Influencers have become a staple of online marketing for the last couple of years, and companies are investing more than ever in campaigns starring golden, young social media idols. This is not entirely out of the blue, however; 2.77 billion people will be active in social media this year according to several projections, and that’s a level of exposure that you can’t afford to lose.
For a small brand, however, will play this heavily competed game bring any noticeable benefits? What are the options for a company that doesn’t necessarily have the first-class budget to get one of the top players of social media? Let’s measure the potential benefits that an influencer-based campaign can have for your small business.
How does influencer marketing work?
Influencers are, essentially, middlemen in the process of marketing your company to their audience. These figures usually have a big social media presence in at least two platforms. The key is finding influencers whose niche is as closely aligned to your brand’s as possible.
For example; let’s say your company sells natural tea. You’d want to associate yourself with a figure whose following is interested in health, fitness and even cooking or food. This person will then more or less indirectly market your products through recommendations and photos or videos.
Ideally, their audience will accept this suggestion more easily than with a simple ad, because they trust the influencer’s opinion and taste, and because 92% of people trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than brands themselves.
Also, and perhaps more importantly, businesses report an average ROI (return on investment) of $6.85 for every dollar spent on small business influencers, and over 20% of their new customers are acquired through this method.
Micro-influencers: More success in smaller scales
There is no fixed amount of followers to mark the line between influencer and micro-influencers, but one thing that’s sure about the latter is that they have smaller (ranging from 1,000 up to 50,000 in any given platform) but more engaged and dedicated followers. This is usually because they target more niche interests which, in turn, make their opinions more respected and influential.
More engagement and a more targeted audience are key elements when trying to position brands or products that are not corporate giants, especially on a more local scale. According to MediaHub, this means a higher ROI, retention and deeper bonds with customers. They reported that, on average, influencers with 1,000 followers have 85% more pull than those with 100,000 followers. This also translates into more cost-effective campaigns.
The success of building your campaign around micro-influencers can’t be reduced to a numbers game, however. You have to pay close attention to their audiences and their dialogue to make sure that you share the same sensibilities. After all, that personal touch is the secret to their success.
How to get into influencer marketing?
Think big, not small
Like we said in the above paragraph, getting the right influencers is not all about the big numbers in their follower count. There’s no use in getting an influencer with 200,000 followers but have no engagement with them. On the contrary, and depending on the scale of your operation, an influencer with >90,000 followers can surprise you with a high, constant rate of engagement.
Engage with them
When courting micro-influencers, it’s important that you make a list of pre-selected figures you want to engage with to test how they conduct themselves with their audience. This means following them, commenting on their content, sharing said content with your audience and measure their response, and generally asserting your presence in their social media profiles to establish a degree of rapport.
This can be followed by sending them a small, no-strings-attached promotional gift. Once you have a better idea of who you want to trust your brand with, weed out the list and engage the remaining elements by sharing your interest to collaborate, letting them know what your companies values are, and asking for quotes.
Conduct yourself in a professional but not too corporate manner, and once you make your final decision, be sure to be clear on all points of your collaboration.
As you can see, influencer marketing is also an option for small businesses, and the results are even more promising than with regular, high-stakes top business influencers if you know how to pick yours. If you want tips on how to better know how to build your campaign and how to work with influencers and many other variables in today’s digital landscape, be sure to let us know.