6 Steps to Influencer Marketing for Small Business
Most probably, you’ve heard of those magic words - influencer marketing for small business. But is this type of marketing really worth using? Will it fit your SME? There are so many traditional methods that you know and employ for years.
Yet, what if we share some mind-blowing influencer marketing statistics that turn your perspective upside down?
So, the Digital Marketing Institute shares:
- 70% of teenagers trust influencers more than traditional celebrities
- 86% of women utilize social media for buying advice
- 49% of shoppers depend on influencer endorsements
- 60% of teenagers trust advice from influencers more than celebrities
What is this if not a signal to get started with influencer marketing?
Today, we will talk about influencer marketing for small businesses. We’ll share how to get started, choose fitting influencers, and grow your business.
- What is influencer marketing?
- Get started with influencer marketing
- 1. Define your goals
- 2. Search for influencers
- 3. Contact preferred influencers
- 4. Negotiate the costs
- 5. Prepare content
- 6. Measure results
What is influencer marketing?
Before getting started, let’s understand what this promotion method stands for.
Influencer marketing is a form of SMM (social media marketing) that uses influencers’ products/services endorsements. Influencers have a proven social following and are considered industry or niche experts/thought leaders.
Influencer marketing is gaining momentum, as influencers have loyal followers. Accordingly, they can demonstrate the results of their work with brands. Businesses, hence gain social proof for the goods/services they promote via influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing for small business may have its particularities. So, let’s take a closer look at it.
Get started with influencer marketing for small business
After you see that this type of SMM works, you start thinking about how to do influencer marketing. Of course, you might use help from influencer marketing services. Yet, we recommend you to learn how you can do it on your own.
In this part of the article, we will show what steps to make to start your first influencer marketing campaign.
1. Define your goals
Before reaching out to influencers, you need to define your goals. Accordingly, you form a list of influencers based on the objectives you have. Also, because of your ideas and aspirations, the types of influencers may vary.
Most commonly, businesses employ influencer marketing to grow brand awareness, introduce new products, or strengthen customer loyalty.
Anyway, to make your campaign successful, we advise you to pick influencers on one of the most popular platforms. BigCommerce puts it as follows.
Most important channels for influencer marketing
Not surprisingly, Instagram has become the most powerful place for collaborations. A vast number of users, relative easiness of ad creation, high engagement, and various tools work in Instagram’s favor.
Another essential benefit for SMEs is the price. You may say, “But the promotion costs a lot!” Yet, it’s not entirely true. You don’t need to collaborate with Kylie Jenner, Bella Hadid, or other 1M+ influencers. Thanks to micro-influencers (1,000-100,000 followers), you can get an acceptable price tag.
Use Instagram to promote clothing, beauty products, equipment, and many more goods & services.
But what if you need a more in-depth look at your products? Despite all the benefits, Instagram or Facebook has some limitations. Then cooperate with bloggers.
By placing sponsored posts on niche influencers’ blogs, you can also reach a wide audience. This way, if your goal is to introduce your new service in detail or educate your potential audience, use guest posting.
One of influencer marketing examples. A sponsored post on Fleur de Force’s - popular beauty & lifestyle influencer - blog.
2. Search for influencers
So, you know what goals you want to reach. Now it’s time to find fitting influencers. But where do you start? No worries, we’ve saved some ideas for you!
Tip #1. Check relevant hashtags
This option applies to major social media networks. Of course, we all know that Instagram demonstrates the best utilization of hashtags. All you have to do is go to the “Search” tab and type the desired hashtag.
Do you have a branded hashtag? It’s awesome! Then you can find dedicated influencers straight away. Scroll through the posts to find appropriate influencer(s).
Do you have no hashtag? Not a great deal. Use hashtags related to your niche to find the right account. Don’t be afraid to use a really specific and narrow hashtag. This way, you may find fitting micro-influencers with a highly engaged audience.
The branded hashtag for Minnesota-based tires producer HED Cycling
Tip #2. Use influencer marketing tools
Thanks to influencer search tools, you can make the whole process faster. They are the worthy choice in virtue of several reasons.
Firstly, they will show if influencers have a real following. So, you will know the percentage of the active audience and bots (if any). Secondly, these tools help you form a list of influencers. You only need to type the keyphrase, for instance, “Women lifestyle influencer.”
Nowadays, there are a lot of research tools you can pick from. For example, People Map, Influence.co, HypeAuditor, etc. Some of them are free, and some have paid plans (but provide free trials). So, you can choose the tool that fits your budget.
Tip #3. Check your comments
This is an unobvious yet effective approach. You can find influencers who sincerely enjoy your brand. This way, you can find a blogger with whom you can build lasting relationships.
Besides, you may get lucky and even have a verified influencer who follows you and actively engages with your posts. You can make a step forward and create something great together. It might be a collaboration on a new product or design, for instance.
Tip #4. Employ special platforms
We’ve agreed that sometimes you need something more than a post on Instagram or Facebook. As a result, you start searching for a blogger to post a sponsored article. Sure thing, you can do this manually.
You’ll have to use search operators and form a list of bloggers. Then you need to check their blog with the help of services like Alexa, Ahrefs, or Serpstat. That ensures they have enough traffic, audience from the right GEO, and other essential metrics. And after, you’ll try to establish a partnership with bloggers.
That’s a big way.
Yet, you can speed up the process. Get assistance from the influencer marketing platform. In the case of bloggers, it’ll be a guest posting service. One of them is Adsy. It has a list of 14,000+ bloggers from 50+ niches ready to post a sponsored article from your business.
What’s great about this service is that you can try a free demo look. You can choose from 10+ filters to create a list of influencers and blogs.
Tip #5. Make a post-search check
Cooperation with an influencer must help you reach your goals. So, after you’ve formed a list of potential influencers, make some extra checks.
- Look through their followers. Do many accounts have no profile pictures and use random signs for names? It’s a sign of the bought audience. You won’t have satisfactory results with this influencer.
- What’s the engagement rate? Always check this metric regardless of influencer type - micro, macro, or thought leader. A massive number of followers doesn’t always guarantee great engagement. Use the next formula to calculate the engagement rate: Engagement rate = (Likes + Comments) / Followers x 100. The rate of 3% is a good one. 4-6% is excellent.
- Review content. The visuals should be quality, unique, and match your brand’s style and aesthetics. Always mind what and how the influencer writes in the caption. The texts should be engaging, top-tier, and correlate with your company’s values.
This checklist will help you narrow down your list. In such a way, you leave only high-quality, relevant, and active influencers.
That is really vital as we are talking about influencer marketing for small business. Accordingly, you don’t dispose of huge budgets. So, the influencers you pick should be as relevant to your brand as possible.
3. Contact preferred influencers
Now it’s time to build relationships with the chosen influencers. And the first step to your collaboration is contacting a blogger.
You might get lucky and receive “yes” after a short sequence of messages. Yet, prepare yourself that some influencers may turn down your offer. Even micro-influencers may have a calendar of paid posts for months ahead.
But don’t give up and continue writing your pitches!
Most probably, you’ll have two options when communicating with influencers. The first one is when you communicate directly with the person. The second one is when an influencer marketing agency manages the communication.
In either case, prepare a set of steps you are going to make.
Step #1. Find contact information
Commonly, influencers state the preferred methods of communication in their profile information. Typically, it’s an email address.
We need to admit that you can DM the blogger. Yet, email communication stays the of the choice method.
Step #2. Introduce yourself
Say who you are and what company you represent. Tell an influencer about the campaign you’d like to launch, what aims it pursues, and share why he/she is a perfect fit for it.
Everyone appreciates openness, transparency, and a personal approach. So, be clear about who you are and what goals you have.
Step #3. Ask for a media kit
Of course, you’ve looked through the influencer’s profile. Yet, make sure to get a closer look at his/her work.
An influencer media kit is a worthy source of information. You’ll know what campaigns and with what brands the blogger has participated in. What were the results?
But most importantly, you’ll get more details about the audience. This way, you’ll know the age, sex, and the GEO. And these data are genuinely vital to ensure your collaboration success.
Let’s be fair the campaign with even a really great influencer won’t work if you target the US market, and his/her followers are from Australia and New Zealand.
4. Negotiate the costs
When it comes to the price list, the situation varies drastically from platform to platform.
You’ll know the partnership’s cost straight away if you choose a blog as an influencer marketing option. Yet, you’ll need guest posting service assistance. Let’s see this in the example of Adsy.
After you set all the filters and form the list, you’ll see a fixed price next to every blog. This way, you can plan your budget confidently. And an opportunity to sort the prices from low to high is beneficial for SME representatives.
But what if you decide to partner with Instagram, Facebook, or Youtube influencers? Well, get ready to negotiate the rates.
The final price will depend on certain variables:
- Content form. Let’s see this on an Instagram example. You may agree on a post or story, or it may be a post + story.
- Frequency. It refers to how many posts/integrations the influencer will do.
- Content type. It might be a picture or a video. (In the case of Instagram or Facebook).
- Difficulty. Well, you may have different ideas for future posts. Let’s agree it’s harder to produce videos to promote your product compared to photos.
Of course, the price will depend on the influencer him-/herself. The bigger the following and engagement rate one demonstrates, the higher the price.
Yes, we do remember that you are a small business. You may run a family business or only start your journey. So, you don’t have huge budgets. Sometimes, you will have no budget at all.
What’s then? We recommend you focus on nano- (<1,000 followers) and micro-influencers (1,000-100,000 followers). They will have a more affordable price range.
Moreover, you can offer one to become your brand ambassador. This way, the influencer will work in return for free or discounted goods from you.
5. Prepare content
Of course, influencers will be in charge of producing content. Yet, you can always help and guide them.
To do this, share some information with them.
- Tell them about your brand in short. Highlight your values.
- Share your brand kit. That ensures an influencer uses the right tone of voice, tag lines, mood board, etc.
- Share current press releases. That’ll help to get more in-depth information about your brand.
- Answer questions. Make sure to answer all the questions an influencer might have.
Discuss drafts, make edits, and enjoy the final post/article you have.
6. Measure results
Like any marketing campaign, influencer marketing for small business requires tracking and measurement. That is how you know if your partnership was successful.
Based on your primary goal, you may wish to evaluate different metrics. For example:
- The number of new followers,
- Engagement rate,
- The number of subscriptions.
And the list goes on. How do you track this all?
Well, the tools are different and depend on the platform you choose. Let’s assume you want to grow brand awareness. If you decide to post articles on the influencer’s blog - check the referral traffic. Also, track the traffic by using UTM tags for your links.
Do you want to increase sales? You can also track this via UTM tags. You’ll see how many prospects you received from the influencer’s post or story. Then see the prospects way within your CRM.
Another option Instagram provides is a “paid partnership mention.” It allows you to see the reach and the engagement on your “Insights - Branded Content” tab on Facebook. Yet, note that this feature is still in test. That’s why it’s not available for all influencers.
As you can see, influencer marketing for small business requires effort. Yet, all this pays off as influencer marketing ROI brings $6.50 for every dollar spent. It’s a great reason to try this approach!
We understand that there are plenty of influencers nowadays. That’s why you may get frustrated.
We did our best to research this marketing approach and offer you a detailed guide. Influencer marketing is evolving, and we believe it will grow even more. So, it’s high time you jumped in.
All doubts aside! Sit down, read through this article, and start forming a list. Reach out to people who share your brand’s values or actively engage with them. Introduce yourself and your business, make them want to work with you.
What’s else? Don’t forget to say “Thank you!” after the campaign finishes. Share the results you achieve. All-in-all, it’s about communication and establishing relationships with niche experts. Whatever path you choose - guest blog posting or series of Instagram stories - ensure this experience was outstanding for both sides.
We want to hear from you. Do you use influencer marketing for your business? If yes, in what forms? If no, are you planning to use one? Leave your comments below and let us know!