Many small businesses make the mistake of assuming they aren’t big enough for influencer marketing. The truth is that any size of business can use influencer marketing and they always have. Because influencer marketing has always been a thing, we just called it by different names.
You only need to think of Michael Jordan and the boom in Nike sales in the mid-80s and 90s to be reminded that influencers were just as important before Instagram and Tik Tok. And getting a product or service endorsed by a trusted source has always been a surefire way of raising brand trust and increasing sales.
Today’s market isn’t that much different. The platforms may have changed and the types of influencers are more diverse but the aims are the same: raise awareness of your product or service, build trust, and then onboard your audience.
But whether large or small, to run a successful influencer marketing campaign your business needs a strategy:
Before you even consider connecting with influencers, you need to create an influencer marketing strategy for your small business. And by setting definable goals for your campaign, you’re more likely to see a measurable return on your investment.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to goal setting as it depends on what kind of impact you’re after.
But your aims might be one or more of the following:
By starting with a clear goal you’ll make the choices around your influencer marketing strategy so much clearer.
Once your influencer marketing goals and strategy are set, you need to consider the right influencers to suit your business.
If your small business wants to connect with consumers directly, you need to connect with experienced business-to-consumer influencers. They may already have the reach (followers) and have an established brand trust that will reflect positively on your own.
Another B2C strategy is using multiple micro-influencers with different demographics. They may individually have a smaller following but their combined reach might work for you.
Business-to-business influencer marketing is not something to be ignored. In fact, this area of influencer marketing is set to grow. This expected growth may be down to the statistics produced by AdAge that calculated B2B influencer marketing would reach $11.7 billion in revenue by the end of 2022 in the US alone.
But for either B2C or B2B marketing, you need to filter potential influencers on 3 key factors:
Engagement is fundamental for those who want to raise brand awareness. The more followers an influencer has, the wider reach your business will have.
For startups and small businesses with growth in mind, your primary goal is to get your name out there. And for that, market saturation is your friend. The best practice for engagement is to work with multiple influencers with big-figure follower stats – or as many as you have the budget for.
Consumer or business reach is important but you won’t hit many KPIs if you’ve chosen influencers indiscriminately – even if they have huge follower bases. The Kardashians might be able to boost sales for makeup but what if you asked them to endorse your rock-climbing gear? Kim or Kourtney are not the only ones who are going to fall flat on their faces.
Your influencer's demographic is just as important as the number of followers they have. So choose wisely. Analyse the influencer's follower demographic and see if they are a good fit for your target audience.
Don’t ignore the content of your influencer of choice. They may be a big name but is your product or service going to sound authentic when endorsed through their channels? Dwayne Johnson might be a great fit if you’re selling dietary supplements but would he be the best person to approach for your new range of ballet shoes? Probably not.
Check out what content your potential influencers are posting consistently and see if your service or product would fit.
The use of social media platforms is now an integral part of any business marketing strategy. And through those platforms, the influencer economy is swiftly gaining the top spot for customer communications.
It’s for that reason alone that your small business would ignore influencer marketing at its peril. But there are many other benefits to building relationships with content creators who can help grow your business.
Once your influencer strategy is in full swing you’ll want to crunch some numbers. The best way to do this is by harnessing the best software.
Let’s look at a few of the best:
Tribe gives you full visibility into the influencer content created about your brand. It can provide the tracking statistics you need to evaluate your influencer marketing campaign performance.
Grin is great if your small business is built around eCommerce. Not only this, but it allows you to manage your influencer relationships and analyse campaign performance all in one place.
Creator.co is a perfect fit for startups and SMEs. They help your small firm connect with creators directly and at a low cost. Many influencers exchange their endorsement for the opportunity of working with you or getting freebies so you can work within a more restricted budget.
With Upfluence you’ll get influencer solutions that focus on driving sales. This means their database of influencers knows what you want from them. You can also track your influencer relationships, payments, and measure your campaign results within one platform.
By properly using influencer marketing Harvard Business Review has shown an average brand boost of 16.6%. And while the use of content creators and influencers has been part and parcel of big business for a while, smaller businesses are getting on board.
Why? Because size doesn’t matter – it’s brand trust that does. And it seems that consumers and businesses alike prefer the endorsement of their peers or heroes to many other types of marketing. So the question is not if but when your small business going to implement your influencer marketing strategy.