It is easy to assume that small businesses are missing out on most of the tangible benefits of tapping social media influencers that large brands are reaping. This is because larger brands often have bigger advertising or marketing budgets and a stronger brand identity that makes it easier to collaborate with personalities who are commonly beyond the reach of small businesses looking to boost ROI through digital marketing campaigns.
In reality, the contrast is the case. Many small businesses are collaborating with influencers to reach their target audiences in a more authentic way and building bonds on the backbone of trust and audience engagement.
Furthermore, the key to becoming an influencer in a niche is by working with the right personality who can bring in the expected ROI. It’s not easy growing your followers on key platforms but if you work hard enough and stick with a strategy long enough with effective social media influencers, anything can happen.
How small brands can maximise influencer marketing on social media platforms
If you’re running a small business and wondering how the influencer marketing industry can work for your particular niche, here are practical steps you should take:
Here’s how influencers can work for small business brands on most social media channels:
#1 - Start by working with micro-influencers
The good news is that just as large brands target most influencers, small businesses can work with influencers who charge as little as $75. Unlike a mega influencer, a micro-influencer has a smaller community. This means a smaller number of followers, but a more specialised niche. Their communities are often built anywhere from 1000 – 10,000 followers.
Influencers with lower followers have a tendency to spark higher engagement rates because they have a more active audience. A small influencer with a community of 1000 – 10,000 has an average of about eight per cent of their audience engaged. Meanwhile, influencers with more than 100,000 followers can only boast of an average engagement rate of just 2.5 per cent.
In effect, their communities are usually more vested and interested in their influencers’ content compared to communities who follow mega influencers. This is a huge opportunity for small businesses to reach their precise target market, build desired bonds, and achieve set objectives. If you have a smaller budget, this might be a great place to start.
#2 - Provide exclusive offers through an influencer marketing campaign
You should strengthen your influencer collaborations with a special offer that you make available only for a limited time. An exclusive offer will help you create a sense of urgency and also be an incentive for your target market to make a purchase once they see it on their influencer’s posts.
To make the exclusive offer more effective, ask your influencer to share information about it in their content. For example, a free pair of sneakers for every purchase of over $200 this week only. Your influencer can go a step further by highlighting the key features of the sneakers and how they like to wear them. This can motivate their community to make a purchase and get a special offer as a bonus.
#3 - Target the relevant audience for more quality leads
Influencers build their reputation as experts and thought leaders in a specific niche by focusing their social media marketing on content strategy targeting specific personas. Thus, an influencer is able to market to existing or new audiences because their community is made up of only those who are interested in their specific niche.
Create content for your ideal customer based on:
- hobbies or interests
- income range
- platforms and devices used
Unlike celebrities, influencers aren’t spread too thin – making them a perfect fit for a small business. So once you find a micro-influencer whose interest strongly aligns to your brand values, it’s a perfect opportunity to present your business to the precise audience you’re targeting.
This means you’ll end up with very high-quality leads as your influencers present your brand to a community that is already interested in it.
#4 - Gain the trust of your target market
Smaller businesses are more likely to gain the trust of their target audience because they tend to use influencers who are more ‘humans’ and aren’t considered celebrities in their chosen social media platform.
How is that possible?
A number of studies on influencer marketing have pointed out that:
- 49% of consumers were more likely to depend on influencer recommendations, so brands looking to maximise ROI in their marketing efforts can piggyback on influencers.
- 70% of surveyed millennials claimed they prefer non-celebrity endorsement.
- 60% of its respondents considered recommendations, either by a blogger, blog post, or social post (Facebook, Instagram posts), before deciding to purchase a product.
This means online communities who follow these influencers’ social media accounts trust their recommendations thereby creating an avenue for small businesses to grow their brands.
#5 - Create discount codes for your influencers
People are always looking for a bargain when they shop online. If you’re looking to generate sales with your influencer marketing, you can provide discount codes for your influencers to share with their communities.
You can create discount codes that are personal to the influencers, such as their names, to get their audience engaged. You can also create a generic discount code and share them among your other influencers so they can share these on their social media networks. This can turn out to be a huge incentive for your engaged audience to make a purchase.
Another key benefit of using discount codes is that they make tracking and measuring your campaign absolutely easy. With discount codes, you can easily decipher which influencer generates the highest ROI and will give you valuable insights on what you're doing right or wrong.
#6 - Boost your influencers’ posts on social media
If one or more of your influencers have created valuable content about your brand as part of your collaboration, you should consider getting permission to create a paid social media ad that features that quality content strategy.
This is a huge opportunity to boost the relevant content to your audience. Sponsored content boosting amplifies the content beyond your influencer’s community while giving more people the chance to see it!
Even more, you can add a call-to-action button such as “Learn More” or “Shop Now” on the paid social media ad to make it more effective.
You should ensure that your influencer gives you permission to boost their posts or you should include it as a part of the prerequisite for collaborating with them.
How to be an influencer marketing success and make the most of your marketing budget
Small businesses have smaller marketing budgets compared to their larger counterparts. While some larger brands use traditional ad methods alongside their social media influencer marketing campaigns, small businesses can hardly compete at that level.
However, by working with a micro-influencer, small businesses can make the most of their marketing budget. Through these influencer collaborations, business owners pay less and end up with a highly active, relevant, and engaging audience who are already interested in their niche and would most likely turn into paying customers if they aren't already are. This is one of the most effective methods for a small business to build brand awareness.
Make sure to use the right tools for influencer marketing for small businesses
Working with the right influencers entails more than just counting how many likes a personality gets on each post or how many followers they have. It's also worth putting in some extra effort to identifying who can bring in the most ROI. Plus, the search should also involve using the right software or online services to manage your small business marketing campaigns.
- BuzzSumo - a tool for discovering content ideas that you can filter down based on various metrics such as location, language, topics, etc. that can also point you to the thought leaders within your vertical
- NinjaOutreach - a site where you can type down keywords to find bloggers, vloggers, and companies, and then prepare templated outreach emails to start relationships with personalities you want for your influencer campaign
- BuzzStream - list building and outreach CRM so you can pitch to influencers for earned media and content distribution
- theright.fit - the leading marketplace where you can connect with leading models, actors, and influencers around Australia
- #gifted - sister agency to theright.fit which provides contra gifting opportunities so small businesses can keep their budgets low without sacrificing results
With these online platforms, discovering influencers couldn't be any simpler. To make the outreach more effective, make sure you know something about each influencer by studying what they've done in the past. This way, your pitch will be that much better.
Also, don't forget to look at how other business owners are using influencer marketing for their own campaigns. Once you know how it's done, then go ahead and try it out on your own.
If you'd like to explore more, go ahead and check out theright.fit to start an influencer campaign that can help build your business via e-commerce or website.
You can see the guide rates here for influencer partnerships, and on theright.fit you can get started with a budget of as little as $75. Fully screened, professional influencers are ready and waiting to work with you. Contracts and insurance are all covered directly in the platform, to keep both parties safe and ensure success. Get in touch today so your business can reap the rewards of working with influencers.