your influencer clearly state their relationship to your brand – transparency pays off with your audience and avoids legal issues.
- Ideally, plan for a long-term relationship and not a one-off sponsorship.