What is Influencer Marketing:
Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. For example,
Why is Influencer Marketing a good choice for Small Businesses?
With bloggers, Instagram stars and YouTube personalities with a variety of audiences actively courting brands, influencer marketing is a strategy you can utilize on any budget. Research by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth suggests that young people, in particular, are becoming increasingly resistant to traditional advertising. By 2017 it’s predicted that one-third of all Internet users will be using some form of ad-blocker, ultimately diminishing the effectiveness of banner advertising. With evolving user behavior, businesses of all sizes are going to have to be more creative in the ways in which they promote their brand.
This presents an opportunity for small businesses with their smaller budgets and their aptitude for more creative advertising. Every day there are more ways for small businesses to compete with large corporations. New technologies like programmatic marketing that used to be only available for corporations is now open to small businesses as well.
When you have a personal brand or audience and people see you as a thought leader in your specific niche or market, you have something no one else does: you have people’s attention.
And that, in itself, is highly valuable, not just to brands but to other thought leaders as well. Having a personal brand opens doors of opportunity. Now more than ever we see a rising amount of influencers who are starting to understand their value.
Four Tips for Influencer Marketing
- Choose the right influencer: “Micro-influencers” (who have fewer than 10,000 followers) can actually garner more engagement from their audience and are more likely to work with small to medium sized businesses than influencers with millions of followers or celebrities. The first step in influencer marketing is finding the people who are most likely to be enthusiastic about your business. Think about your brand values and the key principles of your business, search for bloggers who share these ideals. For example, if your business has sustainable credentials, green living bloggers would be a natural partnership. If your business is reliant on local customers, you may also want to focus on bloggers located within a similar area, tapping into an audience who may be more receptive to your products and services.
- Create a two-sided relationship: When approaching an influencer it’s important to be both friendly and open, just as your would in the real world. Also, everyone is susceptible to flattery so letting them know how much you appreciate their work can often go a long way. Retweeting and sharing their content will help introduce them to your brand before you reach out them over email, turning the initial approach from cold to semi-warm and increasing your chances of a reply. Plenty of influencers will also expect some kind of payment for promoting your brand, but by setting a strict budget and negotiating politely, you can avoid overspending by determining what’s within your budget from the outset. If you can communicate your shared values, influencers will be much more likely to develop a positive working relationship with you.
- Experiment with different strategies: Utilize influencers on a smaller test market before committing to a larger influencer. Test different strategies. One month you could engage smaller bloggers and social media users (spreading your budget across a variety of sources), and the following month you could dedicate your whole budget to a solitary influencer with a larger audience. You may also want to try a social media takeover, where an influencer runs your social media accounts for a day. If you have no marketing budget at all, sending free samples or inviting influencers to try out your service is one way to get them to discuss your brand with their audience. When conducting any testing it’s imperative that you’ve defined and set-up the various tracking metrics you’ll need in order to compare results.
- Analyzing the results: Remember that not all benefits can be measured in immediate sales – raising brand awareness is more difficult to measure, and the benefits may not become obvious until later. Some of the key metrics to monitor will be traffic to your website, time spent on the site, conversions, and engagement. There are also other advantages, for example, if an influencer chooses to link to your website it will create both referral traffic can boost your visibility in organic search. Tools like Tweetreach and Google Analytics offer great insights into how your campaign is performing. Every type of influencer will have a different reach (audience size), relevance (contextual fit with your business) and resonance (engagement power) and your marketing strategies will, therefore, have varied results. With some experience and careful consideration, you’ll find the ones that are best for you and form long-lasting relationships.
Remember, just because you are a small business with a limited budget doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Have your marketing associate or manager look up new technologies and tips for small business marketing. Do your research, figure out what will work for your unique situation or business. You can compete at a higher level with larger businesses and corporations not dollar for dollar but with creativity. Larger corporations have a harder time changing their ways and being creative. Smaller businesses have that niche, so use it to increase your brand awareness, sales, and brand reputation.
Thank you for reading!
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