How can influencer marketing help your small business?

Tap into influencer marketing to leverage the power of your social media efforts.

By Emma Miller

In just a few short years, influencer marketing went from a luxury expense in many companies’ marketing budgets to its very own marketing category. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of success stories in the influencer space. However, some people still doubt its effectiveness.

How effective is influencer marketing?

With so many social networks out there, the number of influencers has been steadily growing for some time now. Consequently, more and more companies are looking to connect with these people in an effort to access their followers.

Marketing company Tomson recently conducted a survey on just how much revenue this marketing tactic brings in. They discovered that companies are making around $6.50 for every dollar spent. That’s why nearly 60% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2018.

And if that’s not enough, you should take a look at this: as Business Insider reports, a recent study revealed that video ads are twice as successful in driving sales as written ads. The study also indicated that consumers influenced by video marketing are generally active online consumers.

On one hand, you could invest thousands of dollars in video equipment, taking time to find an audience and hope that your video will go viral. On the other, you can simply find an established influencer, with a solid following on YouTube that will spread awareness and present your brand to potential shoppers.

How will this help small businesses?

The numbers we listed above sound quite appealing. However, on the surface, it seems that only large, well-known brands have some use for these influencers. After all, how could a small business hope to land an endorsement from someone like PewDiePie or Kylie Jenner?

We already know that Miss Jenner charges roughly $50,000 per Instagram post. She has positioned her brand as luxurious and desirable and has more than 82 million followers on Instagram, so her price doesn’t even sound unreasonable.

But what if we told you that celebrity endorsements aren’t the only way of reaching new audiences? Back in 2016, Collective Bias conducted a survey of more than 14,000 millennial consumers in the United States. The survey showed some surprising results – to say the least.

Roughly 70% of millennials are influenced by the recommendations of their friends, coworkers and family members. But that’s not the surprising part. According to the survey, around 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or use a service endorsed by a non-celebrity blogger, vlogger, etc.

Developing the right influencer strategy

The main reason so many people gravitate to lesser-known influencers rather than celebrities is quite simple. The general public can more easily relate to these influencers, so they value their opinion highly. In some cases, reaching out to local influencers will give you more return on your investment.

Today’s consumers are mostly interested in influencers who will bring some value to them. For instance, doctors can give medical advice for free and fitness professionals can offer some health advice. There are some who can teach your consumers how to start a business and earn money online for a living.

Therefore, you need to reach out to these “micro-influencers” who know how to engage with small, niche audiences. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips that will help you devise an effective influencer marketing strategy:

  • Identify your influencers: For starters, you need to create an actual list of influencers who will best engage with your consumers. Some will probably refuse to work with you, so make sure to have a good number of names on the list.
  • Reach out to them: Start connecting with these influencers, start a conversation and try to develop a relationship. You should introduce yourself, present your brand in a proper way and briefly describe the mutual benefits of this partnership.
  • Make sure to follow-through: As soon as you reach an agreement, you should start working on a follow-through strategy. You should analyze the traction the posts create and reach out to some consumers to comment on the content and maybe even share it.

The bottom line

Admittedly, influencer marketing isn’t exactly for everyone. However, the strategy can be profitable, so you should definitely look into it. Plus, you won’t have to do a ton of research.

You could just scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed and see how other brands are partnering with influencers. Instagram, for instance, rolled out a new feature a few months ago that allows social media influencers to disclose their paid partnerships formally. This allows you to access certain analytics, such as the post’s reach and engagement.

All in all, even social media platforms have recognized the real value of influencers. So, this may be the right time to find your new brand ambassador and wait for the money to start pouring in.

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Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focuses are digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog and a mother of two. Twitter.

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